EFL Day of Action to celebrate impact of clubs in communities

Brentford FC and its Community Sports Trust will join up with other EFL Clubs on Tuesday 10 March to highlight the positive impact football has in changing people’s lives and the work taking place to tackle some of society’s biggest issues. In west London, former female Brentford player Amber Lloyd will deliver a girls’ coaching session at Brentford School for Girls while Ben Lampert – Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s deaf football coach and recent winner at the UK Coaching Awards – will deliver a coaching session at the new sports hub at Gunnersbury Park.

Across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two, events will be held by Clubs on EFL Day of Action to showcase the very best programmes and activity they deliver in a number of important areas, including diversity and inclusion, education, and health and wellbeing.

With Brentford FC set to host a number of matches for the UEFA European Women’s Championship in 221, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust aims to inspire girls to play the beautiful game. Less than a mile away from this session, Ben Lampert the country’s only full-time deaf football coach will deliver a coaching session to hearing children at our state-of-the-art sports facility at Gunnersbury Park.

The impact of the work carried out by EFL Clubs and Club Community Organisations (CCOs) is unparalleled, with more than half a million hours of group activity delivered and over 40 million hours of participation each season.

During the 2018/19 season, almost 900,000 people took part in a wide range of activities across key areas, with Clubs and CCOs receiving over £60 million of direct project funding.

The EFL Day of Action aims to unite Clubs and CCOs on one day to celebrate and highlight the impact they have in their communities, bringing together the most unique projects and programmes being run across England and Wales.

EFL Chairman, Rick Parry, said: “Our Clubs have always had a unique position in the heart of their respective towns and cities and it is important that we celebrate the work they carry out, which improves lives and tackles some of society’s biggest issues on a daily basis.

“The recent study commissioned by the EFL shows that Clubs’ work in their communities is happening on a huge scale and starts to place a real value on this work, providing further insight into the impact of programmes provided.

“The hours committed by staff and volunteers at Clubs and CCOs, as well as the support from players and managers, demonstrates a remarkable commitment to improving lives up and down the country.”

Brentford Football Club March 6 statement on Covid-19

Brentford FC will be making some slight changes to its matchday operation due to the ongoing concerns posed by Covid-19 (aka the Coronavirus). The Club has been regularly briefed by the EFL and other stakeholders about the ongoing issue and can confirm that no members of Brentford FC on-field or off-field staff are currently in self-isolation or suffering any symptoms of Covid-19 and matches can continue as normal. However, in order to ensure the health of our players and football staff, there will be alterations to our usual routine.

The Club’s Training Ground, in Osterley, is currently closed to all non-essential visitors. Brentford FC will continue to meet its media obligations under the EFL contracts but will be reducing player and staff interaction unless strictly necessary. We will resume a full media service as soon as possible.

The EFL has announced that following specific medical advice, the Fair Play handshake between players and match officials will not take place until further notice. Whilst Government guidance remains unchanged, a decision has been taken due to the way in which the Covid-19 virus can be transmitted through a handshake. The EFL remains in regular dialogue with the Government regarding the ongoing concerns posed by the Coronavirus and is being appraised on a regular basis of developments that could potentially impact the competitions we participate in.

Players will also, unfortunately, not be able to shake hands, sign autographs or pose for pictures with supporters. As such we will not have players in Bee Block or the Club Shop at home games until further notice. Players will also not be at the Fanzone in Watermans Park tomorrow but there is still plenty for our young supporters to do. There will also, unfortunately, not be the opportunity for our hospitality guests to meet players or staff at games until further notice.

Player and staff entry and departure for the game tomorrow will be altered. Players will not meet fans before or after the game and we ask supporters to understand and respect this as part of the need to protect the health of all. Player visits and appearances have also been cancelled, or will be subject to change, until further notice. With our B Team working closely with our First Team at the Training Ground, the above will also apply to players and staff in that squad as well.

The Club will, in all other areas, be continuing as normal and supporters are asked to take all measures they can to protect themselves and others. Supporters with Covid-19 symptoms should self-isolate and if anyone feels unwell at the game, stewards will be able to help. The latest advice from the NHS on Covid-19 can be seen at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/. We thank all fans in advance for their help and understanding in this matter.

Thomas Frank and Ollie Watkins win at London Football Awards

Thomas Frank and Ollie Watkins have been recognised at this evening’s London Football Awards, held at The Roundhouse in Camden. The Brentford Head Coach took the London Manager of the Year Award, ahead of Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace), Emma Hayes (Chelsea FC Women) and Joe Montemurro (Arsenal Women FC) while 22-goal striker Watkins beat teammates Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo, as well as Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic and Millwall’s Jed Wallace, to the EFL Player of the Year Award.

Mbeumo, who has enjoyed a debut season to remember in England, was also up for the Young Player of the Year award which went to Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham while David Raya was beaten to the Goalkeeper of the Year prize by Ben Foster of Watford.

The awards raise funds for Willow, the only national charity providing Special Days for seriously ill 16-40-year-olds. These Special Days enable them and their families to reconnect and refocus on each other while enjoying an activity of their choosing. A day for them, a day about them and a day that will create memories they will all treasure forever.

Willow was founded by former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter Bob Wilson and his wife, Megs, as a lasting memorial to their daughter Anna, who died of cancer aged 31. Since 1999 the charity has fulfilled more than 13,000 Special Days for young adults living with life-threatening conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy.

Brentford FC partner with RNLI charity

Brentford FC are pleased to announce that the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) is one of the preferred charities this season. The RNLI is the largest charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as on some inland waterways. To raise awareness, a group from Chiswick RNLI, the nearest Lifeboat station to Griffin Park and our new stadium, attended our Christmas with the Bees event. They will also be on site on Saturday, 7 March, when we face Sheffield Wednesday, collecting for Chiswick RNLI.

Founded in 1824, the RNLI is entirely funded by legacies and donations with most of the members of its lifeboat crews unpaid volunteers. There are 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and RNLI Lifeguards operate on more than 200 beaches. The Lifeboat station on the Thames in Chiswick had 235 callouts in 2019 and rescued 75 people plus a number of animals.

Considerable effort is put into crew training as well as education for young people; more than 6,000 children a year are spoken to by Chiswick RNLI education volunteers. Chiswick RNLI crews have attended more than 3,750 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people since the station was opened in 2002. The Institution as a whole has saved some 140,000 lives since its foundation, at a cost of more than 600 lives lost in service.

David Clarke, from the RNLI, said: “Chiswick RNLI is delighted to be a charity partner with such an important presence in the local community as Brentford Football Club, especially as the new stadium will be even closer to our patch on the Thames. We welcome this opportunity to raise awareness of the RNLI and spread information about water safety to a large group of people.”

Sport sessions launched for teenage girls

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March, Kicks Girls will officially launch at Osterley Goals Soccer Centre this week. The sessions will be held every Friday – starting tomorrow, Friday 6 March – between 5.30pm-7pm. Funded by the London Marathon Charitable Trust and in partnership with London United and the Premier League, the Trust has joined 13 professional football clubs to tackle physical inactivity of girls in disadvantaged areas across London.

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust will join the likes of Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Chelsea to encourage 5,000 inactive girls and young women to participate in football and physical activity sessions. Along with sports sessions, the programme also aims to offer a safe space for teenage girls to talk about physical, mental and sexual health.

Amber Lloyd, lead female football coach at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “This project has helped us set up new sports sessions throughout our community – focusing on playing a sport and having a safe space for females to talk about what they want. Whether it’s support with schoolwork, home life or mental health, we want the girls to know there is no judgement at our sessions as it is a safe and friendly environment. “

The sessions will run a weekly basis and no prior booking is required. For more information about the project email ce@brentfordfccst.com.

5,000 Season Tickets sold for Brentford Community Stadium

2020/21 Season Tickets have been on sale for two months and demand has been high with more than 5,000 Season Tickets purchased for our new stadium. See some of their stories here. This month, supporters who have been Season Ticket Holders at Griffin Park for less than six seasons will be taking up their appointments at our Reservation Centre.

If you’re a Season Ticket Holder at Griffin Park and haven’t renewed yet, don’t forget you can invite up to two existing or new supporters to purchase a Season Ticket so that you can all sit together*. You can create a group of up to 12 – providing the group contains at least four current Season Ticket Holders. Watch our new video to find out more about ‘You+2’:

Early Bird prices at the new stadium are open to current Season Ticket Holders, Members and their guests and will expire on Thursday 30 April. These prices won’t increase should we get promoted to the Premier League. Full prices, estimated on sale dates and more information about 2020/21 Season Tickets can be found online here. You can also find the answers to frequently asked questions about 2020/21 Season Tickets in our FAQs here.

If you’re not a Season Ticket Holder then the best way to guarantee your seat at the stadium is to purchase a Premium Seat, enabling you to enjoy an enhanced matchday experience. With two of the five lounges already sold out, we are now selling Red & White packages, from just £44 per match**. Simply register your interest here and a member of our team will contact you to invite you to our Reservation Centre to discuss your premium seat options.

Alternatively, you can gain access to Season Tickets (from May and subject to availability) by joining our Season Ticket waiting list here.

*Subject to availability. This will be strictly monitored and we reserve the right to amend this policy should sales exceed expectations. The make-up of your group may impact on where you can sit – larger groups with more new fans will need to move to less central locations to ensure that longer term fans are not unfairly displaced.  

**This price is based on 23 home League games (plus our pre-season friendly and first three home cup matches), doesn’t include the licence fee and is pending our league status (25 per cent increase for Premier League and 25 per cent discount for EFL League One).

Man in the Middle – Chapter 33: Hilary Mantel & the dead body

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. 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.33: Hilary Mantel & the dead body

My wife wants me to bring down the dead body when I get out of the shower.

‘Sure thing,’ I reply.

She’s on the floor below shouting up, practicing marriage by megaphone.  I’m not sure if I’ve heard her correctly, but I’ve learnt it’s better to say yes first and ask questions later.

It’s early morning and I want some ‘me time’ under the warm stream of the shower to wake up and get my wits about me, too. If I question her instructions the next thing I know she’ll be her knocking on the bathroom door and I’ll have to get on with it, whatever it is.

As I knead my bald patch with a volumizing conditioner a thought begins to nag. It’s the same thought footballers have when they say something ‘hasn’t quite sunk in yet’, a feeling something momentous has happened which one can’t yet grasp or articulate.

This feeling begins to take shape as a series of questions: why is there a dead body on the landing? Whose body is it? How the hell does my wife expect me to carry it downstairs with my back problem?

I’m pretty certain it’s not a family member that’s dead because my wife’s voice would have betrayed more emotion and the tone of her voice was definitely from her ‘TaskMaster’ wardrobe, steely cold and clear.

I lean my head against the shower screen and have an epiphany. My wife is a Hilary Mantel fan. Last night, after finishing ‘The Mirror and the Light’, she said she wanted to re-read ‘Bring up the Dead Bodies’, which is on the bookshelf outside the bathroom. I’ve misheard her. What she wants is for me to bring down, the bring up the dead bodies book. Mystery solved.

‘Dad. I think you need to come out now,’ says my son.

‘Why?’

‘There’s a dead body out here.’

‘Just throw it down to mum.’

‘I’m not picking up a dead body.’

‘It’s not a big deal for heavens sake,’ I shout, irritated my ‘me time’ under the shower is clearly coming to a premature close.

‘If you do, I’ll add it as a credit on your Task Listicle,’ I add, enticingly. Task Listicles are the list of jobs we’re given each day by my wife to protect us from idleness and sloth.

‘Don’t patronise me with your patriarchal, reward-based behaviour systems. I’d rather clean the bogs than pick up a dead body,’ he replies.

Mother has come up to see what the fuss is all about. It’s unusual for her to come up to the third floor. The last time she was up here she was so distressed by the sight of so many un-ironed children’s clothes and the general disorder that she didn’t sleep during the day for a week.

‘Your son’s right. It’s definitely dead. I’ve just given it a prod,’ says Mother.

I’m not a specialist in infectious diseases like Donal Trump but it occurs to me a dead body could still pass on the Covid-19 virus. If it really is a dead body and not Hilary Mantels’ book, then Mother prodding away at it with her crutch is just going to stir up the virus and spread it around the landing.

‘Don’t panic,’ I say as I open the bathroom door with a towel wrapped around my waist.

‘He’s like Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army,’ she says with a wink to my son.

‘Whose army?’ my son asks.

‘I’ve seen dead ones before. I don’t need you to tell me not to panic,’ says my Mother.

On the landing outside my son’s bedroom is a dead bird. I don’t know what sort. Small. Not a pigeon. The cat is sitting up next to it. I’m tempted to say he looks proud, like a Big Game Hunter standing next to dead prey, ready for the safari paparazzi to snap his picture. But, actually, he just looks bemused by all the rumpus and the sight of Mother this far up the stairs.

‘It’s a dead bird,’ I say, as if I had discovered the Holy Grail.

‘Yeeeesss,’ say my mother and son, sneers in their voice.

‘I thought…’

‘He killed a mouse yesterday,’ says Mother. ‘I watched him from the balcony. He played with it for hours.’

‘Why didn’t you stop him?’ says my son, who loves the idea of natural ecosystems only without the messy bits like killing and eating.

‘Have you got it yet?’ I hear my wife’s voice getting closer.

I look from the dead bird to the copy of ‘Bring Up the Dead Bodies’ on the bookshelf and wonder if I have time to put on my trousers. As I hesitate, my wife arrives on the landing with a sigh and a dustpan and brush.

Read more blogs by James Thellusson

Read the next in the series – Chapter 34: The lure of yoga

Read the previous one – Chapter 32: Howard Hughes stays over

See all James’s Man in the Middle blogs here

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

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26.2 people enjoy the 2.6 Challenge on 26 April

By Rosie Leyden The sun shone down on us – a group of 26 friends plus a one-year old – as we completed a running / walking / cycling relay […]

Hounslow Council AGM postponed

The Annual General Meeting of Hounslow Council has been postponed. It was to have taken place in May 2020, but has been postponed until May 2021, ‘to allow the Council to continue concentrating on responding to the coronavirus crisis and supporting our most vulnerable residents in the community and supporting business’.

The decision to put it off for a year has been made with cross party agreement. The Mayor, Cllr Tony Louki, who acts as Chair of the Council, said the decision was sensible and pragmatic.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Steve Curran said:

“I fully endorse the recommendation made by the Mayor to the Chief Executive, I know residents and businesses will expect the Council to focus 100 per cent on managing the coronavirus. These are unprecedented times and the pressure on the NHS, the Council and all other public bodies is enormous, and it is right that we focus on the business at hand for the benefit of all.” 

Leader of the Opposition Cllr Joanna Biddolph said:

“We looked at what other local authorities are doing and considered a delay until the autumn as well as the fact that Hounslow House does not yet have the technology to hold large meetings by video conference. Supporting residents and businesses through this crisis is our primary concern so, despite our reluctance from a democratic point of view, we agreed that the AGM should be postponed until May 2021”.

Perspex screens go up in Snappy Snaps

The Chiswick Calendar talks to John Fitzgerald about the shop’s Coronavirus refit

At the beginning of the lockdown period people embarked on all sorts of ambitious projects – decorating, learning a language, developing their cooking skills – but not apparently going through their photographs.

I’d have thought that Snappy Snaps, who offer an online printing service, would be rushed off their feet with photography projects, but no. In normal times they’d have maybe 20 jobs per day through the website; now they’re down to two a day, if that.

“I think it’s difficult to concentrate on big projects” says John Fitzgerald, franchise owner of Snappy Snaps Chiswick. He himself feels like that and I’ve heard other people say the same. We’re anxious about the Coronavirus and what will happen, and it’s hard to settle on anything that requires too much sustained focus.

Snappy Snaps’ staff are all on furlough. Usually the shop, run by John and his brother in law Anthony Gallogly, is buzzing, with people queuing for attention, whether it’s to get prints done or pictures framed, a passport photo or a baby portrait. Looking ahead to the time when they will be permitted to open again, John has been thinking about how they can offer the best customer service they can while keeping staff and customers safe.

“It’s not possible to be two metres away from another person in our shop” he says. “I’m not sure it works in any shop really”. Whereas people are prepared to queue for food and medicines, he’s not sure they will for non-essentials, so he’s been been using this period of enforced inactivity to redesign the shop to accommodate as many customers as they can.

They’ve packed away the stock and ripped out the old bank of computers along the left hand wall. Instead they’re installing four perspex kiosks which abut the serving counter, like the old sound booths in record shops in the 1960s, so customers can use the computers, facing the serving counter, shielded from fellow customers on either side. John and his staff will be shielded from customers by a perspex screen all along the counter, but they will be able to see their customers’ photos on computers mirroring those in the kiosks, on the staff side of the counter.

“Our changes to the shop will make it a safer environment for customers and our colleagues while maintaining the personal service we always strive for” says John.

How will you be able to hear people? I ask “You can be sure Anthony won’t have any trouble making himself heard” he says, with a laugh. The perspex, though effective against bodily fluids, is thin enough for customers and staff to be able to hear each other.

Online framing consultations

Framing consultations will also be conducted through a perspex barrier. The framing counter is staying in the same place, on the right hand side of the shop as you go in. Customers can look at the options for mounts and frames as they can now, just not be able to touch them. The shop will continue to offer passport photographs but John doesn’t imagine there will be much appetite for the portrait photography they offer in the shop’s basement studio.

John is under no illusion that trade will spring back up to the level it was before the shops were forced to close. “Some people will go straight out to the pub and to shops and restaurants as soon as they can, but there will be others who will be more cautious, and some who won’t want to go out and do anything unnecessary at all”. When the shops reopen, he’s expecting trade to be between 50% and 70% what it was before the lockdown started.

“We are working on a new app which will allow people to have a framing consultation at home through a streaming camera, if they don’t want to come into the shop” he tells me. Snappy Snaps has had to stop all framing for the time being because they can’t get the supplies, but they hope to be able to try out the new app soon, and when it’s up and running they will also offer a free home delivery service. They we will be setting up a booking system for consultations on complicated projects.

“We should have some of the changes ready for end of next week” he tells me. “We will be ready for re-opening of the high street whenever it is announced”.

“We are committed to making this new normal as normal as possible while still ensuring a safe working environment”.

Meanwhile they are offering their usual service of printing and delivering gloss prints, and a selection of photogifts, canvases and posters through the website.

www.snappysnaps.co.uk/chiswick

Chiswick Station House looking for new tenant

The station house at Chiswick station (the actual station house which backs on to the platform, not the pub of the same name on the other side of the tracks) has come on the market, available to rent.

Currently a design studio, the yellow brick building on Burlington Lane was originally the stationmaster’s work place during the golden age of steam. The building is Grade II listed, built in 1849 to service the Windsor, Staines and South Western Railway as an extension of the Richmond Railway, which was taken over by the London and South Western Railway in 1850.

The station is mentioned in Queen Victoria’s journal. She was a frequent visitor to Chiswick House and a prodigious diarist. Her earliest entries date back to before the railway was built. On 10  August 1839 she wrote:

‘Talked again of my being so bored in London; of my going to Bushey on Monday, and intending to go to Chiswick one day, which I had never seen; of my wishing to see places.’

On Saturday 19 June 1841 she got her wish:
‘We set off for Chiswick, Ly Barham, Henrietta, Ld Poltimore, Ld George Lennox & the 2 Equerries, following in other carriages… The Duke of Devonshire, & Ly Carlisle, & the Dss of Sutherland received us … The luncheon was very fine & there was some pretty music … After luncheon, we saw the Children, & the weather having cleared up, we all walked in the garden & pleasure grounds, which are very beautifully laid out. A Band was playing on the grass. The place is quite Italian living’.

She wrote of the traffic jams when fashionable London went out en masse to visit the botanical gardens at Kew:

‘Drove home by Chiswick, & got into a great crowd of carriages, returning from a Botanical Fete’

Photograph above: The Mayflower, taken in 2015 by Ian Wylie

When trains were introduced she notes the ‘amazing rapidity of going on rail-ways’, and her next visit to Chiswick House, 30 years after her first, was by train:

Friday 7 July 1871
‘We went to Chiswick, & drove from the station to the house in a few minutes’

After that she became a more frequent visitor as her eldest son the Prince of Wales rented Chiswick House in the 1860s and 1870s, so the station house would have witnessed some very grand scenes.

Tuesday 11 July 1876
‘At ¼ to 5 left for Chiswick with Beatrice, Leopold, the Dss of Atholl, Evelyn P. & the 2 Equerries, Lenchen, Christian & his sister, joining us at the South Western station, — to attend Bertie & Alix’s garden party. They met us with their children & took us into the garden party’.

Chiswick’s 21st century residents occasionally get a taste of what it must have been like to travel here under steam. The Cathedrals Express company run occasional trips from central London stations to Cathedral cities.

The station house has been stylishly converted to provide modern office space and the owner has planning consent to construct a new building adjacent, which is due to be started this summer.

The property is on the market with Whitman & Co Commercial.

Episode 4: Cricket anyone? Anywhere?

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller have launched a new podcast to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They chat regularly about cricket topics – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

In their latest cricket podcast Peter Oborne and Richard Heller discuss the prospects of seeing or playing any cricket in season 2020, in Britain and worldwide. They analyse the health and political obstacles that must be overcome for cricket and other sports to escape from lockdown. They speculate on the adaptations cricket might have to make if social distancing is still in force (matches with no live spectators? all fielders outside the circle? no on-field umpires?) They describe the financial threat to local community and social cricket clubs from the lack of match fees and bar receipts.

They present some great patrons of the game – including the only living saint to have played first-class cricket – and celebrity cricket lovers such as Trevor Howard (who behaved badly to a great England player). They discuss the celebrated opening pair of Terence Rattigan and Victor Rothschild.

They introduce another member of the Philosophers’ XI: Socrates, a fine opening batsman for Athens in their Ashes series against Sparta, but flattered by his personal scorer, Plato.

And will they finally reveal the terrible secret behind the run-out of Jeffrey Archer?


More Platforms

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Next episode – Episode 5: British Politics and Cricket Entwined

Previous Episode – Episode 3: Unpacking more of this year’s Wisden

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast was produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Chiswick Confined – My Corona blog Week 5

Suspicous puppy

Local parkrunners take on the 2.6 Challenge

By Rosie Leyden

Pembroke Athletica is an informal group of running friends, from Chiswick and West London, who meet up each week at parkrun in Richmond Park, run 5 kilometres, and then (more importantly) enjoy coffee and cakes at Pembroke Lodge café. At least they do in normal times. This Sunday they are all taking part in the 2.6 Challenge.

What is the 2.6 Challenge?

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on UK charities, with the cancellation of thousands of events and the loss of billions in income through fundraising events. The Virgin Money London Marathon alone, which should have taken place this Sunday 26 April, is the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event, which raised more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities in 2019. Many of these charities have had to reduce or stop services at a time when vulnerable members of society need them most. Thousands of staff have been placed on furlough and many charities will not survive the next few months.

The 2.6 Challenge is raising money to help those UK charities to survive. Anyone can take on the challenge. All you need to do is dream up an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 that suits your skills, and complete it on Sunday 26 April. It can be something simple – like going up and down the stairs at home 26 times, or dancing to some music for 26 minutes, or walking 2.6km round your house in fancy dress (about 3,500 steps), or walking or running 2.6 miles as your daily exercise. Anything with a 2 and a 6. For some whackier ideas, see:

www.twopointsixchallenge.co.uk

Pembroke Athletica’s 2.6 Challenge

The 2.6 Challenge for Pembroke Athletica is a team running relay of 19 stages, with each stage starting at the house or flat of one Pembroke Athletica (PA) member and finishing at another. The total distance they will be covering is equivalent to 4 marathons (4 x 26.2 miles), with most stages being about 5km. Their team runners will pass through Bushy Park, Isleworth, Twickenham, Richmond, Kew, Chiswick, and Gunnersbury Park. They’ll also be passing a virtual baton to other parkrunner family members in Bedford and Cheshire for two of the legs.

26 members of the PA crew will be taking part – or 26.2 if you include Anastasia, who’s just one year old. They will of course be maintaining appropriate social distancing guidelines – no batons, and no hugs but lots of smiles and self-distancing selfies.

They are aiming to raise £1,000, and are up to £486 so far. If you would like to donate, go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com Or to give via the main fundraising page for the 2.6 Challenge, see:

uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/events/twopointsix/donate-now

Enjoy your 2.6 or 26 on 26th!

Rosie Leyden is a Chiswick resident and member of ‘Pembroke Athletica’

Image above – the running group in better times.

 

 

Chiswick B&Q reopens

Chiswick has reopened its branch of B&Q along with 154 other branches around the country. Opening times are 8.00am – 5.00pm Monday – Saturday and 10.00am – 4.00pm on Sunday.

They are offering a reduced service and are not able to take incoming calls to the store, choosing instead to give people information via their website:

‘Similar to shopping at supermarkets, we’ve introduced social distancing controls at our re-opened stores. We’re strictly limiting the number of customers in store at any one time, and so you may find you need to queue if you visit the store. To help remind everyone to respect each other’s personal space, we have two metre floor markers throughout the store and also perspex screens at our checkouts.

‘At these re-opened stores, customers can purchase products that are available for takeaway in store on the day. However, services such as kitchen and bathroom design, paint mixing, timber cutting and key cutting are not available for the time being. We are accepting card, gift card and contact-less payments only’.

Large increase in customer orders

B&Q has seen ‘a very large increase in customer orders’ at this time, as people at home have been embarking on DIY projects. They have been selling a reduced range online as a ‘click and collect’  service. Products available online include: hardware, plumbing, electrical, central heating and boiler parts, building supplies, tools, security and light bulbs. A limited range of plants is available to purchase on diy.com as well as in store.

‘We’re continuing to review the products offered at diy.com to ensure we get the balance right – keeping customers and colleagues safe while meeting customers’ needs to look after their homes and gardens’.

The company says they’ve opened their stores this week as, having watched other essential retailers support social distancing in their stores, they are now in a position to ‘follow best practice’ to keep both staff and customers safe.

B&Qsocial

Local run independent hardware stores also open

The Arch, a family run local independent hardware shop would like to point out that they are also open.

‘We will be counting on your support to a local business’ they say. ‘We are a family run hardware store with a vision to provide the neighborhood with quality, very lard range of products and excellent service.

What do we stock? Paint and painting tools, paint mixing, hardware, Locks, key cutting, hand tools, power tools, electrical and light bulbs, pest control, plumbing and much more.

The Arch hardware store is at 395-397 King St, Hammersmith.

Tel: 0208 741 1589

www.thearchhardware.co.uk

Manager of British Grove Studios, dies from Coronavirus

More online productions announced by the National Theatre

The National Theatre is now showing the third of its online productions, initially live-streamed on a Thursday night and then available on YouTube for the following week.

The production currently available, until 23 April, is Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of murder, money and mutiny. Brought to life in this thrilling stage adaptation featuring Arthur Darvill as Long John Silver.

The new production streaming from 7.00pm this Thursday (23 April) will be Twelfth Night featuring Tamsin Greig as Malvolia (which is fantastic. I saw it live. Tamsin Greig makes it a joy to watch).

The National Theatre has also added its collection of 30 world-class productions, free to stream at home for UK state-funded teachers and pupils, including Macbeth, Othello, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Medea, Antigone, The Cherry Orchard, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

For these and other ideas for things to do online during our extended sojourn at home, see our popular Lockdown Things to do guide on The Chiswick Calendar website.

Lockdown Things to do

Penny enters the face mask debate

Should we all be wearing face masks when we venture out? Were we led up the garden path in thinking we didn’t need to just because there weren’t enough to go round and we might have panicked?

Robert Peston to scientist:

Matt Hancock says the science shows they don’t really yield the benefit. Why do you disagree with him?

Scientist to Robert Peston:

‘Erm, because I’m a scientist who just led the world’s first cross-disciplinary international review of the evidence for this with 19 of the world’s top experts in this, and actually the evidence does not at all show what he claimed. It actually looks a lot like this could be one of our most important tools’ (in the fight against the Coronavirus).

Penny the orangutan was convinced. Either that or someone is attempting to gag her to stop her speaking out about the environmental damage done to her rainforest habitat.

Don’t disturb the birds

The Chiswick Calendar has had an email from someone asking us to mention that it’s nesting time for the swans on Chiswick Ait.

The RNLI put out a statement last week that they were having to rescue people who cross to the Ait at low tide, who then got caught out by the speed of the incoming spring tide.

Not only is it a bad idea from that point of view, but if taking a morning constitutional along Chiswick Mall is a relatively new or rare experience, you should know that the Ait is also a nature reserve.

Photograph by Lucinda MacPherson

Do you have an old laptop or computer going spare?

Local education charity, Hounslow’s Promise is working with local schools and MPs to help provide computers or laptops to local school pupils needing to study at home who don’t have access to a computer or the internet. We estimate around 1,000 children in Hounslow need support.

Do you have an old laptop or computer you can donate?  Accessories e.g. charger cables, keyboards, mouse are also needed.

If so, please email info@hounslowspromise.org  Include your name, address,  telephone number and details of the computer e.g. a laptop, PC, Mac or Chromebook.

The computers can be collected from you or dropped off at drop-off points. Computers will be cleaned down, safety tested and re-imaged before schools pass on to children and families. The project is also being supported by local businesses.

Updated information on GCSE, AS and A level assessment

The Department for Education issued updated guidance to answer common questions in relation to the cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A levels due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The advice includes further details on how students are to be assessed.

DofE advice published 20 April 2020

This guidance aims to answer common questions in relation to the cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A levels due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in 2020.

1. Did exams need to be cancelled?

From Friday 20 March, all educational settings are closed to everyone except the children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is expected to continue having a significant impact on the education system, and the country, for months to come. Therefore, exams have been cancelled now to give pupils, parents, and teachers certainty, and enable schools and colleges to focus on supporting vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

2. What will happen to those who have already done some non-exam assessment?

Students who were due to sit A level, AS level or GCSE exams this summer will receive a calculated grade. The calculated grade process will take into account a range of evidence including, for example, non-exam assessment and mock results, and the approach will be standardised between schools and colleges. There’s separate guidance from Ofqual on awarding GCSE, AS and A levels which includes the implications for non-exam assessment.

3. How will you address the fact that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to have their grades under-predicted?

This summer’s calculated grades are not predicted grades. Ofqual, the independent qualifications regulator, is developing a fair and robust process that takes into account a broad range of evidence, including assessments by schools and colleges of the grades that students would have been likely to obtain if exams went ahead and their prior attainment. Ofqual will make every effort to ensure that the process does not disadvantage any particular group of students. Ofqual is consulting (from 15 to 29 April) on what it will be doing to make this process as fair as possible: Exceptional arrangements for exam grading and assessment in 2020.

Pupils who do not feel their calculated grade reflects their ability will have the opportunity to sit an exam as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again.

4. Will all students get their predicted grade?

No. We know that simply using predicted grades would not be fair to all students. The ‘centre assessment grade’ which the exam boards will ask schools and colleges to submit for A and AS levels and GCSEs will take into account an assessment of the likely grade that students would have obtained had exams gone ahead, and these will be standardised across schools and colleges. For this reason, students’ final calculated grades will not necessarily reflect their predicted grades.

5. Will schools be using mock exam results as a barometer for results – and is this fair on students as they did not know at the time these would be used as their final mark?

Mock exam results will be one of the pieces of evidence that will be taken into account in this process, alongside other factors. There’s separate guidance from Ofqual on awarding GCSE, AS and A levels which explains to schools and colleges how to do this fairly and robustly.

6. Will the past performance of the school be taken into account when devising the calculated grade?

Ofqual’s guidance says that one of the sources of evidence schools and colleges should draw on is the performance of this year’s students compared to those in previous years. However, this is only one of the sources of evidence that will be taken into account. Ofqual’s consultation Exceptional arrangements for exam grading and assessment in 2020, which runs from 15 to 29 April, includes proposals for how the standardisation process at national level should take the past performance of schools and colleges into account.

7. Is this an entirely new system?

This is a new system, but one which builds on existing practices, as education professionals are used to making holistic judgements about their students. These judgements will be standardised at national level to give grades that are as fair as possible.

8. When will I get my results?

A and AS level results will be published on 13 August and GCSE results on 20 August, as originally planned. This will enable progression to higher and further education to take place in the normal way.

Results days for other qualifications are set by individual exam boards. If you are taking such qualifications you should check the planned results day with your school or college.

9. Will universities, colleges and sixth forms accept these grades?

The calculated grades awarded this summer will be formal grades, with the same status as grades awarded in any other year. They will therefore be accepted by all institutions.

University representatives have already confirmed that they expect universities to do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.

10. What if I am unhappy with my calculated grade?

Ofqual and the exam boards are working to ensure that candidates are awarded a fair grade that recognises the work they have put in. If an A level, AS level or GCSE student does not believe the correct process has been followed in their case they will be able to appeal on that basis. Ofqual is consulting on the arrangements for these appeals. In addition, if a student does not feel their grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021, in line with usual practice.

11. What about private candidates or home educated students?

Where schools and colleges have accepted entries from external candidates (students who they have not taught themselves, because they have been home-schooled, following distance-learning programmes or studying independently), those students should be taken account of in the process of producing centre assessment grades, where the head teacher or principal is confident that they and their staff have seen sufficient evidence of the student’s achievement to make an objective judgement.

Ofqual is also exploring urgently whether there are options for those students who do not have an existing relationship with an exams centre and who need results this summer for progression purposes. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be possible for all external candidates, some of whom may instead need to take exams in the autumn to get their grades. More details are available in the consultation document Exceptional arrangements for exam grading and assessment in 2020.

Ofqual has asked organisations that represent higher and further education providers to consider the steps that providers could take when making admissions decisions this summer for any private candidates who do not receive a grade. They have said that they believe that institutions will consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible.

12. Can private centres run GCSEs or A levels if they chose to do so?

No. Exam boards will not be issuing papers for this summer’s GCSE, AS and A levels so there will not be the opportunity to sit them at any centre.

13. Does this mean every exam in every module in every subject being cancelled, or will a limited number go ahead at GCSE and/or A level?

Exam boards will not be issuing papers for this summer’s GCSE, AS and A levels so there will not be the opportunity to sit them in any subject.

14. What about vocational and technical qualifications?

We recognise that many students will be taking vocational or technical qualifications and our priority is to ensure that students and adult learners taking these qualifications can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including starting university, college or sixth form courses, apprenticeships in the autumn, getting a job or progressing in work.

In order to achieve this, the Department for Education has published a letter to Ofqual setting out the approach that should be taken and Ofqual has published further information on their approach. As far as possible qualifications used for progression to higher and further education will be treated in a similar way to GCSEs, AS and A levels, with students receiving a calculated result.

However, the complexity of the vocational and technical qualifications landscape means that a single approach is not appropriate. Some qualifications are primarily designed to support progression to or through employment. Ofqual is working with awarding organisations to identify those qualifications where it might be appropriate to generate a calculated grade, or where it would be more valid to adapt assessments so that they can still take place even though centres have ceased classroom delivery.

Ofqual will continue to work closely with awarding organisations, the Department for Education and the wider sector to set out as soon as possible after Easter further details of the approach.

15. Will students be required to do further work to contribute towards their grade?

There is no requirement for schools and colleges to set additional mock exams or homework tasks for the purposes of determining a centre assessment grade, and no student should be disadvantaged if they are unable to complete any work set after schools were closed. Where additional work has been completed after schools and colleges were closed on 20 March, Ofqual is advising head teachers and principals to exercise caution where that evidence suggests a change in performance. In many cases this is likely to reflect the circumstances and context in which the work is done.

16. Can schools and colleges take incomplete coursework into account?

Ofqual’s guidance on awarding GCSE, AS and A levels makes clear that schools and colleges do not need to ask students to complete any unfinished non-exam assessment work for the purposes of grading. Where they do choose to take into account coursework completed after 20 March, Ofqual is advising head teachers and principals to exercise caution where that evidence suggests a change in performance. In many cases this is likely to reflect the circumstances and context in which the work is done.

17. What will young people with university offers do?

The grades awarded this summer will be formal grades, with the same status as grades awarded in any other year. There is no reason for the usual admissions cycle to be disrupted.

University representatives have already confirmed that they expect universities to do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education

18. Do universities need to start making unconditional offers / should I accept an unconditional offer now that exams are cancelled?

Universities should not begin making new unconditional offers and applicants should feel no pressure to accept such offers, as they will be awarded a formal calculated grade for each exam they would have taken.

19. If I already have an unconditional offer, does that remain?

Yes. An unconditional offer means you have already met the entry requirements, so the place is yours if you want it.

20. If I take the exam option, will I still be able to go to university this year?

Students who do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance will have the opportunity to sit an exam as soon as is reasonably possible after the beginning of the new academic year.

Our aim is for results to be awarded before Christmas, and Ofqual is working with exam boards to work out how this could be delivered. Universities representatives have assured us that universities will be as flexible as possible in their admissions.

Any student wanting to understand the implications on university admission of taking these autumn exams should speak to the university from which they have an offer after receiving their calculated grade in the summer.

21. Are iGCSEs and the International Baccalaureate also cancelled?

Yes. Summer exams for both international GCSEs and the International Baccalaureate have been cancelled in all countries this year. The awarding organisations that provide international GCSEs have published information about the arrangements they are putting in place for this year1 which reflect those being made for the qualifications covered by Ofqual’s consultation.

22. How will colleges, sixth forms and universities cope with the fact that these students will have missed out on some of their education?

These are extraordinary circumstances. We are working with schools, sixth forms, colleges and universities to ensure that we do everything we can to best help students prepare for and progress to the next stage of their education.

23. Might the exams be reinstated if the coronavirus (COVID-19) is not as bad as expected?

No. The decision has been taken to cancel all exams this summer.

This advice is taken from the Department of Education website

Man in the Middle – Chapter 32: Howard Hughes Stays Over

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. 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.32: Howard Hughes Stays Over

If Howard Hughes were still alive, he’d want to spend lock down in our oxygen tent.

Hughes, the billionaire businessman, had a phobia about germs. He wore tissue boxes instead of shoes and insisted his valet wrapped his hands in paper towels when serving his food. Covid-19 would be his worse fear, which is why he would have he’d liked the oxygen tent which my brother-in-law lent us.

He’d also would have admired our cleaning regime, which is probably unmatched, outside of an ITU. Complacent cobwebs, which thought they had squatters’ rights, have been snuffled up by the handheld vacuum with a snout like an anteater. Windows sparkle like Meghan Markle. Dishcloths are disinfected daily. The cat has been doused with flea drops and run away, disgusted we think so poorly of his hygiene.

I’m mulling Howard over while working my brush around the toilet bowls of our home. My task today is to get them spick and span.

I’ve created a slogan which is ‘If it’s not good enough for Howard, it’s not good enough for me.’ It reminds me of the standards I need to aspire to. It’s my chore mantra. Without it, I could easily settle for second best and give into the siren song of the TV and the sofa.

Mantras also remind me of the days when I used to think the Harvard Business Review was worth reading. Mantras reconnect me with a time when I thought success meant having the latest creamiest management mantra ready to share, like a box of chocolate bon-bons.

‘If it’s not good enough for Howard, it’s not good enough for me’ came to me on a call last night with our daughter, locked down in another city. We were discussing my wife’s germ battle plan for the day ahead.

‘Dad’s Head of the Bog Squad,’ said my son.

‘Am I?’

‘Well, you can’t expect me to do the loos. I’m putting up with enough shit as it is. What with not being able to go to school and see my friends.’

‘Can I be Head of Ironing?’ asks Mother.

‘Of course. Never in doubt,’ says my wife. ‘I’m putting on an overnight wash to ensure that there’s a full load ready and waiting for you in the morning.’

‘I think mum’s acting like Florence Nightingale,’ says daughter.

‘She’s the Lady of the Listerine,’ I say.

The conversation stalls.

‘Why does he always have to try to be funny?’ asks my daughter.

‘It’s his way of…. Actually, I don’t know what it is his way of doing. He just does it,’ says my wife.

My son looks at me.

‘You’re like the Play That Goes Wrong. You’re only funny when you’re not meant to be.’

As Head of Ironing, Mother feels empowered to offer her insight.

‘His father couldn’t take things seriously for long either. Underneath it all, I think it’s a psychological problem. It’s safer playing the clown. It’s a defensive mechanism.’

My wife is digesting Mother’s point, more diligently than I might want. I’m trying to think of something to say which will move the conversation on, when I realise this would simply prove my Mother’s point. With a Mother like this, who needs a psychoanalyst?

‘Can I stay in the oxygen tent tonight?’ asks my son, after a short pause in the conversation.

‘I think your father deserves it more?’ says my wife.

‘Why?’

‘Because it’s this week is #Stop Snoring Week. The tent will soundproof the rest of us from his snoring.’

Read more blogs by James Thellusson

Read the next in the series – Chapter 33: Hilary Mantel and the dead body

Read the previous one – Chapter 31: Can you be Hygge without hugs?

See all James’s Man in the Middle blogs here

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

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Appreciation for Busby’s Pharmacy

With all the clapping for the NHS and carers, it’s easy to forget that pharmacists are also on the frontline of dealing with health issues and are even more vital now it’s much harder to get to see a doctor. Sue Birch, the local pharmacist at Busby’s in Grove Park has received a shower of praise over the past couple of days for her and her staff, not just from people living in Grove Park, but from Kew, west Chiswick and even from Ireland!

Joanna Lovatt started the ball rolling:

‘Sue and all the lovely staff at Busby’s are just as much a part of the amazing people working on the front line to keep others safe. Having served the area for decades, Sue and many others have soothed our fears, listening to me as a blubbering wreck when concerned with children’s health.

‘Even before the pandemic lockdown, Sue was frequently working very long hours in the night to keep up with work so that she can serve us with all we need. Her philosophy means that she will go out of her way to help others, will listen patiently as we explain our ills and seems to have a photographic memory of all the people who come and use the shop. Sarha, Kinga, Rob and the rest of the team are equally deserving of our thanks, as much as so many others. Very privileged to have them as part of our community. Thank you!’

Since she posted that comment on Next Door yesterday there have been 45 more comments endorsing her appreciation. Here is a small sample:

Steve Turner, Grove Park

A wonderful shop with staff who show great care and attention.

Sue Hearn, Grove Park

Hear hear Jo – and I am amazed that she stays so calm and reassuring. Hats off to Sue and the staff!

Jennifer Jenks, Grove Park

I agree.  We should all be grateful to Sue and the rest of the team.  It’s always a pleasure to go there

Claudia Baker from West Chiswick 

Absolutely agree. Sue is an amazing woman, always happy to advise with personal health problems. Wonderful sense of humour and so wise and kind.  Rob and the ladies contribute magnificently to the superb Busby team.

Diane Murphy, Kew Bridge

Yes I agree sue and the team are wonderful and so kind and caring. Thank you everyone at Busby’s for carrying on during this unpredictable time and always. Diane xx

Silvia Vázquez

I agree with you 100%. We spent 9 wonderful years in Chiswick and they were always a big help, with a smile and a nice word. Thank you very much from Ireland!

Joanna Lovatt reported back that

‘Sue has had a chance to read everyone’s comments and been very touched by how many people replied. Just as they deserve. Humbling xx’

Growing your own vegetables – April

Images above: Coriander; Pak Choi

Rose Lewis on what to plant in April

The last couple of weeks I have been planting more and more seeds – I now have more time and along with my allotment – I have also started some in my garden and my window sill. I figure that if I am going to be home all summer, I need extra food for my lunch as well as dinner.

The weather has also been extraordinary so seeds are germinating much quicker which is always more motivating. Its surprisingly satisfying coming down in the morning and seeing which seedlings are popping through the soil. Check out the pak choi that I planted just two weeks ago and that’s kale on the right which is also doing well.

Rocket is also coming through so I should be eating within the next few weeks. So here some suggestions for what you can grow in April.

Keep on growing lettuce; Rocket and any other green leafy salads to ensure you have a plentiful supply. Grow some new seeds every couple of weeks. Its amazing what dishes you can them too. I love putting rocket in almost anything – sandwiches for lunch, pasta for dinner – just add it like you would any other herb.

You can try other herbs too – who doesn’t hate buying little packets of herbs from the supermarket. Just buy packets of seeds, plant them in pots and leave on a sunny spot inside. Water sparingly and then watch them grow.

Coriander works well if you have a sunny spot inside – this is mine that I planted two weeks ago (image top left) – almost ready to harvest. You can see the rounded leaves before they take on the characteristic shape. Basil, Parsley and Mint are also firm favourites – although they take longer to germinate. My mint is only just coming through. You can plant herbs in one big pot although Mint (once it gets going) sometimes out competes the others so if you have the space – keep them separate.

The key thing about herbs is that they grow best when you keep on picking them so again like Rocket – use them generously – that way you will keep them healthy all summer. As the weather warms up there are more things you can plant both indoors and outdoors.

Images above: Potato plants; carrots before and after harvest 

Potatoes – if you can get hold of some seed potatoes – it might be worth trying them. So easy to grow. If you have enough outside space – then just follow the instructions. We planted ours this weekend.

If you are more limited – you can try growing them in a bag/bucket. You literally just fill up a bag/pot/bin full of compost and plant your seed potatoes – watch them grow and then harvest as and when you need them. They are ready when the leaves have died back completely. You can buy all these fancy bags which make it easier to harvest or you can just dig around with your hands until you find them.

Courgettes – I mentioned them last time but it’s a great time to start planting the seeds either in big pots or straight into garden. Make sure they have enough room though as the plants grow big.

Beetroots and Carrots seeds can also be planted now. You will be amazed when you see the seeds – you wont believe that are going to turn into plants. Plant them in pots to start with to give them best chance when you transfer them to a bigger area. No garden – no problem – transfer them into bigger pots when they get stronger. Just don’t sow too many seeds. Although if you do have too many plants – a generous gift to your neighbours am sure will be appreciated.

If you haven’t planted your broad beans or peas  there is still plenty of time so get cracking. Finally you can start your French beans off inside now too – so delicious and they are such generous plants – I got tons last year from just six plants. This one you need space for as they are climbers – many make wigwams to help them climb but a trellis or even just some wire on your fence will work just as well.

In our other news this week, we had a new colony of bees arrive on the allotment. 10,000 bees and a Queen were newly placed into the hives. Here is our resident bee keeper Alice helping them settle in.

Rose lives in Chiswick and has been growing vegetables on her allotment for the last few years.

Puy Lentil, Roast Red pepper & Goat’s cheese salad

By Jules Kane, chef @Crucialfood and part of The Cookbook Festival Team.

Crucial Cafe offers a range of healthy meals and snacks at the Hogarth Centre, with many vegetarian and vegan options. This is Jules’ recipe for a simple and nutritional lunch option, with a zingy pesto made from wild garlic – which you may find you have in your garden at the moment.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 red peppers – deseeded & roughly chopped

175g Puy lentils

1 stick of celery

1 clove of garlic – peeled but left whole

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons of wild garlic pesto – as per recipe below

150g Goat’s cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari

250g mixed salad leaves

Salt & black pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 180

Place the puy lentils, celery stick & bay leaf into a pan and cover with cold water – simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft – drain and discard the celery stick, bay leaf & garlic clove.

Put the red peppers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar & tamari and mix well until the peppers are covered well, place them onto a roast tray and season with salt & pepper.

Roast the peppers for 25 minutes – then crumble up the goat’s cheese and place into a large bowl, add in the lentils, roast peppers along with the wild garlic pesto and carefully stir through until combined.

Arrange the salad leaves onto a large serving plate or individual plates if so desired and spoon on the salad on top. Perfect for a lunch alone or accompaniment for grilled meats from the BBQ.

Wild garlic pesto with hazelnuts

This delicious zingy pesto is an ideal marinade for grilled meats or stirred through pasta or use as a dressing for the Puy lentil & roast red pepper salad. Wild garlic is abundant at the moment and often free from your garden – it has a short season so grab it whilst you can.

Ingredients for pesto

3 handfuls of wild garlic – washed and roughly chopped

65g roasted, skinned hazelnuts

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Pinch of red chilli flakes (optional)

45ml Extra virgin olive oil

Splash of water

Salt & black pepper

Method

Place all the ingredients into a food processor (without the water) and pulse the mixture until nuts and garlic has been minced up but not a smooth puree. Add the water if too stiff to loosen the mixture – taste and season with a decent pinch of salt and black pepper.

Keeps in a jar in the fridge for 1 week, best to top the jar up with a slug of olive oil to stop the pesto from discolouring.

Read More Recipes on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Lucy Cuffliln’s recipe for Chocolatey fudge Cup Cakes

See also: Donna Freed’s recipe for Lockdown Leftovers fishcakes

Strand on the Green Post Office closed

Strand on the Green Post Office has closed for the foreseeable future. Post mistress Mrs Joshi has been trying to keep it open intermittently but now her son Milan has written to the Strand on the Green residents group to say she is no longer able to do so.

‘Last week I think her post office was the only post office open in the whole of West London’ he wrote. ‘As a result she was extremely busy and she stayed open long after the official closing time in order to help all customers. Unfortunately this has taken a toll on her health. She needs to be very careful given her underlying condition. To confirm, she does not have Covid-19 symptoms.

‘I’ll provide an update when the post office will be open again. Hopefully by that time other post offices will re-open to ease the pressure on my mother’s post office’.

The nearest Post Offices which appear to be still open are in Hammersmith – the main sorting office and the one inside WH Smith in the shopping centre.  The delivery office in Chiswick is open two hours a day and will receive packages for posting with pre-paid postage (which you can do online).

Covid-19 positive resident removed from Garden Court sheltered housing

A resident at Garden Court sheltered housing complex in Rothschild Rd has been moved to a hospital following complaints from fellow residents “terrified” to leave their rooms after the man was returned there from hospital last week. He was both Covid-19 positive and thought to be suffering from dementia. They sought help from Ealing Council when he was found wandering the corridors a couple of days later.

The Chiswick Calendar spoke to two residents at Garden Court who witnessed an ambulance arrive on Wednesday 8 April, returning one of the people who lived there after he’d been treated for Covid-19 at Charing Cross hospital. One of them told The Chiswick Calendar that the hospital transport crew, wearing protective clothing, asked if they could drop him off in the communal lounge area of the sheltered accommodation, as his room was locked and he didn’t have his keys. They told the residents he was Covid-19 positive.

Another resident, Bill, asked them to stay outside until they could get hold of Careline, who manage the property on behalf of Ealing Council. Although the block of flats is ‘sheltered’ and has 40 residents over the age of 60, there is no warden on site. Careline took an hour to come, according to Bill. He and his neighbour were shocked that there appears to have been no communication or arrangement made for the man’s reception or care management.

When eventually they arrived and the transport crew brought him in, they disinfected their vehicle before they left and the Careline worker, himself wearing Personal Protective Equipment, settled the man in his room, but no attempt was made to clean the public area through which he’d passed to get to his flat.

‘Found wandering the corridors’

His neighbours’ anxiety was increased when one of them found him wandering the corridors with his trousers round his ankles on the evening of Friday 10 April. The Chiswick Calendar was sent a picture of him holding his stick in one hand and holding on to the communal handrail with the other.

They contacted the housing officer at Ealing Council responsible for Garden Court.

‘The response from the neighbourhood manager for the Acton hub took hours and was really disappointing’ said Bill. ‘More concerned with the patient’s confidentiality than the fact he has a deadly virus and ignoring the safety of the other 38 residents within this Scheme, most of whom are very vulnerable’.

The residents were “terrified” that they would catch the Coronavirusit, the neighbour told us. They were “too afraid to leave their rooms”. Many of the residents, who are all over 60, have had strokes or heart attacks or been treated for cancer.

Bill and his neighbour told us they’d also seen the man’s carers leave items such as waste from his room left in the communal trash and communal laundry. Some of his carers were wearing PPE, but others not, they said, and those that have been wearing the kit have disposed of it in the communal waste. “There are bits of apron left there and no other carers use that particular room”.

Response from LB Ealing

We contacted Ealing Council to ask a number of important questions that arise from this case.

Why was there no arrangement made between the hospital and the local authority for the return of someone with Covid-19 to sheltered housing accommodation?

Why have the residents been fobbed off by council officers with assurances that this man is self-isolating when they know he isn’t?

Why is there not someone on site to help during this emergency period?

Why was he not moved to somewhere equipped to deal with people who don’t have the mental capacity to understand self-isolation?

Would he now be re-tested to put the other residents’ mind at rest?

This is the response we had from an Ealing Council spokesperson on Friday 17 April:

“Ealing Council does not comment on the individual and private information of any of its tenants, and is not in a position to comment on any clinical decisions in relation to any private person.

“At this highly unusual time, with community transmission of Covid-19 a real a present threat, we continue to support our tenants who are able to live independently and to shield with the support of family, friends, carers and volunteers. Our sheltered housing schemes are designed to allow social isolation, and our teams are available 24/7 through our Careline service to provide support”.

Later that day one of the residents who’d talked to us last week, who herself has a chronic heart condition, phoned us to say her Covid-19 positive neighbour had been removed to another hospital. “We are so relieved” she said “now I’m going to set about doing a deep clean of the passageway and shared space”.

Let them eat Cake!

Like many another organisation The Chiswick Calendar has had to do some nifty footwork to react to changing circumstances over the past few weeks. Out went the events listings and the Club Card promotions. In came a whole new website look, with the main focus on local news, Covid-19 Help & Information and Lockdown Things to do. Nearly forty years writing about world events and what’s the thing I’ve written that people are most interested in? Where to buy flour and eggs!

As people have found it increasingly difficult to get delivery slots from supermarkets, so they have started exploring which of our local independent shops are doing deliveries, and the businesses have responded.

Images above: cakes from Debaere

Images above: Hammonds Butcher & Deli beside Kew Bridge

Local independent food shops doing deliveries

Macken Brothers

Macken Brothers butchers on Turnham Green Terrace quickly made the transition from supplying hotels and restaurants to delivering to individual residents. Macken Brothers is a family run business that has a loyal following, as they supply the very best quality meat sourced from the highest quality farms in the British Isles. They have been on the Terrace for decades and know many of their customers personally. They also have the advantage of owning a fleet of vans, so they were able to answer the call to support those of us who are ‘shielded’ or self-isolating straight away.

Hammonds Butcher & Deli

Hammonds Butcher & Deli on the other hand were caught flat-footed, as they had sold their distinctive green delivery van last year. They found themselves doing deliveries by foot. Since butcher Ken Hammond moved from his shop on Strand on the Green to their current location beside Kew Bridge and went into business with the Ferguson family, they have struggled to let people know they are there as they are literally out of sight, down below the level of the bridge.

Now, with a new van, making 50 or so deliveries a week, they are are doing three or four times the amount of business than they were three weeks ago and finding that people appreciate the quality and provenance of their food and are coming back for more. Like Mackens, they get their meat from farms in Scotland, and deal directly with a range of small producers of high quality goods.

“We are able to be more nimble and flexible than the big supermarkets” says Derek Ferguson. “We have struggled to get flour and pasta, but we’ve managed. Our fish comes from Cornwall and is down to two deliveries a week”.

Though he acknowledges the desire for local delivery is a business opportunity, (they provide free delivery within a three mile radius of the shop) Derek is very careful not to over promise. They prioritise the elderly and vulnerable. They usually stock cheeses, wines, fresh bread, artisan biscuits, wine and quite a wide range of groceries, but instead of telling someone in his ‘elderly and vulnerable’ category that they don’t stock something they need, they have been known to nip next door to Sainsburys to add whatever it is the customer wants to the delivery. If you are able to go into the shop, it’s open, taking two customers at a time.

Images above: Fouberts in Turnham Green Terrace

Covent Garden Fishmongers

Garry Diamond, owner of the Covent Garden Fishmongers shop in Turnham Green Terrace is also finding he’s spending more time on the road. Since Billingsgate fish market and most of the fishing ports, boats and markets around the country have now closed, he is having to drive to the south coast himself to buy fish from independent fishing boats. The benefit of being a second generation fishmonger in a long established family business is that he has the contacts and goodwill to do that, but it does mean he has to make some compromises:

“I can guarantee super fresh inshore local English fish but the huge variety I normally stock won’t be available for a while” he says. “For now I will stay open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9.00am to 3.00pm but may have to reduce the days so that I can drive to Cornwall and the South Coast to pick the fish up myself, but time will tell”.

Fouberts

Fouberts on Turnham Green Terrace is another food establishment which has started doing home deliveries within Chiswick over the past couple of weeks. Maria and Luciano started their Chiswick shop in 1978. Daughter Karina told me her parents are still serving in the shop, when others of their age are shielding themselves, but they are behind the ice cream counter and it is she who takes the orders and payments from customers at the door.

“Should they not be at home?” I asked her. “Where is home? Home is the shop for them” she told me.

Images above: Mari Deli; Grove Park Deli

Mari Deli

Mari Deli on Chiswick Mall is also busy. They sell Italian groceries and freshly cooked meals to take away. As of yesterday (20 April) they will be open seven days a week.

Grove Park Deli

Jan at Grove Park Deli has always provided a catering service as well as operating the little deli on Fauconberg Rd. She is doing deliveries of home-cooked food – a variety of different salads, sandwiches, cakes and pastries, and lunch and supper dishes every day except Sunday.

Images above: Côte at Home Mint, Pea & Courgette soup and Boef Bourguignon

Changing the business model to meet the demand

Other businesses have taken a more radical approach, tearing up their business plan and rethinking it. Côte Brasserie’s restaurants remain closed, but this week it announced it has changed its business model totally, launching an online delivery service Côte at Home. The Italians have also launched an e-store for online grocery shopping and wholesalers Debaere, based in Acton, have scaled down their portions to deliver to households rather than cafes and restaurants.

Côte at Home

Côte at Home offers online the same dishes you would have been able to eat in their restaurants – modern French brasserie fare, including regional specialities and traditional classics.

‘We now deliver high quality produce from our kitchen, cellar and butchery to your door. Stock up with chilled bistro meals created by our chefs, ready for your over or freezer’.

The Italians

The Italians, at the western end of the High Rd, have a small cafe and deli counter within a grocery store specialising in Italian goods. The have launched an e-shop with most of the goods you can find in the store. The shop remains open from 9.00am to 9.00pm Monday to Sunday and you can also order their pizzas Thursday to Sunday from 12.00 – 9.00pm through Deliveroo.

Images above: Debaere coffee & walnut cake and pastries

Debaere

Debaere was established in 1998 by Ric DeBaere, a Master Pastry Chef From Belgium. Before the Coronavirus outbreak and the shut down of the hospitality industry, their main business was  providing premium artisan cakes, patisserie, desserts, continental pastries to coffeeshops, retailers, and event venues in west London. They now offering freshly baked, bread, cakes and pastries in household sized quantities, delivered to your door.

The Post Room Cafe

The Post Room Cafe on Bedford Corner shut on 23 March and reopened just over a week ago.

“We took the opportunity to reflect on the unfolding events” says owner Burzin Mistry. “We changed from being a coffee shop to being a mini grocery store, but retaining our love for coffee and food. Customers appreciate the fact they can come in safely and buy some basics like flour, eggs, milk and coffee”.

They are now open seven days a week and are hoping to start making deliveries this week.

Image above: Tamp coffee shop, Devonshire Rd

The furlough Catch 22

The problem for many businesses is that in order for their staff to be paid on furlough, they can’t make any money, or it jeopardises the payments. Restaurants such as Chateau and Michael Nadra have decided against going the takeaway route as they don’t think it will make enough money to be worthwhile.

Tamp

Some business owners such as Dorian, who owns Tamp on Devonshire Rd, and Spencer and Jason Wheeler who run the garden centre on Turnham Green Terrace, are working in splendid isolation, as they’ve put their staff on furlough. Spencer and Jason come in three times a week to water their stock and do a few local deliveries. Dorian is opening the cafe on his own this weekend (Saturday and Sunday 8.00am-2.00pm), partly to keep his regulars happy and partly to use up his stocks of freshly roasted coffee beans.

You will find cafe owners virtually begging you to take coffee beans off their hands. Artisan and Chief are doing deliveries of coffee beans houses so they don’t go to waste.

Many restaurants and cafes which closed their doors three weeks ago remain shut – la Trompette, Le Vacherin, Michael Nadra, Annie’s and Little Bird, Chiswick Fire Station, High Rd Brasserie, The Italian Job, Vinoteca, Villa di Geggiano, The Crown for example.

As well as the furlough catch-22 restaurants have to consider whether their kitchen is big enough for their staff to work together safely, or alternately if it isn’t, whether one or two people could  handle the demand if they remained open.

Images above: dishes from Napoli on the Road and Annapurna

Restaurants still open

Those which are open for takeaway have mainly signed up with delivery companies such as Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo if they weren’t already. Avanti is an example of one which has just started delivering. Tarantella is another. Others which remain open for takeaway and delivery include: Napoli on the Road, Annapurna and Peppers in Fauconberg Rd

Some, such as Hare & Tortoise are doing delivery only, no walk-ins. May’s Chinese Cuisine is also delivery only.

Singapore Gardens

Singapore Gardens, the Malay and Chinese restaurant, used to do a roaring trade in takeaway food.  They posted on Facebook last week:

‘Whilst our doors are temporarily shut for the first time since 1983, a small team of our dedicates staff remain working in order to serve and nourish NHS frontline workers. We are honoured to be providing 100 meals, 5 days a week, to both Chelsea and Westminster and West Middlesex hospitals’.

The Chiswick Calendar directory

Find details of all the food establishments mentioned here which are open for pick up or delivery in our Food Deliveries guide.

Food Deliveries guide