Thursday, 31 July 2008

It's nearly time for Classic Bus Day!

Devoted readers may hazily recall that back in November last year I posted about the upcoming free bus service in Worcester Park on the 10th August and pointed you in the direction of the folks at for information. Last night some kindly person commented to point out that red-rf's web site was broken and spewing out error messages but fear not! Worcester Park Life has come to the rescue and the new August edition, available in print tomorrow, has a two page feature entitled "Classic Bus Day" on pages 10 and 12 with all the details you'll need to enjoy what should be a very entertaining and nostalgic day. If you can't wait until tomorrow to get your hands on a hard copy of Worcester Park Life you can always jump the gun by downloading the PDF from here.

On another historical note I was chatting to a neighbour last night who related that Brinkley Road, until the 1930s, had a clear view over the fields below and can remember his neighbour talking about watching the German prisoners-of-war working in the fields during the First World War...... seems hard to believe 90 years on.

EDIT: Steve's on the case and hopefully the website should be back up soon!

UPDATE 09:20: The site's back up. Nice work!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Light entertainment

I was about to turn in last night when my attention was grabbed as the Worcester Park sky flickered with the silent hint of distant lightning to the south-west. I called Mrs Brinkster and we retired outside into the warm embrace of the evening to sit at our garden table and watch the approaching storm whilst chatting and drinking as the display drew closer and became more frequent coupled with ever increasing volume and spectacle. The first drops of rain began to fall so we put the garden umbrella up and sat under it listening to the ryhthm of the rain and marvelling at the foment in the skies above us whilst rehashing with each other the mysteries and mundanities of life until, as the storm slackened and passed off to the north, we headed back inside to put away the glasses and turn off the lights. I couldn't have conjured up a nicer evening.

By the way, anybody know what was happening with all of the police cars up by the Plough yesterday??

EDIT: Found it. There was a car crash at the junction of Church Road involving a 79 year-old woman who needed to be cut free from her car

Photo from local Guardian - Newsquest Media Group

Monday, 28 July 2008

Water catastrophe

I received an email on Sunday from the Parkerilla to say that he'd been in Motspur Park and that the neigbourhood had been without water because of a problem in Wimbledon on one of the hottest days of the year. Lo and behold the BBC News site explains that there was a burst water main in Merton High Street which affected 15,000 people in Wimbledon, Merton, Kingston and as far out as Surbiton. It's not like Worcester Park to miss out on the chance of a good old-fashioned utility failure given the electrical and water issues of the semi-distant past but we do seem to have dodged that one. Thank goodness for Sutton Water.........

Pic by Kati Sarab from BBC News site

In Worcester Park I'm pleased to see that the remaining unit of the old Choices video shop, next to the new Papa Johns, has got the fitters in so I'm keen to see what's going in though, this being Worcester Park, I am restraining my enthusiasm in case it turns out to be yet another charity shop.

Lastly if you want to get a whiff of my latest family-based article for the Worcester Park Life before the printed version comes out in a weeks time then you can read about some of things we do with the Brinkster Clan in and around Worcester Park that don't cost the earth .

Friday, 25 July 2008

The Hamptons new proposal - an objection

Isn't it odd how one person's "tidying up" can be another person's "hiding stuff so you have no chance of finding it"? As a result I wasn't able to locate the the new Hamptons proposal from St James in Brinkster Central this morning so will have to go from memory.

I only really want to address the traffic part of their proposal as that part did strike me as being open to misinterpretation, given the facts I am about to present. As I recall St James mention in their glossy document that they were willing to fund synchronising the Green Lane lights with the other sets of lights to improve traffic flow in Worcester Park but seeing as TFL are now going to fund that they suggested they might spend some money on something else, without specifying what kind of something else they'd spend it on or how useful it would be. The facts as I understand them are that the reason TFL are funding the synchronisation system (aka SCOOT) is because traffic has become so bad it's affecting the bus service, which is a TFL issue. Implementing SCOOT will improve the traffic flow on Central Road but at the expense of side roads which join at the same lights. The relevant point here is that Green Lane, "Gateway to the Hamptons" joins Central Road at the lights and the new scheme will actually reduce the traffic flow out of Green Lane rather than increase it... counteracting St James inference that their proposal will improve traffic for all and therefore capacity to cope with their proposed Hamptons expansion.

To my mind if you live in the Hamptons you ought to be upset about their proposal because if you travel by car then it's going to get more difficult rather than easier. Or am I going mad?

P.S Like the new rating system for each post?

Thursday, 24 July 2008

I saw tree fellers!

Very early the other morning I was surprised to find tree fellers at work on the tree outside HSBC and they were out again later in the week further up Central Road. Bizarrely Central Road was free of traffic queues at that point otherwise it could have become ugly as they had branches well out into the road as the picture shows and as they'd closed the pavement pedestrians were having to make unscheduled crossings to get down the hill. Seeing as the last two sentences have exhausted pretty much my entire knowledge of tree husbandry I would move on to my response to the new proposal for the Hamptons, but I don't have it on me so it'll have to wait for tomorrow......

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Fallout and Ferrari foibles

The local Guardian has published its account of Monday night's council meeting and some of the comments fill in parts of the meeting that I missed, and it seems as though it wasn't just the bit I was at that was stormy.

In other Worcester Park news the Press Association reports the following :

A Ferrari owner will be looking for a new set of wheels after the car was seized in south-west London and sold by the authorities for displaying an out-of-date tax disc.
The £30,000 F348 was spotted in Ruskin Road, Worcester Park, in April, bearing a disc that expired four years ago, and towed away.

When the owner failed to pay the fine and storage fees, the car was sold at auction for £18,000.

Today's blog has been brought to you by the letter 'F'

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

In Die Narrenschiff! *

I had the somewhat depressing experience of being at Sutton Civic Centre last night watching some of our elected representatives making themselves look foolish. I had gone there for something else but when that finished at 9pm I thought I'd stick my head in to the Europa Gallery to see how the vote of no-confidence in Councillor Colin Hall, as tabled by Councillor Paul Scully, was going. Despite the fact that the meeting started at 7pm and the vote was the first thing on the agenda they were still going strong when I arrived and when I left at 9.30pm there was no sign that they were much closer to actually voting. Unfortunately I arrived just as the Deputy Mayor was giving a speech which included castigating the Tories for their seating arrangements and went downhill from there. Although there were occasional voices of reason there was much point-scoring, name-calling, hooting and the like while everbody knew darn well that it wasn't going to make the slightest bit of difference because everyone knew how they were going to vote when they came in and weren't going to change their mind. When I left there was at least one Councillor outside smoking a cigarette safe in the knowledge that he wasn't going to miss anything.... Well there's a few hours of the council tax payers money wasted then.....

If you want an example of ad hominem name-calling one of our Councillors has provided an example on the web for you to view. I know there are some very good Councillors out there [because they read this blog] but I was embarrassed at some of the behaviour I saw in the chamber last night, not least because if you or I behaved like that in a pub then I'd certainly anticipate being asked to leave. When the mp3 comes out I'll be sure to cobble some high(low)lights together for you, perhaps even to music!

Before the next council election I'd recommend you find out what your local Councillors have done during their term in office and let them know what you think about it, preferably at the voting box or before.

* Title inspired by Sebastian Brandt's poem of 1494

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Strike action - bin collections suspended

I came home to find the bins still outside Brinkster Central. According to Sutton Council's website:

Over 200 council staff are striking on Wednesday 16 July over the Government’s pay award to public sector workers.

The waste and recycling services have been affected by the industrial action. Garden waste collections will continue unchanged today and tomorrow but we will be unable to collect household waste or recycling materials on both days.

For those residents whose brown wheeled bin waste is collected on a Wednesday or Thursday it will now be collected next week. We appreciate the inconvenience this may cause and will therefore also collect additional waste sacks not stored in the brown wheeled bins on these days (23 and 24 July).

This week there will be alternative arrangements for green wheeled bin and glass collections. Households whose collection day is Wednesday will now have their recycling picked up on Friday (18 July) while Thursday collections will now take place on Saturday (19 July).
We regret any inconvenience to residents but will be using additional staff from Friday to catch up on any backlog and return to a normal service as soon as possible.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Police raid cannabis house in Worcester Park

According to the Surrey Comet the Police have raided a house in Inverness Road today because they believed it may have been a cannabis factory.

The Kermit reports:

Police were carrying out what is believed to be a raid on a cannabis factory in Worcester Park this afternoon.

A neighbour said police swooped on the address, in Inverness Road, at 12.30pm and officers were still on the scene at 5pm.

Although police officers at the proprty refused to comment on what they were doing, evidence bags were piled up on the front lawn of the house which is in a quiet suburban street.

If anyone from Inverness Road reads this please do leave a comment to say what you know. Big bags of green foliage outside the front of the house would be a big clue.

Come-uppance and more

A few weeks ago I posted about a Worcester Park resident called Stanley Sales, who left his horse called Dollar, in an appalling state. Well this week Horse and Hound once again takes up the story:

A Surrey man who allowed a badly lame horse to suffer for days without vet treatment has been given a five-month prison sentence.

Sales was also given a life ban from keeping all animals, a deprivation order preventing the horse, Dollar, from being returned to him and ordered to pay £1,000 towards costs. His jail sentence was suspended for two years with a supervision order during this duration.

The local Guardian says that the recent house fire in Manor Drive has been blamed on a bedroom mirror that focused the sun's rays to start the blaze. Given the summer that we've had so far I'd say that they were unlucky to get that much sun.........

Lastly, the Brinkster Clan went to see Wall-e at a charity preview last night and if you're a fan of Pixar animation as we are then you're bound to like it. The short cartoon at the start had everyone roaring with laughter and what they managed to accomplish in the main movie with two leading characters who have virtually no dialogue is quite something. One side-effect of that is that the film doesn't have any memorable catchphrases but that's nitpicking really (Unless you like saying "Waaarrlleeee" or "Eeeeev-ah" in funny voices). I know that Pixar spent two years watching old silent movies to work out how to get the best effect with no speech and it's obviously paid off as it does have some really beautiful moments. Star Wars: The Clone Wars next for me I think.....

Monday, 14 July 2008

A full weekend

Sadly, I missed the Worcester Park walk on Saturday morning as I was busy with my martial arts grading (green belt thank you!) and also missed the Graveyard Bash on Sunday due to commitments to Cheam Common Junior's Summer Fair, which the whole Brinkster Clan thought was excellent with rides, inflatable things, go-karts, games, stalls, food, music, yada, yada, yada..... The highlight, of course, was the very sporting headmaster putting himself in the stocks to become a target for wet sponges......

In serious news a local primary school, Dorchester, has become embroiled in some controversy by banning the chairman of its own governors, as the local Guardian relates,

A primary school has banned the chairman of the governors from its premises after he threatened to expose a series of violent incidents involving its pupils.

In one of the most serious episodes at Dorchester Primary School, a six-year-old boy stabbed a teacher with a pencil. In another, a boy was suspended after physically assaulting a girl.

But when chairman of the governors Chris John, 40, tried to raise concerns to the authorities about the children's behaviour he was barred from entering the school in Dorchester Road, Worcester Park, by Sutton Council.

I think the phrase "shooting the messenger" is the on that came to my mind first......... If you want to read more about the incidents and what Mr John is doing about it then read the full article here. Any parents from Dorchester here?

Lastly congratulations to Laura Wood of Relaxation Station in Worcester Park for reaching the finals of the British Beauty and Spa Awards, to be held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in September. She's in the category of "Beauty Therapist Of The Year".

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The lunacy of airport checking

Just as I was at risk of calming down after yesterday's rant about unnecessary security an email drops into my Inbox that set me off again, with a link to an article in the "Ask The Pilot" column at Salon magazine:

"You ain't takin' this through," she says. "No knives. You can't bring a knife through here."
It takes a moment for me to realize that she's serious. "I'm ... but ... it's ..."
"Sorry." She throws it into a bin and starts to walk away.
"Wait a minute," I say. "That's airline silverware."
"Don't matter what it is. You can't bring knives through here."
"Ma'am, that's an airline knife. It's the knife they give you on the plane."

What makes this even more incredible is that the guy is a pilot who's just landed a plane full of people and is transferring to another plane. I'd recommend reading the whole article for full effect.

Friday, 11 July 2008

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

WARNING - Non Worcester Park related rant............. I was at a long meeting yesterday with a bunch of security people, none of whom think any of the security measures I am about to rant about has any value.

Are you sitting comfortably? Let me begin......

A while ago I posted about my miserable experience at Heathrow on the way to Phoenix and since then the Terminal 5 problems, plus an increasing number of other factors, are making flying less appealing. So in this economic downturn you might have thought that the G8 might want to give their airlines/airports a bit of a break to stop them going bust......... but no.......... they've come up with another idea to make the whole flying experience even more unappealing, as the Telegraph explains:
IPods, mobile phones and laptops could be examined by airport customs officials for illegal downloads under strict new counterfeiting measures being considered by G8 governments this week, it is claimed.

Now I'm just happy to be sat on a plane with some assurance that there are no bombs or guns on board but to be honest if the person in the next seat has an mp3 player stuffed with Boyzone tracks that they've downloaded from the net I'm not really going to lose any sleep over it (other than concern for their taste in music). The problem, as always, is that the "security" measures (I use the term loosely) are put forward by people with another agenda.... in this case the music industry who, I'm sure, could come up with a "Dodgy Dossier" of how downloads are related to International Terrorism as justification. If downloaders are going to be treated in the same manner as terrorists and knife carriers then is the eventual conclusion going to be that we'll have mp3 scanners at stations next to the knife scanners and sniffer dogs (are they going to train sniffer dogs that can smell an iPod from three feet away?) before we can get on a train?

With this trend in overbearing security measures I'm waiting for the day when I get frisked for taking a picture of Worcester Park railway bridge "because I could be planning a terrorist attack on critical infrastructure". Then I can stand alongside the man in Hull who had his memory card confiscated for taking pictures in the street and the bus-spotter in Wales who's given up his hobby because of constant harrassment, the Ipswich photographer who was forced to delete his photos of the Christmas lights by the Police, and so on.

When the media and the Government want you to be afraid of everything then does that mean we're on the path to paranoia and xenophobia? Or are we already there?

Repeat after me "I'm mad as hell..........."

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Pageant of the transmundane

One of my delights in Worcester Park is some of the bizarre transmundane things that occur here. Just this week Mrs Brinkster found someone wandering towards the pet shop carrying a small snake that she'd just found near the station and was going to hand over to them........

We've had The Zimmers, UFOs, "snake man", the "armpit shaving road hog" and numerous others to entertain and delight but I fear that Worcester Park's claim to be "Home To The Transmundane" may be under threat from Crawley in West Sussex as The Daily Telegraph explains:
Two grandmothers on mobility scooters had to be dragged apart after getting into a fight where they were "ramming each other like dodgems" in a supermarket. The women were separated after they started trading blows in front of shoppers in an aisle of the Iceland store in Crawley, West Sussex. They were prized apart after staff heard screams.

Cops were called to the scene after the warring pensioners - who were pals - fell out over money. They arrested one of the pensioners, who has not been named, on suspicion of assaulting the other 78- year-old woman who suffered an injury to her arm. She was later taken to hospital.

In this awkward and unfortunate incident there is such a rich vein of potential, I mean it was only a few days ago that I mooted Worcester Park's first Redneck Games and here we have a prime example of the kind of event that could be hosted....... mobility scooter jousting/wrestling/demolition derby/whatever. I've dodged some of these scooters on Central Road before and seen a couple parked outside the British Legion and as the Telegraph goes on to point out:
In Rugby, Warwickshire, the policy introduced a speeding clampdown on mobility scooters, which can reach a top speed of 8mph, after a series of collisions and near misses in the town centre.
I'm sure that downhill on Central Road they can go faster than that!!

Lastly a quick "Good day, eh!" to all my Canadian readers who've shown up over the last few weeks! Quite how you got here I don't know but you're most welcome!!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Into every life a little rain must fall.......

I was trying to get from Brinkster Central in Worcester Park to Kingston during the storm last night and it seems like my instinct to bypass Central Road was well-founded, according to the Sainsbury's delivery man who arrived a while afterwards. Instead I went to North Cheam and then along and up Grand Drive to Raynes Park and through New Malden, which took no time at all. At the weekend we came all the way back round the M25 from Knebworth on Saturday afternoon and the only place we got stuck on the whole journey was from the A3 to Worcester Park......... inevitable really.

Anyway, as far as the forecast goes it looks like last night's storm may only be the warm-up act for tomorrow:

If that's anything like accurate then I might be coming home by hovercraft.

The new Worcester Park Life magazine is out and can be found in a Worcester Park store near you or on t'internet here. Worcester Park (blog not suburb) has his monthly musings on page 40 and 41 and I was asked to make a last-minute contribution about charity scams, which can be found on page 8.

And as for why Mrs Brinkster ended up in a hotel last Friday night I can say that Ann has come closest to unlocking the story but Matty and Jezz can wash their mouths out with soap!! Honestly.....

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Saturday Brunch-time reading

A resident of Manor Drive had a unfortunate experience this week, as the local rag relates:
A Worcester Park homeowner returned from a shopping trip to find her house on fire this afternoon.
Station manager Neil Sinclair, from New Malden fire station, said: "When the fire brigade arrived, there found to be a fire in the rear bedroom which had spread to the roof and had caused severe heat damage to the rest of the first floor."

Another web site outlines the war of words apparently going on between Sutton Council and Thames Valley Housing Association regarding their curfew in the Hamptons. It's an interesting read from a Worcester Park point-of-view but also for anyone who collects logical fallacies because of the statement from Geeta Nanda, the TVHA Chief Exec who says "It appears to be working as there are no current issues on the estate regarding the behaviour of young people...". In the same logical vein my wedding ring is lightning-repellent as I've been wearing it for years and not once been struck by lightning.... and if you believe that I've got a whole box of lightning-repellent trinkets I could sell you.......

I think I'll save the story of how Mrs Brinkster ended up spending last night in a hotel rather than next to me in bed for another day, tho' do feel free to email me or ask her if you see her......

Friday, 4 July 2008

It's almost time....

....for that most important event of the year.

Yes, tomorrow is the annual Redneck Games in East Dublin, Georgia and I did momentarily toy with the idea of wandering down to KFC to recruit Worcester Park's own team to enter the competition, before I remembered just how much I like living, breathing and all that good stuff. Because of this cowardice on my part you'll have to use your imagination to picture Worcester Park residents competing in "Bobbin for pigs feet", "Seed spittin", "Mud pit belly flop" and the "Armpit serenade" not forgetting to mention "Rob and Rawni's Big Redneck Wedding", "Redneck Idol" and "Miss Redneck". If the Hamptons want to get Worcester Park residents back onside they'd have got a bigger crowd doing that than having a fete...... maybe there's next year.

Speaking of the Hamptons Worcester Park (the blog, not the suburb) has fired the opening salvo in the next "Battle of the Hamptons" and there'll be tears before bedtime for sure!! If by some fluke St James win their appeal perhaps we'll be treated to the "original" Hamptons residents waging war with the "new" Hamptons residents..........

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Take Part - Take Pride

This coming Monday heralds the start of Take Part, Take Pride week across London (including Worcester Park obviously) and there are a number of local events going on.

A couple in particular that I want to point out are the Worcester Park Neighbourhood Walk with the Worcester Park Residents' Association on Saturday 12th July meeting at Worcester Park library at 10am and taking in some of the more historical parts of Worcester Park (details from 020 8330 5100).

On Sunday 13th the Acorn Project are running a Graveyard Bash at the old Christ Church graveyard at the top of Central Road from 10-12 to spruce it up a bit. Bring gardening gloves and secateurs or the like to do some damage to help tidy up the local flora.

In other news St James have appealed the rejection of their plans to further develop the Hamptons and have also submitted another plan which is substantially similar to the first except for the wind turbines and some other bits. This will no doubt lead to months of wrangling and bad feeling so don't say I didn't warn you. I understand that the Police will be looking into some of the recent issues raised about the Hamptons, anti-social behaviour and the curfew so await further developments on that as well.

And rumour has it that Worcester Park may be in line for some new Christmas lights......... we shall see.