Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Midas Well

With 'The Midas Touch' set to open its doors later this week, The Worcester Park Blog brings you an exclusive sneak-preview of the town's newest drinking establishment!

When 'The Hunstmans Hall' closed its doors for the final time earlier this year there were undoubtedly some who shed a tear for the passing of Worcester Park's oldest pub and one of the last visible reminders of the origins of the area.

There were perhaps more who were relieved to see the end of an institution with a troubled recent past, along with the promise of a new and revitalised future for the premises.

For the last seven weeks round-the-clock work has been underway to transform 'The Huntsmans Hall' into an exciting new venue - 'Midas Touch'.

The original bar has been retained, but painstakingly stripped down and restored. Out has gone the faux-traditional clone pub interior and in has come a new decadent (and occasionally bling) interior with indulgent browns, luxurious black leather sofas and splashes of gold (as, of course, befits to the Midas name).

Turning a profit from an established pub is tricky at the best of times, let alone starting afresh in the current gloomy economic climate. For the new owner Vicky (whose background is in running a nightclub in the West End) and her husband, setting up and running the 'Midas Touch' is already proving an exhilerating but exhauasting learning curve.

So what is 'Midas Touch'? Vicky admits that the vision for the establishment has changed since its inception, moving away from the traditional pub concept to more of a lounge/bar feel (complete with cocktails). Her vision is for a comfortable informal atmosphere where Mums meeting up during the daytime will feel as welcome as families, couples and evening drinkers.

There is talk too of introducing WiFi Internet access (and who could resist the opportunity to catch up with Worcester Park Blog over a relaxing pint or two).

The vision of a 'home from home' is a laudable one, although perhaps slightly incongruous with the opulent feel of the new establishment. It will be intersting to see whether the daytime trade and families more accustomed to cafes and traditional pubs will feel at home in the slightly upmarket 'evening venue' feel of the Midas Touch.

Along with 'meet' and 'drink' comes 'dine'. The menu of the Midas Touch comprises surprisingly traditional pub fare at accessible prices, although a range of more 'funky' and adventurous specials is promised. With time and an undoubted amount of 'trial and error' with various menu options, the food could well prove to be the making of the Midas Touch (and it is certainly well placed with little competition locally in this market).

What sets the Midas Touch apart is that it is unique and personal, driven by the passion of its creators and not by the edicts of a franchise or the soulless vision of pub-chain owners. The new creation is hard to define, and I suspect its uniqueness will prove either its crowning glory or Achilles heel (if you'll excuse me mixing my Greek myths).

Either way, it is an exciting new departure for Worcester Park. If its new and energetic owners can succeed in breathing new life into this old building then I'll certainly drink to that!

Come Dine With Me?

Sources have tipped off The Worcester Park Blog that Channel 4 will be filming for the show "Come Dine With Me" in Waitrose in Worcester Park tomorrow morning (Wednesday).

Smile and wave, Worcester Parkers!!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Hair There & Everywhere

Hairdressers are, it seems, the new charity shops.

No sooner had I pondered whether WP needs a ninth hair salon (in the shape of 'HotHeadz', opening shortly next to the old Model Road & Rail shop) comes news that the tenth will be opening shortly in the old Samuel James estate agents unit.

Now, I like KIMS, Ciarans is good too, as is Sean Hanna, Hair By Fiko and 'Cut & Design'. But which is best.

There's only one way to find out. FIGHT!!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

On The Brinkley

If you thought that the sighting of a cock-pheasant in Cheam was incredibly rare and unusual, then brace yourself for news of a potential house-buyer being spotted in Worcester Park. Such an endangered species there were rumours that they were extinct, but apparently not.

Claire has e-mailed me with this question:

"We are thinking of moving to Brinkley Road and I wondered if you wouldn't mind letting us know what the road is like?

The place we are hoping to move to is at the top end near the High Street. If you could let us know if it is a quiet road and if there is much trouble from the High Street, any noise from the plumbers that you know of, noise from anywhere or anything really that we might need to know before we consider moving there that would be great!!"

Hmm, now if only there was someone online that lived in Brinkley Road and could help with this request. Just someone, in fact anyone. Nope, can't think of anybody.

So I guess it falls to me to say that Brinkley Road is, unless I have missed anything, a very decent suburban street to live in with probably just the odd bit of noise from people staggering back from bars/pubs on a Saturday night.

I imagine parking may be a bit of a squeeze being so close to Central Road, but that's the price you pay for convenience.

But over to you - if you can help Claire, add your comments below!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

A Pheasant Surprise

'R Scott' has contacted the Worcester Park Blog to tell us about an unusual wildlife siting in Cheam (wherever that is):

"Has anyone else seen the cock pheasant feeding along London Road, Cheam? I couldn't believe my eyes to see a such a colourful bird dining out in a London suburb."

Let's hope it doesn't stray too close to KFC.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Street Seen

Google StreetView has been available in the USA for some time, so I was somewhat nerdily excited to spot the Google van with rooftop camera prowling the local streets some months back.

The results have finally gone live - where once you had to content yourself with satellite images, you can now view Worcester Park (and other less important areas) from street level.

The scenes of Worcester Park were, I would deduce from what I have seen, captured in late August last year.

So head over to Google StreetView here and explore KT4 from the comfort of your PC.

There's special bonus points if you are able to spot yourself pictured out and about in Worcester Park!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Craic Addicts

Boris Johnson. Always has a fantastic quote just tucked up his sleeve. He was out enjoying the early St Patrick's Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square yesterday and gushed in a radio interview about what he called:

"..the display of good old Irish bonhomie"

Alors, mes Celtic amis, tomorrow (Tuesday) is St Patrick's Day when half the population suddenly boast of having Irish heritage (something which they then invariably spend a further 364 days denying).

No doubt lots of local drinking establishments will be inviting you to celebrate tomorrow night, but seeing as the North End Tavern was the only one to volunteer information on their goings on, I'll grant them a free plug:

"On the eve of the 17th March there will be a gathering of the finest of people and their friends at the North End Tavern to enjoy a couple of Guinness and good Irish song and Dance from 9pm until the Leprechaun comes out at the end of the night...

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day 9pm @ North End Tavern"

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Fit To Open

Ginger & Garlic, the Sri Lankan/South Indian takeaway on Windsor Road (next to Mikes Music) has risen phoenix-like from the ashes and has now re-opened for business after a refit and a (non-food-related) health scare for the owner.
So for tasty but unpronounceable dishes like 'Mukunuwenna Mellum' you know where to head!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Combing Soon

In these days of retail gloom, the appearance of any new shop on Central Road must be a cause for celebration.

Works began this week on the empty 'Rendezvous Cafe' shop unit (next to the defunct Model Road & Rail store) which, the Worcester Park Blog can exclusively reveal, is being turned into a unisex hair salon.

Another hairdresser, I hear you ask?

At last count we have 'Hair By Fiko', 'The Barber Shop 2 Hair Masters', 'Kims', 'SeanHanna', 'Ciarans', 'Cut & Design', 'Deb'n'Hair', 'Hair Cutting Co' and 'Tops'.

That makes a grand total of nine. Can Worcester Park support a tenth hair salon? Only time will tell.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Enquiring Minds

It is arguably the biggest local issue affecting Worcester Park. The debate has been raging for several years, with 'people power' being victorious so far in curbing the expansion of The Hamptons development (St James Homes having twice had their planning application for provision of 184 extra dwellings rejected by Sutton Council).

Next week marks a crucial stage in the fight, with the issue now subject to a Public Enquiry.

The Public Enquiry will be held from Tuesday (17th March) to Friday (20th March) at The Orchard Suite in The Holiday Inn, Sutton .

If you wish to speak at the Public Enquiry, you must be there when the enquiry opens on the first day at 10am.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Going, Going, Gosletts

Gosletts furniture store is the latest ina grim catalogue of retail failures in Worcester Park. The now-familiar 'Closing Down' banners went up at the end of last week, with promises of a massive clearance sale.
It certainly drew a crowd - blog reader Graham snapped this picture of the queue of feverish furniture hunters outside Gosletts at 10 o'clock this morning.

Meanwhile, the famous TV Clinic has finally been stripped bare of all fittings (and the few old TVs that were still gathering dust).

Could this be the start of an exciting new development?

Monday, 9 March 2009

A Marathon Effort

As one whose only attempt at marathon running was a quick jog to the newsagents for a Snickers bar (did you see what I did there?) I doff my electronic hat to anyone brave enough to spend a Sunday morning pounding the streets of London for 26 miles.

If you are running the London Marathon this year then Worcester Park Life magazine would like to hear from you and give you (and your chosen charity) a boost.

Contact Jenny (jenny@maldenmedia.co.uk) before 17th March!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

With Every Number I Read, My Mind Gets Number & Number

I've just read an article in the Sutton Guardian - 'Adopt a lavender row at Stanley Road Allotments".

At first I couldn't understand why the normally placid people of Carshalton were getting to irate over a adoption of such a beautiful scented plant.

Indeed the article didn't seem to explain what the argument was, let alone why it had descended into a row.

Ashamedly, it took me at least two reads of the article to realise that they were talking about a row, and not a row. If you see what I mean.

All of which puts me in mind of the keen sports fan who rather unforunately put on his CV that he enjoyed 'cycling and rowing with his wife'.

The English language. Don't you just love it?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Yes, Mr Resident

Somebody once asked me whether I regard the blog as an electronic pillar of local democracy; a 21st century microcosm of sociological engagement and a case study in micropolitical interaction.

I told them I haven't the foggiest.

But if engagement in your local community is indeed your thang then there's a chance to do it in real life courtesy of the Worcester Park Residents Association.

The Association's Chairman, Ian Elvey, has e-mailed the Worcester Park Blog to throw down the electronic gauntlet:

"Calling all bloggers – come away from your keyboards and meet other people with concerns for our local community.

The Worcester Park Residents Association (Sutton) is holding an Open Forum on Community Participation on Wednesday 18 March, 7.45 – 9 pm in the Worcester Park Library.

This is an open invitation to everyone in Worcester Park (Sutton). If you are concerned about the place where we live, and can see the benefits of meeting with like-minded people, we would like to hear your ideas on how we can all work together to improve areas of common concern."

See you there! Possibly.

Monday, 2 March 2009

French Connection

If you can help with the urgent request below from blog reader Bryan, please contact me (e-mail address at the top of the page):

"I am urgently trying to contact a member of a family whowere living in Worcester Park certainly during the 1970's.

The father's namewas R.D.W.French and they lived at No.44 The Avenue. I believe there was a son, and a daughter(Jill).

My husband is terminally ill and he is desperately wanting to contact the daughter.

If there is any informationyou can help us with we would be very grateful."