Bedford Park featured in TV doc

The fourth episode of “Phil Spencer: History of Britain in 100 Homes” was billed as showing homes between 1850 and 1880, “when working class slums were transformed into decent family abodes”.

The programme makers filmed former slum dwellings around Britain for 40 minutes before arriving at their 50th house in Bedford Park. Fear not, the area’s 500 homes have not plummeted in social or market value. The programme went on to explain Chiswick’s treelined garden suburb was initially conceived and became a template for future community developments, not for the working class, but to give “the middle classes the chance of a better quality of life”.

Filming took place last September with Bedford Park resident Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture and the London Society and Special Adviser to the Bedford Park Society, being interviewed and there are shots of the area including The Tavern, as a pub was a ground breaking addition to this prototype, planned development. You can still catch it on All 4.

The Bedford Park Society Spring Lecture

The Bedford Park Society’s Spring lecture on Tuesday 12 March is Putting Civility in Cities  by TV writer and presenter Loyd Grossman in which he will discuss the vital contribution of urban parks to our quality of life. For details of the lecture, click here

How to set goals for a healthier lifestyle

Guest blog by Vojin Soskic

As a personal trainer and gym manager at The Hogarth I have seen a wide variety of people in our club. The one thing they all have in common is they will need to commit regularly to exercise if they are to succeed in leading a healthier life.

The irony is this blog should have been done a few weeks ago but like all those would be exercisers this would be writer got distracted away from the goal, so I know the feeling!

Get moving

The most important thing is to get moving and aim to do more today than you did yesterday.
Do not put it off just get something, anything, done. Even walking an extra 10 minutes is a great start and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve once you get going and will feel better for having done so.

Why a trainer can help

Members of the Hogarth can have an hour’s help each month from one of our trainers as part of their membership to help stay motivated and make sure they are using the gym equipment effectively. All of our trainers at The Hogarth have diverse and unique backgrounds but we all want to help you improve.
The key is not for you to train like us, we are all different. It is vital that your trainer understands what suits you best. Some of our clients need more carrot and others more stick. The number one quality of a good trainer is empathy and understanding the individual before them.

Set Goals

So what is the most common training goal? Of course, it is weight loss.
Is there a quick fix? No. Long term success will be formed by better habits in the short and medium term. Exercise will play a crucial part but without good nutrition it is like trying to run with a parachute.

Many of you will know the answers and can figure out what you should eat or drink. In some cases it is increasing intake (e.g. vegetables) and other times decreasing (e.g. alcohol). Once you have established that, talk about the barriers that can get in the way and come up with strategies to overcome them.

Make a Plan

Ultimately you will need a plan. Commit to this and you will get results. A trainer can be there to overlook it and support you along the way. The trainer’s power predominately lies in session.
Being there. First and foremost. Never underestimate the power of having booked a session. You are far more likely to come in and train if there is someone else waiting for you. Once there the expertise and motivation should shine through but that commitment is key.

Take Ownership of your success

Then we can make sure you enjoy your training too. Some of you reading will be sceptical but it should be fun to train. If it is something you will do for a long time, figuring out how you will enjoy it is imperative for us.

Our biggest weakness as trainers is we cannot control what you do away from our sessions. This is where you have to take ownership of your diet. We will help, we will advise, we will support but the ball is in your court to execute it.

Get ready, get set, and go!

Here is a task you can start today. Over the next week write down everything you consume. Not only will it be a question of what you eat but when you eat and why you eat. Once you’ve answered the what, when and why you can come up with better strategies to make a difference with a balanced and healthy diet.

Now that I have finally finished this blog I am really glad I started it. Progress is power!
Come and check us out at The Hogarth Club and we’ll help get you started towards a healthier lifestyle. www.thehogarth.co.uk

Vojin Soskic is the Health and Fitness Manager at The Hogarth Club

Reader profile – Bob and Linda Bright

Linda and Bob Bright moved to Chiswick about 25 years ago and have been Club Card members since 2015.

They frequently use their Chiswick Calendar Club Card;

“It’s great to get a discount at Bills, The Pilot, and The Bell & Crown.”

“Also for a tour of the Fullers Brewery and a beginners’ ballet course with Ballet4Life (just for me that one!),” Linda clarifies, “We’ve also been to a very good art exhibition at the Clayton Hotel, and to a meeting at the George IV about the proposed cycle superhighway, which was very interesting.”

Jason Bowyer PPNEAC PS RP (1957-2019)

We are deeply saddened by the news of Jason Bowyer’s death on Sunday 17 February 2019.

Jason was born in Chiswick in 1957 to the artist William Bowyer and sculptor Vera Bowyer. He attended Chiswick School where his childhood ambition was to play centre forward for Fulham, but then decided to follow in his parents’ creative footsteps studying Fine Art at Camberwell School of Art, then a Post Graduate Diploma in Painting at the Royal Academy Schools.

However, sport remained a passion and he played football and cricket with Chiswick School Old Boys (Old Meadonians) and became the Artist in Residence at Fulham F.C. where he left his legacy through his art, now part of their collection.

In 1998 Jason became resident artist at The London Museum of Water and Steam where he painted the museum workshop and furnace.

Jason drew from observation in situ then simplified work into larger paintings in both oil and mixed media back in his studio, distilling the essence of his motif with a figurative and abstract interplay. Subjects ranged from industrial interiors to single flower and he was a gifted portraitist depicting, among others, Paul Oppie and Greg Dyke. Jason was appointed the Official War Artist, REME, (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) Camp Bastion Afghanistan in 2013.

Jason was a key figure within the New English Art Club – Past President and Founder of the NEAC Drawing School.

The Hogarth Trust of which he was an active trustee made this statement: “The trustees are shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Jason Bowyer on 17 February 2019. He was a board member from 2003 – a warm, imaginative, generous and supportive colleague. We will miss him enormously.”

Jason’s wife Claire, a ceramicist, their son Leo, a graphic designer and his brother Francis – also a New English artist live and work in Chiswick and, in addition to his many and widespread exhibitions, Jason also remained interested and supportive of local issues and events. He co-curated The Small Self, an exhibition at Hogarth’s House of self-portraits which marked the 250th anniversary of Hogarth’s death in 2014 and the striking self-portrait in the newsletter being his contribution.

Along with his brother Francis he has exhibited in each of the Chiswick Calendar exhibitions – Chiswick in Pictures – local artist Christine Berrington paid this tribute,” Jason has influenced and nurtured so many artists across all levels, including myself. It has been a privilege to be a member of his studio group and get to know him. He has been such a kind and generous tutor, mentor and friend to so many of us. Always willing to share his ideas and take a keen interest in other people and their life stories.

We will all miss his kindness and character enormously and remain deeply grateful for the wisdom, encouragement and fun he has brought to our lives.”

Chiswick House Camellia Show

Chiswick House’s Camellias are believed to be the oldest collection under glass in the Western world and include rare and historically important examples, with blooms in pink, red, white and striped. Visitors can view these heritage blooms within the elegant, 300ft Chiswick House Conservatory during the month of March (from 1 – 31 March 2019), free of charge. Many of these plants are descended from the original planting in 1828. The rare Middlemist’s Red (pictured above), which actually is more pink in colour and takes pride of place to the left of the conservatory’s central rotunda if your back is to the Italian Garden, was originally brought to Britain from China in 1804 by Londoner John Middlemist, a nurseryman from Shepherds Bush. It is one of only two in the world known to exist – the other being in Waitangi in New Zealand.

Camellias have been grown in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam as a garden plant for thousands of years and the genus was given the name of ‘Camellia’ in the 18th century, in honour of Georg Josef Kamel, a Moravian Jesuit apothecary and botanist, who worked in the Far East. The Camellias that grow at Chiswick are all of the species C. japonica which were ordered by William Lindsay, the 6th Duke’s Head Gardener, from Alfred Chandler’s Vauxhall nursery. Camellias have always enjoyed a special charm; by the 1840’s, when the Duke of Devonshire’s collection was well established, the Camellia was at the height of its fashion as the luxury flower. The Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis, who died young in 1847, inspired Dumas’ La Dame aux Camellias and Verdi’s La Traviata.

Famously, the white Camellia was Coco Chanel’s favourite flower, and became her emblem, adored for its regular perfection and classical order of its pure white petals.The original Conservatory was designed for the 6th Duke of Devonshire by the architect Samuel Ware, who later designed the Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly. At 300ft long it was one of the earliest large glass houses to be built and thus a forerunner of Decimus Burton’s glass house at Kew and Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace.

Free Tours

Garden guides will be offering free Camellia themed short tours (approx. 40 mins) during the March Camellia Show on Wednesdays and at the weekend.

Camellia Weekend 23/24 March

A pop up shop selling Heritage Camellias from the estate will be open on the weekend the 23rd / 24th March 10:00 until 4.00pm. There will be a Camellia Competition supported by the International Camellia Society on the Saturday 23 March to encourage local people to bring their Camellia Blooms and win prizes. You don’t even have to know the name of the Camellia just bring the bloom. All blooms can be dropped off on Friday 22nd March before 4.00pm and on the morning of the 23rd March until 10.00am. Prizes will be awarded at 12.00pm on the 23 March. All funds raised from the Festival support Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, a registered charity dedicated to the preservation and continued enhancement of Chiswick House Gardens which are open free to the public every day from 7am until dusk.

Did you know?

  • Camellia japonica ‘ Chandleri’ originated from the Vauxhall nursery of Chandler and Son. It was first offered for sale in 1825 at £5/5s – the equivalent of half a year’s wages for a maidservant.
  • In the year 1801 you could only purchase 4 Camellias. ( C.j. Alba Plena, C.j Variegata, C.j. Rubra and C.j. Rubra Plena) All four are in the collection at Chiswick. Now there are 20,000 varieties from 260 species available.
  • There are three white varieties in the collection two were introduced pre 1820 C.j. Alba Plena and C.j. Welbankiana. These and others will be available for sale in a special pop up shop on 23/24th March
  • The newest Camellia in the collection is Camellia japonica ‘Splendens’ which has been added to the collection this year. Believed to be one of the first Camellias in the UK to be obtained from seed. It was raised by John Allnutt of Clapham Common pre 1831.
  • The Goosefoot volunteers spend a month cleaning the Camellia leaves which helps control pests on the plants.

Chiswick House Camellias being cleaned for the annual Show, image by Michelle Chapman 

  • Camellia japonica Rubra – Known as the single red – Been in existence over 5000 years in China. The was the only Camellia available for purchase in the UK before 1792.
  • Camellia japonica ‘Rubra Plena’ – is one of the largest in our collection, measuring 41.5inch sized trunk and one of the earliest planted in the Conservatory. It was first introduced into the UK in 1794 in the County of Essex.
  • It costs the Trust £1500 to clean the windows in the conservatory.

A visitor at the Camellia Show

  • Chiswick House propagate Camellias on the estate in July from the Conservatory Camellias. It takes 4 years for the plant to reach 40cm.
  • Camellia japonica ‘Chandleri is the largest in the collection with a girth of 53 inches. We believe this was planted in 1825.
  • Camellias are famous for their flowers and for drinking. Camellia sinensis produces tea from its tips and our Camellia japonicas produce beautiful flowers.

Camellia Images and shot of visitor in pink coat by John Fielding.

Image of soprano Ailyn Perez in the role of Violetta, La traviata shot in the Conservatory by Anna Kunst

Coade stone vase image by Lucinda MacPherson

The conservatory covered in wisteria, by Frank Noon

Ruth Cadbury MP reacts to Labour split.

Statement by Ruth Cadbury

“I am deeply saddened that eight of my colleagues have decided to leave the Labour Party. I feel first it is important to say that I do not intend to leave the party. Having been elected as a Labour MP, I will continue to represent this constituency, and promote Labour values and policies.

Since being elected in 2015, I have worked with and personally seen the valuable contribution all eight have made in Parliament. It’s clear that between them they had slightly different reasons for making the decision to leave now, with concern for the lack of coherent opposition to the Tory mishandling of Brexit being a common thread. But I also have to single out the appalling anti-Semitic attacks on Luciana over the last couple of years, and the lack of coherent support she, and other Jewish MPs, have had from the party.

Tom Watson said on Monday; “We need to broaden out so that all members of our broad church feel welcome in our congregation. Labour was formed to give a voice to ordinary people of this nation. It can do so again, but only if it stays together”

With Tory MPs also leaving their party and a new one emerging, there is no doubt that Brexit is causing a fracturing of politics in this country. But in the long-term, the fundamental differences between our parties and their vision for Britain will remain.

Like Tom. I see unwelcome changes in the party that have never been seen before. This must be a wake up call that we can not afford to ignore. We must and will address these issues, so as to reunite the party as it was founded 126 years ago – a family of diversity bound together with a single aim of delivering our shared democratic socialist values, through winning power in Parliament.”

Ruth Cadbury is MP for Brentford & Isleworth

Emery Walker’s House

The dust sheets come off at Emery Walker’s House on 2 March when it reopens to the public.

Shutters are opened in time for guided tours

This 18th century terraced house by the Thames near Chiswick Eyot was the home to Emery Walker, a key figure in the Arts and Crafts movement and good friend of William Morris.

Emery was an avid collector, so his home is packed with treasures that need constant care and attention, and each winter it closes for three months to manage conservation work.

The Emery Walker Trust volunteers prevent, as far as possible, an accumulation of dirt on fragile artefacts, by using tissue paper and dust sheets and are conscious that over cleaning can often be as damaging as none at all, as dust can be an abrasive on fragile surfaces.

Experts are also brought in – Janie Lightfoot Textiles, who conserve materials in national and international museums has worked on some of the most important items in the Emery Walker’s House collection.

Jessica Burgess, who led on the project, has worked in grand stately homes, explains why she enjoys working in this relatively modest heritage site:

“It’s a charming house; I do think it’s quite unique. Unlike when you go to a National Trust property where items have been bought to fill out the space, this feels like Emery Walker has just walked out to pick up a paper; you are very much in his home.”

“First we worked on the Bird wall hanging, a classic Morris design and it was nice to reinstate it looking a bit prouder.”

The Bird wall hanging spans the length of the dining room

The team also conserved an embroidered bed cover, made by William Morris’s daughter May for Emery Walker’s wife, Mary Grace. It has a ‘millefleur’, design, meaning ‘a thousand flowers’ and was inspired by spring and summer flowers growing near the Morrises’ home at Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire.

May Morris’s exquisite bedcover is particularly impressive as the embroidery is worked in wool thread on felted wool fabric.

“It’s doing pretty well considering how old it is. We’ve worked on several pieces by May Morris before and it’s always a particular joy; they are lovely pieces. It was interesting as it is a complex pattern and looks like she has changed the design as she went along”.

“What’s really nice is that it’s not just Morris designs, there are textiles from all over the world. For instance, the door hanging in the bedroom we worked on has more Eastern influence. And the carpets are an eclectic mix. The collection has clearly been well loved and looked after. It’s a bit of a treasure trove.”

An eclectic mix of rugs are piled on top of each.

If you would like to see more there’s quite an embarrassing video here.

Emery Walker’s House opens on Thursdays and Saturdays for one hour guided tours limited to just eight people. Please book these and specialist tours via the website: emerywalker.org.uk

Arts & Crafts Hammersmith Textile Tours

There are monthly tours giving visitors with a special interest in textiles an opportunity to get up close to items that are rarely on show to the public. Visitors can see both Emery Walker’s House and the nearby William Morris Society museum exploring the Arts & Crafts designs and textiles in both collections.

Joint textile tours led by Sally Roberson (pictured here with curator, Helen Elletston) start off at The William Morris Society Museum showing his original designs which can then be seen in situ at Emery Walker’s House, a ten minute walk away.

Pictures by Anna Kunst, and Lucinda MacPherson.

Feature Picture –  Curator, Helen Elletson revealing the treasures beneath the sheets

 

Have you heard a music track called Chiswick Days?

It’s by an underground, acid techno DJ and producer from Germany by the name of Thomas P Heckmann. Well, that’s one of his names, he has a number of aliases such as Parrot Torture, T.Tomato and The Freeek.

I got in touch with Thomas, intrigued by the origin of the track’s title and his uncompromisingly named string of music labels, one of which was called ACID FUCKER UNITE (A.F.U).

“Actually it has a connection going back to the early 90s,” explained, well, let’s call him Thomas for now,

“but unfortunately I’ve lost contact with my mate from back then. I spent a lot of time with him in his house, his mother even cooking Sunday roast for me.”

“His father was also working on the original Star Warsand on Thunderbirds and there were pictures of the films all over the house!”

“My phone book from back then got lost and I absolutely cannot remember his name anymore, lost in the tarpits of time… but it would be great to connect again with him…and while I spent some time in Chiswick I made a track about it.”

So who was the compassionate mother who cooked roast dinners for Thomas? Which Chiswick dad had the Force with him? If we solve the puzzle, Thomas could say to his mate, after a quarter of a century, the lines straight from Star Wars,  “Oh, my dear friend. How I’ve missed you.”  Any leads? Please email us. This could be the start of Chiswick Calendar Friends Reunited!

The Shelter Project

Homelessness has administrative gradations with words like “sofa surfing,” which sounds sort of sporty and fun, but isn’t.

This article is about rough sleeping – rock bottom in the social hierarchy of homelessness. And although a pretty accurate description – it’s certainly rough, the circumstances are not conducive to sleep.

Some local rough sleepers report being beaten, urinated on and verbally abused when they are already struggling with serious health issues.

An estimated 4,677 people a night are sleeping rough in England although these figures are unreliable as Hounslow Council’s head count, for instance, is made during office hours, when most rough sleepers are invisible, either keeping warm in a place like their local library or at work.
I went to meet guests and volunteers at the Shelter Project in Chiswick’s Christ Church. This operates a rolling night shelter service in 10 churches in Hounslow from December through to the end of March whereby guests sleep in a different venue each day.

Helle, a translator by day, becomes Pants Lady at night!

Helle – aka Pants Lady with Peter, a volunteer

“About five years ago we had a guest who was incontinent. We didn’t have pants and socks, so I started collecting. I put a Facebook post out and created a superhero called Pants Lady and I got about 300 pairs the first year.

I hand them out to the guys here or other shelters, or even people on the street. What we really need is safety shoes, or good trainers, coats, jumpers. Pants Lady will take it all!”

“I thought I’d come here and feel good about myself. But you realise these guys are nice people and I enjoy their company.”

It does not take a lot to become homeless. Helle estimates it takes around three months for someone to end up on the street.

“A guy came in who was a property developer in Chiswick. He came in to donate some money and sat and talked to one of our guests. It turned out they both liked The Bees (Brentford’s football team) and they found they had other interests in common. Then the conversation turned to “And what do you do?” and the guest replied “Oh, I used to be a property developer”.

So how had he come to sleep rough? He explained, “I got divorced, started drinking…”

Often the rough sleepers’ families don’t know they are homeless. Neither do their employers –several at the shelter were painters and decorators. They may have painted your house – one was working in a property in Grove Park.

Although they are safe, fed and warm at the shelters there is only one church in the rota that can provide a shower. The churches were not built to accommodate people so the men can’t get their washing done either although there were radiators to dry their socks on.

Helle “It’s hard not to take their problems home with you. They are good guys, they shouldn’t be out there.”

Cedric

Cedric works in tourism and has been volunteering since 2012. He stays all night. “The men have their last smoke at around 10 then get a good night’s sleep. Then get up, have breakfast and leave about 8 –some have to go to work.”

“I come from Barbados, so anything below 20 degrees is cold! It’s tough living on the streets. I wouldn’t survive out there.

Cedric in the makeshift sleeping area upstairs in Christ Church.

“I have heard some hard luck stories. People from the continent who have been robbed or lost their passport. So many things can go wrong. It could be a broken marriage, some have mental health problems, and some drink a lot. One guy from Asia had broken up with his girl and had a breakdown and refused to go home. Some have lost their job and can’t afford the rent or just can’t keep up with payments if they have a low paid job.”

“Jack”

A guest, who I’ve called Jack to protect his identity, comes from Brentford, and has recently got a job, but cannot afford his own place and was assessed as being vulnerable. He had come to the shelter with his new teddy bear Bart to keep safe.

“I’m upset Helle has taken my teddy bear away from me because I won’t eat my broccoli!* My girlfriend brought it to me in hospital as I was having trouble with my kidneys and gallstones. I was accepted by Raj (the Shelter Project co-ordinator), otherwise I would have slept out on the streets.

“They are very lovely people here, genuine, helpful. Helle helped me out when I was in pain. She is a lovely woman. At bedtime I come here and have a meal and go to sleep. I’ve got a job in a delivery office in a warehouse in Slough, so I go there after breakfast. My hobbies are paint balling and go karting.” *Jack was given Bart back, despite not eating his vegetables.

“Al”

Al’s smashed foot after jumping from a second floor window following a fire

A guest who wishes to remain anonymous, so will be referred to as Al, came over from Algeria in 2007 when he was 18. He was visiting his sister with his Mum and Dad.

He met his then girlfriend and did lots of different jobs, including being a chef, a customer services operator in Poundland and working in Travelodge.

“But then I started doing heroin. I am 30 years old and am three years clean now, off heroin and on Methadone. There was a fire in my home in 2016 and I jumped from the second floor and smashed my foot. It was really bad. I had to stay in hospital and had six operations. I couldn’t score in the street, so now I am on Methadone.”

Al was referred by St Mungo’s. Their report this month* states that spiralling housing costs, increasing insecurity for private renters and cuts to homelessness services have seen rough sleeping more than double since 2010.

Their analysis of government statistics shows that between 2011 and 2017 rents in England grew 60% quicker than wages. Meanwhile, welfare reforms have made renting from a private landlord increasingly unaffordable for households who rely on housing benefit to help pay their rent. In the private rented sector, housing benefit is only paid up to the rate of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), but there is no requirement for landlords to let their properties at this level.

“This is my second year here.” Explains Al, “I feel safe here. We eat and we have a nice sleep. Outside in the night time is very dangerous. There can be fire, fighting, you can die. Look at my face. Every day I have problems, stupid things, someone is drunk and they are rude and so there is a lot of fighting.

“I go the library in the day to keep safe. I don’t trust anybody. All of my clothes are from the shelter. Now I have got some people helping me get my permit to work. It’s hard for me. I’m in a mess but I hope to do something. I was a window cleaner in my last job, doing retail windows in Chiswick and Shepherds Bush. I was self-employed and I am good at making a little bit of money to survive, it’s just I can’t afford £500 rent. I would go back to Algeria if I had enough money to go back and start a business.”

Lisa and Helle preparing food for the guests while holding Bart (right) hostage to encourage Jack to eat his vegetables.

The Shelter Project Hounslow (TSPH)

TSPH began in January 2012 and is now in its eighth season, with 10 churches from across Hounslow taking part.

Guests are screened including an in depth interview for the safety of the volunteers, who are ordinary members of the public and to protect the other guests. They must be local, low to medium needs, and are not allowed to bring alcohol.

Raj, the co-ordinator says “This year I can report that we have very few men with traditional substance abuse – what we do have is a group of men that have hit rock bottom and are now trying to get back on their feet. There needs to be a joined up approach to solving their problems, which can only be possible with the help of the local council. Representatives from Hounslow Council are visiting our shelter early next month.”

Last year a total of 31 men came through their shelters, with the total number of helped with either housing, rehabilitation, training or employment being 21. Two guests died during 2017/2018.

In December 2018, for the first time, the Office for National Statistics published data on the number of people who died while sleeping rough or in emergency s accommodation which homeless charities claim is up 24% compared to 2013. Overwhelmingly, these deaths are premature (the average age of death for people who died while homeless in 2017 was 44, for women it was just 42) and entirely preventable. tsph.org.uk

* St Mungo’s briefing for the Westminster Hall Debate on rough sleeping, February 2019

 

Heathrow Consultation – campaigners’ response

Guest blog by Chiswick Against the Third Runway

The latest consultation on the new proposals for Heathrow airport have caused concern for CHATR (Chiswick Against the Third Runway) and the Bedford Park Society. They are urging local residents to submit their views to create an impact in influencing proposals, which they claim will have dramatic impacts across Chiswick from both noise and pollution even in the third runway does not go ahead. CHATR findings claim that:

– Heathrow is proposing options that would result in 29 flights directly over Chiswick between 06.00 and 07.00am – one plane every 2.4 minutes – at very high decibel levels, likely to wake people up. Up to 40 overhead flights per day are proposed at this stage, before implementation of the new runway.

– If the Third Runway is built, Chiswick would be even more significantly affected with incoming low-flying aircraft (at 2,000 – 3,000ft), 47 flights per hour (one every 1.5 minutes) and with all of the flights above the key 65-decibel level. There will be 17 departing flights per hour (one every 3.5 minutes), all above 65 decibels.

How CHATR suggests opponents respond

CHATR have drafted a guide (below) for responding to Heathrow’s consolation that applies to all of Chiswick, the hope is that it will help Chiswick residents who may wish to compile their responses. The text below can be cut and copied but, wherever possible their recommendations would be to adapt the wording slightly rather than copying directly, so that submissions are not dismissed as being based on a “standard template.” However, if you don’t have time to do this, it is more important to submit a response!

The deadline for responses is 11.55pm on 4 March.

You can complete the questionnaire:
ONLINE via Heathrow’s website: www.heathrowconsultation.com
Submit your responses to each question by EMAIL – feedback@heathrowconsultation.com
By post to FREEPOST LHR AFO CONSULTATION

HEATHROW AIRSPACE AND FUTURE OPERATIONS CONSULTATION

1a. Do you support our proposals for a noise objective? Yes/ No/ I don’t know
No.

1b. Please provide any comments you have on our proposals for a noise objective:
We believe that Heathrow should be subject to regulatory constraints with regard to the impact that its expansion plans may have on noise, air quality and traffic but do not believe that Heathrow’s draft noise objective currently goes far enough.
So, we believe it should state:
“To limit and reduce the effects of noise on health and quality of life and deliver regular breaks from scheduled flights for our communities during the day and night, in accordance with the Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management.”
This removes the words “where possible” and the references to “proportionate and cost effective”.
The noise objective does not currently conform with nationally adopted health and environmental protections. The proposed changes to airspace should not go ahead unless Heathrow can commit to adhering to these environmental protections. As the proposals stand there will be a massive increase in the number of people affected which means that this protection assumes even greater importance.

1c. Please provide any other comments or suggestions you have on our proposed approach to developing a package of noise measures for an expanded Heathrow:
We agree with measures such as incentivising the use of quieter aircraft and requiring aircraft to use quieter operating measures. Restrictive measures such as bans or quotas are likely also to be required to meet the protections referenced in 1b.
We believe that Heathrow’s proposal that “the overall impact of aircraft noise must be limited and, where possible, lower than 2013 noise levels” has little credibility. Our view is that no matter how much the noise footprint is manipulated this proposal will be impossible to achieve given a 50% increase in flights.
We would also add that the measurement of these environmental impacts, including noise, should be undertaken by an independent body so as to provide reassurance to local communities of their objectivity and impartiality.
Respite through runway and airspace alternation

2a. Would you prefer to have longer periods of respite less frequently (all day on some days but no relief on other days) or a shorter period of respite (e.g. for 4-5 hours) every day? Please tick one of the following options: A longer period of respite, but not every day/ A shorter period of respite every day Yes / No/ I don’t know
No

2b. Please tell us the reasons for your preference:
Any reduction on overall respite is unacceptable and would have harmful health effects. Both options offered result in an overall reduction in respite.
A shorter period of respite every day would be the preferable option of the two available. Aircraft noise is both repetitive and highly intrusive and for these reasons respite is essential. There should be at least one period each day when there is respite from the effects of this type of noise.

2c. Please provide any other comments or suggestions you have on runway and airspace alternation:
We would add there are currently no flight paths over the majority of Chiswick (postcode areas W4 1, W4 4 and W4 5). This means that the proposals to changes in airspace, which affect the area (design envelopes IPA A1, IPA A2, A1 and D2) could not be implemented without contravening design principles 6(b) and 6(f).
Directional preference

3a. Should we prefer westerly operations during the day and easterly operations at night to reduce the total number of people affected by noise? Yes/ No/ I don’t know
No.

3b. Please tell us the reasons for your answer:
We strongly support an easterly preference during the night and early morning. However, we also support an easterly preference during the day.
The impact of night and early morning arrivals are particularly detrimental to the communities overflown. Therefore every effort should be made to minimise the number of people overflown by these arrivals in accordance with design principle 6(f). This would be achieved by adopting an easterly preference during the night and in the early morning when arrivals, which would therefore be from the west, significantly outnumber departures.
Our experience of easterly departures is that they turn onto their course relatively soon after departure and therefore would impact fewer people on the more densely populated east side of the airport. This would minimise the number of people overflown by these departures in accordance with design principle 6(f).

3c. Should we sometimes intervene to change the direction of arriving and departing aircraft to provide relief from prolonged periods of operating in one direction – even if that means slightly increasing the number of people affected by noise? Yes/ No/ I don’t know
No.

3d. Please tell us the reasons for your answer:
We have suggested above that an easterly preference should be adopted both during the night and day. In practice, because of the prevailing winds, this would in fact mean a 50:50 split between easterly and westerly operations. This would reduce the likelihood of operations being continuously in one direction and therefore reduce the need for intervention.
In very exceptional weather conditions we would be supportive of intervention to change the direction of operations except where this lead to contravention of design principles 6(b) or 6(f).

3e. Please provide any other comments or suggestions you have on directional preference:
We would add there are currently no flight paths over the majority of Chiswick (postcode areas W4 1, W4 4 and W4 5). This means that the proposals to changes in airspace, which affect the area (design envelopes IPA A1, IPA A2, A1 and D2) could not be implemented without contravening design principles 6(b) and 6(f).
Night flights
Early morning arrivals

4a. To help inform our consideration of the options, we want to know whether you would prefer for us to: Option 1 – Use one runway for scheduled arrivals from 5.30am (runway time 5.15am) Option 2 – Use two runways for scheduled arrivals from 5.45am (runway time 5.30am) Yes No/ I don’t know
Option 1.

4b. Please tell us the reasons for your preference:
Communities would benefit from a later start two out of every three days increasing the overall amount of respite.

4c. Please provide any other comments or suggestions you might have on early morning arrivals:
We believe that there are local factors mentioned in Sections 6 and 7 (both demographic and legal constraints limiting the ability of residents to implement noise mitigation measures) which would make the detrimental impact of night flights greater in Chiswick.
We would add there are currently no flight paths over the majority of Chiswick (postcode areas W4 1, W4 4 and W4 5). This means that the proposals to changes in airspace, which affect the area (design envelopes IPA A1, IPA A2, A1 and D2) could not be implemented without contravening design principles 6(b) and 6(f).
Other night restrictions

5a. Please provide any comments or suggestions on how we should encourage the use of the quietest type of aircraft at night (outside the proposed scheduled night flight ban):
Landing fees should penalise all but the quietest aircraft landing in the early morning. This should be used to manage the demand for slots before 7.00am.
This would result in improved resilience over this early morning period. It would also remove the need to introduce independent parallel approaches (concentrated between 6.00am and 7.00am) thereby demonstrating Heathrow’s commitment to the implementation of design principles 6(b) and 6(f).
Heathrow must continue to encourage the use of quieter aircraft. Our expectation is that progress in this regard will be slow and should not be negated by an increase in the number of arrivals at sensitive times of day such as at night or in the early morning.

5b. Please provide any other comments you have on night flights and restrictions:
There is a large and growing body of evidence in relation to the harmful health effects caused by night flights. The first step is to recognise that the night should be defined as an eight hour period as recommended by the World Health Organization.
The goal must be to progressively reduce the number of flights within this period and the number of people affected. New navigation technology, such as PBN, should be used in support of this goal rather than undermining it as is the case with respect to the design envelopes proposed for independent parallel approaches.
Airspace – local factors

6. To answer this question, please look at the design envelopes for expansion online using the postcode checker or look at them in our document Heathrow’s airspace design principles for expansion. What sites or local factors should we be aware of in your area (or other area of interest to you), when designing flight paths for an expanded three-runway Heathrow? Please give enough information (e.g. postcode, address or place name) for us to identify the site(s) or local factor(s) you are referring to and tell us why you think it is important:
We object in the strongest terms to any new flight paths directly over Chiswick and therefore to the area being covered by any design envelopes, and in particular two of the design envelopes for an expanded Heathrow A1 and D2.
The proposed design envelopes contradict the design principles Heathrow have agreed:
• 6(b) Minimise the number of people newly overflown
• 6(f) Minimise the total population overflown
There are currently no flight paths over North Chiswick, so new flight paths over this area would, by definition, add to the number of people newly overflown and would add to the total population overflown. Furthermore, it does not promote principle 6 (g), Designing flight paths over commercial and industrial areas.
Chiswick is a predominantly residential area with a large proportion of families. Consequently the number of children in the area is high along with related infrastructure including many nurseries and schools which must be considered “noise-sensitive buildings”.
Chiswick also has a high proportion of listed buildings and therefore the soundproofing options are severely limited due to the restrictive listed building rules. For example, the replacement of traditional glazing with double glazing is normally prohibited, leaving residents of such properties with limited scope to mitigate the impact of aircraft noise. These properties must also be considered “noise-sensitive buildings”.

7. To answer this question, please look at the design envelopes for Independent Parallel Approaches (IPA) online using the postcode checker or look at them in our document Making better use of our existing runways. What sites or local factors should we be aware of in your area (or other area of interest to you), when designing new arrival flight paths to make better use of our existing two runways? Please give enough information (e.g. postcode, address or place name) for us to identify the site(s) or local factor(s) you are referring to and tell us why you think this local factor is important: Please tick the box if you would like your response to 6a to be copied as a response to 6b.
For the same reasons as set out in the answers to 6 above we object in the strongest terms to any new flight paths directly over Chiswick and therefore to the area being covered by any design envelopes, and in particular two of the design envelopes IPA A1 and IPA A2.
The above design envelopes could not have been created with greater disregard for the design principles. They almost exclusively affect communities not previously overflown contrary to principle 6(b). The ability to route a flightpath over one community (not previously overflown) as opposed to another community (also not previously overflown) within these design envelopes does not resolve this contradiction.
These design envelopes also require aircraft to bank steeply thereby needing more engine power and generating both more noise and pollution than would be the case using the present glide paths. In this regard these design envelopes are also inconsistent with design principle 6(a) Using more noise efficient operational practices.
There appears to have been no attempt to evaluate the detrimental effects of the independent parallel approaches nor has there been any parliamentary scrutiny. This is particularly surprising given the concerns that exist over the use of concentrated flight paths over densely populated areas.

8. Please provide any other comments you have relating to the airspace elements of the consultation:
We wish to highlight and re-iterate that the airspace proposals contravene the design principles Heathrow have agreed, in particular the principle to minimise the number of newly overflown people.
We also wish to highlight that these proposals put economic and business interests above the health of local communities, and this should not be permitted.
We therefore object strongly to the airspace proposals.
General comments

9. Having considered everything within the consultation, do you have any other comments?
We strongly object to the fact that Heathrow have failed to hold a consultation event in Chiswick, an area of some 35,000 people who will be very badly affected if the proposals were to be implemented, with so many newly overflown homes (should Heathrow fail to comply with its design principles). This leads us to question the validity of the consultation.

10. Please give us your feedback on this consultation (such as the documents, website or events):
You state on your website that the questionnaire will take an estimated 45 minutes to complete. This is a huge underestimation if people are to read, digest and consider the material and respond thoughtfully. This is an enormous burden on individuals affected by these proposals and a serious impediment to participation. The consultation encompasses extraordinarily complex issues which are not clearly enough explained to enable readers to understand them within the timeframe allowed (a difficulty shared by Heathrow representatives at consultation events), and include questions that suggest binary answers are appropriate when they are not. There is an assumption that residents can access the internet to review the material, whereas in fact many residents are unable to do so. As such, this is a deeply flawed process.

11. Please tell us how you found out about this consultation: www.chiswickcalendar.co.uk

Signed:
Name:
Address:
Date:

Alice Sheridan – reader profile

Alice is an artist producing striking, abstract canvases with intriguing titles like Poems in the Air or Unreliable Narrator.

20 years ago she and her husband Paul, an environment lawyer, moved into a derelict house in Merton Avenue with no electricity and flowers growing through the floorboards. They renovated that then moved to St Albans Avenue with their two children where she now has her studio at the top of their home.

Taking inspiration from a series of smaller panels

“My process has changed a huge amount in the last three years. I used to paint small pieces and then took part in Artists at Home in 2009 and was completely fired up by that. I had 20 small paintings that had taken me three years to create. Having to get all the pieces together was hard work, but I loved meeting people and seeing their reaction to my work. I sold 17 pieces so thought “oh maybe I should take this more seriously”.

“My pieces have gradually got bigger and bigger. There’s a whole different set of practical issues with working on a bigger canvas, the sheer quantity of paint you get through. And, unlike small panels, you can’t change your mind.”

Studying the small canvas to inform the pink and blue composition

Her process begins with her working on several random boards, applying colour and collage and bits of print, building them up with no particular plan. She showed me one of her smaller panels as an example of an unexpectedly successful combination of colours.     “I love this soft, salmony pink colour with the bright blue and the olivey green.

She plays with thick and thin paint, using big brushes and the side of her hand and wiping it off with cloth. Then towards the end, if there is something a bit loose or scrappy, makes tiny adjustments with a small brush. “Little brushes at the beginning are a mistake as you get too fussy too soon”

Alice uses acrylic and has several canvases on the go as she likes there to be a relationship between the work. And as she is brimming with ideas, working on multiple canvases gives her the option to spread them over several pieces rather than cram them into one piece. Here is her no drawing sketchbook which she collates to discipline her use of colour and simplify compositions.

She also studies her work in black and white on her phone to help adjust the balance of dark and light within a composition.

Alice’s background was in graphic design so although her work has a landscape feel and looks spontaneously loose, she likes to combine this with a sharp, urban edge, the juxtaposition lending her pieces a considered and refined appearance without being contrived.

Alice and Indy

A typical day is spent walking the dog, Indy in Chiswick Park, followed by domestic chores and catching up on social media – she has a huge Instagram following, and loves the direct communication with her fans. She then sets to painting at around 11 until her daughter, Amy, aged 14, comes home from school.

Alice doesn’t go to blockbuster exhibitions in town, rather seeks inspiration from “just getting out and getting off at a tube station you’ve never been to. I take a lot of photographs, which I don’t use in my work; it’s just a way of isolating things that I’m interested in. I also look at artists’ work that I envy, such as the Cornish painters and try and identify what it is in theirs that I want in mine. It might be an expression, or more colour limitations, something that I don’t yet have. I get restless, always looking for something different.”

Inspiration and Mood Boards

“I love Chiswick as I can get almost anything I need without getting into the car. I miss some of the shops that have closed – the old hardware shop on Turnham Green Terrace, there’s a lot of hardware involved in painting, weird things like rolls of sandpaper and masking tape, and screws for hanging shows.”

“I love the fact that you can get on the tube and be in central London very quickly. Chiswick is laid back and suburban, but then you get on the tube and there’s a feeling of everyone being busy and you see posters telling you what you can do.”

Alice’s top tip in Chiswick – “The best Portuguese custard tarts can be bought at Hack & Veldt  in Turnham Green Terrace, and they’re the best price. I just love the super crunchy outside and the soft eggy custard middle. I always get a few pretending it’s for other people and then keep them for me”, she confided.

“I’ve been reading The Chiswick Calendar since it started. I’ve got the card but forget to use it but I was looking at the list the other day and everyone is on it so it made me think you just have to ask. I visit The Chiswick Calendar exhibition each year at the Clayton Hotel and got to know the photographer Jon Perry through that and then he showed here in my house at last year’s Artists at Home.”

Alice is offering The Chiswick Calendar readers complimentary tickets to the Surrey Contemporary Art Fair 15-17 March where she will be exhibiting next if you email her at alice@alicesheridan.com typing The Chiswick Calendar tickets in the subject field.

And she will be taking part in Artists at Home again this June. alicesheridan.com

Media Club – Truth, Politics and Lies

Last night (12 February) I spoke at an event called Truth, Politics and Lies, hosted by The Chiswick Calendar, on a panel with former No.10 director of communication for David Cameron Sir Craig Oliver, BBC broadcast journalist Greg Dawson and senior researcher, casm and chief technical officer at Demos Josh Smith. Here’s a summary of the argument I made about why it’s time we put in place a regulatory system for election advertising.

Political organisations in the UK are free to make wild and unsubstantiated claims in their election advertising. There’s nowhere to complain to if you come across dishonest election material and there isn’t a body with the power to remove political advertising.

If you were previously unaware of this – or are sceptical about this assertion – you’re not alone. A recent YouGov survey commissioned by the Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising shows that 51% of people say that they “don’t know” if there is regulation of political advertising and 35% of people (wrongly) think the rules are the same as for commercial advertising.

To convince the 86% of you of the reality of the situation, here’s a quote from the Electoral Commission’s website on the issue:

“…political campaign material in the UK is not regulated… it is a matter for voters to decide on the basis of such material whether they consider it accurate or not… There is one exception to this, which is making or publishing a false statement of fact in relation to a candidate’s personal character… any allegations should be made to the police.”

Promotions for chocolate bars are subject to far greater regulation than election advertisements.

The last time the Electoral Commission consulted on the issue was in 2003 – the year before Facebook was founded – and the regulations are woefully out of date.

This is hugely problematic if we want to protect our democracy against current and future threats relating to disinformation attacks and fake news.

When false claims are made during election campaigns it undermines the moral authority of the result, which reduces citizens’ acceptance of democratic decisions.

Lies from one political group muddy the waters for all campaigns. That Bus has aroused an arms race mentality in election campaigning akin to doping in sport: campaigners see other groups getting away with cheating and so feel increasingly justified in abandoning moral codes in pursuit of victory.

Add to this the fact that social media rewards divisive behaviour – nothing spreads online like outrage – and we’re very likely to see increasingly outlandish claims.

The need to regulate political advertising is a new one. If objectively incorrect claims were made in the pre-digital era, journalists in major news outlets would see them and hold the party in question to account.

But the days of the occasional billboard every 5 years are gone. There are now more groups making more political ads than ever before. There isn’t a single database of all the ads that are running, so it’s impossible for any watchdogs or journalists to keep track of all the claims being made.

Even if they could keep up, the media landscape is so fragmented that journalistic rebuttals would be extremely unlikely to reach all those exposed to the false claims.

Thanks to the echo–chamber that is social media, and an increasingly polarised electorate, once a claim is made by one side it becomes “true”, even if it isn’t.

We are calling for factual claims – things which can be objectively proven one way or another – to be substantiated before they’re used in political advertising.

If campaigners want to tell voters that police numbers are in decline, they should be able to prove that to be the case before communicating it in paid-for media space.

This is not impractical or overly expensive to do; every single TV advertisement that you see has been through checks of this nature.

If political campaigns want to make promises about the future, there should be no need for substantiation: the British public are more than capable of judging whether or not such pledges are to be believed.

There’s plenty of things on the horizon that should give us cause for concern and reason to build an infrastructure to deal with new issues relating to political content.

‘Deep fake’ video manipulation and voice simulation technologies are getting more realistic at the same time as they become cheaper and easier to use. Should campaigns be able use fake videos of opponents in their advertising?

Artificial intelligence will soon be able to write individual advertisements for each voter based on their data history. It’s the next logical step of micro-targeting. Are we happy with machines making us political promises?

Without regulation, murky donations and fake news soon begin to look quite quaint.

Read more of Benedict’s political commentary on his website

Two local environment projects need help

The team creating a beautiful living wall at St Mary’s primary school to help combat pollution  are looking for help next week.

Airlite (Airlite.com) will be supervising the painting of the interior walls on the ground floor of the school with a special paint which has been donated and that will serve as a purifying system and clean up to 88% of the pollution inside.

St Mary’s are looking for volunteers to help  with some of the work inside the building such as painting or just help clearing some of the areas, covering furniture, etc, as well as provide items like ladders or plastic sheets.

This is an exciting time not just for the school and Chiswick, but hopefully for the future of many other schools across London, as the plan is to make the Chiswick Oasis a clean air model for other schools to follow.

Piazza  project calling  for help this Sunday

The Piazza project at Turnham Green, a new project by the Abundance team, are calling for helpers this Sunday between 2-4pm

They need help to spread three tonnes of soil conditioner to prepare the new flower bed and also smoothe out some of the lumps on the lawn behind the bed. This might sound a bit daunting, but the team is confident that if many hands come and help it should be done in next to no time.

So if you can spare half an hour or so on Sunday please go to the little piazza, wearing tough boots or shoes, and bring a spade or fork or rake, and gloves.

RSVP if possible, but not essential: Karen@abundancelondon.com

Public Meeting for Heathrow’s new proposals

A public meeting hosted by local campaigners who are against Heathrow’s current proposals to increase air traffic over Chiswick is being held tonight between 7-9pm at Christ Church, Town Hall Ave Chiswick London W4 5DT.

Heathrow Airport is currently running a consultation on the use of airspace for an additional 260,000 flights annually, if expansion goes ahead (on top of the 480,000 flights currently permitted). In addition, even without planning permission for a third runway, Heathrow are seeking to increase the number of flights by 25,000 per year, using the existing two runways.

CHATR claim both these proposals would have devastating implications for Chiswick, putting north and central Chiswick under flightpaths for the very first time and reducing respite for existing flightpaths which will adversely affect areas like Grove Park.

‘If this goes ahead, there will be a dramatic increase in noise blight and pollution over the whole area’ said a spokesman for Chiswick against the Third Runway ( CHATR). ‘It will have significant implications for public health. Heathrow’s proposed noise envelope maps show there could be 47 flights per hour over 65 decibels, starting from early in the morning. Using the new satellite technology, it is possible several flightpaths routes could be spread over the area.

All this, for Heathrow expansion plans which according to the Department of Transport’s own figures, show a questionable economic benefit to the country. The DfT’s revised net present value for the Third runway is now -£2.5bn to +£2.9bn (depending on assumptions about scheme costs, surface access costs and wider economic benefits). It is now admitted the net benefit of a third runway at Heathrow could well be negative.

To find out more and what you can do about it. ‘It is not too late to make your voice heard’ continued CHATR. ‘Heathrow does not yet have approval. It is essential that people express their opposition.’

Speakers include:

All local MPS, Ruth Cadbury, Rupa Huq and Andy Slaughter

Paul Beckford/Paul McGuinness – No 3rd Runway Coalition

Christina Smyth (Hammersmith and Fulham No 3rd Runway)

Stephen Clark (Teddington Action Group)

Cllr Steven Cowan (Leader of Hammersmith).

CHATR, Chiswick against the Third Runway and the Bedford Park Society

Speakers will cover: how Heathrow’s proposals will affect Chiswick; what is in Heathrow’s consultation; answer technical questions about Heathrow’s plans and air space changes eg the effect of IPAs – Independent Curved Approaches, night flights, implications of easterly or westerly approaches, etc Speakers will also explain where we are at with the legal challenges and how you can make your voice heard to help to stop Heathrow expansion.

The session will feature local campaigners with knowledge of the impact that airspace changes will have on the area.

To find out more about Heathrow’s consultation, what it means for Chiswick, and what you can do about it, you can book free tickets here.

You can respond to Heathrow’s consultation up until 11.55pm on 4 March 2019.

LGBT+ History Month celebrates diversity

February is LGBT+ History Month and Hounslow Council has arranged the free showing of a series of thought-provoking films to celebrate at the Civic Centre.

Next Monday Simon Napier-Bell, the writer and director of Fifty Years Legal, will take part in a Q&A session after the screening of his new documentary charting the story of the 50 year battle for equal rights. Chiswick may not figure in the documentary, but nevertheless can claim its own contribution to LGBT+ film history thanks to Victim, the first British movie to sympathetically address the persecution of gay men. It was, indeed, the first English language film to ever use the word “homosexual” , although other pejorative terms such as “queer” and “invert” were also used in the film which premiered in the UK on 31 August 1961. It stars Dirk Bogarde, who was a hugely popular matinee idol at the time, and plays a successful barrister called Melville Farr. The Chiswick locations reflect his social standing and emphasises how the other central male character inhabits a world apart.

Melville’s house is on Chiswick Mall, a blue plaque area of expensive homes, including 17th-century mansions leading to St Nicholas Church. Here Melville walks through the burial ground that provides the resting place of William Hogarth, and other notable artists. Melville meets his wife Laura (played by Sylvia Syms) outside his immaculate redbrick terraced townhouse. The scene is actually filmed at a spot further along the Mall, where the expanse of water and iconic Hammersmith Bridge serves as a starker, moodier backdrop for confrontation than the manicured private gardens that line the river in Chiswick.

You can see from the pictures taken this weekend retracing scenes from the film, that Chiswick Mall has not changed much, unlike the political and social landscape for the LGBT+ community, which looks completely different over 50 years since the film was made.

 

At the time of filming Victim, homosexual acts between males were illegal in England and Wales until the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. The fact that willing participants in consensual homosexual acts could be prosecuted made them vulnerable to entrapment, and the criminalisation of homosexuality was known as the “blackmailer’s charter”. In Victim the blackmailers vandalise Farr’s Chiswick property, painting “FARR IS QUEER” on his garage door.

More recently, Chiswick’s riverside has been the setting for the ground breaking lesbian drama series Different for Girls, again to drive home the point that affluent lifestyles sometimes conceal a complex love life.

LGBT+ Screenings this month

The films (all certificate 15) will be shown in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow TW3 4DN at 6.30pm on the following dates:

Friday 15 February        Pride

Pride is inspired by an extraordinary true story set in the summer of 1984 when the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all.

Monday 18 February   Fifty Years Legal

This powerful and engaging film was created to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, showing an engaging but informative journey through LGBT history in the UK since 1967 and how changes in politics and social attitudes, for better or worse, have evolved over the subsequent decades.

Simon has gathered together some of our nation’s much loved personalities including Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Elton John, Matt Lucas, Stephen K. Amos, Derek Jacobi and Stephen Fry, to make a documentary of historical and personal accounts that relate to key episodes of LGBT culture.

It charts both the story of the 50-year battle for equal rights and deeply personal accounts from high profile politicians, comedians, actors and others in the public arena. Leading activists and commentators explore the changes that have taken place since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK in 1967 and the influence of gay culture on society.

Simon Napier-Bell established a name for himself in the ‘60s as manager of groups such as The Yardbirds, before going on to manage T Rex, Wham! and George Michael, Boney M, Sinitta and Ultravox, among others.

Friday 22 February               Beautiful Thing

Recently named by the British Film Institute as one of the 30 best LGBT movies of all time, this coming of age story is written by Jonathan Harvey and directed by Hettie MacDonald . When Jonathan Harvey’s love story Beautiful Thing debuted in 1993 as a play, he had no idea it would eventually be heralded as a crown jewel of gay storytelling.

Wednesday 27 February            Stud Life

JJ and Seb are both looking for love but in the wrong places. When JJ falls in love with the beautiful diva ‘Elle’, JJ and Seb’s friendship is tested for the first time. Set in London, the film is a young and gay British urban romance that pays homage to Spike Lee’s She Gotta Have It. Film director Campbell X is an award-winning transgender director based in London.

The films, shown in partnership with Mosaic LGBT+ Youth Centre and West London LGBT Forum, are free, but advanced booking is advised. Please email celia.golden@hounslow.gov.uk or call on 020 8583 2530 to secure a place.

Susan Penhaligon – Reader Profile

Born in Manila, then brought up in Cornwall, Susan has made Chiswick her home for over 40 years.

“I settled in Chiswick straight from drama school as it was near the M4 so easy to get back to Cornwall. I always thought I’d go back, but never did”.

An experienced TV, film and theatre actor, Susan’s screen credits include A Fine Romance, Upstairs Downstairs, Bergerac, Remington Steele, Doctor Who, Casualty and Emmerdale, as well as film roles Under Milk Wood, and The Land That Time Forgot. Her most recent TV appearance was this Christmas Eve in The Dead Room, a Christmas ghost story by Mark Gatiss with Simon Callow.

Her big break came in 1976 when she was cast as Prue in ITV’s Bouquet Of Barbed Wire, a mould-breaking series which raised issues of incest and domestic abuse. “I’m really proud of that,” she says. “It had a great story and was very well done, I had a wonderful part and worked with great people like Frank Finlay. Then there were only three British TV channels and we got 26 million viewers so that meant instant fame.”

Clive Aslet in The Daily Telegraph wrote that Penhaligon “was the face of the decade”.

“The media portrayed me as a dolly bird, despite the fact I was doing a lot of interesting work in the theatre. I was in some really good, well written work and a hell of a lot of theatre, which was a lot more serious – on stage you are not just a pretty face on a screen.

“So it was a fight to escape the stereotype if you were blonde and pretty, like me. A lot of young actresses were stereotyped.”

“30 years ago if something untrue or distorted was written about you, you had no voice. Now you can go on social media and say ‘that’s a load of bollocks” “I’ve been working for a long time and done a lot of varied work so my work has changed as I’ve got older. When I was young the popular press weren’t interested in the theatre. It was a much more chauvinistic time, both in the industry and the media.”

“I remember a photographer asking me to raise my skirt. And a really famous photographer said “If you don’t take your top off, I’ll stop photographing you. That was the attitude. So happily, times have changed in my lifetime. The great plus of social media is we now have a voice.”

Susan has lived on a Dutch barge with her son Truan and dog Pepper for 20 years.

She redesigned it a few years ago and it’s got a 20ft living room and three bedrooms, central heating, and “all mod cons”.

“ I was brought up on a house by the beach in St Ives, Cornwall, so I gravitated towards the Thames. I love the wildlife – I saw a great big seal on Sunday!”

“ I like Chiswick as it is very green, but I’ve seen it change over 40 years and I wish there were more independent shops still, but the rental has gone up for them. There is something very European about the High Road – I think it’s the trees and it’s wide.

We have terrific pubs by the river– and The Strand Café by Kew Bridge has a great atmosphere. My friends and I call it “Darlings” as the guy that runs it calls everyone Darling! I love reading The Chiswick Calendar as I feel part of it, having had roots here for so long.”

 

Fishy Dishy

Recipe from The Flexible Pescatarian by Jo Pratt, published 14 March by White Lion Publishing, price £20

Grilled mackerel with beetroot, fennel and hazelnut granola

Time taken 1 hour
Serves 4
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
½ medium fennel bulb, finely sliced
2 tsp caster sugar
50ml/2 fl oz/¼ cup white wine vinegar
grated zest of ½ lemon
100ml/3½ fl oz crème fraîche
4 medium cooked beetroot
4 fresh mackerel fillets, pin-boned
drizzle of olive oil
few sprigs of dill or mint, roughly chopped
flaked sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper

For the granola

100g/3½ oz jumbo oats
100g/3½ oz blanched hazelnuts,
roughly chopped
2 tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp runny honey or agave syrup
1 egg white

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Mix together all of the dry granola ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together the olive oil, soy sauce, honey and egg white.
Pour over the dry ingredients and stir well to coat in the wet mixture. Tip on to a lined baking tray and cook for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown.
Stir and shake the tray halfway through, for even cooking.
Leave to cool.
Put the onion, fennel, caster sugar and vinegar in a bowl and set aside to marinate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Mix the lemon zest into the crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper.
Cut the beetroot into small wedges or chunks. Stir into the marinated onion and fennel. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the grill to high. Season the mackerel on both sides and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place on a baking tray skin-side up and grill for 3–4 minutes, until the skin is golden and the fish is cooked through.
Spoon some of the lemon crème fraîche on to plates, add the fennel and beetroot salad, and place the mackerel fillets on top. Scatter with the granola, a few sprigs of dill and a twist of pepper.
This beautiful recipe is made up of a crunchy, sharp salad that cuts through the simply cooked oily mackerel perfectly, with the mellow, creamy addition of crème fraîche.
You could just stop there, and everyone would be more than happy. However, when you serve the dish scattered with aromatic savoury granola you’ll take it to another level. When stored in an airtight container the granola will keep for a couple of weeks.

Lawrence of Arabia: Liar and charlatan or military genius?

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence remains the most detailed historical account there is of the Great Arab Revolt, which in 1916 aimed to create a single unified Arab state stretching from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen, gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire.

But can Lawrence’s memoir be trusted as an historical account or was it the work of a liar and charlatan? Suspicion about the legend of Lawrence of Arabia has tainted the reputation of the man who was archaeologist, British intelligence officer and military leader fighting alongside Prince Feisal, one of the leaders of the Hashemite revolt.

The work of two academics, the Great Arab Revolt Project, has led them to believe not only was his account accurate, but that he was an exceptionally reliable source.

Dr Neil Faulkner and Professor Nick Saunders of Bristol University carried out nine years of archaeological investigations into the Great Arab Revolt between 2006 – 2014 in the deserts of southern Jordan. “Again and again and again we were able to find confirmation in the landscape of what he’d written” says Neil.

Surveying the ground with a metal detector, they were able to tell not only where military encounters took place but what happened. Like the study of blood spatter in murder case, they carried out a forensic analysis of battle scenes looking at the distribution of bullets (incoming fire) and spent cartridges (outgoing) together with their make and manufacture. Their conclusion: he was telling the truth.

Colonel T.E. Lawrence 1919 Augustus John OM 1878-1961 Presented by the Duke of Westminster 1920 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N03566

“Lawrence finished the war a broken man” says Neil. He had been co-opted into British military intelligence because he had been working as an archaeologist in the area before the outbreak of war and spoke Arabic. But he never really recovered, says Neil, from the duplicity involved in fighting with the Arabs for a cause he knew at the same time the British were making sure they would never attain. “The British shafted the Arabs” says Neil. “While promising a united Arab state to get their help against the Ottoman Turks, they were at the same time carving up the Middle East map with the French”.

Dr Neil Faulkner in Batn Al-Ghoul, Jordan

Dr Neil Faulkner is talking to The Arts Society, Chiswick on Thursday 14 February in the Malinova Room at The Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK), 238-246 King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 0RF. Tickets £10 on the door. Event details here.

His book Lawrence of Arabia’s War is available in bookshops and online.

Did you know about Lawrence’s links to 7 Hammersmith Terrace?

Lawrence might have been best known for his Arab connections, but he also had links to this part of London. Emery Walker, who lived at 7 Hammersmith Terrace, printed his translation of the Odyssey.

Take a closer look at the second picture down, to the right of the mantle piece!

The Emery Walker’s House archives have correspondence revealing that, despite Walker being in his mid 70s, both men seem to have become such good friends that Lawrence spent Xmas 1926 with the Walkers at their country home, Daneway.

Lawrence described Dorothy Walker, Emery’s daughter, as “an untiring, charming chatelaine” and wrote a letter of condolence to her after Emery’s death in July 1933. She was devastated by Lawrence’s early death soon after in May 1935. On his death Dorothy said that it was a “wicked waste”, he was “the last enthusiasm of my life” and “a great light has gone out”.

It is a sign how much the family admired Lawrence that they have a photography of a statue of his chiselled features which takes pride of place in Emery Walker’s House on the right of the mantelpiece in the ground floor dining room. You can see it for yourself when the house reopens on March 2nd for guided tours. www.emerywalker.org.uk

What have Ward Forums ever done for us?

Guest blog by Gary Busuttil

Back in December Liberal Democrat Councillors in Ealing uncovered plans to cut the funding for Ward Forums as part of the councils budget strategy for 2019/2020.

It seems inconceivable to do away with Ward Forums at a time when there is a crisis in democracy. Many residents believe they’re not adequately consulted on issues that affect their communities such as planning, nor do they feel listened to.

Ealing Council’s increasing digitalisation of services has further distanced residents from the council. Emails are sometimes not answered to standard time scales, sometimes not at all. Residents are rarely able to call anyone in Ealing Council to resolve problems. There is a general sense of feeling that communication with the council has been made intentionally difficult.

I have worked in customer service for over 20 years, and I find face-to-face communication the most effective way of communicating with people, this is why Ward Forums have become an ever more important line of communication. Residents are able to approach their Councillors, and Councillors get to engage with residents, and its an effective way of providing information to one another. Furthermore it facilitates community engagement.

For Councillors, particularly opposition Councillors, Ward Forums and the budget allocated to them, enable Councillors to make improvements to the ward, generally on residents’ recommendations, and support community projects and activities.

So what have Ward Forums ever done for us?

Helped fund the refurbishment of the Rugby Road Scouts Hut, providing the Scouts with a much better facility,
Funded lighting in Southfield Recreation Ground, making the park safer to walk through during dark winter evenings,
Funded lighting in the children’s area in Acton Green Common so children can play in the playground later in the winter months,
Funded the removal of the wall jutting out on Acton Lane providing a wider and safer pavement for pedestrians,
Funded the installation of cycle hoops around the ward encouraging people to use bicycles,
Funded the planting of trees around the ward, and now Southfield is the greenest ward in the borough,
Funded the organisation “Move into Wellbeing” that provided exercise classes for elderly residents,
Ward Forum funds contributed to the Chiswick Timeline at Turnham Green Station improving the aesthetics of the area.

Despite Ward Forums being reduced over the years from 4 to 3 a year, then from 3 to 2 a year in many other wards in the borough, The Liberal Democrats in Southfield have maintained four Ward Forums a year as we believe in strong engagement with our community. We will continue to fight for our Ward Forums, and as always fight for our community.

Gary Busuttil is a Liberal Democrat councillor for Ealing Southfield ward

February Books

What’s new and good to read this month? Annakarin Klerfalk has a look at what’s on offer and chooses three good reads for February.

To Kill the Truth

To Kill the Truth is a new political thriller from the author of To Kill the President. It’s written by a British journalist, Jonathan Saul Freedland, who goes under nom de plume Sam Bourne. To Kill the Truth takes us to the edge of anarchy, a world without truth in which the history will be re-written.

Taking on the hot-topics of Black Lives Matter protest, Holocaust denial and deception at the highest level, this is an explosive cat-and-mouse thriller to look out for. Charles Cumming calls it “A dazzling thriller” and Jeffrey Archer simply said “Read this book.” To Kill the Truth is out on 21 February.

The Buried Girl

The Buried Girl is a haunting, psychological, standalone thriller from the bestselling author Richard Montanari. His writing is known for his fast-paced story line that is easy to pick up and hard to put down ie. the perfect commute read. Dr Will Hardy and his daughter move to the country town of Abbeyville, after the death of his wife. The chief of police is investigating a series of missing young people that goes back decades.

Is Will’s past somehow linked to the missing girls? The Buried Girl is published on 14 February, and with James Ellroy calling him “A master storyteller” and Publishers Weekly saying ”A specialist in serial killer tales… a wonderfully evocative writer”, this is one to get caught up in.

The Secretary

The Secretary, which is also published on 21 February, is written by Renee Knight. Her widely acclaimed debut novel, Disclaimer, was a Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller. Renee Knight worked as a documentary-maker for the BBC before turning to writing. The Secretary is a shivery tale of psychological suspense, featuring characters both disturbing and compelling.

Christine, “The Secretary”, has been hired to be the personal assistant to well-known and wealthy Mina. Christine is devoted and loyal but she hears and sees everything, which will eventually come with a high price. Fiona Barton said “Clever, clever, clever. Renee leads us on a deeply unsettling exploration of the limits of loyalty. Believe me, chats by the photocopier will never be the same…”

Annakarin Klerfalk

Anna is a literary agent based in Chiswick who is keen to hear from authors trying to get their books published. Contact her on anna@intersaga.co.uk. She used to run the Waterstones bookshop in Chiswick. You can read more about her and Intersaga here

intersaga.co.uk

See more of Anna’s book choices here

Read about the annual Chiswick Book Festival here

Chiswick Book Festival’s record sales help three charities

Three reading charities have received £3,000 each from the Chiswick Book Festival, thanks to the event’s record ticket sales last autumn.

RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) Talking Books, InterAct Stroke Support and Doorstep Library were presented with cheques on Thursday by the Festival director Torin Douglas at St Michael & All Angels Church, which runs the Festival, to mark the start of the church’s 140th year.

“St Michael’s has been at the heart of the community for 140 years, not least through events such as the Chiswick Book Festival” said Torin Douglas. “These cheques represent just part of the money the church raises each year for charities, supported by local residents and local businesses.”

Chiswick cafe wins Best Breakfast in Britain award!

It’s official. You can eat the best breakfast in Britain right here in Chiswick at Urban Pantry, Devonshire Road.

The café’s talented team have just won the National Breakfast Awards by competing in a live cook off against 16 other finalists narrowed down from hundreds of entries.

They claimed their crown by cooking ‘Cachapas”, which are traditional Venezuelan sweetcorn and cheddar pancakes with a tomato salsa and chorizo.

“We were really nervous about the results as we saw the other chefs’ entries and they all looked really fab, but definitely more traditional breakfast style food than our dish. We didn’t know if the judges wanted to go down a more non-traditional route.” says delighted owner, Kate Frobisher.

“When they announced us as the winner, we were so thrilled and overwhelmed. To win the main award of the night “Best Breakfast of the Year” was absolutely amazing!”

And great news for Club Card holders is you can enjoy the best breakfast in the UK on weekdays with our special discount.

Chiswick Curve Decision Imminent

The Secretary of State’s decision on two linked Appeals regarding Chiswick Curve is to be announced soon.

Starbones, the developer of the Chiswick Curve, is appealing against the London Borough of Hounslow’s refusal of a 32-storey building and advertising screens.

The plans for up to 327 homes and 5,882m² of office space at the site next to Chiswick Roundabout were the subject of a Public Inquiry in June/July 2018.

According to the Government’s planning portal, James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government is to make a final decision on both appeals on or before the 11th March.

Read more on the background of the Chiswick Curve Appeal here.

Tonight’s Chiswick Area Forum Agenda

There is a packed agenda on Chiswick Area Forum, on 5 February from 7pm – 9pm, at Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace, Turnham Green, Chiswick, W4 4JN.

The forum monitors and reviews services delivered by the Council and other agencies in Chiswick.

Tonight’s agenda includes these subjects of concern to Chiswick residents:
An update on Hounslow Council’s 2019/2020 Budget. The council are forecasting a departmental overspend of £16.9m for 2018/19 and a savings gap of £5.8m for 2019/20.
A policing update on crime
Presentation on Mobike operations
The meetings are made up of local Councillors but anyone is welcome to attend and there is an opportunity for members of the public to speak at around 9pm.

See the full Agenda and protocol here.

New Designs for CS9

TfL is inviting people to have their say on new designs for CS9 in two sections between:

  • Kew Bridge/ Kew Bridge Road (High Street Brentford to Wellesley Road)
  • Duke Road and Duke’s Avenue on Chiswick High Road

At Kew Bridge and throughout Kew Bridge Road, the improved designs would provide two-way segregated cycle lanes on the south side of Kew Bridge Road and South Circular Road, rather than the partially segregated cycle tracks on both sides of the road that were proposed in the earlier consultation designs. This change will ensure that people cycling are fully segregated from traffic throughout this section and it also removes the requirement for two bus stop bypasses on the north side of Kew Bridge Road. The change also addresses concerns raised about cycle safety at Kew Bridge junction, Green Dragon Lane and Lionel Road South.

The new consultation will also propose a second southbound traffic lane on Kew Bridge to improve the efficiency of the Kew Bridge junction. In addition, the changes will make crossings wider and easier to use, with cyclists signalled separately from conflicting traffic at the Kew Bridge junction.

Along Chiswick High Road, the existing space for pedestrians on Duke’s Avenue outside Our Lady of Grace and St Edward Church has been retained, whilst maintaining the proposed benefits for cyclists and the fully segregated cycle track, by removing the right turn lane into Duke’s Avenue. Banning the right turn for vehicles will also reduce the likelihood of collisions at this junction.

The consultation on the revised designs for two sections of the route is now open and will run until 26 February 2019. Responses can be submitted online at tfl.gov.uk/kew-duke, by post or by e-mail. Construction on the route is planned to start later in the year, subject to formal approvals by Hounslow and Hammersmith and Fulham councils, with the route expected to be complete in 2021.

TFL map of the areas where TFL are carrying out further consultation (above).

TFL map of the proposals for Duke Road and Duke’s Avenue junction with Chiswick High Road (above).

TFL map of the proposals for Kew Bridge and Kew Bridge Road to Wellesley Road (above).

Sewciable Gatherings

We’ve discovered some very creative people living in Chiswick, who like nothing better than getting together for a chat while they knit or sew. It’s a good way to meet like-minded people, make something unique and motivate you to finish that project that might have been lanquishing in the sewing drawer for months.

Stitch Knit and Natter, Gunnersbury Park

Clare (pictured above), a Graphic and textile Designer from Kingston runs the sessions on one Friday a month. In February she will bring along a Valentine project or demonstrate rag rugging. “ I love the sessions because it’s open to everyone, so it brings people together. Anyone can come to it. You don’t have to knit or sew, just come along and learn a new skill and meet some friendly people.”

Stephanie and Tina

Stephanie, a Social Housing officer from Brentford, came across the group while helping to make a banner for Processions, last year’s mass participation artwork celebrating 100 years of votes for women. She brought along a bright blue jumper which she had started a month ago. Stephanie’s interest in knitting was inspired by a “nerdy TV programme called Firefly”. This short-lived “space western” TV show, created by Joss Whedon, built a cult following. In it a gun-happy, tough guy named Jayne was sent a knitted yellow and orange hat from his mother. He was so thrilled that he wore it throughout the episode. ”It looked quite absurd,” recalled Stephanie, “So I made the hat for my brother” the devoted sister continued, “and my interest in knitting spiralled from there!”

Jacquie

Jacquie, also from Brentford, sews tapestries and embroidery and this was her third session at Gunnersbury. “Today I’ve brought my Noah’s Ark tapestry as, although I have an interest and intent, I’m just not motivated enough to finish it at home. I started this when my niece and nephew were born.” And when was that? “7 years ago(!) So you can see I need a bit of motivation. Just coming out and meeting other people stimulates me to get on with it. Different people come every time and it’s very welcoming. I work four days a week in town, so this is my day off.” Jacquie combines it with taking her dog for a walk in the park. “It’s really nice to come into the museum, it’s a lovely room. People bring a variety of projects which help give you ideas or Clare helps them with one she has brought.”

Yuni

Yuni, who had arrived from Tokyo, Japan, just three months earlier, lives in Ealing and came across the club when dropping her son off at a school nearby. “This is my second time and I am working on a decoration. I love knitting, usually scarves and gloves, and saw the poster and thought it was a good way to make friends.

Tina

Tina, from Ealing, originally Poland, was making another of Clare’s projects, a flamingo, for her daughter. “She is mad about flamingos!” “In Poland you are more exposed to crafts. My father made things and our neighbours came around and sewed, so this feels like home from home.” Tina, the most experienced  knitter in the group, explained “ I was in the fashion business for many years and worked for top designers like Debbie Bliss. Now my daughters are designers and work for the BBC and Sweaty Betty.” This was her first time at Gunnersbury, and she was attracted to the company” I’ve recently retired and was looking for something nice to do, rather than be at home on my own. It’s nice to be with people who have similar interests.”

Stitch, Knit and Natter are getting together this Friday, 8 February, 10:30 – 12:00, Gunnersbury Park Museum, Gunnersbury Park House, Popes Lane, London. W5 4NH Age 18+ No need to book, just turn up on the day Price £2, including refreshments.

You can also get together with creative, crafty types at Chiswick Library’s Needle & Natter every Monday between 3pm and 4.30pm.  A small group get together, quite informally, there is no charge, to meet for a chat while they pursue their craft project. Erika, a retired midwife, originally from Sudetanland, was knitting a scarf when I popped in, and she had been joined by Catherine, a microbiologist, who was also knitting, but also enjoys bringing her embroidery to the sessions. They congregate around a table by a  window and make their own designs while having a chat. All are welcome.

Erika at Chiswick Library’s Needle & Natter

Embroidery Workshops

A bit further afield this Sunday 10 February, is an embroidery workshop run by feminist artist Jess de Wahls in the fabulously named Brixton’s Bureau Of Silly Ideas. Half the proceeds from this three hour workshop  will go to Bloody Good Period, to help in their quest to tackle universal period poverty. You don’t need any previous embroidery knowledge, and materials will be provided on the day. More information here.

And there is a Vagestic Embroidery Workshop at Soho Theatre on Saturday 16 March 12-5pm. While exploring the parts of women’s anatomy which are often overlooked because of stigma or ignorance, you will learn all the clit-stitches and muff-fluff embroidery techniques you could possibly need to fully customise your own creation. Plus there will be quizzes and information on anatomy, history and the most random facts and stories about our beloved body-part!   Half of the proceeds go towards funding the world’s first Vagina Museum. More details here.

Pigs in the Park

Guest blog by Steve Anderson

We celebrate Chinese New Year – the Year of the Pig, by bringing you news of two local celebrity pigs who live locally and help fertilise BBC Today’s John Humphrys’ garden.

Start spreading the news – what is the X-factor fertiliser revolutionising many a Chiswick garden and allotment?

The answer: Pig poo.

But not just any old pig poo; only the finest faeces fired from the backsides of Ravenscourt Park’s celebrity Kunekune pigs.

BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter John Humphrys confirms he’s a user and allotment holders in Stamford Brook and beyond are recording better than ever carrots, broccoli and onions – all thanks to Snout and Crackling, TV stars who’ve started to make guest appearances at local schools.

John Humphrys chatting to Antonia before the pigs gave chase!

Owner Antonia Pugh-Thomas bought the pair of male twins as babies seven years ago. They live in a specially-built sty in the back garden and rub along with three dogs and two cats, not forgetting Antonia, her husband and their three children.

The reason for their potent manure is their diet. Kunekunes, a New Zealand breed, eat only organic: grass – lots of it – pig nuts and fruit and veg that Antonia buys in street markets at the end of the day ‘because it’s cheaper.’

‘Kunekune poo is pretty powerful,’ says Antonia. ‘It’s in great demand from the neighbours now. I’ve even started trading pig poo for fabulous locally-grown fruit and vegetables.

‘Bartering! It might even be the answer to Brexit stockpiling.’

The sight of Antonia striding purposefully towards Ravenscourt Park, gripping harnesses to steady each of her 15-stone pigs, often halts the traffic on the busy Goldhawk Road. Drivers and passengers scramble for their iPhones and post images on Instagram and Facebook.

In the park, amid the joggers, cyclists and Tai-Chi classes, Snout and Crackling head straight for the lush green grass but can be a target for dogs; some bark, others freeze in fear.

‘They’re completely passive and don’t seek any trouble,’ says Antonia. ‘Most owners are very good and will move on if their dog feels threatened and gets aggressive.

‘I’ve had more trouble with people, sadly. One woman told me the pigs lowered the tone of the area. I quietly reminded her that a man had been stabbed on the corner of my road by a couple of drug dealers. That ended the conversation quickly.

‘Technically, although we live in a residential area in West London, our home is a farm because we keep livestock.’
When not walking her pigs, trading their manure or mucking out the sty, Antonia can be found a world away, running her own highly-successful, long-established haute couture business in Fulham Road.

‘My customers have no idea what I do away from designing dresses,’ she says, ‘though I imagine that some of them think: ‘how odd that this smartly-dressed woman has a bit of straw in her hair’.’

But that may change. In the last year, Snout and Crackling have appeared on ITV’s This Morning, with celebrity reporter and ‘Queen of the Jungle’ Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo interviewing Antonia. More recently, the boys had star billing on the BBC Two documentary ‘The Secret Life of Pigs’.

‘They have their own agent,’ reveals Antonia, ‘and they’ve appeared in a couple of adverts; one for a dating website. Pigs are big right now.’

“Pigs have their own language; there’s so much to learn about them. Snout and Crackling make different sounds when they are happy, sad, frightened or angry’.

Kunekunes – ‘fat and round’ in Maori – are the smallest domesticated pig in the world. And though tiny when born, they are not micro-pigs which, says Antonia, ‘don’t exist.’
‘If anyone is thinking of buying a baby Kunekune, remember they grow this big (15 stone) and live up to 15 years. They also need to live in pairs; otherwise they are lonely and unhappy.’

Snout is the noisiest. ‘He is boisterous. Crackling is a sweetie but if he gets angry he looks like Gordon Brown.’

As secretary of the British Kunekune Pig Society, Antonia’s aim is to get children to know more about this special breed. ‘I would be delighted to take Snout and Crackling to more schools in the area. It’s a day the kids will never forget and the boys love getting so much attention. They’ll lie down for hours having their tummies stroked.

‘And who knows, if a school has an allotment or a wild garden, we might even be able to do a little bit of business together.’

Words by Steve Anderson – Twitter: @steve1anderson
Photographs by Lucinda MacPherson

 

Winter Running – how to stay motivated

Guest blog by Jacquie Millett and Camilla Langlands

So you have promised yourself that in 2019 you are going to start running to get fit, lose weight, complete a challenge or perhaps just to try something new. Maybe you were inspired by watching the athletics on television, or the coverage of the London Marathon or just by seeing others out jogging in the local area. You were really determined at the time – probably while sitting at home warm and comfortable. New year, new start – this was definitely going to happen.

But come January the days are short and cold. Perhaps you started well but after the initial enthusiasm wore off you are struggling to keep going – or maybe you didn’t get started at all. Don’t despair – it’s not too late. There is nothing special about January. February is just as good a starting point. Let’s see if we can get you going with some things we have learnt from our own experience of winter running.

Before we start, research has shown that the biggest indicator of whether an individual keeps up a new form of exercise throughout the year is whether they enjoy it or not from the very beginning. So emphasis should be on making running fun.

10 tips for motivating yourself for winter running.

1. Set goals : a long-term goal, possibly an event such as completing a parkrun by the end of March. But you also need short-term achievable goals along the way; something like going out 3 times the first week with a combination of walk / run for a set time. Don’t forget to chart your progress.
2. Start slowly : with a combination of alternating walking and running, gradually increasing the proportion of time running. It will be more enjoyable and you’ll be surprised how quickly you make progress. Most people are put off running because they try to go too fast too soon, and feel uncomfortable and consequently don’t enjoy it. There are lots of beginners’ guides on the internet.
3. Run with others : recruit a friend, or find a running group. If you’ve made an arrangement with someone you are much more likely to keep to it, and it will be more fun. If you can’t find anyone to run with when you plan to go out, make yourself accountable by telling someone that you’re going to do it. If you are a beginner, consider joining RunChiswick (see below)
4. Listen to music : not only on the run; music can be used to create an upbeat, positive mood even before leave house. Consider using bone-conductor head phones for safety, as they allow you to hear traffic and other ambient noise.
5. Keep warm : to help get out of the house on a cold, dark morning, make sure house/room is warm before you leave. Wrap up with plenty of layers; use hand-warmers if you really feel the cold.
6. Keep to a routine : decide when you will run and try to keep it non-negotiable with yourself. For most people mornings work best – then you can spend the rest of the day thinking about what you’ve already achieved.
7. Be aware of negative thinking : talk yourself into the run, not out of it. Think of it as treating your body to something good – look for signs of spring, and think of how good you’ll feel after you’ve completed your run. We both agree we’ve never regretted going out for a run!
8. Watch inspirational videos.
9. Reward yourself for effort : a healthy smoothie to return home to, or a new piece of kit after you’ve achieved one of your targets.
10. Something (anything) is better than nothing. If the idea of running seems too much effort some days, change into your running kit and take yourself out for a walk. You might surprise yourself – once you get out of the door, a lot of the hard work has already been done.

Run Chiswick

One of our New Year’s resolutions is to set up a free group for people who might not currently have others to run with. If you are a beginner and would like to start running this month, we are setting up a small, friendly running group in conjunction with the Chiswick Calendar. The aim is to train to build up to a 5K run over a period of nine weeks, starting with a gentle walk/run schedule.

We will organise and lead a weekly group run, set up an online forum for discussion and encouragement, and provide advice and guidance along the way. The programme will involve group members doing two further runs a week in their own time – but perhaps some of you will get together to support each other. The final 5k run is planned to be in April at Richmond parkrun. We’re really excited about helping you to achieve your goals!

Please contact us if you are interested or if you have any questions at thisishowwerun@gmail.com.
Good luck with your running from Jacquie and Cam (www.thisishowwerun.com)

Note: If you are concerned about any health issues and haven’t exercised for a while, it might be an idea to check with your GP that it’s OK to start running.
Stay safe in dark – don’t run alone in isolated places, and wear bright clothes and lights if necessary.

Jacquie Millett and Camilla Langlands are mother and daughter ultra marathon runners