Saturday, 29 November 2008

In A Right Piccolo

They called it Cafe Piccolo, but actually it was a restaurant. With a deli attached. So it wasn't a cafe at all. But then they had the genius idea of turning Cafe Piccolo's deli area into a cafe. With me so far?

There is certainly no shortage of cafes in Worcester Park - Cuppaholic, Ryan Gate, Checkers, Costa, Berties, Mumas'n'Cuppas and now Cafe Piccolo are in on the act, so the competition is certainly tough.

In the interests of research, I stepped in from the cold and rain of Central Road to find the new cafe clean, bright and well fitted out - perhaps a little too contrived for those who like their cafes to have a touch of character, but inviting nonetheless.

Then it all started to go slightly awry. I started placing the order but then was told to wait a moment and when I did finally proceed, the staff appeared somewhat taxed by the demands of a taking an order for a drink and a pastry.

I took a seat. The waitress came over and apologised if things were going wrong because sometimes it happens when they are very busy (two other people in the cafe).

She asked if I wanted sugar with my coffee. I asked for two sugars, which she heard as 'No sugar'. I corrected her. 'Two sugars'.

Moments later, my coffee arrived. 'Coffee, no sugars'. 'Two sugars?' I asked 'Yes, two sugars' she declared.

The two elderly ladies on the table next to me (by elderly I mean late seventies, perhaps early eighties) got up from their table to be handed their plates of cake over the counter. I, though, was served mine at my table - along with an apology from the waitress. Not sure what she was apologising for this time as I hadn't actually told her that the pastry she gave me wasn't the one that I had ordered.

The manager arrived from the restaurant and quietly bertated the unhappy looking waitress, leaving her looking even unhappier.

I ate my pastry and drank my no sugar/two sugars coffee and went to leave. The waitress thanked me, and apologised again.
It has potential.

Traders Association Christmas Late Night

So what did you make of this year's Christmas Late Night in Worcester Park? Post your comments below!

Friday, 28 November 2008

KFC You Tomorrow!

How's that for timing? The finishing touches are being made to KFC, which is reopening tomorrow morning.
Even KFC sceptics will have to admit the facelift has done wonders for our favourite fast food outlet!

Santa Captured

On camera anyway... slightly blurred but the Christmas parade stops for no man. A Highland Piper piping Santa past KFC? Only in Worcester Park!

Jingle bells!

So the rain has held off, the free drinks are flowing and the parade starts at seven. Come and john the fun!

Arresting Development....?

Rumours that Father Christmas has been arrested are grossly exaggerated... Evening all!

Let The Live Blogging Begin...

Off I go to Central Road for LIVE blogging from the Christmas Traders' Late Night...

Live updates to follow....

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Fair, Trade & Fairtrade

Christmas comes to Worcester Park tomorrow night - from 6pm Central Road will come alive to the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas stalls, rides, bands and more plus plenty of traders will be open late, so make sure some of your Christmas shopping budget goes the way of your hard-working local traders.

Full details of the entertainment can be found here.

Also, CAZBAR will be have a Fairtrade wine tasting table right outside their venue. Currently towns across Britain are making Fairtrade part of their communities, so perhaps this could be the shape of things to come in KT4.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Wood you help me?

This blog is not just read by the good folk of KT4 - it is enjoyed by readers in far flung places, such as New Malden and Canada.

Cynthia has e-mailed from Canada in the hope that blog readers can help her with her genealogical research:

"I accidentally came across your blog and thought perhaps you folks could assist me in my search for family members of a dear friend of mine.

A family by the name of Wood resided at 59 Longfellow Road, Worcester Park many years ago.

They were James Albert (Bert) Wood and Lilian Mary Wood (nee Carey) and their children:

Ivy Winifred Wood, born May 9 1916
Arthur John Wood, born April 24 1914
Stanley Albert Wood, born November 12 1912

The family lived on Longfellow Road between 1912 - 1923 (and perhaps longer).

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. I would love to give my friend a special Christmas gift of family history/genealogy)."

If you can help Cynthia e-mail the blog, and we'll pass your e-mail on

Saturday, 22 November 2008

A Central Road Christmas

Christmas on Central Road (Photo from The Brinkster)

The fun starts at 6pm on Friday (28th November) a it looks set to be a great evening out for the family with entertainment including:
  • A funfair at the car park of the old M&S (next to The Huntsmans Hall)

  • Rides and various stalls up and down the High St, including three bouncy castles

  • Music from the Green Lane choir

  • Mr Trickey will be walking up and down, making balloon animals for the kids

  • Trad Jazz and Acoustic band

  • A fully kilted Highland Piper

  • Stalls with food, teas and coffees and of course the parade

Plenty of Worcester Park shops will be open late - many offering special festive discounts, promotions and festive drinks and nibbles to add that special sparkle to your Christmas shopping:

  • One Stop Party Shop: special discounts and balloons

  • Dawson Aerials: seasonal foods

  • Casuals: Deals on footware, and some festive nibbles

  • Hendys: Mince pies and drinks

  • Cycle Power: special offers

  • Central Plumbing: Champagne and the works

  • Graham Lee Carpets: Discounts and free mats

  • Kingfish: Special secret surprise!

  • Mr Ink: Kids Balloons

  • The Seasonal Shops: Face painting/nibbles and a magician

  • Party Express: Goodie bags

  • Woodward Bros: festive nibbles

Friday, 21 November 2008

Joint Operation

What is it with KT4 and drugs? The Sutton Guardian today reports that properties in Worcester Park were amongst several in the local area raided yesterday in a bid to break up a multi-million pound cannabis operation.

If anyone knows whereabouts the raided house(s) in WP are then do let me know.

This follows raids in Inverness Road earlier in the year so it's good to know that the boys in blue are doing their bit to get to grips with the scourge of drugs in the area.

Mind you, they have some way to go to live down the embarassment of 2005, as reported in the national media...

"Warmest congratulations, finally, to police in Sutton's Worcester Park area, who after a four-month surveillance operation have at last amassed sufficient evidence to shut down a notorious local crack house. The property is located directly above Worcester Park police station, but splendid work for all that."

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A Token Gesture

For those uninitiated in the ways of Waitrose in Worcester Park, when you complete your purchase at the checkout, you are handed a small green plastic token.

The checkout person will then chant the familiar mantra: "Are you familiar with our charity token system, Sir?"

I am, of course, but occasionally I will feign ignorance and watch the fixed smile fade slightly from the face of the assistant as they explain for the thirty-fourth time that day that:

"You place the token in the box of of your chosen charity, then at the end of the month Waitrose will make a donation to the charities on your behalf"

All well and good. Except that today I ran off with one of my green charity token. It was only when I got to my front door and reached into my pocket to retrieve the house keys that I realised the heinous act that I had perpetrated against charity.

Now I know what it must feel like to snatch food from the mouth of starving orphan, drag a gasping whale further up the beach or pee in the only water supply for an African village. Such was the extent of my crime against charity.

Oh the guilt, the guilt. Of course I will be returning it on my next trip to Waitrose, but it got me thinking about the odd sport of 'charity choosing' at Waitrose.

There is something strangely compelling about this monthly beauty pageant of charities. This month the Surrey Air Ambulance is whipping the pants off the Worcester Park Brownies (only metaphorically, thank goodness) and Victim Support Merton aren't doing very well either.

Presumably this is because the middle-class folk of Worcester Park care little about having their shoes shined and wouldn't even dream of going to Merton, let alone being mugged there.

The three charities change every month, and so begins another fascinating window into which causes the middle classes of Worcester Park hold dear.

Now, remind me to return that token next time I go. If the air ambulance runs out of fuel then I wouldn't want that on my conscience.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

So this is Christmas!

Being observant erudite blog readers, you have no doubt already spotted posters appearing in shop windows up and down Central Road promoting the Worcester Park Trader's Association 'Christmas Late Night' which takes place on Friday 28th November from 6pm.

And as you all have such a keen eye for detail, you no doubt spottted The Brinkley Road Blog and The Worcester Park Blog logos at the bottom of these posters? Yes, of course you did.

It's all because in the true spirit of the festive season myself and The Brinkster are setting aside our online blogging rivalry to bring you one simple and unified message: support your local retailers this Christmas.

In the weeks running up to Christmas, we'll be bringing you a flavour of what Worcester Park retailers can help ease the stress of your Christmas shopping.

In the meantime, put Friday 28th November in your diairies. From 6pm, Central Road will be lined with festive stalls, funfair rides and awash with bands and entertainment for all the family. Many shops in Central Road will be opening late into the evening to allow you to do a spot of late-night shopping Worcester Park style.

Father Christmas himself will be there to kick off the proceedings. Hope to see you there!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Same Old Sale Old

So 'Treasure Trove', the Central Road shop famous for selling furniture, incense and Betty Boop memorabilia has closed it's doors forever.

The good news is that a brand new retail opportunity has taken its place - a warm Worcester Park welcome to 'Fab Collections, a brand new shop selling, Betty Boop memorabilia, incense and.. furniture!

With not a hint of irony, the shops famous for it's never-ending 'closing down' sales is now celebrating it's not-so-dramatic re-incarnation with an 'opening sale'.

You couldn't make it up.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Blitz Spirit

In a blog post at the end of last year and in my column in this month's edition of Worcester Park Life magazine, I recounted the devstating events of 16th June 1944 when a V1 Doodlebug fell on Caldebeck Avenue, Worcester Park.

I am grateful to blog readers Janet and Mike who e-mailed with poignant stories of their own very personal connection with that fateful day in Worcester Park:

Janet writes:

"My brother and I were born shortly after the war and as we were growing up we noticed a black and white photo on top of our very old upright piano. The photo was of three young children - two boys and a girl.

When we were old enough our mum told us they were our brothers and sister who were killed on that fateful June day in 1944.

The story as my Mum told it was that she had just bathed the children - the bathroom in those houses was outside the back door! The children were dressed after their bath and my Mum was cleaning the bath when the Doodlebug hit.

The house was demolished and the children killed but Mum survived because the empty bath turned up over her whilst the rest of the house fell on top of it - thank goodness for those old-fashioned baths which withstood the weight of the debris.

Needless to say our parents were devestated at their loss - my father was a fireman during the war and people who knew our brothers and sister told the story of the three little white coffins being born along the main road to their final resting place.

My Mother passed away in 1996, but this year would have been my her 100 birthday - what a brave woman she was - I am so very proud of her and my Dad."

Mike writes:

"I was surfing the internet last week, whilst doing some family history research and came across your blog. I was extremely interested in the story of the bombing on the 16th of June 1944.

The reason for my interest being that my Mother (along with her sister and a visiting friend) were survivors of that tragic happening. Sadly her Mother (my Grandmother) was not.

At the time, my Mother was 13 years old and her sister was 9. They lived at the bottom end of Caldbeck Avenue.

She tells me that on the evening of the 16th June, they were looking out of the front window of their house, when they saw what they thought were fireworks exploding in the sky. They then realised that they were mistaken and what they were actually seeing were ack ack explosions.

They then heard the sound of a V1 rocket or Doodlebug. (It was not a V2 as was mentioned in the blog, as they did not become operational until 8th September of that year).

She says that she didn't hear the engine cut out, but heard the noise that they make as they are coming down. Her mother told them all to get under the table as fast as they could.

The Doodlebug then struck and she says that the funny thing was that she remembers there being no sound. After the dust had settled she realised that she was buried underneath the rubble of the home.

She then heard her Mother calling her and asking if she was alright. As she was confused she did not answer her. That was the last time that she was to hear her Mother's voice.

After what seemed like an eternity she heard the sounds of people digging in the rubble. At the time the rescuers didn't know where she was, so as they were moving the bricks and piling them on top of her, the rubble above her was getting heavier and heavier.

She then called out and eventually was dug free. Her sister and friend were also rescued. But sadly her Mother was dead.

When my Mother and her sister were discharged from hospital they were evacuated to Wiltshire where they remained for the rest of the war.

When the houses were rebuilt, my grandfather moved back and lived there until he died in 2001."

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Three Song Long

Not having suffered any recent familial bereavement and having endured a childhood tragically free of illness and trauma I was cruelly precluded from entering this year's 'X Factor' contest.

However those in Worcester Park with musical talent (self-profressed or otherwise) have a new outlet for their genius courtesy of CAZBAR's 'Acoustic Heaven' nights.

Each Acoustic Heaven night has four 3-song slots that can be booked in advance - or you can turn up on an open mic basis (2 songs each) and wow your audience of Worcester Parkers.

The first Acoustic Heaven night is this Sunday (9th November) at CAZBAR on Central Road. Details here.

Monday, 3 November 2008

For Fawke's Sake

So Guy Fawke's night is upon us and 'tis the season to celebrate ye olde war on terror by publicly burning the effigy of a Roman Catholic.

Or for those more divorced from the history of the event, it's Bonfire Night. Hoorah!

Fireworks in Worcester Park come courtesy of Green Lane School on Friday (7th November)gates open at 5pm, with time to enjoy the BBQ before the display begins at 6pm.

Tickets are £6 for adults, £3 for children 3-16 (under 3s free) and £15 for a family of 4.

Further afield there is the Kingston Community Fireworks Display & Funfair this Friday evening from 8pm at the Kingsmeadow Stadium the Epsom Fireworks Display & Funfair this Saturday (8th November) at 7:30pm

Alternatively, if you have recommendations for a good local fireworks display, let the rest of Worcester Park know using the 'comments' link below!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

The Drury's out?

Had I not seen it with my own eyes this afternoon, I would never have believed it. Movement - nay human beings - stirring inside Dury & Cole.

That said I couldn't work out precisely what they were doing inside Worcester Park's favourite dust-museum, but it seemed to moving piles of 1970s crockery around, with a sponge and can of cleaning spray lingering enticingly in the background.

Could this finally be the beginning of the end for Drury & Cole? Watch this space.