Friday, 30 May 2008

Kerb your enthusiasm

I do wonder (occasionally) what use people have found for the blue bins provided to them by Sutton Council for glass recycling. You see these bins have been with us since April, but kerbside collections don't start until the beginning of June.

You will, of course, have known that collections weren't going to start until June if you'd read the clearly worded leaflet that arrived with your new bin (or read this blog).

Yet it appears that mass confusion has arisen with hapless residents putting their blue bins out too early, only to find that they aren't being collected - although I haven't quite noticed Worcester Park degenerating into crunching mass of overflowing kerbside glass as some doom merchants would have us believe.


Incredibly, some residents are blaming Sutton Council for mishandling the issuing of the bins and are no doubt wasting perfeclty good recycled paper by writing to the Surrey Comet to complain.


Unusually, I'm with Sutton Council on this one. Presumably you must have had a stab at reading the leaflet that came with it, which is how you knew that it was a bin for your glass and not a free Sutton Council branded patio planter.


So if you managed read that bit, what part of collections starting from 2nd June didn't you get?
Incidentally, for those still struggling to read the explanatory leaflet that came with it, I believe Sutton Council offer free evening classes that might assist.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

You must be choking?

Hurry hurry hurry - you have just three days left to choose the scab that you would like to see flicked off the skin of Worcester Park forever (i.e. the Monthly Poll on your right).

I've had an email from a blog reader suggesting that Rumours Wine Bar be added as one of the choices. Unfortunately this is not ITV, so things can't be fiddled once once voting is underway. Besides, I've never really thought of Rumours as that much of a blot on our suburban landscape.

Personally I think it's great that the we have an al-fresco drinking experience in Worcester Park so locals can sit out in the evening sun and pretend to be at a pavement cafe in the Costa Brava whilst gulping down lungfuls of carbon monoxide from the traffic thundering along Central Road.

Well, it is on the High Emissions Zone side of Worcester Park after all.

Now get voting whilst you still can.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Papa Don't Teach

I ventured into Papa John's the other evening - not for a moment because I'd swallowed their advertising guff about better ingredients making better pizza, but because blogging duty dictates that I should try (almost) everything locally at least once.

Besides, Mrs WP was hungry and starting to whine and knaw at the furniture.

So off I went and browsed through the disappointing menu of just 12 varieties of pizza - opting for a medium pizza at at £13.99.

Only after I had coughed up (the cash, not the pizza) did I spy that under the Early Week Special 'any pizza, any size' should be £9.99. I politely asked if I could pay the £9.99 for an extra large, rather than the £13.99 they had charged me for a medium.

All hell broke loose and within moments virtually all of the 13 staff working there (that's one specialist in each variety of pizza plus one supervisor, I'm assuming) seemed to be in active discussion of my request. Clearly a request of this complexity had not been addressed at the Papa John's Training Academy.

A committee was convened, which after several minutes and much annoyance to the growing queue behind me had granted my request and I sat for ten minutes (under a sign telling me that CCTV is in operation in all areas of Choices Video) whilst my masterpiece was prepared.

Who says there's no entertainment in Worcester Park?

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Worcester Park Finds Its Voice!




A few days ago, I leaped onto my electronic soap box to bemoan the fact that there is nobody standing up and promoting the Worcester Park traders, nobody beating the drum for the hard working local businesses that are the lifeblood of our locality - in short, nobody (bar my humble self) acting as the voice of Worcester Park.

Well now it appears that Worcester Park is indeed about to find its voice. Those adventurous souls who have traveled to New Malden may be familiar with 'Village Voice', a hugely popular local magazine for the KT3 area, packed with local features, articles and information and a unique platform for businesses of all sizes to promote themselves to a truly local audience.

The great news is that the concept is being rolled out to the KT4 area, with Worcester Park getting its very own magazine in just a few weeks' time. I met up with the Jenny Stuart, the driving force behind the publication, as she pounded the streets of Worcester Park getting more local advertisers on board ahead of the launch of the first magazine next month.

Take a peak at the New Malden magazine's website and you will get an idea of what is in store for our own town. The working title for the magazine is the 'Worcester Park Whisper', and you can see the website under development at ourkt4.com.

The really exciting news (OK, well exciting for myself anyway) is that The Worcester Park Blog will be making the bold leap onto the printed page, with a monthly column in the magazine.

In the meantime, if you are a local business large or small then don't miss the chance to reach your local audience in the very first edition of the Worcester Park magazine - you have until the middle of next week to sign up (and as a special launch offer you can get one month's advertising free if you sign up for three months or more).

To find out more, visit ourkt4.com, call 020 8605 1380 or email jenny@maldenmedia.co.uk

Friday, 23 May 2008

Make plans for this weekend

The Bank Holiday weekend is almost upon us and if the combined evils of B&Q and IKEA aren't conspiring to destroy every moment of your much cherished free time then why not brave the great outdoors and help out the OpenMapping project as they seek to map out Worcester Park tomorrow (Saturday 24th May).

OpenStreetMap is 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.

Details of the project are at: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/WikiProject_Sutton_England/Mapping_party

If you're interested in volunteering your free time, you can go out paired with a more experienced mapper to capture street data, or to add in detail like amenities to areas that already have basic road coverage. By the end of the weekend they hope to have as much of the area completed as possible, focusing on the following data:

Basic street information
  • Key amenities like post offices/boxes, local shops, cycle and car club parking, bus stops, community centres etc.
  • Land use areas like residential, industrial, retail, allotments, parks, recreation grounds, etc.

They will also run two workshops for beginners at 11am and 2pm at the Worcester Park Library, Stone Place, Windsor Road, Worcester Park, Surrey, KT4 8ES in the meeting room upstairs (with free wifi and desk space for laptops from 10am).

No experience is necessary, so turn up, join in and help put Worcester Park on the map!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Clinically Dead



The long-running saga of the 'TV & Video Clinic' is almost at an end - a 'Notice To Dispose' has been posted in the window of the shop, so if you have a claim on any of the TVs lying unloved on the shelves (or fancy blagging your way to that ten-year-old Toshiba telly) then you have until 28th May to make your application in writing to 85 Central Road and lay claim to what is rightfully yours.

I'm toying with the idea of writing in and asking if I can have that brick that's in the window. Well, there's nothing else worth having.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

I predict a riot?

Well, actually I don't - but I'm hoping that a nosy neighbour reading this blog can shed some light on the police activity at the top of Lindsay Road about 6 o'clock this evening.

There were two police cars and a police van parked up, and about seven police officers with shields gathered outside one of the houses.

Any idea what this was about, ladies and gents?

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Worcester Park & The Chamber of Secrets

It's time to get on my Worcester Park soap box, so please bear with me on this one.

I got hold of a local 'Guide Book & Directory' published by the 'Worcester Park & District Chamber Of Trade' back in November 1957.

I shall share with you some its many gems in due course, but it started me thinking about the future of Worcester Park's shops and what is being done to promote local traders in the face of ever-growing competition from the big shopping centres, the all-conquering supermarkets and so forth.

The Worcester Park & District Chamber of Trade was, I assumed, a defunct organisation - until I spotted in the window of Nationwide on Central Road a window sticker for the very same organisation. So what is it up to these days? Well, very little on the surface of things - a cursory web search reveals a mention of it in a Sutton Council list of local organisations in March 2007, but nothing else.

Then there is the Worcester Park Traders' Association. I only know that they exist because of the Christmas fair that appears in Central Road for one evening a year (passing by a good many Worcester Park residents thanks to scant local publicity for it). Aside from that, nothing - and again a web search for their activities proves fruitless (except for the Chairman appearing in a Surrey Comet news article about the Low Emissions Zone - an article inspired by a posting on this blog).

It would, therefore, appear, that there are two organisations in existence to act as a voice for Worcester Park traders.

So why are these voices never heard?

Blogging about Worcester Park has certainly opened my eyes to the variety of local independent shops that give Central Road its character and appeal, and without in any way being on an 'only shop locally' mission, I do now make a conscious effort to support the local traders every now and then, instead of enslaving myself to the corporate giants.

Besides, when there is a perfectly decent local butcher and greengrocer within yards of the entrance to Waitrose, a one minute walk to support your local independent traders isn't asking a huge amount.

Without wishing to blow my blogging trumpet too loudly, I know of a number of local establishments who have had people visit them and spend their hard-earned cash directly as a result of reading what myself or my commenters have written about them on this very blog.

If The Worcester Park Blog (with a reach of a few thousand people every month) can play a small role in drumming up support for local businesses, then imagine what a concerted and coordinated publicity effort from our silent friends at The Worcester Park Chamber Of Trade and The Worcester Park Traders' Association could do.

I have no doubt that they both do very valid work behind the scenes to represent the interests of local traders. Yet equally I have no doubt that if they were to stand up and shout loudly and proudly about the quality and variety of local businesses in Worcester Park and do something to promote the idea of shopping locally then this would give a much-needed boost to many of our local traders. It is, after all, these traders that are the lifeblood of Worcester Park.

I will continue to do what I can, in my own small way, to fly the flag for local traders in Worcester Park.

If only others would join me.

(P.S. I was going to e-mail both these organisations to give them their 'right to reply' to this blog piece in advance, but I couldn't find any contact details or web presence for them. Which really does prove my point.)

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Night Knight

It would appear that Knightwood Estates in Central Road has shut up shop and are no longer answering the phones, according to a commenter on this blog. This has also been backed up by The Brinkster (who is not to be confused with myself).

And if The Brinkster says it's true then who am I to argue - after all he lives on a privileged gated development etc.etc.

It certainly seems that this is the case, with the blinds down and what seems like several days' post lying unopened at the doorway.

The comment came from a landlord doing battle with Knightwood Estates - sadly not the first comment on this blog from a less than satisfied customer. There are other postings relating to Knightwood's service to be found on the web.

Has this bizarre 'estate agency meets furniture company' met a not altogether undeserving sticky end?

If you do have any more information, do let me know. Or tell The Brinkster. To be honest, even I get confused as to who I am.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Browning Points



An e-mail of complaint arrived today (to be expected given the topic of the current monthly poll) which deserves an airing, in the interests of free speech. Mark writes:

Having read your blog for nearly a year and found it, at times, interesting, and occasionally, witty, you have at last stirred me enough to send you a mail.

As a resident of Browning Avenue for two years (without sofa in garden or dangly christmas lights attached to house) I think you ought to look more carefully at your own street, and be reminded of the adage that people in glass houses etc etc.

In my time in WP I must say that I haven't noticed that the residents of Brinkley were able to enjoy the trappings of an exclusive private gated street, and able to comfort themselves on the moral and snobbish high ground, but hey, you learn something new every day, lest you forget that Brinkley does actually join with Browning Avenue.


It may also be of surprise to your 'esteemed' self that the stigmatisation of the WP 'yut' is a tad on the over-exuberant, they could be a lot worse. For one who blows the trumpet of WP and is quick to disparage those who wish to attach themselves to Cheam i.e Drill campaign of late, it would appear that, you are indeed sir, a hypocrite.

Blog feed will be switched off in protest.


Well, firstly, I don't live in Brinkley Avenue - I think you're confusing me with The Brinkster. And secondly I don't live in glass house (you have to weigh up the benefits of easy seed germination against the total loss of privacy) but the fact remains that yoof who gather in Browning Avenue do throw sufficient stones to warrant regular mentions in the Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhood Team's bulletins on crime and anti-social behaviour in Worcester Park.

Granted, it is not on a par with the mean streets of Beirut but everything is relative. Besides, its inclusion was merely a suggestion on my part - it is up to the people of Worcester Park to decide which area of Worcester Park to banish forever. Should you feel that Browning Avenue is being unfairly picked on, then don't forget that The Hamptons are also in the running to be destroyed (so snobbery - inverted or otherwise - plays nor part in the inclusion in the poll).

To your final point, I don't believe that blowing the trumpet of Worcester Park to be in any way incompatible with disparaging its less salubrious parts.

But credit where credit is due - that you took the time to e-mail in defence of Browning Avenue is noted and appreciated.

Now it's over to the people of Worcester Park to decide on the fate of Browning Avenue.

P.S: Am I really only at times interesting and occasionally witty? I hang my head in shame.
P.P.S: If I am only occasionally interesting and witty, what kept you reading the blog for a year?
P.P.P.S: The blog has only been going for 6 months

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Worcester Source

I receive a steady stream of e-mails - usually looking to me as the Oracle of all things Worcester Park and expecting me to fit into my hectic schedule the time to respond to their requests for information on the opening times of Waitrose, or to find out on their behalf whether The Worcester Park Tavern serve food on a Sunday evening.

Other e-mails are more interesting - tip offs from my network of reliable sources about events and scandals in Worcester Park. More of those please, ladies and gents...

Then there are the monumentally mis-directed:

"My name's Caroline and I work for iCrossing and we’re trying to help Swinton Insurance be more interesting!

I’ve got a great press release that I thought might be perfect for your blog. It’s all about Worcestershire people and who they’d like to be stuck in traffic with over the bank holiday weekend – unsurprisingly it’s a rugby star! I’d love it if you could give it a read and let me know your opinion.

Being honest, I’d also love it if you could write about it on your blog….but if you’re irritated that I’ve contacted you in this way please let me know and I’ll never contact you again!"

To be honest Caroline, I'm not irritated at all - just amazed that your cunning PR insight (how much are Swinton Insurance paying you for this?) failed to pick up on the fact that Worcester Park is in Surrey and has nothing to do with Worcestershire. The clue is in the blog title.

(P.S. The answer is Jonny Wilkinson. The question is does anyone care?)

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Come Friendly Bombs...

As the people of London wake up under Boris Johnson (a sense of deja vu for some ladies, no doubt) voting is in full swing in the Worcester Park blog's monthly poll.

Judging by the early turnout, exhorting the people of Worcester Park to destroy (electronically, that is) the least desirable part of the town has proved a lot more popular than voting for which boozer they prefer.

Get voting in the Monthly Poll (on your right). I'm sure you all have your own good reasons for wanting rid of part of Worcester Park, but here are mine...

BROWNING AVENUE:
Otherwise known as Chav alley. ASBO's preferred (but not essential). A frequent trouble-area for antisocial behaviour. Sofas dumped in front gardens and dangly Christmas lights left draped on houses all year round. Euugh.

KFC:
Greasy as ABC... aside from the very obvious reason that its food is supplied complete with bucket, the reason for destruction is that the chavs of Worcester Park flock like Burberry moths to hang around outside KFC, pebble-dash the pavement with chewing gum and generally terrorise law abiding passers by.

THE HUNTSMAN'S HALL:
Recent attempts to improve its image and clientele aside, The Huntsman's will be forever tainted by its appalling track record for fights, beatings and general nastiness. It's the kind of establishment that Worcester Park could sorely do without.

THE HAMPTONS:
The rampaging beast of development may have suffered a defeat at the hands of Worcester Park residents with last year's refusal of planning permission for a final phase of development, but The Hamptons still have the capacity to annoy because of the addition of extra traffic and demands on stretched local services. That and the fact that every time I go there I feel like I've just stepped onto the set of The Truman Show. But wooo - you can climb to the top of their viewpoint and gaze in wonder at the electricity pylons and the neighrbouring Garth Road waste processing facilities.

CHARITY SHOPS:
A controversial choice - I have nothing against the causes they support, but we have too many of them. Seven at the moment, shortly to be eight. At a time when spiralling commercial rates are pushing independent traders to the wall, the massive rate rebates they receive need proper justification. They contribute nothing to the economy, rob the high streets of diversity and are indicative of more general decline in an area's fortunes. Enough is enough.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Poll of polls

Voting apartheid was in full operation at Green Lane Polling Station today - with Sutton Voters (woo yay!) and Kingston Voters (boo hiss boo) shepherded through separate doors into the school hall, and left to exchange menacing glances over the makeshift barrier of school benches that divided the room in two.

But as the votes continue to be case in the 'Ken -v- The Clown -v- The Other One' contest, voting closed in our monthly poll of the best watering hole in Worcester Park.

And the results are:

1st Place: The Worcester Park Tavern (35%)
2nd Place: CAZBAR (22%)
3rd Place: The North End Tavern (15%)
4th Place: The Hunstmans Hall (3%) [Why so many??]
5th Place: The Gamecock (5%)
6th Place: Hogsmill Tavern (6%)
7th Place: The Drill (4%)
8th Place: The Plough (4%)
9th Place: Rumours Wine Bar (0%)

April being over and done with, May's Monthly Poll gives you the chance to pluck the wart of your choice from the otherwise perfectly manicured feet of Worcester Park.

So get voting for the most annoying bit of Worcester Park that you would like to see obliterated forever more. Come friendly bombs and fall on:

- Browning Avenue
- KFC
- The Hunstman's Hall
- The Hamptons
- Charity shops

Get voting on the 'Monthly Poll' on the right. You have until the end of May!