Thursday, 30 July 2009

You spin me right round baby right round

The Worcester Park Blogger and myself recently ranted against news sources that publish press releases as news, in that particular case the Harvester chain was the source and various local newspapers were the culprits and just this week the Met Office have discovered to their cost that having a PR person tout a 65% chance of decent weather as a "Barbecue Summer" has backfired horribly.

This week I've had a couple of press releases from Andrews Estate Agents about their reopening (they call it an opening) in Worcester Park so in the spirit of pointing out PR spin bear with me while I raise a couple of small points, but first I'd like you to skim through this press release:

Andrews Estate Agents enters its Golden era by opening its 50th Estate Agency branch in Worcester Park, Surrey next week.

In a sign of increased confidence in the Property Market, the branch at 50 Central Road, Worcester Park will be officially opened by the Deputy Mayor of Sutton, Councillor John Leach on Monday 3rd August.

Area Manager for Andrews, Nigel Churaman said: “The opening of the Worcester Park branch is a sign of Andrews commitment to the area, it compliments Andrews’ other branches in New Maulden and North Cheam which further improves our service to our customers.”

Local residents are invited along for a free Home Health Check from 6pm – 8:30 as Property experts from Andrews will be on hand to give advice on buying or selling your home, renting or letting out your property, how to get the best surveys and give details of the latest mortgage deals.

New Branch Manager at Worcester Park, James Ankers comments: “Andrews is always one step ahead of the Property game and we are delighted to be opening our 50th Estate Agency branch in Worcester Park. The housing market has been through a challenging time recently, but there are overwhelming signs of improvement and our new branch demonstrates our belief that the tide has truly turned. Andrews staff will be on hand to answer any queries the community of Worcester Park might have. There is an exclusive special opening offer to the first 10 people who instruct Andrews to sell their home will pay just £1500 plus VAT*”

We will also have a Limited edition Bag for Life with a Worcester Park design which we will be giving away to show that we are proud to be in the local community.

The Grand Opening of the new Andrews branch on 50 Central Road, Worcester Park is from 6pm – 8:30pm. The first 100 people to visit will receive the special limited edition “Worcester Park” Bag for life.

Still with me? Good.

Point number 1 (A minor one for sure) - Skating over their inability to spell New Malden it's really a re-opening... not an opening. If you close something (like your bathroom door) and then open it again you re-open it. If you want to take it to extremes then Costa shutting it's doors on Tuesday night and (re) opening on Wednesday could be called a "Grand Opening".

Point Number 2 - This one's more tricky. Exactly how many branches do Andrews have? When I visited their website the first page Google took me to it said that they have 48 branches but on the front page it says that they have "a network of 80+ branches across the South" but I'd have thought that the most reliable counter should be the "Branch Locator" page as obviously they don't want to send people to non-existent branches. If you go to the Branch Locator and click on the "All Branches" button then count them, like I did, then the number of branches you should find is 57. Count 'em. 57! That includes their Head Office in Keynsham but is still more than 50 (and yes, the list does include Worcester Park).

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy that Andrews will be back on Central Road and they did a good job for us when we bought our house years ago so I'm happy to recommend them. My photo of Phil Spencer outside Andrews (top) is still one of my favourite WP photos, it's just that I'd rather have had a press release that said it was re-opening and didn't mention 50 branches. Don't they know how pedantic we can be on the internet?

Pedantry aside, you can get a free bag out of it and the other email I received from them promised " a glass of bubbly" and if those don't appeal then you could just go along and harangue the Deputy Mayor about why the council has been spending its time lobbying TFL to stump up £2 million enhancing Wallington High Street and not matched that effort in Worcester Park.

Monday, 27 July 2009

A Colonel of truth

Some people might unkindly stereotype the customers of KFC but there's a post on a blog called "I like boring things" where the writer reminisces about his experiences with the Colonel:

After work, I would get the 213 bus home, but rather than getting off at Worcester Park station, I’d stay on the bus one stop further and go to KFC (114 Central Road). I would then walk home, possibly taking one or two sips from my Tango on the way back.
Once home, I would carefully assemble my meal. Placing my Zinger burger neatly on my plate and then adding the fries. I’d sprinkle the contents of the two sachets of salt over the fries and then (and this is important) I would add lots and lots of black pepper.
The black pepper is important because it hints at what was so significant about this ritual. They don’t give you pepper in KFC, only salt. No-one ever gives you pepper; not KFC, nor Burger King, nor McDonalds (except for with the breakfast menu).

He then goes on to revisit the KFC experiences of former years:
"Instead, and cringing slightly as I said the words, I ordered a “Wicked Zinger Box Meal” (there is no other Zinger box meal available, so why do KFC insist I add the word “Wicked”?). Although the Wicked Zinger Box Meal comes with a regular drink and regular fries (there didn’t appear to be a large option, although there was a Tower option), it does comes with a Side of your choice and two Hot Wings. At KFC, there really is only one side any self-respecting chicken fan would even consider ordering. Chicken gravy. A glorious, gloopy, brown concoction (which, though delicious, perhaps isn’t suited to a sunny July afternoon. I ordered it anyway)."

I'm not sure I've ever considered using the word "concoction" when thinking about KFC's output! Worcester Park devotees will notice that the picture at the top is KFC in its pre-makeover incarnation back in 2005, probably as the blog author would remember it.

Elsewhere on that blog there's also a competition that runs out tomorrow so maybe we should surprise him by emailing in loads of entries!

I like boring things - My Lunch

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Punishing schedule

It was brought to my attention yesterday that the fine people of Sydenham may have some unexpectedly progressive thinkers in their midst. It seems that one of their residents has initiated a "Campaign to Restore Sydenham Ducking Stool" in order to help restore law and order and to stop throwing money away in expensive legal cases. Click the image to the right and you can read the full text

I'm not sure that it'd work so well in Worcester Park, unless you fancy installing one by the pond up at the Plough, and I think we'd be better off with a set of stocks on the corner of Green Lane and Central Road so that miscreants could be pelted with leftover fruit from Ross Fruiterers on a Saturday morning.
In the photo to the left two children are modelling the stocks having been apprehended for giving their teacher some cheek. It's not all fun and games at school nowadays!

From the original Londonist article here.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Missing cat on Brinkley Road

A fellow Brinkley Road resident has been in touch to say that their cat has gone missing so hopefully one of you vigilant individuals will be able to help reunite them:

Please can you help us find our much loved cat Billy?He’s a 9 month old Ginger & white cat with golden eyes.

He is very much a home cat and if he's not in the house he is only laying in the garden which is why its very strange to have not seen him. He doesn’t have a collar, but he is chipped with our address & contact details.

If you could check your gardens, garages, sheds, bins, roofs etc we’d really appreciate it.

Many thanks,

07766 168 224/ 020 8329 9050

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Panel beating

I see from the Surrey Comet that the Harvester up by the Plough is looking to create a food panel in order to give feedback on the food and also to meet up and discuss it with other panel members.

The Kermit quotes:
John Jackson, manager of the Plough Harvester, said: “We are always looking for feedback on our menus and we feel that by creating a food panel, we will have the perfect forum in which to discuss how we should be changing what we offer to guests.”

Good idea John but based on our recent trip there (see my Tweets) I'll give you some hints for free:

  1. If I turn up at 4.45pm it would be nice for the waitress to acknowledge my existence rather than re-laying some distant table in the hope that she won't have to take my order before her shift finishes at 5pm,

  2. If by some strange chance she does take my order before 5pm it'd be nice if she did it with with some kind of civility, perhaps even a smile, rather than grimacing as though she'd just finished sucking 2kg of lemons after having a tooth extracted,

  3. When handing over from one shift to the other it'd be nice to have a bit more organisation. When the new, happy waitress brings the plates out using oven gloves then that's the big clue that they've been sat under the lights for too long,

  4. As a result the food was dry.

  5. The deep-fried stuff was really greasy.

You might remember that I posted back in May that they were asking for volunteer chicken-tasters so I'm not sure what's happened to that group. I hope they survived the experience...

Surrey Comet
Harvester's Food Panel

Monday, 20 July 2009

Andrews Estate Agents Reopening?

Passing Andrews Estate Agents this afternoon, which was vacated several months ago when they closed that particular branch, I noticed that there are signs in the window trying to recruit new staff, yes for Andrews!

Is this some kind of sign that they consider the housing market is picking up again or is some other force at work (they just miss Worcester Park too much!)?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

An unwelcome disturbance - UPDATED

I've been in touch with Councillor David Theobald, a leading voice in Sutton for autistic people and their families, and he's told me about a disturbing incident that happened in the borough the other week.

Five children from Stowford College were on a class outing to Cheam Park and were accompanied by a teacher with all of the required passes for their lunchtime trip on the 213 bus. For some reason that's not entirely clear the driver called an Inspector who arrived accompanied by two other officials and they then apparently manhandled these disabled children from the bus, pinned them against the wall and shouted at them. Now you have to remember that none of these five children can speak so quite what they thought would be acheived by this I don't know. Imagine "Rain Man" being put in that situation and you're not too far from what was happening.

Apparently the school are now appealing the £125 of fines that the boys were given as a result of the incident so if, like me, you're disgusted with the treatment that these children received and the hands of the TFL Inspectors then comment below or send this story on to your friends.
UPDATE: The TFL Press Office have just got back to me with the following:
A Transport for London spokesperson said: “We are cancelling all the Penalty Fares with immediate effect, and apologise for any distress that may have unintentionally been caused in this case.

“Nevertheless, we must stress that a carer’s responsibility when travelling with vulnerable passengers on public transport includes ensuring that all the correct passes are carried.”

Additional briefing.
· The ticket inspector clearly explained that in issuing the Penalty Fares for the young passengers, he was confident that they would be cancelled if a copy of their passes was provided in appeal, and he encouraged the adult passenger to do this.
· The Revenue Protection Inspector did not ask anyone to leave the bus. The matter was dealt with on the top deck, and the RPI only accompanied the group off the bus when they had reached their destination.

Stowford College

Reasons to love the internet - Part 103

I see that Worcester Park has been visited by one of the most delightfully insane projects ever to grace the internet. Yes, if you thought this blog was strange (why would you?) there is a blog out there who's stated aim is:
"Attempting to map the availability of Cadbury's Twirls in Central London"

Anyway on Saturday one of their intrepid reporters graced Worcester Park with their presence and headed for the Worcester Park Mini Market, making the following observations:

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: When I was taking this photo, I noticed that the man in the shop was looking at me, so I felt to self-conscious to go in to the shop. However, I am so dedicated to this blog that, later, when I went to a party at my aunt's house nearby, I drank so much alcohol that I was forced to sleep in their spare room and come back the next day.

The London Twirls Project - Worcester Park Mini Market

Friday, 3 July 2009

Twilight Robbery

Apparently the Post Office on Central Road has been robbed this evening, which would account for at least some of the many sirens that seemed to be around earlier. A Policewoman was overheard saying that they got away with around £3,000 though I don't have any more details than that.
I hope they get whoever did it and if you have any more details about what went on then do let me know.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Another week is passing.

Mollie Sugden - picture from BBC News
Today's the day of the Nonsuch election and if you want to know who to vote for then the Worcester Park Blog has done an excellent round-up of the assorted candidates on his blog.

Unbelievably Berties is still suffering from "Electrical problems" and has remained closed. Anybody know the full story? Talking of stories anybody hear about the punch-up between two parents in the playground of a Worcester Park infants school this week!? It apparently happened in front of children and other parents and although I don't know whether police were called I assume there has to be some kind of action taken.

Lastly RIP Molly Sugden. While many of you may be mourning the loss of Michael Jackson, and good taste prevents me repeating any of the MJ jokes I've heard so far, I'll be missing Molly who, in the role of Mrs Slocombe, introduced my teenage self to pu**y jokes with her straight-faced innuendo. Thanks Molly!

Mollie Sugden tribute on BBC News

Nonsuch Candidate Round-up at The Worcester Park Blog