Monday, 29 September 2014

Nice Night For A Walk

Like most people in the area you probably have a vague recollection of groups of people in funny yellow wigs wandering about Worcester Park in the middle of the night at various points in the past. Perhaps it was all just a weird dream...

Or perhaps it was the annual Moonlight Memories Walk raising money for St Raphael's Hospice. If, this time you would like to be one of those people in a funny yellow wig, the opportunity is at hand.

This very weekend, nay this very Saturday evening (4th October), good people from near and far will be donning such wigs of yellow, and indeed T-shirts and other adornments of a similar hue, and setting out to stroll the streets of North Cheam and Worcester Park in an effort to raise £50,000 - nearly as much money as St Raphael's needs to run for a single week.

It all begins at 6pm at St Bede's Conference centre (which is just behind St Raphael's) with face painting, a bouncy castle, hot and cold food and indeed a bar. The actual walking begins at 8:30pm and follows a 5 mile route around the local area.

Everyone is welcome to take part (children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult) and everyone is encouraged to ware yellow. A yellow t-shirt and presumably a yellow wig is provided.

The cost of all this irreverent fun (it is a charity after all) is £15 for adults and £10 for children and you are encouraged to add some sponsorship to that as well if you can. You need to register before 12 midday on Friday (3rd October). To so do, be not hesitant in your emailing of or indeed else your phoning thereof on 0208 254 2466.

And who knows, maybe people will be wondering what you are doing wandering round in a yellow wig this Saturday night!

Malfunction Overload

The new bridge and lifts at Worcester Park station were only opened at the very end of June. It is not even October yet and the lifts have already broken down twice. At least this time however the lifts have decided to inject a little humour into their failure. I'll allow blog reader Alex to continue the story from here. He writes:
"I recall the lift on the London bound platform broken down a little while ago, which some, (presumably those who contribute the least to the no doubt considerable capital investment) confidently dismissed as a ‘one off’.  
As I waited on the platform today, I heard an announcement coming from inside the bridge: “Lift overloaded! Please reduce the load!” At the top of the steps, I found the lift doors open. I had a camera with me and recorded a quick video – as you can see, there was no ‘load’ – the lift was quite empty. So that’s another ‘one off’ freak breakdown."

"The same brand new lift has now had two complete breakdowns. Frankly, I wouldn’t take my chances in there, particularly if I was on the last train of the evening – no matter how desperately I needed it!"
Hope springs eternal...

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Vote For Your Favourite Shop

There is often much discussion on here and around the area in general about the state of the High Street. For clarity I am referring here to the main shopping area streets - i.e. Central Road, Windsor Road, London Road over in North Cheam etc. Few of us (if any) want to see our shopping areas taken over by multinational outlets pushing out the very local independent shops which make our area unique.

Multinationals do have inbuilt advantages in that they can run national advertising campaigns, draw on the many experiences of numerous employees across many shops - putting tried and tested systems in place, buy in bulk to keep product prices down and provide customers with a 'safe' shopping experience - in that they'll know exactly what the experience will be like before they even walk in the door.

For these reasons I'm sure all of us have chosen Costa over Checkers and Waitrose instead of Ross's and Woodward Bros in the past (I'm just as guilty), or worse still, driven over to Kingston before even considering if Preview Menswear, Worcester Spark or the Toy Shed might have what we are looking for.

Our independent shops have other advantages though. They are unique and personal for a start. They are are part of the community and help shape the community. And they each give us something we can't quite get anywhere else at all.

An addition, independent shopkeepers have often poured life savings into their business. They have chosen to work extraordinarily long hours, day after day for many years and no one pays them to do it. Their only financial reward is what is leftover from the takings in the till after everything else has been paid for. They never really know how much that is going to be from day to day. Some do well out of it, others struggle. But they each chose to take that risk and give it a go and we are the ones who benefit by having those choices available to us. And I applaud them for it.

It is therefore appropriate that these businesses be occasionally recognised and I am glad once again to be able to draw your attention to the Independent Shop Of The Year competition in Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park.

Parliamentary candidate, Paul Scully (Conservative) has put his money where his mouth is and has launched the competition in which local residents can vote online for their favourite independent retailer at Everyone who takes part then goes into the draw to win £100 to spend in the winning shop.

Last year the competition was won by Precision Chiropractic in Cheam (followed closely by our own Woodward Bros butcher shop in second place).

Kate Irwin of Precision Chiropractic said, "it’s a fun competition, supporting local businesses".

After the launch Paul commented,
"I am a small business owner committed to supporting local retailers who create jobs for local people, protect the character of our high streets, and help to build a healthy local economy. I encourage everyone to take a moment to express their gratitude for the hard work of the staff at their favourite local shop, by voting online at".
Voting is open until 16th October and this year’s winner will be announced on 23rd October. By taking part in the competition, customers have the opportunity to say thank you to a local retailer that they feel has provided an outstanding service to them and their families.

Tacky Taxis

For those wondering what became of the old Born Sushi shop in Windsor Road, the latest addition to our high street has just been revealed. And it's not the sort of shop front you're likely to miss.

Looking like the home page of the tackiest website you've ever seen, the only thing missing is a dozen flashing signs. Perhaps I shouldn't give them any more ideas...

Shop front 'before'
In case you hadn't worked it out from the shop front, the new business is a minicab office. Whether or not they are open for business yet is hard to tell. The signage all went up last week - it was apparently finished on Friday. However the door is locked and peering through a small gap in the signage reveals only a single unmanned desk. It has been suggested that it is a telephone only office and not a walk in one so we might never see it open.

A brief sounding of local opinion suggest that 'tacky' and 'over the top' appear to be the main first impressions given out by this new venture. I'd personally add 'gaudy' and 'tasteless' to the list.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Bin Number Two

I spotted this note near central Road. If this is you - consider yourself told...

Friday, 26 September 2014

Yankee Doodle Diner

Many people have been wondering what has been going in inside the old Al Jenat supermarket which closed back in April last year, barely more than 6 months after opening. Rumours have been flying
around: Is it going to be a children's soft play centre? Will it be a new restaurant? Well actually it's going to be both.

Bronco's, as it shall be named is to be a new American style diner with a children's soft play area at the back (being dubbed 'The Ranch').

This all sounded to me almost like something I've seen before. A burger restaurant with a kids play area? Now Mcwhen have I seen that concept before? Surely I thought this must be a restaurant chain- they are just opening a franchise. Take a look at the logo - it's too professional for a single one off business...

However one of the new owners, Lee told the blog:
"We are not a franchise or a chain but a simple family business owned and to be run by two local mums who want to run a family restaurant made for and aimed at families. We live in the area and have children at local schools. We are supporters of local businesses and believe in supporting the community. 
The restaurant (Bronco's) is an American style diner serving Burgers, Hotdogs, Ribs, Pancakes, Waffles and Ice Cream. The Ranch at Bronco's is a soft play area situated to the back of the restaurant and will be a welcome space for parents to relax and play with their young children. We will host children's birthday parties and activities in the day and an adult atmosphere will be created in the evenings. We hope the Worcester Park residents will enjoy our unique creation. We are half way through the build at present but hope to open end of October/beginning November."
The day the work began 
A quick check of the internet confirms that there is indeed no such restaurant chain as Bronco's. This is indeed just a very good idea being brought into being by a couple of local Mums. The idea of the soft play area at the back is a real winner. Having a four year old myself I can see this will be a major attraction for Mums and Dads who in all likelihood haven't been able to enjoy a meal out together in ages. And of course for the kids what's not to like about soft play with Hotdogs, Pancakes and Ice Cream?

Even not being a great fan of burgers and hotdogs, I'm finding myself mentally planning an family evening there. Given that sort of pull, I suspect this idea is destined to succeed!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Rumours Of Coffee And Cake

Raising money for charity takes many forms. Some people like to run or walk long distances. Some pour buckets of water over their heads. But this Friday you can drink coffee and eat cake in order to raise money for that most worthy of charities: McMillan Cancer Support.

The event is being put on by Rumours Wine bar (at the top of Central Road) this Friday from 8am. All tea coffee and cake are free! All that is asked of you is a small donation (or large if you like) which will go to the McMillan charity.

Wayne Catton from Rumours told the blog that they have been:
"Planning this for a while but the coffee machine broke down and was supposed to be fixed last Tuesday. It was only done yesterday."
They didn't want to start advertising it until they had a working supply of coffee. That is why there has been so little notice until now.

He did add though that they have been inundated with cakes for the day. Lots of local people have been baking goodies for the event so there is sure to be a lot to chomp through. Don't let it all go to waste! make sure you are there to help eat the cake, enjoy a coffee (or tea) and help McMillan at the same time.

I love it when I see local business working with local charity and the community. Everyone gains and nobody loses. Good work!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Have A Dig Around

Do you have any Roman ruins lying around the house? Perhaps you should look again because apparently there are few bits on the ancient temple of Mithras missing and they could be around Worcester Park.

The ruins were discovered in the City of London in Walbrook Square (between Bank and Mansion House tube stations) in 1954 when a carved head was dug up and recognised as the Roman God Mithras. Building work was stopped and people were able to see it for two weeks before the remains were packed up and moved. A few hundred visitors were expected to turn up on the first day but around 35,000 showed up and the queue went around the block. It was described as the Roman discovery of the century.

This month marks 60 years since the original discovery and a project is under way calling for people who witnessed the excavation in 1954 to come forward to tell their stories and share their pictures of the event.

At one stage the ruins were stored at a builders yard in New Malden and it is known that a lot of items were pinched during this time. There could be bits of ancient temple all over the area, especially in things built about this time. You may have had a piece of Roman god at home all this time and not even known it! Eventually the remaining pieces were exhibited back in the City close to where they were found.

As Sophie Jackson, an archaeologist at Museum of London Archaeology said:
"If there's a bit of Roman stone - better still mortar - in Gran's rockery, the Temple of Mithras would like it back."
If you might have a bit lying round the house or garden, please contact the Museum of London Archaeology on 020 7410 2266, email or visit

For more info (and to see where I pinched the pictures from) see the BBC report here. Thanks also to blog reader Doug for alerting me to this...

Say 'Thieeeve'

Police are on the hunt for a chap (pictured) after he used a stolen credit card to withdraw money in Worcester Park soon after a burglary.

Cards, electrical items and other valuables were stolen from two homes in New Malden, during the night of the 2nd August. One in Arthur Road and the other nearby in Seaforth Avenue. In both cases the homes were raided while the owners were asleep upstairs.

The suspect apparently withdraw money in Worcester Park and then booked a minicab to Gipsy Hill.

Detective Constable Mike Bunn from Merton Burglary Squad, said:
"These burglaries have left the victims in a state of fear knowing that someone had broken into their house whilst they were sleeping.
We are very keen to speak to the man on the CCTV image as he may be able to assist us with this investigation and catch the person responsible.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Detective Constable Mike Bunn on 0208 649 3019 or call Crimestoppers Anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Play A Frame With Jimmy White

How do you rate your snooker skills?

This Wednesday (17th September) one of Britain's Snooker greats, Jimmy White has agreed to play 9 frames of snooker with lucky members of the public at Sutton United Football Club.

While this event is not being held in Worcester Park it is not too far away and is of direct benefit to an institution deeply connected with Worcester Park, St Raphael's Hospice.

Doors open at 6.30 for a 7pm start. Everyone who buys a ticket will have the chance to bid to play a frame against Jimmy with the seven highest bids winning. You can bid prior to or on the night. Frame 8 will be raffled on the night and frame 9 will be auctioned on the night. All proceeds of the night will be split between St Raphael’s and Sutton United Football Club.

Tickets cost £16 each, including all booking fees (aged 18 and over only) and are available at: For more information or any queries please contact Kerry Thomas at St Raphael's on 020 8254 2465 or

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Pizza Wars

It has become common knowledge fairly quickly that Domino's opened their new pizza delivery store in Central Road (where Debra used to be) on Friday. Especially since they have been leafleting the area (as you would expect) with menus and special offers.

George, the new franchise owner told the blog on Friday morning, a couple of hours before he opened his doors for the first time that he really didn't know what to expect. He said he couldn't start leafleting until he had actually opened but was hopeful it would go well. He did mention his deliverers would be parking behind the store rather than in front so they would not be taking more Central Road parking spaces. However this means pedestrians and others will need to keep a watch out for their bikes and car driving through Stone Place.

The good news for George is that business has started very well. They were quite busy this evening when I popped in again. George said he has hit his expectations and was very pleased with the start.

A little further up the Road their main competition was unusually quiet. Raj the owner of the Papa John's franchise told the blog that his business has dipped markedly this weekend. He hoped this was simply due to people wanting to try something new and the opening specials on offer from the new Domino's. He said he had lost a couple of staff to Domino's as well. He hoped customers would come back to Papa John's for the pizzas.

George at Domino's said he couldn't know how his business would affect that of Papa John's. He hoped they would both be able to do well in the area.

Meanwhile the Pizza Express manager,  Eddie said that business there had not been affected. This was probably not unexpected as the restaurant and delivery markets are very different.

Have you had a pizza delivered recently? Have you tried the new Domino's? Do you usually order from Papa John's? What is your experience and will this change your pizza eating habits? Do tell...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

They Did What When?

If there's one thing that makes me appreciate living in this part of the world, it's our rich history and direct connections to innumerable important events over the centuries and even millennia which rather puts our own lives in context.

I'm glad I'm not the only person who appreciates this and for those others who would like to know a little more about our local history at least, there are two local exhibitions on this weekend.

One of them started on Thursday and is at St Johns Church, off Church Road (down past The Plough) in the Old Malden sector of WP. I managed to stop in and soak in a bit of History (as well as a nice cup of tea from some very pleasant people looking after the church and the exhibition there.)

Did you know that Malden comes from the two Saxon words Mael and Dune meaning "The Cross on the Hill". The saxon church on this site was recorded in the Doomsday book in 1086 so it's a fair bet there's been a church here for over a thousand years. That means the people worshiping there were closer in time to Christ himself than to us! But anyway, I digress...

There is also a historical exhibition at St Mary's Church, Cuddington (down The Avenue) looking at how the area was mostly farmland, less than even 100 years ago. This is from 11am to 5pm today. You can see more information about this on the local Guardian site here so I wont blather on about it here.

This is all being done with a nod to nationwide Heritage Open Days and Open House London which encourages normally closed buildings to allow the public in to see the amazing architecture inside. Open House London is officially next weekend but the Royal Borough of Kingston have apparently brought theirs forward by a week.

So there should be many chances to go and see interesting stuff over the next couple of weeks.

Old is Good!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Open Your Spanish

Those Iberian Culinary Linguists, Cooking Your Spanish are having an open evening this evening at their Worcester Park headquarters in Fitzroy House, Lynwood Drive KT4 7AT  (opposite Barclays).

Drop in any time between 5 and 8pm for a complimentary chorizo de Salamanca with a glass of sangrĂ­a and a taste (pardon the pun) of the unique CYS method of learning the Spanish language which cooking and eating tapas.

Actual courses begin the weeks of the 22nd September and there are three separate classes for different levels of Spanish prior knowledge. (There is a £30 early bird offer if you get in quick.)

See their facebook page or website for more details...

Monday, 8 September 2014

Too Much Arson About

Several dumpsters in the library car park were set alight last night. Apparently the bins were 'well alight' when firefighters arrived from New Malden at about 1.30am.

Smoke still rising earlier today
According to one blog reader, smoke was still rising from the scene at 6am this morning (thanks to another blog reader for the smoking picture - left) and there was still an acrid smell there this afternoon when I took these other pictures.

There seems to have been a spate of arson attacks in the same area over the last few weeks. According to another blog reader, a moterbike engine was set alight only metres from this point a few weeks ago which caused an explosion at 3am and caused a small fire which was put out by local residents. Shortly after this a wheely bin was apparently set alight, also very close by.

Please be vigilant and contact the police if you are aware of anyone who might be doing this. Next time it could by the library or someone's business or home, killing people in the process. These might be the sort of people who will not stop until they're caught so if you can help, please ensure they are caught quickly before something much worse happens.

You can contact the police on 101 or on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous. Always call 999 if it is an emergency or a crime is in the midst of happening.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Nuovo Ristorante Italiano

It has been almost a year since Henry Owen's Pie, Mash and Eel shop closed in North Cheam. However last Tuesday (2nd September) after many months of renovations, La Bella Luna opened in it's place, providing a new Italian restaurant in North Cheam.

The blog has been noting the internal works going on over the months and is glad to see the new eatery finally open its doors.

The new restaurant is co-owned by Fidelo who is also the chef (pictured here below) and his brother Luigi. The pair also own the Verona Italian Restaurant in Morden. Viola, also pictured here runs the front of house.

Fidelo and Viola told the blog that they are very happy with their first week since opening. They leafleted around 2000 homes in the area with their new menu and already have a facebook page (how very social media savvy).
As can be seen in the photo at the top, taken last night (Saturday) they have become fairly popular quite quickly. They are already interviewing potential staff to fill two more positions to cope with the level of business.

Fidelo has been a chef for a long time (name dropping a few film and sports stars he has cooked for) and wants to ensure everything he serves up is top quality. (I had a quick cappuccino while I was there and have to say it was one of the better ones I have had locally.)

They are open 6 days a week (closed Monday) and also open for lunch, offering a £5 set menu of pizza, pasta and special Italian Ciabatta sandwiches.

I hope to coax Mrs WP along for a meal there to find out if it really does pass the good authentic Italian restaurant test. Until then please feel free to comment on the Restaurant review page.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Creston Way Bomb Scare

A suspicious item looking like a bomb left behind in a flat caused Carters Close and surrounding Roads to be evacuated on Thursday (4th September) afternoon.

The item in question was a bottle which contained a blue liquid and nails, and was connected to a circuit board and clock. It was left in a second floor flat in Creston Way (pictured right) after people moved out and was apparently spotted by someone from A2Dominion, the Housing Association landlord for the property when they went to inspect the flat. Police were called mid afternoon to the area and everyone was evacuated from Creston Way, Carters Close and the nearby area up to Clarkes Avenue. People were allowed back into their homes again after around 6:30 after the bomb disposal people had checked it was safe.

The door of the flat is now secured with a steel cover door. 
It looks as if the door behind had to be smashed open.
According to several people the flat was originally let to a couple who were apparently hard drug addicts and local beggars. It seems they then moved out and the woman's under-age children started squatting in there instead. Apparently the place was often being visited by many different youths and there had been a number of police raids on the flat during this time. Youths were sometimes spotted climbing out of the second floor flat windows to make quick escapes. Whoever was living there reportedly had little regard for other people living nearby.

This had apparently all been reported to A2Dominion but it seems they had been dragging their heels about getting rid of the antisocial tenants. It looks as if they moved out by themselves, leaving behind one last gift for all their neighbours. The device designed to look like a bomb to disrupt everyone's Thursday afternoon.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Iced Tea Leaf

Local Police arrested a thief who has been shoplifting from various local shops last Wednesday (27th August).

Two members of Iceland staff tried to restrain the man outside Iceland in Central Road and alerted Worcester Park police. PCs Michael Bouwers (pictured) and PC Danny Fleming, of Worcester Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team, arrived quickly to be told by the Iceland staff that a man had allegedly taken items from the store and left without payment.

The staff then directed the police to where the man had fled and the officers pursued the man who was arrested for shoplifting. Enquiries led to the man being charged with a total of five offences for theft including £500 worth of goods from Waitrose and Boots during the last month. He is now attending court.

The man has been served with banning orders by Waitrose, Iceland and Boots. If the man was to return he would be trespassing and if he stole from these stores he would be arrested for burglary. 

PC Bouwers commented: 
"Without Iceland's swift intervention and effective communication with Police this may have not been possible to link this suspect to other theft offences. 
Working together we can prevent offenders from stealing from the local area and businesses. Theft offences will not be tolerated in Worcester Park from hardworking decent people and Police will actively disrupt and deter anyone coming into the area wanting to commit crime." 
Worcester Park police have been working closely with retailers and businesses to get to know each other as part of relationship building initiative so any issues or concerns about crime or anti-social behaviour can be dealt with quickly as and when they arise. They believe these communication links helped lead directly to this arrest.


Monday, 1 September 2014

Plaice Loses it Sole As Business Flounders

If you managed to secure yourself a fish supper from Kingfish this last week, be glad as you were one of the last few who did. Unfortunately the bailiffs have today taken possession of this Worcester Park landmark so from tonight the restaurant, complete with tables set up ready for dining customers, lies dark, empty and closed.

I spoke to two ladies outside the shop who were shocked to find it closed as they had planed to buy their dinner from there. They instead had to make the trek up to Ocean fish bar at the top of the hill.

For others planning to enjoy fish and chips tonight or in the near future, please remember that unfortunately the local choices no longer include Kingfish.

Whatever happened the blog wishes the owners and staff of Kingfish well.