Sunday, 31 January 2010

More Than Lofts

I forgot to give a big Worcester Park 'Hoorah!!"to 'More Than Lofts' who have finally opened their office/shop on Central Road (in the old Ember Travel unit) after dawdling over the fit out for nearly 6 months.

The end result is a laminate-floored office with a fitted shower unit in the corner. Presumably it's designed as a showroom feature - so if you do want to know what a shower unit would look like in the corner of your laminate-floored office then you know where to go.

One obvious flaw in their business model is that they do not, as yet, appear to be offering a hairdressing service. I'm sure this unfortunate oversight will be corrected very shortly (well, within the next six months at least).  

Friday, 29 January 2010

Maybe, Davey

I wasn't intending to write about the Kingston Hospital issue today, but the combined effect of my blog postings on the issue earlier in the week and blog reader Axlrocky's tweets asking for a response have spurred Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey to send the following response to the Worcester Park Blog:

"I am sorry to say but this threat is very real. Both I and Susan Kramer in four separate meetings with 4 chief executives and one senior clinician. [sic]

You all might like to read BMA's report which mentions that London NHS is conducting a review of acute hospitals.

In South West London a review has been taking place, looking at all 4 hospitals in the area and their services, namely St.George’s Tooting, May Day Croydon, St Helier, Carshalton and Kingston Hospital itself. The NHS was to publish an “options” paper following this review – first in December and then in January.

This plan has been pulled, and NHS bosses have decided to publish nothing until after the election. Both I and Susan think it is wrong to keep this plan secret until after the election. We will be fighting to make sure this vital service is not closed.


You can find out more by visiting www.savekingstonhospital.com. And also sign the petition".

Hospitals and healthcare are such emotive issues in local communities - any threat to local hospital services, whether theoretical or actual, is bound to elicit passionate feelings.

I have no doubt that by campaigning on this issue Messrs Davey & Kramer will garner a lot of local support in the run up to the general election. However I also feel that the manner in which this has been conducted will lose them some sympathy and support.

If a threat to Kingston Hospital has been communicated to them from such senior levels then of course it is the perogative - if not their duty - to ensure it is communicated to those who will be affected by the ultimate decision.

My issue therefore is not with the fact that it has been raised, but the manner in which the issue has been presented - in particular that the first round in this battle was fired in the form of a photo opportunity with hastily-printed placards.

Of course they were not actually hastily printed - as I said in my previous post, the domain name savekingstonhospital.org.uk was registered at the beginning of December so this sudden urgent campaign has clearly been planned for some time.

Whilst I don't deny that the photo opportunity, the placards and the Facebook campaign have been successful in raising awareness of the issue, it reeks of electioneering and the unfortunate hootings of Lib Dem activist Dan Falchikov on a train to Waterloo have merely stoked the cynicism that now surrounds the campaign. 

Had the issue been raised in more considered, less sensationalistic way then I would be less inclined to be cynical of such things.

As it stands, I have every sympathy for the cause but every suspicion about the campaign.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Battling To Get A Seat

No, I'm not referring to our Liberal Democrat MPs (for a change) - can the long-suffering commuters amongst you help with this query I've received by e-mail?

"I am planning to move to Worcester Park or Stoneleigh, but I am worried about the commute in the mornings.

I have to be at Waterloo by 9.30 and was wondering if you can get seats or people have to stand for 30 minutes...



Would you be able to post a blog on this? Hopefully there will be enough comments to give me an idea on the commute scenario! By the way, loving the blog, very useful!"


I know getting a seat is always tricky, but perhaps things will be a bit quieter just before 9.30?

Over to you, blog readers.

Police Incident - Central Road

00:19 UPDATE

Reports coming in of a police incident at/near Santander (Abbey) bank on Central Road.

Police with dogs searching Longfellow Road and Caldbeck Avenue - one resident has e-mailed the blog describing a 'bang' on her front door (above shops in between NatWest and Santander banks).

Police helicopter has arrived and is circling over the centre of Worcester Park.

Any more details/updates on this?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Late Breaking News?

More twists and turns in the Kingston Hospitalm saga - Councillor Mary Reid (Lib Dem) has written on her blog:

"The news has just broken that NHS London are threatening to close the Accident & Emergency department, and the Maternity Unit at Kingston Hospital."

If only the news had 'just broken', though - a quick check with registrar Nominet reveals that the domain name 'savekingstonhospital.org.uk' was registered by Susan Kramer on 11th December 2009 so this is hardly the breaking news that the Lib Dems are making it out to be.

Makes you wonder why Messrs Davey & Kramer sat on this news and planned their campaign for over a month and a half - unless, of course, you're going to be all cynical about the timing of this campaign and the impending general election.

Election Difficulties


Trust me to write about something outside my Worcester Park comfort zone - there are growing rumblings today that that the Lib Dems may be somewhat overplaying the threat to Kingston Hospital's Maternity & A&E departments ahead of May's general election (a story which, as some readers have pointed out, I failed to take with my usual pinch of salt).

The problem with secret plans is they are hard to prove or disprove, but for the other side of the argument check out Daily Mirror Associate Editor Kevin McGuire's Twitter postings from today:

"On train a - bloke's boasting on mobile he got Evening Standard to claim Lab has secret plans to shut Kingston Hospital".... "Train bloke now boasting the hospital scare story cooked up at his kitchen table. Very proud of Facebook following".

Thanks to a sneaky mobile phone picture of the 'hospital scare' man, he has been idenfitied by Mr McGuire as Lib Dem activist Dan Falchikov.

Blatant electioneering from the Lib Dems or a genuine threat to Kingston Hospital? The Lib Dems claim they have it from several different sources.

I would l,ike to think that the threat hasn't been completely fabricated - I suspect that, like many hospital departments in London they are classed as being 'under review' and this status is being spun like crazy for political purposes.

Conservative Councillor Geoffrey Austin (councillor for Canbury Ward which includes Kingston Hospital) is equally sceptical, writing (on the 'Save Kingston Hospital' Facebook group):

"Kingston Hospital Trust stated at their quarterly public meeeting this morning (Wed) that they weren't aware of any decisions having been made - and they are actually involved in the current consultations! 



However, they are concerned about the worry these rumours can cause by lowering the morale of hospital staff and volunteers, upsetting mums-to-be, and causing deep concern among all local residents So let's see this so-called 'secret letter' that has caused so much dismay and so far only been seen by two Lib-Dem MPs.


Or the cynical among us might begin to think that this is a bit of pre-General Election posturing by two MPs worried about the likelihood of losing their seats, and totally unconcerned about the unfounded fears they have inflicted on the local community!"

We may never know. I think I'll go back to writing only about Worcester Park. That'll learn me!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Save Kingston Hospital!

I'm going to stray even further afield from my usual patch, but as so many in Worcester Park depend on Kingston Hospital for planned and emergency care, the announcement of a rumoured threat to close Kingston Hospital's A&E and Maternity services are definitely worthy of an urgent mention.

The 'nearest' alternative would be St George's Hospital in Tooting. In terms of distance, it's almost twice as far away as Kingston Hospital - but in terms of traveling time (as anyone who has braved the crawling traffic to get there will testify) it's an awful lot more than double.

Worse still, those who do not have a car (or are 'encouraged' by hospital parking charges to take public transport) will face a minimum forty-five minute public transport journey by train and then bus (including a fair bit of walking to make the connections.

Hardly ideal for those making their own way to A&E or heavily-pregnant and on their way for maternity appointments.

Local Liberal Democrat MPs Susan Kramer & Ed Davey have launched a campaign to 'Save Kingston Hospital' - a genuine threat or pre-election posturing? You decide.

More Money In The Pot

The snow and ice may be long gone, but it has left its mark in the form of thousands of pot holes in our roads. Take your eyes of the tarmac ahead of you and before you can say 'replacement tyres' you'll have crashed and bumped into at least a couple of them.

The London Borough Of Sutton has put an extra £500,000 into the...ermm...pot for emergency repairs and is asking for residents' help in reporting the location of pot holes or damaged road surfaces.

To report a problem in the Worcester Park area you can call the contact centre on 020 8770 5070 or emailing the council on potholes@sutton.gov.uk. 

If you are going to report a problem by e-mail, be sure to include the nearest house number or business premise to the area of damage to help them identify where action is needed.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Very Old Malden




'Crikey', I hear you cry. 'Two Old Malden stories in a row?'

Fear not, normal service will be restored shortly but if you'll forgive me for straying half a mile down the road again there was an very interesting piece (well, OK, a slightly interesting piece) on BBC 1's 'The One Show' this evening about John Millais' famous 1852 painting of Ophelia.

It has long been known (just nod, as I did, and pretend you knew it as well) that the Hogsmill river was used as the background to the painting -  but those who have studied such things have determined that rather than showing  a stretch of the Hogsmill in Ewell, the painting depicts the Hogsmill in Six Acre Meadow in Old Malden (just off Church Road).

If you missed The One Show earlier tonight (or were too disturbed by Adrian Chiles' beard to take in what was happening) then you can catch it here on BBC iPlayer (about 20 minutes in to the programme).

[P.S. Mrs WP insists on watching The One Show every night for its balance of consumer information, investigative journalism and light-heated lifestyle issues. I don't bother watching it when Christine Bleakley is on holiday.]

Metropolitan Police Farce



There was huge embarassment - not to mention a monumental waste of valuable police resources - at Plough Green on Saturday as the Met's finest managed to get their not-so-mobile police office stuck in the wet grass. Thankfully it was all captured on camera by blog reader JH.




After a morning stationed on Plough Green, the community policing PR exercise descended into farce as the mobile police office found itself unable to get back on the road.

Around a dozen police officers and their 2 traffic cars, 1 unmarked police car and a police 4x4 were diverted from important crime fighting duties to spend almost an hour and a half rescuing the hapless police vehicle.




It would be comical were it not such a shameful waste of taxpayers' money.

Why, when there are recovery services who could probably have done the job in a third of the time, were all these valuable police resources tied up just to get a van out of the grass?




Looks like somebody needs to review their policing priorities!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Planting Ideas



If you use Worcester Park Station then hopefully you will have noticed the improvements that are being made to the appearance of the grounds around the station.

It's all thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of the Worcester Park Station Volunteers group. Since it was was formed last year, the group has been working to tidy up the area and has already completed some of the planting out.

This Sunday (24th January) at 10am the group will be meeting to plant out the banked area by the steps to the London-bound platform.

New volunteers are always welcomed - if you have a couple of hours spare this Sunday, just turn up and join in!

In related news, I understand that The London Borough of Sutton will be carrying out an informal public consultation this year with regard to 'Streets for People' - an environmental improvement scheme.

The area of consultation will include Green Lane and adjoining roads, Central Road and the area around Worcester Park Station.

Once I can get more details of what the scheme will involve I shall, of course, let you know!

Terrific Lights

The saga of the linking of Central Road's traffic lights has been dragging on for years now. The whole process has crawled along even slower than the snarled up traffic that it is supposed to be remedying. Even the fit-out of the 'More Than Lofts' shop unit has been zooming along by comparison.

The idea, for those unfamiliar with the plans, is to link all of the sets of traffic lights in Worcester Park (from the junction outside the station up to the pedestrian crossing outside Pizza Express).

Rather than acting independently the lights will then 'talk to each other' and will be intelligently phased so as to encourage a steady flow of traffic (reducing the 'stop-start' effect on traffic that the lights currently have).

Way back in July 2008 I reported that the go-ahead had finally been given and the lights would all be linked by January 2009. As it turned out that was wildly optimistic as we are still waiting patiently for the works to be done.

So I shall treat with an appropriate mixture of excitement of caution the news from blog reader Jason J Hunter (Liberal Democrat Councillor Candidate for Worcester Park ward) that the phasing of the lights is on track for completion by March this year.

You can find out more (and reader further details on how the system will work) on his blog.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Korea Opportunity

One of the simplest pleasures in life is to watch the delight of others. Anyone who has seen the wide-eyed wonder of a child at Christmas will know what I'm talking about.

I found such a pleasure, quite unexpetedly, in Surrey Nefis last night as I popped in for my nice healthy salad (with side serving of kebab).

As I waited for my food to be cooked a Korean lady in her late fifties wandered in and proudly exclaimed in broken English that she had been in last week and 'try for first time kebab' declaring that it was  'so delicious, so delicious' (I was going to write that phonetically, but I'll leave it to you to do the accent).

She excitedly placed her order (mostly via the medium of mime) and after some confusion over the choice of sauces (which she found hilarious) there was a brief conversation, still in broken English, about Kim Jong Il.

She also appeared to find him hilarious - unless he has a comedic side that Westerners fail to appreciate, I shall assume that was just nervous laughter.

As I left, her kebab was being prepared and she was crouched down peering through the counter glass, entranced by the magical process by which the salad was being added.

I bet they wish all of their customers were that appreciative.

Meanwhile, Ryan Gate are finally resolving the problems with their extract system, so all being well their shawarma grill will be back in action this weekend.

Hopefully the Korean lady will give them a try - it would open up a whole other world of delights for her.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Day The Music Died




Shops come and go in Worcester Park with alarming frequency - most are quickly forgotten when they close down to be replaced, inevitably, by another hairdresser or charity shop.

There are some shops, however, for which there is a genuine sense of sadness when they close because you know you will never see the like of them again.

That can undoubtedly be said about 'Mikes Music' a fixture in Worcester Park for as long as many of us can remember (which is my way of saying I don't actually know how long it's been there).

A trip to Mikes Music is a wonderful journey back in time to when music stores were exciting places of discovery full of joys that today's iTunes generation will never get to appreciate - the feel of the products, the visual splendour of the album artwork and the reassuring crackle of needle on vinyl.

Mike's Music is closing down - closure has been threatened and averted in the past, but Mike is retiring shortly and so will soon be packing away the last of his vinyl and shutting up shop for good. When the store closes, that really will be the end of it. We will never see the like of Mike, or his music, again.

Worcester Park resident and photography student Ashley Grainger has captured the magic of Mikes Music in a series of fantastic photographs. Ashley told the Worcester Park Blog:

"I grew up and still live in Worcester Park, and since I was young that shop always interested me. Now a second year student studying photography at Falmouth University I was very eager to photograph there.

Mike as you probably know, is a fantastic guy, and I felt it was an honour not only to photograph a subject like Mike, but also to capture a shop like his."

You can view the full set of Ashley's photographs of Mike's Music on his Flickr account here. I would, of course, be interested in hearing your memories of time (and pocket money) spent in Mike's Music.

The Perfect Roast?

Can anyone recommend anywhere in or around Worcester Park for a decent  Sunday roast? 


It has to be a decent roast (so definitely no packet gravy or soggy roast potatoes)!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

60 Minute Makeover

If you missed this afternoon's Worcester Park edition of 'Sixty Minute Makeover' on ITV1 then you can catch it here on ITV Player.

Sharon's home in Washington Road was given a makeover by designers Colin & Justin and their team.

Sharon's brother Gary told The Worcester Park Blog it was a fantastic experience for all involved:

"It was a great day but very hectic - it was a long day. Colin & Justin are very funny and made you feel very relaxed in front of the cameras. 

The whole 60 Minute team were great, working from 7am till 7pm! Sharon was really happy with what they did and was very grateful to all involved. 

The house remains the same from that day !"




Telling Tales


In the 18th century, just before the invention of the Internet, the people of Worcester Park relied on a 'teller of tales' to entertain them with stories of local goings on.
 
Locals would gather each morning on Maeldune Greene to hear The Worcester Parke Blagger bemoan the volume of cattle being driven on the main track, update them on controversial plans to add more cottages to the settlement and to complain about poor service from local hostelries.
 
The art of storytelling has since been almost completely lost - a victim of the age of print, cinema, TV and DVDs. There are thankfully some who are dedicated to keeping the art alive. 

Worcester Park resident Tim Ralphs contacted me to let me know about the storytelling circle which he helps to run in nearby Ewell:
 
"Storytelling is what it sounds like - someone standing up and telling a story (without notes etc) to a crowd. Think of a campfire with less fire and more indoors." (erm, hopefully if it's indoors there won't be any fire at all).

"Stories range from mythic cycles through folk stories to local history and personal anecdotes. I've been going for years and it never fails to grab me.

The next event is on the 29th January  and we've got a professional storyteller, Tim Ralphs, telling "The Queen of Claywood Flats".

To quote the blurb "Tim takes inspiration from his home city of Sheffield and asks “What fae creatures dwell amidst these scenes of urban regeneration?” Weaving together a medley of traditional tales, the result has a flavour of Neil Gaiman, an echo of Chaucer, and yet remains immediate, entrancing, playful and above all unique.

Tim has been a "Young Storyteller of the Year" finalist and is now taking the country by storm with his dynamic storytelling. And he was born in Epsom!" . 

For what it's worth he's one of the best storytellers I've heard and a great introduction to storytelling if you're curious."

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

From now on...

..I shall only be blogging about the trains from Worcester Park when they are running a normal service. Just to save time, you understand.



Monday, 11 January 2010

Losing Its Touch?






So The Midas Touch is now closed on Mondays - I'd like to think that it's not a sign that the Midas is suffering in the downturn but I'm struggling to see how it can be a sign of anything else.

Whatever you may think of the Midas Touch, it's certainly a vast improvement on its predecessor and there's no denying the transformation from a run-down boozer with bad attitude to a stylish new addition to the Worcester Park scene.

I like to give all local businesses a fair crack of the whip - I have been to eat at the Midas Touch four times since it opened. Two of the meals have been wonderful and two have been overwhelmingly disappointing. With the kind of prices the Midas charges, I would expect things to be consistently good.

For the prices charged I would also expect the staff to be a whole lot more attentive than they are - for them not to be sat in a public area having a coffee break, for them not to be seen wandering around on the phone and for me not to have to get up from my table to attract their attention because they were busy socialising at the bar.

Most of all, on the occasion I did complain about poor service and poor food I would expect to be met by more than an indifferent shrug of the shoulder.

I dearly want the Midas Touch to succeed - I have had two fantastic glimpses of its brilliance, but its inconsistency makes it an expensive gamble.

The restaurant area on Sunday was virtually full of families enjoying themselves which was an excellent sign - the venue is clearly tapping into the demand for a family-friendly lounge bar.

Wit a bit of consistency, attention to service and polish the Midas Touch could continue to shine.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

We Like To Help You Learn To Help Yourself



When Simon & Garfunkel sang those lyrics they weren't of course singing about the 'Big Freeze' (although their song about a married Mrs Robinson having an affair with her teenage lover is topical at the moment for very different reasons).

If the past few days of snow and freezing weather proven anything, however, it is that so many of us seem to have lost the ability to help ourselves.

We were all given plenty of notice that the bad weather was on the way yet whilst the hardy few were actively making preparations to cope with the snow, there were plenty more who were already prepared to surrender.

The pavements in Worcester Park, you will no doubt have noticed, are treacherously icy - impassible in many places. Up and down the country people are moaning that the Council has not gritted every side road, or the pavements of every minor residential road - and why did the Council not deal with the patch of ice that had gathered under my  front door mat etc etc?

Before the snow came, I gave you a link to Adrian Short's handy grit bin map of Sutton Borough. I made my way across the ice-rink pavements of Worcester Park this morning to check on stocks of rock salt in them - fully expecting every bin to have been completely emptied.

Instead I found several bins almost full to the brim with rock salt and so I set about gritting the pavements of my road. It took me a good hour and a half of traipsing back and forth to the salt bins, filling up containers and spreading the grit by hand but I managed to de-ice a considerable stretch of pavement.

There was no shortage of help and appreciation - from the young chap who helped shovel grit into buckets for me and the woman who me carry a particularly heavy load to the man who helped me haul some containers into the boot of may car and the neighbours who opened their front doors and thanked me for my efforts.

Meanwhile I hear some callers to radio phone-ins adamantly insisting that they will not be clearing or de-icing the pavements outside their homes as that is what they pay the Council to do.

Others insist that they will only do their bit if  they get a rebate on their Council Tax. I'm not precisely sure that I understand the logic of that argument. I cut my hand last November and applied a dressing to it - can I get a rebate from the NHS because I treated myself?

I appreciate that not everyone is in a position to scrape ice from their pavement or haul buckets of grit around. I am not suggesting that the octogenarians of Worcester Park strap snow chains to their mobility scooters and carry on regardless.

What I am surprised at though is the number of perfectly fit and able people who have lost the ability or simply the will to help themselves and others.

I know we pay high Council Tax (it pains me on a monthly basis) but since when did that translate to an expectation that the Council must do absolutely everything for us?

Perhaps if we were a bit less bloody-minded and a bit more civic-minded we would all be able to cope a lot better than we are currently.

Friday, 8 January 2010

A Walk In The Park

Blog reader Rick made the most of the lack of trains from Worcester Park this morning....




....and headed to Nonsuch Park to capture these fantastic winter scenes.


Not An Ice Thought



Blog reader Tim, who works at The Hamptons development, has been in touch with the Worcester Park Blog to voice his concerns about an accident waiting to happen:

"It is great that kids can have loads of fun at The Hamptons but there are just few that could be in grave danger.

We have a beautiful pond, which is iced over right now. Some kids are playing around way too close to this pond, it will spell disaster, as the ice is very thin, and the pond is deeper than ...you would think, so please advise your children to be extremely careful!"

With several fatalities around the country from people falling into icy water, make sure you heed Tim's advice.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snowtographs

Blog readers Simon and Amy have sent in these pictures of Worcester Park in the grip of the 'Big Freeze'. Simon's pictures show a snowy Worcester Park station and Dorchester Road playground, whilst Amy snapped the snow falling in Boscombe Road and families making the most of the snowy slopes in Mayflower Park in The Hamptons.










Bread Dry



Wahoo! I have just purchased the last remaining sliced white loaf from Waitrose in Worcester Park.


I shall be putting it on eBay later this evening.



Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Freeze A Crowd

Netweather


We may have escaped the worst of the snow so far, but the white stuff has been falling heavily over the last hour or so.

To make matters worse, Worcester Park based weather forecasting company NetWeather is predicting that temperatures in Worcester Park will plummet to minus six degrees celcius overnight and will stay well below zero for the rest of Thursday.

All of which means the snow/slush is likely to turn to treacherous ice - so we are far from out of the woods.

South West trains is planning to run a normal timetable of services on its routes tomorrow - but whether that bold plan survives the 'big freeze' remains to be seen!

Meanwhile if you want to de-ice your patch of Worcester Park then local blogger Adrian Short has produced this handy grit-bin map of the borough of Sutton to help you identify where your nearest grit bin is located.

Whether there will be any grit left in your nearest bin is another matter - but Adrian tells me the word from Sutton Council is 'help yourself' if you need grit to keep things moving.

Trains From Worcester Park

South West Trains is running a limited service to and from Worcester Park this morning because of the snow and poor conditions. Trains are running but only on the London Waterloo to Dorking service.

There should be a minimum of two trains per hour in each direction.

For the latest news on trains running from Worcester Park go to the National Rail website and for live updates visit the Live Departures page for Worcester Park Station.


______________________

There will be no South West Trains service on the following routes:



London Waterloo to Hampton Court.
London Waterloo to Guildford via Epsom and Leatherhead.
London Waterloo to Chessington South.
Between Teddington and Shepperton
Between Virginia Water and Weybridge
Between Ascot and Ash Vale
Between Guildford and Aldershot
No trains will call at Longcross


Trains WILL run on the following routes but to an altered timetable. Some trains will make extra stops to cover cancellations on other routes.

London Waterloo to Guildford via Cobham - Two trains an hour on this route.

London Waterloo to Woking  - Two trains an hour on this route.

London Waterloo to Dorking (via Worcester Park)  - Two trains an hour on this route.

London Waterloo - Twickenham - Kingston - Wimbledon - London Waterloo (“Kingston Loop” service) - Every 15 minutes calling at all stations

Snow Going Anywhere

Sourh west trains has advised that ALL suburban train services are
cancelled for Wednesday.

That means no trains running from Worcester Park station.

Meanwhile local blogger Adrian Short has produced this handy grit bin
locaion map in conjuction with Sutton Council for those in search of
the precious commodity - http://bit.ly/suttongritbins

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Snow Patrol

So the snow has arrived in Worcester Park.

Do let me know how it is affecting you. Are you going to battle to get into work, or make the most of an impromptu day off? Has anyone seen a gritter?

Also do send in your snow pictures of Worcester Park to the email address at the top of this blog. A pocketful of rock salt is on offer for the best photo!

Brrrrr.....

A Weather Eye

ith the recent wintry weather keeping us all on our toes (or on our backsides in the case of those who have slipped over on the ice) it has been an extremely busy few weeks for Worcester Park based weather forecasting company NetWeather.

Netweather

Although we have has escaped the worst of the severe winter weather thus far, the forecast is for snow to spread southwards from this evening covering many parts of South East England.

So the big question today is will it snow in Worcester Park?

Steve Goodwin from NetWeather has told the Worcester Park Blog that the white stuff is almost certain to hit us later today:


"The Netweather forecast team are certain that Worcester Park will wake to a snowy and cold morning on Wednesday.  The real questions are how deep and how cold?

The main band of snow will arrive after the evening rush hour tonight, and with moderate snow through the night and showers continuing all day Wednesday.  We estimate that 5-10cm of snow will fall before the morning rush hour, so travel conditions will likely be somewhere between chaotic and gridlock. 



Temperatures will stubbornly stick to around freezing, but a North Easterly breeze will make it feel more like -4 degrees.

For the snow lovers, there is a chance that the expected snow is much heavier, dropping 15-20cm, but this may fall over the Surrey North Downs before reaching the Worcester Park area.

In summary, snow showers and freezing temperatures continue through the weekend and beyond."


More details along with the most up to date forecasts and condition reports are available at www.netweather.tv

Monday, 4 January 2010

Light Fantastic?

I had a small flurry of hits on the blog on New Year's Day from various people looking for information on strange lights in the sky/UFO sighting over Worcester Park.

Given it was a prime time for fireworks, promotional nightclub searchlights, Chinese lanterns etc. I didn't think took much of it (there have been a few UFO stories on the blog over the last couple of years) but today I came across more details of a sighting on the 'UK UFO' website:

"I dragged my mum outside to watch the New Years Eve fireworks. Could not believe what we saw. An object, not a firework, not a lantern, travelling too low for a plane and silently. Bright white/red, kind of horseshoe shaped. It was travelling in a firm direction which was not random so it was not a lantern. 

As it passed over our house in a Southerly direction more and more followed, like a wave of slow moving silent objects or craft, one after the other all following each other like a wave coming from different angles over the rooftops in our road.. These were not hovering or floating objects, these were moving with intention and uniformly Around 20 or more in all, with lights glowing. 

This went on for a good while, whilst fireworks were going off but these were not fireworks – what were they? Did anyone else see them? The last and clearest one came over our roof, lower than the others and had a red glow behind it. It was vivid and clear and inexplicable. 

As they moved into the distance one of them stopped, another stopped next to it before they continued on their way, uniformly. We watched in awe and fascination. 

Two or three of them reappeared in the distance and just remained static for several minutes before moving off again in the same direction as the others. No sound at any time. What is the explanation.? 

I tried to phone the BBC but they did not have a number to press for UFO sightings on their pre-recorded messages! It was very frustrating because myself and my family believe this was a significant UFO sighting of some magnitude and meaning."

Can you believe it? No number to press to tell Auntie about your UFO sighting? 

That's out of this world.

CB or not CB?

I must admit that the CB Radio craze completely passed me by. The closest I came to it was an Action Man Walkie Talkie I was once given for  Christmas (at least I could stake out the bad garden for baddies - until the batteries ran out, that is). 


Blog reader 'Skycruiser' has been reminiscing over CB radio in Worcester Park in the 1980s:


"CB radio in Worcester Park circa 1982! Anybody got their ears on?

Was it really 28 years ago that the Citizen Band 
radio craze swept Worcester Park? It started illegally a year or two before that but by 1982 it was legal (so long as you paid your licence) and 'Breakers' were queuing up outside Croakie Poky's shop in Central Road to buy their 'rigs' (radio sets) plus an 'Oscar' - the Rolls Royce of aerials costing all of twenty quid.

For the benefit of those who were 'ankle biters' at the time and too young to know, 
CB radio had a range from 2 to 5 miles (depending on the lie of the land) so in WP you could reach West Ewell in the south, the Cambridge Estate (but not Kingston) in the west, Mitcham in the north and Sutton (on a good day) in the east. The addition of a 'burner' gave you an extra mile or two range.

You either fitted it in your car or ran it from home with your 'twig' in the loft. It attracted all age ranges from OAPs, schoolnkids, disabled people, school kids, lorry drivers (who started it all), more school kids, twenty-somethings and over.

It was great for chatting up the opposite sex though 'eyeballs' could sometimes prove a disappointment. Regular 'eyeballs' where all breakers could meet up were held every Sunday in the Sainsbury car park in North Cheam (no Sunday opening then but sometimes a 'smokey jam sandwich' aka police car would turn up just to keep an eye on things) whilst other breakers would head for The Plough on Thursday evenings.

So 'Is there anybody there?' as we used to say on the call-up channel number 9? Are you out there Captain Midnight, Stick Man where are you, come back Pussy Cat and Lady Jane? Have you got your ears on?

This is Sky Cruiser calling in the Worcester Park 'twenty'." 

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Dairy Quest



Ian has sent me this fascinating photograph of 'The Worcester Park Dairy', proudly proclaiming the sale of fresh milk from Potter's Farm in New Malden.

He has been trying to work out where the Worcester Park Dairy was located and what became of it.

The only clue I can see is what looks like the number 17 on the plaques on the pillars either side of the shop window. Number 17 Central Road no longer exists (it was knocked down to make way for the building that is now home to Sainsbury's Local and the flats above it) which would explain why the shop unit can't be identified in Worcester Park today.

The architectural style of the shop and the pillars certainly looks fairly similar to the remaining shops nearby (Broadway Bargains etc.)

My money would be on it being at the top of Central Road, but I'm sure some blog readers can shed more light on it.

Do you know where Worcester Park Dairy was located (and, for that matter, where was Potter's Farm in New Malden)?