Lib Dem Mayoral candidate visits Chiswick

Luisa Porritt, the Liberal Democrats’ recently elected candidate for London Mayor in the next mayoral elections, visited Chiswick on Friday 30 October. Accompanied by Lib Dem councillor Gary Malcolm, she talked to several business owners on the High Rd and in South Parade, finding out about the issues uppermost in their minds.

Talking to The Chiswick Calendar, she said it seemed that London councils not talking to each other seemed to have contributed to the traffic chaos in Chiswick, and that was something that if she were elected mayor she would try and improve.

“That’s the sort of thing a mayor can do, to make sure the right people are sitting down and talking together”.

LB Hounslow made Turnham Green Terrace a no through route in July, resulting in more than 7,000 penalty notices being issued to drivers in a matter of just over three months, many of whom were issued to drivers who either hadn’t noticed the new signage or were confused about what it meant. At the same time LB Ealing closed Fisher’s Lane to vehicles other than buses.

The combined effect has been to increase traffic along South Parade and Bath Rd substantially, as drivers have either to join Acton Lane to the west or the Goldhawk Rd to the east, in order to drive from Bedford Park to Chiswick High Rd.

Luisa is a Liberal Democrat councillor in Camden, who was elected as a councillor for the first time in May 2018. In the 2019 European elections she became an MEP, a position which she held for six months. She has recently taken over as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Camden, where they form the borough’s third party.

She was elected when the precious candidate Siobahn Benita dropped out of the race, after the election was postponed to May 2021 because of the coronavirus.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Overwhelming majority want changes to Fisher’s Lane and Turnham Green Terrace

See also: Turnham Green Terrace reopened northbound

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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Turnham Green Terrace reopened northbound

Turnham Green Terrace has been reopened for drivers going northbound from Chiswick High Rd to Bedford Park. The ‘no access’ signs when went up in July, making the Terrace a no through route, were taken down on Thursday 29 October, to alleviate the build up of traffic on the High Road caused by major works being carried out by Thames Water at the railway bridge on Acton Lane in front of Chiswick Park tube station.

Emergency work started on Friday 23 October on a burst water main. Initially Thames Water thought the work would take only a few days, until Monday 26 October, but as work got under way they realised it would take much longer. There is a Victorian sewer pipe resting on the water pipe they need to mend which could fracture if it is moved. They now expect the work to take until the end of November.

Image above: Roadworks at beginning of Acton Lane

Thames Water compounds traffic chaos by diverting traffic down no through road

The works by Thames Water take up all one side of the road, allowing only one way traffic, southbound on the part of Acton Lane between the mini roundabout at Chiswick Park station and the High Rd. They diverted northbound traffic to Turnham Green Terrace instead, but at that point the traffic restrictions on the Terrace were still in place, so effectively they were inviting drivers to be fined.

Cllr Gerald McGregor, leader of Chiswick’s Conservative councilors on HOunslow council, noticed the error on Saturday 24 October and wrote to the council’s lead traffic officer. He told The Chiswick Calendar hIs letter was escalated to the Chief Exec Niall Bolger, but it wasn’t until Thursday, nearly a week after the roadworks were installed, that the road signs were taken down from Turnham Green Terrace.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: More than six years before Hammersmith Bridge could reopen to vehicles

See also: Overwhelming majority want changes to Fisher’s Lane and Turnham Green Terrace

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.

Cork Blimey!

More than six years before Hammersmith Bridge could reopen to vehicles

It will be at least six and a half years until Hammersmith Bridge reopens to vehicular traffic, says the Hammersmith Bridge Task Force. A toll may be introduced to pay for it. It’s not feasible to demolish the bridge and replace it with a modern one, and not good use of resources to build a temporary one. These are the headlines which came out of a public meeting organised by the Task Force on the evening of Wednesday 28 October.

The meeting also heard that if they can agree the money, the existing bridge could be stabilised sufficiently to allow pedestrian and cycle access in a matter of months, and a passenger ferry service could be introduced in the spring, but it all hinges on local and central government agreeing on who pays for it. Although the Task Force has made some progress in the six weeks since it was set up, Transport Minister Baroness Vere told the meeting they weren’t there yet and the Department for Transport would only put in UK tax payers’ money if the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham also contributed.

The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in April 2019 and closed completely in August 2020 because cracks in the Victorian cast ironwork have made it dangerous to use. Its closure has been disruptive to residents on both sides of the river, but particularly to those on the south side, in the borough of Richmond, with children finding it much harder to get to school, adults to work and elderly people to get to medical appointments. The build up of traffic because of the closure has affected Chiswick, Barnes and Fulham.

The Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce was set up by the Department for Transport in September 2020 to take over the project and work up solutions after over a year of deadlock between Hammersmith and Fulham, which owns the bridge, Transport for London, which is responsible for buses for which the bridge used to form a vital north-south route, and the Department of Transport, which is responsible for roads.

Minister for Transport Baroness Vere chaired the meeting. Heidi Alexander represented the Greater London Authority and Transport for London; Leader of Richmond council Cllr Graham Roberts spoke for LB Richmond and Deputy Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham council Cllr Sue Fennimore was there for Hammersmith and Fulham, stepping in for Council leader Steve Cowan, who had to pull out because of a family emergency. The Port of London Authority was also represented, by Chief Harbourmaster Bob Baker. The closure of the bridge has meant that since August river traffic cannot pass beneath it.

Cllr Sue Fennimore, speaking for LB Hammersmith and Fulham, told the meeting that while they had the responsibility for maintaining Hammersmith Bridge, they have already spent a lot of money on examining the problems and monitoring the state of the bridge, but don’t have the money to do the necessary repair works. The bridge should be seen as a national resource, she said. Baroness Vere said she couldn’t just put her hand in her pocket and hand out money when in every other part of the country local authorities made some contribution to the cost of renewing and restoring local infrastructure.

Although clearly still deadlocked over the financial problem, the meeting was businesslike and informative and Baroness Vere expressed confidence that the Task Force would find a way through. Both she and Heidi Alexander apologised for the delay in sorting it out, as did Cllr Roberts and Cllr Fennimore. Only a handful of local residents out of the 1,000 who took part were allowed to read out pre-selected questions.

What needs to be done to repair the bridge

Independent consultant Dana Skelley OBE and Department for Transport engineer David Coles were asked to explain the engineering problems that need to be fixed and to lay out a timeline for the work once funds were ‘unlocked’.

Dana is the Project Director for the Task Force. A chartered civil engineer, she joined TfL in 2000 as principal engineer for the City and became director of roads for London in 2008. She was responsible for a £4 billion road modernisation plan, which included preparing for the Olympics, almost all of the Thames crossings and strengthening Hammersmith flyover.

She explained that the bridge needs to move and flex. The 137 year old structure is a classic suspension bridge with two towers, cast iron chains and four cast iron abutments. Over the years the roller bearings have seized and the chains no longer move, which has put unexpected pressures on the pillars, causing cracks. She said there is a very strong business case for repairing the bridge, with a benefit-cost analysis of 10:1. As well as freeing the mechanism, the towers will need to be strengthened and the hangers replaced (the 172 vertical struts all the way along), and also the deck and the girders.

So far they have completed the design work required to stabilise the bridge and the concept design for the main strengthening works. The engineers have found that all four pedestals have cracked but they don’t yet know the full extent of the cracks. They think it will take four months to properly understand the condition of all four pedestals. It’s possible that the bridge could be reopened to pedestrians and cyclists at that point, depending on what they find. “The risk assessment will change when we have the full picture”. The cost of that exploration will be £2.3m “when funding becomes available”.

The next stage will be to carry out emergency works to stabilise the bridge as a temporary solution, which will take seven months. The cost of that is estimated at £13.9m. Only then can work begin on the permanent repairs. To get the bridge to the point where it is permanently stabilised to take pedestrians and cyclists will take 21 months. The total estimated cost is £80m.

“The business plan is sound” said Dana Skelley. “Funds just need to be unlocked”.

For the bridge to be made strong enough to take vehicles again, Baroness Vere said they were looking at six and a half years at least.


Cllr Sue Fennimore told the meeting that LB Hammersmith & Fulham’s budget had been cut from £184m to £121m over the past four years. They were facing a £19m shortfall this year because of the coronavirus. Since the current administration came to power in 2014 they had spent £5m on exploratory engineering works on Hammersmith Bridge and they were currently spending a further £2.7m on monitoring its safety. Hammersmith Bridge was a “national strategic transport asset” she said, which should be funded by the capital’s transport authority or the Department for Transport.

Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor, Transport and Deputy Chair, Transport for London, said that although legal responsibility for the bridge rested with Hammersmith & Fulham, she acknowledged that Transport for London had a responsibility for making it usable. They have spent £16m on investigative work, she said, and the presentation by Dana Skelley reached similar conclusions to those reached by TfL a year ago. They had put various bids in place over the past year but had had no response from the Department of Transport. Now, she said, they were having “intense discussions” with the government over funding for TfL as a whole, and were “completely hamstrung” by the loss of revenue resulting from the pandemic.

Baroness Vere said the Government runs major roads and railways. Bridges and underpasses are the responsibility of local authorities. She said the Government would “help” but there had to be a contribution from Hammersmith & Fulham. “In every single other case that has come across my desk, the local authority has made a contribution”. She was being asked to spend money which had been provided by tax payers all over the country. Before she could go to the Chancellor and make a case, she had to be convinced that the proposal stacked up “from the perspective of UK taxpayers”. To date, she said, she has not had a proposal that met that criterion. She gave the example of the restoration of Albert Bridge, to which Chelsea & Westminster had contributed 25% costs to Transport for London’s 75%.

“I agree this bridge is exceptional and we will step up and contribute” – Baroness Vere

The Minister said Government funding relied on Hammersmith & Fulham also making a contribution.

“London councils don’t have tens of millions of pounds lying around” – Cllr Sue Fennimore

Cllr Fennimore was not prepared to commit to any further funding at the meeting, above what the council had already committed to spending.

“It will not be done without a local contribution” said Baroness Vere, “because that would not be fair to the UK tax payer”.

Image below: Hammersmith Bridge; photograph Aubrey Crawley

Possibility of a toll for Hammersmith Bridge would “push traffic to Chiswick Bridge”

Baroness Vere said she had offered Department of Transport accountants to “help Hammersmith & Fulham go over your accounts” and suggested some form of toll might be considered. Maybe Hammersmith & Fulham could borrow against future revenue to be raised by a toll. They would have to look at issues such as whether local residents would get a discount and what impact the introduction of a toll on Hammersmith Bridge would have on traffic. The likelihood is that it would be pushed to adjacent bridges at Chiswick and Putney.

“No point” carrying out partial work

The minister was asked if the Government would “front-load” funding, so that the work could start immediately. She said she wanted to avoid the situation where partial work was done and then the project ran out of money.

“We all have to be committed and have the funding in place to see the work through to the end”.

Replacing the bridge “not viable”

A question was asked by an audience member about whether the Victorian bridge should be demolished and replaced by a modern bridge. Both Richmond and Hammersmith & Fulham council representatives said they were committed to restoring the existing bridge.

“Hammersmith & Fulham is fully committed to restoring the historic bridge” said Sue Fennimore. This she said was supported not only by the Labour group on the council, but had been endorsed by the opposition as well in a meeting on 21 October.

“We need to work within the realms of possibility” said Richmond council Leader Gareth Roberts. “If we tried to demolish it, we would be mired in legal challenges from the Victorian Society and heritage groups. We’d have Griff Rhys Jones (President of the Victorian Society) down here protesting. We have to do what is both possible and realistic”.

Image below: Hammersmith Bridge; photograph Natalia Bobrova

Ferry option

The Task Force has agreed that a ferry service is the easiest and quickest solution to getting passengers across the river and that it needs to be publicly funded, so that it continues to run even if it’s not commercially viable.

Dana Skelley said it would be possible to start a passenger ferry service in the spring, if they started on it now. She told the meeting it would take 66 working days from the release of funding to the start of a ferry contract, but it all depended on funding being agreed.

Normally it would take at least a year to award such a contract, but in this instance the “speed of mobilisation” would be “key” to awarding the tender.

Cllr Roberts said Richmond was ready to spend the capital to make a safe landing point on the south side of the river. People were having to take hugely circuitous routes to get to school and work and children were having to travel in the dark, so for Richmond a speedy resolution to the provision of a ferry service is very important.

Cllr Fennimore said Hammersmith & Fulham “will do everything we can to support the introduction of a ferry service” but she would not commit to the council putting any money towards it.

Baroness Vere said the Government “stands ready to help but we are not doing it on our own”. She said she was “working very hard on a package to break the deadlock” but that she needed to “see some movement from Hammersmith & Fulham”.

“I would have thought two piers, one from Richmond and one from Hammersmith & Fulham would be possible. We are not talking about vast amounts of money”.

Temporary bridge not an option

Nicholas Reed, representing a residents’ association in Fulham, asked whether the task Force would consider building a temporary bridge, given the knock on effects of the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.

Dana Skelley answered that often solutions were put forward which were technically feasible, but that it would not be practicable in this location. The feasibility study alone would cost half a million pounds, and it was not worth the money. Much better, she said, to focus on a permanent solution by repairing the existing bridge.

Cllr Graham Roberts agreed and said we would find ourselves “so mired in legal challenge it wouldn’t be worth the candle. There would be “fun and games with Extinction Rebellion” he said, if they tried to install a temporary bridge.

“This is not a new idea. We can spend out time chasing rainbows but I would rather spend half a million pounds more productively”.

River traffic

Bob Baker, speaking on behalf of the Port of London Authority, told the meeting it was no good putting a ferry service in place or a temporary bridge across if they could not get the existing bridge stabilised. Their priority was to get the rive opened again for river traffic beneath the bridge, both for businesses and for recreational users of the river. It was important, he said, for the RNLI and the River Police to be able to come and go. Now is the season when boat owners need to get their boats upriver to dry dock for repairs. They had managed to get some “controlled passages” of vessels under the bridge since August and they were trying to organise more.

Baroness Vere said she would like to see the river open in time for the next Boat Race.

Public transport

Heidi Alexander told the meeting that since the closure of the bridge TfL had been taking measures to alleviate the increase of traffic on Chiswick Bridge and Putney Bridge. It had reviewed hundreds of sets of traffic lights.

“I appreciate it won’t have yielded the results local residents would like, but we do have a 24 hour control room to modify traffic signals when you can see that there is pressure building up”.

She said more buses were coming in to service on the 533 route. The number of buses was being increased to five per hour from Monday 2 November.

Safety of school children

Cllr Roberts said Richmond council was working with residents to improve things for school children having to walk along the tow path in the dark winter months.

“We are committed to a sizeable investment in improving the tow path security and we are looking at whether we can put extra cycling space on Barnes Bridge (owned by Network Rail). While they were looking at improving lighting, he said they were bound by law to protect the habitat of bats along the river.

“Sorrow not good enough”

Deputy Leader of Richmond Council, Liberal Democrat Cllr Alexander Ehmann (Cabinet Member for Transport) said it was all very well politicians voicing their “sorrow” for the lack of action over Hammersmith Bridge, but that sorrow had to be translated to “concrete action”.

Baroness Vere closed the meeting by saying she wanted “to fix this” and that the Government stood by “ready to fund this project alongside local funding”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Government setting up Task Force to restore Hammersmith Bridge

See also: Extinction Rebellion renames Hammersmith Bridge the ‘Bridge of Possibility’

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.

Mind Matters – Back where we started?

Do you sometimes feel as though nothing has changed since the first wave of COVID-19?

People are talking with me about how they are feeling the same as they did during the first wave and they keep having thoughts that we are back where we were six months ago. The result of this being they find themselves tending towards acting in the same ways as the first time. For some it might be about reducing activity whilst for others it might be about doing more. In short fight, flight and freeze responses are being triggered again and responses are almost automatic.

Our response in situations is always affected by our previous experiences. When people talk about psychological baggage there is always a negative inference and yet it is natural for our negative experiences to remain with us to protect us from future harm.

And yet our feelings are a raw material, revealed to us in response to situations and it is then our task to rationalise our experience before we take action. Neuroscience suggests that our cognitive, or thinking response is up to six seconds behind our emotive, or feeling response. That age old saying of counting to ten really does have scientific basis after all!

So back to the second wave of COVID-19 – what does this mean for us? I would suggest that remembering that your feelings are based not only on this moment in time but the past is a vital first step. For example, if when you read there are 20,000 new infections then remember your feelings will be based in part on how it felt in the first wave when you saw infection figures. But of course much has happened since the first wave and so the situation today we need to navigate and make skillful decisions around is not the same as six months ago.

We all know that ultimately time is all that we have and so our main task in life is to decide what we want to do with it. The act of deciding involves us thinking about what our feelings might be telling us, doing research, considering consequences – all to ensure that in any situation we do not fall into the trap of repeating mistakes, acting on auto-pilot – that instead we get the best outcomes.

It sounds easy and yet the strength of our feelings has such a strong impact on the way we view things. It is natural that a negative feeling ends up with a negative thought attached to it. When we recall misunderstandings with others it is so often the case that the conflict arose because a hurt feeling was translated into a thought that meant the other person was doing a bad thing, when it turned out the opposite was the case.

The very best foundation for ensuring we act in a skillful manner is to ensure we have an awareness of how we are at any moment. For example, if you are tired, stressed, angry or under pressure then you are likely to have less patience and energy to think carefully before taking decisions.

Everybody tells me they have been affected by the change and uncertainty arising from the pandemic. As this has been with us for some time now and you are likely to have normalised changes to some extent, it can be quite easy to miss the signs that indicate stress and fatigue. The only way to bring this into your awareness is to think about how you are doing, think about how you are feeling, look for your stress indicators for example headaches, fatigue, stomach aches, lack of patience, irritability etc, reflect on how you are in comparison to how you felt in life before COVID, think about any feedback from people you have had for example, people asking if you are ok or saying you look tired.

During this second wave of the pandemic our focus needs to be on safety and ensuring we get the best out of our time, we can adapt and change to ensure we feel positively about ourselves, get the most out of whatever situation we find ourselves, be the best we can be as long as we are looking after ourselves. Now more than ever self-care is crucial. If you are someone who doesn’t prioritise self-care then it can be helpful to remember that when you are ok you are better able to help others and also that you being ok really does matter to those people in your life who care about you.

Finally, if you find you are not coping, or if people you know are not coping then it is important to know that this is the case for many people and that there is help available.

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

UKCP registrant, MBACP (accred), UKRCP
PGDip, MA, Adv Dip Ex Psych

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

Nigeria – the #EndSARS & Anti-Corruption Protests

Keith Richards, writer and resident of Chiswick, documented his Corona lock down, living on his own, in a weekly blog from 24 March to 7 July called Chiswick Confined – My Corona. Now he’s free to roam at will, the blog has mutated into Chiswick Unbound.

“Everybody run run run
Everybody scatter scatter
Some people lost some bread
Someone nearly die
Someone just die
Police dey come, army dey come
Confusion everywhere
Hey yeah!
Seven minutes later
All don cool down, brother
Police don go away
Army don disappear
Them leave Sorrow, Tears, and Blood”

Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Nigeria – the #EndSARS & Anti-Corruption Protests

Over the last two weeks there have been widespread protest against police violence and extra-judicial killings in Nigeria – Africa’s most populated nation. Typically, whereas similar scenes in Thailand and Hong Kong received UK media coverage, these, being in Africa were ignored. However, once security forces opened fire on seated, peaceful protesters killing and wounding an as yet unconfirmed number even our press, as obsessed by Covid, Brexit and Donald Trump as they are, began to cover the story. Social Media has been showing youths taking action in several cities right across the country since the #EndSARS hashtag protests went viral when footage of policemen dragging two youths into the street and shooting one was released. The Special Anti Robbery Unit ‘SARS’ killing was a specific trigger but the real reasons for the protests are long seated and deep-rooted. In this week’s Blog I try to provide some context for those that have only a superficial knowledge of this important country, even though there are probably some two million Nigerians or Britons of Nigerian origin in the UK.

How far do you go back to describe state sponsored coercion and repression in Nigeria – indeed almost anywhere in Africa? Historical study of pre-colonial African history shows that while there was inevitably warfare, domestic servitude and cruelty it was at a fraction of the scale that exploded when Europeans turned up. Even before full colonialisation the communal and economic structures of centuries old societies were severely disrupted by the new levels of aggression brought by European traders – their commercial interests backed up by the better weapon technology developed by the constant conflict that Europe specialised in. The slave trade and ‘plantation agriculture by force’, including rubber, palm oil and cocoa, had already de-populated whole areas and destroyed long standing societal arrangements before the ‘Scramble for Africa’ formalised the arbitrary colonial structures that still define the political geography of the entire continent.

In British Colonies like Nigeria, the technique for controlling massive populations with just a small number of white officer/administrators was the ‘Indirect Rule’ system. This, in the shortest possible summary, was to ‘divide and rule’ by creating caste-like systems and an acquiescent elite (sometimes by hi-jacking existing structures and sometimes by creating new ones). These elites would be rewarded by status and the opportunity for personal wealth if they collected British taxes, provided the overseeing classes and the low level military muscle required by a colonial administration to keep control over a conquered people. A belief that independence put an end to the colonial system is a naive and superficial one. There was no colonial power in Africa that did not attempt to ensure that they maintained influence and even some form of control when they ‘granted’ independence and ‘left’. Any African leaders that displayed genuine nonalignment and sought to achieve the objective best for their new nation was murdered or overthrown either directly by agents of the former colonial masters or by western sponsored members of their own elite who saw the prospect of their own power being eroded. Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Patrice Lumumba (Congo) and Thomas Sankara (Burkina Faso) are probably the three most obvious examples. In Nigeria there is clear evidence that the pre-election census and the pre-independence election itself was manipulated by the British to ensure the Northern hegemony was maintained and a western facing government was in control. The constitutional and economic structures put in place remained in situ and even later constitutions have favoured the status quo.

So what protest was there against what to ordinary Nigerians was a continuation of the elite centred system that they hoped they had seen the back of after 1st of October 1960 when the green and white Nigerian flag replaced the Union Jack? During the colonial era there had been regional actions such as the (so called) Aba Women’s Riots in 1929 and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti’s ‘Abeokuta’s Women’s Union’ protests in 1949 that achieved limited local concessions. There was also a General Strike in 1945, inspired by the important Railway Union that had some success in obtaining limited improvements in working conditions. However, any serious threat to the authorities was put down brutally: such as the 1949 massacre of 21 striking miners at the Iva Valley Coal mine in Enugu by armed police under the orders of a British officer. After independence the struggle for control was broadly between different members of the existing political classes. This continues today as so much of Nigerian politics is still dominated by the tribal ‘divide and rule’ structure left behind by the British. The Nigerian Civil War (also known as The Biafran War, 1967-70) was, in a way, an attempt to break out from that structure but can also be classed as a conflict between the same elites for the control of resources.

Nigerians have a reputation for being noisy and often argumentative but the reality is that in political terms, especially given what they have been through, they are submissive to authority. Major activists such as musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti bemoaned the passive attitude of their compatriots. The population’s hopes have been raised and dashed by successive military coups and by promises of change in the most recent ‘democratic’ constitutional structure. It is important to note that an ex-soldier has fronted every civilian regime, but one, since the return to democracy in 1999: each growing more corrupt and oppressive as time progresses. What every government has had in common is a violent and corrupt police force, supplemented by a paramilitary wing and backed up by the threat of the army. It is hardly surprising that the response by ordinary people to constant political abuses, corruption and government ineptitude has been to keep their head down and concentrate on surviving day to day. The middle-class, small for a country of Nigeria’s 200 million population, live in small enclaves in just half a dozen cities but are generally to be found on the island suburbs of the sprawling mega-city that is Lagos. The majority of the 20 million inhabitants of the city live in densely populated areas on the mainland or the original Lagos Island, often in ghetto like conditions. It is the militarised police system that just about keeps the lid on this teeming society.

Over the years I have been visiting or living there The Nigerian Police Force ‘NPF’ has been a constant presence. There are and have always been check points, choke points and extortion points whether on city streets or on the pot-hole filled highways between cities. Even as an entitled and protected expatriate there is still a frisson of anxiety as you approaches a roadblock, especially at night. The routine is to have your driver (expatriates and the middle class rarely drive themselves) slow down and switch on the internal light. Usually an exchange of pleasantries is enough but the new arrivals (‘fresh fish’) or the nervous will be intimidated into handing over some money. Maltreatment of an expatriate is rare but happens occasionally if those police are drunk or doped up but for ordinary Nigerians violence is commonplace. Bus conductors, taxi drivers, okadas (motorbike taxis), beggars and street food vendors, traders, small businesses and local bars can not exist without a constant drip drip drip of petty bribes, or ‘dash’, to the police. There is a hierarchy of punishment for the failure to comply. For the taxi or bus it might be a tyre being burst or a wing mirror smashed all the way to the vehicle being impounded and the driver being beaten. Women traders or ‘Mama Puts’ (street side food stands) are not exempt from a slap or a rifle butt in the face or worse.

Now, the ordinary police are one thing but the more heavily armed paramilitary special units are another. The largest of these units, the ‘mobile policemen’ or MOPOL for short were set up in 1959 as a ‘strike force’ that could be deployed swiftly when the ordinary police were unable to maintain civil control. By the ‘80’s they built a reputation for arrogance and being above any semblance of Rule of Law, becoming so notorious for their ‘shoot first’ policy that they quickly became known as ‘Kill and Go’. Their violent status was enhanced during the repression of protests (that much later morphed into militancy) in the oil producing Niger Delta during the Abacha era (1993 to 1998). In 2000 their viciousness culminated in the killing of 20 unarmed civilians during a drunken shooting spree in Suleja, Niger State.

In 2001 a Scottish friend of mine was killed at a checkpoint in Port Harcourt when a MOPOL shot at the back of his car because the driver had gone through a puddle that splashed the policeman. Over the last few years a number of investigations and ‘judicial reviews’, inspired as much my external pressure such as Human Rights watch and Amnesty International, as by local protests have seen cosmetic changes. In response the MOPOL was morphed into SARS. Ostensibly a dedicated ‘Special Anti Robbery Squad’ the unit has taken on the role of enforcer and extrajudicial murder squad previously undertaken by the ‘Kill and Go’ boys. The main difference is that cameras on mobile phones, the Internet and now widespread use of Social Media make it more difficult for them to operate in the shadows. As corruption and utterly incompetent management of the economy continue and Covid related frustrations have build up it seems SARS’ public brutality has finally ignited the fuse.

Certainly no people in Nigeria has represented the struggle against the forces of oppression or suffered from it more than the Ransome / Anikulapo Kuti family. As is my habit I leave you with a music video that represents what I have been trying to express. It contains shots of violence including when his compound, dubbed ‘Kalakuta Republic’, was attacked by the army who beat the musician, his ‘Queens’ and his followers and threw his 78 year old mother (the previously mentioned Funmilayo) off a balcony. She died shortly after. I leave you with Fela’s ‘Sorrow Tears and Blood’, an excerpt of which is included as the Epigram at the top of the article.

I hope this is given a little extra insight into why #EndsSARS has been trending and the violence in Nigeria has been appearing on your TV screens. For any more information or discussion please feel free to contact me on My last book Never Quite The Insider is available on Amazon or for a signed copy visit The Bookseller on Chiswick High Rd.


Try out recipes from Jo Pratt’s new Flexible Family Cookbook

Images above: Jo Pratt’s Sweet & Sour Meatballs & Chocolate brownies

Chiswick resident and prime mover in the Cookbook Supper Club, Jo Pratt, has a new book out this autumn: the Flexible Family Cookbook. The acclaimed TV cook specialises in ‘sensible and simple but sensational’ recipes for all the family, easily adapted to please and designed to deliver flavour. She has given The Chiswick Calendar two recipes for readers to try out this half term.

Sweet and sour pork meatball traybake

Ordering sweet and sour in a Chinese restaurant reminds me of my first Chinese food experience as a child. Now my own kids love the deep-fried pieces of pork or chicken coated in a sweet sticky sauce just as much as I do, which is great, but only as an occasional treat. That’s where this recipe comes in. I wanted to make something we could enjoy just as much but doesn’t have any guilt attached to it, and luckily it gets a huge thumbs up from us all.

Time taken 1 hour / Serves 4


For the meatballs

500g / 1lb 2ox minced (ground) pork
60g / 2oz fresh white breadcrumbs
4 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice seasoning
1 egg, lightly beaten
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed (canola) oil

For the sauce

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 red, green, yellow or orange peppers, or 3 if they are small, cut into bite sized chunks
500ml / 17 fl oz passata
250ml / 9 fl oz / 1 cup fresh pineapple juice
4 tbsp rice or cider vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
250g / 9 oz pineapple, cut into chunks


Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas 6.

Mix together the minced pork, breadcrumbs, spring onions, garlic, ginger, Chinese 5-spice, egg and season with salt and pepper. Shape into walnut-sized balls. Heat a heavy-based roasting tray over a high heat and add the oil. Fry the meatballs for a few minutes, turning occasionally for an even colour. They don’t need to be fully cooked through at this stage, just golden on the outside. Remove from the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and peppers to the roasting tray, along with a drop more oil if necessary. Fry for a few minutes until they start to take on some colour around the edges. Stir in the passata, pineapple juice, vinegar and soy sauce and bring to a simmer.

Return the meatballs to the sauce and add the pineapple. Gently stir into the sauce and put the tray in the oven. Cook for 35 minutes until the sauce is rich in colour and the vegetables are tender.


Vegetarian/vegan: Tofu and Shiitake ‘Meatballs’ are a perfect alternative to the pork meatballs. Put 250g/9 oz extra-firm tofu, 100g/3½ oz shiitake mushrooms, 2 tablespoons milk (dairy
or plant-based) and 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (as an egg replacement) in a food processor with the above quantity of breadcrumbs, spring onions (scallions), ginger, garlic, Chinese
5-spice and seasoning. Blitz well and firmly shape into walnut size balls. Fry until golden and add to the sauce for just the last 10 minutes of the oven cooking time.

Flavour swap: minced (ground) chicken, turkey or beef can be used instead of pork.
Get ahead: the raw meatballs can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge before cooking.

Images above: Jo Pratt and her latest cookbook: Flexible Family Cookbook

Favourite chocolate brownies

I’m a huge fan of making brownies. You can be as flexible as you like with flavourings and treats added to the brownie mix, depending on what you’ve got in the cupboard or who you’re making them for. Once you’ve made a batch you’ll realise that this is a very flexible recipe that can be adapted for any occasion, from a bake sale, morning coffee, decadent dessert, a foodie gift, weekend baking with the kids or simply as a naughty-but-nice treat for the family.

Time taken 45 minutes / Makes 15 generous sized brownies


200g/7 oz unsalted butter
200g/7 oz plain chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids),
3 eggs
300g/10½ oz granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
125g/4½ oz plain (all-purpose) flour
pinch of flaked sea salt

Plus… additional flavours (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon or ginger
½ tsp chilli powder (believe me, it’s delicious)
1 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
grated zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp brandy, rum, coconut or orange liqueur
… and up to 250g/9 oz treat of choice (optional) white, milk or dark chocolate chunks/chips/buttons
pecans, walnuts, toasted hazelnuts or macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
fudge or caramel chunks
dried fruit, such as cherries, raisins, cranberries
mini marshmallows (just a couple of handfuls)
fresh raspberries
chopped stem ginger or candied peel


Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas 4.
Line a 20 x 30cm/8 x 12 inch rectangular, 3–4cm/ 1¼–½ inch deep baking tin with baking parchment.

Place the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave to gently melt, stirring as little as possible. Alternatively, gently melt in the microwave in 10-second bursts.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugarand vanilla extract until they are lovely and thick and creamy, but you still feel the gritty granules of sugar. Pour in the melted chocolate and butter and mix in.

Sift in the flour and salt and add any optional flavourings or treats. Pour into the baking tin and bake for 25 minutes until the top is cracking and the centre is just set.
Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes before cutting into squares.


Gluten-free: the recipe is just as perfect with a plain gluten-free flour.
Dairy-free: choose a suitable dairy-free chocolate and any treats. For a butter substitute you can use a dairy-free butter, coconut oil or even a light olive or sunflower oil. The results are a little softer and gooier but what’s not to like about that!

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Cookbook Supper Club to raise money for Felix Project

See also: Chiswick School launches fundraising campaign to raise money for hungry children

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.

Cookbook kitchen raises money for the Felix Project

Images above: Jo Pratt and her Flexible Family Cookbook

The Cookbook kitchen (formally Cookbook festival) are re-introducing their charity supper clubs on Thursday 12 November at the Airdale Bar at the Hogarth Health Club.

The money raised will go to the Felix Project, which stops food waste by collecting surplus food from retailers which is still fresh and nutritious but cannot be sold, and delivers it to charities and schools so they can provide healthy meals and help the most vulnerable in our society.

The Cookbook crew will also be celebrating the latest book produced by one of their own  –  Jo Pratt’s ‘Flexible Family cookbook’. The team will be cooking a delicious menu from the book and Jo will be chatting about her career and the new cookbook.

They promise a fun evening in COVID safe surroundings. Tables of up to 6 inside for single households and outdoor pods for up to 6 people for friends sharing tables.

Book tickets here: Eventbrite/celebration_supper_club

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jo Pratt’s recipes for Sweet & Sour meatballs and Chocolate brownies

See also: Chiswick School launches fundraising campaign to raise money for hungry children


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.


Episode 2: The Smell of the Crowd

Mihir Bose – former BBC Sports Editor, David Smith – Economics Editor of the Sunday Times and political commentator Nigel Dudley have been friends since they first met while working at Financial Weekly in 1980s. They have kept in touch regularly, setting the world to rights over various lunches and dinners. With coronavirus making that impossible, what do journalists do, deprived of long convivial lunches over a bottle of red wine or several? Why, podcast of course.

In the second episode of Three Old Hacks Mihir Bose, David Smith and Nigel Dudley discuss how professional sport is faring without a live audience – the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd – as the old joke goes. ‘Better maybe’ is their conclusion. More goals anyway.

More Platforms

They look at how well or otherwise journalists have covered the pandemic. Their great friend Hugh Pym, the BBC Health Editor, with whom they often played cricket, has just won the prestigious Charles Wheeler Award for Broadcast Journalism. So which of their other colleagues have done the best job of bettering our understanding of the virus and all that it entails.

They discuss the online press briefings at Number 10 which have replaced real live press conferences, and evaluate how that has changed journalism. Will it ever go back to the cut and thrust of a real press event with the press pack picking up on each other’s questions, pressing politicians for answers?

And as the stop-start trade talks with the EU continue, or not, they chew over the Brexit debate and to what extent journalists are culpable for the country having made a momentous decision based on convincing arguments made by journalists that they themselves did not believe. Somehow the Bosman ruling and the ‘bisexuality of acting’ (a concept expounded by theatre critic Michael Billingdon) get into the discussion.

Not sure we’d say they’d ‘put the world to rights’ exactly, but they give it a good go.

Listen to the previous episode here or the next episode here

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing, we’d love to hear from you!

PCNs issued to drivers on Turnham Green Terrace now tops 7,000

The number of penalty traffic notices issued to motorists for driving down Turnham Green Terrace since the road was closed has now reached 7281. That’s a little over 100 a day since enforcement of the traffic restrictions began on 18 August.

Some drivers have been ticketed for numerous offences, including one person who has been fined more than 20 times according to Cllr John Todd, who has found out the information from LB Hounslow.

The cost of a penalty traffic notice is £130, but if it is paid quickly the fine is half that, £65. Of those who have been fined for driving down Turnham Green Terrace, 2983 have paid. Cllr Todd has learned that 859 notices have been cancelled.

He asked for clarification on how the council was dealing with appeals and was told:

“We are dealing with careful consideration any representations submitted by motorists who contest their PCNs”.

The Chiswick Calendar has heard from several people who have successfully contested their fine on the basis that they hadn’t seen the road signs or were unsure as to what they meant. They also expressed contrition.

He also asked whether there had been any caution period and received the answer that no, there had not been any caution or grace period.

Cllr Todd said people have been fined because they just weren’t aware of the changes:

“Initial warning to residents, businesses and other users about this scheme was grossly inadequate and was compounded by inadequate signage, a matter which continues, despite our representations.”

The council denies the signage is inadequate:

“The signage installed identifying the motor vehicle prohibition (and exemptions) are in accordance with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016”.

It also denies the signs need to be lit:

“In accordance with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016, the signs are reflectorised and, as the road speed limit is 20MPH or less, no illumination is required”.

In his correspondence with the council, Cllr Todd asked why the signs on Turnham Green Terrace had been altered, with a word blocked out.

The answer was that the signs as initially installed had included the term “local buses”. This has subsequently been amended to “buses” to make it clear that  school buses are exempt as well as public transport buses.

Cllr Todd also asked about Devonshire Rd. There 67 PCNs have been issued, of which 25 have been completed (paid) and 10 cancelled. “Others in the system are described in a variety of status / stages”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Overwhelming majority want changes to Fisher’s Lane and Turnham Green Terrace

See also: Group of Bedford Park architects & planners organise Turnham Green Terrace workshop

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.

Bunting made with love – you can tell

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market in September; photograph Frank Noon

When the Chiswick Flower Market was launched in September 2020 – the first new flower and plant market in London in 150 years – the organisers went all out to celebrate its birth. “Hang out the flags” went up the cry. The team begged and borrowed bunting and hired flags.

The flower market has been set up as a Community Interest Company, with a generous donation from Whitman & Co estate agents in Turnham Green Terrace to cover its initial costs, but even after the first market was such a resounding success, its operating budget is small.

Should Chiswick Flower Market spend precious funds buying bunting and flags? Sources close to the organisers have revealed the group was split. (OK full disclosure, the editor of The Chiswick Calendar is a director.) A bunting sub-committee was formed.

Images above: The Stitching Room, 10 Devonshire Rd, W4 2HD; photographs Ekaterina Harwood

Fortunately for Chiswick, there are community minded souls in our midst who are handy with a needle. Stitching Room on Devonshire Rd got busy. It’s a family business and owner Anna Wojciechowska, mother Mariola and sister Silvya all pitched in.

“We need to help each other, especially at this time” Anna told me, “and I believe in Karma”. She has owned the shop for seven years and carries out alterations and tailoring. She can now add bunting to her portfolio.

In olden times, or any time before March really, there would have been a group of women gathered together in a sewing circle (or a ‘bitch & stich’ as they are sometimes known). The bunting makers had to work separately. Laurence Game, Alice D Cooper, Jill Sinclair, Sue Irani and Tracy Kynoch all took in material at home and measured and cut and stitched under the distant  supervision of the Chiswick Flower Market’s design consultant Ekaterina Harwood.

Alice just happened to be cycling by and stopped for a chat at the wrong time. She knocked out 140 triangles on her grandmother’s 100 year old sewing machine.

“All part of helping to rejuvenate Chiswick and make it look jolly” she says. “It’s going to be so drab and dull over the next few months, we need a bit of colour”.

Laurence is an old hand at community sewing. She was one of those who put together the ‘Chiswick Without Borders‘ tapestry which now hangs in Chiswick Library showing where in the world  Chiswick people originally came from.

“For me it’s all about being part of the community. These are such strange times when we can’t have a normal social life, it’s nice to be part of a community effort”.

Images above: Amanda Parker, one of the Chiswick Flower Market organisers, sorting out bunting

Now all that remains to be done is to put it up, which you may see Amanda Parker and Steve Nutt doing on Saturday. If you would like to help out with the Chiswick Flower Market, we are on the look out for marshals to work either 8.00am – 12.00pm or 12.00 – 3.00pm on Sunday. Contact

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market is back, 1 November

See also: Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants at Chiswick Flower Market

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.

Where to eat & drink outside in Chiswick

Image above: Pub goers queue up at The Lamb sticking to social distancing

Since the introduction of the Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions, we can only see people from different households outside and only in groups of up to 6 people.

Restaurants, pubs, cafés and other hospitality venues remain open under Tier 2. These venues must close by 10pm and provide table service.

But which restaurants, pubs and cafés in Chiswick have outdoor areas, or covered outdoor areas? I spent a happy Sunday visiting the pubs and restaurants of Chiswick finding out and made a comprehensive list of near enough everywhere that has tables outside in Chiswick, whether they have a sprawling beer garden just or a table or two out front.

More places than you might realise have outdoor seating, though the amount of tables vary significantly between venues and not all have outside heaters. I’d recommend even with the larger pubs or restaurants to book a table in advance.


  • Annies  – 162 Thames Road, Greater London, W4 3QS
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, Annie’s has quite a few tables outside of varying table sizes. There’s also awning which covers most of the seating.
  • Angie’s114 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 1PU
    Angie’s only has a couple of tables outside, which you can fit up to four people on, with awning covering the tables.
  • Avanti – 4 Bedford Corner, South Parade, Chiswick W4 1LD
    Avanti has three tables of two outside, which are not covered by awning.


  • Bridge Cafe – 9 Stile Hall Parade, Greater London, W4 3AG
    Bridge cafe has two small tables which fit three people on each outside. A barrier separates the seating area from the pavement, there’s no awning to shield from the weather.
  • Bonne Bouche442 Chiswick High Road, London W4 5TT England
    Bonne Bouch has three tables of two outside. Awning covers the seating area.
  • Buenos Aires Argentine Steakhouse – 32 Turnham Green Terrace, Greater London, W4 1QP
    Buenos Aires Argentine Steakhouse has a few tables of four outside but they do have outdoor heaters and the restaurant is cosily sandwiched between two buildings, so if it’s not raining you’re likely sheltered from the wind.


  • Caffe Paradiso – 440B, Chiswick High Road, W4 5TT
    Caffe Paradiso has three tables of two outside which are covered by an awning.
  • Cafe Plum – Unit G, Barley Mow Centre, 10 Barley Mow Passage, W4 4PH
    Cafe Plum has a long bench backed against the shopfront with three small tables which you can fit up to three people on, there’s also an awning covering the seating area.
  • Casa Dino38 Devonshire Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2HD
    Casa Dino has a table for two outside which is not covered by awning.
  • Chateau – 213 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 2DW
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card, Chateau has two tables of four and a couple of tables of two, with awning covering the seating area.
  • Chief Coffee – Chief Coffee, Turnham Green Terrace Mews, W4 1QU
    Chief Coffee officially only has a couple of tables for two, but just to the left of the building there are a some public benches if the official outdoor seating is occupied.
  • Connolly’s Irish Bar 450 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 5TT
    Connoly’s has four tables out front, two for four people and two for two people. They also have an enclosed beer garden at the back with several pub-style benches. The seating area at the front is covered by awning.
  • Cote Brasserie 50-54 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London W4 1QP
    Cote has four tables of two outside which are covered by awning.
  • Crepeaffaire – 382 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 5TF
    Crepeaffaire has a couple of small tables of two outside but but no awning.

Images above: Annie’s, Buenos Aires Argentine Steakhouse, Chateau


  • Divina Caffe – 369 King Street, Greater London, W6 9NJ
    Divina Caffe has four circular tables outside and about ten chairs with awning covering the seating area.
  • D’Grande – 132 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1PU
    D’Grande Tex Mex has three tables of two outside which are covered by awning.


  • Faanoos – 472 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 5TT
    Faanoos has two tables of four outside covered by an awning.
  • Foubert’s – 2 Turnham Green Terrace, Greater London, W4 1QP
    Foubert’s has two tables of two outside which are covered by awning
  • Five Guys – 217-221 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2DW
    Five Guys has eight tables outside which vary between two and four. The seating area is separated from the pavement with barriers and covered by awning.
  • Franco Manca – 144 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1PU
    Franco Manca has two benches outside which seat up to six people, and two tables of two as well. The seating area is covered by awning.


  • Gail’s282 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1PA
    Gail’s bakery has three tables of two outside which are covered by awning.
  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen131 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2ED
    GBK Chiswick has five tables outside, two tables of four and three tables of two. The seating area is covered by awning and separated from the pavement by planters.


  • High Road House Club and Brasserie – 162-166, Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 1PR
    HRH Club & Brasserie has a comprehensive outdoor seating area, there are lots of tables of varying size which are covered by an awning and a barrier which separates the seating area from the pavement.
  • Honest Burger148 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1PR
    Honest Burger has three tables of four outside which are covered by awning and part-separated from the pavement by planters.

Images above: Faanoos, Divina Caffe, HRH Club and Brasserie


  • Indian Zing – 236 King Street, Greater London, W6 0RF
    Indian Zing has two tables of two outside which are covered by awning and separated from the pavement by a barrier.


  • Kuyamoto – 470 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 5T
    Kuyamoto only has one table of four outside, which is covered by awning.


  • La Tarentella – 4 Elliott Road, Greater London, W4 1PE
    La Tarentella has two tables of two and a table of four outside. It has awning but doesn’t cover the tables entirely.
  • La Trompette3-7 Devonshire Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2EU
    La Trompette has three tables of two outside which are covered by awning and separated from the pavement by planters. They also have a couple of outdoor heaters.
  • Lara Restaurant Bedford Park Corner, 4 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London W4 1LS
    Lara Restaurant has three tables of four outside which are covered by awning and separated from the pavement by barriers.
  • Little Bird– 1 Station Parade Burlington Lane, Greater London, W4 3HD
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, Little Bird has seating both at the front of the restaurant and an enclosed seating area at back, there’s no awning to cover the front or back seating areas.

Images above: Indian Zing, Little Bird’s front seating area, Little Bird’s back seating area.


  • Napoli on the Road – 9a, Devonshire Road, Greater London, W4 2EU
    Napoli on the road has a sliding doors which open the restaurant onto the street and tables from the restaurant can be moved out onto the pavement. Outdoor tables can be covered by awning.
  • No.197 Chiswick Fire Station – 197 Chiswick Fire Station, 197-199 Chiswick High Rd, W4 2DR
    Chiswick Fire Station has four tables of two out front and a lovely enclosed outdoor area at the back. The front seating area is covered by awning but the back area is open to the sky.
  • Nikki’s bakery – 184 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 1PP
    Nikki’s Bakery has five tables of two outside which are covered by awning.


  • One Over the Ait– 8 Kew Bridge Rd, Brentford TW8 0FJ
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, One Over the Ait has a very big outdoor space which is part covered by the balcony on the first floor. At the front it’s pretty much open space.
  • Outsider Tart – 83 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 2EF
    Outsider Tart has varied tables outside that are quite well spaced out, only one of which is covered by awning.

Images above: Napoli on the road with tables outside, One Over The Ait, Outsider Tart


  • Packhorse & Talbot145 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2DT
    Packhorse & Talbot has about six tables out front varying between for two people or for four. The seating area is covered by awning and separated from the pavement by barriers.
  • Parle Pantry – 97 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 2ED
    Parle Pantry has three small tables of two outside, not covered by awning.
  • Pho – 134 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1PU
    Pho has two tables of four and two tables of two outside. They are covered by awning.
  • Piano Restaurant 80-82 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1SY
    Piano Restaurant has about ten chairs outside and eight small round tables, it is covered by awning.
  • Pizza Express – 252 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1PD
    Chiswick’s Branch of Pizza Express has six tables of varying size outside, the seating area is covered by awning and is separated from the pavement by a barrier.
  • Pizza treat – 63 Turnham Green Terrace, Greater London, W4 1RP
    Pizza treat has put two tables of two outside, which are covered by awning.
  • Potli – 319-321, King Street, Greater London, W6 9NH
    Potli has four tables of four outside, covered by awning and with a barrier separating the seating area from the pavement.

Image above: Pack Horse & Talbot


  • Queens Head  – 12 Sutton Lane North, Greater London, W4 4LD
    Queens Head pub has a lovely enclosed beer garden at the back which is quite spacious, with various table sizes and overhead heat lamps on some of the tables. (They also are visited by a local cat sometimes, whom I spotted when scouting).

Images above: Parle Pantry, Potli, Queen’s Head’s beer garden, a regular customer


  • RiCE Persian Kitchen – 293 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 4HH
    RiCE has four tables for two outside covered by awning, the seating area is separated from the pavement by a barrier. You can also smoke shisha pipes outside too.


  • Saigon Saigon – 313-317 King Street, Greater London, W6 9NH
    Saigon Saigon vietnamese restaurant has four tables of four outside, which have their own individual parasols to shelter tables from the weather. The seating area is part-separated from the pavement.
  • Sham’s – 26 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 1TE
    Sham’s has three tables or two outside, well, their seating area is technically inside the restaurant but it is separated from the rest of the diners. The front of the restaurant has sliding doors which open up.

Images above: Sham’s, Saigon Saigon


  • Tamp Coffee– 1 Devonshire Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2EU
    Tamp Coffee has two tables of two and a table for four out front. The tables are covered by awning.

  • The Catch of Chiswick – 293 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 4HH
    The Catch of Chiswick has three tables of two outside with awning covering the seating area.
  • The Bell & Crown– 11-13 Thames Rd, Strand-on-the-Green, London W4 3PL
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, The Bell & Crown has about seven outdoor pub-style benches, they used to have more outdoor space before installing their new extension, which is now being dismantled.
  • The Bollo House – 13-15 Bollo Ln, London W4 5LR
    The Bollo House has lots of outdoor seating of various table sizes. Awning covers the seating area and planters separate the seating from the pavement.
  • The Bull’s Head – 15 Strand-On-The-Green, Chiswick, London W4 3PQ
    The Bull’s head has about four tables of two and four outdoor pub benches facing all facing the river. The pub benches have removable individual parasols, they weren’t in place when I walked past.
  • The Copper Cow – 2 Fauconberg Road, Greater London, W4 3JY
    The Copper Cow has about six pub-style benches outside which are covered by awning.
  • The Coffee Traveller – 58 Thames Road, Greater London, W4 3RE
    The Coffee Traveller has two tables of four outside and two chairs which use a barrel for a table. All the seating is covered by awning.
  • The City Barge – 27 Strand-On-The-Green, Chiswick, London W4 3PH
    The City Barge has about six pub-style benches facing the river which aren’t covered by awning. They also having seating at the front of the building, the tables at the front have individual parasols to shield them from the weather.
  • The Cross Keys – 57 Black Lion Lane, Greater London, W6 9BG
    The Cross Keys has seating at the front and enclosed seating at the back. There are gates separating the seating area from the pavement at the front, neither the back are covered.
  • The Crown – 210 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1PD
    The Crown has recently put seating out on the pavement on Chiswick High Road which isn’t covered by awning. They also have a lovely beer garden at the back with tables of various sizes, some of the tables are covered but most aren’t.
  • The Duke of Sussex – 75 S Parade, London W4 5LF
    The Duke of Sussex has a beer garden at the back with heaters for when it’s cold. Some tables also have individual parasols to protect from the weather.
  • The Express Tavern – 56 Kew Bridge Road, Greater London, TW8 0EW
    The Express Tavern has a beer garden at the back with pub-style benches, there’s also large parasols to shield some tables from the weather, most are open space.
  • The Gunnersbury Pub – 590 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 5RP
    The Gunnersbury Pub has a yard which is part-covered with a few pub-style benches in it.
  • The George IV – 185 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2DR
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, The George IV has a spacious beer garden courtyard and a few tables of two out front. Only some tables in the courtyard are covered at time of writing, but this very week the pub is having a covering put over the whole courtyard. It still counts as outside space.
  • The George and Devonshire – George and Devonshire, 8 Burlington Lane, London, W4 2QE
    The George and Devonshire has about five pub-style benches out front with individual parasols to protect from the weather. They also have a beer garden out back too which isn’t covered.
  • The Hothouse448 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 5TT
    The Hothouse has five tables of two outside which are covered by awning.
  • The Italians Wine & Food – 454-456 , Chiswick High Road, W4 5TT
    The Italians has an outdoor seating area at the front which has various tables sizes. The seating is covered by awning.
  • The Italian Job – 13 Devonshire Road, Greater London, W4 2EU
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, The Italian Job has two tables of four outside which are covered by awning and separated from the pavement by a brick wall.
  • The Lamb9 Barley Mow Passage, Chiswick, London W4 4PH
    The Lamb has a sprawling beer garden with several pub style benches. It has large parasols for to shield from the weather and heaters too.
  • The Old Station House 2 Grove Park Rd, Chiswick, London W4 3SG
    The Old Station House has a large beer garden at the front and back, with several pub-style benches at both ends. They have parasols for tables to protect from the weather.
  • The Old Pack Horse–  434 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 5TF
    The Old Pack Horse has three large pub-style benches out front, with barriers that separate the benches from the pavement. They also have an enclosed beer garden at the back which is partly covered.
  • The Pilot56 Wellesley Road, Chiswick, London, W4 4BZ
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, The Pilot has a couple of tables for two out front and a larger open space beer garden at the back with various table sizes. Some tables are covered but most aren’t.
  • The Post Room Cafe – 2 Bedford Corner South Parade, Greater London, W4 1LD
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, The Post Room Cafe has a number of pub-style benches out front, only the ones closest to the cafe are covered by awning.
  • The Raven – 375 Goldhawk Road, Greater London, W6 0SA
    The Raven has a small beer garden at the back with a few benches, around four tables of four.
  • The Strand Cafe – 109 Strand on the Green, Greater London, W4 3NQ
    The Strand Cafe next to Kew Bridge usually has about three tables of two outside covered by awning, but they do have extra tables to the side which are used if it gets busy.
  • The Swan – 119 Acton Lane, Greater London, W4 5HH
    The Swan has only four small pub-style benches out front with a large parasol to shield from the weather. It does have a large flower-filled beer garden at the back though with outdoor heaters.
  • The Silver Birch142 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1PU
    The Silver Birch has three tables of two outside which are covered by awning. The seating area is separated from the pavement by planters.
  • The Steam Packet85 Strand-On-The-Green, Chiswick, London W4 3PU
    The Steam Packet has around ten tables outside in total. Two tables of two are outside on either side of the main doors, and four more tables of two are on the balcony on the first floor. There are also an extra few tables of four which have been placed across the road overlooking the river. Only the latter tables are covered by awning.
  • The Tabard–  2 Bath Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1LW
    The Tabard has a medium sized beer garden with pub-style benches and tables. Some tables are covered and there are heaters spread across the garden too.

Images above: The Steam Packet, the beer garden of The Duke of Sussex, the front beer garden of The Old Station House


  • Urban Pantry– 15 Devonshire Road, Greater London, W4 2EU
    A member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, Urban Pantry has four round tables of two outside which are covered by awning. The seating area is separated from the pavement with one long planter which flowers in.


  • Villa di Geggiano – 66-68, Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 1SY
    Villa di Geggiano has a large open space seating area with varied table sizes. It’s cut off from the main pavement so is quite private.


  • Waft Coffee – 280 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 1PD
    Waft has put a couple of tables for two outide, they aren’t covered by awning.
  • Wild Bunch Juicery – 402 Chiswick High Road, Greater London, W4 5TF
    Wild Bunch Juicery has two tables of two outside which are separated from the pavement by a barrier and covered by awning.


  • You Me Sushi – 31 Turnham Green Terrace, Greater London, W4 1RG
    You Me Sushi has three tables of two outside which are covered by awning.


  • Zizzi’s 235 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 4PU
    Zizzi’s has six tables of two outside which are covered by awning. The seating area is separated from the pavement by barriers.

Images above: Villa Di Geggiano, Waft Coffee, Wild Bunch

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market is back 1 November

See also: Overwhelming majority want changes to Fisher’s Lane and Turnham Green Terrace

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.












Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants at Chiswick Flower Market

Chiswick Flower Market is delighted to welcome Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants to the market on Sunday 1 November.

Rosy Hardy is recognised as the most successful female exhibitor at Chelsea Flower Show, with 24 Gold Medals to her credit since she built her first display at the show in 1992. She started out growing plants in her back garden and selling them at car boot sales with her husband Rob in 1988. Their nursery has gone from strength to strength to the point where now they are considered to be one of the UK’s leading independent nurseries for herbaceous perennials.

To celebrate 25 years of exhibiting at the world’s greatest flower show, Rosy has written her first book, which is now available to buy from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, either from the nursery shop, via mail order or from their stall at the Chiswick Flower Market. In it she tells the nursery’s history, she  shares 80 of her top plants for problem places and reveals her secrets for colour combining.

They grow their plants in Hampshire, near the village of Freefolk, a 13 acre site with stunning views over the Test valley.

Images above: Rosy Hardy; the nursery in Hampshire

Christmas come early

What will Rosy and Rob be bringing with them to the Chsiwick Flower market on Sunday 1 November? The family run nursery has some 1,200 varieties of herbaceous perennials to choose from, which they believe offers an unrivalled selection, from proven garden favourites to the more unusual and noteworthy.

At this time of year Helleborus are about to come in to flower. They are particularly pleased to have Helleborus ‘Walberton’s Rosemary in stock, which has only been available for a few years but took 17 years to develop – a cross between a Helleborus niger and a Helleborus orientalis. Featuring the benefits of both, it has a coloured flower and blooms all the way from late November till April.

Images above: Helleborus orientalis; Helleborus niger; Helleborus ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’

They will be bringing with them a selection of late flowering perennials, including anemonies and hardy chrysanthemums and a selection of ferns.

Rob and Rosy breed and propagate their own varieties. This summer they launched their new anemone ‘Frilly Knickers’ at Hampton Court Garden Show, which they will also be selling at the Chiswick Flower Market.

Images above: Hardy’s Plants – anemone ‘Frilly Knickers’ on the left

Market details

Chiswick Flower Market will be open from 9.30am – 3.00pm in the Old Market Place, outside the police station, with a special early opening slot from 8.30am – 9.30am for elderly (over 70) and vulnerable people, with a friend if you need to bring an assistant. You can book a place here.

Please wear a mask and observe social distancing in the market area.

Image above: Rosy & Rob Hardy

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market is back, 1 November

See also: Chiswick Flower Market a roaring success

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.

Overwhelming majority want changes to Fisher’s Lane and Turnham Green Terrace

Chiswick’s Lib Dem councillors have carried out a survey among residents of Southfield ward, asking people what they think of the traffic changes to Fisher’s Lane. They’ve found an overwhelming majority against the changes, which were introduced in July. But people don’t want to go back to the status quo ante either. Most people surveyed would prefer Fisher’s Lane to be one-way in one direction and Turnham Green Terrace to be one-way in the other, to make both roads safer and less congested.

LB Ealing, which has jurisdiction over the road underneath the railway bridge on Fisher’s Lane and northwards from South Parade, closed Fisher’s Lane to all vehicular traffic except buses in the summer to make it part of a safe cycle route from Acton to Chiswick, but cars and vans continue to use the road, making it more even dangerous for cyclists than it was before. Local people have criticised inadequate signage and the lack of enforcement for the failure.

The closure of Turnham Green Terrace by LB Hounslow at the same time has increased traffic along South Parade and Bath Rd, as anyone wishing to drive from Bedford Park to the High Rd must now drive west to join Acton Lane or east to join Goldhawk Rd.

Image above: Cllr Malcolm at a virtual council meeting. Top of the page – Cllr Malcolm beside the railway bridge at Fisher’s Lane

Cllr Gary Malcolm, who is a data analyst by profession, sent out a number of questions by email to everyone on the councillors’ database. They have sent out a regular newsletter by email for years and now have several thousand people on the list. Cllr Malcolm told The Chiswick Calendar their emails aren’t overly political, more informative in nature, and a high percentage of local residents read them, so he considers the survey to be representative and unbiased, as far as it was possible to make it so.

Of the 100 or so residential roads within Southfield ward, he had responses from people living in 88, which shows a good spread of local residents. What the survey did not do was to capture the views of drivers and cyclists who routinely used the route and just pass through the area.

The councillors received 1,014 completed surveys. After removing duplications and answers from those living outside Southfield, they analysed 809 replies. There are about 10,300 people of voting age who live in Southfield ward, but Cllr Malcolm says the response has been much greater than is usual for Council Controlled Parking Zone surveys.

One major criticism of the scheme was the lack of consultation.

‘There were 512 respondents who left verbal comments … showing that they had a lot of viewpoints that would have been advantageous to have been captured by Ealing Council if they had conducted a consultation before the scheme was designed.’

Images above: Charts showing the spread of responses from residents in Southfield ward and the strength of feeling against the traffic changes introduced in July

Changes introduced in July have made things ‘worse’

  • Seventy-four percent of respondents said they were against the changes to Fishers Lane. (Ten percent were in favour of the changes. Seventeen percent were willing to hear alternatives or alterations.)
  • Sixty-eight percent said they have seen things getting worse since the changes were made (this included people who were overall in favour of the changes as well as those against).
  • Eighty-nine percent would have liked Ealing Council to have consulted them before making the changes.
  • Eighty-two percent of respondents felt that the signage is inadequate.
  • Thirteen percent of people say they have been encouraged to cycle or walk more often.
  • Sixty-seven percent want to see enforcement cameras to be present and clear for drivers.
  • Eighty percent respondents want to see a review of the scheme take place as soon as possible or within the next few weeks
  • Of four alternatives given, respondents were only interested in the option where Fishers Lane and Turnham Green Terrace were opened up as one-way streets: Fishers Lane southbound and Turnham Green Terrace northbound.

The four options presented as possible alternatives were:

  • Making Fisher’s Lane one-way, south bound only, and Turnham Green Terrace one-way north bound only – Fifty seven percent in favour
  • Open up Fisher’s Lane again but keep Turnham Green Terrace closed – Fifteen percent in favour
  • Open up Turnham Green Terrace but keep Fisher’s Lane closed – Twenty two percent in favour
  • Only close off Turnham Green Terrace and Fisher’s Lane to vehicles at the weekend – Sixteen percent in favour

Images above: Railway bridge at Fisher’s Lane and traffic sign on approach from the south

The closure ‘discriminates against less mobile residents’

Among the responses were several from disabled and less mobile people, who feel that the increase in traffic along South Parade has effectively imprisoned them in their homes.

“I am disabled and can only drive. I moved to Chiswick two years ago because of the high street and the ability to drive and park where I needed to. Last week I couldn’t even turn right at the end of Esmond Road onto South Parade due to the traffic and struggled to sit in traffic with my pain levels so I just returned home.”

“I have shielded for 5 months and now the councils have taken advantage of that and now pretty much stopped me from having the little life that I had. Ignoring Covid, I am now more isolated and distanced from the world because of ignorance and in my opinion prejudice, lack of understanding of disabled people’s needs.”

Images above: Fisher’s Lane from the north and traffic sign on approach at South Parade

What should happen now?

Southfield’s three Lib Dem councillors are now calling for the council to terminate the Fisher’s Lane closure to traffic until a full review is held “which must take into account possible alternatives to the scheme and the viewpoints of those who have given feedback in our survey”.

They want Ealing Council to review the two recent traffic accidents reported on Acton Lane and Fisher’s Lane, to determine whether the introduction of the Fisher’s Lane scheme may have led to an increased risk of an accident for cyclists, walkers or those driving at these locations.

They want Ealing Council to review the signage, in conjunction with Hounslow Council, “as many motorists and other users are not always aware of the changes”.

If Ealing Council does not terminate the scheme, then the Southfield Ward Councillors will look to organise and hold a digital Southfield Ward Forum meeting to discuss the survey results with residents, inviting Transport officers from both Ealing and Hounslow Councils to take part. The survey showed that forty nine percent of respondents would like to attend a virtual public meeting to discuss this topic with a council officer.

Ealing council “embarrassed” says Cllr Malcolm

The leader of Ealing Council, Cllr Julian Bell, survived a vote of no confidence in September by just one vote. It was brought by fellow Labour councillors over the implementation of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes in the borough. The council won a second crucial vote at an extraordinary meeting on 20 October.

Cllr Bell said then: ““We know that people have strong views both for and against. What we promise is that their views are being heard.” He promised that each scheme would be re-evaluated once it had been in place for six months.

The closure of Fisher’s Lane is not part of the LTN changes, as it was implemented to introduce a cycle route, but Cllr Malcolm believes the council is open to the decision being reviewed, sooner rather than later, because of the overwhelming opposition.

“The council was a bit embarrassed and are now rowing back a bit, while continuing to support LTNs. They are now willing to have more of an open dialogue”.

“It’s crazy to say this scheme is going ahead whether you like it or not and we will just review it in six months’ time”.

He thinks Ealing and Hounslow did not work together over the introduction of these traffic changes and clearly they needed to. He hopes now they will.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: One woman crusade to save motorists from fines

See also: Group of Bedford Park architects & planners organise Turnham Green Terrace workshop

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.

Time to have a close and critical look at your wardrobe?

Images above: silk camisole and gold cuff from Gill Davies’ Prescribe:London collection

Wouldn’t you like to have a functional wardrobe? One in which things go together and fit you and look flattering as outfits?

This is Gill Davies’ mission. A personal stylist who often works with Harvey Nichols’ Style Concierge, her aim is to add “responsibility” and “value” to your clothes. ‘Responsibility’ is not a word I associate with wardrobes, but what I think she means is not blowing the budget on one gorgeous but completely impractical item, but working with clients to put together for them “functional value based wardrobes which reflect who they are”.

Having complete, interchangeable and adaptable outfits is important, particularly if you travel for work, but the time and effort it might take to achieve that – and indeed the patience – is not something all of us have. If you can’t achieve it in one session in a big department store, you may be in for hours of shlepping around with bags in and out of different shops. Some people love that, but some don’t. It’s tiring, and often frustrating. Even if a clothes shopping trip is your idea of a good time, having a professional with up to date knowledge of the clothing ranges on offer from a variety of quality brands just makes life so much easier.

Images above: Right – silk trousers from in-house stock

Make the most of your existing wardrobe

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the retail trade. The whole process of shopping for clothes, touching garments on a rail, trying them on, has become much more fraught.

“Even before Covid I was focusing on a solution which also paid attention to being more responsible with wardrobes choices” says Gill.

“The Prescribe London Style Hub is a concept which brings together all the services I offer in one place by partnering with a number of brands and designers which focus on outfit completing pieces, including carefully chosen jewellery pieces, beautiful stretch sulk camisoles and trousers as well as a quality designer shoe brand”.

She offers these alongside selections from Harvey Nichols which you can try on approval, and pre-selected pieces from online retailers.

Images above: Preloved Prada dress from Vestiaire Collective; Amara Necklace – designer jewellery stock item 

She also complements this service by offering the best of ‘pre-loved’ garments:

“recommendations from our in-house ‘preloved’ collection and Vestiaire Collective (‘the leading online marketplace to buy and sell authenticated pre-owned luxury fashion’) as well as rental options recommendations from My Wardrobe HQ.

“There is always the option to take the concept into the clients home if they feel comfortable”.

Her clients seem to appreciate what she does, judging from the testimonials on her website. This is from one of her grateful clients:

‘Simply put, Gill makes you the best that you can be. She is the perfect clever, connected, impartial and gently honest friend you need when you go shopping who focuses solely on you. She makes you see yourself differently, finds just what you need to make you look and feel terrific and does it all with grace, humour and panache. She is wonderful’.

Charity work

Gill also works with charities. She contacted Ellie’s Friends, now part of Maggie’s Centres. They are dedicated to ‘making the big C smaller’ by improving the lives people with cancer, all around the UK. They provide gifts from caring businesses and individuals, to bring cancer sufferers a bit of enjoyment and ‘offset some of the financial and psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis’.

“Through them I also met Look Good Feel Good and sat in on one of their make-up workshops which teaches cancer patients how to apply make up taking into consideration their changing needs”.

She had planned to provide similar styling workshops. Covid has put this on hold temporarily, but if a client works with the Prescribe London Style Hub she will donate time towards working with a pro bono cancer client.

Gill’s company Prescribe:London offers a discount through The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market is back, 1 November

See also: Harriet’s Kitchen – a new place to find delicious food in Chiswick

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.

Episode 26: Cricket’s growth in remarkable places: the man who knows

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.

James Coyne, Assistant Editor of The Cricketer magazine, has prepared each year since 2012 the section in Wisden Cricketers Almanack on Cricket Around The World. He is also the co-author of a book Evita Burned Down Our Pavilion (to be published next April) a record of an epic cricketing odyssey in Latin America. As the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast, he shares his knowledge of all the astonishing places in the world which now play cricket.

More Platforms

He outlines the cricketing crime instigated by Evita Peron, and explains its background in sporting politics. Cricket and two forms of football were all introduced by the British through their commercial influence in Argentina, but whereas association and later rugby football acquired a general following, cricket remained a game for the Anglophile élite, and therefore a prime target for the Perons’ populist nationalism. Egyptian cricket had a similar trajectory (its most famous product was the future actor Omar Sharif).

He tells the story of the MCC tour of Argentina in the 1920s, managed by Plum Warner with Gubby Allen and a future Prime Minister, Alec Douglas-Home leading the attack. He tells the remarkable story of another amateur on the tour who was picked by Warner to lead the following year’s Test tour of South Africa – and the non-cricketing reason why Warner chose him.

The Round the World feature in the Almanack has covered around 150 countries or territories – many more than the 104 current members of the ICC. James explains that it tends to focus on countries in the news, countries where cricket is contributing to recovery after conflict, cricket among refugee populations – and those with a great new cricket story to be told. The feature has tracked many countries’ rise through the ranks of cricket, notably Afghanistan and latterly Thailand. He suggests reasons for the rapid progress of Thai women’s cricket, a model for the rest of the world.

In contrast are the sad decline of cricket in Morocco (where Richard was the only visiting captain to lose an international series) and the apparent disappearance of the cricket league named after “Sir Peter Oborne” in the West African state of Chad. It may have been a victim of equipment shortages, which have affected cricket in its neighbour Mali.

James analyses the problems, especially amateurish governance and factionalism, which have persistently held back cricket in the United States despite its rich history and huge potential for participation, spectatorship and financing. He describes the present ambitious plans for American cricket which try to replicate the successful business models of other American sports – and names two of America’s top business leaders who are ardent cricket supporters. He cites the hugely exciting proposal to include cricket in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games, and the obstacles it faces.

He tells fascinating stories of cricket in St Helena (population around 4500 but ahead of China in the current ICC rankings), in the Falkland Islands (often interrupted by wind or Argentina, and lost kit in Tierra del Fuego), and Antarctica (a match at the South Pole in 1959, regular fixtures at the Australian base).

He shares the moving story of cricket in desperate conditions in the Shatila refugee camp in the Lebanon, and its British pioneers led by Richard Verity and supported by a local headmaster, David Gray. It has shown the potential for cricket to offer its healing power to Syria’s huge refugee population as it has done previously to Afghans and others.

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.

Harriet’s Kitchen Menu 27 October 2020

Treat yourself with some delicious home booked food. All you have to do it warm it up

Harriet Benton launched Harriet’s kitchen during lockdown as a way of helping neighbours in Bedford Park. With more than forty years in the catering business, she has a well tried repertoire of delicious dishes, which her team will deliver to your door, with no charge in Chiswick, and with a 10% discount for Chiswick Calendar Club Card members.

Order on Tuesday for delivery on Thursday.

To place your orders contact
or phone  020 8747 1627 / 07973 858 642.

Here’s this week’s menu, to order on Tuesday 27 October for delivery on Thursday 29 October


Spiced butternut squash soup with roast pumpkin seeds, crusty roll or garlic bread £5.00

Chicken or Salmon Yakitori salad, noodles & pickled ginger S £6.50 / L £12.00

Skewers of marinated chicken or salmon with noodles, crisp vegetables, sesame, pickled ginger & a divine yakitori dressing. Large or Small portion

Ghoulish, spooky spuds & poisoned leeks w peas £12.10

Halloween! Our regular & much loved 6 hour slow cooked beef, red wine & mushroom stew with creamed mashed potatoes & peas.

Sausage & butter bean casserole with potato wedges £9.00

Top quality pork sausages braised with vegetables, sweet paprika, butter & haricot beans & stock, crusty bread to mop up!

Lamb kleftiko,Pita & Greek salad £12.50

By request. Said to be named after sheep-rustling bandits known as the klephts, who would cook their ill-gotten gains in underground pits to avoid detection, long, slow roasting until the meat fairly falls off the bone. Handy, no doubt, when your knives are engaged in more nefarious things. Tender, delicious & with the ever popular Greek salad which many of you order separately, just say the word.

Poached & pan seared corn fed chicken with spinach £10.50

Poached in rich chicken stock & sealed off in the pan, buttered spinach with nutmeg, mushroom, white wine & reduced stock gravy.

Goan-style curry, Rice & Raita  SF £12.00 /  C £10.20 / V £9.00

Spicy in the truest sense: deeply aromatic, rather than just hot, with chillies playing second fiddle to the sweetness of cloves and star anise. Refreshingly tangy & finished off with a tempered oil.
Sea food or Chicken or Vegetable

Spinach & Ricotta Canneloni w/ garlic bread £9.25

By request. Cannelloni stuffed with fresh spinach & ricotta, in a fresh tomato sauce, a cheeky layer of mozzarella & topped with a cheese & mascarpone sauce.

Pumpkin Pie & cream £5.00

Carrot cake with cream cheese & mascarpone topping £5.00

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market is back, Sunday 1 November

See also: 40% of Hounslow workforce now unemployed or on furlough

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.


Trufflehound Dining Club Menu 27 October 2020

Chiswick Flower Market is back, 1 November

Image above: The first Chiswick Flower Market in September; photograph Gwen Shabka

Chiswick Flower Market to go ahead in November with support from LB Hounslow and Chiswick councillors

The organisers of the Chiswick Flower Market (of whom The Chiswick Calendar’s editor is one) are delighted to say that the November market will go ahead as planned.

As with the first one in September there will be an interesting mix of stalls selling live plants, cut flowers (more this time), bulbs, indoor plants and horticultural accessories at Old Market Place (opposite Marks and Spencer) from 09.30 – 3.00pm on Sunday 1 November.

Images above: Hardy’s plants; Anemone ‘Frilly Knickers’

New to the market

We look forward to welcoming Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, who have won no fewer than 24 gold medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show over the years. They sell live plants, specializing in herbaceous perennials, grown at their nursery in Hampshire, but are also planning to sell bunches of cut flowers.

“We love doing events like this and it will be nice to be back in London, to meet up with some of our customers” says Robert Hardy.

Of particular interest will be their new Anemone ‘Frilly Knickers’, with its romantically ruffled semi-double petals, which they launched at the Hampton Court Flower Show this summer.

Images above: Steve Burridge, photograph Gwen Shabka; Urban Tropicana, photograph Frank Noon

Returning to market – already favourites

Stallholders returning to the market include Steve Burridge and London House Plants’ Vicky Fleming, both well-established Columbia Rd market traders, and new business Urban Tropicana.

Helping local start-ups

Other start-up local businesses at the market include Greenka, selling indoor plants and pots, Lily Matilda, selling bunches of fresh and dried flowers, handmade pottery and garden inspired notebooks and Fiddlefig, selling a variety of indoor plants.

Vanessa Brandon will also be there with her son Jamie, a local tree surgeon. They’ve started a business together selling decorative glass and ceramic spheres and cylinders planted with succulents, cacti and moss. Vanessa was recently made redundant after 20 years in retail.

“Having a stall at the Chiswick Flower market is a fabulous opportunity for us to connect with the public and show people what we do” she said.

Established Chiswick businesses Pot Pourri and W4 Flowers will also be there. W4 Flowers are looking forward to meeting Chiswick customers again, having been shut during the pandemic. They are the longest established flower trader on Chiswick High Road.

Images above: September market; photographs Gwen Shabka, Frank Noon

Covid precautions

After the success of the September market we cancelled October’s market while we had a think about what else we could do to make the market Covid secure. We’ve consulted with Hounslow Council’s Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill, scrutinised the government’s Covid regulations and kept an eye on what other markets are doing. We are confident that our Covid preparations are among the best.

We’ve taken additional steps to make the market as safe as possible by altering the layout, spreading out the stalls more. We’ve changed the queueing system, making it easier to manage should we get big numbers turning up, though we don’t expect as many people as last time.

Our marshals, all community volunteers, will be assertive in requiring people to wear masks and exercise social distancing both in the queue and in the market itself. Visitors will be expected to use hand sanitiser on entry and we will stop people entering the market to stop it becoming too crowded, if the number of visitors reaches the limit agreed with the council.

Images above: Photographs by Frank Noon

‘Tender Perennials’

We are also introducing a ‘Tender Perennials’ hour from 08.30-09.30 for older (70+) and more vulnerable (any age) shoppers to come with a friend, if you need someone to help you, to get first dibs without having to queue along with everyone else. Having to take extra care should not preclude you from being able to wander round and experience the colourful display of plants on sale without pressure. You can book a place here.

The current legal position is that outdoor events are not restricted to a specific number of attendees and may go ahead provided (i) they have carried out a thorough risk assessment and (ii) taken all reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of viral transmission.

As partners in the Chiswick Flower Market, we have consulted with officers at LB Hounslow every step of the way, from traffic management to risk assessment. Our Covid planning, carried out in conjunction with Hounslow’s public health team, delivers a market with the highest standards in London.

Leader of Hounslow Council, Steve Curran said:

“Chiswick Flower Market is a fantastic addition to the borough. Its inaugural market in September was a real success.
“It’s great news to hear that a Covid-secure way has been found for it to go ahead in November, albeit at reduced capacity. I know a lot of work has been carried out by the organisers to bring in proper safety measures, and this has been supported by Council officers. I’d like to say a big thank you to all involved.

“I’ll definitely be going and urge anyone else who does to be responsible, to keep following the national guidelines and be respectful of the measures put in place by the market organisers.”

Leader of Chiswick’s Conservative councillors Gerald McGregor added:

“Given the precautions being put in place, the market will be safe and well organised. Providing the weather is good, it will provide traders and visitors with activity and enjoyment”.


Trend in outdoor markets

Outdoor markets are continuing elsewhere, and there has been a recent blossoming of new markets in west London, in Hammersmith, Ealing and Acton.

Much needed boost for business

The organisers, all volunteers, created Chiswick Flower Market to try and revitalise the High Rd economy. We were delighted by the reports back after the first market from businesses in Chiswick High Rd, Devonshire Rd and Turnham Green Terrace about the huge boost it brought to their takings. Let’s build on that success to bring trade to Chiswick’s local businesses.

Images above: Hatley’s – among the shops which decorated their windows with flowers for the first flower market

Do’s and don’ts of the Chiswick Flower Market

Please don’t bring plastic bags with you. You will be able to buy the latest must–have Chiswick accessory, a nice big jute bag with the flower market logo on it.
Do make use of our plant crèche – buy your plants and leave them with use while you go off and do the rest of your shopping – and our cargo bike delivery service, free within Chiswick.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market a roaring success

See also: Chiswick Flower Market with have a flower creche

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.


One woman crusade to save motorists from fines

Image: Thanks to Hamish Pringle

A public spirited Chsiwick woman has made it her personal crusade to stop motorists from being fined as they drive down Turnham Green Terrace. For several days she has been walking up and down the Terrace with a banner trying to stop drivers from inadvertently being fined £130.

New signs were installed at the entrances to Devonshire Rd and Turnham Green Terrace at the beginning of July and by September more than 4,000 penalty notices had been issued. Most drivers paid £65 rather than delay and pay the full £130 but many have appealed, saying they hadn’t noticed the signs or that they didn’t understand what they meant. The signs allow ‘access’ but don’t explain what that means. If a driver is approaching from Hammersmith to enter Turnham Green Terrace, only once they have made the turn can they see the sign.

Parking bays were removed but disabled drivers are able to park and so are people loading or unloading heavy or bulky goods. If there are no spaces available though, even these drivers get fined as there is no option, in the absence of a space, but to drive straight through.

Images: Thanks to Hamish Pringle

The woman is being hailed as a hero on social media:

“She’s great. She’s saved others a lot of fines, bless her”


“I applaud you”.

A group of architects and planners who live in Bedford Park are now planning an online workshop about how Turnham Green Terrace can be improved, making it a more pleasant place to shop and dwell but without banning cars altogether. Details here:

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Group of Bedford Park architects & planners organise Turnham Green Terrace workshop

See also: Traffic changes May – July 2020

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.

Chancellor announces support for hospitality businesses


Image above: Chancellor Rishi Sunak; photograph Sky News

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced financial support for hospitality businesses across all tiers of Covid-19 restrictions. The Chancellor outlined a financial support package which can be backdated to August.

After the Tier system was introduced across the country, pubs and restaurants in Tier 2 found booking drop dramatically as people who would normally go for a drink or eat out with friends found they could no longer do that. Industry bosses, including Fuller’s CEO Simon Emeny, warned the Government that thousands of jobs could be lost unless Government help was forthcoming.

Rishi Sunak told MPs on Thursday 22 August that “it is clear that even businesses who can stay open are facing profound economic uncertainty”.

After a meeting with representatives of the hospitality industry earlier in the morning, he said:

“Their message was clear – the impact of the health restrictions on their businesses is worse than they hoped … So I am taking three further steps today.

“I am introducing a new grant scheme for businesses impacted by Tier 2 restrictions, even if they aren’t legally closed. We will fund local authorities to provide businesses in their area with direct cash grants. It will be up to local authorities to decide how best to distribute these grants, giving them the necessary flexibility to respond to local economic circumstances.

“But I am providing enough funding to give every businesses premises in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors a direct grant worth up to £2,100 for every month Tier 2 restrictions apply. That is equivalent to 70% of the value of the grants available for closed businesses in Tier 3.

“Crucially, I am pleased to confirm these grants will be retrospective. Businesses in any area which has been under enhanced restrictions can backdate their grants to August. I am pleased to confirm that the backdating of the new grants means we are being more generous to businesses and places which have been under higher restrictions for longer.”

Image above: Hospitality workers on the ‘Hospodemo’ on Monday 19 October

‘Just a small step in the right direction’

Rachel Harty, who organised Monday’s demonstration by hospitality workers in Parliament Square, gave the Chancellor’s initiative a cautious welcome:

“While it’s encouraging that the government has listened to us and responded quickly on Tier 2, let us be clear: today’s announcement is just a small step in the right direction” she said. 

“The Job Support Scheme for hospitality workers in Tier 2 and 3 needs to go further. Hospitality operators need higher grants, the introduction of rent relief and an urgent review of the 10pm curfew, to avoid a tsunami of insolvencies and associated job losses”. 

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Restaurants and pubs hit by cancellations

See also: ‘Critical’ that hospitality industry gets support says Fuller’s boss

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.

Marathon boost for Hogarth Youth Centre

40% of Hounslow workforce now unemployed or on furlough

Covid-19 update

Chiswick Calendar freebie

Images above: Chiswick author Diane Chandler; Her latest book Only Human

I’ve just finished reading Diane Chandler’s book Only Human, a very engaging novel on the Maeve Binchy end of the spectrum which starts when a Chiswick resident, about to celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary, spots her husband from the top of the 94 bus in a passionate clinch with another woman.

It’s quite strange reading a book in which you know all the reference points – all the places she has lunch and walks the dog.

Photograph: Alastair Hilton

Where is this dog?

Diane is very kindly giving away a signed copy of her book to the first five readers to identify correctly where in Chiswick this picture by Alastair Hilton was taken. The first person to answer correctly also wins a framed print from Alastair’s portfolio of work. See his work here:

Email you answers to

If you are unsuccessful and would like to buy the book, you can order it from Waterstones in paperback for £8.99 here:

Or you can read it on Amazon Kindle for £1.99 here:

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick In Pictures 2020 

See also: Web developer makes free websites for charity

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.

Seal found dead near Strand On The Green

Man in the Middle – Chapter 56: Mixed emotions about the day ahead

I often wake up with mixed emotions about the day ahead. I’m not sure why. I used to be bubbly at breakfast and often thought I was at my best before noon. Carpe diem, I used to say to myself every morning, like Bertie Wooster, pumped on Highballs for Breakfast. Now, I start too many days with my teacup half full and sugarless.

‘I’ve lost my mojo,’ I say to my wife, as a chunk of marmalade falls from my multi-seed toast onto my PJs.

‘What with Covid and our silver wedding anniversary coming up is it any wonder?’ says my wife.

I am about to agree with her wholeheartedly, but something in my subconscious, applies the emergency hand brake in my brain and no words slip from my marmaladed mouth. Instead, I just chew on my toast slowly and near silently, like a cow mulling over the weather.

That was a close shave, I mull. If I had agreed with her, I would have been guilty of admitting that the loss of my mojo was partly caused by the length of our marriage. Effectively, I would have been blaming her. And blaming your wife for anything in front of the children is a monumental blunder to match the Charge of the Light Brigade or the Titanic playing chicken with an iceberg. Any Fule Kno That.

Even more importantly, it would have been a breach of the ancient British common law tradition, which rules that ‘Serious or Intimate Conversation is not allowed at breakfast, except in unusual circumstances, like war.’ I can almost hear Mark Francois MP in my inner ear saying ‘Britain didn’t build its Empire by men discussing their mojos over the eggs and B.’

Thankfully, instead of Mark Francois MP, I have a tiny lawyer inside my head who works tirelessly to prevent me from unnecessarily incriminating myself or generally fouling things up with what my wife calls my ‘foot in mouth’ tendency. If this lawyer were real, they’d be making a fortune with the hours they’re clocking up for me.

My inner lawyer advises me I have to reject her suggestion our anniversary is a cause for my depression. If I do not go on the record soon, my silence may be taken as an admission of guilt. Choose your words carefully, they whisper, words make history.

‘Our marriage is one of few things that keeps me positive,’ I find myself saying.

‘Reeeaaally? Can’t you keep that sort of thing for the privacy of your bedroom? I’m still eating breakfast,’ says my son.

‘When mum still thought you were fun, she used to say you were half man, half Labrador puppy,’ says my daughter.

‘Now you’re more like a quarter man, three quarters chihuahua,’ says my son.

‘Dad’s just trying to be sweet,’ says my wife.

‘But it’s sad watching him struggle with something so alien to him,’ says my son. ‘Like a child with its first bike.’

Before my daughter can chip in again, my wife reminds her that I have volunteered to drive with her to her teaching college this morning. As she is still a learner driver, she needs me to go with her. Or it’s three buses.

‘Let’s just let this conversation go. That way, no one will get offended and change their commitments,’ she says.

She’s referring to me. I love it when she talks about me in the abstract. It feels like being wrapped a 15 TOG duvet. I finish up a second piece of toast and turn to my daughter.

‘Shall we go?’

‘Yup’ she says.

As I pass my wife, she says she didn’t mean to imply our wedding anniversary might be a source of depression. It certainly isn’t one to her, she says. And nor does she think our wedding anniversary is in anyway comparable to a deadly and oppressive plague like Covid, in case I had accidentally drawn that inference from what she said earlier.

‘It was my fault for even mentioning my mojo at breakfast. That was a clear breach of British breakfast tradition. Nothing personal should be said until the kedgeree is cleared away,’ I say.
She looks at me bemused. From the hall, my daughter is scrabbling around in the key box. There’s an angry rattling.

‘I can’t find the car keys,’ she says. ‘Who had them last?’

‘Nothing to do with me,’ I shout.

‘Nor me,’ echoes my son.

‘Oh for heaven’s sake, do I have to do everything around here?’ asks my wife, to which no one replies, because the answer is too obvious.

Read the next in the series – The runway to Me Time gets blocked

Back to square one?