Friday, January 29, 2010

No snow joy for desperate media

Petersfield was filled with desperate TV camera crews and news reporters this afternoon after a brief snow flurry.

GMTV quickly had a petite blonde with a speech defect located on a bridge over the A3 in anticipation of more stories of ‘family horror stuck in the snow’.

But they left disappointed after the snow failed to cause a single car to skid off the road.

A spokesman for Delta FM admitted: “We were preparing to double our news team to two to cope with the demand of people phoning in and telling us how bad it was just so their friends could hear them on the radio.

“But it just didn’t happen. We did manage to get a piece on an 82-year-old woman who sprained an ankle when she slipped in The Causeway, but that wasn’t caused by snow, only an apple core.”

However, more snow is predicted for the region, as the Meteorological Office confirmed.

“Snow is on the way,” said weatherman Armitage Shanks. “It will be quite heavy and is anticipated in February next year.”

Meanwhile local newspapers are encouraging readers to send in their snowflake pictures for a 16-page supplement.
  • Read about “Causeway ankle agony after apple attack” in next week’s 23 Petersfield-based media outlets.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What a load of grit

Council workers have received huge praise for managing to grit at least one side road during the recent snowy weather.

Somehow the brave workmen managed to make their way up the treachorous icy gradients of Tilmore Hill to clear the road and pavements of the posh detached houses in Kimbers.

Unfortunately, they had to return to their cosy warm offices before they had time to lay grit and salt outside the council homes in the adjacent Highfield Road.

However, there were warm words from their councillor, Bobby Bear, who said: "It's work like this above and beyond the call of duty that makes our council workmen the heroes of the recent cold spell - they really showed what they're made of."

Bear, who coincidentally lives in Kimbers with his wife Mummy Bear, two baby bears and Goldilocks the au pair, added: "The fact that I live here has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the road was cleared of ice and snow ... honest guv."

Mrs Granny Humble, 89, who was trapped in her Highfield Road home for more than a week and survived by eating breadcrumbs from a neighbour's bird-table said: "Sounds like a pile of grit to me..."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Christmas Festival gets green light

Following the success of last year’s Christmas Festival, the event has been given a green light for 2010.

Delighted spokesman Giles Farmer said: “It’s fantastic news – we’re going to put the it on a pole in the middle of the Square.

“If we can gather enough donations through the year, we’ll maybe get a red light and even some white ones and it should look very festive.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bureaucracy grows in National Park

While most of us thought a National Park was simply a large area of natural beauty protected from development, Petersfield Newswire can reveal that it is also a natural breeding ground for bureaucracy.

Already, green shoots of administrative order are appearing in the Park's verdant fields with news that Petersfield is applying to be the official site of the South Downs Bureaucracy Tree.

The seed of this species is planted into an SSSI (site of super-annuated spending initiatives) and quickly matures, generating fresh spores of bureaucratic process which can drift across a wide area.

The Bureaucracy Tree also breaks into flower with a dazzling display of marketing and public information campaigns to provide distraction from the planning officials' hollow promises on development.

The tree itself is equally hollow, housing up to 30 administrative elves within its trunk. Once a year, the elves gather round the Bureaucracy Tree and sing the national anthem.

Officials at Pennpushers Place welcomed the move, saying it will be nice to have someone who understands them in the area.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Threat of a story now "severe"

The Petersfield news story threat level is being raised from "substantial" to "severe", local safety adviser Daventry McAllister has said.

The new alert level means a news story in the Petersfield area is considered "highly likely". It had stood at "substantial" since July, but no genuine event of interest ever occurred, as the local press has faithfully reported (see 26 pages of snow pictures).

For decades, Petersfield has been defined as a "null zone", a status officially enshrined on the town by the Prevention of Tourism Act 1982, legislation designed to ensure that nothing of any consequence should ever happen in the area.

The penalties for breaching this legislation are high. As the Act itself declares: "Any person or persons found in possession of a story or with the intention of assembling a story from the component parts thereof, such as an idea, thought or interesting character, shall be in determined to be in breach of the Act and deported to Havant."

Petersfield boasts the highest ratio of news organisations to stories in the developed world. Nonetheless, members of the public are being asked to be vigilant, just in case the expected story threat should occur at an inconvenient time for the Petersfield Post's weekly deadline.

A Government spokesman said they had "no specific intelligence".

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cat nip

An ungrateful and angry cat owner was today reunited with her pet, after the animal had caught a bus to Liphook and stayed there for something of an extended holiday.

Oddball, named because of her distinctive face, was returned to livid Petersfield resident Anna Mullover after being missing for two full months.

It transpires that on alighting the number 23 bus, Oddball had made her way to The Royal Anchor pub where she really landed on her feet, being taken in and fed salmon, monkfish or tuna for the duration of her stay.

Juan Fatharoad at The Royal Anchor said: “ Oddball obviously likes a drink, a few of the locals first of all tried her with the odd sip of gin or vodka, but it soon became apparent champagne is her tipple of choice.”

After eight weeks, one of the bar staff thought to read the tag around Oddball’s neck and rang Mullover to pass on the good news that her pet cat was safe and sound.

The cat was returned to Mullover who now has a hefty bill to pay for Oddball’s holiday. The invoice comprises a £20 taxi fare home, £325 for food, £435 for lodging and a massive £632 for drink.

Although they have yet to confirm it, there is every chance that Stagecoach will also be in touch to recoup the £5.84 owing from the outward trip.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Only part of the story

We have had more than one letter singing the praises of the Harold website, the online portal for the Petersfield Harold newspaper, which keeps Petersfield residents informed and up to date with local issues.

The reader who wrote in twice told us that the Harold site is their first stop for local breaking news. As an example, this week’s top stories are:

An elderly man...
For full story, see this week's Petersfield Harold.

A large panda riding a...
For full story, see this week's Petersfield Harold.

School set to...
For full story, see this week's Petersfield Harold.

Free beer at...
For full story, see this week's Petersfield Harold.

We were also advised to keep an eye out for a “really informative poll” in which readers can participate and make their feelings known. When we looked the portal was asking for readers views on the services offered by Dawlish Parish Council.

A newspaper and website with the needs of the local population at heart, we called anonymously to get a feel for the lengths to which the editorial team will go, to ensure these hard hitting stories reach the public.

We spoke to Corrie Spondent, who knows the boy who updates the web-page. She told us: "we like to offer enough of a story that our online readers get a feel for what is going on in the area.

"Enough to get their attention, but not so much fine detail that they have no need to buy the paper".

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cold reception for snowman

The refurbishment of the Red Lion pub in Petersfield has been delayed as a direct result of the heavy snow over the last couple of weeks.

Due to open early in February, the iconic pub was taken over by the pound-a-pint, beer giant Netherspoons, with a view to capitalising on the chavs who travel in to drink in the watering holes of this beautiful market town.

The opening date will now need to be put back as the progress on site has been hampered by snowfall of around 14 inches.

Phil Mabarrow, one of the site managers said: “It was all going well enough until we realised we didn’t have any arms for the snowman.

“Building the body and head only put us back a couple of hours, but we did spend some considerable time sourcing suitable parts for his arms.”

We asked Sue Flay from one of the nearby houses whether the work was affecting her quality of life. “Not at all” she replied; “A bigger problem is the snow. Since the cold snap we’ve not been able to get any sort of reception on my television, and I do so miss Question Time.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Ice Man cometh

Affordable housing near the heath - advertising
material claims prices have been 'frozen for January'

Petersfield Housing Association is to lodge a complaint over the new homes that have been hurriedly erected on the land between Heath Road East and Sussex Road in Petersfield.

The PHA has accused Petersfield Town Council of exploiting a loophole in the system; keeping to a minimum the level of new affordable housing in the area.

Speaking for the Council Planning Department, Bill Ding defended the work saying: “In line with strict Government directives we have, ahead of schedule, erected a number of affordable homes that comply and in fact go well beyond all normal environmental requirements.

“These homes are in a desirable part of town, with easy access to the town centre.

“I must point out that a clause in any prospective purchasers’ contract will state that the ownership of the land will return to the council if the house is demolished thus ensuring that the area will remain unspoilt for future generations.”

PHA will tackle PTC head on, with Evan Elpuss accusing them of: “deliberately building homes that will not last, thus reducing, in the long term, the number of homes that can be afforded by the poorer members of society".

In response Ding said: “They have the same guarantees as Barratt Homes...”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thaw causes news chaos - snow news is good news

News organisations in Petersfield have gone into a snow-blind panic following the recent thaw.

"Where are we going to find all our stories now?" commented one insider at Petersfield Newswire.

"News stories have been literally falling from the sky into our lap for days - we didn't even need to leave the office ... come to think of it we couldn't leave the office most of the time.

"The snow may have been bad news for anyone who eats food, wants their bins emptied or post delivered but for us newshounds - and 4X4 drivers - it was a god-send.

"We'll have to start using our imaghinations again soon ... although this shameless attempt at extending the snow coverage has at least kept us going for another day."

A spokesman for The Messenger said: "How are we supposed to nick that?"

Friday, January 15, 2010

News in Brief

To keep people like Mr Backhouse happy (Letter to the editor, January 14), here are two items of News In Brief, designed specifically to appeal to the clean-living, hard-working, middle-class citizens of Petersfield.

Ugly scenes in Petersfield

There were ugly scenes in Petersfield town centre last night when several people from Bordon turned up unexpectedly. Eye-witnesses reported no fighting, just people from Bordon who were ugly.

House price update

A mixed picture for Petersfield house prices: In the latest made-up survey, values headed lower in Upper Heyshott, but shot up in Head Down. In North Road prices went south, while values in Frenchmans Road and The Spain were quoted in Euros.

Delivery guaranteed - or is it?

Ben, 16, delivers this week's Petersfield Messenger
to a resident on the Herne Farm estate

Petersfield Post Office is sending staff on a fact-finding mission to several teenagers’ homes in the town.

As soon as it stops being so nippy, posties are to meet up with delivery kids from around the district to get some tips on coping with slippy pavements while carrying a delivery bag.

The voyage of discovery has been set up by Post Office bosses after it emerged that while official post had not been delivered to many streets in the town for a week, somehow essential supplies of Papa Johns leaflets and freebie newspapers seemed to have made it through the letterbox.

"It definitely has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the kids don’t get paid if they fail to deliver whereas our guys can nip off down the pub on full pay once they’ve reported for duty and decided the snow looks a bit dodgy," said Royal Mail spokesperson IQ Longtime.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another letter to the editor

Regular correspondent (well he's written once before) Harold Backhouse sent us a letter this week. Please feel free to contact us on any Petersfield-related subject @

Dear Mr Newswire,

Whilst I have quite enjoyed some of your articles, I notice more and more of an anti middle class slant to your writing. Just let me tell you that there is no such thing as middle or working class in this country - there are people who work damn hard to make a comfortable living for themselves such as myself and my wife Amanda and there are lazy buggers who sit around and wait for the state to give them a hand-out, whilst carping at folk like Amanda and myself.

Just this week, Amanda had to drive the RangeRover up Rams Walk because she needed to load up a bulk purchase of dog food for the labradors, carrots for the horses and several tons of organic fodder for ourselves in view of likely shortages due to the weather.

Whilst backing the horse box up to Waitrose's doors she possibly might have run over this oik's foot, who had the temerity to shout abuse and call her - I kid you not - "A toffee-nosed hooligan". There is just too much of this "Jack's as good as his master" stuff going on these days, and your publication is only encouraging it. So stop it and write something of interest about Agas or Eventing.

Yours sincerely,

Harold Backhouse

The editor writes: Just for you Harold we're starting a regular monthly column called Stately Home owners and their Agas.

Family man suffers as result of snow

The plight of Lee Parker and his business associate Roland Castle have been drawn to the attention of the Newswire team here in Petersfield.

Parker, 33 contacted us after reading what he calls “so many sob stories” on the Newswire site. His story shows that the poor weather has hit some of us harder than others, with some sections of the community receiving no aid, support or even sympathy in these desperate times.

“This snow has been a real nightmare,” said Parker, fighting to hold back a tear.

“I have a partner and seven kids to support and this is normally my busiest time of year. This snow has wrecked any chance I had of cashing in on the public’s high spending Christmas season.”

Parker confided that he completely relies on this time of year to make enough profit to ensure his family can live comfortably for the rest of the year:

“Roland and I normally come up to Petersfield, where so much cash has been splashed over the Christmas period. People leave their new plasma TVs, their X-boxes, wiis, cameras, mobiles and even cash sometimes, out in full view, and we can just slip in while they are out and help ourselves.

“This year because of the ruddy snow, everyone is trapped indoors and not leaving the house. Nobody is even leaving windows open, not even a little bit for some fresh air and of course we can’t get the van up some of these side roads because of the ice. Criminal that's what it is."

Time is money as far as this industrious pair are concerned.

“Trouble is, every day that goes past, the stuff is getting used and we are less likely to be able to pass it off as brand new on ebay," admitted Parker.

Parker kindly gave us his address when he wrote and now both he and Castle are helping the police with their enquiries.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The animals came in 4x4s

Available as a reassuringly expensive add-on in many 4x4s

The recent snow has brought with it a sudden outbreak of arrogance in Petersfield, as middle-class 4x4 drivers use the snow to justify their ridiculous choice of gas-guzzling vehicles.

Initially just a light dusting of immodesty, great waves of smugness then blew in as 4x4 owners ponced about as if they owned the place. Unsurprisingly, Met Office monitoring stations have detected significant increases in arrogance, haughtiness and pomposity in the air.

Head of premium pricing at White Nose garages Daventry McAllister said : "Our latest range of 4x4s is designed specifically with the arrogant in mind. There's even a smugometer built into the dashboard. That way, you can wallow in pride as you destroy the environment and cause even more extreme weather conditions that only a car like that can survive."

Back from the bread

Shelves which normally contain chilli-crusted ciabatta
have been purged by panic-buyers

Petersfield families have been facing food shortages as panic buying, combined with snow, has prevented deliveries to shops in the town.

Essentials like bread and milk were in short supply leading to real hardship in some areas.

"It's a disgrace!" shrieked Penelope Landcruiser-Driver, from Poshhouse Avenue.

"In this day and age in a supposedly modern country, we should be able to maintain supplies of essential foodstuffs.

"There was no chilli-crusted ciabatta for the whole weekend - I managed to find a loaf of unlevened focaccia in my freezer top serve at my Yummy Mummies meeting but it got so bad that this morning I was forced to allow my children to eat toast soldiers made from WHITE SLICED BREAD!!

"As if that's not bad enough my husband has started divorce proceedings after I put full fat milk in his morning cappucino. When will this hell end?"

A spokesman for Waitrose apologised and said he would arrange a special delivery to Mrs Landcruiser-Driver to make up for letting her down.

A spokesman for Tesco said: "What's foccacia?"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Refuse collectors refuse collections

Choose a bin, any bin...

Owing to the snow, the bin collections in Petersfield are up the spout. But Petersfield Newswire is here to simplify EHDC's new arrangements for you:
  • Recycling and ecological green waste should go in the black bins which may look white due to the amount of snow on them.
  • Non-green waste should go in the green bins, which also may look white for the same reason.
  • Houses with odd numbers in the north of the area that did not get their refuse collected last week but were expecting a recycling collection this week won’t.
  • Houses with even numbers that did receive a recycling collection last week shouldn’t have. This will be returned but transferred into your green bin.
  • Houses with names, not numbers, can pay for private collections.
  • Bins should be left on the pavement which you can find under the snow.
  • Bins must not cause an obstruction. Under no circumstances leave bins on pavements.
Full details from East Hampshire District Council - experts in waste.

Monday, January 11, 2010

'Blitz' spirit heartens hotelier

Petersfield residents who came to the aid of stranded motorists last week have hailed the ‘Blitz spirit’ that prevailed.

One hotelier, Ribena Poison-Tombliboo, opened up her establishment at Languish Hall, despite the fact that it was closed for refurbishment – and within five minutes stranded motorists had taken advantage and moved in.

“We were overwhelmed,” she said. “They were straight out of their cars and into the hotel within seconds of hearing the words ‘no charge’.

“Many of them were working class and it was obviously something of an experience for them to see rooms that didn’t have peeling wallpaper and buildings not covered in satellite dishes.

“Dozens bedded down on the floor and you got this tremendous sense of what it must have been like in the Underground stations during the Blitz. Especially as some of them brought rats with them, pissed on the telephone table and left litter and used condoms strewn across the parquet flooring.

“One of them brought in a workman’s brazier and we gathered round it all night. Well they did; obviously we were upstairs in the Georgian state bedroom.

“There was even one old boy selling the Evening Standard and playing the spoons. We’ve no idea where he came from because he didn’t have a car. But he had a load of Hershey bars and silk stockings.

“They were all so grateful. Many of them said they’d come back in the warmer weather and stay for a weekend – bless them. They’ll never be able to afford £200 per night, but everybody should have a dream.”

To cope with the influx of custom, Mrs Poison-Tombliboo was forced to airlift-in emergency supplies from Waitrose or, as it's known to her, "the larder".

Friday, January 08, 2010

New service for Petersfield commuters

South West Trains has introduced a new service of "mystery tours" to its commuter timetables.

The exciting new services are now departing Petersfield station several times daily.

Passengers are informed of the special service once aboard through a series of cryptic clues from which they have to work out their likely destination and time of arrival.

Some of the clues include "we apologise for the delay to this service", "the next station is Haslemere where this train will now terminate" and the deliciously sinister "would the guard please contact the driver".

On the return journey, commuters could be diverted on to an entirely different line, ending up in the charming cathedral city of Winchester, the bustling port of Southampton, or Havant.

Head of creative synnovation at South West Trains, Daventry McAllister, said: "This is the biggest step forward in train adventure since 2005, when we introduced trolley staff who don't speak English."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Snow brings unexpected windfall

The snow which has dropped in to Petersfield is also expected to bring with it another windfall: increased tourism.

Travel agents in Russia, Canada, Scandinavia and certain areas of the USA have already reported an upsurge in tourists’ interest in visiting the small Hampshire market town.

Olly Day, a travel agent based in Quebec, confirmed: “We’d never heard of Petersfield until the last 24 hours – yet dozens of people have been in to see if they can visit. They want to come over to your country and laugh at you for not being able to cope with six inches of snow.”

Lafmi Arsov, a student from Moscow, explained: “I want to visit this silly little place where one day’s snow can prevent so many people from living their normal lives. I wish to stand alongside a sign which acknowledges the twin towns of Barentin and Warendorf and have my picture taking while pointing and laughing.”

While many are prepared to ridicule Petersfield residents, the increased interest has been welcomed by some, according to the self-appointed spokesman for Petersfield retailers, Matt Tress.

“Anything that brings more people past my shop is welcome: snow, ridicule, police line-ups…,” he said. “People don’t realise how hard trading conditions are right now. Mind you my new Canadian travel agency is doing quite well.”

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Entire world cut off

The snow has reached unprecedented levels ...
unless you're from somewhere other than England

The entire population of Planet Earth has been dramatically cut off from Petersfield by snow.

People the world over hoping to reach the Hampshire town, famed for its long Post Office queue and plans to concrete over land only months after being admitted into the South Downs National Park, have been stopped in their tracks by the sudden adverse weather.

One man had travelled thousands of miles to reach Petersfield, only to fail just outside the town.

He said: "I'd heard about Petersfield's welcoming attitude to heartless property developers like me and was hoping to build 16 starter homes on a small triangle of land I'd identified between the sports centre and the children's playground. Now all that's in doubt because of a jack-knifed lorry near Liss."

On a brighter note, nobody from Bordon can get into the town today.

Trapped on the A3 - a true story

Petersfield Newswire enjoys a laugh, but on occasions like this, when snow brings the town to a standstill we like to feature a true reader story.

This comes from Gareth, 43, who spent the night stuck in his car on the A3 just outside Petersfield.

I'd been at a seminar in Kidderminster and was driving home in the worst weather conditions I can remember.

I got to the Ham Barn roundabout and things were just at a standstill. I had some sweets in the car and I was able to call my wife and kids to tell them I was OK but I already knew I was in for a long stay.

I got a blanket out of the boot of the car and readied myself for an uncomfortable night. Fortunately for me, my next-door neighbour was a stuck a few cars behind me so he came down and joined me, so I at least had some company.

We did get some sleep, though it was uncomfortable, and it was about 5am this morning when we heard a few engines starting up. The windscreen wipers managed to clear sufficient room to allow us to see into the distance, and there were a couple of guys with shovels and backpacks making their way down the embankmanent to the queue of traffic.

As they got closer we could see they were wearing hi-visibility jackets and were obviously some form of rescue team. When they finally got to us, they dug around the car and cleared the windscreen and windows.

I wound down my window and the first guy poked his head into the car and said: "Wash your car today sir?"

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Residents prepare for 'big freeze'

Petersfield is expected to see a downfall of up to three inches of grit as residents panic in anticipation of a small snow flurry.

DIY stores, builders’ merchants and pet shops selling cat litter are expected to be gridlocked as panic-buying families stock up on products designed to prevent huge drives from freezing over.

Gary Gritter, East Hants District Council’s roads manager, said: “Things appear certain to get worse over the next 24 hours and we would urge people not to visit DIY stores, builders’ merchants or pet shops unless it is really necessary.

“Obviously those people with 4x4s will be OK as they can use the bull bars to knock everybody else out of the way.”

A spokesman for Waitrose, in Rams Walk, added: “Things are obviously pretty bad as we are running short of coarse rock salt, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelised onion houmous and smoked-salmon blinis – people are obviously expecting to be snowed in for days.

“We’re also running short of brussel sprouts, probably as a result of the rumoured gas shortage.”

However, the RAC’s I C Rhodes, suggested the panic-buying was unnecessary.

He said: “We have conducted many experiments on road surfaces down the years and while cat litter and salt may prove temporary adequate replacements for grit, there has never been any suggestion that houmous or smoked-salmon blinis prevent drives from freezing over.”

The official Meteorological Office forecast for Petersfield over the next 24 hours is: “A system of low-pressure whingeing will sweep in from the west, resulting in the market stall with gloves and hats selling out and lots of lazy buggers not bothering to get out of bed. This will be accompanied by a small flurry of snow, which would otherwise pass unnoticed by anybody living in Scotland.”

Monday, January 04, 2010

Homeless woman highlights Sheet problem

A homeless woman is to spend the night in a plush house in Sheet to highlight the plight of the middle classes who whacked too much on their credit cards over Christmas.

"As I was selling The Beeeg Eeeshue in Rams Walk over the festive season I noticed how miserable all the shoppers were," explained Petersfield's homeless woman, known to residents as Mona.

"I chatted to a couple and realised what a tough time they were having. Many of them had to fight their way through throngs of other grim-faced and very pushy consumers just to buy two months' worth of food to see them through the long Christmas weekend.

"And others were forced to purchase hordes of expensive tat that their spoilt children didn't even want.

"Most of them were having to put so much on their credit cards they couldn't even spare the usual £1.50 for the Big Issue. I felt so sorry for them I decided to do something about it."

Mona is to spend the night in a five-bedroomed detached house in Sheet in a bid to bring attention to the sorry state of affairs facing many of the village's upper-crust residents.

Home owner Cressida Brazil-Thwaite (pronounced Twat) said: "She'll have to live on leftovers as that's all we can afford in January but she should be OK as the freezer in the utility room is full and my family won't need it as we'll be away on our annual skiing trip ... although we're having to make do with a European resort as we can't afford Aspen this year as my husband's Christmas bonus was around 10 per cent down.

"Mona doesn't realise how lucky she is not having to worry about such things and I hope she'll come to realise that after a night in our spare room."

If you would like to help the Brazil-Thwaites with their hefty credit card bill, Mona will be in her usual place this week and will pass on donations.