Friday, 13 September 2013

Power to the Addlestonians! (Part Deux)

Congratulations to newly elected councillor for Addlestone, convicted drink-driver John Raymond Furey

As a bringer of news, a purveyor of up-to-date and highly localised information, an invaluable resource at the forefront of Addlestonian current affairs, I view it as an integral part of my role to make the events I depict and your experience as readers as stimulating as they can be. One way to achieve this is by creating a sense of suspense, or waiting over four months to follow up on a blog post.

Cast your minds back to the summerlike days of early May when people far and wide were called on to vote in the English local elections. Perhaps it was the sweltering heat on polling day that caused 74% of Addlestonians to forget there were local elections taking place, but if there's one thing Surrey County Council can't control it's the weather, so we might as well have enjoyed it while we could. As it happened we had ample opportunities to roast ourselves Addlestonian-red from July onwards, but those days are rapidly becoming distant memories now that Autumn is setting in and temperatures are plummeting mercilessly. On the upside, the maggots in my wheelie bin are finally dying.

So if you missed it, and the figures say you probably did, you might be interested to know that the 26% of us who tottered down to the ballot boxes on 3rd May 2013 voted as follows:

2013 county results (Addlestone division)
2009 comparison 
(County and EU):
Con 51%, 
Ukip 22%, 
Lib Dems 14%, 
Labour and Co-Operative Party 10%, 
Equal Parenting Alliance 2%
(Turnout: 35%)

This depicts a different state of affairs from the results of The Addlestonian's exit poll back in May, which at the time suggested the people of Addlestone would be represented by a Ukip/Monster Raving Loony Party coalition. This never quite materialised, but you'll have to take my word for it as the poll was never programmed to finish and is still open to votes, making it frankly pointless to look at now. Nonetheless, people still keep voting every now and again. Knock yourselves out.

As you can see, not all the parties taking part in the 2009 County elections fancied a piece of the action last May, but those who did experienced the same setbacks and gains as reflected in most other parts of Surrey. Last year I partly attributed Ukip's 2009 result to the European elections taking place on the same day, however they and Labour saw a further increase in support this year, explaining where the Monster Raving Loony Party's votes went eventually. TMRLP's result still surged to a whopping 2% of Addlestone's vote though, achieving the same status as the Equal Parenting Alliance did four years ago.

Following the elections, The Addlestonian contacted each candidate asking them to enlighten their electorate (that's YOU noble folks) with their thoughts on the results. Surprisingly (or not), all but the coalition partners responded in varying levels of detail...

"The people are sending a message in this election showing that they are not happy with what is happening locally and nationally. However, they are showing it in different ways - voting for different parties. The Labour percentage share of the vote in Addlestone has doubled since the 2009 county elections but we still have a long way to go." 

- Arran Richard Neathey

"UKIP is catching up on the Tories. Does this matter? What matters is the future of the country. Jobs. Getting rid of debt, both national and personal. Regaining prosperity and pride. I object to parties for whom staying in power is a top priority. The Lib Dem sign “winning here” implies a wish for power, rather than a wish to cure the country’s ills. Only UKIP has the policy to cure those ills. The public now accepts this. [...] UKIP scored around 25% in the County Council election. Even more worrying for the other parties, who wish to cling on to power, is the continuous rise in the UKIP vote. The other parties do not deserve to survive. Labour no longer stands up for jobs and wages. The Conservative party is not conserving the country, the countryside, or indeed anything much. The liberal democrats want to entrust our liberty and democracy to Brussels. UKIP will continue to rise unless the other parties change their policies dramatically."

- Toby Mickelthwaite

Official Monster Raving Loony Party
"HI, eye well write somethink up or down in the next few days"

- Keith David Collett

If, on the off chance, I ever receive that message then I'll be sure to post it here. I don't underestimate how challenging it must be for Mr. Collett to find the time in amongst the important work he does.

The next time The Addlestonian will be getting political will be in the European elections of 2014, unless of course an emergency referendum is called for independence for Addlestone before then. A man can dream.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Power to the Addlestonians!

As spring settles in and its effects start to be felt throughout Addlestone - the longer days, the joyful chirping of birds, the pollen-induced scratchy, leaking eyes and breathing difficulties - a sense of change and rebirth hang in the air, tying in neatly with the county elections taking place across the country tomorrow (if change is what you want, I must add in the name of easily perceivable neutrality).

It seems like only yesterday I sat hunched over my laptop reflecting on the 2012 local elections which saw a measly 26% of disaffected Addlestonians visit their polling stations to elect their Runnymede councillor. A Conservative majority re-emerged despite a slight dip in support, not to mention the Monster Raving Loony Party's phenomenal gains in Addlestone North. Yes, they fielded their candidate wisely in Addlestone North.

This year, though, the mood among Addlestonians could be quite different indeed if last year's by-election results in neighbouring New Haw and Chertsey are anything to go by:

May 2012 --> September 2012

New Haw
Con 53% --> 51%
Lab 20% --> 22% ^
UKIP 16% --> 18% ^
Lib Dem - 11% --> 8%

Chertsey Meads
Con 50% --> 40%
UKIP 23% --> 28% ^
Lab 19% --> 28% ^
Lib Dem 8% --> 3%
OMRLP N/A --> 0.8% ^

The trend would suggest the coalition parties are about to take a hit around Surrey with Labour and UKIP picking up the votes, even if the winning party remains the same. Although, now that Addlestone Bournesiders will have the chance to support Crazy Crab this year along with our northern Addlestonian friends, it's anybody's guess what the outcome might be. With that in mind, let's have a look at the folks who will be vying to represent the Addlestone posse tomorrow:

Crazy Crab, Official Monster Raving Loony Party

Andrew Falconer, Lib Dems

John Furey, Conservatives

Toby Micklethwait, UKIP

Arran Neathey, Labour

How will YOU sway tomorrow, Addlestonians? Take part in the poll below to let us all know, and tweet @theaddlestonian!

Who will / did you vote for in the 2013 County Elections?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Addlestone: the Land of Hope and Glory

Addlestone's founder, Attel, wishes all Addlestonians a very happy Saint George's Day

Copyright The Addlestonian

According to Addlestonian legend, it was in fact Attel who slayed the dragon and saved St. George's life, despite living two centuries after him.

"I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:
Till I have founded Addlestone,
In England's green & pleasant land"

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

If You Know Addlestone

The Twitter-savvy Addlestonians among you who enjoy a virtual exchange on the topic of all things local  every now and again (and it fills me with joy to report the numbers are ever growing) will know that it's not too uncommon for one person's spontaneous hashtag to gather apace and develop into a full blown trend. Perhaps not a worldwide trend (...yet...) but at least a trend within the bounds of KT15.

One such trend, #IfYouKnowAddlestone, came about in December keeping Addlestonians and Twitterers elsewhere informed and entertained for at least 24 hours, sharing the most intimate insider knowledge that only a true Addlestonian could know. Here is a selection of what followed...

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll know that the station smells more like p*!@# the further down the platform you go

#IfYouKnowAddlestone surrey towers is the place TO BE!!!!

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you've got to love a large doner from Kebab Land

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you know never to go there hahahhaha

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you know @TheAddlestonian

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you've got to be early to get a table at Golden Cafe these days, #GuaranteedSellOut

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you know you have been asked at least once by a 12 year old if you have a lighter

#IfYouKnowAddlestone then you are probably wondering how they have fitted 965 fast food shops in a place the same size as a football pitch

Coxes Lock, Addlestone

#IfYouKnowAddlestone COXES LOCK

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll know that there's no right turn at the end of crouch oak lane. #TryGetMoreRandomThanThat

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll enjoy "riding the hump" on the way into Tesco addlestone!

#IfYouKnowAddlestone your know that it costs £120 to get a car unclamped

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll know its compulsory to ride your bike on the pavement

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll probably be arguing over whether it's Addlest'n or Addle-Stone. (This is a real hashtag?!)

#IfYouKnowAddlestone then you'll know that the high street is Station Road and High Street is not what it is called.

Co Op Addlestone (RIP) c. 1999 by Sludgegulper on flickr

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll know that Tesco used to be the Co-Op and Safeway was the best supermarket in town!

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll know 1/2 it's residents are moaning about the other 1/2 who don't give a hoot

#IfYouKnowAddlestone You'll know that it's not the best place to do your Christmas shopping

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll know that the traffic lights at the 'Duke's Head' operate in reverse. Red means steam across, apparently.

Gemma Bissix (her off Hollyoaks)

#IfYouKnowAddlestone Then you also know that you are never more than two steps away from a take-away and a charity shop!

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll be wondering whats the point of the chrome bollards on cnr of Station Rd & Corrie Rd, they get demolished weekly

#IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll know Gemma Bissix works in the coffee shop opp Aviator Park sometimes

What do you know about Addlestone? #IfYouKnowAddlestone you'll let the rest of us know... 

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Addlesnowed in, in Twenty-Thirtin

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
in Aaad-dleee-styne.

Happy New Year Addlestonians! What a turbulent beginning to 2013 it's turned out to be in these parts. I speculated before Christmas that the people of Addlestone might witness some snow yet, however sadly this wasn't to be the case during December. In fact, the climate we experienced remained largely temperate throughout the end of the year; a far cry from what Attel, our original Addlestonian friend would have experienced 900 years ago as he waded through the frosty valley carrying a spear in one hand and a drinking-horn of supermarket value mead in the other. Although, that's no consolation for the proportion of Addlestonians who were repeatedly affected by power cuts from 22nd December, leaving them with no heating at all and causing chicken kormas to stand cold and motionless in microwaves all over town. Of course, it wasn't all plain sailing (or, should I say, skating) outside either, with temperatures dipping to the unrelenting lows of -4°C, giving rise to some precarious driving conditions.

With the New Year came a bout of exciting weather when, from 17th January, Addlestonians were hit by flurries of snow with snowflakes the size of cornflakes, leading to the closure of schools and paralysing our local public transport. The disruption began with a unique variety of snow - a silent, invisible kind specific to Addlestone that led to the outright cancellation of rail services through Addlestone the day before any snowfall could be seen with the naked eye. Such is the imperceptible nature of Addlesnow

Needless to say, unlike the snow, reactions came in thick and fast on Twitter:
"So no trains for the people of #chertsey and #addlestone then!"  
"I might understand a reduced service but no service at all even before the snow has arrived seems a little extreme" 
"How can addlestone station already of cancelled their trains tomorrow and not one drop of snow?" 
"Are you joking there isn't even snow yes pt and they canceled addlestone trains all ready omfg HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAHAHAHAHA"
Embedded image permalink
Courtesy of @MilesPerLitre
"06.55 Addlestone station. No snow at all. No @sw_trains either, all cancelled"

"Err my car's not iced up or anything. Yet no trains from #addlestone??!! What a joke"  
"No trains running from addlestone, looks like I can't get in for my exam, brilliant" 
"Update on my week of unluckiness: stuck in addlestone with no trains running to Guildford" 
"Emergency timetable has been extended until tomorrow so no trains for Chertsey/Addlestone on Saturday either #surreysnow"
"Looks like taxi into and home from work again today. No 51 bus and no trains again. Why is #Addlestone being singled out?" 
"S***. No @SW_Trains from Addlestone tomorrow. How the feck am I supposed to get to work? Looks like a long walk to weybridge tomorrow"

There was one train that paid us forlorn Addlestonians a visit, chuffing past in all its glory not just through a snow storm, but at the precise scheduled time of 13:29 as pointed out by @CoxeyLoxey: 
"Due at 1329hrs....went through Addlestone at 1329hrs...only train today & tomorrow @ClanLine28"
Seize this chance to re-live that majestic moment which was filmed and posted by @BritishRailTV:

Forced to abandon work and school, some Addlestonians took the chance to capture the action and get creative:
Embedded image permalink
Courtesy of @garyshield73
Embedded image permalink
Courtesy of @chrissiespics

Embedded image permalink
Courtesy of @SurreyAd

Thanks to a few unlawful Addlestonians it was business as usual for the Police who were robbed of all chance to frolic in the snow, but did get to smash a door in:

Embedded image permalink
Courtesy of @rogernield2703
Embedded image permalink
Courtesy of @SurreyPolice

In other news, Addlestone's very own Domino's Pizza opened at 144A Station Road (@AtownDominos), taking pride of place opposite Dominic's Pizza and gathering a loyal customer base within days:
"Me and the fam just destroyed several dominos pizzas. Addlestone dominos is so good. (Maybe better than Weybridge?!)"
An Addlestonian poll revealed a relative lack of support for Domino's, what would become the town's fourth pizza supplier, with 31% for and 68% against (out of an admittedly small sample of 16 people), however we Addlestonians, the forgiving people we are, were willing to put our differences aside and embrace the newcomer with open arms, and mouths. That gruelling one-and-a-half mile journey to the next outlet in Weybridge is no longer a trip we need to make, although I can't help thinking the biggest sigh of relief will be coming from the Weybridge delivery drivers.

In January we also had to bid a sad farewell to the short-lived Nobby's Nibbles only four months after saying hello (that is, those of us who noticed it was there in the first place). All please welcome Luigi's Sandwich & Coffee now occupying the same building on 212 Station Road, east of the station.

What else has been going down in the hood in January 2013: 

And lastly, a look at what rocked the Addlestone of a decade ago.

Do you have any left over photos from The Great Addlesnows of 2013? Share them on Twitter with @TheAddlestonian.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Dashing Through the 'Stone...

Tills ring, are you listening?
In the rain, neon's glistening.
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Christmas lights by TESCO Addlestone.

December 2011

Ho, ho, ho Addlestonians! The festive season is upon us and since 1st December Addlestonians have been starting off their days by prising open an advent calendar window to reveal one of 25 chocolatey treats in the run up to Christmas day. Multiplied by however many advent calendars they have.

Many will go on to spruce up for a day of Christmas shopping, which will typically involve leaving town in favour of Staines or Woking where potential gifts are easier to come by. With the exception of household electronics, cards and wrapping paper which TESCO and Primart have covered nicely between them.

Addlestone hasn't been hanging about in preparation for these festive times. Buildings up and down Station Road have been sporting twinkly Christmas trees for weeks, adding an extra bit of graceful magic to the high street. Yes, even more magic! 

In fact, the glitzy Christmas trees hanging up along Station Road bring a party atmosphere to Addlestone as much as enchantment. Flickering away alongside each other in hues of red, green and blue and illuminating the street through the long winter nights, pedestrians might think themselves in a nightclub and drivers maybe a scene from Tron. Either way, it's an impressive sight for the late-night ambler to behold and a welcome ingredient in Addlestonian life.

Last year's Christmas light switch-on, November 2011

On 24th November Addlestonians from far and wide and a few special guests gathered next to the TESCO roundabout to witness the enchanting Christmas lights switch-on and partake in the carol-singing and mince pie munching along with the Addlestone Salvation Army Band, all to the backdrop of TESCO's entrancingly festive neon sign. Once again the lights were made possible by generous contributions from local businesses who dug deep into their pockets, putting together thousands of pounds in a commendable display of community spirit. I don't have precise figures, so can't highlight what percentage of that might have come from the world's third-largest retailer, but if nothing else the superstore has contributed in her own way by putting her party hat on this Christmas. If you thought the blazing glow of the TESCO neon sign over the heart of Addlestone was convivial enough as it was, think again.

Special guests at the Addlestone Christmas lights switch-on included Mayor of Runnymede Cllr Linda Gillham...
Cllr Linda Gillham, Mayor of Runnymede (image from @DontLetYourTea)

As well as old St. Nick himself, who took a day off fom making iPads and reading letters in his Lapland chalet to sing carols in Addlestone, a town he allegedly holds dear to his heart. "After a busy Christmas, there's nothing I enjoy more than to come down to Addlestone for a nice curry in my favourite Indian restaurant" he might have said.
Father Christmas (image from @DontLetYourTea)

Hold your reindeers Santa, Christmas hasn't even started yet!

Whereas parts of the county have already experienced a light dusting or two, Addlestone is yet to be touched by snow this December. If previous years are anything to go by then there's every chance Addlestonians might wake up to a coating by the end of the month, but for the time being it looks like we'll be sticking with predominantly crisp skies and the odd cloud or shower. Leave the sledges in the garage for now, folks.

On that note I leave you with this video from a few years ago filmed by King's Church which I thought it was only appropriate to share. God rest ye merry, Addlestonians. God rest ye merry.

How are you celebrating this Christmas? Share your Addlestonian tradition below or tweet me @TheAddlestonian.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

An Addlestonian Autumn

The Autumn months are now well and truly upon us and we've reached that time of year where a dwindling summer which picked up deceptively towards the end (some call it an Indian summer, I prefer Addlestonian summer) has come to a definitive end. The leaves are turning golden, the nights are longer and everyone's wearing at least one layer of clothing. Addlestonians did get the chance to bask in the odd gloriously warm and sunshiny, sometimes even tropical day during August though, giving some of us that long-awaited chance to walk up and down Station Road with a t-shirt slung over one shoulder, leaving what was exposed of us to turn our favourite shade of scorched red. We might not have all had the time to put on a fully-fledged barbecue at such short notice but we could have a good crack at cooking ourselves.

Those of us who weren't happy waiting around for the fickle yellow ball in the sky to pay us a visit set off for other parts of the world, leaving not just the perimeter of the M25 but the whole British Isles in search of fair weather. It seems a radical solution but it really works, or at least some of the time. On returning from my chosen corner of the Costa Blanca I discovered on Twitter that, against all odds, a like-minded Addlestonian had chosen the very same holiday destination as I had after both remarking on a severe downpour of rain that had flooded the roads and cleared the beach in seconds. The storm had been in Addlestone the day before, but hunted down our great minds eventually.

August and September also marked the end of the Olympics and Paralympics, which inspired the nation right until the end with four spectacular ceremonies (no tribute to Addlestone to speak of, but I'll let it pass) and countless outstanding displays of sporting talent, not least exemplified by team Gold Britain. After seven years of cynical grumbling and in some cases downright despair of London 2012, the Games which kept Addlestonians and those from beyond glued to their television screens ended on such a high so seldom felt by this year's host nation that we're left without a clue what to do with ourselves now. It might have been nice at the time if the Torch relay or road cycling had graced Station Road, but at least a St George's college schoolgirl was given the chance to carry the Torch 20 miles away in Harrow. Now, following the summer-long excitement, the patriotic flags that once adorned the buildings of Station Road have been moved elsewhere, and along with the rest of the country, Addlestone ticks along as before.

One bright thing that did pay us a visit during August was the International Space Station, which could be seen sweeping over Addlestone in the hours following sunset as pointed out efficiently and reliably by @CoxeyLoxey on Twitter. If you didn't manage to catch a glimpse of it, then be sure to keep an eye out next year. In fact, why not demonstrate what agreeable folk we are by gathering as a town and waving?

During August I also asked Addletweeters what a suitable nickname for Addlestone might be. Bronx of Weybridge was the first suggestion I received. "How about the Town of Almosts" suggested one Tweeter, alluding to our local treasures Primart, Nandi's and Dominic's pizza. One Addlestonian proposed The Town too Tough to die, referring to a 1942 western film of the same name set in a town called Tombstone. The Town too Tough to Diet followed shortly after. One Tweeter proposed a twinning with District 9, a South African slum inhabited by extraterrestrial refugees, while another went for the short and sweet Asbostone. If Runnymede Borough Council was thinking of rebranding the town with a slogan, look no further for inspiration than this paragraph.

September brought with it (confirmed) rumours that a couple of our empty retail units are to be filled at long last, and you might be surprised to learn what will be filling them. Are you ready? Brace yourselves:

Starbucks and Domino's Pizza. 

Now, where have I heard those names before? Oh yes, everywhere! 

Despite the ubiquitous nature of Starbucks I expected a few more positive reactions to the prospect of another coffeehouse in the town and appreciation of its cosmopolitan pizzaz that some coffee-lovers find it so attractive for. Nonetheless, it ruffled the feathers of a number of Addlestone-based Tweeters...

There's a Costa, isn't that enough?
Not until we get a Nero
What??!! Where??!! Not that I actually like Starbucks much but wow
- #CafeRouge required 4that

Word of Domino's arrival proved even more controversial...

- I was told Domino's were moving in. Another pizza place is all we need
Seriously? Where is it moving in? Addlestone is literally just a fastfood outlet now
- Poor Dominic's [pizza] that's all I say, right opposite!!
- Another takeaway f*** me like there's not enough already
- Domino's aren't they already here. We're a Macky D's away from being the takeaway capital of Europe
- I'm sure it will fit right in with Pizza Hut and Dominic's pizza that's already in the town. Lol
As a former Addlestonian this does nothing to encourage me to move back! #toomanytakeaways

It's true that with Pizza Hut, Addlestone's own Dominic's Pizza and, unmentioned above, Papa John's all within a mere 300 yards of each other, Addlestone isn't short of establishments to grab a pizza. I was curious to know whether Runnymede Borough Council truly thought that Domino's would be a positive addition to the town, so I posed the question to them (Twitter: @RunnymedeBC). I wouldn't like to put words in their mouth, so I'll interpret their month-long silence as ongoing deliberation.

Addlestone's new arrivals seem to be a hot topic, so I'll return to the subject as more unfolds. For now though, let's welcome a few other recent newcomers:

Nobby's Nibbles (212 Station Road)
Stanley House Chinese (174 Station Road)
The Beauty Room (85 Station Rd) 

I'm sure we'll get to know these better in the coming months.

Take part in the poll below to indicate whether you would like to see Starbucks or Domino's Pizza in Addlestone town. Also leave a comment or tweet your views to @TheAddlestonian!

Would Starbucks be a positive addition to Addlestone?

Would Domino's Pizza be a positive addition to Addlestone?