Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Bottle bank robbery

Those of you who have been out on the streets of Worcester Park today will have noticed a preponderance of ugly blue things hanging around on the streets since this morning - no, not last-minute campaigners for Boris Johnson but Sutton Council's latest eco-friendly initiative; the glass recycling bin.

Now whilst I applaud anything that makes it easier and more convenient to recycle, I am in some ways going to sorely miss my fortnightly trudge around to the recycling bank by the library to get rid of my empties.

It's not the walk there that thrills me - it's the sheer catharsis and childlike exuberance that springs from the simple act of shoving my (Freudian) bottle as hard as I can into the (even more Freudian) brush-surrounded hole and revelling in the deafening thrill of glass being smashed to smithereens.

Ah well, I guess I can still indulge my fetish occasionally. In the meantime, I'll make a mental note for myself not attempt to recreate the thrill of these bottle smashing antics with my little blue bucket-thing.

But not before I've written my postcode and house number on my bin, like a good little boy.

(P.S. Does anyone else things it's a little premature of Sutton Council to send these little bins around a whole month before we can actually use them? Any ideas what we can use if for in the meantime?)

Friday, 25 April 2008

Armed Robbery - and ANOTHER charity shop...



Worcester Park sources tell me that the Abbey bank in Central Road has been the scene of an armed robbery late this morning and is currently closed. Let me know if you have any more info.

Also, the old 'Worcester Supermarket' next to the Conservatory Florists is apparently going to be, you guessed it, another bloody charity shop (British Heart Foundation).

There goes the neighbourhood.

Putting Worcester Park on the map?

The OpenStreetMap project arriving in Worcester Park next month and they need your help. They'll be walking around the area adding street names, libraries, pubs, playgrounds, parks, allotments and a whole host of other details to their map.

So what's the point when the web is awash with GoogleMaps, Streetmap and others? Well, OpenStreetMap is different - think of it as the Wikipedia of the map world. The data and the map images are available to everyone to use for free, so long as you credit the community when using them. Just like Wikipedia. anyone can add to them, so you can make the maps you want without the hassle or expense.

The project are making maps for cyclists, bus or car club users; maps showing where to buy local food; maps for heritage trails in Sutton. Once all the basic data is inputted, they can make maps of anything easily!

Want to get involved?

They will be running workshops at 11am and 2pm for newcomers at Worcester Park Libary on Saturday 24th May and experienced mappers will be around to help you hit the streets and gather some data.

You can visit the OpenMap project here - and as you can see, the data available for Worcester Park is sparse to say the least, so a few hours of your help tomorrow will help put Worcester Park on the map. Literally.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The cavalry responds

'Anonymous' posted a comment yesterday saying:

"At around lunch time The Huntsman was surrounded by police cars and two ambulances. Paramedics were giving first aid to a guy sitting on a pub chair outside by the garden. At first glance i thought this was a road trafic incident but there was also a security patrol van in attendance. It gave me the impression it might have been a fight taken outside."

Well, I can reassure you that it was not a fight, but an injured cyclist - attended to first (as you can see from the picture above) by a couple of Police Community Support Officers and a patrol car and later joined by a Police transit van, a rapid response paramedic car and an ambulance.

So now you know.

Monday, 21 April 2008

The flying anoraks



The peace of a Worcester Park afternoon was shattered today by the thudding overhead of a noisy and low-flying helicopter circling the lower areas of Central Road.

Surely it was too early for the rioting to have broken out at The Huntsman? Surely Prince William doesn't have a girlfriend living in Worcester Park?

The mystery needed solving, so I quite brazenly whipped out my long lens - and lo and behold if it wasn't a Network Rail helicopter scouring the skies of our home town.

This, I am assuming, is their hi-tech response to the chav problem around Worcester Park's rail lines. It's nice to know that Network Rail are chucking all the resources of hoodie-seeking helicopters at the problem - although those of you dodging the pigeon poop whilst waiting for your perennially delayed train service from Worcester Park might be forgiven for questioning their expenditure on this little escapade.

Friday, 18 April 2008

All hail the power of the blog!


Before...


It is, ladies and gentlemen, the very sweetest of victories for The Worcester Park Blog.

In a hushed but nonetheless momentous electronic climbdown, The Drill public house have buckled under the weight of wrath unleashed by this blog and amended their website to read:



...and after


They are, therefore, to be welcomed back into the bosom of Worcester Park and their votes received in the Monthly Poll shall stand.

All hail the power of the blog. Is it too late to run for London Mayor?

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Learning The Drill

In the early hours of this morning, I awoke with a burning sense of injustice. As it turned out it was merely a bad case of heartburn but it gave me the opportunity to mull over my previous posting about The Drill's decision to deny it's Worcester Park roots and declare on its new website that it is in the town of Cheam.

I resolved, therefore, to put finger to keyboard and fire off an open e-mail to The Drill to shame them into rethinking their geographical allegiance:

Dear Sir

It was with much regret that I noticed that you have, on your shiny new website, declared yourself to be in the town of Cheam.

You would not believe the upset that this disloyalty has caused the local community. You may indeed have heard anguished howling at night and put it down to a stray fox or wounded chav, but this is not the case.

Were it not for the fact that they are quite busy being outraged by the £35 per sack green waste collection fees from Sutton Council, the people of Worcester Park would almost certainly be taking up arms and beating an angry path to one of your many recently-refurbished doors.

Whilst it may be the case that you are geographically close to the no-man's land that they call 'North Cheam' (for which you have my unreserved sympathies) your address is 'Worcester Park' and your postcode 'KT4'. You will, I am sure, appreciate the hurt and distress that was caused when we realised you were leaving us for another town.

I am thus assuming that the decision to proclaim allegiance to Cheam was nothing more than a horrific mistyping incident on the part of your website designers, and we look forward to the joyous news that is going to be corrected.

You will also note that the blog readers are currently voting on their Worcester Park drinking establishment of choice. I am loath to start fiddling with my ballots, but if you feel that Worcester Park is not your home then I fear that drastic electronic action must be taken to redistribute your votes to other Worcester Park watering holes.

The whole town of Worcester Park looks forward to welcoming you back into our hilly and traffic-choked bosom.

Yours truly

WP


Will it work? Watch this space. And in the meantime if you are venturing into, ahem, Cheam to visit The Drill, do mention the blog and urge them to respond.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Pub Fight

We're at the half-way mark in April's monthly poll - your chance to vote for your Worcester Park drinking establishment of choice. It's a clear two horse-race between The Worcester Park Tavern and CAZBAR, with Rumours Wine Bar clearly having no friends on the internet.

But, lo, we have a traitor in our midst in the form of the newly refurbished 'The Drill' public house, which I favourably reviewed a few weeks ago.They have now launched their new website here - but what's that on the front page of the site:

"The Drill is a family friendly pub in Cheam, Surrey"

Well.... pardon me but if 'Worcester Park' is in your address, then Worcester Park is where you are.

Unfortunately, unlike in Zimbabwe and Blue Peter, the poll results cannot be altered once voting has started, but in view of this shameful act of small-town two-timing I have unilaterally decided that all past and future votes for The Drill will be awarded to The North End Tavern which is in Worcester Park and proud of it.

And I urge you all to show your strength of feeling at the disloyalty of The Drill by wandering past and tutting loudly, or something.

Oh, and don't forget to cast your vote for your favourite local boozer in the 'Monthly Poll'.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Scarlett Fever

A few weeks ago, we went to the cinema to see 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. Ever since, Mrs WP has remained enthralled by stories of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII (and has read several books on the subject) and I have remained enthralled by, erm, Scarlett Johansson (and have looked at many pictures on the subject).

So I read with interest this excerpt from a posting on the 'Virtual Voyage' blog:

"During the time that we lived in Worcester Park in Surrey, which had originally been one of Henry's 'Great Parks' for deer hunting, we could see the remains of a large cork-oak stump opposite our house.

Tradition had it that this tree was used as a post-box or meeting stage when Henry was illicitly courting Anne - his riders from Hampton Court Palace on the Thames would meet the riders coming from Hever Castle at this tree."

Through a process of exhaustive and tireless research (well, OK, I just e-mailed the blog author), I have tracked down this tree stump - and here it is:

If you wish to visit it, pay homage, perform a weird dance around it, or merely sit near it and dream of Scarlett Johanson, then you can find this tree stump at the entrance to Malden Green Farm (near Worcester Park station, for those who didn't realise it was there).

Who knows whether this is historical fact or merely a fanciful local urban myth. If you draw a straight line on a map (go on, you know you want to) from Hever Castle to Hampton Court, then you'll pretty much strike Worcester Park.

And of course, as a curious local you'll know all about the history of Worcester Park being one of King Henry VIII's hunting grounds.

Either way, I love the idea of a humble tree stump in Worcester Park being the setting for exchange of ye olden text messages between the two lovers.

Or perhaps it's just a reason for me to think a little more about Scarlett Johansson.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Down memory lane...

Believe it or not, some people actually leave Worcester Park and move elsewhere. Madness, I know.

One such ex-pat has been in touch from across the pond - it's nice to know that Worcester Park is still on his mind more than 50 years after he moved away:

"My name is John H. Carr. I lived at 114 Longfellow Rd. from approx. 1942 to 1955. My fathers name was Jack Carr, my mother Nelly, my two younger brothers are Bill & Fred. I attended Stone West County Secondary School and was a member of the 10th Mid Surrey Boys Brigade Company at The Methodist Church.

I emigrated to Canada in the late 1950's and live in Vancouver, B.C. I've always kept an interest in Worcester Park. I even met a woman living here in Vancouver who was from Worcester Park and my adult son met a fellow on the bus who was from Longfellow Rd (although his name and address have been misplaced).

He did jokingly tell my son:

"You can tell your father we were the only Chinese family in the area!"

I'd be very interested to talk with others still living in (or who did live in) the area - especially anyone who lived there around the same time as my family did.

I look forward to your responses and until then cheers!"


If you want to get in touch with John, you can email him on jdcarr@telus.net or alternatively post your comments and memories below.

Friday, 11 April 2008

House Prices

House prices in Worcester Park - a useful tool to find out how much houses sold for using official Land Registry data (see above).

A nosy neighbour's charter!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Cars-halt-on



I was late for work this morning as traffic was halted briefly on account of an escaped horse in Carshalton - pictured here oblivious to the approaching policeman and members of the public roped in (pardon the pun) to try and recapture it and lead it back to safety.

So what was your excuse for being late?


Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Punishing wait for sadism butterfly

Ever since I posted about the intriguing 'Sadism Butterfly' dish on offer at Worcester Park's newest takeaway 'Ginger & Garlic', the temptation to try it (and the rest of the menu) out has been too great to resist.

I soon realised that if Worcester Park had a collective voice, it would be saying:

"Go forth, and try the new takeaway. It is your duty to this town. Oh, and buy yourself some beer to go with it as well."

When I arrived at Ginger & Garlic on Saturday evening, there was a palpable sense of confusion over my presence, so I'm guessing there hasn't quite been a stampede yet, but once a pen and paper had been found, the ordering process began.

Faced with a half hour wait, I opted to go home and park myself in front of light entertainment's finest stars, whilst the chefs did their business back at the kitchen. Boy am I glad I chose that option - Harry Hill had finished burping and Graham Norton was half-way through his weekly outing of nancies by the time the food arrived a whole hour after ordering.

Firstly for the sadism butterflies - which turned out (somewhat disappointingly) to be crispy king prawns with an accompanying salad. Not a masochistic insect in sight.

As for the rest of the food, both Worcester Park thumbs go up in appreciation of some brilliantly cooked fare with well balanced flavours and spices - food with what Mrs WP could only describe as a 'home cooked' feel (meant in a positive way).


Overall impressions? The Sri Lankan food is a welcome complement to the glut of Indian-style takeaways. Fans of curries can still get their fix here, but for the slightly more adventurous there's the chance to venture a little off the beaten-path of biryanis and experience something altogether different.

They even do a curry pizza. Beat that, Papa John!

Do give them a try - you can find them next to Mikes Music in Windsor Road (around the corner from Pizza Express).

Oh and do mention the Worcester Park blog when you visit. It won't do you any good, but the confusion on their faces will no doubt be priceless.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

It's Snowing

Snow in April? Who cares - an excuse for us all to revert to our child-like states and get as excited as Amy Winehouse at the arrival of a little white powder.

Worcester Park received a good dusting of it this morning, so here for your enjoyment are some unseasonal snaps of our fair town in the springtime snow.


Robin outside Worcester Park Atheltic Club


Snowman on Malden Green



Train tracks at Worcester Park Station


Malden Green turns Malden White...

Worcester Park bus stop


The Hunstmans Hall

Friday, 4 April 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Rail Stupidity

(RECONSTRUCTION)

Worcester Park's finest have really outdone themselves tonight in a mindless act of vandalism.

A group of teens (probably moved on from KFC) decided to hurl a bike onto the train tracks around 9.30 this evening, which promptly melted onto the live rail knocking all South West train services through Worcester Park into total chaos.

Let's hope the chavs responsible for this dangerous disruption are rounded up, and then we can all gather round as they get chucked onto the tracks and have their tongue-studs welded to the live rail.

(P.S. Could this be the work of the same oiks who pinched this bike from Worcester Park station recently? Could there be a future for me in policing this Worcester Park crime wave..?)

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Arse Kickin' Good

It's nice to see the Safer Neighbourhoods team are doing their bit to uphold law and order in Worcester Park. In relation to the ongoing problems of anti-social behaviour outside KFC in Central Road, they report that:

"..on 12th January we took one youth, who had been causing problems at the KFC, to the police station where his parents were called to collect him."

Gosh. You can picture the chavs quaking in their Ugg boots at that one. I wonder if he got a clip round the ear and sent to bed with no Bargain Bucket?

I suspect, though, that it's more to do with the lack of powers available to the police than the lack of will to tackle these oiks.
Browning Avenue (on the border of The Hamptons development) seems to be a trouble-spot as well, according to the team's reports of nuisance noise and vandalism - is it really that bad around there?