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...