Christmas present ideas: ‘Lacroix sweetie’

If that familiar knot is beginning to form in the pit of your stomach as you realise you won’t be able to put off thinking about Christmas presents for that much longer, maybe we can help.

Idea one: a little bit of luxury

Chiswick Auctions is holding an Affordable Luxury sale today (Tuesday 10 December) at 11.00.

Catalogue available here: Affordable Luxury 

Telephone number: 020 8992 4442.

Among the items in the catalogue are two Christian Lacroix silk scarves. None other than Edina Monsoon’s favourite designer. Lacroix sweetie! 

On Wednesday at 11.00 their Interiors & Antiques sale has everything from silver teapots and Victorian novelty silver bookmarks to George V full gold sovereigns: Interiors & Antiques catalogue

On Thursday 12 December at 2.00pm their auction of European Works of Art & Clocks includes this Italian Renaissance terracotta bust, which I think is just exquisite. European Works of Art & Clocks catalogue

Italian Renaissance terracotta Reliquary bust

If you’re more of a pragmatic present buyer, how about a warm, fluffy gilet or high lace up boots from Lizard women’s fashion in Turnham Green Terrace.

Or some essential item of clothing, such as a shirt, jeans or a jacket from LA Menswear. They stock brands such as Timberland, French Connection and Diesel, but sell them for real bargain prices.

LA Menswear, Turnham Green Terrace

Like Chiswick Auctions, both Lizard and LA Menswear are independent local businesses, and both happen to be members of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme.

Lizard is offering Club Card holders a discount of 10% off coats and knitwear

LA Menswear is offering 10% off everything

Sam Pennington has been to both shops and talked to the owners about what they have on offer how they choose their stock.

Read Sam’s interviews with Lizard here and LA Menswear here.

 

Train strike on South Western Railway

Train  strikes are affecting services on the line between Chiswick and Waterloo until 2 January.

And just in case the strike is resolved, don’t get complacent; there’s engineering work on Sunday 15 December.

BBC Transport correspondent Paul Clifton has a stab at explaining what it’s about here

South West trains say they will endeavour to run a reduced service. You can see their strike timetable here.

Road reopens after Brentford fire

Brentford High St has been reopened after the fire at Travelodge hotel in the early hours of last Wednesday (4 December).

162 guests were safely evacuated and about 100 firefighters battled the blaze for several hours overnight at a five-storey hotel.

Brentford High St has been closed between Kew Bridge and Pottery Road, near Watermans Art Centre, but that stretch of road has now been reopened

£366 to park a bike by the river

The Coffee Traveller cafe’s bike has become a familiar sight on the tow path at Strand on the Green over the past few years. 

With flowers on the handlebars and a sign directing people from the river down an alleyway to Thames Rd, it advertises the cafe’s existence to people out for a stroll along the river.

The cafe has recently changed hands. New owner Aziza was contacted out of the blue by Hounslow Highways, to say she had to apply for permission to keep the bike there within 48 hours, or they would remove it.

The bike was an “unauthorised advertisement” they said. 

After several hours’ form filling online on Sunday, she and her business partner discovered the application would cost them £366, an amount which they say the cafe can’t afford.

The bike / advert has been an important marketing tool. “To be honest we get a lot of customers because of this bike” says Aziza “It’s a little bit upsetting.”

According to Aziza. the previous owners didn’t have planning permission for it and never had an issue with it. She has a sneaking feeling that someone dobbed her in to the council. 

Chairman of Strand on the Green Residents Association Richard Griffith says they had no objection to the bike, as long as she took it in every night. ‘£300+ is a bit OTT’ he told me.

For years the row of shops at Strand on the Green was crying out for a cafe and locals have welcomed the quality coffee and opportunity to sit and chill.

Let’s hope the loss of advertising doesn’t have too much of an adverse affect on custom.

 

Grove Park & Belmont among top primary schools in the UK

Grove Park and Belmont primary schools in Chiswick are among the top state primary schools in the country, according to the Times & Sunday Times guide Parent Power 2020.

The survey looks at the top 2,000 schools in the UK. Grove Park was ranked 79 and was rated Outstanding at its last Ofsted. Mayor of Hounslow Tony Louki was at the school on Friday to celebrate their Charities week, in which each year group learns about a local charity,

Belmont  just missed the Top 100 bracket, coming 101. It too was rated Outstanding at its last Ofsted. The school’s choir will give its annual Christmas concert with the Hogarth Singers this Saturday at St Michael & All Angels Church at 6.00pm. 

The Times / Sunday Times rankings are based on Sats results, but both schools have a lot more going on than that narrowness of focus would suggest.

Considering there are more than 16,000 state funded primary schools in England, that’s not bad going.

Christmas Market

The Food Market Chiswick, held every Sunday morning at Dukes Meadows, will be a full on Christmas market next weekend  (15 December) from 10.00am – 2.00pm.

Among the regular stall holders are a cheese stall and an olives stall as well as a fishmonger, two farmers selling produce direct from their farms, and a couple of vegetable stalls, offering the basic ingredients for a great Christmas dinner.

Next weekend you will also find some lost elves and their reindeer and a Christmas ‘boogie bear’, a Christmas tree, decorations and free craft activities for children at the market, which is behind the flats opposite Chiswick School on the A316.

Candidates pledge affordable housing

Photograph: L to R Sonul Badiani (Liberal Democrats), Rupa Huq (Labour), Julian Gallant (Conservatives)

Candidates for the Conservative Party, Lib Dems and Labour were among 60 community leaders in Ealing on Sunday attending a candlelight Advent procession in support of Ealing Citizens and the Affordable Housing Campaign.

Rupa Huq (Labour), Julian Gallant (Conservatives) and Sonul Badiani (Liberal Democrats) all pledged their support for the campaign, which has seen members of faith and community groups working with the council on a plan to develop 50 permanently affordable homes on a site in central Ealing.

Switching parties and voting tactically

To illustrate the fluidity between parties, here’s Lib Dem candidate for Ealing Central and Acton, Sonul Badiani, out campaigning with Andrew MacKinlay, former Labour MP for Thurrock.

After representing Thurrock for Labour for almost 20 years, he stood down in July 2009, expressing disillusionment with the way he felt other MPs had caved in to party pressure rather than standing up for their beliefs. In May this year he joined the Lib Dems.

Then we have a string of people on Twitter, saying they are voting tactically to keep Ruth Cadbury as MP for Brentford & Isleworth.

ITV featured a new item with ex pats living in Spain, among them a Brentford & Isleworth constituent switching parties from the Conservatives to vote for Ruth, because of her consistently pro-Remain stance.

“I will also be voting tactically for @RuthCadbury” writes TV executive James Farrell “to deny Boris a majority and prevent a hard Brexit.”

James was Head of Development with BBC Studios, where he earned a reputation for discovering major new talent. He’s currently working on the HBO prequel to Game of Thrones.

Sir John Major

But most remarkable of all has to be former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major urging us not to vote along ‘tribal’ lines but to:

 “Vote for the candidate who you believe will best represent your own views and aspirations in Parliament.” 

In a recorded message in support of the Final Say campaign, he described Brexit as “the worst foreign policy decision in my lifetime”.

“It will make our country poorer and weaker. It will hurt most those who have least” he said.

Appealing for young people to vote, and underlining that their turn out could make all the difference, he said:

“Don’t allow your future to be shaped by others, with no input from yourselves. You – every single one of you, can make a difference to the election result.”

Uncertainty rules

Or – Why you should never listen to the polls.

The opinion polls have varied hugely over the past week or two, from predictions of a safe Conservative majority to a hung parliament. 

With three days to go to the election, polls are being published almost daily, but the truth is, pollsters regard this as one of the most unpredictable elections of recent history.

Big, reputable companies such as ComRes, YouGov or Ipsos MORI adhere to strict guidelines about sample size and the wording of questions, but even so only one poll accurately predicted the outcome of the last general election.

Why? People change their minds, and let’s face it, it’s not just politicians who lie. According to the British Election Survey, up to 40% voters changed allegiances in the 2015 and 2017 elections.

This election more than ever, the changing face of British politics has made us unsure, with many people leaving it till the last minute to make up their minds.

Ruth Cadbury (Labour), Helen Cross (Lib Dem), Seena Shah (Conservative) candidates for Brentford & Isleworth at The Chiswick Calendar debate

At our election debate with candidates for Brentford & Isleworth: Ruth Cadbury (Labour), Helen Scott (Liberal Democrat) and Seena Shah (Conservative) around a third of the audience of more than 200 people said they hadn’t yet made up their minds.

Brexit has cut across traditional party lines, polarised opinion and split the main parties. Both Conservative and Labour have moved away from the centre ground and an oft repeated refrain is that people don’t want to vote for either of their leaders.

The issue of trust (or lack of it) in politics has also made it harder than ever for people to choose.

So don’t believe whatever the latest polls say and think you needn’t go out and vote because your candidate is sure to win, and it’s raining. Get out and exercise your right to vote!

You can watch a video recording of our debate on The Chiswick Calendar website, with timecodes for different sections of the debate on Brexit, the NHS, Crime, Heathrow & Climate Change, the Econony, what to do to save our High streets and how great a liability is your party leader. 

Watch the debate here.

Introducing Lucy O’Sullivan

The Chiswick Calendar freebie – Tickets to Hansel & Gretel

The Chiswick Calendar is offering free tickets to Hansel and Gretel at the Chiswick Playhouse, for ten lucky winners who are able to go to the show this week.

The traditional tale, suitable for children aged six and upwards, will take children on an adventure in a forest of silver trees:

‘far from their city life, their Xboxes and Insta likes, into a world of lollipop houses, tap-dancing cockroaches and a witch with a penchant for single use plastic and the only remaining sustainable food source: children’.

The cast is full of veterans of West End productions, including: Pippa Conway, Joshua Oakes-Rogers, Serena Flynn and Tomi Ogbaro, so it promises to be a good one.

To win one of ten pairs of tickets for performances this week – Wednesday 11 December at 7.00pm, Thursday at 3.00pm / 7.00pm, Friday at 3.00pm / 7.00pm, Saturday at 3.00pm / 7.00pm or Sunday at 11.00am / 3.00pm – all you have to do is answer this question:

Question

In the original (1812) edition of the story as published by the Grimm brothers Jacob and Wilhelm, what meal did the witch give the children when she enticed them into her house?

First correct answers to email: info@thechiswickcalendar.co.uk win the tickets. Please put Hansel & Gretel tickets in the title of your email.

For the man who has everything – but never enough socks

The men in our lives are notoriously difficult to buy Christmas gifts for but you can never have enough socks. Jeans, shirts, jackets, belts, bags … independent men’s fashion shop LA Menswear is the answer.

L.A Menswear is a hidden gem. Hidden in plain sight on Turnham Green Terrace, it’s a treasure trove of designer brands that are, for once, affordable. Featuring Timberland, French Connection and Diesel, to name just a few of the brands they stock, L.A Menswear pride themselves on their discounted prices, searching the distributors for the best deals to bring to their Chiswick customers.

L.A Menswear stock a huge range of menswear from essentials, such as jumpers and jeans, but also suits, bags and winter accessories. It’s tiny. You can easily walk by and miss it, but the store deals with between 20-30 big-name brands, selecting the best items from each season’s collection to bring to Turnham Green. They constantly rotate their stock, keeping most items in store for around nine or ten weeks before they get moved on to a concessions store in Wales, so there are always new bargains to be found. They’re currently offering Levi’s jeans at £65 which caught my eye as I had a rummage around – most high street retailers sell them for more than £85.

Originally founded in 1991 by the store’s namesake, Lionel Avery, L.A Menswear has gone from strength to strength. As well as having the Chiswick shop they’ve developed a fantastic internet presence, which is hardly surprising given the considerable discounts they offer on huge brands. They often have exclusive items on their popular eBay page and are currently in the process of developing their own website.

Although big brands and tempting discounts are what draw people in, customer service has always been at the heart of L.A Menswear.

“We are not difficult to deal with, we exchange, we refund with no quibble” said manager, Henrik. “We also do same-day alterations. We’ve sometimes got people in who buy a pair of trousers on their way to a wedding and they sit in the fitting room whilst I run across to the tailor and they get them back ten minutes later.”

From the outside it might not necessarily appear as though the store would have so many fantastic, high-end brands inside but the design of L.A Menswear has always been a conscious choice, Henrik tells me.

“As you can see, we don’t spend a lot of money on décor, we prefer to put it back into the products and service we offer” he said.

So whether it’s a pair of Timberland boots, winter waterproofs or a Marc Darcy suit for your upcoming Christmas party, L.A Menswear is likely to have something that tickles your fancy. What’s more they offer 10% off all their stock to Chiswick Calendar Club Card holders, which is even included an additional discount on sale items. So head down there now, before the best bargains get picked up by someone else.

LA Menswear is at 11A Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London W4 1RG

Man in the Middle – Chapter 14: Made in Chelsea

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?

If you’d like to begin at the beginning and missed the first instalment, you can read
No. 1: The Letter here

No. 13 Made in Chelsea

I have never believed life imitates art. But I do now because Mother is telling me about her courtship with my Dad.

It’s as if they had modelled their early relationship on Benedict and Beatrice in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Mother playing the role of the feisty, young Beatrice and dad is Benedict, the aristocratic wit and marriage hater. Like the characters in the play, they spent their early meetings throwing barbed comments at each other like rival artillery brigades, their courtship more fight than flirt.

‘I first met him at a dinner party. He was so arrogant that after a few exchanges I simply turned my back on him. Refused to speak to him for the rest of the meal.’

Picture the scene. It’s Chelsea in the late Forties. Everyone’s dressed up for dinner and how you hold your knife and fork says more about you than your bank balance. Turning your back on someone at dinner is a public declaration of war.

‘What did he do to deserve that?’ I ask, not sure if I really want to know. Every time we discuss my father with her, I feel I’m walking through a minefield.

‘He told me he was holding a drinks party the following week and asked me if I could ask my sister to it. He suggested that if I could persuade her to come then I could come too. Hardly, flattering, don’t you think?’

Mother’s sister was a successful actress at the time and married to a film director. She was a minor celebrity and would have added some cache to father’s cocktail party. I struggle to see my father as this social snob. But I can see him saying something as ham-fisted as this. He was a shy man and didn’t always handle social situation’s well.

I want to know why she was there in the first place. She comes from a large, working class Irish family with barely a bean to their name.

‘How come you were hobnobbing in Chelsea given your lowly start in life,’ I say, not meaning to sound patronising but failing.

‘Thanks to my sister’s connections and my looks. I was modelling then. Being good looking has always been a passport to social mobility,’ she says.

‘Sounds like an episode of Made in Chelsea with Grandpa as that stuck up p***k Spencer Matthews. Frankly, it’s amazing they ever got married,’ says daughter, later, as I share the story.

I am not sure which one is Spencer Matthews, but I know the programme is a loathsome celebration of vanity and social neuroses among the over tanned trustafarians of SW3. I remember lecturing the children on the lack of wit and moral fibre of its participants and begging them to switch over to something more wholesome like Blue Planet. Unsuccessfully.

‘Must be tough for you,’ says Son, as he cuts into a Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausage. ‘All those years telling us not to watch the programme because the people were so self-obsessed and stupid. And now it turns out that you were ‘Made in Chelsea’ yourself. How does that feel?’

I want to answer but I can’t find any words. Instead, a picture of Derek Underwood, the England bowler comes to mind, his off stump being wrenched out of the ground by a ferocious fast ball from Michael Holding and him turning immediately towards the pavilion, defeated.

 

Ode to Cycleway 9

A poem about the political machinations surrounding what was originally proposed as Cycle Superhighway 9 and will now officially be known as a Cyclepath as it goes through Hammersmith and a Cycleway once in reaches Chiswick, in the hope that makes it more palatable to its opponents.

A cycle superhighway
That’s what the people need
So lycra louts so fit and trim
Can pedal through at speed

No, no a Superhighway
Gives quite the wrong impression
The image that we seek to give
Is of another fashion

We want it like the Netherlands,
With children in a trailer
And flowers on the handlebars
Chuck out that old inhaler

Reduce congestion
Clear the streets
Take lungfuls of clean air
And drive your old polluting cars
Along it if you dare

A Cycleway is what we need
It’s much more anodyne
Or even better ‘Cyclepath’
Not Superhighway nine

We’ll bamboozle them with labels
And confuse them with PR
So they won’t know the cycle route
Continues quite so far

CS9 is dead we say
Long live the cycle path
And those of you who want to drive
Can stick it up your arse

Budget slashed for life-saving kidney treatment

Street Walkers in Waltham Forest

Guest blog by Michael Robinson

Back in March I wrote a blog post “Can Chiswick be a ‘Liveable neighbourhood’?” for Chiswick Calendar. This was shortly after the announcement that TfL had awarded funding for a Liveable Neighbourhood project targeted at Chiswick south of the A4.

Since then, Hounslow launched a website to collect feedback from residents who have submitted over 600 comments by the time the survey closed in November. Hounslow has also done extensive traffic measurements in the area. This data has yet to be published.

My blog post was all about the theory of reducing traffic in a Liveable Neighbourhood project, but what about the practice? Following a chat with Cllr Sam Hearn and some other residents, I suggested a visit to the London Borough of Waltham Forest to see the implementation there.

Waltham Forest received TfL funding back in 2014 from the programme that preceded Liveable Neighbourhoods so their initial implementations are well bedded in. Waltham Forest offers guided tours of their improvements and to date has hosted over 200 groups from local authorities and elected representatives from all over the UK and beyond.

After consulting a map to find out where Waltham Forest actually is (answer: the northern end of the Victoria line), a couple of weeks ago Cllr Hearn, three other Chiswick residents and myself spent three hours on a guided walking tour of the area around Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Central tube stations.

“It was really valuable to visit an area where a serious attempt had been made to keep commuter traffic away from residential streets” said Cllr Hearn.

“There are winners and losers with any scheme as radical as the ones implemented in Waltham Forest. However the prize of safer, less-polluted streets cannot be ignored simply because the process is inevitably complex and can in be controversial”.

Photographs above: Waltham Forest ‘Mini Holland’

We just walked where we liked

Like any profession, traffic engineering has its own impenetrable jargon: modal filters, filtered permeability, blended crossings, sinusoidal humps, ANPR and more. Walking the streets and seeing what these terms actually meant helped to make sense of them. And walking in the street is what we did – right in the middle of some roads. “This street used to have 3,000 cars a day” said our guide.

Without really noticing, we’d subconsciously adjusted to the fact that there was hardly any traffic, so we just walked where we liked. This is what modal filters mean – measures to block motor traffic driving through residential areas while permitting walking and cycling. The filters ranged from fairly crude bollards, to “parklets” with planters and bedding to create new, green public spaces.

Where traffic enters residential streets, blended crossings slow down vehicles, give pedestrians priority across side roads and try to convey to drivers that they are entering a residential area, not just another road. Even with substantially reduced traffic, a small number of speeding cars can destroy the quiet atmosphere so there were still quite a few speed humps. If you can remember school maths, the speed humps have a sinusoidal profile – shaped like a sine curve so the gradient increases gradually. This means the humps are easier to cycle over while still slowing down motor traffic.

Of course these interventions can mean longer detours for some existing journeys. However additional traffic from detours was small compared to the volume of traffic that previously used to drive straight through the areas.

‘Increase in footfall’ for shops

We visited a café on Orford Road, a pleasant shopping street (think Devonshire Road but with no car parking and no cars driving through). The only traffic during the day was a bus every 30 minutes. Traffic restrictions were enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. Our guide told us that some shopkeepers who initially had vehemently resisted the changes, in private, now admit they were wrong because of the resultant increase in footfall.

In the New Year we should see analysis of the feedback for South Chiswick, the traffic data and then proposals for measures to address the issues caused by traffic. The lesson we heard from our guide in Waltham Forest was while the council needs to diligently engage and discuss plans and options with residents, ultimately anything that changes driving and parking will arouse opposition, even if the effects will be beneficial for a majority.

Behavioural economics has shown that many people place more value on losing something than gaining new benefits. It will be interesting to see how many people value losing the current shortest route for some car journeys compared to gaining a leisurely walk or cycle through quiet streets with hardly any traffic.

Cllr Sam Hearn added:

“Our guide from Waltham Forest was very up front about the mistakes that they had made with their own consultation processes. The schemes that we saw had been developed in holistic chunks so that as far as possible “through traffic” was diverted on to main roads and not simply re-routed into other residential streets. The opportunity had been taken to plant street trees, create flower beds and upgrade the street furniture all of which I think would go down well in Chiswick Riverside. As the Liveable Neighbourhoods project progresses we can certainly learn from what has been achieved in Waltham Forest. My main concerns would be that residents opinions must be listened to and that nothing that is introduced should be irreversible.”

Image above: Consultation area for south Chiswick’s ‘Liveable neighbourhood’

Michael Robinson is the borough coordinator of Hounslow Cycling Campaign

See his previous blog: ‘Can Chiswick be a Liveable Neighbourhood?’ March 2019

See our story on the announcement of funding for a Liveable Neighbourhood in south Chiswick and the introduction of a consultation on it: Have your say on traffic management in south Chiswick September 2019

See our story: Hounslow council promises environmental action plan by December October 2019

Pub in the Park is back

Following on from its success this year, Pub in the Park will be returning to Chiswick in 2020. The touring festival will be coming to Chiswick House and Gardens 4-6 September with more incredible food, world-class chefs, a host of musicians and all around summer vibes.

Tom Kerridge and his chef friends will once again be bringing food, music and pop-up pubs to Chiswick House. There’ll be Michelin-starred and award-winning pubs and restaurants serving tasting dishes showing their signature style. As with last year there will be chef demonstrations, shopping and other festival fun.

Steve Lane, Pub in the Park Managing Director, said: “We’re thrilled at the prospect of bringing our brilliant food, drink and music festival to eight towns in 2020 including two brand new venues. Tom or one of his incredible band of Chef friends will be hosting each festival – watch out for more line-up announcements and tickets on-sale in January!”

More information including on-sale dates and line-up to be announced in January 2020.

For priority booking and a host of information, join the Pub in the Park newsletter at pubintheparkuk.com.

Watch: Players help out at Hounslow Community Food Box

Brentford players offered their support to a local charity late last month. David Raya, Rico Henry, Dru Yearwood and Luca Racic visited the Hounslow Community FoodBox in Brentford.  As part of the visit they were able to support and witness the work undertaken by a team of volunteers in providing food and other provisions for the needy in the London Borough of Hounslow. See the best bits from their visit below.

The full story of their visit can be seen hereThe FoodBox, located at the Brickfield Community Centre in Brentford, is continually looking for more volunteers and of course donations particularly of non-perishables and money to help extend the service.  For further information, please email info@hounslowfoodbox.org.uk.  You can also read more at hounslowfoodbox.org.uk/ and see latest news @HounslowFoodbox.

Players lend a hand at Hounslow Community FoodBox

Brentford players have once again offered their support to a local charity. David Raya, Rico Henry, Dru Yearwood and Luca Racic visited the Hounslow Community FoodBox in Brentford.  As part of the visit they were able to support and witness the work undertaken by a team of volunteers in providing food and other provisions for the needy in the London Borough of Hounslow.

The four players – along with Player Welfare Manager Peter Gilham – spent time at the volunteer run FoodBox last week. They helped prepare 7-day food boxes for families and individuals in the lead up to Christmas.  Boxes prepared by the Brentford contingent will go in to the local community in the coming days.

While the players were there they learned about the charity – which provides emergency food to those who are in need and live in the Borough and can also help to make referrals to other organisations who can give further support and advice – and also took part in some promotional work to raise awareness of the charity, particularly with Christmas approaching.  It is the second year that Brentford players have worked with the charity.

The FoodBox, located at the Brickfield Community Centre in Brentford, is continually looking for more volunteers and of course donations particularly of non-perishables and money to help extend the service.  For further information, please email info@hounslowfoodbox.org.uk.  You can also read more at hounslowfoodbox.org.uk/ and see latest news @HounslowFoodbox.

Less than 100 Premium Season Tickets available

With rising attendances at Griffin Park and our move to the new stadium approaching, there’s never been a better time to be one of our Season Ticket Holders. Already over 600 Supporters have already secured their Premium Season Ticket at our New Stadium ahead of the rest of 2020/21 Season Tickets going on sale in January. The last 100 seats are now available to any supporter who joins the waiting list. This is a fantastic opportunity to get a padded seat right by the halfway line and exclusive access to a sports bar concourse, known as The Dugout. Adult prices are £690 and concessions £530. So don’t miss out, sign up online now.

Join the waiting list for Premium Season Tickets here

A few weeks ago, we emailed all Season Ticket Holders with their personal Season Ticket on sale date and we’ll continue to release important information about Season Tickets at the new stadium via email. If you’re a Season Ticket Holder and are not receiving emails from us, please contact us by email at enquiries@brentfordfc.com.

Thousands raised by poppy shirt auction

An auction of special Brentford shirts has raised more than £8,000 for charity. When The Bees took on Huddersfield Town and Wigan Athletic at the start of November they wore shirts emblazened with the poppy, red and white in the first game and black in the second. These shirts were auctioned to raise funds for the Royal British Legion and a total of £8,554 was collected.

The shirts were made available to auction from kick-off after each game and were personally signed by the relevant player after the match. They were offered unwashed – so all grass and mud stains are still there –  and all bids were inclusive of worldwide secured shipping and payment handling fees. All proceeds will go to The Royal British Legion’s vital work supporting the Armed Forces Community and more will be raised this week.

The collection of red and white shirts raised £4,999 after the Huddersfield game. A second set, the black away shirts, were then auctioned after the win at Wigan and raised £3,555. Thanks to all Bees fans for their contribution.

Cycleway work starts at Kew Bridge

Transport for London will begin construction work at Kew Bridge on 12 December, in preparation for the installation of Cycleway 9.

Work will begin to upgrade the pedestrian crossings and create segregated cycle lane which will form part of the 7km cycle route between Brentford and Kensington Olympia.

TfL say they will be starting construction work over the Christmas period to take advantage of reduced traffic on the roads. They say on average, there is about 15 per cent less traffic on London’s streets at this time of year.

TfL will also open an arch under Kew Bridge to create step-free access to the Thames Path, which will now run under the bridge, rather than over it. TfL is in final talks with Hounslow Council on the work needed to make this happen and an announcement on the opening date will be made shortly.

Initial construction work will begin at the junction of Kew Bridge, the A205 Chiswick High Road, and the A315 Kew Bridge Road between 10:00 and 15:00 and overnight from 12 to 19 December. From 22 December, lane closures on roads where there is construction will be in place 24 hours a day. ‘One of the best ways of making trips to and from the area will be via London Overground, Underground, or National Rail services’ they say.

TfL say they will not be working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Later phases of work will be carried out from January 2020 onwards.

Locals are bracing themselves for traffic chaos. Nick Fairholme, TfL’s Director of Project and Programme Delivery, said: “I’d like to thank people in advance for their patience and would ask people to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys whilst this vital construction work takes place.”

Cheese tasting

If you’re a cheese lover, you might like to pop along to Hammonds Deli & Butcher on Saturday 7 December for a cheese tasting. 

‘Pitchfork’, a brand new Somerset Artisan Cheddar, ‘moist, full flavoured and the first new proper old school Cheddar to be made in a generation’ will be available for tasting at midday.

It’s made the traditional way and has won a clutch of awards this year, including Artisan Cheese Awards Gold Organic Cheese and British Cheese Awards Best Traditional Cheddar.

Hammonds will also be offering a delicious Honey & Flower Goat Log and a Stilton Colston Bassett to taste, which would make a richly delicious addition to anyone’s festive cheeseboard. 

Stuart, their wine expert, will be on hand to advise and crack open a couple of bottles of Rioja Crianza Cerro Anon and a Seven Springs Unoaked Chardonnay – the perfect accompaniment to a good Cheddar. 

Hammonds, right beside Kew Bridge, is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme.

Underwater pub

The Bull’s Head at Strand on the Green has recently reopened after a refurbishment which turned office space facing the river into another dining room and added more benches and tables outside.

Imagine general manager Barbara Smith’s consternation when last week’s rain flooding downstream brought the river up over the window ledge at high tide.

New dining room

Part of the refurbishment involved costly work to reinforce the outside wall to stop the water seeping through the wall itself.

Looks like it hasn’t quite worked.

Chiswick little villages update

Last week I wrote that comedian Dara Ó Briain had noticed little villages have been sprouting up in Chiswick by the roadside.

“Right” he told his Twitter fans, “, I bring you THE MADDEST LITTLE THING EVER. I only noticed this by chance today, I have no idea how long it has been there but; In the middle of Chiswick High Road there is a traffic island…. and somebody has built a tiny village on it.”

BBC London dispatched a film crew to interview local artistic suspects.

Now Felicity Goodhall writes to me with this photo, to say the Little People can’t take the media pressure and are moving on.

H&F Cabinet approves delivery of cycle lane through Hammersmith

The Cabinet of Hammersmith & Fulham Council met last night and approved the next stage of planning for the cycle lane which will join up with Cycleway 9 through Chiswick.

They prefer to call their bit of the route a ‘Safer Cycle path’, but it will join up with Cycleway 9 at Goldhawk Rd, and will do the same job of providing a two-way segregated cycle track, along King St to the Hammersmith gyratory.

Call it what you will, both Hounslow Council and Hammersmith & Fulham Council have now signed off on the decision for there to be a continuous, largely segregated, two-way cycle lane along both Chiswick High Rd and King St.

H&F council is also planning what they’re calling a ‘Cycle Highway’ to run along the A4, designed for faster commuter cyclists. The idea is that is will extend from the borough boundaries near British Grove and Warwick Road, but it is still in the early stages of design development.

The council approved both routes in principle back in January. The decision last night brings them nearer to becoming a reality, as it formally authorised an independent resident-led Commission to lead the design team which will build the routes in consultation with local residents.

The cycle routes involve £20M for the segregated cycle path along King St, Hammersmith gyratory and Hammersmith Rd and £300k to investigate improved cycling along the A4, but the council says there will be no financial impact on Hammersmith & Fulham as the funding is coming from Transport for London.

14 year old George Abaraonye was among those who spoke to the meeting. He gave a powerful speech describing how he was injured while cycling earlier in the year. He told the meeting the council owed a duty of care to residents who cycled.

Michael Robinson, borough coordinator of Hounslow Cycling, said, “it is great news that Hammersmith and Fulham have approved plans for a protected Cycleway along King St linking up with the route along Chiswick High Rd. We look forward to routes being implemented as soon as possible.”

December 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 December.

The Fallout

The Fallout is a thriller about a toxic friendship between mums whose children attend the same primary school. The story begins when a child falls at the local health club as Sarah forgets to check on her best friend’s little boy. A lie sets everything into jeopardy and Sarah is faced with a dilemma. If she tells the truth she will lose her friend.

Rebecca Thornton is a former journalist and her previous novels, The Exclusives and Your Guilty Secret were published by Bonnier Zaffre. This time it’s HarperFiction. Editor Charlotte Brabbin says:

The Fallout starts with a bang but there’s no let-up in pace as the accident brilliantly wrenches open the cracks in the lives of a group of mums already weighted with secrets and marital tensions. I love how the book takes us behind closed doors but with an addictive, gossipy spin.” The Fallout is published on 5 December.

The Sacrament

The Sacrament is a haunting story of a nun whose past returns to her. She is sent by the Vatican to investigate allegations of misconduct at a Catholic school in Iceland. During her time there as a young student, she watched the headmaster fall to his death from the church tower. Two decades later she is called back to the scene of the crime and her complex past catches up with her.

Olaf Olafsson is an Icelandic businessman, writer and scientist. The Sacrament is his sixth novel, in which he looks deeply at our past lives, selves and the traumas of youth. Olaf consistently surprises and challenges the reader. Booklist reviewed it as “A gripping, masterfully constructed story toward redemption and justice.” The Sacrament is out on 3 December.

One Moment

One Moment is a moving coming of age novel about two strangers who change each other’s lives. Ten year old Finn, who is having a tough time at school and at home, is a highly sensitive boy who only eats at 5-star hygiene cafes. At one of them they meet big-hearted and funny fifty-nine year old Kaz, who works there. Little did they know that one moment would turn their lives around.

Linda Green is a bestselling author of nine novels, all translated into twelve languages. Her previous novel, While My Eyes Were Closed, sold over 450 000 copies across all editions. The review said “I sobbed my heart out and I will look out for her next book.” One Moment is published by Quercus on 1 December.

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

Man in the Middle – Chapter 13: Burning down the house

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?

If you’d like to begin at the beginning and missed the first instalment, you can read
No. 1: The Letter here

No. 13 Burning down the house

Wife is telling us that it is essential that Mother doesn’t feel like a lodger in our home. She must have full citizenship, not settled status is the thrust of the lecture.

‘She has to feel this home is as much hers as ours. We must encourage her to have her friends around. Have parties.’

‘And sleep overs,’ says Son.

‘Them, too,’ says Wife refusing to rise to his bait. However, I am distracted by an image of elderly women in sleeping bags on Mother’s floor, sucking on popcorn while arguing over which Cary Grant movie to watch.

‘We need an online booking system. I’ve got a few parties booked over Christmas and we don’t want diary conflicts,’ says Daughter, who’s on a flying visit from University.

‘Where are these parties happening?’ I ask.

‘Here, of course. Why else would I be suggesting a family booking system?’ says Daughter. Both children look at me as if I’m an inferior species.

‘Keep up,’ says Son.

Later that week, Mother tells me that two of her former neighbours, who now live in South Africa, have arranged to come around at the weekend to see her.

‘Are they staying with us?’ I ask hesitantly.

‘Why would I ask them to stay without checking with your wife? Just because I’m old doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my manners,’ she snaps. ‘Lunch. It’s just lunch.’

‘Would you like me to do anything to help?’

‘Yes. Make sure everyone’s out by 12.45 on Saturday. I don’t want you fussing around me or the boy slumming in front of the TV playing one of his ghastly games. Just buy me some lemons and makes sure there’s full bottle of gin around.’

It is clear she has fully embraced Wife’s philosophy of ‘Mi casa, su casa’. In fact, it feels like she’s taking it one step further. Not only has she asked friends into our home, but she’s throwing us out. This is more ‘Mid Witch Cuckoo’ than ‘Su Casa’. I wonder how this will go down with Wife.

‘Perfect,’ she says. ‘This is just how it should be. She wants to be in control of her party and to have some privacy with her old friends. We can go out for lunch.’

‘What about me?’ says Son. His Saturday morning routine of slobbing around is in tatters.

‘You’ll have to be up and dressed before mid-day for once. It’s nothing to be scared of,’ replies Wife.

I can’t resist chipping in.

‘Mummy and Daddy will be there for you through the trauma. Just like we always have been there for you at the big turning points in your life.’

‘Boomers.’ He shakes his head and walks out.

Wife and I come back at about teatime to find Mother triumphant from her lunch party. Three hours of uninterrupted, old fashioned banter about the old days, the old neighbours and the old man, my father. What’s not to like?

‘They loved the house, by the way. They asked me to complement you for your marvelous good taste and to thank you for your hospitality.’

I don’t need to turn around to know Mother is talking to my wife not me.

‘They loved the new wood fire, especially. Reminded them of winter in London. In South Africa they only need fires to barbecue on,’ she laughs.

‘Wood fire?’ says Wife alarmed.

‘Yes. I put some logs on the fire in the sitting room to make them feel at home. Such a wonderful, woody smell, isn’t it?’

The fire she’s referring to isn’t a real fire. It’s a ‘Wood Burner Gas Fire with Realistic Flame Effect’. Unfortunately, it looks so real Mother has spent the afternoon lobbing wood logs onto it. Luckily, its fire retardant and hasn’t caused an explosion.

Later, with Mother upstairs exhausted with fun, Wife sweeps up the ashes.

‘Thank God for EU safety standards. They could have been burnt alive. You must warn her about not doing it again.’

Mother’s sister died of severe burns after candles set her bed alight. Telling her she’s almost burnt our house down will remind her of that. It’s going to make her feel foolish, too. Is that helpful? Will that stop her making the same mistake again? Or just humiliate her?

Son, who has changed back into his pyjamas and is booting up the PS4, pipes up.

‘Shall I have a chat with her instead of Dad? It’s easier for me to tell her she’s a silly old bat than him and I won’t make it sound like a lecture.’

There are moments when you realise how good your child rearing skills are. This is one of them.

‘Perfect, ‘I say. ‘Deal.’

‘Coward,’ says Wife, as I rush upstairs.

‘Just going to check if the insurance policy,’ I say. ‘Want to see if we’re covered for arson by elderly relatives.’

Man in the Middle was first published in Age Space

agespace.org

Read the next in the series – Chapter 14 Made in Chelsea here

The Chiswick Calendar 2019 general election debate

“Children need to know who’s in charge”