Friday, 9 December 2011

Crafty Ideas



There's an 'Arts & Crafts Fair' at The Hamptons tomorrow (Saturday 10th December) from 1pm to 4pm in Maple Lodge (near the main entrance road off Green Lane).

There will be a great collection of items created and designed by the crafty people of Worcester Park and wine tasting courtesy of The VinBin. 

Afterward, The VinBin invites you to join them for complementary mulled wine and mince pies at their shop (opposite North End Tavern) to celebrate Christmas, the shop's one year anniversary and the launch of their brand new website which allows you to order your favourite wines online, find food matches and select the perfect wines for Christmas.
All our welcome (including children). Mulled wine and snacks are complimentary with other selected wines available to purchase by the glass from just £2.50.

Monday, 5 December 2011

A Common Concern?


As the debate continues over possible expansion of Cheam Common Infants School in response to growing pressure on school places in Worcester Park, a concerned parent has contacted the blog to voice his concerns over the impact that this might have on the school and the surrounding area.


He writes: "It seems that the school is now looking to go ahead with the plans to expand having given everyone "comfort" in knowing that the many side streets can be used for parents dropping off and picking up their little ones (this for some reason being the only concern the school has over the expansion).


No consideration has been given to the residents of these streets, nor to the parents (of which I am one) and the children of Cheam Common Infants.


The school is already at maximum capacity and quite frankly the teaching standards have slipped in the three years I have been involved with the school.

Plans that are being thrown around to cater for this expansion include building on the only small green space the kids now have, rotating break periods and no doubt increasing class sizes.


I am embarrassed to say that the education system in this country has hit an all time low by allowing this to happen in favour of school funds rather than putting the well fare of the children first.


I'd urge all parents and carers and local person to voice your concerns and disagreement of this shift in priorities."


Applications for a place at the Infants’ School have increased considerably in recent years. In 2008 there were only 2 children on the admissions waiting list, in 2010 there was none but this year saw 51 pupils, most of whom lived within a mile of the school, on the waiting list. 

Class sizes in surrounding schools have been increased to try and mitigate this situation, however demand for school places in Worcester Park is predicted to continue to increase, especially with the completion of a further 88 properties on The Hampton’s development.

Sutton Council's education committee is considering four possible options in response to the demand for school places in Worcester Park:
  1. Delay or discontinue the further expansion of capacity in the Worcester Park area;
  2. Expand Cheam Common Infants’ school by one form of entry from September 2012;
  3. Expand Dorchester Primary School by a further form of entry from September 2012’
  4. Provide a 'bulge' reception class at Dorchester Primary School from September 2012.
It is understood that the second option, addition of another form at Cheam Common Infants, is the most favoured option of the four being considered.

The plan to add a further class to the school from September 2012 has already met considerable local controversy, with a petition presented by concerned locals worried about the impact of further expansion on the local community and roads. 

In response to these concerns, Sutton Council has promised to take action through the 'Schools Transport Plan' to engage more directly with parents to encourage considerate parking/discourage aggressive behaviour, advertise a “park and stride” campaign and encourage parking to be further from the schools (agreements were currently being negotiated with local supermarkets to use their car parks as assembly points) and encourage greater levels of cycling and walking to school. 

Cheam Common Infants' School received an overall rating of  'Good' in the OFSTED inspection undertaken last year. /

Central Shopping

Centrals Bar is offering some additional Christmas shopping opportunities for you in December - local business, 'Danish Kid's Clothin' is going to be there every Tuesday and Thursday from 9.30am to Midday until Christmas.


Another Worcester Park company, 'Munckin & Me', is also going to be there on Tuesdays from 11am - 12 capturing fingerprints, hand, footprints, pictures and handwriting on fine silver jewellery (they can do child, adult and pet prints).


Centrals Bar is at 169 Central Road.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Pilates In Worcester Park


For those into a bit of early planning of their New Year fitness resolutions, a Beginner Pilates Course at the St Philip Hall at Christ Church with St Philip in Worcester Park (Ruskin Drive, KT4 8LG) has been confirmed as starting on Saturday 28th January.

Those who book their place before 15th December will get a free pilates mat.  At the moment, there are no weekend Pilates classes in Worcester Park - the class numbers will be  limited to 12 places as Pilates works better in small groups. There are 7 confirmed bookings so far, so to reserve your place or for more information visit www.svpilates.com 

Friday, 2 December 2011

Free Wine Tasting On Now!

Free wine tasting on right now (Friday 2nd December) at The Vin Bin wine shop, opposite North End Tavern, until 8pm - featuring Joshua Butler from Bibendum with a range of unique wines from around the world.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Going Warm Turkey

I have bemoaned on a number of occasions on this blog the lack of any decent full English in Worcester Park. The last purveyors of this fine meal was Berties cafe, which closed down and was transformed into the terrible La Continental which was more mess than mezze and was promptly rebranded as 'Henry's Cafe' whose luminous fonted signs are only marginally worse than the food they serve up.

Thankfully salvation seems to have come my way in the form of a cracking English breakfast from, of all places, our new Turkish 'Cafe Medusa' which opened last week in the old Avventura/Cafe Espresso premises.

At last we have, in KT4, somewhere that sells a decent full English breakfast, properly cooked with decent meat and served with a cup of decent coffee.

For those more adventurous there are Eggs benedict, Turkish dishes and a range of other great breakfast and lunch options that will set this venue apart from the existing cafes in Worcester Park.

Even better news is that their restaurant, Sheesh Mangal, is going to be opening shortly. I have had a sneak peak inside the venue which is on course to open its doors for business early next week.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Late Night In Pictures

Some pictures for you from Friday's fantastic Christmas Late Night in Worcester Park. Did you all enjoy yourselves?























Friday, 25 November 2011

Tonight's The Night!

It's the Worcester Park Traders Association Christmas Late Night tonight from 6pm to 9pm


There will be loads of festive fun, rides, entertainment, stalls and choirs to entertain the whole family and, of course, plenty of late night shopping. 


Your local retailers who are officially sponsoring and supporting the event include:


  • One Stop Party Shop
  • Mr Ink
  • Trutex
  • Waitrose
  • Vin Bin
  • St Raphael's Hospice
  • Hendy's Jewellers
  • Clarkes
  • Worcester Park Motor Spares
  • Central Plumbing
  • AMS Opticians
  • Worcester Sparks
  • Kingfish
  • Dawsons Aerials

There will also be a Christmas Craft Fair in Worcester Park Library tonight from 6pm to 8pm, and the Royal British Legion will be having a special membership table outside their premises on Central Road with a special discounted membership rate for anyone who wants to join this evening. 

Wrap up warm and enjoy!!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Christmas Late Night Tomorrow!

The weather forecast is looking good for tomorrow night, so we are all set to go. As well as the traders and funfair rides, a number of local charities from Worcester Park will be taking part in tomorrow's Christmas Late Night, so make sure you lend them your support. 

Also a Christmas Craft Fair is being held in the Library from 6pm - 8pm (as part of the Worcester Park Traders Late Christmas night) with a raffle, cakes for sale, Name the Bear, Lucky dip, Toy Tombola and Homemade crafts. They will be quite easy to miss tucked away in the Library, so don't forget to pay them a visit.



Tuesday, 22 November 2011

We'd Like To Help You Learn To Help Yourself

The Christmas Late Night, taking place this Friday from 6pm, is a well established local tradition in Worcester Park.

So too, unfortunately, is the annual tradition of blog readers moaning and whingeing about it before and after the event - not enough stalls, the wrong type of stalls, too many stalls, not fun enough, not sufficiently like a German Christmas market, not enough shops taking part, the wrong type of shops taking part. I could go on.

And so I received this comment on the blog yesterday:
"Maybe if they actually spoke to more/all traders we could make the event even bigger. I know for a fact 4 independent retailers were not even approached."
As for whether every single retailer has been approached to take part, I am not in a position to say. The fact remains that this event has been heavily publicised here on the blog and on posters up and down Central Road and in shop windows etc. These posters have a contact phone number for the Traders Association which organises the event (and welcomes all local retailers getting involved) and if anyone contacts me about it I will always pass the enquiry on to the right person.

If there are any local traders still wringing their hands complaining that nobody has personally approached them to get involved then this is, quite frankly, a pretty feeble excuse. If there really are any shopkeepers who will be pulling down the shutters at 5pm on Friday and going home to cry themselves to sleep because there are going to miss out on the big crowds in Worcester Park and a golden opportunity to give their own business a boost then I pity them.

I pity them not because they will be losing out on business but that I pity them because they lacked the motivation and energy (and it would have taken very little of either) to pick up the phone, get themselves involved and get their business talked about locally.

I am all for supporting local businesses, but if local businesses do not take simple steps to help themselves then I will not, quite frankly, lose any sleep over that. Business is undeniably tough - those who have the energy to promote themselves, those who seize the opportunity to be involved in events like the late night (and actually do something creative to promote themselves before and during it) will thrive, or at very least survive during this recession. Those who do not will whither away into an obscurity that is partly of their own making.

I try to do whatever I can to support local businesses who have the enthusiasm and basic marketing nouse to engage with the Blog and recognise it is a great opportunity to drum up some local business, and likewise I always support those businesses who step forward and get involved in great community events like the Late Night on Friday.

Yet I have also witnessed so many businesses locally, and elsewhere, who believe that all they have to do to keep going is open at 9 and close at 5 and custom will magically come their way.

So as you go about your business this Friday night and beyond, look out for those local traders who have the get-up-and-go to actively promote their livelihoods, and make sure you reward their efforts in whatever way you can. And don't worry about those who haven't - they sill have time to learn.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Christmas Late Night This Friday!

Only 4 sleeps to go until this year's Christmas Late Night in Worcester Park. As well as the rides, stalls, choirs and refreshments along Central Road and in Stone Place Car Park, a number of your favourite local retailers will be open that evening for some late night shopping.

Do pop in and make sure you support them - as well as playing a vital role in keeping Worcester Park's high street alive, they are also financially supporting this important local annual event, so make sure you reward them with your custom.

Shops supporting the Christmas Late Night 2011 include:

  • One Stop Party Shop
  • Mr Ink
  • Trutex
  • Waitrose
  • St Raphael's Hospice
  • Hendy's Jewellers
  • Clarkes
  • Worcester Park Motor Spares
  • Central Plumbing
  • AMS Opticians
  • Worcester Sparks
  • Kingfish
  • Dawsons Aerials


Friday, 18 November 2011

Burglary Warning

Unfortunately I have received e-mails from a number of blog readers informing me of burglaries in and around the Worcester Park area over the last week or so. 

I have had reports of houses being broken into near the Co-Op in Old Malden, in Cuddington Avenue, Shrubland Grove and near Cheam Common Infants School.

It would sadly appear that there has been an increased level of burglaries in the local area recently, so I would urge all blog readers to be vigilant and take a moment to read the Metropolitan Police's burglary prevention advice pages.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Fair Competition

The Doris Venner Christmas Fayre is being held this Saturday, 19th November, from 11am to 2pm in the Community Hall on The Manor Drive.

 There will be lots of fun and games such as face-painting, arts and crafts, cake stalls, bottle tombola and some fantastic raffles with prizes including a TV, a John Lewis Voucher and a toy bundle.

 Meet Father Christmas in his grotto and receive a present from him and your chance to have a photo taken as well as lots of food and refreshments.

 There will also be a Charity Craft Fair at St Johns Hall on Malden Road (KT4 7NY) from 11am to 2pm on Saturday 19th November in aid of local charities which help save babies' lives and support bereaved parents and families.

Full details are at http://charitycraftfair.blogspot.com

 At the fair you can find out about the vital work these charities do and why they need to raise much needed funds for, as well as buy some wonderful handmade gifts in time for Christmas to support these amazing and vital causes.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Rampant Rabbit


It you've lost a pet rabbit in Worcester Park then blog reader BenjyP might just have spotted it. He writes:

"On Friday Evening around 6 p.m. I saw what looked like a grey and white domestic rabbit at the end of Gander Green Lane (up past Green Lane School near the path to the stables). 

After 20 minutes or so of repeatedly getting within about a metre of it before it hopped away, it finally leapt into the brambles behind The Hamptons.

I did have a look on the net and on the local roads for any notices but couldn't see anything."

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Friday, 11 November 2011

Poppy Appeal Money Stolen

It is with great sadness that I must inform blog readers of the theft of a Poppy Appeal collection box from the Worcester Park branch of Superdrug. The collection box, filled with almost a fortnight's donations, was taken from the counter and found empty on Central Road this morning. Anybody with any information on this theft should contact the Metropolitan Police. I am not sure what more I can add by way of comment on this.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Remembrance Sunday



Remembrance Sunday will be marked in Worcester Park with the annual special service of remembrance at Christchurch with St Philip featuring members of the local Royal British Legion, Cadets, Guiding and Scouting groups. 

The service will begin at 10am on Sunday morning.

This will be followed by a brief service at Worcester Park's war memorial in St. Philip’s Churchyard (at the top of Central Road) which will include the two minutes' silence at 11.00am and the laying of wreaths.

Marching bands will then lead the procession down Central Road to Worcester Park's Royal British Legion club which will be opening its doors to the public and serving food and refreshments.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Eye Sore This And Sought A View

A new campaign has been set up to gain popular support to petition Network Rail to clean up and remove graffiti from the railway bridge in Worcester Park. 

Blog reader Nick who has set up a Facebook group to gather support for the cause writes:

"Worcester Park Rail Bridge has been covered in grafitti for probably more than a decade. It is a real eyesore when people enter the area and gives a very bad impression of Worcester Park. No other bridges in the area look as bad as our bridge and it really lets the area down.

We are trying to drum up support to get Network Rail (who are responsible for the bridge) to insist they do something about it. Please register your support by 'liking' or becoming a 'friend' of the site. When we have sufficient numbers we will approach Network Rail and demand (ask nicely!) for them to clean up the bridge and particularly to remove all the grafitti. So far it has been very difficult to get them to take action."

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Time For Honesty

Last month I appealed on behalf of a blog reader for the return of a gold watch which she had lost whilst out jogging in Worcester Park. 

Today I received the good news that an honest Worcester Park resident had found the watch, spotted the appeals for its safe return and has made sure that the watch is now back in the hands (well, on the wrist) of its rightful owner.

All of which restores ones faith in humanity (for those who need it restoring).

Monday, 7 November 2011

Blogger Goes To Parliament

Last Thursday night saw me leaving behind the comfortable confines of KT4 to travel to Westminter  - the beating heart of UK democracy.

The humble Worcester Park Blogger had been invited to go to Parliament to discuss how online communities and local blogs can become better engaged with the Parliamentary processes and how Parliament itself can tap into these new media channels to engage with a wider audience to capture public opinion and feed it back into the democractic process.

As well as representatives from big online communities such as Mumsnet and Student Room, I was in the company of a motley assortment of 'hyperlocal' bloggers who, like myself, have established thriving local community blogs and forums - WimbledonSW19.com, Greenwich.co.uk, London SE1 and Charlton Champion to name but a few.

As we talked, some common themes emerged - the demand from local people for relevant local news, opinion and debate of issues related directly to their neigbourhood is very clearly evident and is behind the growth and popularity of so many hyper-local sites.

Also clearly evident is the frustration at the decline or even demise of local newspapers - those who do survive so often reduced to a few perfunctory pages of regurgitated press releases or syndicated pseudo-local content draped around swathes of advertisements and estate agents' supplements.

With some notable exception, the days of quality local print journalism look to be numbered. Stepping in to fill this void are an increasing number of thriving local blogs set up to inform on local issues, act as a voice for their neighbourhoods and provide essential scrutiny of the work of local Councils and politicians.

As for the reaction of local Councils to local blog sites, the same theme emerged time and time again - Councils' opinion of and reaction to local bloggers ranges from outright contempt to a stubborn refusal to acknowledge their existence, let alone engage with them. These new fangled local websites and blogs are seen as an irritation, lacking in credibility and definitely not to be dignified by any form of official response or engagement from the Council.

It might be individual bloggers who create them, but it is the hundreds of thousands of local readers who with informed and intersting comment and contribution ensure that these sites continue and prosper.

By association these blog readers (and that includes you) are regarded by so many local Councils as unimportant. These are Councils who are still firmly rooted in a world where an opinion only counts if it is expressed in green-ink on a letter, voiced in constituency surgery, or from a plastic chair in a meeting at a local community hall.

I didn't start The Worcester Park Blog with any grand vision in my mind. It always has been and always will be a bit of fun; yet I like to think that in the four years it has been running it has come to serve some kind of a purpose - to inform as well as to provide some light relief, to act as a forum for the expression of views on local events, to publicise local good causes and community issues, to address the sometimes serious issues of local politics. And, above all, to continue to laugh at the preposterous number of hairdressers in Worcester Park.

So the fact that the great beast that is Parliament recognises the role and potential of online communities and blogs, invited us up to Westminster to hear our views and wants to work with us in the future is in itself a massive step forward.

There were many great ideas shared on the evening about how Parliament can better share its welath of information that is relevant to local bloggers and communities and bring what can seem a remote and inaccessibly instution in touch with its subjects.

Even more encouraging is the news that Parliament wants to use these established sites to tap into the opinions of the wider public - we heard how Parliament worked with Student Room to seek opinion from the site's audience on a range of issues affecting young people, and feed these opinions directly into the work of Parliamentary Select Committee.

The fact that Parliament might one day in the future be directly engaging with, listening to and acting upon the opinions expressed on blogs such as this is a fascinating prospect.

It certainly leaves our local Councils with an awful lot of catching up to do.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Power Cuts

Intermittent power cuts in Worcester Park this evening. Thank goodness the first one was after the X Factor, otherwise Mrs WP would never have recovered. We have candles at the ready!


PET ALLIGATOR

Burglary Charge


A Worcester Park man has been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary after approximately £30,000 worth of jewellery and watches were stolen from a property in Leatherhead.

Nathan Beutler, 19, of Lindsay Road, has been remanded into custody and will appear at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday 17th November for a preliminary hearing.

The charge relates to a burglary at an address in Highlands Avenue, Leatherhead, on Tuesday 25th October. Several high value items were stolen including a Smythson leather jewellery box worth £1,500, a princess cut diamond ring worth £2,500, a Boodle and Dunthorne platinum pendant with three diamonds worth £3,000, a diamond and ruby ring and a variety of watches.

The stolen items have yet to be recovered, and Police are appealing for anyone with information on their whereabouts to contact them. 

A 16-year-old male from Worcester Park was also arrested on suspicion of involvement in the burglary. He has been released on police bail until 14th December pending further enquiries.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sheesh, You're Brave!

As speculated on this blog back in August, the former 'Avventura' restaurant premises are to be turned into a Turkish restaurant - to be named 'Sheesh Mangal'.

Of course I'm delighted to see that these cavernous empty premises are to be filled so quickly, and it will make a welcome change from the traditional fare of Italian restaurants and curry houses.

However, my fears about these premises remain. In my unfortunately prophetic post of June 2010 I wrote:
"No doubt the people behing 'Avventura' are full of optimism and hope that good food and good service will set see them through, but will they too soon be forced to face the reality that the place is simply far too big to be viable in anything other than rosy economic conditions?

Perhaps Avventura will succeed where Piccolo failed. Perhaps they have found the formula that eluded their predecessors. Or perhaps they too will soon be learning the hard way that size really does matter. Either way, I wish them luck."
I look forward seeing this new venture succeed where its predecessors have failed. And I look forward even more to some Turkish food!

Seeing Red


Last month I gave you my views on Sutton Council's loathsome traffic enforcement CCTV Smart cars and how unfair I felt their tactics to be.

Now comes evidence from a Worcester Park  Blog reader of how these cars openly break parking laws themselves whilst going about their sneaky business.

This photo clearly shows the enforcement stopping illegally on a 'red route' on Malden Road in North Cheam, heading towards Worcester Park. Stopping is strictly forbidden on a red route (even for loading/unloading or boarding/alighting from a vehicle) and, being a double red route, these restrictions apply at all times to this stretch of road.

This is not the first time that Sutton Council's spy cars have been caught breaking the law in order to enforce the law, as reported by the Sutton Guardian back in August.

I strongly suspect it won't be the last!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Green Lane School Fireworks 2011

Green Lane School will be having a spectacular fireworks event tomorrow night (Wednesday 2nd November) from 5pm with fireworks going up at 6.30pm.

There will be food available to buy so you can have your dinner there before the show!

Tickets are available on the door and cost £7 for adults, £4 for children 3-16 (under 3s free) and £18 for a family of 4.

Cheaper tickets are available in advance by calling 020 8337 6976. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The display was phenomenal last year, so they've asked the same team at Surrey Events to come back and run it this year. Don’t miss out!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Life After Waitrose?


Staff bitching about their employer, mucking around in the aisles, overheard singing offensive songs, complaining to each other about customers and swearing on the shop floor - why it can only be the fall and fall of the once great Worcester Park branch of Waitrose.

Of course there are many staff (sorry, partners) in the branch who still uphold the once high standards of Waitrose, but the decline in standards in recent months (particularly in the newer intake, but also spreading to the 'older hands') is so pronounced that there must surely be something behind it. A change of branch manager, perhaps?

Whatever the cause of the collapse of standards in recent months, to Mrs WP an encounter with a surly and unhelpful 'partner' last week was the last straw, and she has vowed to steer clear of the supermarket that she once worshipped and adored.

Quite how successful she will be remains to be seen - for however bad Waitrose in Worcester Park has become recently, the alternatives are hardly a tempting prospect.

I shall keep you posted!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Neighbourhood Watch


Can you help reunite a blog reader with this 9ct gold watch with mother of pearl face? 

It was lost whilst the owner was out jogging on Sunday 23rd October at around 5.00pm. It was lost somewhere in the Dalmeny Road / Sandringham Road / Bridgewood Avenue / Sparrow Farm Road / Stoneleigh Avenue / Lynwood Drive / Donnington Road / Braemar Road area. 

It is worth about £500 and there is a reward for its safe return. Contact the blog if you can help!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hello Wine

Halloween is almost upon us and there's lots going on in Worcester Park to help get you in the, erm, spirit.

The Vin Bin wine shop is holding a free family-friendly tasting evening this Friday (28th October) from 5.30pm to 8pm with soft and alcoholic drinks from the spookily-name 'Septimus Spyder' brewery, as well as a selection of top-notch autumnal wines.  

Fancy dress is optional and candy will be available for little ghosts, witches and superheroes.

Meanwhile Centrals Bar & Lounge is holding a kids' fancy dress Halloween party from 10.30am on Sunday 30th October. There will be face painting, games and prizes to be won - the face painter will be there from 11am to Midday, with a kids' disco and entertainment from 11am to 2pm.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Monday, 24 October 2011

Insulating Our Intelligence



Incredibly (I forget quite what it was had done in the preceding 12 months to earn such a privilege) I was allowed out one night last week, leaving Mrs WP home alone in charge of the remote control.

Just as my night was getting underway, I received a call from a worried Mrs WP to tell me that she had been paid a visit by a very pushy salesman who wanted to check out the loft insulation and, when refused entry to the house, proceeded to ring the bell incessantly, demanding to be allowed in to see the loft.

Being the caring and concerned husband, I immediately told her how caring and concerned I was, advised her to ensure the front door was locked and got on with the rest of my evening. 

Today a concerned blog reader contacted me to tell me about a worrying visit by another loft insulation sales person today:

"My partner and I have just been visited (odd, for a Monday evening) by a young lady advising us we were entitled to local Council subsidised insulation for our loft conversation. 

We were advised that a number of other locals had accepted this great offer and it would only cost us around £200.00 with the Council fronting the balance of the cost.

This sounded like a great idea and, as we had already discussed getting a quote, we decided to proceed. However, when asked if we could take the contract, consider it and let the young lady know our final decision in a few days we were advised that we had to accept there and then or we would be ineligible for the grant. 

As a person who works in sales this sounded extremely odd so I advised her that we would not be proceeding.

Alas, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to google "insulation scams London" and low and behold it turns out that this is in fact a bit dodgy. Yes you get the insulation but not necessarily the very best deal available.

Has anyone else been visited by this young lady and/or is anyone else aware of this?"

My normal tactic when these loft insulation people come knocking is to tell that that we rent the house. That normally gets rid of them pretty quickly. 

Have any other blog readers had unwanted visits from these pesky people?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Age Concerns

The Office of National Statistics has just released the latest figures for life expectancy in the U.K. - and it's good news for readers of the Worcester Park Blog. Well, for some of you, any way.

Let's take 'Male life expectancy at age 65 for males 2008-2010' as an example. If you live in the Sutton Borough part of Worcester Park, 65-year old men can expect to reach the ripe old age of 83.4 years.

If however you feel that in the words of the late Elvis Presley, you've "still got a whole lot more living to do", simply move slightly westwards under the railway bridge and you can cheat death for a further 8 whole months because in the part of Worcester Park covered by the Borough of Kingston, you can expect to make it all the way to your 84th birthday. 

Happy days. But wait, 84 years simply isn't enough to enjoy everything that Worcester Park has to offer. I mean, you'll want to live long enough to see the end of these water mains works, surely?

Fortunately, there is a solution. Simply shuffle across into the part of Worcester Park that falls under the Borough of Epsom & Ewell and you can positively laugh in the face of mortality as you will live until the ripe old age of 84.9 years.

You can check your life expectancy at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-223356  - after which I suggest you close your browser and start enjoying however many years you find you have left.

[With thanks to blog reader 'Jeff' who inspire this article. Well, when I say 'inspired', I mean 'wrote'.]

Friday, 21 October 2011

Christmas Late Night 2011

Remember remember the 25th of November, for that is the date of the 2011 Worcester Park Traders' Association Christmas Late Night which this year will be bigger and better than ever before.

As well as late night shopping and plenty of charity stalls and rides along Central Road, for the first time ever Stone Place car park (outside Waitrose) will be closed to cars and filled with rides and other entertainment for all the family.

So put the date in your diaries. Lots more details, as always, to follow right here on the Worcester Park Blog!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

One Way To Annoy Me

An angry resident of Longfellow Road writes:

"I have been living on Longfellow Road for coming up to four years and I am a qualified driver of 20 years so I would say I am well versed on the rules of the road and the reading of road signs - especially those on the road where I live.

What a lot of self-righteous people (who don't live on Longfellow road) don't know is that it's NOT all a one way street.

Yes from Hazelmere Gardens to Central Road the one way rule starts, but not before that.

My gripe is when I drive down Longfellow Road towards Green Lane I get accosted by all sorts of drivers, not to mention pedestrians, shaking their heads at me or hanging out their windows shouting at me that it's a one way system. I just reply and say I live on the road and the one way system starts at Hazelmere Gardens.

Today took the biscuit completely, not being able to find parking anywhere due to all the 'station cars' I had to drive back down Longfellow Road away from Central Road to a spot I'd passed only to meet oncoming traffic.

I pulled in to allow cars to pass yet again to be met with shaking heads and finger wagging! Even a man pushing a buggy shouted at me that it was a one way system.

What is wrong with these people who are so quick to comment? When they seem to know nothing anything.

To these people I say mind your own business!"

Monday, 10 October 2011

Do The Smart Thing

I do not hate traffic wardens.

There you go, I've said it. I've finally come out and admitted it publicly.

In fact I do have some sympathy for traffic wardens - they are, after all, just enforcing the rules and without them our towns and cities would be even more gridlocked with badly parked cars and obstructed roads and it would be even harder for the law-abiding motorists to get around, let alone get a parking space.

I also have this great working arrangement with traffic wardens whereby I don't park illegally and in return they don't give me parking tickets and fines. It works, and so fare we're getting along great.

What I have less time for, however, are Sutton Council's sneaky, snidey little CCTV enforcement cars (if you can call a Smart car a 'car').

You might have seen this cowardly creations creeping around the roads of Worcester Park, hiding at cowardly distance as their little CCTV camera pops up from the roof to record the fine-inducing footage.

I spotted one in Worcester Park this week, filming a fencing contractor who had no other choice but to pull across a neighbour's driveway in order to unload a large delivery of fencing from the back of the van. Then, this morning, the same van was parked around the corner filming away as builders unloaded supplies for a house on Malden Road in North Cheam.

It all comes down to what you see the role of traffic wardens as being - it is to keep our streets flowing freely or is it to catch people in the act and raise revenue as a result?

In neither of the cases I have seen in recent days were the 'offenders' were causing obstructions or impeding traffic.

Surely, if Sutton Council's enforcement officers really are there to ensure the rules are obeyed strictly and to keep traffic moving they should (as I did this morning) warned the driver to move along, not sneak around filming them from a safe distance away?

I have grudging respect for traffic wardens because they are there on the ground, they are visible. By and large they do their job openly and are man (or woman) to look drivers in the whites of their eyes as they do it.

For Sutton Council's CCTV cars, however, I have no respect. Anyone can sneak about, hiding round corners to raise revenue. That's not fine by me.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

God Bye

I see that 'Closing Down' has appeared in the window of Zeus Menswear shop on Central Road. It's always a crying shame to see shops closing down in Worcester Park - especially small independent ones (which, lets face it, nearly always seem to be the casualties).

That said, should I be bemoaning the passing of a store that I've never even been in to? I wonder how many of my fellow Worcester Parkers 'keep meaning to go in' to Zeus and many other shops in Worcester Park but walk on by every time.

Farewell, Zeus. I did mean to go in and spend some money. But I didn't.


Saturday, 1 October 2011

Nice To Eat You

Worcester Park is fortunate to have many great cafes and restaurants. And KFC. Below are my thoughts on our various eateries. Add yours via the comments form below!

Avventura (Italian): First class, authentic Italian food cooked by chefs with  Michelin-starred restaurant backgrounds. Top quality ingredients, great flavours and superb service. Full review here. CLOSED AUGUST 2011

Zarahs (Bangladeshi Indian): Great takeaway food in Windsor Road. Fantastic flavours - definitely not just your bog standard tikka massala here! Great value meal deal offers always available.

The Chef (Chinese): Decent and reliable, but not spectacularly tasty. £16 per head order as much as you like is great, but we never make it past the starters!

Caffe Piccolo (Italian): Part of a small chain of local restaurants. Nothing fantastic, but I enjoyed my recent visit there - accessible food, popular with families. CLOSED NOVEMBER 2009

La Mama (Italian): Looks wonderfully inviting - passing it almost daily for two years I vowed I'd go there and try it one day. Two years' anticipation turned into the disappointment of a lasagne that tasted of canned tomato soup. Now renovated and looking very modern. Not had a meal there recently but was made a very nice cappuccino...

Bombay Masala (Indian) formerly Le Kitchen: Once this was my favourite but several management changes on it's very hit and miss. My last order consisted of four different dishes which remarkably managed to taste the same. Won't be ordering from them again, I'm afraid.

De Niro's (Fast Food): CLOSED APRIL 2009


Chubby's (Burgers, Kebabs, Pizza): Have only tried it once. OK, but not a match for the supremely brilliant Surry Nefis

Pizza Express (erm...): Well, it's a Pizza Express.

Meghna (Indian): Decent Indian food. £9.99 Mon-Thurs deal (£10.95 on Fridays) is definitely worth trying and great value for money. Superbly friendly staff compete the experience.

Shalimar (Indian): Well, it's opposite The Plough, so technically Old Malden. But what the heck - decent Indian food, Raja & Sara make excellent hosts but the slow service is a let down.

Surrey Nefis (Fast Food): Chicken kebab, pitta bread, small chips - salad, no cabbage. Extra chilli sauce. Thanks.

Kingfish (Fish & Chips): Modestly decent fish and chips. Does well, but could do batter. Mwahahaha.

Ryan Gate (kebabs, shawarma, miscallenous Lebanese delights): Fantastic shawarma, samosas and lebanses pies. Pizza is actually very good, when they are serving it, that is..

Silks (Italian, Thai, Chinese - Fusion food): Silks closed on January 1st 2009 (Full review here)

Chinese Canteen: Decent takeaway Chinese food, cooked to order in the open kitchen while you wait. Consistent and reliable - my Chinese of choice!

Classic Wok (Chinese): Good food, good value for money. But my loyalty is still with Chinese Canteen!

The Munal (Nepalese): Subtly different to Indian cuisine - more flavoursome and aromatic. Can highly recommend the £9.95 Mon-Thurs set meal. Well worth a visit.

Berties (was 'Cafe Experience'): Closed June 2009

Cuppaholic (cafe): You might have missed this one - it's in the small parade of shops, just by the station. Full marks to the hard working staff here, but the food barely hits the 'average' mark. Closed 2010.

Ginger & Garlic (Sri Lankan / Asian takeaway): CLOSED DOWN. Full review here.

Papa Johns: Cheap, stodgy and nasty when I tried it, but always seems busy. If only they were as good as making pizza as they are at parking illegally on pavements.

KFC: I went there once because everything else was shut. I was so ashamed that I scrubbed myself with carbolic soap for a month afterwards.

Midas Touch: Trendy bar feel to this place. The Midas Touch Burger is a consistent winner, though. A popular choice with families at weekends. Now called The Brook.

The Brook: The Midas Touch with greater emphasis on food and classic retro d├ęcor. Sizeable portions of very agreeable food. Excellent value for money with your KT4 discount card.

Checkers Sandwich Bar: Can't fault Joe for his cheerfulness, but the food was bland. The floor could do with a deep clean and the waitress dashing outside for a cigarette in between serving didn't create the best impression.

Sheesh Mangal: A very pleasant lunch was had here quite a while ago. Been meaning to go back...

Bronco's: The play area at the back makes this a hit with families with young children no matter what the quality of the rest of the experience. Service professionalism is variable but friendly - seems to be improving. Food quality is generally very good. Not cheap but hey you get to have a nice meal while the kids keep themselves entertained...

Still to be explored:
Ocean Fish Bar, Royal India, Bellini.

Your comments welcomed - especially on the ones I've missed!

Given the recent hoo-har (that's a technical term) about the quality of the restaurants in Worcester Park, especially regarding the star hygiene ratings, I am including this link to the Food Standards Agency page which lists the ratings for all food serving premises in KT4 (you need to scroll down a bit to see them). (Thanks blog reader Adrian for the idea). I hope as well as giving people more information to help them decide where to eat, it will give a direct incentive to local restaurants to improve their star ratings, leading to better quality restaurants in Worcester Park, better eating for Worcester Parkers and eventually, when things have turned around, an enviable reputation for Worcester Park as being one of the best places around to eat! Go to it...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

It's Chriiiiisssstmassss!


It's September, for frick sake. But that hasn't stopped Waitrose putting our their Christmas range on the shelves already.

Mind you, with the new layout still so confusing perhaps it's a good thing that they've given their customers 3 months in which to find the festive section.

But seriously, this is so depressing I nearly shot myself in the head with a self-scan gun. Who the hell buys this stuff in September?

Name and shame, please.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Ass Not A Donkey

Thanks to blog reader Alex who has provided this snap of the now famous KT4 mule (yes it's a mule, not a donkey, apparently) outside the Worcester Park Tavern.

I have no idea, of course, what a mule drinks. No doubt my quick-witted blog readers will be able to suggest?


Friday, 23 September 2011

Making An Ass Of Myself

I have been unable to post for some weeks, having been kept under lock and key by Mrs WP who refuses to believe that I keep seeing a man riding a donkey around Worcester Park.

She won't let me out on the streets again until I stop mentioning these 'visions'.

Please help.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Center Of Intention?


Is this the latest unfortunate signage incident in Worcester Park or has the 'Surrey Door Center' really gone all American on us?

Furious bystander Miss Pelling of Linewood Drive raged: "This town is becoming so Americanised  and I won't have it. I have just gotten used to having The Hamptons on my doorstep and now this. Worcester Park should be British 24/7 - it's time we brought some normalcy to this goddam town. I for one will be buying my doors elsewhere'.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Cowboy Builders - Worcester Park

Back in April I brought you news that Dom Littlewood from Channel 5's Cowboy Builders was in Worcester Park, coming to the rescue of homeowners in Hampton Road.

The team had arrived in Worcester Park to help the Marr family who, having paid out £23,000 for a kitchen extension, were left in the lurch when their builders disappeared leaving just foundations, a floor and two walls.

The builders (and Melinda Messenger) moved in at the end of April and you can now see the Worcester Park episode of Cowboy Builders this Thursday (25th August) at 9pm on Channel 5.

Will it be a heart wrenching tale of woe? Will they run out of money and have to go and beg local businesses for help? Will it all end happily ever after? Of cousre it will. It's telly, after all.