Will opponents take court action against Cycleway 9?

Chiswick’s Conservative councillors have written to Cllr Steve Curran, Labour leader of Hounslow Council, lodging their opposition to the scheme and calling on him and his fellow Labour councillors:

“to recognisethe significant and broad-ranging local sentiment against such an expensive infrastructure project along Chiswick High Road”.

The councillors have been collecting signatures for a petition to stop the cycleway, which Hounslow transport officers’ briefing says had received 1,633 signatures at the time they published their report.

To put that in some perspective, the total population of Chiswick is 31,409 (2001 ONS Census).

Leader of the Conservative group Cllr Joanna Biddolph has told me she would support court action to try and prevent it if, as is expected, LB Hounslow approves it next week.

There are discussions going on among anti-C9 campaigners about setting up a crowd-funding page to take Hounslow to a Judicial Review, once the decision is made, but such action is phenomenally expensive and has no similar precedent.

Pub in the Park ticket winner

Last week we gave away our last two tickets to Pub in the Park, for the Sunday night session of Pub in the Park, when Texas will be playing.

The question you had to answer was: In which year did Texas release their first album Southside?

The correct answer is: 1989

The winner – the first person to email us with the correct answer – was Sue Smith.

That brings it to a total of 14 tickets we’ve given away for Pub in the Park. If you were one of ten winners who entered our competition in January, you should already have heard from Pub in the Park about your tickets.

The Chiswick Calendar Freebie

Instagram Giveaway

We’re trying something different with the latest Chiswick Calendar freebie. We have teamed up with designer eyewear specialists Maverick & Wolf and are holding an Instagram competition to win a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses with a retail price of £120. The glasses are a unisex frame and are the Ray-Ban Erika Classic.

To take part in the Instagram competition simply…

  1. Follow @TheChiswickCalendar and @MaverickandWolf
  2. Like this post
  3. Tag two friends to this post

Giveaway closes Sunday 1 September at 23.59 GMT. Winner will be drawn on Monday 2 and will be announced in The Chiswick Calendar newsletter the following day. (UK residents only – This contest is not affiliated with Instagram)

Good luck and get tagging!

Not an Instagram user?

Fear not. You will have another change to win a pair of these very chic sunglasses in The Chiswick Calendar raffle, in collaboration with Abundance London and the Cookbook festival.

Sunglasses from Maverick & Wolf are one of many brilliant prizes on offer from local businesses. Raffle tickets available at our stall at the Chiswick Book festival on Saturday 14 September and the Turnham Green Terrace street party for the launch of the piazza on Sunday 15 September.

Chiswick photographer’s portrait on show at the National Gallery

Remember this stunning portrait? Photographer Sirli Raitma entered this composition of her mother Eha in the Bedford Park Festival photography competition – and won. Now you will be able to see it hanging in the National Gallery as part of the exhibition for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 (7 November 2019 – 16 February 2020).

“We are both so thrilled” says Sirli. “This competition means a lot to me. I started to take photographs of my mother three years ago and only this year I felt that my work had reached a level where it was worth entering some competitions. Top of my list was the Taylor Wessing competition. I’m not shortlisted for the prize but I am very pleased to have two of my photographs due to hang in the National Portrait Gallery!”

To read the touching story of how Sirli came to be taking photographs of her mother, read my earlier blog post here.

To find out more about the Taylor Wessing prize exhibition at the National Gallery, go here.

sirliraitma.com

Why Everyone Should Try Meditation

Guest blog by Zen Maitri

In 2018, the Mental Health Foundation and YouGov published research highlighting some worrying trends among people living in the UK. In the preceding year, 74% of adults were so stressed at one point that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. 32% of adults said they had experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress. These numbers are even more concerning when we consider the many health issues that come with stress: mental health complications, sleeping trouble, decreased nervous system function, cardiovascular disease, increased chances of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes – just to name a few. It’s easy to see why chronic stress and anxiety have been labelled two of the great public health challenges of our time. Fortunately, there are steps we all can take to support strong mental health. 

The power of meditation 

The body of research showing the positive impact of techniques like meditation, breath work and yoga on mental health is growing all the time. All have been shown to positively impact the brain, the body and behavior, to improve a person’s relationships with others; to support those suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, and to ease physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain. And all of those benefits are within our grasp. Meditation and breath work classes are fun, relaxing, accessible and empowering.   

Despite backing from a mountain of scientific evidence and legions of loyal practitioners all over the world, plenty remain sceptical of the positive impact meditation can have on their lives. Often that’s an issue of perception: Some people can’t think of a worse way to spend time than sitting quietly and seemingly not doing very much at all. But meditation and related practices like breath work are about much more than slowing down and sitting still. Essentially they hone the skills of self-discipline and self-reflection. Over the long term, you can tap into these in times of need, whether you want greater control over racing thoughts or a sense of inner-calm in stressful situations. 

Meditation classes in the heart of Chiswick

As part of our commitment to supporting the health and well-being of the Chiswick community, Zen Maitri has recently launched free weekly meditation classes. They run from 6:30 pm for an hour every Thursday evening and are led by Laurent Roure, our resident meditation and breath work teacher. He ensures each class is as relaxing as it is empowering, with a range of breathing and mindfulness exercises to train your mind and leave you feeling at ease. 

If you’d like to sign up and come along, you can book on our website, by phone or reserve your space in-store. We’re also launching a 6-week meditation course in October, titled ‘How to Find Calm & Manage Stress’. It’s been developed to help you deal with stress and anxiety and starts on Thursday October 10th.  

The cost is £120 per person, there are a maximum of eight spaces available and there will be six classes of 60 minutes. As with our free classes, you can register your interest or reserve a spot at any time. Or keep an eye on our website and social media for more details.

The Zen Maitri Team

zenmaitri.com

Zen Maitri is the natural health apothecary on Turnham Green Terrace

Zen Maitri are also members of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme. Read more about their current offer to Club Card members on meditation classes here.

Man In The Middle – Chapter 1: The Letter

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact?

No. 1: The Letter

Mother is 94 years old. Her mind is as sharp as ever, as is her tongue.

‘Your stomach is larger than your father’s when he had his stroke. If you don’t do something soon, you’ll go the same way,’ she says.

She reserves her lectures for me. Everyone else gets a grey-age, charm offensive. She knows the birthdays of our friends’ children and what they’re studying at university. She remembers what people were wearing when she last saw them, sometimes decades previously. Everyone agrees she is ‘unbelievable for her age’ and how ‘lucky’ we are she doesn’t have dementia, which is undeniably true.

‘She has the knack of being interested in other people,’ says Wife, ‘You could learn from that.’

Time, however, is beginning to take its toll. Her hip is chronically painful. A short walk to Sainsbury’s is now a marathon. Wet leaves are a bear trap and the stairs of her maisonette a mountain. Streetlights, dimmed to balance the council budget, make her scared of answering the door. The everyday is becoming filled with fear. Recently, she blanked out and I took her to A&E. It was a blip due to low blood pressure and she was home quickly. But it changed everything. Now, we talk about when something ‘bad’ will happen again every week and wonder how she will deal with it if we were not there. I am having dreams in which I am arrested for Dereliction of Duty for going on holiday.

‘Pull yourself together. It’s time to plan for the Future. You must talk to her about it,’ says Wife, who could have organised the D-Day landings without breaking into a sweat.

A shiver of fear passes through me. Talking to Mother is a great idea. But doing it is quite another. It will require diplomacy, patience and impeccable timing. I’m not sure I’m up to it. I regret not having a sister. She would have known what to say. Or would say it better. As self pity and cowardice consume me, I even consider bribing my daughter to talk to Mother for me. Then I have a breakthrough idea. I will write a letter. A letter will avoid confusion and save me from a tricky, face to face first move. I write: ‘Perhaps now is good time to live somewhere better suited to your needs? We will support your decision whatever it is. And if you want to move in with us, we would be delighted. We just want you to feel safe, secure and happy.’

‘What’s this?’ she says, shaking the letter at me, a few days later.

‘It’s like the Irish back-stop,’ I say. ‘It may never happen. But we need to talk about the future, don’t you agree?’

‘I’m not going to a care home. I don’t like old people and I don’t need help. Anyway, who cares if I fall down the stairs? I’m ninety four, that’s par for the course at my age.’

The conversation is over. That night, I tell my wife about our ‘chat’.

‘OK. Now we know where we stand,’ she says.

I am confused. I saw a dead-end. Wife has seen something else. Is this female intuition at work?

‘She’s saying she wants to move in with us, only not yet. Which is fine because we’ll need time to convert your study into her bedroom.’

I reel with shock. In all my scenario planning I hadn’t reckoned on losing my man cave.

Wife sighs: ‘You’ve done well. Your letter did the trick.’

First published in Age Space

agespace.org

Read the next in the series – No.2 The Bored Meeting here.

Cycleway 9 set to get the go-ahead

The Cabinet of LB Hounslow meets in a week’s time after its summer break. Top of the agenda on Tuesday 3 September is the approval of Cycleway 9, introducing a two way cycle track along the south side of Chiswick High Rd. The Cycleway formerly known as Cycle Superhighway 9 looks set to be given the go-ahead after receiving strong endorsement from the council’s transport officers.

Head of Traffic and Transport to Cllr Hanif Khan, Lead Member for Transport recommends “the scheme is progressed to detailed design”. The transport team, led by Mark Frost, has prepared 19 briefing documents for councillors’ consideration, covering every aspect of the scheme including traffic modelling, air quality modelling, parking surveys and retail surveys.

Michael Robinson, Borough Co-ordinator of Hounslow Cycling Campaign said:

“We welcome the publication of the briefing documents for Cycleway 9 prior to the decision by the council cabinet. The documents contain a huge amount of detail that both justifies the benefits of the scheme, and refutes the scaremongering and misleading information from opponents”.

Headlines from the main report

Once the cycleway is built we can expect less traffic down the High Rd, and more on the A4 as drivers realise the High Rd has been narrowed.

Bus journeys along the High Rd in the evening rush hour (in both directions) are expected to be between two and four minutes quicker but in the morning they’re expected to be up to five minutes longer going in to town.

Transport for London planners have listened to the objections of Chiswick residents and over two periods of consultation have dropped the initial proposals to change access to British Grove, dropped plans to make Dukes Avenue entry only and dropped the idea of banning right turns on to the High Rd from Duke Rd, in response to concerns from residents of the Glebe estate that their narrow residential roads would become rat runs. They’ve also kept the six metre wide pavement outside the Catholic Church so members of the church can congregate there.

Hounslow’s transport officers consider the impact on air pollution from slower moving traffic in some places and better traffic flow in others would overall be ‘negligible’ and the impact on cafes and restaurants with outside seating would be ‘minimal’.

They consider that even with reduced parking available on the High Rd there are still sufficient spaces to meet current requirements and that the cycle lane will not have an adverse impact on economic activity. An analysis of reports from changes elsewhere show ‘walking, cycling and public realm improvements can increase retail sales by up to 30%’ and that shoppers don’t use their cars as much as businesses tend to think they do.

They admit that ‘there will be ‘localised changes to air quality and noise levels’, so some people will find their environment less pleasant as the result of changing traffic patterns. They acknowledge that about half the pavement along the south side of the High Rd will be reduced in width by more than half a metre, but say at no point will it make the pavement less than two metres wide. They concede also that the loss of four mature trees is ‘a substantial negative’ and suggest tree planting blitz to compensate.

They also want an additional £300,000 from TfL ‘ring-fenced’ so they can monitor the impact and make changes accordingly.

The main summary report runs to 63 pages. They have taken each criticism which has been made of the cycleway and evaluated it, highlighting where changes have been made to the original plans after consultation or setting out counter arguments to each of the objections and giving their reasons why they think on balance the cycle lane is the right thing to do.

Whereas the early pronouncements from TfL and Mayor of London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner Will Norman were short on facts and long on the kind of wishful thinking that would put Pollyanna in the shade, (and were frankly insulting to anyone with half a brain), this is full of facts and properly researched information. Transport modelling is still educated guesswork but at least now TfL have been made to show their workings, so you can evaluate the standard of their guesswork.

Background

The report which will be presented by Cllr Khan takes councillors through the history of Cycleway 9 from Transport for London’s initial consultation two years ago, which received more than 5000 responses on a very wide range of issues, to the plan as it now stands.

The briefing acknowledges the extent of local opposition:

‘In the initial consultation there was approximately 60% support for the scheme amongst those who responded. However, it was clear that there was widespread local concern about some elements of the scheme. This was particularly the case in relation to the section along Chiswick High Road’.

It then outlines the changes which TfL made as a result. There were two periods of consultation: the first in the autumn of 2017; the second earlier this year. Controversial changes to access to British Grove at the Hammersmith end of the High Rd were dropped and a number of other changes made.

Current Plan

The plan as it is proposed now includes:

  • A new two-way cycle track, largely segregated from motor traffic (by a raised kerb stone), running along the southern side of Chiswick High Road
  • Changes to bus stop locations and layouts, including new bus stop bypasses for cyclists
  • Six new signal-controlled pedestrian crossings and over 20 upgraded pedestrian crossings
  • Changes to parking (a reduction of spaces) and loading facilities, and hours of operation
  • Bus lanes on Chiswick High Road and High Street Brentford to operate Monday to Saturday 7–10am, 4–7pm; Bus Lane on Kew Bridge Road to operate ‘At Any Time’.
  • Loss of four existing trees, to be replaced with nine new trees.
  • Two way traffic in and out of Duke’s Avenue at the junction with the high road (except for HGVs), and the retention of two lanes on the eastbound approach from Chiswick High Road.
  • A weight restriction on the access to Duke’s Avenue from the A4 for vehicles over 7.5t.
  • Duke Road to be exit-only at Chiswick High Road (but they’ve dropped the idea of banning right turns on to the High Rd)
  • Restrictions on access to the South Circular from Wellesley Road and Stile Hall Gardens for motor vehicles
  • A segregated two-way cycle track on the southern side of Kew Bridge Road and South Circular Road (instead of two one-way cycle lanes on either side of the road initially proposed)

Objections

Addressing the issues raised by opponents to the scheme, the main summary report offers the following comments by Hounslow’s transport officers. Click on the links to read their comments on each of the following objections:

‘The impact on journey times for other road users resulting from the scheme is unacceptable’

‘C9 should be on the A4, not Chiswick High Road’

‘Safety concerns about the use of a two-way track on the southern side of Chiswick High Road’

‘There is no collision risk on the high road for cyclists – this is a solution looking for a problem’

‘Concern that the scheme is a significant sum of funding to spend on a minority road user’

Concern that C9 will impact negatively on pedestrians, particularly vulnerable road users

‘Connectivity to the cycle track on the southern side of the High Road from the north will be difficult’

‘Space outside restaurants on the southern side of Chiswick High Road will be compromised and outdoor dining would cease’

‘There is an unacceptable impact on the Catholic Church on Chiswick High Road’

‘There is an unacceptable impact on residential access to British Grove’

‘The changes to Duke Road / Dukes’ Avenue will unacceptably impact on residents’

‘The reduction in parking and loading space is unacceptable and will damage trade’

‘The Wellesley Road / Stile Hall Gardens access restrictions will lead to more traffic on neighbouring roads and are not wanted by local residents’

‘The loss of trees is unacceptable’

‘The scheme will have a negative impact on air quality as a result of displaced traffic and congestion’

Recommendations to limit unknown impacts of the scheme 

The council’s report to the Cabinet makes it clear that the introduction of a cycleway through Chiswick presents a significant change and Hounslow’s Head of Transport Mark Frost wants TfL to commit to providing ‘sufficient resource for ongoing monitoring and mitigation measures ring-fenced.’

The report acknowledges that the effects on Chiswick need to be kept under review ‘to ensure they are working for users.’ To do this he foresees ‘a large quantum of work over a number of years’ post implementation – £300,000 worth of work to be precise. That’s the figure Hounslow wants TfL to commit to, so they can monitor how it’s working and tweak it accordingly, rather than TfL just building it and then washing its hands of us.
The report goes into far more detail on the issues highlighted on this page and others. It’s a well-written report in which specific points are easy to find and aren’t buried in bureaucratic waffle. To see the whole 63 page report and drill down to find more detail on answers to speficic issues, you can see the whole report here.

Jazz at George IV returns 5 September

Jazz at George IV returns on Thursday 5 September with an artist new to Chiswick, who sold out at the West End Phoenix arts Club last year.

Dom Pipkin’s “Smokin’ Boogie, Bad Boys, Bourbon & The Big Easy

The renowned pianist and raconteur brings his highly successful West End show, paying homage to the music of New Orleans, to the Boston Room at George IV. A regular on the jazz scene, Dom has recorded and toured with Paul Weller, Ray Davies and Laura Mvula amongst others.

The high-energy show features some of the very best in New Orleans music, including numbers from such giants as Jelly Roll Morton, Professor Longhair, James Booker and Fats Domino. “When Dom plays the piano, magic happens ……” Paloma Faith.

Book tickets here

Coming to a brick wall near you…

Chiswick is to have a new art work, or to be more accurate, a succession of art works on the ‘piazza’ on Turnham Green Terrace.

Dubbed the ‘4th plinth for W4’, it borrows the idea of a rotating artwork from the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square, but it will in fact be two dimensional.

All we know at the moment is that it will be large, and on the wall of the railway embankment, but all will be revealed on Sunday 15 September at the launch of the piazza.

Turnham Green Terrace will be closed for the day for a mega street party. The Chiswick Calendar will be there. We’re tasked with running the raffle and we already have an impressive list of prizes from local businesses.

It’s going to be fun.

Take part in Chiswick’s month of festivals

September is busy month in Chiswick, with annual events Tidefest, Chiswick Book Festival, the Cookbook festival and now the launch of the piazza in Turnham Green Terrace for your delectation and entertainment, not to mention Chiswick House Dog Show at the end of the month. These are all community events run by not-for-profit organisations and they all run on volunteer effort. If you would like to take part and help out, they’d be glad to hear from you.

Tidefest – Sunday 8 September, 10.00am – 5.00pm

‘London’s Family River Festival’ takes place at Strand on the Green on Sunday 8 September from 10.00am – 5.00pm. The annual event, now in its fifth year, is all about encouraging people to enjoy the River Thames. It’s a chance to try out all sorts of river activities – paddle boarding, river dipping, kayaking, and water games – and especially to introduce children to them.

Organiser Martin Salter says: ‘We have lots of different roles to offer throughout the day including helping with individual events and stewarding the site, staffing the information point, selling any unsold tickets generally wandering around being pleasant and encouraging people to join in and handing out programmes. We have walks – two foreshore walks with a mudlarker, a birdwatching walk with the RSPB, two photographic walks with Jon Perry and a wildlife walk with London Wildlife Trust. We have river trips leaving from Kew Pier which need a bit of help and kayak trips over to Oliver’s Island which need help on the island getting the public out of the kayaks and safely round the island.

‘We have visits to Lots Ait where African Queen was filmed and now has moorings an amazing collection of boats and wildlife, a boatyard and workshops. Lots of hazards to encounter so need a couple of watchful volunteers to shepherd the group safely. We are also showing two river films and having a talk about Chiswick Swifts at the London Museum of Water & Steam. We need help with checking people in, directing them to our room and generally making sure all runs smoothly. In return for any assistance you will hopefully have a great day and help a great community river festival. You will receive a meal voucher and a modest payment to cover any expenses and maybe learn something new about the river’.

If you would like to help out at Tidefest, contact Helen Wilding at H.wilding@thamesfestival.org

Chiswick Book Festival – Thursday 12 – Monday 16 September

Former Mayor of London and MP Jess Phillips are among the guests at this year’s Chsiwick Book Festival. There’s a full programme of interviews and panel discussions on everything from AN Wilson talking about Prince Albert to Richard Briars’ biographer talking about the Good Life of the long-term resident of Bedford Park. There’s a quiz at the Griffin Brewery, the Local Authors’ evening at Waterstones, and the opening session at Chiswick House, but most of the events take place at St Michael & All Angels Church in Bath Rd. All require volunteers to take tickets and shepherd the audience to their seats. There may also be a certain amount of tea making and bar work involved. The perks of the job are that you get to hear some really interesting discussions from A list presenters and authors and that you get one free ticket to a festival event.

If you would like to help out at the Chiswick Book Festival, please contact volunteer coordinator Jane McCabe

volunteers@chiswickbookfestival.net.

Cookbook Festival – Thursday 12 – Sunday 15 September

The Cookbook festival celebrates the love of cookbooks. The festival’s usp is that it is not just a book festival and not just a food festival, but a book festival where you can taste the recipes the authors are talking about. The organisers need people to help supervise cookery demonstrations and events in the marquees and at the street party in Turnham Green Terrace on the Sunday.  Expect to be lifting, carrying, washing up and helping out in the kitchen preparing tasters for the demonstrations. Not exactly glamorous work, but co-organiser Lucy Cufflin promises the atmosphere will be ‘jolly’ and promises excellent snacks to keep you going.

If you would like to help out at the Cookbook Festival, contact the organising committee through their website.cookbookfestival.org

Turnham Green Terrace Street Party – Sunday 15 September, 11.00 – 4.00pm

The party to launch the piazza on Turnham Green Terrace ‘Together on the Terrace’ is being organised jointly by the Cookbook Festival and Abundance London. While the Cookbook festival organisers are overseeing the massive community lunch which will be taking place all down the centre of the street, Abundance London is organising stalls, children’s activities, live music, community art activities and the unveiling of the new art work on the wall of the railway embankment at 1.00pm. The road will be closed to traffic all day and the minute the closure comes into effect in the morning, there will be a mad scramble to set everything up before the event starts at 11.00am. Abundance London particularly needs help putting up gazebos. If you would like to help out at the Turnham Green Terrace street party, please email Abundance London at info@abundancelondon.com

Chiswick House Dog Show – Sunday 22 September, 11.00am – 4.30 pm

The Chiswick House Dog Show has now apparently become the biggest dog show in London. The cricket pitch is flooded with dogs of every breed and size with their owners on a fun day out, with competitions and displays in several arena, food, drink and a variety of canine related stalls.

Dog Show committee chairman Jan Preece says:

It’s always wonderful to have experienced volunteers come back but we also like to welcome new volunteers to help with what is now said to be the BIGGEST DOG SHOW IN LONDON! We need volunteers (aged 8 to 80) help with the following:

*      Setting up the Show (for early risers as this starts from 7.30 am)
*      On the Class Registration Desk
*      Bar Tenders (Over 25’s only please)
*      Stewards to help the day go smoothly and tidily
*      Bucket Rattlers/handing out programmes
*      On the Information Desk
*      Adult support on the Children’s Fun and Games Arcade
*      Help with clearing up the Show (from 4.30 pm onwards)

Please let Volunteer Coordinators Caroline, Debbie and Susan know if you are available to spare a couple of hours by emailing them at volunteer@chiswickhousedogshow.org.uk
Let them know what you would prefer to do (and any time limitations you may have) and if you have volunteered before, whether you have changed your mobile number; OR alternatively sign up on line at www.chiswickhousedogshow.org.uk/volunteer-sign-up

Regular volunteering

If you would like to volunteer on a regular basis, have a look at The Chiswick Calendar’s Volunteer Directory for everything from helping out at one of the charity shops to driving a minibus to take elderly people to lunch, or a spot of community gardening.

If you are an organisation which relies on volunteers and would like to be included in the directory, please email us at info@thechiswickcalendar.co.uk

 

Cookbook Festival Suppers

We are thrilled to be able to host Mira’s book launch at the festival. Mira will be talking to us about Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu practice of medicine, whilst we enjoy a sumptuous three course Indian banquet with recipes from her book launched that day, Prajna.

Menu:

To Start:
Indian summer’s salad
Masala aubergine on sourdough
Beetroot carpaccio with tangy tadka

Followed by:
Chimmichurri potatoes with spiced yoghurt
Tamarind cauliflower steak
Autumn coconut curry bowl

And then:
Rose chai with baked apples filled with hot cardamom fudge and coconut

On arrival you will be offered a caramel cooler (her refreshing non-alcoholic aperitif from her book) and, as usual for our supper clubs, this is a BYO event – so bring along beers, wines or your favourite tipple. This is all happening in our fantastic Cookbook festival marquee on Turnham Green Terrace – how exciting! Mira is well known in London and beyond with her own cafe, Chai – Kingly Court in the heart of Soho. Mira is a delight chatting about food, life and well-being whilst never compromising on flavours or good food.

As usual the Cookbook festival team will be cooking with Mira and I can tell you that the flavours of her dishes are intoxicatingly delicious. Enjoy Mira’s food, chat with her and enjoy the authentic flavours of her families recipes that they have been cooking for generations.

Tickets £35 – three courses, aperitif and good company!

For more information and to book, go to the Cookbook festival website

cookbookfestival.org

To find out more about Mira, see her website

miramanek.com

Cookbook Festival Suppers

Oh my word – if you don’t know Trine yet this is a chance you cannot pass up! We’re talking a real force in European cooking and a leader in the Danish food movement – sustainable, organic, delicious! Her team provide over 3,000 lunches every day in Copenhagen! With ten cookbooks under her belt and a message about food that is inspiring, you need to take Friday 13 off work and join us for this delicious experience and culinary adventure.

Menu

To start:
Smørrebrød with Trine’s own rye bread and a glass of vodka

Then:
Cured salmon with horseradish cream
Summer salad – Hahnemanns family recipe
Potato with herb mayo and crispy onions

Dessert:
Rød grød with cream

There will be sipping vodka to start of the meal but as usual with our supper club events this is a BYO so bring along your favourite drinks and really enjoy the last of the summer with us at this very special event. It is very unusual to get the opportunity to eat Trine’s food as she is based in Denmark, but we are lucky at the Cookbook festival as her sister Silla Bjerrum is part of the team and will be cooking alongside her sister for this lunch – wow what a double act!

All served up in our Cookbook Festival marquee on Turnham Green Terrace at 12.30pm Tickets £30 including three courses and sipping vodka. For more information and booking see the Cookbook festival website

cookbookfestival.org

To find out more about Trine

hahnemannskoekken.dk

The Cookbook Festival is not for profit and a 100% charitable cause. See website for details of the local charities we support through the Festival.

Good Food, Good Company and do some good – all at the same time!

Two more tickets to give away

We have two more tickets to give away for the Sunday night session of Pub in the Park, when Texas will be playing.

To claim those tickets, just email The Chiswick Calendar at info@thechiswickcalendar.co.uk with the answer to the following question:

In which year did Texas release their first album Southside?

The first person to email us with the correct answer wins the tickets. Please put ‘Texas tickets’ in the subject line. The winner’s name will be published on The Chiswick Calendar website.

Winner of two tickets to Pub in the Park

In the last newsletter we set a competition for two tickets to the Pub in the Park weekend in the gardens of Chiswick House, Friday 6 – Sunday 8 September.

The winner was Jonnie Edmondson. He was the first person to email us with the correct answer to the question: What is the name of Tom Kerridge’s pub in Marlow? The only pub in the UK with two Michelin stars. The correct answer is: The Hand and Flowers.

Didn’t win? Fear not for we have another two tickets to give away for the Sunday night. To find out how to enter click here.

Chihuly sculptures on show by night

If you’ve visited Kew Gardens at all over the summer you can’t have failed to notice the fabulous creations of American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. They’ve just gone on show at night time, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until Saturday 26 October.

Chihuly uses blown glass for the primary medium for his installations, which represents a considerable technical achievement as well as and artistic one, resulting in the most beautiful, exuberant and colourful art works. An artist who initially studied interior design, he dropped out of college to travel Europe and the Middle East before picking up his studies again in the US. He gained his first success as a weaver in Seattle, incorporating glass shards into tapestries. He went on to develop his skill in glass blowing and learned sculpture, working in Venice and with contemporary glass artists Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová in the Czech Republic.

He is known not only as one of the world’s great artists, but as an entrepreneur. Chihuly’s largest permanent exhibit can be found at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and he has two retail stores in Las Vegas and in Macau, in partnership with MGM Resorts International. His achievements are all the more remarkable given that he is blind in one eye. He was involved in a head-on car accident in 1976, while he was in England. He was propelled through the windshield. his face was severely cut by glass and he lost the sight in his left eye.

More than 30 of his spectacular and photogenic works have been on display in the open air at Kew Gardens since April, and have proved popular with visitors. Now that the nights are beginning to draw in, they will be on show lit up by night.

Tickets are £18 (£12 members) and should be booked in advance.

Kew.org

 

 

Exhibition of William Hogarth’s paintings

A major exhibition of the work of painter William Hogarth is coming to London this October. The famous 18th Century satirist, and Chiswick’s most famous resident (David Tennant and Colin Firth arguably excepted) will be celebrated by Sir John Sloane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The museum says the collection on show will unite his painted series for the first time ‘to examine his complex views on morality, the society and the city’.

‘All of the paintings and engravings in Hogarth’s series will be united for the first time to examine his complex views on morality, the society and the city. The darkly satirical series of William Hogarth (1697-1764) have an enduring appeal today. Cutting through social conventions, they present with wit and humour the immorality and vice that Hogarth perceived in all classes of society.

‘Hogarth: Place and Progress will unite all of the paintings and engravings in Hogarth’s series for the first time. The Museum’s own Rake’s Progress and An Election will be joined by Marriage A-la-Mode from the National Gallery, the Four Times of Day from the National Trust and a private collection, as well as the three surviving paintings of The Happy Marriage from Tate and the Royal Cornwall Museum. The exhibition will also include engraved series lent by Andrew Edmunds prints such as The Four Stages of Cruelty, Industry and Idleness and Gin Lane and Beer Street.

‘Hogarth’s narratives present a satirical take on the idea of ‘progress’. The principal characters flout conventional morality and so progress not towards spiritual enlightenment but to poverty, madness and death. London settings, still identifiable today, play a key role in these cautionary tales: in A Rake’s Progress, the Rake’s initial progression from the mercantile City of London to an extravagant West End mansion spirals to a brothel in Covent Garden, then ultimately to insanity and death in Bedlam madhouse, as a consequence of his dissolute lifestyle.

‘Displayed across the backdrop of Sir John Soane’s Museum, the exhibition will demonstrate how Hogarth’s ‘Modern Moral Subjects’ married the idea of progress with the moral geography of London, in a dynamic and evolving way throughout his own progress as an artist’.

Entrance to the exhibition is free, but booking is essential. Of particular note is the museum’s ‘Saturday Spotlight on Hogarth’ – an opportunity to view the exhibition after hours every Saturday evening from 6.00 – 9.00pm. Tickets include an introductory talk.

More train strikes to come

The RMT union has announced four more days of train strikes on South West train routes. The strikes, which will affect services from Chiswick rail station in and out of Waterloo, will be on consecutive days, between 0001 hours Friday 30 August and 23.59 hours Monday 2 September. The rail workers’ union says South Western Railway is dragging its heels and delaying talks and they’ve been left with no choice but to call further industrial action.

SWT told the BBC it was “struggling to comprehend what this endless strike action is really all about”. I spoke to the RMT to try and answer that question, because this dispute has now gone on so long, both sides appear to have lost sight of what it’s about.

The dispute is in essence about the role of guards on passenger trains. At the outset the discussion was about whether there would continue to be guards at all. The union feared the company was moving towards Driver Controlled Operation – ie. just a driver, which they said would be a huge safety issue and put passengers at risk. Back in February, “after a long and hard fight by RMT members” the union says the train company pledged that “each passenger train shall operate with a guard with safety critical competencies.” These specific competencies were to be agreed by RMT and SWR. Since then it has been stalemate with “the company rowing back on their public pledges” according to the union.

So what’s at issue now is not whether there will be guards, but what exactly their role will be. According to the union, guards should be responsible for “the method of train desptach” ie. it is their job to make sure the train leaves the platform safely without passengers getting injured. The union’s spokesman told me they fear that SWT wants guards to be “glorified revenue protection” people, with the emphasis more on checking tickets than passenger safety.

There have been similar talks with other companies, but the union says negotiations with them have long since concluded with a satisfactory definition of the guard’s role. It’s our bad luck that this is not the case with the company which runs trains between Chiswick and Waterloo. What’s worse is that there are no more talks planned, at least according to the union. SWT say otherwise. A spokesman for the train company said they have held four days of talks so far this month:

“It’s extremely disappointing that despite having a date in the diary for what we hoped would be constructive talks held in good faith, the RMT union has somewhat cynically decided to call further disruptive strike action, inflicting misery on our customers and colleagues. The RMT has always said it wanted us to keep the guard on every train which is what we have offered as part of a framework agreement. We want to move the conversation on to how we operate our new trains and take advantage of the new technology on board to benefit our customers.”

When I spoke to the union, their spokesman said it was hard to see how they could progress unless ACAS got involved and the talks went into arbitration.

Meanwhile we can expect four days of strikes the weekend after the bank holiday and rail fares are going up at the beginning of January. Commuters can expect rises of up to 2.8%. The company has not yet released the new prices for 2 January onwards, but the full 2.8% would add £28.56 to an annual ticket for journeys between Chiswick and Waterloo, increasing the price from £1,020 to £1,048.56.

The Long Road to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe is running throughout this month and Chiswick’s very own St Michael’s Players will be joining this year’s line-up. The amateur dramatic society are taking their award-winning production The Long Road to Scotland’s capital for the world-renowned festival on 19-24 August, performing at one of three theatres at The Surgeon’s Hall.

The Long Road, written by Shelagh Stephenson, is a powerfully hard-hitting production which follows the struggle of a family forced to deal with the fatal stabbing of their son Danny in a random attack. The story describes how Danny’s mother comes to terms with the atrocity, part of which involves her coming face-to-face with her son’s killer.

St Michael’s Players first performed The Long Road in Chiswick in April last year, receiving outstanding reviews which led to the group bringing it back for a second run this year.

Photographs above: left – Louis Bricusse as Joe, Alastair Dewar as John, Elizabeth Ollier as Mary, Leonia Chesterfield as Elizabeth, right – Fleur de Henrie Pearce as Emma [Credit: Ian Trowbridge]

At last week’s preview, Elizabeth Ollier truly inhabited the role of the bereaved mother offering a hauntingly captivating performance. Fleur de Henrie Pearce also played the role of Emma Price exceptionally, with her compelling take on the convicted criminal. It felt as if someone had pulled away a wall of the family home revealing the devastating after-effects of bereavement. Both Fleur and Elizabeth were able to transport audiences away from the world of Am-Dram into another realm entirely, making this the perfect performance to take to the Fringe.

How did St Michael’s Players end up taking part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival? It seemed like something other people did, Elizabeth told me. It wasn’t until she performed at the Fringe last year, with a different theatre company, that it occurred to them it might be a realistic project for St Michael’s Players to take a play to the festival. “We all thought why not?” said Elizabeth “and then the idea really took hold when we put on The Long Road which was really well received and something a little bit different. It also sadly resonates with what’s happening on the streets right now”.

“We were all blown away by The Long Road even at the first read-through. The fact that it had been written in collaboration with prisoners and prison charities and was actually intended to be performed in prisons gave it a real authenticity.”

Photographs above: left – Elizabeth Ollier, Alastair Dewar, centre – Leonia Chesterfield, Fleur de Henrie Pearce, right – Alastair Dewar, Elizabeth Ollier, Louis Bricusse [Credit: Ian Trowbridge]

St Michael’s Players were inspired by the real-life story of Ray and Vi Donovan, whose own tragedy provided source material for the play. Ray and Vi set up the Chris Donovan Trust when their son Chris was killed in a random attack and Vi’s way of dealing with the trauma was to meet her son’s killers, and ultimately forgive them.

“Their story was really moving for all of us” Elizabeth told me. “We were so thrilled that Vi came to see our play and said afterwards that she felt we’d given a really accurate portrayal of the way she’d felt at the time. That meant a lot to us and helped with us deciding to get the play in front of as many people as possible.”

Photographs above: left – Elizabeth Ollier, Fleur de Henrie Pearce, top right – Louis Bricusse, Elizabeth Ollier, Alastair Dewar, Fleur de Henrie Pearce, Leonia Chesterfield, bottom right – Louis Bricusse, Elizabeth Ollier, [Credit: Ian Trowbridge]

As a local group, Elizabeth said the decision to perform in Edinburgh wasn’t something the committee took lightly.

“Our priority is and always will be very much producing shows for our local audiences who are really loyal to us, however I think for an amateur dramatics company putting themselves outside their usual environment into something as exciting and innovative as the Fringe does make them lift their game – it certainly worked for us.”

Elizabeth is the only member of St Michael’s Players who has previously performed at the Fringe. Fellow cast members Louis, Alastair and Leonia have all visited the iconic festival but Fleur has never been to the Fringe or even Edinburgh before.

Photographs above: left – Elizabeth Ollier, centre – Fleur de Henrie Pearce, right – Elizabeth Ollier, Fleur de Henrie Pearce [Credit: Ian Trowbridge]

“From looking at all of the videos and social media and all of the press I am expecting it to be a hugely exciting, buzzy, non-stop, never-ending plethora of people and shows” Fleur told me. “It’s just a hugely exciting and positive environment and one that that’s full of life and energy and I think it’s going to be absolutely fantastic and unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before.”

As the Fringe gets closer, Fleur told me she feels both daunted by the enormity of what it means to perform at the festival but also energised and excited. It will be “a conveyor belt of shows”, she said, as once they’ve finished one performance they will be straight onto the next.

“We know it’s going to be a huge challenge but I think we’re all very much up for the challenge and taking ourselves out of our comfort zone of performing in a space or an environment that we are used to, in front of our peers. I think it’s going to be an incredible challenge but an incredibly exciting one for us all” said Fleur.

The Long Road to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe is running throughout this month and Chiswick’s very own St Michael’s Players will be joining this year’s line-up. The amateur dramatic society are taking their award-winning production The Long Road to Scotland’s capital for the world-renowned festival on 19-24 August, performing at one of three theatres at The Surgeon’s Hall.

The Long Road, written by Shelagh Stephenson, is a powerfully hard-hitting production which follows the struggle of a family forced to deal with the fatal stabbing of their son Danny in a random attack. The story describes how Danny’s mother comes to terms with the atrocity, part of which involves her coming face-to-face with her son’s killer.

St Michael’s Players first performed The Long Road in Chiswick in April last year, receiving outstanding reviews which led to the group bringing it back for a second run this year.

Photographs above: left – Louis Bricusse as Joe, Alastair Dewar as John, Elizabeth Ollier as Mary, Leonia Chesterfield as Elizabeth, right – Fleur de Henrie Pearce as Emma [Credit: Ian Trowbridge]

At last week’s preview, Elizabeth Ollier truly inhabited the role of the bereaved mother offering a hauntingly captivating performance. Fleur de Henrie Pearce also played the role of Emma Price exceptionally, with her compelling take on the convicted criminal. It felt as if someone had pulled away a wall of the family home revealing the devastating after-effects of bereavement. Both Fleur and Elizabeth were able to transport audiences away from the world of Am-Dram into another realm entirely, making this the perfect performance to take to the Fringe.

How did St Michael’s Players end up taking part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival? It seemed like something other people did, Elizabeth told me. It wasn’t until she performed at the Fringe last year, with a different theatre company, that it occurred to them it might be a realistic project for St Michael’s Players to take a play to the festival. “We all thought why not?” said Elizabeth “and then the idea really took hold when we put on The Long Road which was really well received and something a little bit different. It also sadly resonates with what’s happening on the streets right now”.

“We were all blown away by The Long Road even at the first read-through. The fact that it had been written in collaboration with prisoners and prison charities and was actually intended to be performed in prisons gave it a real authenticity.”

Photographs above: left – Elizabeth Ollier, Alastair Dewar, centre – Leonia Chesterfield, Fleur de Henrie Pearce, right – Alastair Dewar, Elizabeth Ollier, Louis Bricusse [Credit: Ian Trowbridge]

St Michael’s Players were inspired by the real-life story of Ray and Vi Donovan, whose own tragedy provided source material for the play. Ray and Vi set up the Chris Donovan Trust when their son Chris was killed in a random attack and Vi’s way of dealing with the trauma was to meet her son’s killers, and ultimately forgive them.

“Their story was really moving for all of us” Elizabeth told me. “We were so thrilled that Vi came to see our play and said afterwards that she felt we’d given a really accurate portrayal of the way she’d felt at the time. That meant a lot to us and helped with us deciding to get the play in front of as many people as possible.”

Photographs above: left – Elizabeth Ollier, Fleur de Henrie Pearce, top right – Louis Bricusse, Elizabeth Ollier, Alastair Dewar, Fleur de Henrie Pearce, Leonia Chesterfield, bottom right – Louis Bricusse, Elizabeth Ollier, [Credit: Ian Trowbridge]

As a local group, Elizabeth said the decision to perform in Edinburgh wasn’t something the committee took lightly.

“Our priority is and always will be very much producing shows for our local audiences who are really loyal to us, however I think for an amateur dramatics company putting themselves outside their usual environment into something as exciting and innovative as the Fringe does make them lift their game – it certainly worked for us.”

Elizabeth is the only member of St Michael’s Players who has previously performed at the Fringe. Fellow cast members Louis, Alastair and Leonia have all visited the iconic festival but Fleur has never been to the Fringe or even Edinburgh before.

Photographs above: left – Elizabeth Ollier, centre – Fleur de Henrie Pearce, right – Elizabeth Ollier, Fleur de Henrie Pearce [Credit: Ian Trowbridge]

“From looking at all of the videos and social media and all of the press I am expecting it to be a hugely exciting, buzzy, non-stop, never-ending plethora of people and shows” Fleur told me. “It’s just a hugely exciting and positive environment and one that that’s full of life and energy and I think it’s going to be absolutely fantastic and unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before.”

As the Fringe gets closer, Fleur told me she feels both daunted by the enormity of what it means to perform at the festival but also energised and excited. It will be “a conveyor belt of shows”, she said, as once they’ve finished one performance they will be straight onto the next.

“We know it’s going to be a huge challenge but I think we’re all very much up for the challenge and taking ourselves out of our comfort zone of performing in a space or an environment that we are used to, in front of our peers. I think it’s going to be an incredible challenge but an incredibly exciting one for us all” said Fleur.

 

 

 

 

Introducing KM Music School

KM Music School is a brand-new specialist piano and singing school in Chiswick. Already offering trial lessons over the summer, the school opens fully in September. They will offer a range of classes and tutoring and a variety of genres. Whether you’re interested in classical music, rock, pop or musicals, now’s your chance to learn.

Kitty Man, namesake and director, says KM Music School will offer classes in music and performing, as well as offering training to music teachers, performers and composers. Each programme is tailored specifically to meet each individual’s needs and requirements so it doesn’t matter if you’re an up-and-coming Broadway star or have never sung a note in your life. KM Music School are part of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, so members can get a fabulous 50% off summer trials lessons and an exclusive 10% off your first booking from September, so whether you’re just looking to test the waters of the performing world, or sell out the Royal Albert Hall, there’s never been a better time to start.

The school caters for all ages from five upwards. “There’s no turning anyone away, everyone is welcome” Kitty told me. “There’s an adult who’s 60 years old who has just signed up for our classes who wants to start learning now which is amazing”.

It’s not just singing and performance classes that will be taught by KM, the school will also be providing mentoring for performers, composers and music teachers – areas Kitty says are surprisingly neglected.

She explained that it’s near-impossible to find schools and classes which offer mentoring in these areas, telling me that it’s a service that the majority of schools overlook or simply just don’t offer. “All the teachers I’ve been speaking to wish they had that element to their learning when they went to music school” she said.

Kitty’s enthusiasm makes it clear to see just how passionate she is about her new business venture – after all it has been a lifelong dream. She has always had a love for music and is an expert in violin and piano herself – the latter she started playing when she was just five years old!

Photographs above: left – Kitty Man

Kitty first turned to teaching at the age of 18, teaching piano to her next-door neighbour and she was quickly in great demand but put the teaching on the back burner when she went off to study Music at university.

After graduating from City University, Kitty briefly went into accounting but quickly found she couldn’t keep herself away from the music world. She began working for industry giant Universal Music at their office on Chiswick High Road, dealing specifically with publishing and royalties. From there she went on to work for Fintage House and Kobolt Music Group, before finally coming back to teaching.

It wasn’t until January of this year, after meeting with a business coach, that Kitty finally began pursuing her life-long dream of opening her very own music school.

“It took me this long just to be brave enough to do it. Once I started working with this coach it completely changed everything because she took my idea and made it into small manageable chunks”.

The timing also lined up perfectly, with the launch happening in summer, ready for the new term which starts in September. Kitty has already had a huge amount of interest.

Photographs above: left – Evelyn, right – Gabriela

Initially, she will be working with two other teachers who seem just as passionate as she is.

“I wanted to get young teachers onboard with the business, people who will bring something new. There’s a focus on fresh ideas and I wanted to hire people who can come to me and say oh I’ve got this wonderful idea can we bring it into the business and both of the two teachers that I’ve got at the moment have those ideas. They obviously have great performing and teaching backgrounds but they’re fresh on ideas too. I don’t want it to be this old-fashioned company where there’s nothing new to bring”

Joining Kitty will be primary singing teacher, Gabriela, and Evelyn who teaches piano and contemporary singing. As well as specialising in piano and singing, Evelyn also teaches song-writing and composition, whilst Gabriela specialises in teaching vocal techniques and covers a wide variety of genres, with jazz being her forte. Kitty wanted to make sure she had teachers who covered a range of styles and disciplines and says she is already looking to expand this even further by hiring specialists in punk and rock.

Photographs above: left – Evelyn, right – Gabriela

“Joining KM is an investment but I guarantee it’s worth it” says Kitty. “We are something completely different and what we offer, specifically the mentoring programmes, will be tailored to that individual. Our teachers are highly experienced – they’ve all been learning from a young age and have degrees and diplomas in both music and performing. They are both still performing so they never stop learning themselves. They can cater for literally everyone from people who don’t want to do exams, to people who want to take it seriously and make it to the top – they’ve got all that.”

KM Music School will be holding classes at Wellington Place, Dolman Road, W4 5PS. If you’re interested in booking, drop Kitty an email at kmmusicschoollondon@gmail.com.

A quiet week in Lake Wobegon

I’ve been re-reading Garrison Keillor’s tales from Lake Wobegon on holiday, which always begin: “Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon”.

Mid-August is the quietest time of the year in our own small town, but still while I’ve been away Chiswick has gained a new pub – The Steam Packet freehouse on Strand on the Green – and lost another business from the High Rd – the Kitchen & Pantry cafe.

39 year old Darren Blake of Harvard Road in Chiswick has been charged with attempted murder after two people were assaulted in Guildford. He has been remanded in custody to appear at Guildford Crown Court on 5 September.

The RNLI boat based at Chiswick Pier rescued a black Labrador who fell in the river by Kew Bridge, despite the animal’s best attempts to avoid capture.

And developer Fruition has won the case to build flats on the site of Pissarro’s restaurant at Corney Reach. The Planning Inspector granted the development on second appeal in the face of opposition from both Hounslow Council’s Planning Committee and local residents.

Congratulations to all those who have received the exam results they wanted. Commiserations to those who didn’t. TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson posted his usual words of encouragement on Twitter: “Don’t worry. I got a C and two Us and I’ve rented this place for the summer,” with a picture of his holiday pad in France.

17% students at Chiswick School achieved A*-A grades at A Level (against a national average of 25.2%). 30% Arts Ed students achieved A*-A grades. Arts Ed had their best A level results ever, with 78% achieving grades A* – B.

Almost up to the standards of the (fictional) citizens of Lake Wobegon, ‘where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average’.

And the gardens are looking good from all the rain. Thanks to Ray Marsh for the picture above of Southfield Recreation Ground.