Chiswick House reaches its funding target

Chiswick House reaches its funding target In May, Chiswick House launched a fundraising campaign to raise much needed money to cover the everyday running costs of the estate. The #welovechiswickhouse campaign launched, and an ambitious target was set of £120,000 in 120 days. With grit, hard work and the support of the local community they […]

Installation of bus gate sparks criticism

Mind Matters – The importance of boundaries

How can the psychological concept of “boundaries” help us through the COVID-19 pandemic?

I think there is much confusion about the concept of boundaries – it is a shame that they have become associated only with difficult and abusive behaviours, used as a judgement or a criticism and so not always thought about as a way to navigate and be helpful in how we approach living generally.

When people speak about boundaries it is often about the importance of setting them and this suggests that boundaries are about setting rules, guidelines and limits. Instead I view boundaries as being about a dynamic, moment to moment process that enables us to make skilful and healthy choices throughout our day; in every situation we encounter, whether it is something in relation to others, or to ourselves. If you are living your life operating within a set of fixed rules, timetables and guidelines it does not mean you have good boundaries – it just means you are choosing to live by rules, timetables and guidelines!

I was fortunate enough to have a two week holiday in Sicily during September – being able to get away to a remotely situated house close to a huge and mostly deserted beach in a nature reserve – one that I have visited on a number of times over the last few years – gave me an experience of having big portions of my day where I experienced life as I did before COVID-19 – no face coverings, no situations requiring altered behaviour, no social interactions, just us, nature, sun, sand, swimming in the sea, relaxing in the holiday home. With all this time away from COVID-19 and the changes it has brought to our everyday lives I noticed that when thoughts of the pandemic did arise it really highlighted to me the extent and scale of the changes. I thought about this in terms of boundaries.

I thought about how on the positive side, my days back home have been less pressured with commuting and social obligations, with more time to stop and reflect, to exercise, to take slow and regular walks with our ageing Chocolate Labrador Holly, to relax and enjoy being at home. On the negative side a felt sense of pressure coming from wanting to be useful, saying yes too much, spending too much time at the computer, colluding with my anxiety by watching too much news and allowing my diet to contain more fat and sugar and make that glass of red wine an almost daily “treat” rather than twice weekly treat.

So these reflections highlighted to me where I had not been paying close enough attention to my process and not considering my boundaries in some common areas. Namely allowing myself to give time and energy to things that don’t sustain or support me and not giving enough time and energy to the things that do. Some of the things were about doing things in relation to other people that, on reflection, I might have said ‘no’ to in some instances and ‘yes’ in others whilst the eating and drinking are examples of me saying ‘yes’ to things where ‘no’ would have been more skilful.

So what are boundaries in action? A very topical example right now is around how people are behaving in relation to COVID-19 rules and what that means for us all. A BBC news article I saw last week talked about how Boris Johnson had urged neighbours to speak to each other about breaking rules on social gatherings before involving the police. For many people this might be a good solution but what if you have angry and violent neighbours? What if doing this causes you great stress and under stress you tend to get angry?

Before you put your shoes on and head next door let’s use the concept of boundaries to decide on how to manage this situation. Ask yourself the following questions:

How do I feel about going round to speak to my neighbours?

What is my experience of these neighbours, of situations like this, of me in situations like this?

What am I legally required to do?

What are my beliefs and values relevant to this situation?

What might the consequences of speaking to the neighbours or not speaking to the neighbours be?

What other options are available to me?

How do I feel about each of these, what consequences come with them?

What would I recommend someone else to do in this situation?

What option aligns with my beliefs and values, do I think is best and feels most comfortable for me?

Having asked yourself these questions you will have taken into account your feelings, beliefs and values, experience and skills and considered relevant factual information – what you decide you want to do can be seen as your boundary in this situation. You may head next door, you may call the police, you may do nothing at all but importantly you will have made the best decision you can in the circumstances.

Reflections of my own boundaries remind me that the central driver to which I need to pay more attention is the feeling of “pressure”. It is feeling under pressure that can lead me to shortcut the process of reflection and questioning that enables me to fully take account of my boundaries. COVID-19, the guidelines, restrictions and uncertainty everyone is experiencing means that we need to really pay attention to how we ensure stress and pressure do not divert us from attending to our boundaries.

My holiday reminds me that taking some time out to think about our behaviours can highlight whether we are managing our boundaries. I hope you have had a chance to get away, if not that you are able to find ways to step out of your everyday to reflect. I’ve already said ‘no’ to a few things that I would have taken on, started a few exciting new things that I might not have prioritised and with the uncertainty around when another holiday might be possible, decided to increase time for meditation and daydreaming. I don’t have as much time now for the news feeds but I’ll let you know how I get on with the fat, sugar and vino..…

Look after yourselves.

Nicholas Rose
Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Couples Counsellor and Coach
UKCP registrant, MBACP (accred), UKRCP
PGDip, MA, Adv Dip Ex Psych

Nicholas Rose & Associates
Counselling, psychotherapy and coaching for children, adults, couples and families.

Featured image: No Boundaries – Aboriginal Contemporary Abstract painting

Back from holiday and on the warpath

Oodles of Poodles at Chiswick Auctions

Images above: Staffordshire poodles from the collection of Mrs Patricia Rose

Included in Chiswick Auctions Interiors, Homes and Antiques sale on 30 September is a large private collection of 19th century Staffordshire poodles. They belonged to internationally renowned breeder of Miradel poodles, Mrs Patricia Rose of the miniature Poodle Club of Great Britain.

The history of poodles is a fascinating one. It is thought the breed emerged on the Continent, probably in France or Germany as early as the 16th Century. But whilst we all think of dogs as our furry loveable companions, we must not forget that in history, they were either seen as ‘useful’ or ‘pets’ and poodles fell into both classifications.

Prior to the 19th Century, poodles were mainly treated as ‘useful’. Known as ‘water dogs’ they were used as a gun dog for duck. Their distinctive trimmed coat can also be attributed to this working heritage, in fact ‘the lion clip’ as it was known, came about not for cosmetic reasons but for practical ones. The tight cut allowed them to shake off water quickly as they emerged from rivers whilst also leaving enough coat to protect them from rheumatism around the knees and protect their vital organs.

Images above: Staffordshire poodles from the collection of Mrs Patricia Rose

By the beginning of the 19th Century the poodle had been adopted as a pet, becoming popular as a companion dog.  At around this time, Staffordshire factories saw an opportunity to profit from their popularity by producing ceramic versions in their thousands. Whilst the earliest known models were produced in London by the Chelsea factory in around 1765, the height of production came much later during a very set period between 1830 – 1850.

Why poodles were so popular during this exact period is unclear, but it is generally thought interest in the breed was stimulated to an abnormal extent by the appearance of poodles in travelling circuses and other places of entertainment. This made them particularly appealing to children and children were a very important market. Sometime during the 1840s, there was an emergence of a miniature version or ‘toy’; these tiny cheaper models were particularly accessible.

Generally depicted in white, poodles were modelled either seated or lying down, some having pups but many modelled as circus dogs, in a comic pose, for example holding a black hat in the mouth or being ridden by a monkey. Interestingly they are rarely modelled with humans.

Images above: Staffordshire poodles from the collection of Mrs Patricia Rose

Whilst factories such as Rockingham, Derby and Chamberlain Worcester produced their own range, most came from unidentified Staffordshire factories operating at the time. Early models are hardly ever marked but despite their simplicity, they are relatively well made with sharp modelling. As they are hollow, they feel relatively light but due to their fragility, they rarely survive intact, commonly having chips, cracks, and restoration.

In 1837 Queen Victoria came to the throne, and with her came a new celebrity dog, her closest childhood companion, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel named ‘Darling Dashy’ Dash. Almost overnight, the popularity of Staffordshire poodles died as factories turned to modelling this more popular breed of dog, the spaniel. As the fashion for ‘Staffordshire Dogs’ took hold, other dogs, often with royal connections also appeared. Prince Albert’s favourite greyhound, Eos, was modelled seated and recumbent.

Despite the abrupt end in production of Staffordshire pottery poodles, throughout the 20th Century the popularity of the poodle as a breed and companion continued to rise. Celebrity owners include Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Ellen Degeneres and Barbara Streisand. Even Sir Winston Churchill owned a poodle named Rufus.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Antiques market applies for a licence for Chiswick High Rd

See also: Home is where the pair of 19th century rosewood and cane-back armchairs is 

Chiswick School praised for way in which it’s dealing with first Covid-19 case

Parents at Chiswick School have praised the way in which the school has dealt with its first case of Covid-19.

“My first thought was for the child” head teacher Laura Ellener told The Chiswick Calendar “and thankfully they have mild symptoms which is common with most children who catch the virus”.

The child is in Year 8. The school worked with Public Health England, Hounslow, to identify any close contacts of the confirmed case and found it was limited to within three class groups within the year. They are now teaching the entire timetable online to the three Year 8 classes which have to remain at home.

Julia Evans posted on Twitter:

“Huge thanks for the amazing support / setting up of home learning for Y8Y today following isolation procedure. A full day’s learning from the start. Really impressed with your ability to ensure continued learning at home. Thanks to all involved!”

Eddy Leviten posted:

“So impressed with the organisation and planning”.

The school was prepared

“The school was prepared for the news” said Laura Ellener “and clear procedures supported next steps”.

The school has divided each year group into what is known as a ‘bubble’. The bubbles have their own classrooms and their own play areas. The teachers move between the bubbles and teach at a distance of two metres.

“This is a new experience for everyone and it is working well” she said. “Chiswick School is fortunate to have so much space and we have been able to ensure our year groups don’t mix”.

Over the summer holiday Chiswick School made a number of adaptations on site. They created new entrances, and moved walls to create new and larger classrooms. They relocated the Special Educational Needs and Disability department so that it was out of all the bubble areas, installed hand sanitiser stations in each classroom and redeveloped the sixth form centre. They also redesigned the timetable so that year groups would have lunch at different times, and year 11 students would have an extra hour of school each day to help them catch up with any learning lost during lockdown.

Over lockdown, Chiswick School delivered teaching to its Y12 students through live virtual lessons. Lower down the school, teachers delivered live and pre-recorded lessons so that learning could continue. As a result of this the teachers at Chiswick School are now confident in delivering lessons through Google Meet, said Laura.

“We took Tuesday to get ready and then, on Wednesday, we began teaching the entire timetable to the three Year 8 classes that had to remain at home though live lessons. We begin with tutor time at 8.40 and then teachers log on throughout the day to teach the lesson remotely. Last week we had 93% attendance to the lessons and we are glad that students can keep learning and stay in touch with their teachers and each other. We miss the children and we are looking forward to them returning to us on 2 October.

“The students at Chiswick School are working incredibly hard and constantly amaze me. The support we have received from the community is much appreciated and very important to us”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Sadiq Khan considering further Covid measures for London

See also: Chiswick Flower Market cancelled for October

Sadiq Khan considering further Covid measures for London

Image above: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan; BBC photograph 

London at a ‘Tipping point’

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says he is ‘extremely concerned’ by the evidence of the way Covid-19 is spreading in London. He has expressed the ‘firm view’ that action should be taken to stop the spread. Restrictions could include a ban people socialising with others outside of their household or support bubble.

In a statement on Friday 18 September he said:

“It is increasingly likely that, in London, additional measures will soon be required to slow the spread of the virus. We will be considering some of the measures which have already been imposed in other parts of the UK.”

On Tuesday 22 September the Prime Minister announced new Covid restrictions for the whole of England. On Friday 25 September London was placed on the Government’s watch list of cities showing a worrying rise in Covid infections. 620 new cases were confirmed in London on Friday.

The watch-list, published each week, categorises local councils seeing a higher infection rate as “areas of concern”, “areas of enhanced support” or “areas of intervention”. London Councils, the group which represents all the 32 London boroughs, announced London was joining the list and that all of the London boroughs are listed as “areas of concern”.

Map showing London boroughs (the way they are coloured bears no relations to Covid-19 statistics)

Hounslow one of the highest for Covid cases per head of population

Looking at the latest figures on Monday 28 September, Hounslow is ranked seventh in a table of local authority areas in London showing how many people have tested positive for coronavirus in the week leading up to 26 September and whether the number is on the rise.

It shows that in Hounslow 112 people tested positive in the week to 24 September, with a rate of 41.2 per 100,000 of population. Ealing had 133 people testing positive, with a rate of 38.9.
Compare this with Redbridge at the top of the table – 208 new cases last week, with a rate of 56.2 per 100,000 and Merton at the bottom of the table, with just 36 cases last week and a rate of 17.4.

Last week (the week leading up to 26 September) every single London borough showed an increase in cases. In the previous week (which would include the end of the 10 day period  after the flower market was held) Hounslow was showing a decrease in cases.

One reason for Hounslow’s relatively high position in the table might be that the availability of testing has been better here than it has in inner London. Hounslow leader Steve Curran told The Chiswick Calendar that the availability of testing had been relatively good here.

Mayor demands more testing for London

Mayor Khan said last week that testing capacity had been “diverted away” from the capital to other national hotspots, causing the number of tests in the city to drop by 43%.

“The lack of testing capacity is totally unacceptable,” he said. “It’s vital that testing capacity is increased immediately in London and focused in the areas it is needed most. Any delay will mean letting the city down and will cost lives.

“London is at a very worrying tipping point right now. We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls, hospital admissions and patients in ICU”

Sadiq Khan talked to Boris Johnson last Tuesday and is now in regular contact with him.

“They discussed the rapidly worsening situation in London, including increasing ICU admission rates, and the need to go further now to prevent a disastrous full lockdown in future including mandatory face coverings for hospitality workers and more widespread wearing of face coverings” the Mayor’s spokesman said.

“It is clear that London has unique needs and challenges and additional measures need to be examined which are suitable for the capital.

“Sadiq and the PM agreed to speak more regularly.”

‘Covid figures do not reflect the real picture’ Kelly O’Neill

LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill says the official figures for people who have Covid-19 do not reflect the full extent of the pandemic in London.

‘We know that the current testing provision in London isn’t able to offer tests to everyone who needs one. What we do know, and what matters, is that cases are rising rapidly across London as a whole, and more people are needing hospital treatment’.

Kevin Fenton, the head of Public Health England in London, disclosed the fall in testing during  the meeting between leaders of London’s 32 boroughs, medical experts and Mayor Sadiq Khan, according to the Evening Standard.

‘According to one source who took part in the private virtual meeting, Professor Fenton made clear that the current testing levels alone could not track the progress of the disease in the capital’.

They know the rate of infection is higher than the figures of those tested would suggest, from the number of admissions to hospitals and the increase in 111 calls.

Ms O’Neill said:

‘Even if you are in a lower risk age group, and not as worried about coronavirus symptoms, please keep Hounslow safe for everyone by following government advice on social distancing, self-isolation, wearing face coverings in crowded spaces (inside and out) and practising good hand hygiene; if we do this we contribute to keeping coronavirus at bay.

‘Don’t forget how awful things were during the peak of the first wave. We saw 238 people die in Hounslow and hundreds more were seriously sick, many of whom are still suffering the ill effects’.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market cancelled for October

See also:

Antiques market applies for a licence in Chiswick High Rd

Images above: St Albans Antiques and Vintage Market

The organiser of the open air Antiques and Vintage market in St Albans has put in an application to run a similar market in Chiswick High Rd. Jennifer Titmuss, who has run the popular St Albans market for two years now, told The Chiswick Calendar she’s hoping to start in November or December in the same location as the Chiswick Flower Market, on the second Sunday of each month.

The St Albans market has 80 stalls at full capacity, selling all sorts of antique and vintage objects, including architectural salvage, furniture (upcycled and not), French Brocante, ‘collectables’ such as china dolls and World War II memorabilia, ‘ephemera’ – printed materials such as post cards – and ‘kitchenabilia’ – old kitchen stuff.

“It’s all along St Peter’s St in St Albans” Jennifer told me, in the heart of St Albans shopping area.

“There’s a fantastic atmosphere” she said “and the trade it brings to surrounding businesses is amazing”.


Images above: St Albans Antiques and Vintage Market

Jennifer lives in St Albans and worked for many years in the music business, organising tours and managing artists. Her first proper job was with Island Records in Chiswick, so she has always had a soft spot for the place. When she was thinking of where she could open her second market, her thoughts turned to Chiswick High Rd and when she Googled it, she saw were were about to launch Chiswick Flower Market on the first Sunday of the month.

She has applied to hold her market along a much larger area of Chiswick High Rd than the flower market, from the Police station at Linden Gardens as far along as the South Beach day spa at number 123 Chiswick High Rd. The pavement is broad all the way along. She thinks she could fit 60 stalls while Covid social distancing restrictions apply and as many as 80 after they cease to be required.

The market would run from 9.00am – 3.00pm on the second Sunday of the month throughout the year. She is expecting to get an answer from LB Hounslow on her application by mid October.

Images above: St Albans Antiques and Vintage Market

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market cancelled for October

See also: Open air markets all the rage this autumn

Redundancies at Chiswick House

Chiswick House losing six posts

Chiswick House is losing six posts. Four are the positions of staff who run the house, which has been closed to the public all season. The other two are in administration.

Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of the Chiswick House Trust told The Chiswick Calendar it was with great regret that she was having to let people go, it had been a difficult decision, but she’s had to be pragmatic and lose posts in the areas which are not bringing in any money.

Many more businesses are going through the same process of deciding to close jobs once their staff are no longer covered by the Government’s furlough scheme at the end of October. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said last week that he was not able to save every job.

Images above: Auctioneer Adrian Biddell, Head of Paintings & Fine Art at Chiswick Auctions, with Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House Trust and Cllr Tony Louki, Mayor of Hounslow

Auction raises over £40,000

Xanthe launched a campaign at the beginning of the summer to try and replace the money they’ve lost from the cancellation of commercial events.

“The community of Chiswick has been fantastic” she said.

The charity auction held on Saturday 26 September raised more than £40,000, taking Chiswick House Trust up to the full amount the campaign sought to raise by the end of September.

Adrian Biddell, Head of Paintings & Fine Art at Chiswick Auctions, conducted the auction, which had 40 lots. The lot which raised the most cash was ‘Eat Like an Earl’, a dinner for up to 16 people to be held at Chiswick House, provided by Chiswick House’s contracted caterers The Food Show. The dinner went for £6,100.

Chiswick House reaches its £120,000 target

“It was a huge amount of Work” said Xanthe, “there were lots of volunteers helping out” but the last push to raise £120,000 by the end of September – £1,000 a day since the launch of the campaign – paid off.

The Lego fundraiser, launched at the same time by the Friends of Chiswick House, has raised £20,000 so far. The Lego model of Chiswick House is only half built so there is plenty of time to contribute still to its completion.

The money raised has covered some overhead Xanthe told us. “It has bought us some time. We couldn’t have done it without the magnificent support of the community in Chiswick”

She and her team have redrawn their business plan. “We need to reduce our reliance on commercial events”. Lightopia, the Chinese lantern sculpture show was booked in for this autumn and was briefly advertised, but they pulled out because they considered they couldn’t make enough profit to make it worthwhile, with the cost of the extra Covid safety measures they would have had to put in place.

Instead Xanthe and her team are looking at more opportunities for children to use the grounds regularly, volunteering roles and a deepening of the relationship with the local community. They are working towards the reopening of the house next year.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Buy a Lego brick to support Chiswick House

See also: Chiswick House gets emergency cash from the National Lottery


Open air markets all the rage this autumn

Shopping ain’t what it used to be. What used to be a carefree and enjoyable experience (well, sometimes) is now no longer something you’d really do for pleasure – except that is, if it’s out in the open air.

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market; photograph by Frank Noon

Chiswick Flower Market

London’s markets are coming into their own. Chiswick Flower Market – the first new flower and plant market to open in London for 150 years – had slightly more than seven thousand visitors on its opening day in September.

I’m sure it helped that we had a double page spread in the FT about it that weekend, an article in the Evening Standard and it was written up as by Time Out as the no. 1 thing to do in London in September, but the response to the idea of enjoyable outside shopping, for everything from bulbs, bouquets and bedding plants to exotic indoor plants and hop bines, was phenomenal. Most of the stall holders had sold out of stock by the end and existing Chiswick businesses nearby also did very well from the visitors attracted to the market, with many reporting double their normal Sunday turnover.

The organisers have regrettably decided to given the next one, planned for Sunday 4 October, a miss because of the Covid situation, but at time of writing Chiswick Flower Market is planning to return on Sunday 1 November with an online booking system in place so people can book timed slots to visit the November market and the Christmas one on Sunday 6 December. They are also planning an early slot for ‘tender perennials’ – older and more vulnerable flower lovers. For updates keep an eye on the Chiswick Flower Market website.

Image above: Ravenscourt Farmers Market

Ravenscourt Park Farmers Market

The flower market is not the only new market to have opened in west London recently. A new food market also opened at the beginning of September. Ravenscourt Park Farmers Market is run by the organisers of the Bishops Park Farmers Market in Fulham, which has been operating successfully since 2013. Ross Spurrier, who is “Chiswick born and bred” told The Chiswick Calendar they had planned the new market for March 2020, since Bishops Park had been such a success.

“We were talking to Hammersmith & Fulham Council. When the pandemic happened it was put on hold, like everything else. The council shut the parks during lockdown but when they reopened them they realised having an open air market was a good idea”.

The food market has about 20 stalls, selling fresh fruit and veg, fish, bread and cakes and a variety of street food. On their first weekend they had around 3,000 people visiting and their traders were mainly sold out by 12.00. It brought business to the nearby garden centre and cafe and to the surrounding shops, Ross told us.

Ravenscourt Park Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 10.00am – 2.00pm
Bishop’s Park Farmers Market is open Sundays from 10.00am – 2.00pm

Image above: Producers selling at High Street Kensington

High Street Kensington Farmers Market

Another new Farmers Market has just opened (Sunday 20 September) in High St Kensington. The council has decided to close a road next to the Town Hall and Library to make space for around 30 food stalls each week, providing vegetables, fruit, juice, meat, bread, fish and much else besides.

This one is run by London Farmers Markets, which runs food markets at venues all over London, including Balham, Blackheath, Ealing, Islington, Ladbroke Grove, Marylebone, Notting Hill, Parliament Hill, Pimlico Rd, Queens Park, South Kensington, Swiss Cottage, Twickenham, Walthamstow, West Hampstead and Wimbledon.

You will find the new market in High Street Kensington at the junction of Hornton Street and Phillimore Walk.

High Street Kensington Farmers Market is open Sundays from 10.00am – 2.00pm

Images above: Food Market, Chiswick

Food Market Chiswick celebrates its 21st birthday

Our own Farmers Market in Chiswick was well ahead of the curve. The Food Market Chiswick celebrates 21 years in September 2020.

Opposite Chiswick School, behind the flats on the A316 in Dukes Meadows, the market is home to between 20 and 25 stalls each Sunday morning selling a range of fresh food. It was set up as a social enterprise and the revenue it raises is used to maintain the surrounding public space, which includes an adventure playground and a children’s paddling pool.

Among the stalls selling meat, cheese, vegetables, coffee and street food is Hook and Sons, which sells unpasteurized milk (a totally different taste!)

The Food Market Chiswick was forced to close for a few weeks during the height of the lockdown, but market development manager Kathleen Healy says she thinks people feel safer doing their shopping outside. Since the beginning of September the food market has been as busy as ever and they’ve had to have marshals keep the queue in order.

They have recently had a visit from environmental health inspectors who took in the masks, the social distancing, the QR code for the NHS app prominently displayed, the orderly queue and the hourly cleaned loos. Word in the market has it that they were duly impressed and pronounced it “one of the best we have seen”.

Traditionally the Food Market Chiswick decorates for Halloween, and though face painting is a no-no this year, they’ll be doing their spooky best for children on the previous Sunday, 25 October.

Images above: Duck Pond Market in Gunnersbury Park

Duck Pond Market, Gunnersbury Park

Gunnersbury Park has recently become home to a market. Duck Pond market opened there in August 2020, joining Duck Pond markets in Richmond, Ruislip, Highgate and Chalfont St Giles. The artisan markets for independent crafters, food producers and small businesses, launched in 2008 and are growing apace.

“Duck Pond Market combines the magic of a festival with interesting stalls, local, sustainable and ethical food, crafts, homewares and arts — always in a beautiful setting” says founder Caron.

“Stallholder costs are kept low to encourage start-up businesses, the vibe is friendly and supportive and this shows in the happy and relaxed atmosphere”. Duck Pond will be at Gunnersbury Park on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.

Image above: Acton market

Market ‘W3’ opens in October in Acton

A ‘new look’ Saturday market, known as ‘Market W3’, is coming to Acton this autumn. Market W3 will host a range of ‘new and different stalls that will offer food, art, flowers, music, fashion & interior design’.

The market is due to launch on Saturday 3 October, coronavirus restrictions permitting, and will replace the current Saturday market, which has been running since 2007. The first seven weeks are going to be autumn/winter themed, and from 21 November the market will take on more of a ‘Winter Wonderland’ style.

Organisers say they hope to ‘tap into  local talent to put fashion, food, art and music centre stage, and to create opportunities, inspire entrepreneurship and encourage small business development and economic growth in Acton.’

Images above: Old Isleworth market

Old Isleworth Market reopens

Old Isleworth Market also reopened in September, having been closed for several months. The monthly market in Shrewsbury Walk sells a range of fresh produce and new and secondhand goods from the local community. Among the regular stallholders is Brenda Daly’s award winning microbakery Daly Bread.

Previously focused on selling fresh produce, last year the small team of volunteers who run the market expanded its scope to include vinyl, craft, flowers and plants, as well as secondhand children’s books and clothes. The market hosts a variety of musicians and puts on entertainment and craft activities for children. Next markets: Saturday 17 October, Saturday 21 November, Saturday 12 December.

Old Isleworth Market Facebook page

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market a roaring success

See also: Chiswick Food Market enabled us to survive as a family business

Episode 22: Talking with MCC’s Head of Heritage and Collections Neil Robinson

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.

Neil Robinson is the MCC’s Head of Collections and Heritage at Lord’s. He is responsible for one of the world’s greatest collections of sporting art, artefacts, and memorabilia, as well as a constantly expanding Library of over 20,000 books and complete collections of journals, many rare, as well as the MCC Archive, a treasure trove for historians and not only of cricket. Previously the MCC’s Librarian and head of research, he has given unstinting help to thousands of writers on cricket.

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Neil describes the scope of the collections (up to 5,000 works of art or artefacts, hundreds of thousands of photographs) and its nineteenth-century origins, especially the efforts of Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane, an MCC grandee associated with the club for no fewer than 75 years. The oldest photos show the first English overseas cricket tour, of the USA and Canada, in 1859 as well as the sheep used to crop the field before the lawnmower was invented in the 1860s. Two other historic photographs show the English playing cricket in Yokahama, Japan, in 1863: amid great tension, the sides carried weapons on the field to defend themselves from expected attack by samurai.

Neil also mentions the first English cricket tour of Australia in 1863 – as a late substitute for a cancelled tour by Charles Dickens (a cricket fan).

He describes the restoration at the Natural History Museum of one of the most popular artefacts – the sparrow killed in mid-flight by a ball from Jehangir Khan (father of Pakistan’s Majid Khan). The gender of the bird has finally been established.

Neil describes the efforts to build up the audio archive of over 200 cricketing interviews, to make the collections, especially the portraits, more representative of non-English countries and of women, and to put more of the collections online, a priority heightened by the temporary shutdown of the Lord’s Museum and the ending of tours. The collections are to be reviewed in the light of current concerns over associations with slavery and colonial oppression.

Neil reveals the amazing Victorian romance hidden in the Ashes urn – and his own remarkable experiences in transporting it to Australia as part of a (non-cricketing) exhibition.

He describes the creation of his own cricket book –  Long Shot Summer  – the history of England’s deeply troubled Test match year of 1988.

Finally, Neil describes some of the vital historic materials in the MCC Archive, especially records of all the England tours organized by MCC as late as 1968. He explains the gaps caused by the haphazard way records were preserved before the Archive was begun in 2006.

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

Chiswick High Rd closed Sunday 27 September

Chiswick High Road will be closed on the morning of Sunday 27 September in the eastbound lane from Turnham Green Terrace to just beyond Chiswick Lane. The planned closure is for work on the construction of Chiswick’s new cinema. A crane will be removing portacabins from the site.

Chiswick Cinema say the road will need to be shut for up to four hours from 7.30 to 11.30am.

The following bus routes are being diverted:

Routes H91, 267 and 391 towards Hammersmith
Route 190 towards West Brompton
Route 237 towards White City

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market cancelled for October 

See also: Elvis the cat Returned to Sender

Chiswick Flower Market cancelled for October

Chiswick Flower Market, which was held for the first time in September, will not be going ahead in October. The organisers (of whom The Chiswick Calendar editor Bridget Osborne is one) have released this statement:

‘It is with great regret that the organisers of the Chiswick Flower Market have decided to cancel the October market, which was due to take place next Sunday 4th October.

‘The decision was taken in the light of the worsening national Covid-19 situation and in consultation with London Borough of Hounslow’s Director of Public Health, local businesses, our traders, local residents and our marshals. Whilst open-air markets can be held legally, we felt that it would not be appropriate to go ahead at this time.

‘We have been carefully weighing the pros and cons of following up the hugely successful inaugural market and sadly came to this decision today. (Friday 25 September)

‘We would like to thank all our traders and marshals who have patiently supported us in the ongoing discussions and who will be as disappointed as we are by this decision. The September market brought great benefit, both economically and socially to the area.

Images above: Chiswick Flower Market in September; Photographs by Frank Noon

Hope to return first Sunday in November

‘We hope to return in November with a bigger and better market, with strengthened safety measures including ticketed slots, and a well-regulated queuing system, as well as a dedicated early morning shopping session for more vulnerable flower lovers.

‘We are determined that despite this set-back, our work will continue to bring the community together, to revitalise our High Road and to help new and established independent businesses.

‘We are exploring methods by which the traders could still sell their plants, bulbs and flowers. Please note that on our website most of the traders have online shops and you can support them by purchasing your flowers and other horticultural goodies direct from them

‘We are very disappointed to have to take this step, but given the current surge in infections throughout the country, it seems to us to be the right step. We hope to see you in November and wish everyone a safe experience through the next months’.

Images above: Chiswick Flower Market in September; Photographs by Frank Noon

“Right decision” says council Leader Steve Curran

In response to the statement received from the Chiswick Flower Market organisers, Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council said:

“Chiswick Flower Market is a fantastic addition to the borough, and the first one last month was a great success.

“It’s a real shame the October one has had to be cancelled. I and hundreds of other people were looking forward to its return.

“However, given the new national guidelines which came into force this week, cancelling it was the right decision. People’s safety must come first.

“I’d like to thank the market organisers for being so responsible and the Council looks forward to supporting them to hopefully make the November market go ahead in a Covid secure way.”

Images above: Chiswick Flower Market in September; Photographs by Frank Noon

Support from Chiswick residents

The organisers of the market have had lots of supportive comments from both traders and local residents, including this from Tim English:

“It’s a shame, the first was wonderful, but I think it’s the right decision. I look forward to coming to the next, whenever that might be”

and this from Emma Renton:

“Hopefully there will be many more markets in the future”.

Cllr Ron Mushiso, who is deputy leader of the Conservative councillors in Chiswick added:

“Chiswick Flower Market was a resounding success when it launched in early September. I was delighted to have played a small role as one of the Marshalls on the day and was looking forward to continuing my role on Sunday 4th October. But the decision by the organisers is the right one given the current circumstances. I know a lot of people will be disappointed but public safety has to take priority”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Decisions on hold because of Covid

See also: Covid figures do not reflect the real picture – Kelly O’Neill

Elvis the cat is returned to sender

New winter market coming to Acton

Brentford supporters unable to watch football in their new stadium this year

Staveley Rd protest ‘not acceptable’ says council

The Cabinet Member for Transport on Hounslow Council, Cllr Hanif Khan, has described the protests by residents of Park Rd in Grove Park against the installation of a road barrier as part of a new traffic scheme as “illegal activities” and “not acceptable.”

The council is installing a number of new traffic measures throughout the area of Chiswick south of the A4 to try and stop Grove Park and Strand on the Green being used as a rat run by commuters trying to shave a couple of minutes off their journey time.

Traffic surveys have shown that 70% traffic through the residential area just drives straight through. Staveley Rd is a residential street which has high volumes of traffic and drivers also routinely speed down it.

The council’s solution is to put in a diagonal barrier which would make it impossible to drive the whole length of the road. Instead motorists will be forced to turn off it into Park Rd. They hope that by forcing drivers to take a detour the route will cease to be a shortcut, obviating the reason for commuters to use it as a cut through.

On Monday 14 September Park Rd residents occupied the street corners at the junction and the traffic island in the middle of Staveley Rd. A team from Hounslow Highways decided not to try and carry out the work and went on to their next job, after talking to the protesters. The local residents have kept up a token presence every day since.

Hounslow Highways returned on Tuesday 22 September, this time with several police officers present. Again they left without the work being done.

Protesters “do not represent the whole community”

Cllr Khan said:

“We are installing a barrier at Staveley Road / Park Road junction in Chiswick as an experimental trial to prevent motorists using it as a rat-run and make the road safer for walking and cycling. Currently, road traffic and average speeds on the road are excessive, with many residents concerned for their safety. On 14 September our Highways team was prevented from starting works on the road by a group of residents, and we have learned this morning our team was once again prevented from starting work.

“It is not acceptable for a small number of people to prevent the Council from starting this trial simply because they don’t like the idea of it. This group does not represent the whole community.  We know that many residents in the area are fully supportive of the trial taking place and want to experience it in situ so that they can feed back and be part of the decision-making process on whether or not it becomes permanent. In addition, their actions so far have wasted resource and public money by preventing our team from doing their job.

“We strongly encourage those engaged in these illegal activities to step back, follow the law, consider the views of the wider community and give their valued opinion through the consultation process that will run alongside the trial.  It is only by trialling different approaches that we can understand what works and what doesn’t. We will not be deterred from implementing this experimental scheme as a means of finding the most appropriate way of dealing with the issue of excessive levels of traffic on Staveley Road.”

Images above: Protesters in Staveley Rd; photographs Andrea Carnevali

It is unclear what law he thinks the protesters are breaking. There were at maximum about 30 people there, mainly middle aged and older, one in a disabled motorised scooter, occupying the island and the street corners, talking to the police and Hounslow Highways workers. The police did not attempt to move them forcibly.

The Chiswick Calendar has received correspondence from a resident of Staveley Rd saying Staveley Rd residents agree with what the council is doing because they are fed up with their street being a dangerous rat run.

Images above: Protesters in Staveley Rd; photographs Andrea Carnevali

“Nothing could be further from the truth”

The protesters deny that they are doing anything illegal. “Nothing could be further from the truth” said a member of the Park Rd residents group, who does not want to be named.

“The police complimented the residents present on their peaceful and socially distanced behaviour” he said.

“The police observed that it was not illegal to stand or walk across Pedestrian Refuge Island. There was no breach of the peace or obstruction and no one was either threatened with arrest or arrested”.

They say the council’s stance is “provacative” and “bullying”.

Their case is as follows:
The design of the junction is fatally flawed and dangerous because it removes Pedestrian Refuge Islands. The council undertook a flawed Road Safety Audit and is placing lives at risk. It has not consulted with residents, nor has it checked the plan with the RNIB or Accessibility groups.

They say although the council is using an Experimental Traffic Order procedure, which has to be reversible, it actually has no intention of it being reversible. They also say they understand a class action against the “inappropriate” use of Experimental Traffic Orders is being considered in other boroughs.

Images above: Protesters in Staveley Rd; photographs Andrea Carnevali

They are demanding a meeting with the council to discuss the plans before they are implemented, saying that they are concerned about cyclists but are not as concerned about the safety of pedestrians.

Staveley Rd has proved to be dangerous for cyclists. The correpondent who wrote to The Chiswick Calendar told us that he has answered the door to a cyclist “dripping in blood” on more than one occasion when they’ve been knocked off by a car.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Park Rd residents prevent Hounslow Highways from installing road barrier

See also: Protests in Staveley Rd as workmen return to install barrier

New restrictions could lead to ‘substantial job losses’

Protests in Staveley Rd as workmen return to install barrier

Man in the Middle – Chapter 52: My diet got stuck in the buffet car

I am standing naked on the bathroom scales with my eyes shut tight and my head bowed like a criminal in court, waiting for the judge to pass sentence on me.

I already know the verdict: guilty. The only question is how severe the sentence will be. My crime? My diet has gone off the rails and got stuck in the buffet car and I have broken all the dietary vows I made so recently to myself and my family. Again.

My diet had been going so well. I had shed a lot of tummy tonnage thanks to a home-made puritanical regime in which I basically stopped eating and drinking for three weeks. Fasting not feasting, I said to myself every morning, like a monk reciting a litany.

And for a while it worked, kilograms folded away like salami slices at a deli counter.

Unfortunately, the last four days have been a dietary disaster. I have put back on all the weight I had lost in a Bacchanal of liquid lunches, saucy dinners, cheesy snacks and takeaways. This morning I have to face up to the fact that my Götterdämmerung against my gut is heading towards defeat.

I started to lose the battle a few mornings ago when I ate Mother’s half eaten bacon sandwich, which her carer had left on a plate next to the recycling bin. Unconsciously, I picked it up and then it was gone. From that moment on, it’s been one long Fresher’s week for me and a few other like-minded, ‘getting-to-be-old-timers’. In short, I have been on a four-day Boomer bender of stupendous self-indulgence.

I have drunk stouts, ales, beers, lagers, wines and even a quarter of a bottle of Madeira, sometimes at the same sitting and from the same glass. I have eaten out at lunch time and dinner (even though Dishi Rishi’s foodie sales promotion is over) and filled my face excessively with a complete disregard for portion control or carbo-counting.

I have sampled platefuls of pleasure from France, Italy, Spain and India and, best of all, I have discovered cicchetti, those small Venetian snacks, which would bring about World Peace instantly if they were made compulsory at every diplomatic shin-dig across the globe or wherever else people with power gather.

Mae West said: ‘You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough’ and, in the last few days, I have done my very best to live up to her epicurean philosophy, in a social distanced way, of course.

Frankly, I don’t think I have had so much fun since I stayed up all night with a bottle of brandy replaying the news footage of Teresa May holding Donald Trump’s tiny hand so he could make it down a staircase without tipping over.

Of course, the family will be disappointed by my self-inflicted dietary defeat. This isn’t the first time I have made them promises about my beer gut and ended up on the losing side in the Battle of the Bulge.

But this time, I feel more guilty than usual. They are genuinely worried that my bulk may increase the risks of me suffering badly if I catch Covid19 and they’ve have been gently nagging at me for a while to do something about it.

‘Lose the love handles before the next wave,’ said my daughter, a marathon running, yoga loving girl whose idea of a blow-out is a Caesar’s Salad without the croutons or mayo dressing.
‘I can’t help it if I am a gourmand,’ I replied.

‘Gourmand is French for greedy pig. You mean gourmet,’ she said. ‘But whatever you want to call yourself, it’s time for a change.’

Faced with this caring onslaught what father would not try to do something to reassure his family that he really does want to carry on living? The question was how to lose weight? Every diet I had ever followed has been a failure. What could I do?

‘How about some gentle fasting?’ said my wife.

‘In the siege of Stalingrad, the Russians were allowed only 250 grams of food a day. If you copied that you’d lose the pounds pretty quick,’ said my son.

‘That’s inappropriate in so many ways,’ said my wife.

A light breeze comes in through the bathroom window and I realised I am getting cold standing naked on the scales.

I lift one eyelid open a millimetre at a time, like a weightlifter slowly raising a heavy barbell which may be too much for him. My wife calls from the bedroom.

‘What do the scales of justice say today?’

‘Are you sure these scales work?’ I reply, having spied the number staring back up at me from the bathroom scales.

‘That bad?’ she says.

‘It’s a small set back,’ I say.

‘Sounds more like Dunkirk,’ she says.

She’s right. The number staring up at me from the bathroom scales represents a full-scale retreat. As Joe Strummer might have said if he had made it to middle age: I fought the gut and the gut won.

‘Today’s a new beginning,’ I say. ‘I’ll soon be back on track.’

Behind me, I hear something that sounds like ‘hah’.

Read the next in the series – Midlife Crisis

Decisions on hold because of Covid

The Government’s chief scientific and medical officers have made it clear that Britain is “heading in the wrong direction”, issuing a statement on Monday 21 September that we are at a “critical point in the pandemic” and warning that we could be looking at 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day within weeks, if the current rates of infection aren’t brought down.

Anxiety and indecision at every level

As politicians debate what to do for the best, the divide in opinion between keeping things open and continuing with normal life or shutting down and staying at home is replicated at every level, from the Prime Minister and his Cabinet down to small businesses and families trying to make up their minds whether a sniffle means they should keep their kids off school and not go to work themselves.

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market. Photograph Frank Noon

Chiswick Flower Market

Chiswick’s new flower market is next due to be held on Sunday 4 October and the organisers (of whom The Chiswick Calendar’s editor is one) are now considering whether it should go ahead. The organisers are working closely with LB Hounslow and their officers, and are being guided by the national guidance on open air markets.

The first one had more than 7,000 visitors and was hugely successful in social and economic terms. Not only did the stallholders do well but existing local businesses saw a huge boost to their trade. Open air events are deemed relatively safe, but none of us wants to be responsible for spreading infection.

We may have to consider postponing the market, but we are also making some changes to the way in which we marshal future markets, based on the experience of the first one, including a ‘tender perennials’ hour for older people and those who are shielding, from 08.30 – 09.30am.

Image above: Dom Pipkin performing at George IV, Thursday 17 September

Hospitality and Entertainment


The Chiswick Calendar held its first Jazz at George IV session since March on Thursday 17 September. The layout of the Boston Room was changed, with the tables spaced out and the number of tickets available halved. The law, at least at time of writing (Monday 21 September) is that you are allowed to have no more than six people sitting together and no more than two households per table. The atmosphere was fantastic, with people clearly delighted to be able to see live music again and the artist, Dom Pipkin, equally grateful for an audience.

“It’s something we normally take for granted as live performers, but it’s so good to have you guys here to play to” he said.

Tickets are selling well for our next event, Oriana Curls’ Piaf Remembered show due to take place on Thursday 1 October.

The idea being discussed over the weekend that pubs should be closed again was firmly dismissed by Simon Emeny, CEO of Fuller’s:

“That would be illogical” he said. “Why close down a sector who (a) are regulated. (b) have been successfully working with strict guidelines, (c) have been and continue to work with Government on track and trace. Pubs are not the problem but can be part of the solution”.


Image above: Arts Ed online production Love & Information

Live entertainment is only just beginning to reopen after the summer. In the past week Watermans in Brentford has announced the return of live shows with their Friday night cabaret nights on 2 October.

ArtsEd is back, with students in school but their first performance of the term Love & Information by Caryl Churchill by MA acting students, will be streamed rather than performed in front of an audience. Available to view from Monday 28 September. Their weekend classes are also all online.

The Lyric Hammersmith is waiting to see what happens this week before they decide what they are able to offer in the run up to Christmas. They have already cancelled this year’s pantomime, postponing it till next year. Currently they are allowed to put on plays, but with social distancing the capacity of their 600 seat auditorium is reduced to 180.

“We’re waiting to see what happens and we’re trying to work out what we could do. Obviously the number of seats we could sell and social distancing back stage hugely dictates the kind of show we might be able to put on” their spokeswoman Amy Belson-Read told us. For the time being they are just running theatre courses for young people online. Courses in dance, ‘theatre making’ and directing for people up to the age of 25 start this week.

Images above: Watermans Cabaret nights planned for October – Lili La Scala; Nikki & JD – Knot – Photograph by David White

The Chiswick Playhouse is likewise in limbo. They were due to announce their autumn and winter schedule this week, but are now holding off to see what the Government announces.
Their 96 seats are reduced to 40 with social distancing. Currently they have a programme of one night only performances – a concert of musical theatre on 25 September and an evening of comedy and magic on 2 October – which they are holding outside in the pub’s courtyard. They are also advertising a musical Now Hear This, with a cast of four to be performed inside the theatre. Now Hear This is scheduled to run from 27 – 31 October.

“We are desperately doing everything we can to stay open and viable. We are determined to keep going until this thing is over” owner Fred Perry told The Chiswick Calendar.

Like everyone else he is watching and waiting, wondering which school of thought inside the Cabinet will win the argument as to whether personal safety or the economy should be considered more important at this point.

The children’s theatre classes on Saturday mornings, which Chiswick Playhouse launched at the beginning of September, are proving hugely successful. The theatre will continue to run them unless told otherwise.

Hogarth’s House reopens

Hogarth’s House has only just reopened to visitors on Tuesday 22 September. You can book timed entry tickets here in groups of up to six people.

Chiswick House is still haemorrhaging money. They have raised £75,000 in donations since they launched their campaign at the beginning of the summer. Their aim was to raise £120,000 by the end of September to replace the revenue they lost from commercial events and private functions such as weddings. They have been able to host small weddings, with a maximum of ten people inside the House and 30 people outside. The Chiswick Festival brought them a little bit of revenue, but they are still reliant on the goodwill of local people to make up the continuing loss of commercial revenue.

Lightopia, from the company which brought the Chinese lantern festival to the Gardens, was briefly advertised, but the organisers pulled out because they didn’t think they would be able to make enough money on it this year, as even though it’s an outside event, the costs of running events have been substantially increased by the coronavirus.

Director Xanthe Arvanitakis told The Chiswick Calendar she is hoping to run a Halloween event for families and some form of Christmas market in Chiswick House Gardens and some form of carol concert, depending on what will be permitted.

Image above: Fortitude Bakehouse, Turnham Green Terrace

High Rd Businesses

Paradoxically the High Rd appears to be having a mini revival. Whereas a year ago we were all bemoaning the 30 or so empty properties on Chiswick High Rd, these days empty properties are hard to come by. The take up of properties and the level of enquiries in the last two months has been “incredible” says Whitmans Commercial Director Jeremy Day. He has had 25 enquiries from people wanting to rent the property that was Byron burger restaurant and the good news, he says is that they’re all either restaurants or retailers such as grocers who want to sell things we might want to buy.

The combination of the fall in rental values, the holiday on business rates and the coronavirus inspired sudden love affair with all things local has brought many of the businesses who were doing well in central London and now find they aren’t any more, to try their hand at doing business in the suburbs. Fortitude Bakery, Hush Hush and Beleaf are all cases in point.

Image above: Grove Park surgery

Health services

GP surgeries are still not seeing people in person unless it’s absolutely necessary. Anecdotally, booking an appointment to talk to a GP locally, unless it’s urgent, takes about a week to ten days. Middlesex Hospital are still not doing any elective surgery and were unable to tell The Chiswick Calendar when they might resume.

Three major west London hospitals have gone on the record to explain how the coronavirus pandemic is causing a huge backlog on waiting lists for elective treatments and appointments.
The board of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT), which runs Charing Cross Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and Hammersmith Hospital discussed a report in July which outlined the size of the problem. It said then that by that stage hundreds of patients had been waiting a year for a variety of different treatments, after being referred by their GP. Elective surgery has now been resumed at Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals.

Image above: Chiswick School head teacher Laura Ellener


The lack of available testing has been playing havoc with children’s school attendance. About one in every 20 children in England is out of school because of issues linked to the pandemic, according to Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield.

Social media has been full of comments like this one from Dr Emma Kell:

“I’ve been trying to get a Covid test for my daughter, who has a cold, since Sunday. I’ve refreshed the site thousands of times. There is NOTHING. She and her sister had just started school again. We can’t go to school. It is at best frustrating, at worst a scandal”.

The frustration of parents like Emma has been echoed by headteacher of Chiswick School Laura Ellener. When Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee tweeted:

“Eton Head confirms to me that every pupil had a Covid test on arriving at school. Imagine if every child and teacher in the country had access to those private tests. Instead growing numbers stuck at home for lack of a test..”

Laura responded:

“This is the inequality that makes me mad. Not because they have it but because we don’t. I can provide everything: good teaching, aspiration, character and values but some things are simply about £££££££££”

Chiswick School has moved to a two week half term holiday this term, in line with private schools such as Latymer and Godolphin and Latymer (19 – 30 October) but teachers will still be providing classes for Year 11 students in one of those two weeks because they have missed so much this year.

“It is a source of great frustration that the testing facilities are not as straightforward as they need to be” she told The Chiswick Calendar. “School leaders have urged the government to take action to ensure that the testing facilities are readily available”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Londoners expecting Covid restrictions

See also: Coronavirus cases across London continue to rise


Londoners expecting new Covid restrictions

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan says there is “no choice” but to introduce more measures to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. He met London council leaders on the afternoon of Monday 21 September and is expected to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the morning of Tuesday 22 September, after which the Prime Minister will make a statement to parliament.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg is reporting that it sounds “very likely” that pubs and other venues in England will be forced to close at 10.00pm, alongside other measures.

Earlier on Monday the Government’s chief scientific and medical officers issued a statement saying that Britain is “heading in the wrong direction”. They warned that “we are at a “critical point in the pandemic” and that we could be looking at 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day within weeks, if the current rates of infection are not brought down.

“New London plan”

Sadiq Khan said on Monday night:

“Without adequate testing or contact tracing in London we have no choice but to look at other measures to slow the spread of the virus. I firmly believe that acting early, rather than having to impose more stringent measures later, is the right thing to do both for public health and the economy.

“I have just met with local council leaders from all parties and public health experts to agree a new London plan to slow the spread of the virus and save Londoners lives. This includes some new restrictions. We will collectively be asking the Government to implement this plan as soon as possible and I will be discussing it with the Prime Minister tomorrow morning.

“I will be as clear as possible with Londoners about the full details and what it means for them as soon as it is agreed with Government.

“Stricter measures are needed”

After meeting with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, other borough leaders and public health experts, the Leader of Hounslow Council Steve Curran said last night:

“It’s clear that stricter measures are needed to slow the spread of coronavirus across the capital. Cases are rising exponentially and, with the current woefully inadequate test and trace system, extra steps need to be taken to protect our most vulnerable residents and control demand on hospitals”.

“If we act early we can hopefully save lives and reduce the likelihood of needing more stringent measures later. I urge the Prime Minister to listen to the collective voice of London and bring in the measures requested by the Mayor”.

Coronavirus “roughly doubling” each week

In Monday’s press briefing Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, said the UK could see 200 deaths every day if fast action is not taken to curb the spread of the disease.

Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, told the press conference that over the next six months we would have to continue to take the pandemic “collectively very seriously”.

Sir Patrick said the spread of the epidemic is “roughly doubling” in the UK every week. Professor Whitty added that the UK should “break unnecessary links between households”.

The rate of infection in London (total number of people with at least one lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 test result) is at 503.4 per 100,000 people since the beginning of the pandemic, compared with 927.7 in the North West, 762.1 in the North East and 784.1 in Yorkshire and The Humber. The rates quoted do not take account of the different rates of testing.

“Pubs are not the problem”

The hospitality sector has been anticipating further restrictions, as various scenarios for halting the increase in infection have been discussed by the Prime Minister and those around him over the past few days. Some of the ideas floated over the past couple of weeks have included the possibility of early closing for pubs and a two week ‘circuit break’ imposing a short lockdown around half term.

The idea that pubs should be closed again was firmly dismissed by Simon Emeny, CEO of Fuller’s over the weekend:

“That would be illogical” he said. “Why close down a sector who (a) are regulated. (b) have been successfully working with strict guidelines, (c) have been and continue to work with Government on track and trace. Pubs are not the problem but can be part of the solution”.

Cabinet split

We are told the Cabinet is split over what to do. It’s reported that a full shutdown of the hospitality sector was discussed in Downing Street on Friday 18 September, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak against. He and Home Secretary Priti Patel are understood to be urging caution about causing long-term damage to the economy. They argue the Prime Minister should weigh up the effect of recent measures such as the introduction of £10,000 fines on those who break quarantine and the limitation on socializing to groups of six people, before making decisions that would have a negative impact on the economy.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove are reported to be encouraging Boris Johnson to take decisive action to prevent a sharp rise in cases over the next few weeks.

Frustration at prospect of more restrictions

After Monday’s meeting with London’s council leaders, Sadiq Khan acknowledged the frustration many Londoners will feel at the prospect of further restrictions:

“I know that many Londoners, like me, will be deeply frustrated at the likelihood of imminent new restrictions. Londoners have shown incredible resolve by steadfastly following the rules and doing the right thing – at great cost. However, taking firm action now to prevent a deeper and longer lockdown in the future is without a doubt the best thing to both save lives, and protect jobs and our economic recovery” he said.

Cllr Curran echoed his words:

“If we act early we can hopefully save lives and reduce the likelihood of needing more stringent measures later. I urge the Prime Minister to listen to the collective voice of London and bring in the measures requested by the Mayor.

“We all need to play our part too and follow the key government guidance – washing hands regularly, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, keeping two metres apart where possible, and no social gatherings in groups of more than six.

“We should never forget how awful things were during the peak of the first wave. We had 238 people die in Hounslow and hundreds more made seriously ill. Coronavirus is still out there, it can spread without symptoms and it is still lethal.

“I’ve been extremely proud and inspired by how Hounslow residents have stepped up to support each other during the pandemic, with the vast majority acting responsibly. We all have a duty to keep following the rules to protect our most vulnerable residents and the NHS.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Decisions on hold while we wait to hear

See also: Coronavirus cases continue to rise

Protests on Staveley Rd continue daily

Image above: protesters at Staveley Rd on Monday 21 September 2020

After their success in stopping Hounslow Highways workers from installing a barrier across Staveley Rd last week, protesters have kept up a daily presence at the junction of Satevley Rd and Park Rd, including over the weekend, in case the workmen return.

The barrier is due to be installed as part of the ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’ scheme which is meant to stop motorists using residential streets in Grove Park as a cut through from the A316 to the A4.

Protesters “selfish”

A resident of Staveley Rd wrote to The Chiswick Calendar after last week’s story asking that we make it clear that:

“It was Park Road residents (NIMBY) NOT Staveley Road residents who were protesting. Staveley Road residents, who desperately need traffic speeds reduced on our road, are in favour of the planned work”.

Park Rd residents were being “incredibly selfish” he said and Cllr Sam Hearn’s involvement in the protest was “a disgrace”.

The protests started on Monday 14 September, when a team from Hounslow Highways turned up to remove the traffic island in Staveley Rd beside the junction with Park Rd and to install a diagonal barrier which would make it impossible to drive all the way along Staveley Rd from one end to the other.

The idea is to make it useless as a cut through, as cars travelling east to west to get onto Sutton Court Rd from the A316 would have to take a detour by turning left onto Park Rd. Cars going in the other direction would also have to turn left, heading north on Park Rd.

Some 8,000 cars a day pass along Sutton Court Rd each day, most of them just passing through Grove Park to shave a couple of minutes on their journey time by avoiding Hogarth roundabout. Traffic surveys have shown that over 70% of traffic entering Hartington Road from the A316 by Chiswick Bridge is driving straight through the area. LB Hounslow is trying to make the environment of Grove Park better and safer.

A group calling themselves ‘the Park Rd neighbours group’ is objecting because they say they have not been consulted on the scheme and the removal of the traffic island and Give Way signs will make Staveley Rd more dangerous to cross. Their spokesman declined to be named.

Julian Dunn, who lives on Staveley Rd, told The Chiswick Calendar that he had lived on the road for 19 years “with traffic flying up and down at 50 or 60 mph”.  There are road markings indicating the speed limit of 20 mph, but they make precious little difference, he says.

“Twice I’ve answered the door in the morning to cyclists who have been knocked off their bikes, blood pouring from their wounds, asking for help” he said.

“The difficulty is that Park Rd has always been a quiet road and has some very vocal people. I think they’re being incredibly selfish.

“The new scheme would divert some of the traffic down their quiet street, but it would make a huge difference to Staveley Rd.

“If they just waited until the council had implemented the whole scheme across Grove Park, in an organised way”, he said, “they will in time see that after a few months it will cut the amount of traffic throughout the whole area”.

Cllr Sam Hearn a “disgrace”

Julian described Cllr Sam Hearn as “a disgrace” because “he’s out there on the street orchestrating it. He should be representing all the people in the neighbourhood, not just those that live on his road”.

Cllr Hearn lives on Park Rd. He told The Chiswick Calendar last week that he was not “orchestrating” the protest, but was there only in a “supporting role”. He did however talk to the team leader of the Hounslow HIghways crew and tell him that the safety audit for the job was incomplete, after which the workmen left.

The Chiswick Calendar has also heard from a resident of Park Rd who has two young children with a medical condition which makes it difficult for them to understand danger. Their father told us that their own road would be busier and crossing Staveley Rd would be more dangerous for them without the central traffic island. He and his wife had chosen to live there partly because it was a quiet road.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Park Rd residents stop Hounslow Highways installing road barrier in Staveley Rd

See also: Cllr Sam Hearn’s blog on proposals for south Chiswick from May 2020

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Episode 21: Talking with Huw Turbervill and Simon Hughes of The Cricketer

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.

The Cricketer, on the edge of a well-deserved century, is the oldest surviving cricket magazine in the world – and shows no sign of leaving the crease. With Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast are its managing editor, and historian, Huw Turbervill, and its editor, Simon Hughes, known to millions from his televised appearances as the Analyst.

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They reveal that another distinguished centenarian, Captain Sir Tom Moore is a subscriber and an avid cricket follower.

They trace the history of The Cricketer, from its foundation in 1921 as a worthwhile activity for Plum Warner after his retirement from first-class cricket. Although it followed the Great War and the Spanish flu pandemic but neither figured much in its early pages. Initially a weekly newspaper (at six old pence, about the price of a pint of beer), it began a tradition of securing famous cricketers and distinguished authors as contributors for little or no money.

Besides being general editor of The Cricketer, Warner was cricket correspondent of the (ultra-conservative) Morning Post newspaper. He combined these roles with managing England’s Bodyline tour of Australia in the 1930s an arrangement unthinkable today, which caused Warner considerable stress.
In 1939, The Cricketer greeted the outbreak of war with a memorable cricket-themed editorial. Gallantly, the staff coped with paper shortage and the Blitz to bring out issues throughout the war, which were much appreciated by British prisoners-of-war.

Huw and Simon share vivid memories of two distinguished contributors – E W Swanton, grandiose and overbearing but devoted to cricket and good writing, and Christopher Martin-Jenkins, gentle, humorous and always running late, who inspired deep loyalty.

They analyse the innovative competitions in English cricket introduced and still supported by The Cricketer, the Cup for old boys’ teams, and the highly popular National Village Trophy, which gives village teams the chance of playing at Lord’s (even in this Covid year.)

Huw and Simon reveal the ructions caused by their two-yearly attempts to name the players and writer with the greatest influence in cricket. They reveal those who objected to being demoted or under-placed.

They describe The Cricketer’s tight relationship with its readers and its determination to cover cricket at all levels. Recent issues have had a more social focus, and Simon outlines the magazine’s treatment of BlackLivesMatter and the loss of black people to English cricket.

Outlining his latest book A New Innings, co-authored with Manoj Badale owner of the IPL team, Rajastan Royals, Simon charts the generally benign effects of T20 on global cricket. He also sets out the revolutionary implications of the new relationships between cricketers and spectators through sophisticated digital platforms. These could make cricket thrive even if live spectatorship remains off-limits due to Covid (or the next virus).

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