Saturday, 31 July 2010

Sticking Point

Whatever happened to those ubiquitous 'Bill Stickers Will Be Prosecuted' notices? I can only assume that Bill has either now been prosecuted or has heeded the warning and gone to ground. 

Blog reader Dave, however, is still vexed about fly posting around Worcester Park:

"The worst offenders locally are the morons who offer a car-scrappage "service", but are too tight-fisted to advertise in the normal way and the local scout troop who are forever plastering the lamposts the length of Central Road advertising their jumble sales, and fail to remove them after the event. 


Whoever leads that troop is setting a very bad example.
Now, if everyone, as some of us already do, removed each and every piece of fly-posting as soon as it appeared the problem would largely be solved."


Or bloggers who forget to remove their 'Christmas Late Night' posters until the middle of January. Not that that would ever happen. 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Killer Headline

No, no no, everyone. Not a 'Worcester Park killer'. A 'Worcester park killer'.

A park in Worcester. Got it now??

Sighs....

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Bar Bye Now

Some more sad news for Worcester Park  -  after trading for 12 years CAZBAR will be closing its doors on Sunday August 22nd. 

CAZBAR's proprietor, Carey, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Worcester Park Blog and indeed of his fellow traders in Worcester Park.

It's a sobering, if you'll pardon the pun, reminder of how tough things are for our independent traders in Worcester Park.   

So be nice to those who are left. Please.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Street Seen

Back in February, the good folk of (a small part of) Worcester Park were asked for their ideas for a £375,000 project to make improvements to Green Lane, surrounding streets and the area around Worcester Park station.

Among the improvements asked for were better street lighting, better quality pavements, improved accessibility, lower traffic speeds, more street trees, better facilities for cyclists and the removal of street clutter, such as bollards and guardrails.

The results of the survey and a range of proposals were shown at the end of March in public exhibitions at Green Lane Primary School.

The feedback received at the exhibitions is now helping Sutton Council to create a detailed design for the scheme. When the design is complete, the public will be invited to view and discuss it at further exhibitions which are planned for September.

Kingston has implemented their street improvement works as part of the first phase of the funding. Work in the Sutton section is scheduled to start in November, with the aim of completing the project by the end of March next year.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Willy Nilly

Right, Worcester Parkers - NOBODY is leaving this blog until I find out who was responsible for this.

It's your own time you're wasting....

Friday, 23 July 2010

Bat Sounds Interesting


There's a 'Bat Walk' taking place this Wednesday evening (28th July) at 9.15PM in Worcester Park.

Using specialist equipment, you will be able to learn all about the different species of bat, their behaviour, life cycles and identification.

To join the walk, meet the group at the top of the viewpoint in The Hamptons.  There's a suggested £3 donation - advance booking is advisable so contact sncv@sutton.gov.uk

The walk covers made paths, short grass and wooden boardwalks so should be suitable for almost all
mobility levels.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Checkout Your MP

Paul Burstow (MP for Sutton & Cheam) will be at Waitrose in Worcester Park from 9.30 to 11.30 tomorrow morning (Friday).


As blog reader Parkerilla put it:  "I'm not sure if that's to answer Worcester Parkers' questions or just so we can gather and watch him shop but anyway he'll be there. 


Might be an idea to frog march him across to Central Rd and see the traffic congestion for himself? Just a thought."



Wednesday, 21 July 2010

KFC.C.T.V

Caldbeck Avenue resident Nick has sent me this photo of a warning sign he spotted near our beloved branch of KFC. He writes:

"Caldbeck Avenue and the surrounding area are constantly blighted by littering from the KFC on the High Street. This leads to all sorts of problems – most notably an infestation of foxes who live off the debris at night. However it appears that motorists who may be tempted to throw their rubbish onto the street are now being tracked using CCTV."

Or are they? Just who is behind this sign?

Well, for starters its clearly just printed on A4 paper and laminated. There is no (legally required) mention of who is operating the 'CCTV' which apparently uses 'license plate' recognition (note that American spelling) or who is enforcing the '£100 fine'.

Of course there would be no need for 'license plate recognition' technology as it would need human intervention to watch the footage and detect whoever was dropping litter out of their cars.

The image of the CCTV camera that is used in the poster is one of the first to appear in a Google images search for 'CCTV sign', the 'for official use' wording is quite obviously a superfluous attempt to lend the sign an air of officialdom and a web search reveals no mention of the 'Movement For Cleaner Environment' who apparently issued this notice.

Is this a poorly-produced official poster, or a the work of a well-meaning local resident exasperated at the menace of litter from KFC users.

Either way, I applaud their aims. 

Not In My Back Yard

Last night I saw a stab victim lying in a pool of blood, screaming in pain. 

I watched a terrified young girl (about 7 years old) in floods of tears having witnessed the attack. 

I overheard a gaggle of residents gathering at the police cordon condemning 'foreigners'.

Never again, I hope, in Worcester Park.


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

UPDATED - Stabbing In Worcester Park


A major police operation is underway after a man was stabbed at the junction of Central Road and Longfellow Road.

Police, ambulance and the Met police helicopter were called following the incident which occurred just 20 minutes ago, at 18:40 this evening. An Asian male sustained serious leg injuries in the stabbing outside Halifax Bank.

Eyewitnesses describe an altercation between a number of men, following which the assailants were seen running off down Central Road, leaving the victim lying in the gutter.

Police have sealed off Longellow Road at the junction with Central Road and are focusing attention on a black Ford Fiesta, believed to have belonged to the victim, and a red BMW which it is thought was abandoned by one or more of his attackers.

UPDATE (20:00): I understand from blog sources that this was not a random attack on a passer-by but that the victim of this evening's incident knew his attackers and there is a history of trouble between the parties. The attacker is, according to my sources, known to the police.

UPDATE (22:45): The Fiesta and BMW are being removed from the scene for forensic examination. Longfellow Road  is expected to be re-opened shortly.


Monday, 19 July 2010

Royal Fail

Brinkley Road resident Jack has e-mailed me with worrying news of missing post in his part of Worcester Park. Since the beginning of April Jack has had eight letters/packages go missing including two birthday cards, a birthday present, three eBay items (from different sellers), a cheque and a rental DVD.

Jack tells me:


"I’ve spoken to the manager of the Worcester Park sorting office (Steve) on a few occasions (firstly when we reported the first four items going missing) but so far I’ve had very little in the way of explanation.


It’s very worrying that we’ve had so many items go missing, especially as these are the items that we know about! Bank statements etc may have also been lost/stolen.

Jack is also keen to hear from any other Worcester Park residents who have had items of post go missing, or whose post has been arriving late (which has also been the case with some of his items).  E-mail him  on wpmissingpost@yahoo.co.uk with details of the missing/late post (approximate date of when the mail was sent/ what the letters or packages contained.

To make a complaint about missing or late post contact Steve (the manager) at the WP sorting office on 020 8337 3463 (between the hours of 7am-Midday).

Sunday, 18 July 2010

What's Occurin?

Anyone know what was 'going down' (as I believe the youngsters say today) near The Hamptons?

The police helicopter was circling for quite some time late this afternoon (completely spoiling my enjoyment of Come Dine With Me) and one anonymous blog contributer reports "15 police cars, Boscombe Rd closed off, helicopter above, armed response units, dog units, riot shields.. absolutely lovely.. not."

The Small Lunch


Yesterday, in the middle of summer, I found myself in the heart of a New England-style development in suburban Surrey enjoying a picnic of Spanish chorizo whilst listening to musicians from Ecuador playing Johnny Mathis' Christmas hit 'When A Child Is Born' on the pan pipes.

Only in Worcester Park.

That aside, the 'Big Lunch' event in Mayflower Park in The Hamptons made for a very pleasant afternoon. The turnout was, to put it politely, modest (perhaps unsurprising as the event was sparsely advertised locally) but neither the low turnout nor the threatening grey clouds prevented those who did turn up from enjoying themselves.

Same again next year, perhaps with a far bigger attendance?

 

Friday, 16 July 2010

Oh sh*d!

Clearly Kingston has cornered the market when it comes to dramatic fires this week, but one unfortunate Worcester Park resident put on this impressive little display when his garden shed caught fire over the weekend.

Fortunately nobody was injured, but the shed and sun lounger in Washington Road have clearly seen better days...




(Images courtesy @muf61 on Twitter)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Take (a long way) Away

Seeing as virtually everything that plops onto my doormat is junk mail, I'm considering boarding up my letterbox and installing a new one directly in the side of my green recycling wheelie bin. It would make life an awful lot easier. 

Takeaways are one of the prime culprits when it comes to the deluge of junk leaflets - and for some reason they seem to be flooding in from increasingly far afield. 

One such leaflet arrived today from an Indian restaurant in London Road, Kingston (near Kingston Grammar School) - many miles away from Worcester Park.

With so many good takeaways on our doorstep, does anyone actually order from such far flung places? Confess all....

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Big Lunch

The Big Lunch takes place this Saturday 17th July from Midday to 4pm at Mayflower Park (in The Hamptons).

The Big Lunch is part of Sutton Council’s 'Take Part, Take Pride' summer festival and residents from Worcester Park are invited to come along to the park with friends, family and neighbours. 

Bring a picnic lunch (no BBQ's, though) and enjoy live music and entertainment for children including a bouncy castle and some fairground rides.

It might be an idea to put the kids on the bouncy castle before they have lunch, though!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Those Summer Crime Blues

Sutton detectives are urging householders in and around the borough to remember to close any doors and windows that they have opened during warm weather following a number of burglaries in the area. 


Police believe thieves are particularly looking to take advantage of insecure homes as residents try and cool down.

Overnight on Friday 9th July, £5,500 cash and jewellery was stolen from a terraced property in Constance Road, Sutton, after a bedroom window had been left open. The householder believes the suspect may have posed as a window cleaner and used a ladder to reach the windows because the windows were wet when they returned home.

On Saturday 10th July, a thief put his arm through the top window of a lounge to open the larger window immediately below at a property in Woodstock Road, Carshalton. The haul included two laptops, a sewing machine in a red vinyl case, artists’ equipment and a box of china ornaments.

On Saturday afternoon in Wallington, a thief gained entry through an unlocked kitchen windowa and stole jewellery. A neighbour, who had seen a man earlier enter their shared gate asking whether the householders had lost their electricity power, described the intruder as a white man, aged 30, 5ft 8in tall wearing a white T-shirt with a pattern. He had short fair hair and was clean shaven.

Overnight on Saturday to Sunday (11th July) a couple left their ground floor living room window open when they went to bed. A variety of items were stolen including a laptop, mobile phone, MP3 player, watch, wallet and credit cards.

Sutton Police have issued the following sumertime safety tips:

o       When you go out, always lock the door and close the windows -
          even if you are just going out for a short time. Don’t forget to close and
          lock your windows or doors especially if you are just nipping upstairs or
          going into the garden

o       Window locks, especially on older windows, will help stop people getting
          in (and remember, a burglar is less likely to break in if they have to
          smash a window)

o       Ladders should be padlocked to a wall

o       Use timers for lights and radios if you need to be away from home
          overnight. They will create the impression that someone is in

o       Visible burglar alarms, good lighting and carefully directed and limited
          security lighting can act as deterrents

o       Never leave a garden shed or a garage door unlocked, especially if it has
          a connecting door to the house, which should be treated as an exterior
          door in terms of security.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Adventures In Food

As 'Avventura' prepares to open its doors tomorrow evening, the Worcester Park Blog takes an exclusive look at (and taste of) the town's newest restaurant which promises to bring the West End to Worcester Park. 

It's a brave of anyone to go into the restaurant business at all - let alone in the midst of an economic downturn, in sizeable premises (with up to 100 covers) and in a town which already has its fair share of Italian eateries.

Yet that is just what Salvatore, Michele and Roberto, the team behind Avventura, have decided to do - and they bring to their new venture an impressive track record in Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK, France and Italy.

Avventura's menu invariably reflects the restaurant's High Street location, but whilst the food on offer is more accessible and down-to-earth than would be found in the Central London and Michelin-starred establishments to which the team are accustomed, the emphasis on quality remains and the passion for authentic Italian cuisine is undiminished.

It is with just such passion that Salvatore tells me of his search for quality seasonal ingredients, paying that little bit extra to guarantee the finest and freshest produce. Where possible he sources his meat, seafood and vegetables from local suppliers but only if they can meet his exacting standards.

Salvatore and Michele, at the pasta-making table!

The freshness of ingredients extends to the pasta - which is not only cooked to order but also freshly made by hand each day on the pasta table at the back of the resturant (if you are so minded, just ask to see the team's impressive array of pasta-making equipment).

Salvatore's passion for authentic Italian cuisine is matched by that Chef Michele Brogi who has previously worked alongside Giorgio Locatelli at Zafferano and most recently in Florence’s three-Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri.

The quality of the ingredients and the skill of the team back of house is inevitably reflected in Avventura's pricing . Expect to pay around £8 for a meat-based appetizer and £13 for a fish main - towards the higher end for Worcester Park, but by no means extravagant.

In addition to the appetizing menu of fish, meat, pasta and pizza dishes there is a range of Chef's specialities (squid burger or oven-roasted suckling pig, anyone?), although these dishes do need to be pre-ordered.

When I found out that another Italian eatery was set to open in the old Caffe Piccolo unit, I somewhat sceptically asked how this new venture could hope to succeed where Piccollo had failed and how it could even begin to compete against the might of Pizza Express as well as the two other Italian restaurants in Worcester Park.

The answer, as I found out on my visit last night, is that it won't really try to compete - at least not directly. As Salvatore himself puts it, he will simply allow the quality of the food at Avventura to 'speak for itself' (presumably with an Italian accent), carving a niche by offering high-end but accessible authentic Italian food.

The restaurant is family friendly, but instead of patronising its younger clientele with the the usual nuggets-and-chips options, children up to 12 years of age are able to choose smaller portions of any of their dishes at a discount of 30% on the regular prices.

Avventura is staking a bold claim to the quality end of the Worcester Park restaurant scene and if the great dishes and friendly service I experienced are maintained (the starter of burrata mozzarella was simply exquisite for a warm summer's evening and you simply haven't lived until you have sampled Chef Michele Brogi's buffalo ricotta and basil pesto ravioli) then this will be the most welcome addition to Central Road for many a year.

The Worcester Park Blogger enjoyed...

Starter: Burrata mozzarella with olive oil (served on a bed of aubergine and garnished with anchovies, olives and oven-roasted tomatoes): £4.95

Main: Ravioli of buffalo ricotta & basil pesto with cold tomato sauce: £9.95

Dessert: "Meringata" crispy meringues with wild berries & lemon sorbet: £5.00

Avventura opens on Tuesday 13th July at 82-86 Central Road, Worcester Park. Tel: 020 8335 3355 - http://www.avventura-restaurant.co.uk


The adjoining 'Espesso' cafe is due to open late July/early August.

Massive Fire In Kingston



A massive fire has broken out in the top floors of a tower block in Kingston's Cambridge Estate, with smoke visible for miles around (including from Worcester Park).

Around 75 firefighters are in attendance.




Thursday, 8 July 2010

Happy Christmas Worcester Park!

It is that time of the year when the sun is out and summer holidays are looming - so you'll be forgiven if the Worcester Park Christmas Late Night 2011 isn't quite on your to-do list just yet.

However such events do require a lot of forward planning - last year, there were a lot of very good comments but also more than a few negative ones so this year organiser Terry Dobbs would like to throw it open to not only the traders but also to the wider Worcester Park community.

A lot of blog readers commented that the late night needed more of a community feel to it - so it's time for the local community to step up to the plate and come forward with suggestions for how they can get involved with this year's Christmas Late Night.

Perhaps your community group, charity or organisation would like to have a stall or provide some other kind of attraction or entertainment?

The evening is organised with very limited funds, so most things are volunteered or self-financing and they are not allowed to parade on floats etc. as TFL will not allow the road to be closed, but I'm sure with some imagination and local input we can make this year's event the best ever.

Terry Dobbs told the Worcester Park Blog "I really want this years to be a "community affair" chosen by all, attended by all, arranged by as many as is possible"

So it's over to you - if you'd like to get involved, contact Terry at One Stop Party Shop.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Fiko Very Much Indeed

Blog reader "Mrs Longfella" has e-mailed me with some (much deserved) praise for a local shopkeeper:

"I had to travel southbound from Worcester Park station this afternoon and was faced by the impossible task of hauling a pram and six-month-old baby up the steps to the platform.


As I approached the foot of the steps, the chap from Hair By Fiko (presumably it was Mr Fiko himself?) came out of his shop to ask if I needed any help.


He ended up helping me carry the pram (with baby in it!) all the way up to the top of the flight of steps, and even had time for a quick chat.


What a true gentleman! I think I'm going to be switching hairdressers from now on.


If you read this blog, Mr Fiko, thank you again. You're a true star"


The cockles of my heart have been well and truly warmed - keep your stories of the kindness of Worcester Park strangers coming! 

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The lost and found world of Worcester Park House

Those of you who saw the aerial photograph of Worcester Park House on this blog (here, if you missed it) taken by Charles 'Biggles' Brown in the last year of its glory in the summer of 1937 may be interested to learn of the return of the 2010 Expedition to locate and explore the site.

The Expedition left in March but progress was slow and laborious due to the thick tangle of undergrowth and trees that have totally enveloped the area surrounding what was once this 30-room mansion built in 1795 with grand curving staircase, carriage sweep, extensive grounds, ornamental lake, walled garden, kitchen gardens and orchards. How quickly nature reclaims her own.

There are no paths or animal tracks and progress was initially hampered by horse flies, rusty Coke cans and an old sofa that required a detour. Soon the Expedition left the detritus of civilisation far behind and entered a dark world of tall trees whose canopies competed for light far above, huge fallen branches and ancient briars that reached out and tangled with the intruder's clothing as if to bar entry. No bird or small animal made its presence felt though at night strange beasts could be heard prowling outside the explorer's hastily erected shelter.

Imagine the elation when after ages of monotonous and uneventful passage there appeared a low pile of moss-covered distinctive red bricks. Then the leader of the Expedition stumbled upon what was clearly a fallen chimney stack that perfectly accorded with those shown on a 1905 photograph of the House.

Next a large galvanised water tank came into view, twisted and half rooted in the ground. The old tank could not have travelled far from the spot where it fell in 1948 on the night of the Great Conflagaration caused by careless squatters or other dossers. Expectations rose and were not disappointed, suddenly a large stretch of waist-high wall appeared, the crumbling rendering showed clearly this was the wall that faced the long dried-up lake. Between the two was once a manicured lawn where the elderly Wheeler sisters took afternoon tea at three-thirty served by two of their many live-in servants.

If you view the photograp substantial trees, you can see that the substation trees on the left are actually growing 'inside' the House. Standing inside this room the remains of other walls became apparent, now covered with ground ivy.

What is shown in the photo, then, is all that remains above ground of Worcester Park House.

The conclusion was drawn that this was the remains of the south-east wing but nothing more was found save a lone stand of late Snowdrops, descendants of those that once graced the well-tended flower borders in their heyday.

But supplies were running low, and the weather taking a turn for the worse, so the decision was made to begin the long trek back braving the briars and fallen logs once more but promising to return someday to search for the remains of orchards, the balustraded bridge, the old ice house located by Tim Trent on the Expedition of 2006 - and of course the Wine Cellar!

Slowly the old House gives up its secrets.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Golden Opportunity

The Midas Touch has launched an exciting new menu with a more extensive choice of meals - there's traditional pub favourites alongside some more adventurous dishes and the excellent Midas Works burger is of course still there!

To celebrate the launch of the new menu there's an impressive 50% off your food bill in July - you can pick up vouchers in shops around Worcester Park, or juts mention the Worcester Park Blog when ordering to get your discount!

You can take a look at their new menu here.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

8 Blog Posts Or Fewer

I do apologise, dear Worcester Parkers, for my woeful blogging track record during June. It's not for want of things happening in KT4 - just call it a 'blogging holiday'.

Hopefully normal service will be restored during July.

In the the meantime I'm still overwhelmed with shame after being told off/chastised/admonished at Waitrose last week for having 10 items in my basket at the '6 Items Or Fewer' checkout.

I feel too ashamed to show my face again just yet - I wonder how long my period of self-imposed exile should last?