Thursday, 26 February 2009

Beanz Meanz......

Many years ago I used to watch Blue Peter and every once in a while they'd have a charity drive that usual consisted of collecting something such as stamps, tin cans, milk bottle tops, deceased rodents..... the usual stuff. I participated as enthusiastically as any other viewer and I'm proud/embarrassed to say that I am a genuine Blue Peter badge holder and I even have a photo of me with John Noakes to prove it (and the badge... somewhere).

Anyway, it's bean been pointed out to me that tomorrow there is something planned in line with their latest cause, Mission Nutrition, in the shape of a "beans on toast fundraising event" in Edwards Close, Worcester Park. There are two times listed, 9am and 1pm so if you're interested in helping raise money for Blue Peter's cause then there's more info here. Not sure how much it's going to help the air quality in Worcester Park though but do let me know if you end up going along....

Monday, 23 February 2009

"Spring is sprung, the grass is ris"

"I wonders where the birdies is." (Ogden Nash or 'Anonymous'... take your pick)

That was a particularly nice weekend! I got a fair amount of decorating done but still managed to get out and enjoy the sun on Saturday afternoon at Morden Hall where the snowdrops seemed to be convinced that spring had arrived.
What had actually arrived was a horde of people and the place was heaving with sun-starved Londoners making the most of the rays but I certainly couldn't blame them for that. The kids went to play in one of the several streams and we all chortled as somebody else's child tried and almost (but not quite)succeeded in their attempt, to cross it... Spectacular FAIL.

It was funny because it wasn't one of ours. It made me feel old and wise because a long time ago I was that child...

Like the biblical Jonah's whale the internet hath spewed up some Worcester Park items onto the muddy shores of Google. Firstly a visiting American lady has waxed lyrical about Broadway Bargains in a blog post:
"There is a shop called 'Broadway Bargains' which is like an old-fashioned version of a dollar store. It had a little bit of just about everything - buttons, fabric, toys, kitchen stuff, pencils, pens, paper, used paperback book, etc. Not like anything I've ever seen in the US."

Secondly, the News Of The World's "Fabulous Mag" came visiting the Rose Spa in Worcester Park recently when one male reporter had his legs waxed as part of his mission to understand what women have to go through, though arguably without the addition of a womb it was a token gesture.
"Being pampered sounds warm and cosy, and Samantha Harrison, owner of The Rose Spa in Worcester Park, Surrey, made me feel welcome and comfortable. Then she smeared hot wax on my leg and made me cry for my mummy. Leg waxing feels like you are being skinned alive. In salt water."

Lastly Worcester Park has been cited in no less an august journal than the Mormon Times where writer Kristine Frederickson discusses the artist Holman Hunt and the creation of his artwork "The Light of the World"
"By 1851 he was so discouraged that he decided he would give up art and become a farmer. However he persevered, working at night in an improvised ramshackle hut at Worcester Park Farm in Surry (sic) and in 1854 exhibited The Light of the World."

"Ramshackle"!? How rude. At least Wikipedia is polite enough to call it "makeshift".

Friday, 20 February 2009

5 million good reasons to vote carefully

I didn't make the Cheam North and Worcester Park Local Committee last night as I had a PC to revive with a deadline of today. Fortunately I managed to coax it back to life so I now have access to all my notes without the hassle of extracting the hard disk and sticking it in something else, which is nice.

In news with a wider appeal there's activity inside the Huntsmans Hall so the promised 6-week refurb is under way with the promise of a lounge bar to look forward to.

The Local Guardian seems to have had a splurge of Worcester Park news over the last couple of weeks and that continues with the story of how one local resident has unfortunately made a name for himself in New Malden.
"A Worcester Park man has been warned he faces jail after launching into a vicious attack on his former partner in New Malden High Street. Kieran Timoney, of Kingshill Avenue, Worcester Park, admitted kicking and slapping his ex-girlfriend and tearing a chunk of her hair so hard he created a bald patch. "

and also the story about the Worcester Park filmmaker, Akash Lockmun, who has won an MTV award together with his creative partner for an anti-knife crime movie.

Probably the most significant story though is the failure of the £5 million "Smarter Travel Sutton" scheme to make any impact on traffic in Sutton, one of its stated targets. The Sutton Guardian again relates,
"The £5m Smarter Travel Sutton scheme has failed to reduce traffic congestion over the past two years, it has emerged. The three-year partnership between Sutton Council and Transport for London (TfL) promoted sustainable transport to 75,000 householders. At a board meeting last week TfL praised the “behavioural change” scheme for encouraging more Sutton residents to cycle, walk and use public transport. But the organisation admitted road traffic levels were cut by only one per cent, in line with other outer London boroughs. Ben Plowden, Smarter Travel director, said: “Therefore the growth in the use of sustainable modes has not yet translated into a direct impact on traffic levels across the borough.” "

£5 million!?!?! That's the amount of money that went AWOL from their accounts in an Icelandic bank and 20 times the amount that they were proposing to save by removing transport from disabled children. I wish I'd made it to the Council meeting now to hear what was said.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Rapidly Approaching Death Star

Oh dear. Trouble at Brinkster Central this morning.

A while back I bought the Star Wars loving Brinkster Junior a Death Star model from eBay which, having had a misspent youth of making Airfix models as a way of steering clear of my parents, I've been patiently painting the seemingly 1.5 million little black lines on for him. Not particularly diligently though as life does need to be lived and my eyesight's not what it was.
Brinkster Junior, however, doesn't "do" patient and yesterday he'd wound his 8-year old brain into a mental state which only the immediate arrival of a fully-painted Death Star would relieve, so I set to work again and in an hour painted another couple of thousand small lines, then packed it away in a plastic bag down the side of the sofa. Only half a million more to go.

When I arrived at work this morning I had an urgent email from Miss Brinkster to say that he was trying to paint it himself. Hmmm.... then just as I picked up the phone to call home Mrs Brinkster rang me to say that he'd decided to have a go himself and in the resulting trail of destruction got black paint on the table...... and the wooden floor...... and the Death Star (my precious lines!)...... and the sofa. Sigh.
If that sounds bad it only ranks second behind the time that he bought a metal F-16 from the "Household and Toy Warehouse" on Central Road and was flying it round the house, right up until the moment it "dived" through the front of the flatscreen monitor.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Love is in the air

As I'm sure you're aware it's St Valentine's Day tomorrow and instead of waxing lyrical about the day here I'll point you in the direction of my article in the latest Worcester Park Life. Unfortunately that piece of earnest and scrupulously-researched writing might leave me hoist by my own petard as Mrs Brinkster sat studiously reading it the other day which, I suspect, has raised her expectations somewhat... or even quite considerably. At least I'm not in as much fear as some of my fellow City-workers who have been wearing thin the carpet of Clinton Cards and their ilk with queues more reminiscent of bakers in Soviet Moscow. Mrs Brinkster hasn't mentioned my bus slogan of yesterday so I think I may still be OK

Moving on from all things lurve-related I'm pleased to be able to highlight a Brinkley Road business for you in Mundy Art and to highlight the Worple Group Spring 2009 Art Show at which he'll be exhibiting. Gavin got in touch by email to let me know about his business and I'd recommend you take a look!

My Useful Link Of The Day is this one from Sutton Libraries where you can look to see if the local library has a particular book available. I knew this was available in the library but seemed a bit pointless as firstly a) you were already there and b) the touchscreen computer I was using didn't seem to have any kind of keyboard function so I couldn't search anyway.

Lastly the next meeting of the Cheam North and Worcester Park Local Committee is next Thursday, 19th Feb, at 7.30pm so if you're interested in attending then you can find the Agenda on this page. It's your chance to interact directly with your local Councillors and go some way to answering the oft-repeated question, "What do they actually do?".

Thursday, 12 February 2009

God Bless Atheists!

First some lovely Christians decided to put an advert on a bus (I forget what it said) and then Richard Dawkins and Co ran their "Probably no God" campaign so, feeling that I've been left behind somewhat, I've decided to run my own.

Waddya think?? To the point and has a glowing reference.....

As you've probably guessed this, together with my fascination with lolcats, stems from a childhood background of wanting to mess with photos. When my Dad had finished with the newspaper I would take pen in hand and draw moustaches, beards and other such pre-Photoshop alterations on the pictures for amusement (only three channels of TV in those days!) and that has grown up (I use the term loosely) into a fascination for photo alteration. Nowadays there are a whole bunch of websites which will enable you to mess with pictures at the click of a couple of buttons and has made my life a lot easier, which I'm sure was their designers' stated objective when they came up with the idea. Anyway, you want to get fiddling don't you so head over here and start making your own bus captions and, once again, if you come up with and good or funny ones (not rude, profane or potentially illegal ones..... unlike last time) then I'll post them here.

And Yes, I probably will get in trouble with Mrs Brinkster for posting this.......

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Weakly collections

Today's Metro is aflame with news from the Taxpayer's Alliance that fortnightly bin collections are to blame for the increase in rodent infestations from 2007 to 2008.

"Councils reported 378,000 rat infestations last year – up 15 per cent on 2007.
From this, the National Pest Technicians Association estimated there were 650,000 call outs – the most since it began its survey nine years ago. The NPTA said bird food, littering and fly-tipping were also to blame for the increase. But its report added: 'Poorly secured household waste is a further problem. It is made worse where alternate weekly collections for entirely commendable waste minimisation purposes are not fully embraced or well managed.' "

Against this measured analysis of the available statistics the Local Government Association put up this well thought out and measured argument:

"But the Local Government Association said there was 'no evidence' for the claims.
'When I see a rat that can pole vault into a wheelie bin, then I will believe alternate weekly collections can cause populations to increase,' said deputy chairman Richard Kemp."

Nice to know somebody that sensitive and aware of public concerns is advising our Local Authorities. I believe all Worcester Park residents have a weekly "brown bin" collection but let me know if you've had any bad experiences.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Reasons to love the internet, part 136

I can add two more reasons to love the internet to my list this morning. The first is where you enter a postcode and it'll give you the opening times of large shops in the vicinity, ideal for when you have the 9pm munchies and want to know where should be open, and also provides a little Google map to help out. It'd be better if it included Costcutter, being at the end of Brinkley Road, so I need to find out how to add shops to it...

The second will, I know, interest one or two readers in particular and it's the perfectly delightful (as Stephen Fry might say) ornate timepiece (as Stephen Fry might say) which fulfils the role of bedside clock and wakes you up to the dulcet tones of Stephen Fry saying, in his best Jeeves (they claim "Gosford Park") voice, such sublime utterances as:
"Excuse me Madam. I'm so sorry to disturb you but it appears to be morning. Very incovenient I agree. I believe it is the rotation of the earth that is to blame"
"Good Morning Madam! I am delighted you have survived another night. If you will allow a personal note may I add my own small congratulation to the roar of the world's approval. Thank you."

It comes in ladies and gentlemens versions (as you might have inferred from the sample phrases above) with additional phrases for the ladies such as:
"Good Morning Madam! A gentleman calling himself Mr Cruise wishes to talk to you. He is looking for someone to accompany him to something called the Oscars ceremony this year. He has banged his somewhat obtrusive nose on the front door I fear"
whereas the gentlemen get:
"Oh dear... Come, come, let us not be defeated sir. Let us seize the day and take it roughly from behind, as the Colonel used to say in his unfortunate way.

It's from and they claim it has about a six-month supply of messages before they start to repeat. You can hear sample messages at the website even if you aren't going to buy the clock, which can only be bought online apparently.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

More Huntsman's News

This week's Sutton Guardian has an article about the status of the Huntsman's Hall in Worcester Park, which has been closed for a while now. According to them it is due to reopen as a stylish lounge bar after a six-week refurbishment and has quotes from David Rymill (our favourite local historian), a former drinker at the pub and the guy who used to live above it... who myself and the Worcester Park Blogger spoke to back in November. Anyway, if you want to know more either fish your copy of the Sutton Guardian out of the recycling or click on the scanned article above.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Snow more puns

Just how many weather-related puns can a guy get through in one week!?!? There are limits to even my literary endurance, though thankfully commuting-wise the trains have been fine since Wednesday so I haven't had to resort to strange and tortuous routes to get to or from work. Parts of the pavements on Brinkley Road are still dangerous underfoot but these kind of conditions are the only ones where you're allowed to walk down the middle of the road without having people thinking you're some kind of "Care In The Community" reject.

Once again Metcheck and the Met Office disagree about how much snow/sleet/rain we're going to see today (some v none) so we'll have to see how it goes, though Monday night's looking potentially nasty although perhaps too warm for snow.

There's not been much happening in Worcester Park this week that isn't snow-related but those of you who remember the, currently closed, Huntsmans Hall's past as a Punch Tavern may be amused by the manner of the closure of another Punch Tavern in Oxford for, you've guessed it already, underage drinking. It seems like the local teens revelled in their lawlessness by, ermm, posting it on the internet for all to see. The Oxford Mail takes up the story:
"A pub has been shut down after police spotted teenagers bragging about boozing in the bar on an Internet site. Police launched an investigation into the Black Bull, in Kidlington, after being handed photographs showing youngsters posing with bottles of alcopops on social networking site Bebo. The teenagers posted messages on the site celebrating how they could get away with drinking in the pub – even though they were underage."

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

No trains

According to SW Trains emergency page they won't be running a service through WP today so your only chance is to go to New Malden for the 4-an-hour Waterloo to Waterloo trains round the Kingston/Twickenham loop or see if there's enough buses to get to Morden and get the Northern Line. I suspect that's where I'll be.

EDIT: The 93 bus was starting from Stonecot Hill and not going through North Cheam this morning. The 293 will take you from North Cheam to Morden, albeit using a very circuitous route.

UPDATE: The SW Trains website has more info on their service stopping at New Malden.
London Waterloo circular via Wimbledon, Kingston, Twickenham
Services will run from London Waterloo at 12, 27, 42 & 57 minutes past each hour via Wimbledon, Kingston and Twickenham
Services will run from London Waterloo at 03, 18, 33 & 48 minutes past each hour via Twickenham, Kingston and Wimbledon

Although the bus/tube combination worked OK this morning I think I'll try the train/bus combination on the way home.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Going snow-where

No trains, buses (and in some cases common sense) so we'll be off to the hill at the Hamptons with the sledge in a while. As usual the Great British Preparations didn't include gritting Central Road, meaning that the road is just packed down snow/ice so cars were only making it uphill as assisted by the Worcester Park public. As they say on the radio "Don't travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary".

The top of Washington Road

Looking down Washington Road

Central Road

Note the downhill side is solid snow


And to the guy who slid his way from Windsor Road across Central Road and down into Washington Road...... it's probably easier to drive if you're not on your mobile and driving one-handed.

Grit expectations

Woah! Has it snowed!

By about 10.30 Central Road looked like this:

so Neil and myself decided, in the spirit of neighbourly love, that we would perform a good deed.

so we went up to Central Road

and used grit from the bin to grit the top of the road to help the cars get out. Hope it helped!! If you were the couple who waved as you pulled out of the end of the road do let me know!!
Our gritting handiwork
Now for the second half of the Superbowl....