It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

When the Fuller’s Christmas trees go up on the Griffin Brewery there’s no denying that the Christmas season is upon us. Usually I bury my head in the sand as long as possible but this year I’ve decided to embrace it. So here is your Chiswick Calendar Christmas guide.

Some ideas for original Christmas presents

Jewellery by Shelley Thomas

Tucked away by Kew Bridge there’s a community of around twenty arts and crafts producers, among them Shelley Thomas, who makes beautiful, very distinctive silver jewellery. She creates her own pieces, customises jewellery to your design and also offers one day silver smithing courses for £170 or £150 each for two people.

You can buy direct from her workshop in the Old Pay Office at the Steam Museum, through her website: www.shelleythomas.co.uk or phone her on 07947 032286.

Stiletto Coat pegs by Derek Pearce

This quirky idea for a coat rack caught my eye. Derek Pearce is a woodcarver, sculptor and furniture maker. Have a look on his website at the table he made for John Cleese with carved woodland animals running around the base and his hippo tables, with the eyes and noses just peeping above the glass table top – genius.

Website: www.derekpearce.com Email: derek@derekpearce.com

Knobs by Neil Brown

Neil Brown is the resident blacksmith in the forge at the Steam Museum. His work ranges from bottle openers at the smallest, stocking filler size up to commissions for furniture such as gates, staircases and balconies. As a member of The Chiswick Calendar club card scheme he offers a discount of 10% to club card holders. You can also try your hand at blacksmithing yourself on one of his blacksmithing for beginners courses.

Website: www.hotmetalworks.co.uk Tel: 07784 284250. Email: neil@hotmetalworks.co.uk

Christmas Three open studios

Three local artists will be showing their work next weekend. The Christmas Three Open Studios at 9 Windmill Rd, W4 1RN, just off the High Rd, will be featuring the work of artist Joanna Brendon, jeweller Annette O’Sullivan and weaver Bobbie Kociejowski.

Painting by Joanna Brendon Website: www.joannabrendon.com

The Christmas Three will be showing their work 1 – 3 December. Friday 6.00 – 9.00pm, Saturday 11.00am – 6.00pm. Sunday 11.00am – 6.00pm. On offer also is mulled wine and minced pies.

Jewellery by Annette O’Sullivan Contact: Annette O’Sullivan

Scarves and Shawls by Bobbie Kociejowski

Bobbie is a Canadian artist who happened upon weaving almost by accident when she was living in a remote mining town in the Rockies. In our video she talks about how she came to be a weaver and the importance of using colour.

Website: www.bobbiekociejowski.com

Make your own at Mella Mella

When my kids were young we had several pottery cafes in the area. I still have a few dubious looking lumps of clay splodged with bright colours that I couldn’t possibly part with. Mella Mella has opened recently at 8 Essex Place W4 5UT, a ceramic painting and pottery wheel studio, kids corner, garden and café, which caters for parties, classes, and workshops.

Greige opens its doors at Bedford Corner

Homeware store Greige has been part of the club card scheme for a year, selling their beautiful range of interesting items for the home online and from their warehouse in Chiswick. They’ve just opened their first shop at Bedford Corner.

One of the items I really like are these Danish tin houses for tea lights. They come in different shapes and sizes so you can put them together and create your own little street. Sizes range from 10cm to 45cm high. Prices £11.50 – £69.
These and everything in the shop are available at 10% discount for holders of the Chiswick Calendar club card when you spend £75 or more – but make sure you have it with you and brandish it with a flourish! (Online the offer applies when you spend £50 – promo code ChisCal50). Greige Lifestyle Boutique 1 Bedford Corner, South Parade, W4.

Website: www.greige.co.uk

Paddleboarding with Active 360 – fantastic offer if you book by 4 December

If you want to buy something that is not going to be quietly recycled to a charity shop, how about a gift voucher for paddle boarding with Active 360, based at Kew Bridge?

Normal price £65 for one person for a three hour lesson, they have a fantastic offer for club card holders available to book only until midnight on 4 December. Active 360 are offering club card members vouchers for TWO people together for just £99 for a three hour lesson.

To book online using the club card go to www.active360.co.uk and use the promo code Calendar99, email: info@active360.co.uk / Ring 0208 825 5360. They’re very flexible too, so if you wanted a two hour lesson rather than a three hour lesson or three people rather than two, ring them up and talk to them about it.

Lamb’s wool jumper from Cotswold Outdoors

Warm winter woollies from Cotswold Outdoor. Club card holders can buy this lovely Aigle Lofoty 100% lamb’s wool women’s jumper for £90 from Cotswold Outdoor, 323-327 Chiswick High Rd, W4 (normal price £99). The 10% discount applies to anything in the shop.

The latest in instant cameras from the Chiswick Camera Centre

All the rage this Christmas apparently is the Fujifilm Instax SQ10, an instant camera which also records to a Micro SD memory card and has a built in LCD screen, meaning that for the first time you can choose whether to print an image instantly, print multiple copies and edit before you print.

Normal price £249 from Chiswick Camera Centre, 4 Chiswick Terrace, Acton Lane, W4. Andy, the owner, is offering a £25 discount to club card holders, bringing the price down to £224.

Vouchers for a meal at Annie’s

Another idea for something which will not sit gathering dust – a gift voucher for Annie’s restaurant at Strand on the Green. Any amount from £20 – £300 available. Redeemable by the end of May 2018. Buy online at www.anniesrestaurant.co.uk

Annie’s doesn’t have a club card offer in the restaurant in December but will resume its 15% discount to club card holders in January.

Outrage over pop up Christmas tree vendor


Pines & Needles, Acton Green Common

Pines & Needles has appeared on Acton Green Common, to the great annoyance of local trader Spencer Wheeler. Spencer runs Wheelers Garden Centre, tucked away beside Turnham Green tube station. Most of their trade at this time of year is in Christmas trees. He is ‘disgusted’ that Ealing council has allowed them to set up for just four weeks, creaming off some of the Christmas trade which helps local businesses like Wheelers and High Rd fruit and veg stall holders Collins to survive in Chiswick the rest of the year.


Wheelers Garden Centre, Turnham Green Terrace

Support local businesses

‘We need this month to struggle through January and February’ says Spencer. ‘I don’t think it’s fair that the council allows them to be here for just four weeks while we have to battle on, paying business rates and so on’. He plans to write to local MP Rupa Huq to ask for her support to stop this happening again next year and asks for our support.

Pines and Needles is open from 8.00am – 9.00pm and buy in bulk, but it might not work out cheaper buying your tree from them. Pines and Needles charge £5 for a wooden block to stand them on and £15 for delivery, whereas Wheelers provide both for free.

10% off Wheelers Christmas trees and decorations with a Chiswick Calendar club card

And then of course there’s The Chiswick Calendar club card. Club card holders get 10% off Christmas trees from Wheelers. And if we want to continue to be able to buy bedding plants in the spring, cut flowers from Wheelers florist and other services like landscape gardening the rest of the year, we’d better get behind them and support them.


Wheelers Garden Centre, Turnham Green Terrace

The Little Match Girl – theatre review

If ever there was a tale which exemplified the Christmas season – the disparity between the Haves and Have nots, the joy of one and the despair of the other, this is it. Hans Christian Anderson’s story of the homeless girl fantasising as she dies of hypothermia pulls no punches. There have been many TV, film and theatre versions since it was written in 1845, ranging from maudlin to schmaltz, but this production at the Tabard theatre in Chiswick is spot on. It’s feisty and challenging and calls out the audience for our complacency.

On another level it’s good entertainment with well executed song and dance routines and attractive costumes and set. Emily Cochrane plays the Little Match Girl as a fighter, a survivor who asks and expects no favours and reckons she can fend for herself, until she doesn’t. Jack Ayres is Arthur, the cheeky chappie whose bravado cheers her up but whose own position cleaning boots is perilously close to hers. Aimee Barrett is the merciless prostitute who keeps her out of the house of her father, the inadequate and violent Jebb, played by Rob Hadden, completing the set of selfish and cruel characters brutalised by poverty. The rest of the cast alternate between roles as privileged citizens too busy or too self righteous to help and other street dwellers trying to get by.

What gives the Tabard’s choice of Christmas show extra punch is the knowledge that the themes are just as relevant today as they were more than 170 years ago. 38 year old Elaine Morrall died in Liverpool a few weeks ago wrapped in her coat and scarf indoors because she could not afford to pay for heating and had switched it off until her children got home from school. She had mental problems and her benefit had been stopped after she failed to turn up for a meeting.

The Little Match Girl at the Tabard is highly recommended but take a hanky. Club card members get a £4 discount on tickets. Use the promotional code ‘calendar’ and take your card with you when you go. There will be a collection after the show for Crisis at Christmas.

‘Chiswick Beach’ proposal ‘dangerous’

A proposal for a ‘mixed river leisure facility’ at Strand on the Green would be dangerous for people doing water sports according to those who currently use the river for kayaking and paddle boarding. The plan, called ‘Chiswick Beach’ would achieve the opposite of what it purports to offer by creating an obstacle in the river which would present a risk of entanglement, or ‘pinning’ for canoeists and paddleboarders at high tide, increasing their risk of drowning.

Houseboats, deckchairs and pedalos

The PLA have received an application in for the installation of piles, pontoons and moorings at Ball’s Wharf, which is the area just east of Kew Bridge, for a mixed used facility with 10 houseboats, a boat club for motorboats, a cafe and facilities for human powered watersports including pedalos. It promises ‘the increase of the use and enjoyment of the foreshore’ in what it calls a ‘blighted’ area in ‘a remote small landscaped area which is in disrepair.’ The proposal by Environomics Consultants says ‘As at any beach there will be the provision of deck chairs, picnicking, ice-cream, sunbathing etc … Chiswick Beach will not detract from the area; in fact it will be a beautiful reinvigoration of lost facilities and new leisure, recreational, arts, culture and the opportunity to enjoy the Thames.’

Chiswick Beach Plan

The plan shows the development stretching from the drawdock or slipway beside Kew Bridge almost as far as the Bell & Crown.

Paddleboarders and kayakers concerned about added risks to river users

It comes as news to the existing sporting clubs that: ‘It has been a significant asset to the area for riverside uses in the past, but this use has been lost recently. There is a significant deficiency of leisure provision.’ There are two Kayaking clubs and a paddleboarding company based at Kew Bridge.

Peter Hughes, chairman of the Kayak club Edge Progressive Paddling says they and Chelsea Kayak Club have more than a hundred members between them and with visitors in the summer they enable hundreds of people to use the river at Strand on the Green in the summer. He told me “This is not about improving the area for the community. In the summer the river is chocka with leisure boats, rowers paddleboarders, kayaks. This is about a greedy developer wanting to make a fast buck”.

Photograph by John Clare

He and Paul Hyman from Active 360, which runs paddleboarding from the arches at Kew Bridge both have concerns that a pontoon at Strand on the Green would make it more difficult for their members. The Thames at Strand on the Green is fully tidal. An immense amount of water is displaced each day and at high and low tide the river runs at a fast walking pace. Paddleboarders and kayakers use the power of the water. Typically they go from Kew to Richmond on the incoming tide and return on the ebb tide.

“There would be a pinning or entanglement hazard on the ebb tide” Paul Hyman told me. It would be easy, especially for beginners, to overshoot the landing and hit the pontoon. “They would have to be careful they don’t get swept in to it on the way back from Richmond.” The proposed pontoon would present a hazard as it would be easy to be pinned against it and trapped underneath.

The proposed development presents another problem for the kayak clubs. The first arch of Kew Bridge next to the north shore is blocked off, so to go upstream to Richmond they have to pass under the middle arch, which is where the water runs faster. At the moment they paddle downstream from the drawdock hugging the wall (exactly where the proposed development would be) so beginners can get used to the water before they have to make a sharp right turn and brave the midstream channel in order to go upstream. If that’s not an option they would have to go straight out into fast flowing water, which Peter Hughes says would make it too difficult for beginners.

More mud

Paul and Peter also think that the creation of a pontoon at that point would contribute to a build up of mud, which would make it more difficult than it already is to get in to the water. Paul told me what is needed to encourage more use of the river for water sports is a built causeway with a gentle slope down to the river at the existing draw dock. They also have concerns about the general public using pedalos unsupervised both because of the danger of collisions as there are so many rowers and because of the tides.

Ruining the historic view

The idea that Strand on the Green is ‘blighted’ also comes as a surprise to residents who on the whole rather like it the way it is. The Strand on the Green Residents Association is asking its members for their views. One member has replied to the PLA saying in his view the development is inappropriate because it ‘will damage the historic views and amenity of the riverside park and walking.’

Council approval?

The author of the report ‘Environomics Consultants’ says: Hounslow have requested that I should bring this to the planning committee after the works license application. The have advised that they would look favourably upon the application, as it is very similar to their own recently in Brentford.

Comment

If you have any comments please send them to the Chairman and to Jackie Evans, the PLA Licensing Officer at jackie.evans@pla.co.uk by 26 December