Monday, May 31, 2010

Ooh la la

Thieves operate in this area

Frank O’Fyle and 20 other local residents have returned to Petersfield after spending three days in Barentin, the town’s French twin.

Petersfield has made much of the Anglo-French relationship, going as far as naming a road in a new housing estate after the French resort.

O’Fyle said: “During our stay we were taken to Caen, Rouen and had dinner on the banks of the Seine. All very nice but we were taken to these places because there is absolutely nothing to do in Barentin.

“I really don’t know why we agreed to be twinned with such a banal place.”

This is all a far cry from the original hype when the twinning was arranged some years ago.

Petersfield is also twinned with Warendorf in Germany and we asked O’Fyle if a similar trip was likely to be arranged to Germany.

“Not by me” O’Fyle grunted. “I understand Herr Lipp might try to get a group together but I’m afraid this experience has put many of us off. Well I ask you, have you ever heard of either Barentin or Warendorf?”

O’Fyle seemed saddened by Petersfield’s choice of sister towns, adding: “This is a wasted opportunity. Leigh Park has the right idea; it is twinned with Pattaya, in Thailand, jokingly referred to as Sodom and Gomorrah-on-sea. Pattaya you understand, not Leigh Park – they clearly don’t border the sea.

“Any way, a group of 75 travelled out last year, eight came back with brides and the rest had fixed grins on their faces for weeks. There’s a lot to be said for a Siamese twin.”

Friday, May 28, 2010

Outspoofed … hook, line and sinker

Done up a kipper

A leading Petersfield online news site has slammed a town supermarket for undermining its spoofing ability.

The protest follows a real life bomb scare at Waitrose after staff and police got scared by a bag full of, er, fishing tackle (no honestly).

The incident left the store closed for nearly two hours with large parts of the central car park cordoned off by police, who sat around in cars waiting for a bomb disposal team to deal with the floats, hooks and split shot.

“This put us to shame,” said a red-faced spokesman for Petersfield Newswire, which had earlier in the week blamed the incident on a ‘sun-dried tomato and organic hummus sandwich’…

“How were we to know the real scare was even more ludicrous than we could have imagined?” wailed Newswire frontman DJ. “They’ve made us look like a right bunch of Charlies – if I wasn’t paranoid I’d say they’d done it deliberately just to set us up.”

A police spokesman said “We have to take all incidents of this kind very seriously - for all we knew it could have been a suicide angler.”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Petersfield traders told: Carry on flouting the law

In the rare event of the police being in Petersfield it's essential they can
drive their mobility scooters safely on the pavement
insists Hampshire County Council

In a victory for common sense, a Hampshire County Council (HCC) spokesman has told Petersfield shopkeepers to ignore the law.

Traders were up in arms after receiving a letter from HCC telling them to remove their A board signs from the streets.

However, at a secret meeting held at an unnamed venue above Foppy’s Wine Bar, highways officer Wyn Chester reassured Petersfield traders to carry on flouting the law.

They were told if a 1.5metre gap was allowed between their signs and the road the council would not prosecute despite it being against the law.

He said: “We are not intransigent. We realise that there is very little reason to uphold the laws in Petersfield as there are no police to enforce them.

“Turning a blind eye to illegal activity is a necessary requirement these days, just look at parking in the town. Where would we be if we actually enforced double-yellow lines or ‘No Waiting’ restrictions?

“Also police have been quite happy to allow gangs of teenagers to roam the streets late at night smashing bottles, vandalising property and assaulting passers-by. These are all things we may have thought unacceptable 20 years ago but we have to move with the times.

"Where would we be if we still sent all our messages by pigeon post?” he said, before downing another glass of overpriced Chablis.

But a spokesman for Petersfield’s Independent Shop Staffs and Office Force (PISSOF), Matt Tress, insisted the compromise still infringed his human rights.

He said: “If I wanted to have my A board 1.5 metres from the road I would. The fact is I want them balanced precariously on the kerb so people fall over them causing traffic to stop right outside my shop.

“In these hard economic times people just don’t appreciate how hard we have to work at our marketing to survive.

“Mr Chester said ‘We were getting so many complaints – from a blind person or someone who fell over – I have got to be proactive. I can not just turn a blind eye to it.’ Well why not, the person who fell over it did … and they were quite happy after they got a six-figure sum courtesy of Ambulance Chasers Direct.

“It’s about time we all worked together for the good of the community and the prosperity of my bank balance.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Petersfield bookshop still trading SHOCKER

Healthy signs at Two Veg Books

Two Veg Books, on Lavant Street, has been named as the best independent bookstore still in business.

While other bookshops are in a perfect bind, Two Veg impressed the judges with its ability to put books on shelves; sell them; employ staff; and open and close at the ends of each day.

But what finally swung the judges in favour of Two Veg Books was its community support programme.

Owner Tim Fortea said: "Our cafe provides a much-needed source of cappaccino and latte in the community. After all, desperate times call for desperately large measures of premium-priced beverages."

*BBC disclaimer: Other coffee shops are available in Petersfield. In fact there's bloody dozens of 'em...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crime hot spot

Shiny squad cars and lots of blue police tape

A large area of Petersfield town centre was cordoned off yesterday as police were called in to deal with a suspect package.

Staff from all the shops in Rams Walk could be seen sunbathing for hours after Police got to use hundreds of metres of their blue and white “POLICE LINE – DO NOT CROSS” tape around Waitrose car park and a section of the High Street.

We spoke to PC Bob Bee, in charge at the scene, who said: “We can’t believe it. This sort of thing never happens in Petersfield. Our role here normally comprises driving around the back streets, turning a blind eye to ever-worsening parking crimes, but this was extraordinary.

“It’s a Sunday morning so we’re all on double time, and we get to stand around for three hours in the glorious sunshine, giving it the old “Move along now, nothing to see here”.

“Some of my colleagues have never had the chance to say that and it’s another cliché to tick off the list.”

We asked PC Bee about the list and he told us that they all police officers have a standard wish list of sayings including “You’re nicked my old beauty”, “evening all”, “book him Danno” and “follow that car”.

“It’s a bit like playing snooker on the motorway, you know, where we book a red car then a coloured car, then another red and so on; comparing breaks when we get back to the station. I once scored 76.”

PC Bee also said an unexpected bonus was that the police left the scene with shiny clean cars.

“The Poles were kicking their heels and after a few questions about tax and transparent accounting, they agreed to clean our cars for nothing.”

The car park was evacuated shortly after 8.10am when the package was discovered. The police line was set up and the MOD bomb disposal team called in to deal with the situation.

Store managers at one of the posh supermarkets were concerned about damage that might be caused to the building if the package did explode.

Concern was largely alleviated when the man who collects the trolleys arrived for work and could be sent in to move the package to the middle of the car park.

A police spokesman later confirmed: “The IED turned out to be a sun-dried tomato and organic hummus sandwich on bruschetta which reacted badly to the unexpected heatwave and started to smoke.

“It was taken into custody and, er… disposed of safely,” he said, wiping his chin.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Council ruling stuns Petersfield resident

Protesters gather outside St Peter's Church

A Petersfield man fears he will be run out of town if Hampshire County Council (HCC) has its way.

Andy Board, of Tilmore Road, says he has received unprecedented and unwarranted abuse since HCC stated that A Boards were to be banned from Petersfield streets.

Mr Board said: “Since that ruling I’ve been unable to go out until after dark – and even then in disguise. For the first two days I didn’t dare venture out of the house.

“In the end I had to risk the wrath of the council because I was out of all the staples of everyday food.

“I simply don’t understand why they have decided to pick on me and my family.”

The ruling, reported widely in the local media in the absence of any election stories, has also been responsible for the cancellation of a visit to Petersfield by the former Australian cricket captain Alan Border.

A spokesman for the Australian cricket board said: “We’re stunned that a small market town in East Hampshire could refuse to allow one of the world’s greatest cricketers to walk their streets.

“What has he done to deserve that … apart from hitting English bowlers to all four corners of the circular globe?”

An HCC spokesman insisted that everybody had jumped to the wrong conclusion.

He said: “Everybody appears confused by recent events. What we wanted to remove from the streets is ‘A broad’ who stands by the statue in the square on Friday and Saturday nights touting for business.

"Her presence there is most unwelcome and has proved a health and safety distraction for many people of impaired eyesight.”

But despite that clarification, not all of the town’s residents were happy.

Cam Payne, the founder member of Petersfield Residents Against Things (PRATS), believes the council have still gone to far.

“This ban may well damage the local economy,” he insisted.

“One only has to look to Norfolk to see how vital the broads there are to the tourism industry. Driving them out of Petersfield could cause irreparable damage to the economy – but it will give me something to get my teeth into, so to speak…”

The new MP for East Hampshire, Julian Hindsight, said succinctly: “What the **** is happening to this once-proud country of ours?”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Petersfield's 'Beardies' get tough

Reg Tweed, left, last week - now Lord Snootington, right

East Hampshire Liberal Democrats have formed a new Huntin’, Shootin’ and Fishin’ Club – and are considering making the wearing of top hats compulsory for all members.

The move comes as local Liberals try to fit in with their new partners in the national Con-Dem coalition.

“We may have only been in power for a few days but we’ve got a real taste for it,” said chairman Reg Tweed, who is currently changing his name by deed poll to Lord Snootington of Steep.

“We’ve spent years as weirdy beardies sitting on the sidelines and coming up with daft ideas we knew we’d never have to put into practice.

“Now we’re all starting to realise we were wrong all along. It’s great fun taking an axe to public services – who cares about nurses and teachers when you’ve got a bit of real power? What ho!

“Besides, what’s more fun – sitting on a consultative sub-committee about footpath diversions, or getting out into the countryside and killing some wildlife?

“Those bloody pinko foxes need teaching a lesson or two, and there’s definitely going to be a population explosion among unemployed oiks in the coming months so we should be able to bag a few of those too.

“We’re willing to do all this in the spirit of co-operation with our new coalition partners, who don’t seem that bad really as long as you shine their shoes and tug your forelock as they go past.

“Anyway, we’ve got to make the most of it before the next election as everyone who voted for us to keep the Tories out now realises what a bunch of ****s we really are…”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Petersfield birthing centre overrun by ducks

Two midwives at the Grange put on a brave face after being forced into
a corner by hundreds of attention-seeking rubber ducks

A fundraising appeal has been launched to provide a new state-of-the-art birthing pool at the Grange Maternity Centre after the existing model became over-crowded with rubber ducks.

The midwifery team at the Grange want to replace the current pool to provide a better experience for mums in labour after several complained that the beaks of the ducks dug into their ribs during childbirth.

There were around 230 births at the Grange in the past year and as many as 10 new-born babies were temporarily mislaid in the glut of toy wildfowl.

Community midwife Sue Sariansection said: “Many gave birth in our pool and even more use the pool during their labour. But it has become a struggle as rubber ducks do tend to reproduce in enormous numbers and in recent weeks there have been only ducks and no water in the birthing pool.

“It does make it a little uncomfortable for our mums-to-be and one even went home with a duck instead of a baby recently. It’s like giving birth in a kiddies’ ball pool currently and it needs to be addressed. We’re hoping to raise £12,000 for a fully fitted and plumbed-in pool or £65 for a DIY model from Aldi.

“We’re also hoping somebody will offer to humanely recycle our 6,000 ducks. We wouldn’t want to see them hurt.”

* The first major fundraising event for the genuine birthing pool appeal will be a fun day at the Grange, on Saturday, from 11am until 3pm. There will be a range of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. For real story, see here

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sounding Off

Infinity and beyond… well, Leigh Park any way

Councillor Mona Lott, speaking on behalf of the Clanfield, Horndean and Vicinity Society (CHAVS), has written to the Highways Agency complaining about the increased noise levels on the A3.

Lott, clearly ill-informed, told us that much of the traffic that currently uses the A3 breaks the sound barrier, causing constant disruption to residents of Clanfield, Horndean and Rowlands Castle (north Leigh Park).

“We never used to have to put up with this much noise,” insisted Cllr Lott. “And can you imagine how bad it will be once the Devil’s Punchbowl Slingshot Tunnel is opened next year. Some of these vehicles will really be able to get up a head of steam as they come down this long straight stretch.

"It'll be like the Hardon Collider."

We pointed out to Cllr Lott that while the speed of sound is variable, largely dependent upon temperature and atmospheric composition, in the Leigh Park region, this is likely to be around 760mph. The current speed limit is considerably less at 70mph.

Cllr Lott wouldn’t be deterred and added: “That’s what you say, but we can all hear the traffic boom booming all through the day and night. There are no speed cameras, no speed bumps and the state of the road doesn’t help.

“They need to resolve the matter, adjust the sound barrier or improve the road surface or something. We cannot go on like this.”

The matter is now in the hands of the Highways Agency, who will we are sure, deal with the matter very sensitively.

Cllr Lott also said something about flooded roads, and how the water runs downhill and causes puddles at the bottom. At this point the rest of the society had retired for the evening and the councillor was left banging the table.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Petersfield 'youth worker' finally admits true age

Parents are now wondering if any other members
of the popular youth project are over 18

A well-known Petersfield youth worker has been forced to stand down after it was discovered he was not actually a youth.

Bill Stickers helped to make Ledley King’s Knees Youth Project the most popular in the town over the last nine years. But he stood down last weekend after it was revealed he was actually 60-years-old.

One parent said: “We started to suspect something a few weeks ago. Bill has worked tirelessly for the past nine years but he was no longer looking like a teenager.

“His trousers were hoisted to the correct height, he got up before midday, didn’t grunt at people and wasn’t completely out of his head on half a bottle of White Lightning.

“We realised he wasn’t a teenager at all. He has no right to call himself a youth worker.”

An emotional Stickers admitted that the last few years of pretending to be 17-years-old had taken its toll.

“To be honest I was getting bored of lying in bed playing on the X-Box,” said Stickers.

“And I’ve drunk enough Bacardi Breezers to sink a battleship in the last three years. I’m now 60 and I couldn’t pretend any more.

“I was also experiencing language difficulties as I speak English and increasingly I’m finding the youngsters no longer use that language as a means of communication.

“I decided the time had arrived for me to come clean about my age and retire, especially as my ‘Charlie Chester says Relax’ T-shirt was starting to get a bit frayed around the edges.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the youngsters in Petersfield but I have a lot of lost time to make up for.”

Following Stickers’ retirement there now exists a vacancy for a youth worker at the Ledley King’s Knees Youth Project.

Applicants should be aged under 18, experienced in walking around showing their underwear, know all the bar staff of The Gorge public house by name, have a Facebook account, possess an iPod featuring stuff that in no way resembles ‘real music’, and be prepared to demand a skatepark despite never having owned a pair of roller-skates or a skateboard.

Applications should be written in crayon, accompanied by a 100-word essay on What I did during the school holidays and handed in at the town hall – the big building at the end of the car park where all the grown-ups walk in and out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Petersfield gym on a roll

A gym member celebrates the move to new premises  

A women’s gym in Petersfield has found a new home in the Festival Hall.

Muffin Tops, which used to be based in Lavant Street, left its old premises to set up in the hall earlier this week.

Gym owner and resident dietician Marsha Mellow said: “Lavant Street was at the top of the hill and most of our clients were too exhausted to work-out once they had walked up from Greggs the bakers.

“The new location is ideal as it is just a short stumble from the soon-to-be opened Netherregions pub.

“The main difference between Muffin Tops and other gyms is that we are a women-only environment. No men, no make-up, no mirrors, can’t be arsed - that is our motto.”

When asked, the middle-aged man peering into the gym through a steamed-up window refused to comment on the move.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Petersfield to go it alone

With the British government becoming a rudderless ship following the general election Petersfield residents are taking matters into their own hands.

Local politicos are attempting to take advantage of the chaos in Westminster and establish the Hampshire town as a self-governing state.

Cam Payne, the official busybody from Petersfield Residents Against ThingS (PRATS), said: “No one in government seems to know what to do at the moment and it’s not good enough.

"One thing we’re not short of in Petersfield is people who know how things should be done so it makes perfect sense that if Westminster can’t govern us we should do it ourselves.

“I don’t think anyone in Petersfield has voted anything other than Tory for the last 700 years, I know I haven’t. It would be ridiculous for us to live under a sherbet Lib-Lab coalition so we’re setting up our own system.

“Our new Con-Con coalition will ensure Petersfield gets the preferential treatment it deserves and we PRATS are ideally placed to facilitate it. This is just the sort of thing we like to be outraged by. ”

A government spokesman, representing no particular party, government, region or country, said: “Well Con-Con just about sums it up and there’s not a single pro among them.”

*To become a PRAT or to find out more information about Petersfield Residents Against ThingS (PRATS) contact

Friday, May 07, 2010

Tories offer Petersfield residents chance to save a public sector worker

New MP Julian Hindsight still attended
his normal Friday appointment this morning

East Hampshire has voted to type and elected one of many faceless Tories to butcher our public services - but there is hope for saving the job of one local public servant.

The green token system operated for Wait-lose shoppers is being dramatically upgraded from its usual role of helping out local toy libraries and dog charities. Instead shoppers will be able to vote with their tokens to save the job of up to ONE essential local worker - choosing between a nurse, a teacher, or a dustman.

New Tory MP Julian 'Mack the Knife' Hindsight has joined forces with the upmarket supermarket to show that he "really does care" about his new constituents.

"We promised to bring democracy closer to home and this green token ballot does just that," he said.

"It will give people a chance to save one local person's job - that's real democracy and shows up all those lies about the Conservatives not caring about local services.

"Of course we'll be closing all the local schools and hospitals, and slashing all council services so we can cut taxes for the rich – but those who want to hold up our efficiency drive can, if they so wish, take part in this scheme."

Voting starts today - if anyone has any money left to spend at the supermarket.

Asked which way he would be voting, Mr Hindsight said: "Probably the dustman - my children go to private school and I've got private health insurance..."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Petersfield's explosive verdict on election

Tory candidate Mr Julian Hindsight attempts
to look working class at a football stadium

A YouWhat poll commissioned by Petersfield Newswire has discovered that 98% of voters are more concerned about the Icelandic volcano disrupting their holidays than who wins today's general election.

Out of a sample of 100, just Conservative candidate Julian 'Job for life' Hindsight and his wife Mrs Hindsight said the election was more important ... and Mrs Hindsight said she had already had three holidays this year.

More typical was the reply from Mr E Lecter who said: "I was torn between spoiling my ballot paper and voting for that Justice nutter candidate, but if that bloody Eyjafjallajokull starts spouting off again before my trip to Spain I might have to kill someone - especially if it means taking the kids to Devon again."

Other suggestions included a boycott of Iceland stores, a ritual burning of Bjork CDs in the Square, and a petition to get fish-loving football star Eidur Gudjohnsen transferred to Petersfield Town.

"That would serve the volcano-lovers right," said a passing voter.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Petersfield pub set to make a mark

Netherregions has identified its target market

The new Netherregions pub, on the site of the old Red Lion, is expected to open in July – just in time for the summer school holidays.

And its licence will allow it to serve teenagers with a low-alcohol tolerance from 9am-12.30am Thursday to Saturday.

Netherregions regional sales manager, Jim Beam, explained: “The timing couldn’t be better for us. Opening just as the school holidays start gives us the opportunity to hit our target market immediately.

“These are the ideal people to take advantage of our ‘Get Smashed Out of Your Skull for a Fiver’ promotion, where we allow groups of one to purchase 12 bottles of alcopops for a fiver providing they are spending a minimum of £2.50 on food.”

Beam was quick to address residents’ concerns over anti-social behaviour.

He added: “Two door supervisors will be employed on Friday and Saturday nights, bank holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to maintain public order. If anybody comes staggering out of the pub our door supervisors are under strict instructions to throw them back in until they can no longer stand.

“We will also be serving breakfasts from 7am. However, as our alcohol licence does not allow us to sell booze until 9am all our bacon, eggs and sausages will be cooked in WKD.

“People are wrong to think that Netherregions is all about profit with no concern for the local community. We’re not just about profit, we’re also very focussed on selling excess stock as quickly as possible.”

Beam insisted if there was a sudden influx of people at the pub and problems arose he could call on trained door staff to get to the Red Lion within two hours – which, he was at pains to point out, is slightly quicker than the police can get there.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Petersfield school is United in technology

Fergie demonstrates the new technology
involved in the school's clock

What do Manchester United and Petersfield’s Big School have in common? They are the only places in the country where you can find a genuine Alex Ferguson timepiece.

Featuring the latest in patented ‘Fergie Time-Speed’ technology, the clocks can speed up or slow down depending on what is required.

For years now Ferguson has used his timepiece to justify adding anything up to three hours to a Premiership match at Old Trafford or to cutting a match short when away from home and holding on to a narrow lead.

The dour Scot has always guarded the technology fervently, but in a brief moment of charity he has allowed the timepiece to be replicated at Petersfield’s Big School, where it dominates the new Third Generation (3G) artificial sports pitch.

Head teach Dee Tention explained: “The clock will come in very useful for staff when pupils have been misbehaving or if the teacher has fallen asleep midway through a lesson and hasn’t finished a topic.

“Under those circumstances we can use the ‘Fergie Time-Speed’ technology to add another few hours to the school day, meaning not only do pupils learn more, but staff can earn overtime payments without having to fill in any chits.

“And what’s more if a parent is being particularly difficult at a parents’ evening we can cut short their 10-minute allotted time-slot to just 30 seconds and they’re none-the-wiser.

“It’s a clever piece of kit and we can see why Sir Alex Ferguson was happy to put his name to it. In an ideal world we’d like to let the local community take advantage of this technology but now we’ve installed it we probably won’t.”

However, the new time-piece has not been welcomed by local residents many of whom fear the clock could ensure they keel over and die if they ever protest to the school about anything again.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Whipping up support

The three parties trying to attract support

As polling day approaches, representatives of the three main parties are set to impress their values upon the people of Petersfield.

With esteemed and much-loved Michael Mates retiring from office, the East Hampshire voting battle is thought to be a tightly contested three horse race and each of the main parties is doing everything they can to sway the vote.

Elsie Withering-Slowly (Conservative) will be speaking from 18:30 at the library, where she will be covering some of the big issues including pensions and public transport.

Gladys Mildew (Labour) is to base herself at the hospital, just in case, and couldn’t remember what it was she was to be talking about when we interviewed her. So that should be a surprise for anyone attending, but she did confirm there would be biscuits available. She will be talking from 19:00.

Dizzy Plinarian (Liberal Democrat) has decided to hold her talks, or “shows” as she has described them at the rugby club.

Plinarian will be appearing at 21:00, 22:00 and 23:00 tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday and anyone wishing to attend who has not already purchased a ticket is out of luck, the performances were sold out days ago.

Plinarian told us “I will be giving demonstrations of the role of punishment in society, with the promise of follow up sessions if victory is forthcoming."