LB Hounslow sign off on changes to Cycleway 9

LB Hounslow has signed off changes to Cycleway 9 proposed by Transport for London. Amongst other improvements, they now plan to add bus shelters at stops along the High Rd and to introduce more places for taxis and other vehicles to pick up and drop off passengers.

At a Cabinet meeting on 20 July, Cabinet Members approved the discontinuation of the current Experimental Traffic Order (“ETO”) and trial relating to the Temporary Cycleway 9 located on Chiswick High Road, between Goldhawk Road and Heathfield Terrace and approved making a new ETO (C9 2021) ‘to trial a range of measures resulting from data and responses to C9’.

Image above: Cycleway 9 on Chiswick High Rd; photograph James Willcox

Is this the end for OneChiswick’s Judicial Review?

Where this leaves the legal action by OneChiswick Ltd is unclear. They have initiated a Judicial Review of the Council’s decision to install the the cycle lane, which is due to be heard in the autumn.

TfL consulted on proposals for a permanent version of Cycleway 9 in 2017. It was signed off by Hounslow Council in September 2019. Before that could be constructed the pandemic hit, the Government gave local councils emergency powers to install Streetspace schemes and TfL installed a temporary version of the cycle lane, which differs in several respects from the planned version.

OneChiswick’s legal action is based on the initial Experimental Traffic Order. Now that has been discontinued, it may be that OneChiswick are not able to pursue the Judicial Review. We have asked them for a comment.

Read the detail of the new changes to the cycle lane in our story dated 10 July.

READ ALSO: TfL propose changes to Cycleway 9

Conservative councillors continue to oppose C9

Hounslow’s group of Conservative opposition councillors, all but one representing Chiswick, presented a report to the Cabinet outlining their objections to Cycleway 9 and calling on Cabinet members to reconsider it.

‘The impact of the cycleway on the lives of residents, businesses and the many other users of Chiswick High Road has been huge’ they say.

‘It is the opinion of the Conservative Group of Councillors that the recent review of the scheme by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) was inadequate….

‘Cabinet members must ask themselves whether the information being presented to them is complete and sufficiently free of bias’.

Chiswick’s councillor noted that the Cabinet was being asked to consider either continuing C9 in its existing form or amending or modifying it, but they were not being asked to consider scrapping it altogether.

Image above: Cycleway 9 on Chiswick High Rd; photograph James Willcox

Are more people cycling?

They note that the ‘modal shift’ anticipated by planners – the idea that the public will leave their cars behind and either walk or cycle more – has yet to materialise.

Cabinet Member Cllr Guy Lambert, who says he cycles the route most days, told The Chiswick Calendar that, anecdotally, he had certainly noticed more people using the cycle lane.

“Research shows that this stuff takes time. It takes a while for people to change their habits, but there is another new bike shop opening on the High Rd”.

Cllr Sam Hearn, the Conservative Group’s spokesman on transport, said in his submission:

‘The report notes that there has been a reduction in commuter journeys during lock-down and that the use of public transport has fallen. When confidence in the safety of public transport’s revives we can be certain that a proportion of commuter cyclists will return to travelling by tube, train and bus.

‘None of the changes contained in the new experimental traffic order will facilitate modal shift in anyway. Please look at the detail.

‘Without modal shift the argument for a segregated cycleway is fatally weakened. It becomes just a prestige trophy project whose limited benefits must be measured against the substantial damage it does directly and indirectly to businesses and the lives of road users who, for one reason or another, are unable to make their journeys by bike’.

Air pollution

In its report, Transport for London claimed air quality had improved in Chiswick High Rd since the introduction of Cycleway 9 in December 2020.

‘Data from an air quality monitoring station in Chiswick High Road opposite Windmill Road also shows an overall improvement in air quality, with levels of nitrogen dioxide, nitricoxide and particulate matter that are consistently lower than before the cycle lane was installed’.

But opponents of the cycle lane point out that air quality is not being measured on other key roads nearby.

READ ALSO: TfL and LB Hounslow claim C9 is a success

The Conservative Group of councillors say:

‘One of the most worrying things about the papers submitted to cabinet members is the insistence that cycleway 9 will improve air quality. There is only one air monitoring station on the whole route of the cycleway 9 and that is located away from the vehicle lanes.

‘A clue as to why TfL are not particularly interested in measuring air quality is contained in the report produced for TfL by its specialist air pollution consultants at the time of the consultation on original cycleway scheme.

‘The consultants were quite clear that the cycleway will have little or no impact on air quality. They instead predicted that air pollution will simply be moved around the area as drivers find alternative local routes’.

Image above: Cycleway 9 on Chiswick High Rd; photograph James Willcox

Cycle Safety

Cllr Hearn says the issue of cycle safety was raised at the Oversight and Scrutiny committee.

‘Members of the OSC asked that more work be done to clarify the statistics before they were reported to cabinet. It is regrettable that this appears not to have been done’.

Cycle lane ‘here to stay’

Cllr Lily Bath, who chaired Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, told the Evening Standard:

“Obviously it has been a very emotive subject. This is just the beginning and it’s not the end. This is a live scheme. This will allow further impact and further feedback”.

In discussion on Twitter, @ChiswickHighRd Tweeted:

‘It’s time for everyone to accept tha the cycle lane, C9, 10 years in the discussion / consultation is here to stay.

Time to improve it, but time to stop wasting time and money arguing about whether it should exist or not’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL propose changes to Cycleway 9

See also: TfL & LB Hounslow claim C9 is a success

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Man in the Middle 71: De Pfeffel’s Day of Freedom Just Went Wrong

Man in the Middle is the fictional diary of a Boomer coping with the demands of an ageing mother with dementia, his millennial children and his own impending obsolence. Bowed down by Brexit, Covid and self-pity, all he wants is more ‘me time’.  Will he succeed? Or is he destined to be stuck forever in No Man’s Land in the war between the generations?

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

No 71: De Pfeffel’s Day of Freedom Just Went Wrong

July 19. Freedom Day. Mid-morning. I’m staring at our bedroom ceiling tracing the cracks in the plaster growing out from the overhead light like the emaciated arms of an octopus. I’ve been doing this for more than an hour, weighing up what to do with Freedom Day, Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s wonderful gift to the Nation.

I know I should be grateful Bojo has given me back the chance to exercise Personal Responsibility, but I’m not feeling very boosterish yet. Perhaps it’s the thought that it’s going to cost hundreds of pounds to fix the maze of cracks on the ceiling that’s dampening my spirits or maybe it’s because I’ve got a love hate relationship with personal responsibility.

Personal responsibility is great when there’s easy option to take but tricky when there isn’t. Which is why I outsourced the management of my Personal Responsibilities to my wife years ago. She makes the decisions while I enjoy the benefits. It’s similar to the Blind Trusts used by public figures to make money while they pretend they don’t know they are making money.

Other than personal responsibility, what exactly it is de Pfeiffel says I can do today that I couldn’t do yesterday? I make a mental list. Number one: I can go to a nightclub. But what’s the benefit in that?

I haven’t been to a disco since I met my wife on a small wooden dance floor in a basement nightclub in Chelsea at the end of the Age of The Bachelor (circa 1690 AD) where I bamboozled her with my (then) flexible hips and a full head of hair. Unfortunately, I also perjured myself by swearing I ‘loved to dance’ and owned the complete works of Abba. Going to a nightclub now would only stir up memories for her which might trigger a psychotic episode or a call to the divorce lawyers. Besides, I’ve got a groin strain from playing bowls too vigorously last week and wouldn’t be able to do myself justify under the strobes.

So, what else does Freedom Day actually do for me?

‘You can order your drinks at the bar,’ a friend while sipping a hipster lager called something like `Thyroid Balm’.

Is that freedom?

Compulsory table service could be the greatest legacy of Lock Down and should remain on the statute books along with face masks in public spaces. My rationale?

First, ordering at the bar is lost drinking time. Table orders mean punters can focus on what they’re good at: drinking. Two, men make more trips to the bar than women. Compulsory table service evens up the booze ordering burden between the sexes. Three, ordering at the bar causes high blood pressure, especially among male Boomers.

Why?Because young bar staff (which now is all bar staff) prefer to serve young people before Boomers, even if the Boomer has been standing at the bar since before breakfast and the young person has only just come into the pub. This is especially true if the young person is attractive e.g., has several ear piercings and false eyelashes. Keeping compulsory table service would reduce Ageism and the risk of strokes. Why can’t the Government see this?

I should be getting up, but my pyjamas whisper to me: ignore the siren calls of your shirts and shoes to get suited and booted. My duvet says: don’t rush away, it’s warm here. The pillow says: the pub won’t be open for another hour.

I snuggle a little flatter onto the mattress.

My wife is coming up the stairs, her flips flops clapping like a teacher calling a class to attention. I must get out of bed before she sees me. I should be doing something which requires me to be vertical, not horizontal, but I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s just a guilty conscience?

Luckily, like all experienced husbands and good-for-nothings, I know how to look busy faster than Superman can change his suit. I swing my legs out of bed and, in a flash, I’m pretending to do yoga, standing upright by the bed with my arms and fingers stretching up to the ceiling in an approximation of the tree position.

‘What are you doing?’

‘Yoga,’ I say.

I breathe out, bring my palms together at my chest and whisper ‘namaste’ to her, bowing slightly.

‘Are you packed yet?’

Packed?

Oh, so that’s what what Freedom Day is for. I remember now. We’re off to Worcestershire for a holiday. Specifically, to stuff our faces in the eateries of Ludlow: ‘The Kettle & Limescale’; the infamous ‘Cream Crackered’, a novelty savoury biscuit shop, and the ‘French Lieutenant’s Pantry’, which is rumoured to be in the running for a Michelin star in 2035. My personal responsibility was to be packed for a noonish departure.

‘I’ve sorted my holiday reading.’

I point to a pile of paperbacks on the bedside table. It’s a lame distraction strategy and she sees through it.

‘They’ve been there for months. You haven’t done anything, have you?’

She looks me in the eye.

‘I don’t want a rerun of Menorca,’ she says, firmly.

‘Nobody wants another Menorca,’ I say, thinking of that blighted holiday and my pivotal role in it.

‘I could do with some help packing the car.’

‘Down in 15.’

‘Not in pyjamas.’

‘Battle fatigues, of course,’ I reply.

My son and daughter aren’t coming to Worcestershire. Despite that, the kitchen table is covered with cardboard boxes full of provisions. We’re taking enough to make a regiment of Doomsday Preppers happy to face the Apocalypse. I’m worried this will mean too much cooking at the holiday home and not enough out and about in Ludlow and the local pubs. My wife is even taking a bottle of Worcester sauce.

‘Coals to Newcastle,’ I say holding up the bottle of Worcester sauce.

‘Eh?’ she says.

‘Surely, they have Worcester sauce in Worcestershire?’ I ask.

‘Don’t get smart, get packing,’ says my wife.

After half an hour, the car is full. I’ve started to take responsibility. Not for much. But it’s a start. If I do the bulk of the driving, I may even recover the brownie points I lost lazing around this morning. Is that a little Boris Bounce I can feel surging through me or just the thought of lunch?

I walk into the sitting room. My son is standing in the window.

‘You’re up early,’ I say.

‘Don’t come near me,’ he says, sharply.

Now and again, he pretends he doesn’t like me. Sometimes, he really doesn’t like me. It’s a father and son thing. We both grit our teeth and hope it’ll pass.

‘Everything OK?’ I ask.

‘I’m positive,’ he says.

‘It’s so important at your age,’ I say. ‘With Brexit, Covid and climate change there’s so much for young people to feel down about.’

‘No, you idiot. I’ve tested positive for covid.’

My wife is in the doorway of the kitchen.

‘We can’t go,’ she says. ‘I’ve checked the web site.’

‘But we’re double jabbed?’

‘Even so, we have to isolate for ten days.’

‘Even though it’s Freedom Day?’ I ask.

‘It’s our responsibility to others,’ says my wife. ‘Let’s get on with it.’

‘On with what?’

‘Unpacking the car and claiming on the holiday insurance I asked you to buy.’

Holiday insurance?

Oh, cruel Lord of Catastrophic Holidays, why pick on me? It was my responsibility to buy holiday insurance. I didn’t. It’s Menorca, all over again.

Read more blogs by James Thellusson

Read the previous one – Man in the Middle 70: Father’s Day

See all James’s Man in the Middle blogs here

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

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The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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Meet the Makers – Chiswick Chillies

Image above: Chiswick Chillies range 

Caitlin McCall from Chiswick Chillies

As part of our ‘Meet the Chiswick Makers’ series we meet Caitlin McCall from Chiswick Chillies. Her signature Hot Sauce and the Hot Chilli Relish are available in the Chiswick House Shop, open daily 10am-4pm, (10% discount for Chiswick Calendar Club Card members on Thursdays).

Jo Finn has been talking to Caitlin about her sauces.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you make:
We’re a local start-up business: we grow chillies in our small urban garden and greenhouse, and we make chilli sauces to family recipes, using only natural ingredients. 

How did you get into making your product?
One summer, when our garden was temporarily out of bounds, we planted a few chilli seeds in pots on a west-facing windowsill. To our surprise, they grew and produced a ridiculous number of chillies. The following year, we thought we’d try it again, experimenting with new varieties. And so it began.

Ten years later, we had a greenhouse, and more chillies than we knew what to do with. So we invented our own super-hot sauce – it helps that my husband is a foodie! Our daughters wanted a chilli ketchup, and soon we also had our own BBQ Sauce and sweet chilli jams, playing with recipes and finding chilli combinations chosen for their flavour and heat.

A couple of years ago, I started selling our sauces in local delis and shops, and the business grew. But the kitchen table is still the centre of Chiswick Chillies: I rely on my husband’s recipes and his culinary flair; one of my daughters designs and draws our labels; and all my girls pitch in to help with everything from bottling sauce to teaching me how to put stickers on an Instagram story. 

Images above: the colourful variety of Chiswick Chillies

Which of your products are available in Chiswick House Shop?
Currently, our signature Hot Sauce and the Hot Chilli Relish are on the shelves of the Chiswick House Shop.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m experimenting with chilli-based cordials: at the moment, rhubarb and chilli is my favourite, so watch this space!

What do you love about Chiswick House and Gardens?
Our girls have grown up with the pleasure of having Chiswick House and Gardens on our doorstep, it has been a constant feature of our family life: from sunny afternoon picnics to frosty Boxing Day outings, the summer festivals and winter light shows, walking the dog, admiring the camellias. We visit in all seasons but particularly look out for the cygnets in Spring, and I love the camellias in the Conservatory. We remember the old Café with affection and enjoy the new one now. We never forget how lucky we are to have such a fabulous resource so close to home.

What’s your top Chiswick tip?
Chiswick empties in August, it’s wonderfully peaceful – and you can always get a table at a restaurant last minute! 

Find out more about Chiswick Chillies at chiswickchillies.co.uk or by following them on Instagram @chiswickchillies.

Images above: the wide range of products offered by Chiswick Chillies; part of the preparation process

Club Card Thursdays at Chiswick House

Chiswick House is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme and offer holders of our Club Card a 10% discount on tickets to the House and Kitchen Garden and 10% off anything from the shop on Thursdays. Valid until 31 October, Clubcard holders simply need to show their card in the Shop to receive the discount or use the code CHGT-CHISWCLUB-10 when booking House tickets online. Valid on Thursdays only.

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.

Record breaking month for house sales

Image above: Five bedroom Victorian terraced house currently on the market with John D Wood & Co

Guest blog by Julian Masson

The property market for sales in the second quarter of the year was extremely busy as buyers and sellers across the country took advantage of the extension to the Stamp Duty holiday. Across our John D Wood & Co offices we recorded a record-breaking June, selling more properties than any June over the past decade. In fact, the number of properties sold across the business in June 2021 was greater than the total for June 2018, 2019 and 2020 combined.

This trend was reflected in our Chiswick office where we saw offers agreed, exchanges and completions increase dramatically leading up to the Stamp Duty deadline. Since the pandemic, the market in Chiswick has continued to perform well. We have experienced a continued increase in buyers relocating from central London locations with many people moving for space, both internally and externally, seeking to accommodate a more flexible working approach. This in addition to the consistent rotation of people upsizing and downsizing in Chiswick.

Purchasers have had to be quick off the mark, often competing with a number of other buyers in similar or better positions. This has resulted in some properties selling over the asking price or even selling prior to launching on the open market. Most recently, we sold a remarkable six-bedroom family house ‘off-market’ (whereby the property has not yet launched online) which achieved competitive bidding and sold for just under £4,000,000. Likewise, we have recently agreed a smaller terraced house off-market, on the borders of Bedford Park which is under offer to a chain-free cash purchaser. This has become a common trend in Chiswick, so it is crucial for buyers to register their search criteria, even if that agent may not have a property of interest online as they may miss out.

Over the past few weeks, we have noticed a slight slowdown in activity levels, presumably as people wait for the dust to settle following the Stamp Duty holiday deadline, thus taking a more considered and careful approach when viewing properties. This slight lull was expected after the manic rush, and we believe the high levels of interest will swiftly return in the coming weeks. The vaccination roll-out and the gradual easing of the lockdown restrictions coupled with the return of the warm weather will no doubt add momentum to the property market. We are still registering a healthy number of motivated purchasers every week and provided the property is marketed and priced correctly, they are still attracting a great deal of positive interest.

The lettings market over the past few months has also performed well with most of what we take on letting within days of launching. We have witnessed high levels of new applicants registering their search criteria but a lack of rental properties coming on to the market. With fewer instructions and more people searching, we are hoping to see a rise in prices over the coming months, especially as we enter the peak summer market. As before, those with outside space will have a better chance of securing a higher rental value in a quicker timescale.

Julian Masson is Branch Manager and Head of Sales at John D Wood & Co. in Turnham Green Terrace

John D Wood & Co.
68 Turnham Green Terrace,
Chiswick, London, W4 1QN
Tel: 020 8995 9394

Club Card offer

John D Wood & Co sponsors The Chiswick Calendar and are members of our Club Card scheme. If you’re thinking of selling your house, John D Wood & Co. offers our Club Card members a 35% discount on their standard sole agency fee. See more about their Club Card offer here: John D Wood & Co. Club Card offer.

Do I need to see a Chiropractor, Osteopath or Physiotherapist?

Guest blog by David Harvey, DC, MChiro

This is something all manual therapists will have to answer at some point or another; I have certainly been asked this question a fair few times.

I was faced with this question initially when I was in secondary school — during my GCSE years I made the decision to study chiropractic at university. When I told my teacher, she asked me out of genuine interest:

“What is the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath?”

Like many others, she was suffering from lower back pain at the time. In fact, 4 out of 5 adults in the UK will experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetime, according to research.

This question was difficult to answer on the spot as a 15-year-old, but I would like to take this opportunity to provide some insight 12 years on, including studying at the Welsh Institute of Chiropractic, and 5 years of clinical experience, from that point.

With so many different professions, techniques and treatment modalities out there, it can often be difficult to know who to actually go and see for your specific problem, and when is the right time to do so. In this ‘Information age’ self-diagnosis and exercise prescription, based on a quick google or youtube search for your symptoms is not uncommon, but can be very misleading, and even dangerous in some cases. An outline of the similarities and differences between them will help you to make the right decision and get the service you need when you need it most.

To understand who to see and when you should see them, you must first be able to define each treatment modality individually, so that the similarities and differences between them are highlighted. If you are unsure, it is always best to seek professional advice.

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a healthcare system, based on the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially those of the spinal column, which cause dysfunction by affecting the nerves, which control both muscles and organs.

The best way to understand the term is to define the word itself. The prefix “Chiro-“ comes from Greek origin, and literally means ‘of the hand or hands’; and “-practic“ refers to a certain practice or experience/skill.

So in other words, a chiropractor is somebody who uses their hands to help relieve problems with the bones, muscles and joints. This will usually involve some spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), in combination with soft tissue work (STW), such as stretching or massage.

BUT the defining characteristic of chiropractic, in contrast to other professions, lies in its philosophy. The aim of any treatment is to improve the function of the nervous system.

In the UK, Chiropractors are governed and regulated by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). Chiropractors need to complete an approved chiropractic degree, register with the GCC and meet the requirements of ‘The Code’ in order to practise in the UK. These criteria are essential to ensure that, in line with other health professionals, chiropractors are treating patients safely and to a consistently high standard.

Chiropractic is not widely available on the NHS, but it is provided in some areas. You do not need to see your GP before making an appointment with a chiropractor, but it’s best to seek some advice if you are unsure about what type of treatment may be best for you.

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body and is based on the principle that the wellbeing of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.

Its name also derives from Ancient Greek, with “osteo-” referring to “bone”. The suffix “-pathy” also comes from Greek, and relates to curative treatment of a specific kind.

Osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.

All osteopaths in the UK are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).

Similarly, Osteopathy is not widely available on the NHS, nor is a GP referral required to see an Osteopath.

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, including the patient’s lifestyle. Physiotherapy aims to restore movement and function when someone is affected by an injury, illness or disability. It may also be used preventatively, in an attempt to reduce your risk of injury or illness in the future.

The term derives from Greek, with the word “Phusis” meaning nature, with the suffix “therapeia” meaning healing, however, the use of medicines, prescriptions, and injection therapy are within the scope of the UK physiotherapy profession.

Treatment sessions will typically involve some education/advice, movement/exercise, and some manual therapy (e.g. massage, mobilisation). Other techniques may also be utilised, such as dry needling, ultrasound, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

To practise physiotherapy in the UK you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the UK’s regulatory body for health and care professionals. Physiotherapy is available through the NHS or privately. To have physiotherapy on the NHS, you may need a referral from your GP.

It is not uncommon for clinics and practices to be multidisciplinary, meaning they have several academic disciplines or professional specialisations working under one roof. Even where this is not the case, if you were to see a clinician who believed your condition or problem was beyond the scope of what they are able to help with, they would be likely to refer you to somebody better suited to your needs.

Since there is such a crossover in the technique of these three professions as well as the conditions they are able to address, the decision of who to see should be more heavily influenced by the level of the individual practitioner, rather than the profession itself; a good practitioner in any field will trump a bad one, regardless of their discipline. If you have a friend or family who has had positive experiences with their practitioner, for example, this may be a good place to start — if they were able to get good results, it stands to reason that you would too.

For more information on chiropractic, osteopathy, or physiotherapy, visit the websites of the respective governing bodies:

gcc-uk.org – General Chiropractic Council

osteopathy.org.uk – General Osteopathic Council

csp.org.uk – The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

David is the chiropractor at Health Shak in Chiswick

1 Acton Lane, Chiswick, W4 5RA – opposite Sainsbury’s and a few doors down from the party shop
Tel: 07570 609348
healthshak.co.uk

Club Card offer

Health Shak is a member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme and offers 20% off your Initial 3-Part Consultation (Normal price £120).

See more details of the Club Card offer here: Health Shak Club Card offer

 

Ruth Mayorcas named one of Cycling UK’s top 100 women in Cycling

Image above: Ruth when she won ‘best newcomer’ in the Hackney Wheelers Glamorous bike ride 

Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling list celebrates ‘inspirational women who are encouraging others to experience the joy of cycling’. Ruth Mayorcas, who campaigns for safe cycling in Chiswick, has been picked as one of the 100 this year.

Every year the cyclists’ touring club highlight 100 exceptional women who promote cycling and encourage others to take part.

‘We celebrate inspirational women who are leading by example in this wonderful and life-enhancing activity. Women from all walks of life and every corner of the cycling world have been nominated, from mountain bikers and endurance cyclists to community group leaders, cycling school-run mums and industry entrepreneurs’.

Ruth campaigns relentlessly for safe cycling. She attends the London Assembly, conferences and council meetings, always advocating safe cycling, and in Chiswick championing Cycleway 9. She has taken part in demonstrations and protests (‘die-ins’) with the Stop Killing Cyclists campaign, alongside campaigning with London Cycling Campaign.

She also stood, unsuccessfully, for Labour in Chiswick in the last local council elections. She has attracted a lot of criticism locally from opponents of Cycleway 9, some of it personally abusive, but doesn’t let that put her off advocating for what she believes in.

Image above: Ruth Mayorcas

Learning about cycling in Amsterdam

She discovered an alternate view on cycling as a normal way of getting about a city while she was living in Amsterdam in the 1970s. It crystalised the idea that riding a bike can be normalised and made safe for all and motivated her to get involved in the Safe Routes to Schools campaign when she came back to London.

Ruth said:

“I passed my Cycling Proficiency age 11 but was fairly hopeless and didn’t really cycle until (age 23) living in Amsterdam in 1976 where it was so easy to control the bike and felt safe – I imported a Dutch Dames Fiets and cycled to work as much as I could. I cycled with my son in a kiddie seat, then alongside but it was not until joining EFR cycle coaching I gained the confidence to cycle longer distances and big hills!!

“I absolutely love cycling, it is such a great way to get about and share my love with as many people as possible – especially women who may feel it is not for them or are put off by what to wear or with feeling unsafe.

“I have campaigned for Cycleway 9 in Chiswick for the last 25 years, thrilled we have it and encourage especially women to use it. I taught my son to ride, rarely used a car, and he has a love of cycling as do I”.

I always hope that being seen at the age I am using a bike for shopping, socialising and holidays, other women will feel empowered to do likewise

Ruth Mayorcas

“I have a Dutch partner and we spend much of our time cycling in the Netherlands where it is just such a normal activity. I always hope that being seen at the age I am using a bike for shopping, socialising and holidays, other women will feel empowered to do likewise. I have become very proactive in raising awareness of how poor cycle infrastructure deters people, especially those with mobility issues.

“I am a key part of an online event called Ideas With Beers with Brian Deegan and Robert Davies where I bring the view of the older non-professional woman into focus”.

Image above: Ruth when she stood for election to LB Hounslow in 2018 

“Irrepressible and charming”

Ruth was nominated by Simon Lambourn, who said:

“Ruth is an irrepressible, persuasive and knowledgeable champion of normal, everyday cycling for all. She does not aspire to be a ‘hard rider’ but espouses everyday cycling wearing normal clothes as a natural part of life. Time spent in the Netherlands has increased her conviction that riding a bike needs to be – and can be – normalised and made safe for all: she is charming, eloquent and forceful even when confronting ingrained car-centric opposition.

“She is extremely well known, well-informed, and well-connected in her local area of West London and London as a whole”.

She was also nominated by her son Jack, who said:

“I can think of no better role model for what cycling could, and should be for most people. Since I can remember, my mum has been a passionate advocate for cycling for all. Not seeing it as a sport, or as something you need to prepare for, but just as a healthy and practical mode of transport.

“Away from campaigning and advocacy, the sheer number of miles Ruth covers is impressive in and of itself. Averaging around 500 miles a month this year, people are often gobsmacked when I tell them the distances she has covered”.

Image above: Ruth Mayorcas on a country bike rike

Cycling now a mainstream activity

Ruth told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I am thrilled to have been nominated, then selected for this fantastic scheme which is about enabling women from all backgrounds to feel that cycling is for them. As it says in my biog I started cycling in NL and continued here and was amongst a huge cohort of other women cycling.

“In the 80s sadly this dropped off such that only the very determined and mostly male were seen on bikes. I have long been an advocate for bike use for all for shopping, the school run, to work and to socialise.

“Now we have Gear Change (a white paper from government regarding Active travel) and cycling is returning to a mainstream activity – I just love seeing so many children cycling with their parents and feel sure this will continue to grow”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL and LB Hounslow claim C9 is a success

See also: TfL proposes changes to Cycleway 9

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Hogarth Club – Keeping the masks and the bookable swimming lanes

Image above: Hogarth Club pool

The Hogarth Centre has gone through several incarnations since March 2020.  First they opened up with outside activities only – tennis for example. They’ve moved lots of gym equipment outside and built separate pods in the open air. They started offering exercise classes by Zoom and made the cafe takeaway only. They also divided the swimming pool into lanes and made them bookable for half hour slots.

That’s an innovation which their clients reallly liked, says Sales and Marketing Director Tim Slater; they appreciate the freedom of having a lane they can call their own and use of the swimming pool has gone up by more than 300%, so they’re keeping the bookable lanes. They’re also keeping the wearing of masks inside the club and keeping the gym equipment and booths outside.

“We will require people to wear masks when they’re not exercising” he says. “We want to make the most vulnerable members feel comfortable.”

Images above: Hogarth Club

In December 2020 gyms were given separate status from the hospitality industry, with whom they’d been bracketed before. They don’t just provide fun, but have a positive contribution to make to people’s physical health and fitness – that is after all the point of them – as well as their mental health.

The gym equipment that’s still inside is either at least two metres from the next thing, or separated by a glass screen, and that’s how they will stay, says Tim. They are also keeping the social distancing arrangements in the changing rooms – vulnerable people come dressed ready to exercise and use the locker rooms. Anyone else uses the changing rooms, but no longer have to book a time to use them. They will just be asked to maintin social distancing.

The cafe has reopened and members will no longer have to stick to a one way system inside the club. Staff will continue to wear masks inside the club until further notice.

Image above: Hogarth Club pool

Reopening the sauna

They have since April 2021 been allowed to open their steam room and sauna, but haven’t until now, choosing to remain on the side of caution. They are about to open the sauna – rather ironically in the week when just sitting in the living room at home feels like entering a sauna – because the temperature of 70 – 90 degrees will kill off the virus. The sauna will be available for one person, or two from the same household. But they are not opening the steam room, as it’s not hot enough to kill off the virus.

In an email to members this week, they reiterated their ethos for the post July 19 era:

‘Please remember: others may be vulnerable for reasons you may not see, or may be close to someone who is high risk – a parent, a partner, a child, a housemate. We ask that you be safe, be considerate and be understanding of other Club users, to help make The Hogarth a welcoming place for all’.

Club Card offer

The Hogarth Club is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering Club Card holders a reduced joining fee of £99 on all categories and, if you join the club on ‘Compact membership’, you will also receive an extra special offer of two months for price of one.

Benefit from free personal training sessions, a myriad classes, racquet sports and relax in the pool and spa during the hours 12-4pm weekdays and after 6.30pm on weekends. Other unique offers on different types of membership are also available to Club Card Holders. Ask on joining.

When you join up and come in for the first time as a member, enjoy a complientary smoothie in the cafe.

Contact the membership sales team at enquiries@thehogarth.co.uk and be part of something special! Tel: 0208 995 4600. Just tell them you’re a Club Card holder and take your card when you go along for the first time.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: End of Covid restrictions

See also: Gap opens up along towpath at Strand on the Green

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

End of Covid restrictions

Monday 19 July marked a controversial landmark in the seventeen month fight against Covid – the end of the legal mandatory use of face masks. In England, limits on how many people can meet or attend events were lifted, nightclubs were allowed to reopen, theatres permitted to return to full capacity, and table service is no longer be necessary in pubs and restaurants.

Some individuals – and the battered entertainment and hospitality industry – have been enthusiastic about the new rules. But what was originally dubbed “Freedom Day” by the Government has come under fire from medical experts both in the UK and abroad.

They warn of the danger of “letting Covid rip” at a time when many people are not double-vaccinated, and therefore not fully protected. There have been predictions that infections could rocket to 100,000 or even 200,000 per day.

Many members of the public also have concerns. The Economist recently said that a poll it commissioned from Ipsos MORI showed that:

“two-thirds think masks, social distancing and travel restrictions should continue for another month. A majority would support them until covid-19 is controlled worldwide, which may take years. “

Over the past week, the Government has become less gung-ho, with Boris Johnson saying he still expects face coverings to be worn busy places and on public transport. Even as I write this. Boris has announced that full vaccination will be a condition for being allowed into nightclubs from the autumn.

So what can you expect while travelling, shopping and visiting entertainment venues in Chiswick?

Image above: Turnham Green Terrace station; photograph Jon Perry

Public Transport

Transport for London: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was quick off the mark, insisting that face coverings will be required on TfL services as “a condition of carriage”, unless you have a medical reason for exemption. Enforcement officers will be deployed to oversee this rule.

Mainline rail service from Chiswick: The rules are less strict if you’re travelling by mainline train, with face coverings not being enforced. Train operators have argued that trains have windows and are better ventilated than the Underground. Over the weekend, South Western Railway’s website said:

“we will remove advice about social distancing and will expect passengers, out of respect for others, to wear face coverings in crowded places.”

Uber taxis and Uber branded ferries – face masks will continue to be required for both drivers and passengers. Uber has said anyone flouting these rules repeatedly:

“will permanently lose their access to the Uber platform.”

Image above: Library picture of a medical centre

Doctors, Dentists and NHS healthcare sites

Guidance from Public Health England, sent to all hospitals, GP surgeries, dental practices and pharmacies makes it clear that the “optional mask” policy does not apply to healthcare settings. Peter Lwin, Practice Manager of Holly Road Medical Centre just off the High Road, says:

”We’re especially keen on insisting on the wearing of masks when a patient is insisting they want to see doctor or nurse, because of physical contact.”

He says other Covid protocols which will continue include reduced seating in waiting rooms and doctors initially consulting patients over the phone before deciding who needs to have a physical examination.

High Road supermarkets and chains

The Government says it “expects and recommends” that people wear masks in crowded indoor spaces.

Bookshop Waterstones and Boots the chemist say they’ll be encouraging people to continue wearing masks, as are our three High Road supermarkets, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco. However, Sainsbury’s has stipulated that its staff will be allowed to choose not to mask up if they are working behind screens.

The award-winning frozen food business, COOK, on Chiswick Lane, will also continue to ask people to wear masks. It will continue to provide a supply of fresh masks for customers who might have forgotten to bring one along.

The Chiswick High Road interiors shop, Decorexi, Tweeted:

“please continue to wear your masks…to protect our shoppers and staff. Thanking you all in advance for considering others.”

Images above: The Roebuck pub on Chiswick High Rd

Pubs

Fullers, whose Chiswick pubs include the Bell and Crown, the George IV, the Old Pack Horse and The Pilot, says it’s aiming for “spontaneity and flexibility.” A spokesperson said:

“if you want to wear a mask, pre-book, or be served at your table, that’s fine – but equally we will welcome you if you want to stand at the bar or just turn up on the off chance of bumping into some old friends. The same is true for our teams too – so it will be up to them if they want to wear a mask or not and we will fully support whatever decision they take.”

Josh at the Roebuck emailed customers to say the pub was aiming at striking the “right balance” between loosening up the restrictions and ensuring continued safety and wellbeing. He said they’lll continue to sanitise tables between use, “are still mindful of the spacing of our tables”, and will ensure good ventilation. The email adds that:

“some of our crew and customers alike will choose to carry on wearing a face covering, which we respect.”

Image above: Chiswick Playhouse above the Tabard pub

Entertainment

The new Chiswick Cinema on the High Road is intending to sell tickets from 23 July without socially distanced seats.

Chiswick Playhouse: This small 90 seater venue, currently basking in the glow of a four-star review from The Guardian for its latest production, new musical From Here, was due to return to full capacity audiences on Monday 19 July.

Social distancing is required in the foyer and stairwell and theatregoers are asked to use the NHS Track and Trace app on entry. Increased cleaning protocols remain in place and fogging machines are being used before and after performances to sanitise the theatre. However, face masks will be worn at the audience’s discretion.

Riverside Studios in Hammersmith had also been hoping to lift social distancing measures and move to full capacity audiences. Last week it announced that it was selling extra tickets for the forthcoming Mischief Movie Night In and an August production of The Browning Version directed by, and starring, Sir Kenneth Branagh.  But it’s now been announced that The Browning Version run has been cancelled after “Covid-enforced absences” prevented people from attending rehearsals.

In a Tweet, Riverside said “We’re gutted at the news that the BROWNING VERSION has had to cancel their planned August season. We wish the affected cast members well, and a speedy recovery. If you bought tickets to the show you don’t need to do anything – all purchases will be refunded over the coming week”.

On Monday, theatre staff confirmed by phone that it’s hoped that “Mischief Movie Night In” will go ahead this week, but will probably be at half capacity.

The venue also put out a Tweet announcing:

“We have decided to maintain social distancing in all of our cinemas for the time being. We’re committed to being a safe and comfortable venue – and if that means sacrificing a few extra ticket sales, we’re OK with that trade-off”.

In another email sent last week, Riverside Studios said its staff would continue wearing masks and would encourage customers to do the same. It would be keeping many Covid protocols in place, including deep-cleaning. Staff are being tested daily.

Image above: Outdoor gym

Gyms

Virgin Active which operates the Riverside and Chiswick Business Park Gyms says:

“From 19 July, you’ll no longer be required to wear a face covering in club, however we ask that you respect members who still want to wear them. Similarly, we ask that you respect distance between our other members to make social distancing possible for those who want it.

“Our team will continue to wear masks around (the) club to keep you and our other team members safe.”

Virgin Active says there will be “more space” in kids’and outdoor pools, more outdoor loungers will be added and all pool floats will be brought back. All lockers are being reopened, and tables and chairs reintroduced into lounges to give people more space to relax after their workouts.

The Hogarth Club on the other hand, will require people to wear masks when not actually exercising. Their cafe is now open again and they have decided to keep the pool divided into lanes which are bookable for half hour slots. They are also reopening their sauna, but not the steam room because at 70 – 90 degrees, the sauna is hot enough to kill the virus.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Lib Dems ask SWR to keep mask wearing on trains

See also: Sadiq Khan launches massive campaign to get Londoners back on the Tube

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Fabulous food for back garden get togethers

Images above: Asparagus, pea, radish and mint salad; Crudites platter with Green Goddess Dip

From Jules the Foodie

Now that the weather is finally looking like summer and social distancing restrictions have been lifted, many people are beginning to have friends round for a drink and some food in the back garden.

Juliet Kane, aka Jules The Foodie – julesthefoodie.com – does fabulous freshly cooked food which is both delicious and nutritious (which the editor of The Chiswick Calendar can vouch for personally by the way, this is not just PR hyperbole).

Having launched her deliver-straight-to-your-home food delivery business in Chiswick last year, her baseline offer is all the ‘fridge fill’ dishes on her website, topped up with weekly specials – different dishes each week – for those who have signed up to her menu mailout.

In addition to that, her bespoke catering for events is now coming into its own. When I say ‘events’ it could be a big do, like a wedding, but it might also be a small affair. The point is, you don’t have to do the cooking yourself. She will either bring you dishes ready prepared for you to heat up and serve, or if you prefer, come and oversee the serving in your kitchen.

All her food is prepared in her professional kitchen, just off Turnham Green Terrace.

Sample menu

Images above: Indian vegetable and lentil samosas; Greek Mezze menu delivery a set menu to choose from for a Greek inspired evening

Savoury bites – ideal for a starter, canapés or snacks

Indian vegetable & lentil samosas
Greek feta & spinach filo rolls
Roast sweet potato & black bean cakes with tomato salsa
Mini baked potatoes with sour cream & chives
Caramelised red onion & parmesan puffs
Smoked salmon rolls with dill & caper cream cheese
Tuna & potato cakes with spring onions & wasabi mayo
Spiced lamb kofta with mint yoghurt

Images above: Seared tuna Nicoise salad; Roast wasabi salmon with pac choi & rainbow rice noodles

Main courses

-Burrata with roast Romano peppers with white beans, tomatoes & kalamata olives & mint
-Caramelised red onion & summer vegetable tart with parmesan & herb crust
-Panzanella salad with marinated tomatoes, basil & with goat’s cheese bruschetta
-Slow roast aubergine wedges with tahini, pomegranate & feta with lemon & dill dressing
-Beetroot & chick pea falafel with tatziki & toasted pumpkin seeds
-Seared tuna steak Niçoise platter with new potatoes, olives, free range egg & green beans with Kalamata olives
-Sesame baked salmon fillet with marinated fennel & watercress salad
-Coronation chicken salad with golden raisins & garam marsala & mango dressing
-Goat’s cheese & butternut squash & asparagus tart
-Parma ham & goat’s cheese & cherry tomato skewers with rocket pesto dressing
-Smoked mackerel, dill & potato cakes with caper mayonnaise & rocket salad
-Spanish potato & onion tortilla with aioli & padron peppers
-Tuna & potato cakes with spring onions & wasabi mayo, watercress
– Marinated Thai prawns with pickled cucumber, Chinese leaf, chilli & mint salad
– Seared Macken’s fillet of beef with capers, parmesan shavings, rocket & mustard dressing (£2 supplement)

Images above: Roast cauliflower, cous cous salad with baby spinach, coriander & caramelised red onions; Feta salad

Salads

-Roast butternut squash & barley salad with mint, crumbled feta & radish
-Puy lentil, soy roast aubergine & parsley salad with balsamic dressing
-Rainbow slaw with radish, sesame & soy dressing
-Roast cauliflower, spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds & roast shallots with creamy tahini dressing
-Greek salad with Kalamata olives & oregano
-Penne salad with roast red onions, peas & basil dressing
-Smoked paprika chick peas with roast red pepper, rocket & pomegranate dressing
-Roast vegetables with goat’s cheese & basil dressing

Images above: A fresh tray of chocolate brownies; Jules at work in the kitchen

Puddings

-Cacao, cashew & coconut bites
-Raspberry & frangipane tart with lemon mascarpone
-Molten dark chocolate brownies with orange crème fraîche & marinated strawberries
-Lemon posset jars with ginger crumble
-Orange & polenta cake with fresh raspberries & Greek yoghurt

Images above: ‘Cheesewick, specially created for Chiswick Cheese Market; British Award winning Cheese Grazing board

Jules trained at Leith’s School of Food & Wine at 16, she gained experience at some of London’s best restaurants including Le Gavroche and Bibendum and has travelled the world cooking. She  was lucky enough to be mentored by the ‘godfather of modern British cookery’, Alastair Little. Born and brought up in Chiswick, she now has her own family here.

She was most recently Operations Director at Crucial Food based at the Hogarth Club, before setting up her own food delivery business. She is also one of the group of women who run the Chiswick Cheese Market. Jules’ role is to ‘curate’ the market by talking to potential stall holders and finding out about their produce, putting together an interesting mix of difernt types of cheese which complement those on sale already in Chiswick.

Contact Jules on 07773 344473 or by email at hello@julesthefoodie.com

Sign up for her weekly specials menu on her website.

julesthefoodie.com

Club Card member

Jules The Foodie is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. Holders of a Chiswick Calendar Club Card receive an extra little something with each order (minimum order £30 for local delivery): two free molten chocolate brownies or a taster bag of homemade granola.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Cheese Market

See also: Top Ten Things To Do in Chiswick, west London

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 61: “Caught Eagle bowled Eagle” and other highlights from a political cricket lover

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

Dame Angela Eagle has been the Labour MP for Wallasey in the Wirral since 1992. When her sister Maria was elected as Labour MP for Liverpool Garston five years later they became the first twins to sit together in Parliament in modern times, and later they became the first twins to be Ministers of State in the same government. Angela held a variety of posts under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, including wide-ranging responsibilities as the first Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. She has also been a long-serving member of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee. But most importantly, she is a lifelong cricket lover. She shares her memories of playing and watching cricket, and her wider reflections on the interplay of sport, gender and politics as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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Angela shared with the late Cheryl Gillan the distinction of being the first woman to play for Parliament’s cricket club, the Lords and Commons, in the 1990s. She recalls the match they played together, with nine men, against Roedean girls school, and the chagrin of her Labour colleague Roger Stott, immaculately turned out in the club kit, being dismissed first ball by the Roedean opening bowler. 1-2 minutes Angela also gives her account of the terrible events at the Oval surrounding the run-out of Jeffrey Archer (who has already given his version to the podcast Episode 17: Talking with Lord Jeffrey Archer) 8-9 minutes.

By then the club had been running for about 150 years and there had been over seventy years of women MPs. Angela notes that that during that time there were few women MPs to vie for selection and fewer still who had experience of cricket at school: fewer than 10 per cent of MPs were women in the Parliament of 1992 which she entered with Cheryl Gillan. 4-5 minutes

In previous Parliaments, the party whips had been very relaxed about giving their MPs lengthy time off to play cricket, but this changed in that 1992 Parliament when John Major’s Conservative government gradually lost its slender majority and faced regular knife-edge votes in opposition to the Maastricht Agreement. The consequent loss of Tory MPs (who had formed the majority among those playing) was a particular blow to the club – although Angela notes that the leading opponent of Maastricht, John Redwood, was allowed plenty of absence for cricket. 5-8 minutes She describes the unwritten conventions of the club, especially on the activities of journalists and lobbyists who played for it as guests, and the vagaries of team selection, especially, as often happened, when MPs suddenly became unavailable. She speaks of changing attitudes amongst constituents to their MPs taking time off to play cricket: once relaxed about it and even deferential, they are now often more critical and resent their MP having any leisure at all. 40-47 minutes

Angela speaks of her early childhood love of cricket, which began in Yorkshire where she was born. She became a lifelong fan of Geoff Boycott, and presents an intriguing personal view of him, contrary to his common caricature, as approachable and open-minded. 9-10 minutes

On moving to Lancashire at the age of five, Angela and Maria were taught to play cricket by their father – but denied the right to play it at primary school: the ball was thought too hard for girls and she and her sister were allowed only to score.  12 minutes She had to make her own strenuous efforts to find a team to play for outside school: her success eventually led to appearances for Lancashire Girls and an England trial match which produced the scorebook entry “caught Eagle bowled Eagle” when she took an immense skyer off her sister’s bowling. The victim was the then England girls captain. 16-18 minutes

As Raf Nicholson explained in the previous podcast the sisters’ experience  was  commonplace for girls in postwar state education and a major obstacle to the growth and social spread of cricket for girls and women. Episode 60: The hidden history of a huge success: women’s cricket in Britain

Angela still strongly resents the impact of such attitudes not only on her talent but those of other women and girls: she recalls being told by England’s victorious women’s team in the 1990s that none of them had learnt their cricket before the age of fifteen. Since then, she notes that cricket for girls in state schools has retreated still further, less because of overt gender stereotyping such as she underwent, than because of the general financial and curriculum squeeze on sport in schools and the special demands cricket makes on time, playing surfaces, equipment and technique. She calls for substantial investment in school sport to allow all children to experience a full range of sports and acquire the basic technical skills to perform them. 14-16 minutes

Angela also encountered overt sexism in her other passion, chess: she was told that girl’s brains were too small to play it properly. This did not prevent her becoming a junior England international. She discusses how chess can help cricketers develop strategic thinking and enhance their spatial awareness. Chess and cricket both produce players who can dominate their opponents. 13, 19-22, 34 minutes

Angela draws on her early experiences of discrimination to respond to the recent spate of evidence of racist attitudes in cricket and sport generally. She reaffirms her lifelong commitment, reflected in her working life before Parliament, to campaigning for equal opportunity in sport. She strongly criticizes her native Yorkshire for its long failure to enlist the players of Asian origin born in the county. 22-28 minutes

Angela was a long-time supporter of international cricket remaining on terrestrial free-to-air television. She acknowledges the difficulty for the authorities in balancing the huge revenues from selling the rights to major matches with the long-term loss of a mass audience for cricket. She assesses the impact on audience figures of the recent restoration of England’s away series in India to Channel Four. 28-31 minutes

From long experience in and out of government Angela assess the relationship of government and sport, and how far government can continue the traditional hands-off approach of leaving sports to still largely amateur administrators. She calls for a comprehensive national strategy for sport, beginning with children and schools. Since her entry into the House of Commons, sporting issues have resided with  Department for Culture, Media and Sport under various names. She assesses its effectiveness – and wrestles with remembering the name of the present Sports Minister. Does she succeed? Listen to find out. 47-53 minutes

Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 60: The hidden history of a huge success: women’s cricket in Britain

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne, Richard Heller

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

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

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

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.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Gap opens up along the tow path at Strand on the Green

A gap has opened up along the tow path at Strand on the Green between the path and the retaining wall which stands on the shore, in the stretch where it narrows between the Bull’s Head and the City Barge.

I noticed it on Thursday 15 July and given the devastation wrought by the flash floods three days earlier, I thought I’d better report it. The gap is quite big – I’d say two inches across – and goes on for about twelve yards.

Not being an engineer I didn’t know if the wall was in danger of collapse or would stay like that for another hundred years, but I’m pleased to say when I reported it, Hounslow engineers acted on it straight away and are now monitoring it.

My first call was to the Port of London Authority – “not us”, they said. The local authority bears responsibility for the wall along this part of the towpath, and Hounslow Highways looks after the upkeep of the path itself.

Images above: Gap between tow path and wall at Strand on the Green; photograph Bridget Osborne

I rang my local councillor, Sam Hearn, one of the three councillors for Riverside ward, who suggested I report it and he would also follow it up. I reported it direct to Hounslow Highways online. I’d always wondered how those ‘Fix My Street’ notifications popped up. That’s the answer- you go on to the Hounslow Highways website and report the problem.

I also rang Cllr Guy Lambert for good measure, as he is the Cabinet Member for Hounslow with responsibity for highways and it was he who explained who bears responsibility for what.

On Monday I had an email from Satbir Gill, Newtork Manager at Hounslow Highways, who said they’d done an inspection and would continue to monitor it while they considered their options. When I rang him he said it didn’t look as if it was in imminent danger of collapse and they are looking at the best long term solution. He explained one option would be to anchor the wall, to stop it moving, but there were other techniques to be considered.

By the end of the week he said he would be able to give a timeframe for carrying out work to repair it. They will present what they consider to be the best option to the Council and they will then have to liase with the Port of London authority for a licence before starting work.

The private finance initiative (pfi) which covers the agreement between LB Hounslow and Hounslow Highways doesn’t cover problems which arise such as this, but Cllr Lambert was quite clear it was the Council’s responsibility and is something which “clearly should be addressed before it develops into something much worse.”

Image above: Gap between tow path and wall at Strand on the Green; photograph Bridget Osborne (feet for scale!)

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Flash floods cause travel and business disruption in Chiswick 

See also: Face coverings to remain mandatory on London Transport

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Sadiq Khan launches massive campaign to get Londoners back on the Tube

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a massive campaign to get Londoners back using public transport. The TV and poster campaign to get people back on the tube and on the buses is the biggest advertising campaign from Transport for London since the Olympics.

The Welcome Back London campaign focuses on what people have missed over the past 16 months by not going out. Destinations are characterised thus:

Brixton’s for “Going Out Out”, Shepherd’s Bush is for “Retail Therapy” (at the Westfield Centre), Leicester Square is “Opening Night” and Hyde Park Corner is “Here Comes The Summer”.

Visiting John Lewis on Oxford Street on Monday, Sadiq Khan said:

“Today’s full re-opening of the capital’s culture, hospitality and night-time economy venues is an important step, but I urge all Londoners and visitors to enjoy themselves carefully and responsibly.

“This includes continuing to follow the rules and wear a face covering for the duration of their journey on TfL services. By keeping face masks mandatory it will provide an extra layer of protection and reassurance.”

TfL’s finances crashed when people stopped using public transport last year. Visitors to central London are currently around 75% what they were in 2019, while visitors on weekdays are at 54% what they were.

People have been staying local and many have no intention of going back to communting.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Top Ten Things to do in Chiswick

See also: Lib Dems ask SWR to keep mask wearing on trains

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Lib Dems ask SWR to keep mask wearing on trains

Liberal Democrat MPs, London Assembly members and council and group leaders in South West London have written to South Western Railway boss Claire Mann, calling for masks to continue to be required on their train services.

The letter from Lib Dem politicians says:

‘Many key workers from across south west London have used South Western Railway’s (SWR) services to get to their jobs throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so as the Government eases lockdown.

‘With more Londoners expected to return to offices across the capital, but particularly in Central London, and some even restarting their daily commute, SWR’s services are likely to be busier than they have been since the initial coronavirus lockdown in May 2020.

‘Therefore, we ask that SWR join TfL and lead on this issue by continuing to require customers travelling on your serices to wear face masks, to protect themselves and those around them’.

The letter is signed by Lib Dem party leader Ed Davey, MP Kingston & Surbiton, Sarah Olney MP Richmond Park, Munira Wilson MP Twickenham, Caroline Pidgeon AM, Cllr Hina Bokhari AM, Cllr Caroline Kerr, Leader of Kingston Council, Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, Cllr Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council and Cllr Anthony Fairclough, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Merton Council.

Image above: SWR train at Chiswick Railway Station; photograph Michael Nolan

SWR ‘not prepared to put staff at risk’

A spokesman for South Western Railway told The Chiswick Calendar they still expect passengers to wear masks in crowded places but as it is no longer legally enforceable, British Transport Police are no longer involved and to make mask wearing mandatory they would have to make it a condition of carriage, putting the onus on their own staff to enforce it.

“We would not want to put our staff in the position where they are likely to be threatened and abused by customers” he told us.

Requirement to wear masks inconsistent in London

Sadiq Khan announced last week that face masks would be required on all public transport in London operated by Transport for London, but the national train operators have decided as a group not to enforce the wearing of masks. That makes the wearing of face masks inconsistent in London, as many Londoners use national services to get in and out of the capital.

Paul Clifton, Transport correspondent for BBC South @PaulCliftonBBC tweeted:

‘The inconsistent mask wearing rule on trains creates confusion. With 60% of journeys involving London, which will do the same as Wales and Scotland, a majority of passengers will have to wear masks for part of their travel, and no masks some of the time for the rest’.

The spokesman for SWR told us that to avoid confusion they have signposted the change in face mask regulation at those stations which interchange with TfL services.

Image above: SWR train at Chiswick Railway Station; photograph Michael Nolan

‘Travel with confidence’ message undermined by train cancellations and overcrowding

National Rail Enquiries say:

‘In addition to expecting people to wear face coverings in crowded spaces, train operators will be continuing with extra cleaning. Trains are well ventilated with air regularly refreshed and we’ve improved information about the busier and quieter times to travel. This all means that people can continue to travel with confidence’.

This has not been the experience of passengers commenting on social media over the past week.

Mark Hawes, @mfhawes Tweeted on July 14:

‘Guard comes through and asks “if you see anything suspicious…”
Missing 4 carriages
Crammed like sardines
Bikes in the loo
#BuildBackBetter

So that people can travel with confidence, SWR say they are ventilating trains to refresh air, improving information about journeys and trains and extensively cleaning stations and trains.

But their customer help desk also reported on Sunday 18 July:

‘We’ve been adviced of short notice cancellations due to shortage of train crew across the South Western Railway network’.

Richard Cole @RevRichardColes tweeted:

‘Loads of trains to London cancelled or delayed so I’m about to get on a very crowded train with lots of young people. Two of them are wearing masks’.

Maggy PIggott tweeted:

‘Been so careful to maintain #SocialDistancing etc but didn’t expect the train I had to take having half the coaches missing, reservations cancelled and people packed like sardines’.

Survey shows majority won’t use public transport

London Travel Watch surveyed public opinion on mask wearing on public transport in June. More than half the people they surveyed said they wouldn’t use pubic transport unless social distancing was in place.

58% said they wouldn’t use public transport unless other people were wearing a face mask. Over 40% said they would still wear a face mask even it it was not a requirement to do so.

One woman told them she was:

“Horrified that masks and distancing will be dropped at a time when infection rates are increasing”.

Another said that “mask wearing on public transport is very important for those of us who are clinically vulnerable”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Face coverings to remain mandatory on London’s public transport

See also:  Enforcing mask wearing after 19 July will be a “shambles” says transport boss

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

 

Hammersmith Bridge to re-open to pedestrians and cyclists

LB Hammersmith & Fulham Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan has announced that Hammersmith Bridge is to re-open this weekend (17 July) to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic.

The decision follows a series of comprehensive safety investigations into the bridge and the successful introduction of an innovative temperature control system that helps prevent cracking in the 19th century cast iron pedestals, Cllr Cowan said.

Cllr Cowan announced the decision during a meeting with engineers at the bridge alongside Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of LB Richmond upon Thames.

Cllr Cowan said:

“I am very pleased to confirm the latest advice from safety engineers is that we can safely re-open Hammersmith Bridge. We have instructed the team to do that. It will open this weekend.

“I know how difficult the last eleven months have been for people, particularly children needing to cross the river to get to school and those who need to attend medical appointments or get to work.”

Not a long term solution

Cllr Cowan added:

“The potential for catastrophic collapse of this 134-year-old suspension structure was very real. We’ve employed the best engineers from around the world who advised we had to close the bridge last summer. We will always put the safety of the public first.

Councillor Steve Cowan

“Ever since, I have been determined to re-open the bridge as soon as it was safely possible. The introduction of the temperature control system, and the results of our extensive engineering investigations, now mean that the bridge can be opened for use by pedestrians, cyclists and to river traffic.”

Richmond Leader Cllr Gareth Roberts said:

“I recognise that this has been a long and difficult process for residents on both sides of the river and I would like to thank them for their patience. Safety has always been paramount and must continue to be so.

“However I am pleased to be able to tell residents that there is light at the end of the tunnel and am delighted that this historic bridge which connects our two boroughs will re-open to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic this weekend.”

The recommendation to re-open was made to Cllr Cowan following a special meeting of the Board for the Case for the Continued Safe Operation (CSSO) of Hammersmith Bridge, the body which provides safety advice to the council about the bridge.

The CCSO confirmed that a series of engineering investigations including an industry standard Category 3 safety check of the Mott McDonald report into fractures in the north-east pedestal, and reviews of the the pedestal casings and a suspect chain knuckle joint had been undertaken.

“All these points have now been confirmed satisfactorily and they effectively allow the re-opening of the bridge to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic,” said the CCSO. It added that: “ the safety risk is kept acceptably low” due to the temperature control system on the anchor chains and the use of acoustic sensors which have been installed to issue alerts on further crack movements.

The CCSO statement concludes:

“These arrangements are temporary measures and not a substitute for permanent repair. The application of a permanent solution remains a priority. Without a funded plan for repair the limited current use must cease eventually. It is not acceptable in managing safety risk to rely upon interim measures indefinitely.”

Images above: Councillors Steve Cowan and Gareth Roberts conducting a site visit in 2019; Projections on the Bridge in 2021 following months of inactivity

Closures to be ‘kept to a minimum’

The published statement from Hammersmith & Fulham continued:

‘H&F is moving at full speed to draw up a timetable for the full repair and restoration of the Grade II* listed bridge which will eventually see cars and buses allowed across the river.

‘The engineers have been working on a plan to find ways to keep the bridge open to pedestrians and cyclists even as the stabilisation works are taking place, with any necessary closures kept to an absolute minimum and, wherever possible, at weekends and off-peak times.

‘The council is considering engineering solutions including a pioneering double-decker engineering solution developed by world-leading architects Foster + Partners and bridge engineers COWI. The plan, which would see a temporary truss laid over the existing decking, would see motor vehicles return and save approximately £40m while potentially cutting three years off the current timetable’.

The proposal, which has already been discussed with Heritage England, would allow sections of the bridge to be removed and taken downstream by barge and repaired off-site.

Hammersmith Bridge is one of the oldest mechanised suspension bridges in the world and one of the most expensive bridges in Britain to repair and maintain. Cllr Cowan flatly ruled out increased council tax or cuts in public services to pay the borough’s share of the bill.

Transport for London normally pays the vast majority of repair and maintenance costs for London councils’ bridges. H&F is working on a plan to fund the full restoration programme with the Department for Transport and TfL which includes the proposal to introduce a road charging or toll scheme.

Cllr Cowan said:

“Hammersmith Bridge is an ancient suspension structure and historic national landmark. It’s a major road artery and a unique part of this country’s engineering heritage. To secure its maintenance, and keep it open through until the next century, we believe it is vital that the motorists who use the bridge pays for its upkeep.”

Images above: concept art for the temporary structure solution; concept art for the foot-passenger ferry

Decades of unchecked corrosion

In 2015 H&F commissioned the first comprehensive structural integrity review in the bridge’s history. It revealed unchecked corrosion dating back over 70 years to when the bridge was owned by the London County Council.

As specialist engineers peeled back further layers of the structure they discovered the cracks in the cast iron pedestals that holds the suspension mechanism in place. In April 2019 it was closed to motor vehicles on public safety grounds. In August 2020, after the cracks widened during a heatwave, expert engineers warned that it could face a sudden, catastrophic collapse with the loss of hundreds of lives.

The bridge was immediately closed to all, including pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic. There are now plans to introduce a ferry link as a temporary solution for commuters but that has also not been a straightforward process as it needs to receive planning permission for the landing site on both shores and there have been a number of objections to it.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Hammersmith Bridge ferry plans hampered by further delays

See also: Flash Floods cause travel and business disruption in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Tube strikes planned for August

Train operators have voted for four days of strike action across London’s tube network in August, over plans by London Underground to abolish the night tube train drivers’ pay grade.

Following a ‘solid vote’ by members and subsequent talks, the tube drivers’ union, the RMT, has instructed train operators to not book on for any duty on four days next month.

The first two 24 hour strikes will take place at the beginning of the month, with two more scheduled towards the end of the month.

The first one will start at 12.00 pm on Tuesday 3 August and continue until 11.59 am on Wednesday 4 August. The next one will start at 12.00 pm on Thursday 5 August until 11.59 am on Friday 6 August. Two further strikes are scheduled from 12.00 pm on Saturday 24 August until 11.59 am on Sunday 25 August and from 12.00pm on Monday 26 August until 11.59am on 27 August.

London Underground propose to abolish the pay grade from 16 May. At present tube drivers who work at night are entitled to a special grade specifically for working at night. The union says the move is ‘cash led’ and ‘aimed at shunting staff… [and will] threaten the loss of 200 jobs and destroy the work-life balance of 3000 Tube drivers.’

London Underground’s plans “have caused uproar” amongst drivers

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

“London Underground’s proposals to rip up an agreement that protects 3,000 Tube drivers’ work life balance has caused uproar in the depots amongst drivers.

“This breach of trust by an out of touch management abolishes the part time jobs of workers – mainly women – who want them.

“This is the thanks that Tube drivers have been given for keeping the service running through the Covid pandemic. This is a blatant attempt to now use that pandemic to start bulldozing through a savage programme of cuts.

“The union remains available for talks.”

Nick Dent, director of customer operations for London Underground, said the “changes to how we roster our drivers” would help “continue to provide a regular Tube service and create more flexibility for our staff”.

He added that the move “will not result in any job losses” while giving part-time drivers “the opportunity for full-time work and long-term job certainty”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Enforcing mask-wearing after July 19 will be “a shambles”, says London transport boss

See also: Face coverings to remain mandatory on London’s public transport

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Hammersmith Bridge ferry plans hampered by further delays

Plans for a ferry service at Hammersmith Bridge have been put back by objections from residents and sports clubs which use the river.

The service needs landing stations on both banks of the river and both Richmond Council and Hammersmith & Fulham have to give planning permission.

Commuters who have found themselves stuck on the wrong side of the river since Hammersmith Bridge was closed, have been hoping the ferry would be operational by September, but the number of objections has delayed the process.

LB Hammersmith and Fulham have received a significant number of objections from clubs that use the river for rowing and sailing. The clubs believe the ferries, which will be operated by Uber Boat / Thames Clippers, will present a hazard to people using the river for sport.

The Council is not due to discuss provision for the ferry service until after 21 July. Nicholas Rogers, recently elected as SW London member for the London Assembly, has urged them to bring the planning meeting forward.

“On the current timetable, if Hammersmith and Fulham don’t agree to do this, getting the ferry operational [in September] is looking challenging, to say the least.”

LB Richmond has received around 650 submissions from people urging it to grant planning permission for a ferry pier on the south side of the Thames, with about 35 objections primarily from the clubs. Richmond Council has not yet set a date for their application to be considered.

Image above: clubs that use the river for rowing and sailing have concerns about the ferry plans; Photograph via by Daniel Walker

Decision too urgent to be delayed says Assembly Member

Nicholas Rogers AM

Mr Rogers recently posted on social media about the ‘frustrating’ wait residents will have to endure before the bridge reopens.

The Assembly Member said:

Planning applications are lodged with both councils and public consultations are underway. LB Richmond-upon-Thames consultation ends 16th July, LB Hammersmith and Fulham 21st July. The latter especially makes timings very tight indeed.

‘Once the consultations end, council officers must evaluate the responses, write reports and schedule planning committee meetings. All this takes time.

The risk to the objective of having the ferry operational for the first week of September is obvious. My chief worry is the timing of the LB Hammersmith and Fulham planning committee meeting. 21st July is very close to August, when public meetings are not often held.

But LB Hammersmith and Fulham have held planning committee meetings in August before and I would urge them to do so again this time if needed (even if this is the only item on the agenda), given the urgency of the situation.

‘I know the TfL team are ready to crack on with building the ferry infrastructure as soon as planning permission is granted, but of course that also takes time.’

Residents still hoping Hammersmith Bridge will be partially reopened in September

The 134-year-old bridge was closed to pedestrians and cyclists on 13 August 2020 on public safety grounds after cracking in the north east pedestal extended following a period of extreme high temperatures.

Residents affected by the bridge’s ongoing closure are pinning their hopes on engineers finding the bridge safe enough for a limited reopening. But the crucial report is still pending and is unlikely to be considered by councillors for a month.

Sarah Olney, the Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park said:

“I’m still very much hoping that report will be positive and it will be adopted and get the bridge restored for pedestrians and cyclists in time for the schools reopening.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Flash Floods cause travel and business disruption in Chiswick

See also: Face coverings to remain mandatory on London’s public transport

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Face coverings to remain mandatory on London’s public transport

Face coverings will remain compulsory on London’s transport network despite Covid restrictions easing in England on 19 July, says Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. He is not prepared to put public transport users at risk by relaxing the rules on mask wearing, he says.

England is removing most of its Covid restrictions next Monday, and while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he expects masks to be worn in crowded places, such as on a busy Tube train, their use will no longer be legally enforceble under Covid restrictions.

Instead, those rules will be replaced with Government ‘guidance’ advising passengers to wear masks only on busy services. Adhering to the guidance will not be a legal requirement. Sadiq Khan has reacted by making mask wearing a ‘condition of carriage’ in the way that not drinking alcohol is, so that Transport for London can enforce mask wearing on public transport in London.

London is the first English city to insist on face coverings after Covid restrictions ease. Passengers on all TfL services will need to continue to wear a face covering in stations and for the duration of their journey, unless they are exempt.

Decision to enforce mask wearing on TfL services is “imperfect”, says Mayor

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Mr Khan said:

“Because we don’t have national backing, we’re going to make it a condition of carriage. This is an imperfect solution. We are working on passing a bylaw to make it a law too.”

Conditions of carriage are contractual conditions between passengers and TfL. When passengers travel on TfL services, they enter into a legal agreement, meaning they are liable if they break the rules. Other conditions of carriage include not consuming alcohol on the Tube and retention of personal travel data.

When asked about the enforcement of mask wearing on public transport in London, Mr Khan told BBC Breakfast:

“We employ a number of enforcement officers, over 400. They will be making sure if anyone’s not wearing a face mask, they will be reminded of the importance of doing so.

“It’s not perfect. [It] would be better if national rules applied across the country to avoid any confusion. The Government for their own reasons have decided not to do that.

“By keeping face masks mandatory we will give Londoners and visitors the reassurance and confidence to make the most of what our city has to offer, while also protecting our heroic transport workers and those who may be vulnerable and rely on the network to get around the city.”

TfL said that over the past year 212,000 people have been stopped by enforcement officers from getting on the network until they put on a face covering.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Enforcing mask wearing after 19 July will be a “shambles” says transport boss

See also: Rise in Covid cases in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Flash Floods cause travel and business disruption in Chiswick

BBC reporter Dougal Shaw’s video captures the flood underneath the railway bridge, where one driver had to abandon their car.

Monday’s downpour caused flash floods all over London, as steps were turned into waterfalls and puddles into lakes. Many roads and railways across the West London area have become inaccessible and several businesses have had to shut their doors as a result of the damage.

There was flooding in Hammersmith and Barnes, where one resident reported water pouring out of their toilet as sewers backed up.

District Line suspended

Chiswick and Acton have seen significant disruption, with several transport links forced to suspend their services.

The district line has been severely disrupted in the area- trains between Turnham Green to Richmond have been suspended due to extensive flooding at Gunnersbury station.

Rail replacement buses are currently running along Chiswick High Road and mainline services from Chiswick rail station are unaffected.

Image above: Flooding on Chiswick High Road- photograph Simon @mzdt

The Crown and Megan’s closed

Two local restaurants, The Crown and Megan’s Cafe have been forced to close temporarily due to significant water damage.

Taking to social media, The Crown said: ‘Due to last night’s torrential rain, we have been forced to close our doors for today.’ The pub’s general manager, Victoria, told the Chiswick Calendar that the building had suffered ‘extensive damage’ and that they ‘are working with the insurers to get opened as soon as possible’.

Also affected was Megan’s, a new cafe on the former site Le Pain Quotidien. According to a spokesman, the basement has been heavily flooded which has left much of the basement and downstairs facilities inaccessible.

Image above: Flooding in Castelnau- photograph Liz Light; Waterlogged tracks by Chiswick Park station- photograph Michael Jameson @Michael39837779

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL propose changes to Cycleway 9

See also: TfL and Houslow claim Cycleway 9 is a success

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Meet the Makers – Lost in Scent

Image above: Darrell & Andy from Lost in Scent

Darrell & Andy from Lost in Scent

As part of our new ‘Meet the Chiswick Makers’ series we meet Darrell & Andy from Lost in Scent.

‘Our travel-inspired candles are hand poured with love at our West London workspace’.

Lost in Scent’s candles are available in the Chiswick House Shop, open daily 10.00 am-4.00 pm, (10% discount for Chiswick Calendar Club Card members on Thursdays).  Jo Finn has been talking to Darrell & Andy about their products.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you make:
We’re Darrell and Andy from Lost in Scent. We live in and love Chiswick, where we hand-make all our home fragrance products, from scented candles to essential oil room mists.

How did you get into making your product?
We’d always loved to travel, and our home is a collection of memories of the places we’ve explored. When we became parents in 2016, we had to temper our wanderlust! It was then that we combined our desire to explore with our other passion – fragrance.

By developing scents, we realised we could evoke the adventure of travel and memories of special moments. That’s become even more pertinent during the last 18 months. We might not be able to drive down the Big Sur right now, but we can use the unique sense of scent to take us back there or to unlock memories of happy times.

Images above: Lost in Scent’s Chiswick Herb and Himalaya candles

Which of your products are available in Chiswick House Shop?
Our Chiswick Herb candles. This scent is very personal to us. We walk through Chiswick House and Gardens every day and we wanted to create a scent that captured the uplifting, abundant joy of the Kitchen Garden.

What are you working on at the moment?
Lots! We have some exciting new adventures to take with scent, including another Chiswick House-inspired scent in development.

What do you love about Chiswick House and Gardens?
Our school run takes us through the Gardens every day and before that we were here through rain and shine – buggies in the muddy winter, dens in lockdown, birthday picnics in our favourite little ‘hidden’ garden behind the Playground. Seeing the seasons come and go is so inspiring to us. We love the hidden trails and paths. It’s great to see so much going on right now and yet it still feels like a local sanctuary, where quiet and calm never leaves.

What’s your top Chiswick tip?
The unexpected places to find nature like Gunnersbury triangle or Chiswick Business Park at the weekend. That and D GRANDE Tex-Mex on the High Road that will deliver the BEST queso and margaritas to your door!

Find out more about Lost In Scent and follow them @lostinscent

Club Card Thursdays at Chiswick House

Chiswick House is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme and offer holders of our Club Card a 10% discount on tickets to the House and Kitchen Garden and 10% off anything from the shop on Thursdays. Valid until 31 October, Clubcard holders simply need to show their card in the Shop to receive the discount or use the code CHGT-CHISWCLUB-10 when booking House tickets online. Valid on Thursdays only.

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.

Specialist shop for runners opens in Chiswick

Image above: Up & Running Chiswick shop

Up & Running is up and running

A new shop opened on Chiswick High Rd on Saturday. In between M&S and Mint Velvet at no.242 Chiswick High Rd., Up & Running is a specialist shop for runners which sells all that a runner could need.

It’s part of a small chain of independent shops started nearly 30 years ago in Yorkshire when runner Gillian Macfarlane found she couldn’t get the clothing or equipment she wanted. She and her husband Dennis (a self-confessed ‘beer and curry runner’) opened their first shop in 1992 and now have 28 stores nationwide.

Manager George Cunningham told us the principal thing they offer is to find you the right shoes. They provide ‘gait analysis’ by watching how you run, as a free part of their service. Their experienced team, which has as many women as men, can also offer a fitting for a good sports bra – though that is a service they have not been providing during Covid restrictions.

Pressed to name a few best sellers, George mentioned Brooks, the American brand who only make running shoes, Asics, the Japanese company which has been making specialist shoes for athletes since 1949 (ASICS is an acronym for the Latin expression “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” -“You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body”) and New Balance, who also make high performance men’s running shoes.

Up & Running also sell shorts, shirts and socks, bags, headphones and fancy GPS stopwatches.

Image above: Up & Running Chiswick shop

‘Catering for runners of all abilities, experiences and interests, Up & Running strongly believes in serving customers with trust and integrity’ says their press release, a claim which is supported by their success in the 2020 Running Awards, where they won Gold Awards for Best Customer Service and Best National Retailer.

They’re big on recycling and upcycling too. The shop has been stripped back to its original brickwork, the modern polystyrene ceiling tiles taken out so you can see the original coving. Dennis likes to rescue unloved bits and pieces, such as a ‘vintage’ boxes, a vice and an old tandem, which you can see strategically placed around the shop as objets d’art. The floor is upcycled wood from a school gymnasium.

I’d like to say The Chiswick Calendar’s editor is almost tempted to take up running, but you’d know that was a lie!

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: The runner’s dilemma – where to run during a pandemic

See also: Chiswick mother and daughter ultra marathon runners enter Guinness World of Records

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 15: Politicians jumping on the bandwagon of football – Twas ever thus

Mihir Bose, David Smith and Nigel Dudley – aka the Three Old Hacks – are old enough to remember 1966 and all that. It comes as no surprise to them therefore that politicians should be falling over themselves to haul themselves aboard the football bandwagon. Football and politics, bread and circuses…

Writer and broadcaster Mihir Bose, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political commentator Nigel Dudley add their particular brand of wit and wisdom to the debate.


More Platforms

Listen to more episodes here.

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

Euro final flop

In the end, it was tears before bedtime. But what dreams of glory had flourished throughout the country before England’s impressive challenge for the European Championship fizzled out as midnight approached last Sunday.

The day it seemed just like that on any other sleepy weekend. Pubs with gardens or terraces in Chiswick and Brentford were doing brisk business at lunchtime, with families enjoying lazy lunches and, for the less hungry, beer and wine brought to their tables. At the Express Tavern, in the shadow of Brentford Football Club’s handsome but barely used new ground, plastic containers of draft Bass were dispensed to occasional callers in search of takeaway refreshment.

Conversation dipped in and out of the day’s big event: England versus Italy at Wembley Stadium for the culmination of Euro 20, a year late because of Covid but remarkable also because the host nation’s team had reached the final, the first such achievement in a major football competition since 1966.

All was right with the world in this end of the enormous Hounslow borough. Well, for a while at least. As kick-off time approached, pubs – those with TV screens ready to bring the action from Wembley into homes and hostelries – began to fill up, soon to be overflowing.

Now chatter concentrated on England’s path to the final, especially the semi-final in which they had beaten a Danish team with a distinct Brentford flavour. Included in Denmark’s squad were two prominent members of the one that boosted the Bees into the Premier League in their recent glorious season’s end. Midfielders Christian Norgaard and Mathias Jensen started the final on the substitutes’ bench, but both were propelled late into the fiercely fought game. Jensen, the last substitution, soon suffered a leg injury and had to vacate the field, leaving the Danes with only ten men. Bad luck, agreed the pre-match drinkers. Not for England, pointed out others.

With 60,000 socially-distanced fans inside the stadium, and several hundred more – without tickets if course – battling stewards in order to get through the turnstiles, the preliminaries did little to enhance the reputation of the English football fan. The marauding crowd caused a temporary lockdown in order to restore order and the Danish national anthem was roundly booed. What film star spectator Tom Cruise made of it all, heaven knows, although his constant flashing of one of the world’s most famous smiles indicated that he may not have noticed anything amiss.

So, to the game, which began with a firecracker of a goal that sent the spirit of England fans soaring and reduced the appalling behaviour of jerks inside and out of the ground to a minor note in history. Kieran Trippier’s perfectly crafted cross was met by Luke Shaw with a thumping half-volley that zipped past goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Two minutes gone. England 1-0 ahead. Oh, happy day!

And Gareth Southgate’s spirited side continued to look like winners until Italy manager Roberto Mancini shuffled his pack with the skill of a Mississippi cardsharp and turned a good team into polished unit that shoved being sucker-punched to the back of their minds and set out for revenge.

From then on England struggled to survive, a task made even harder after 67 minutes when Italy scored a goal: an untidy, scrambled goal by Leonardo Bonucci following Jordan Pickford’s splendid save of Marco Verratti’s header, but a goal, nonetheless.

The substitution of Jack Grealish for Mason Mount added sparkle to an England side by now in dire need of some spit and polish and he might well have had a penalty when fiercely clattered by a rampant Jorginho but for referee Bjorn Kuipers’ disinterest bordering on somnambulism. But it was too little, too late and Southgate’s introduction of Marcus Radford and Jadon Sancho with only minutes left to play was patently aimed at providing two deadeye marksmen for the penalty shootout to come.

Only it didn’t work, with a trio of misses – 19-year-old Bukayo Saka inexplicably was drafted to complete the final humiliation – ending England’s excellent and sometimes inspired campaign.
So tears of some players and many in the crowd was all that remained of just another Sunday. That and the litter, beer breath, a shroud of disappointment and what-might-have-been discussions that would last into the night.

Oh well, there’s always the World Cup next year, said a fan at a neighbouring table in the pub. ‘And only five weeks to Brentford’s first game back in the Premiership’, said my mate Charlie. ‘How bad is that?’

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group.

 

Chiswick Cinema beset by teething problems

Image above: Chiswick Cinema

The new Chiswick Cinema, which was officially opened by David Puttnam on Thursday 24 June after a week of ‘soft’ launches – free screenings for Founder members – has been beset by teething problems.

The Chiswick Calendar has received a number of complaints about the cinema. “We’re working on it” say the cinema’s management team.

They will be helped greatly by the ending of the requirement to sell seats so cinema goers are socially distanced. Following Sajid Javid’s announcment on Monday 12 July that legal restrictions would be lifted from 19 July. Chiswick Cinema is intending to sell tickets from 23 July without socially distanced seats.

“We will be encouraging our customers to wear masks, sanitise their hands and check in” Marketing Manager Katie Wood told The Chiswick Calendar.

“Operating with social distancing has been very challenging and we do hope that our customers will continue to see films in what they feel is a safe environment”.

Image above: In the Heights – musical shown at the official launch of Chiswick Cinema

Problems with booking tickets

First and foremost, people have reported difficulty using the cinema’s website and booking tickets. When I met Katie in the week before opening she was struggling with this. She hoped to be able to offer all founder members at least one, if not two free screenings in the week before the public launch, but to limit them to two films so everyone had a chance to go. Several Founder members have told us that they were not able to book seats at all, whereas one went three times.

Katie believes the IT problems have now been fixed. “The booking system wasn’t talking to the website” she said. That’s the sort of arcane problem which can only be solved by the tech team and all anyone else can do is hope and apologise.

“We’re working on everything” she told us.

One specific problem is that if you have two members going together, they can’t both book, taking advantage of both their memberships, and sit together. This is a specific problem caused by the requirements for social distancing, which should go away once the restrictions are lifted.

If you both book using different browsers, the system should enable you to sit together, but at the moment an algorhythm kicks in which won’t allow you to sit next to a seat booked by someone else. You can go as the guest of a member, but not both book separately and expect to sit together.

Another problem with booking tickets isn’t so much a problem as a misapprehension about when tickets will become available.

“I realise I need to add some things to the Frequently Asked Questions” says Katie. “People have complained that they can’t book for the following weekend, but it’s custom and practice in the cinema industry for the film week to start on a Friday night. On Mondays we decide what films we’re going to show. We put those tickets on sale to Founder members on Tuesdays and then they go on general sale on Wednesdays, for films released on the Friday of that week”.

This week (week beginning 12 July) they’ve programmed Black Widow, Another Round and Deerskin, a ‘quirky’ film about a man determined to own the best jacket in the world. For families they’re offering the new Space Jam and Croods 2.

Image above: Box Offices are out of fashion

No box office

A lot of this could be solved, it has been pointed out, if there was a physical box office where you could buy tickets. Katie maintains there is. There’s not a cubicle with ‘Box Office’ written on it, but any of the tills in the building are capable of handling tickets sales and membership sales. There is a sign saying ‘Kiosk’ at the bar by the entrance and you can buy tickets from the bar at any time during opening hours. The cinema opens at 10.30 am on weekdays and closes when the last film finishes at night and they are now taking walk-ins.

No land line

There’s no phone number to ring, which is another common complaint. There is, says Katie, but they’re not staffed up to answer it, so they haven’t publicised it.

Given the teething problems and the need to minimise reputational damage, isn’t this something they should address? They are, she said. They have. A new customer service manager started today (12 July) whose name is Jim and the telephone number will be added to the website when they’re confident it won’t just be left to ring unanswered.

Under-staffed

A lot of the problems we raised with the cinema come down to the fact that they are a very small team, trying to keep costs down because they are running at all loss all the time they are required to exercise social distancing with the seating. It was a scramble to open, but they wanted to open as soon as possible.

Insufficient training

We’ve received a number of comments about staff being poorly trained. My favourite is the tale of the punter who asked a member of staff what wine was available. She didn’t know, so she went off to find out, and came back to announce confidently “It’s French”.

They have in fact had several weeks’ training, but said Katie, you have to bear in mind that people haven’t been working for the past eighteen months, they’ve either been furloughed or made redundant and they are still getting used to how things work.

As for other specific grumbles … There shouldn’t be food served in the cinema actually during a film, but they do want people to be able to eat during films and have chosen the most inoffensive menu from the point of view of other people’s comfort…. There shouldn’t be staff talking loudly outside the door while a film is running … She’ll have a word.

Image above: Chiswick Cinema

No programme of films listed

Those of us old enough to remember will have seen someone on a ladder back in the day, putting up the film names above the door of the cinema. Those who’ve been into Chiswick Cinema have looked around in vain for a billboard or a sign with the films listed.

There are posters in the foyer, she said hestitantly, and TV screens with information on, but this is also something they have taken note of to improve.

Bouquets and brickbats

As well as the brickbats they’ve received, there has been plenty of praise, Katie told us – even a bouquet of flowers from an appreciative customer to mark their long-awaited opening. In fact, she reckons, they’ve received more praise than they have criticism. But she was very keen to let people know that their comments are being noted and they are doing their best to address the teething problems they’ve had.

“We understand there have been some hiccups since opening a couple of weeks ago. As a brand new venue launching during very challenging times, we hope that our customers will allow us the opportunity to fix and perfect things. Our team are incredibly excited to be running the cinema in Chiswick and hope that it will become a hub of the community”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: David Puttnam opens Chiswick Cinema

See also: Chiswick Book Festival 2021

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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.

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Episode 60: The hidden history of a huge success: women’s cricket in Britain

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

The rise of women’s cricket is one of the biggest sporting stories in modern Britain – but behind it is nearly 700 years of history. That is one of many surprises revealed by Rafaelle Nicholson, a leading authority on women and sport, in her book Ladies And Lords: A History Of Women’s Cricket In Britain. She is the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their regular cricket-themed podcast.


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Apart from being a fine book, Raf’s is a rare one. She suggests why not only male but feminist historians have been reluctant to write about women’s cricket and women in sport, and the belief among women’s movements in the Seventies that sports, especially team sports, were a male preserve. She notes that some major feminist thinkers had unhappy experiences of sport at school: Sheila Rowbotham actually hid from it in a broom cupboard. 2-4 minutes Such was historians’ neglect of women’s cricket that she herself discovered and read a cache of key documents in a cowshed. 5-7 minutes

She suggests that reclaiming the lost histories of women’s  cricket is an essential step in overcoming its long legacy of under-investment and perceived inferiority. 13-15 minutes

Raf describes the remarkable image (in the Bodleian Library in Oxford)  of a woman playing from 1344 – appearing to show some form of early cricket match between monks and nuns. 15-17 minutes But then the record goes blank for four centuries, until a Reading newspaper reported a match between women of two local villages. In the eighteenth century many such women’s matches attracted crowds, beer sponsorship  – and betting. 17-22 minutes

However, in the Victorian era women’s cricket was hampered by dominant male perceptions of women as women and homemakers, and admiring spectators of men in sport rather than participants. This was reinforced by spurious medical concerns over their supposed delicacy, including those of Britain’s best-known doctor, W G Grace, who ignored the early cricket he and his brothers received from their mother, Martha, and indeed the cricket played by his two daughters at school. 24-25 minutes

Victorian clothing, especially voluminous hooped skirts, was literally an obstacle to women in cricket, although Raf has found no evidence to support the persistent legend that a woman, Christina Willes, invented overarm bowling to overcome it and inspired her brother John, the first man to attempt overarm in a first-class match. 22-24 minutes

She traces the importance of Victorian independent girls’ schools in giving access to cricket, especially in the absence of any central organization to arrange regular matches for girls and women. In schoolgirl literature, she cites the cricket played in Enid Blyton’s Naughtiest Girl series – where the girls regularly beat the boys. However, cricket did not figure strongly in the later expansion of state education for girls, which reinforced the image of women’s cricket as a game for women from affluent backgrounds. 25-29 minutes

She picks out some vivid personalities in women’s cricketing history:

  • The Prime Minister’s wife whose future husband fell in love with her when he watched her score a fifty 30-32 minutes
  • the leading campaigner for women’s causes, including “rational” clothing, who founded and led the Women’s Cricket Association in 1926 32, 44-45 minutes
  • the militant suffragette who threw stones at the windows of politically important buildings and her daughter, who supplied them and later became the first England women’s captain 32-33 minutes
  • the redoubtable and often unpopular Marjorie Pollard, a long-serving pillar of the WCA, fierce enforcer of conservative dress and deportment on women but with a modern appreciation of the power of media in building the women’s game. She was the founder and editor of the successful magazine Women’s Cricket and the first woman anywhere to give broadcast commentary on cricket. 40, 45-47 minutes

Raf describes the strong and lasting amateur and socially conservative ethos of the WCA. This was directed partly by the outlook of its founders but more importantly by the dependency of earlier generations of women cricketers on the goodwill of the MCC and the other male administrators of English cricket. Access to almost every ground in England was controlled by men. In dress and behaviour, women faced heavy pressures to conform to the expectations and images set by men for women in sport. 35-43 minutes For years these made it especially difficult for married women and mothers to play serious cricket (early tours consisted solely of unmarried women), and even today it is still much easier for men to turn their spouses into “cricket widows” or tea makers  than for women to offer the same choice to theirs.  48-50 minutes

Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 59: Behind the stumps but never the times in eight decades: the multiple lives of Lingard Goulding

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne, Richard Heller

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

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

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

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.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Lockdown rules to end on 19 July

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced to the House of Commons on Monday (12 July) that lockdown rules would end in England on Monday 19 July.

Almost all legal restrictions on social contact will be removed, but some ‘guidance’ will remain.

The legal requirement to wear face coverings in some enclosed public places will be removed but Mr Javid said they were still “expected and recommended” in crowded indoor areas.

The coronavirus “continues to carry risks for you and your family” Boris Johnson told the press conference at Downing St which followed the announcement.

“We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday July 19 to life as it was before Covid,” he said.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Enforcing mask wearing after 19 July will be a “shambles” says transport boss

See also: Rise in Covid cases in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Mind Matters – Talking about vaccine hesitancy?

Local news reports show that Hounslow has been recording higher than average COVID infections whilst vaccine rates have been lagging, so “vaccine hesitancy” is something coming up in many conversations. It is only natural that many of these may feel uncomfortable – so I am being asked about how to approach these situations.

And of course it is really important that people do feel able to talk about something as important as this. Sometimes it’s because help is needed in reaching a decision whilst at other times relationships suffer if important subjects are avoided. What prevents conversations from occurring can be fear of judgement, anxiety, embarrassment or shame, worries about making things worse, wanting to avoid conflict, feeling ill equipped or possibly thinking something shouldn’t be talked about.

And there are a range of times where these conversations are occurring / not occurring and maybe should be. Maybe you do not want the vaccine but others do not agree with you? Maybe you had the first dose and do not want the second? Maybe you have had the vaccine but have someone talking to you about their hesitancy? Or maybe someone you know does not want the vaccine and you disagree with them? Finally, there is the likelihood that vaccinations may become available to children and so another range of possible conversations and conflicts, between parents, parents and their children, parents and other parents etc.

Being ready to have conversations

The first thing to think about are your own thoughts and feelings, bias if you will, around the facts regarding choice to have a vaccination, because as with any medical intervention, law exists around individual choice and consent. Knowing your bias is crucial in you being able to empathise and enabling good communication and by this I mean an exchange where all those involved feel able to speak openly.

Talking to someone who is struggling to decide

Knowing there is a conversation needed

Sometimes people will openly say they want help with something whilst at others they may struggle alone when having the chance to talk might provide help they didn’t even realise they needed. So wanting to help is both about being able to respond in a helpful way or spotting that someone might need help. For example, you spot that someone who would normally be talking about something to do with their health is strangely silent on the vaccine.

There’s a time and a place

The right time and place is one where both yourself and the person you are speaking with agree that you both feel able to have the conversation. Sometimes it’s about having enough time, sometimes it’s about being in the right place, sometimes it’s about there being other priorities. I like to think about this as the importance to talk about talking, to clear a way so that you both feel ready and relaxed to speak.

Bring a clear head

You need to be able to listen, question and contribute in order to be able to fully understand the other person’s hesitancy. Check your understanding with them as you go along, ask them to help you understand if they think you are not understanding, be prepared to say you feel confused when something does not make sense to you.

Facilitate their thinking

It is amazing how much power the question “what do you want to do about it?” can have. It is so easy to get stuck in thoughts that go round and round and that often means that you have reached an end point in that line of thinking. Realising that can be really helpful in finding new focus.

Offer to share your experience

Telling someone what you think is not always helpful but sometimes offering to share the way in which you reached your decision can be. The important thing here is that you think that doing so may be helpful and that they do want to hear.

Offer to keep putting your heads together

Sometimes it takes more than just one conversation to reach a decision so if you both think it might be helpful agree to finding another time and place to continue.

Impact on relationships

The most important thing to bring to conversations when you are speaking with someone when you disagree is ownership of your opinion. Depending upon the nature of the relationship you might want to explain your position, or it might be more useful to state your opinion, in either instance thinking about and being clear about consequences is important.

For example, you have a sibling who tells you they have now decided not to have the vaccination however you are hosting a family party, you have a close family with several generations present, one other older family member has already decided not to have the vaccination and you feel uncomfortable. Your relationship with your sibling can sometimes be a bit difficult and you suspect conflict will occur if you tell them they are wrong but if you don’t say anything you suspect you might end up arguing.

So what can be helpful is the following:

  1. State the facts

For example, you are the only one coming apart from Grandfather who has not had the vaccine

  1. Say how you feel

For example, “I am feeling anxious and annoyed”

  1. What you think

We already knew Grandfather wouldn’t be vaccinated but on the basis that everyone else was then I was happy to have the party. I’ve been thinking about what if you get ill, or Grandfather gets ill and I cannot stop thinking about this. And I feel annoyed because this is something else I have to spend time thinking about.

  1. What you would like to happen

For example, “If you are now not going to be vaccinated then I want us to minimise any risks. I suggest you come but always remain outdoors and also wear a mask if within two meters of Grandfather”.

5. Consider any response based upon whether your anxiety and annoyance is alleviated. If not repeat 2, 3 and 4 as necessary.

Nicholas Rose
Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Couples Counsellor and Coach

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

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

nicholas-rose.co.uk

Read more blogs by Nicholas Rose

Read the previous one – Mind Matters – Recognise your vulnerability to stress

See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Enforcing mask-wearing after July 19 will be “a shambles”, says London transport boss

London’s transport chief has warned that enforcing masks to be worn on Tubes and buses will be a “shambles” if it is not a legal requirement after restrictions ease.

Confirmed today (12 July) by the Health Secretary Sajid Javid, the legal requirement to wear a mask in indoor public settings, such as transport and in shops, will be scrapped as part of the final phase of easing Covid restrictions on 19 July.

The Opposition, as well as domestic and international public health officials, have expressed concern at the Government’s plans and are encouraging people to still wear face coverings when possible, particularly on public transport.

Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, told The Evening Standard he wanted to avoid creating a perception that the London Underground was dangerous or having staff “yelled at” for failing to enforce restrictions that were not Government policy.

Majority of TfL customers feel safer with mask-wearing

Mr Byford told an Urban Transport Group webinar on Thursday (1 July):

“We are looking to see what the national rail does, because it would be kind of odd if you can come in on a mainline train to Charing Cross and not wear a mask, and then get on the Tube and have to. That won’t make things any easier for enforcement.

“Around 60-65 per cent of our customers say they feel more secure if everyone is wearing a mask. We should listen to our customers.

“But equally I feel very strongly that I don’t want TfL to be this sole outlier, because what message are you sending? Are you subliminally sending a message: ‘Careful, it’s dangerous down there, you have to wear a mask still’, or ‘It’s dangerous on the buses’? It isn’t.

“We want to make sure we give customers the confidence to come back.

“But equally I don’t want to create a situation where there is huge uncertainty and it becomes a bit of a shambles because we are being yelled at to enforce something which is not that easy to enforce without the backing of legislation.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Rise in Covid cases in Chiswick

See also: TfL & LB Hounslow claim C9 is a success

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Islamic & Indian Paintings: The Dexter Collection Part II at Chiswick Auctions

Guest Blog by Ghislaine Howard 

What is Art? It is the response of man’s creative soul to the call of the real.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Chiswick Auctions Head of Islamic & Indian Art, Beatrice Campi and Department Coordinator, Ghislaine Howard are thrilled to offer the private collection of Islamic & Indian Paintings from Anthony Dexter.  Dexter is an English Private Collector of Oriental arts and successful interior designer who has been prolific collector for the last thirty years.  This collection celebrates the mesmerising variety of the pictorial arts of India across a variety of regions, centuries, and medias. Beatrice and Ghislaine have selected three of their favourite lots from the sale to take you on a journey of discovery and divertissement through mythological tales, epic adventures and amorous encounters.

Lot 19 – THE TRIMURTI PATIENCE TEST: MAHARISHI BHRIGU KICKING LORD VISHNU AWAKE.
Kangra, Pahari Hills, Northern India, first half 19th century. Estimate: £1,000 – £1,500

The choice of this painting’s subject is rather unconventional. The Maharishi Bhrigu, one of the great sages of the Hindu tradition, is shown attacking Lord Vishnu and kicking him with his foot. This scene refers to a Hindu legend, known as the Patience Test of the Trimurti, in which many great sages gathered on the bank of the river Sarasvati to establish who out of the trinity of gods, Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva, was the most important and to whom they should offer the Pradhanta (Master) of the Maha Yagya worship. Bhrigu was appointed as the sage that would test the deities.

After briefly confronting Brahma and Shiva with dissatisfactory results, Bhrigu tries to engage Vishnu, but he is deeply asleep on the Serpent Shesha. In an outburst of anger and frustration, Bhrigu kicks the God on the chest to wake him up. Upon his awakening, Vishnu greets the sage and start massaging his feet, concerned he had hurt his feet in kicking the God’s chest. Bhrigu, ashamed of his ego and in total awe of the God’s mercy and patience, elects Vishnu as the greatest deity of the Trimurti.

Some elements worth noticing here are the presence of the Vaishnava tilaka on the forehead of the sage, already hinting at his devotion for Vishnu and his final decision. Similarly, the facial expression of Vishnu shows no anger, surprise or disappointment instead, he may look a bit surprised and defenceless. At a first glance, the beholder may even think that Vishnu must have done something wrong to anger the sage and thus, sympathise with Bhrigu: the subtle double entendre of this painting is what makes it unusual. Although there is no sign of the Serpent Shesha, the presence of the river Sarasvati to the left creates an immediate link with the legend of the Trimurti Patience Test, reminding the beholders not to be hasty in their judgment.

Lot 29. AN ILLUSTRATION TO A RAMAYANA SERIES: RAMA, SITA AND LAKSHMANA RETURNING TO AYODHYA. Jodhpur, Rajasthan, North-Western India, circa 1820 – 1840. Estimate: £800 -1,200

The composition is organised in chronological order from left to right, as if it was a comic strip and the story was unfolding under the viewer’s gaze. Unlike Western art, Indian art will feature several scenes in one composition telling a visual story. Here, the trio (Rama, Sita and Lakshmana) is about to cross the river to finally get home, after 14 years in exile. Around their heads, flaming golden haloes symbolise their divine nature and emphasise their roles as heroes. Once returned, they are greeted, welcomed and treated by the locals as the rightful rulers of Ayodhya: Rama’s feet are being washed by a courtly attendant; a royal palanquin in the background is awaiting them; a well-dressed courtier offers Rama and Lakshmana their lotus crowns while they sit underneath a tree. The composition is rich in details and emotions, but it is also wisely laid out, giving the viewer enough time to dwell on each scene and rejoice in Rama’s return.

Lot 31. AN ILLUSTRATION TO A RAMAYANA SERIES: HANUMAN BEFORE THE EVIL KING OF LANKA RAVANA. Jaipur, Rajasthan, North-Western India, circa 1920 – 1940, signed by Sri Makwan Lalji. Estimate: £800 – 1,200

This large composition depicts a crucial moment of the fifth chapter (kanda) of Valmiki’s Ramayana, the trial of Hanuman at the court of Ravana. The Sundara Kanda (5), considered by many the heart of Valmiki’s text, provides detailed accounts of Hanuman’s adventures, including his meeting with Sita and Ravana in Lanka. After attempting to liberate Sita, Hanuman brings chaos to Lanka, destroying buildings and killing some of Ravana’s guards. He gets captured and is brought in the presence of Ravana, who condemns him and orders his subjects to set Hanuman’s tail on fire. Eventually, Hanuman manages to escape and with a giant leap leaves Lanka, safely returning to Kishkindhaa. There he reports all that he learnt and saw in Lanka to Rama and King Sugriva, which leads to the famous epic battle between Rama and Ravana’s army.

The cultural resonance and bond with scenes like the one depicted here are so long-lasting in the Indian tradition that even in the first half of the 20th century, major painters and workshops would produce large illustrations from the main Hindu epics and texts, like the Ramayana and the Bhagavata Purana, despite the strong post-Mughal Muslim presence in the Subcontinent.

Lot 59.A RULER PERFORMING YAJNA (FIRE RITUAL). Provincial Mughal, Delhi or Hyderabad school, India, 19th century. Estimate: £800 -1,200

The influence of the Mughal pictorial tradition is very clear in this painting. The attention to detail, level of symmetry, and volume, dominating the scene, are quintessential features of many Mughal productions, both during the Mughal empire and in the years following its fall. Every character is depicted with his / her own peculiar features, suggesting a degree of naturalism and faithful rendering, almost like a photograph of its time.

The headdresses of the two noble ladies in the centre are of particular interest, given their unusual shape. Departing from the typical veils, shawls and turbans often seen in depictions of Indian ladies in the zenana and at court, these headdresses seem to be much more in line with Central Asian female headgears and fashion traditions. Indeed, their design are reminiscent of the shokulo, a traditional bridal headdress originating from Kyrgyzstan and widely in use in other parts of Central Asia, which features a high conical shape and is adorned with furs, feathers, jewels, and small amulets; and the Uzbek tubeteika, a more ornate variant of a female skull-cap. If Central Asian bridal headgears are featured on purpose by the painter, one may suggest that the yajna ceremony depicted in the composition is likely to be a Vedic wedding ceremony performing the traditional Indian Hindu ritual of Vedic yajna around the fire. The roots of this tradition are found in hymn 10.85 of the Rigveda, which is also called the “Rigvedic wedding hymn”.

These three favourites echo how Dexter built his collection, he said of his collection, “I simply bought what I fancied and remained just a one-man-band with a liking for the unusual”. This passion for the unconventional, whimsical, and unusual ignited his collection and career since the start, when at the age of 18 he began running an antiques and second-hand shop in Leicester, England. Shortly after, he bought his very first Ushak carpet from a Polish dealer for the princely sum of £25.00. For the last 30 years, to say it in his own words, “this world of [Islamic and Indian] art has been an entire lifetime’s trip”. It is with great pleasure that we offer his collection to the next generation of ‘art custodians’, as Dexter likes to define them: may you all find some joy, erudition, respite and amusement in the works of art now on offer.

The sale will take place on Friday 16 July at 12.00pm. Viewing appointments for the sale will take place at Chiswick Auctions Saleroom on the following days:

Fri 9 July, 10.00am to 5.00pm
Mon 12 July, 10.00am to 5.00pm
Tue 13 July, 10.00am to 5.00pm
Wed 14 July, 10.00am to 8.00pm
Thu 15 July, 10.00am to 5.00pm

Evening View with a glass of wine

Wed 14 July, 6.00pm to 8.00pm

For further highlights from the sale, see the vanity catalogue or for the full sale visit: chiswickauctions.co.uk/auction-calendar

For more information or to book a viewing appointment contact: ghislaine@chiswickauctions.co.uk.

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It’s coming home… the Yeats/Bedford-Project is almost there

Image above: Enwrought Light by Conrad Shawcross RA, inspired by WB Yeats, will honour the poet, just yards from his childhood home and beside the path on which he walked daily to school, here at the entrance to Chiswick’s unique Bedford Park garden-suburb/artist’s colony.

Guest Blog by Cahal Dallat

We’re into extra time, of course, and still all to play for until the final whistle next Tuesday, 20 July… but we’re confident of bringing the trophy “home”.

Not your regular silver or gold prize-winner’s cup, but a dazzling Yeats-inspired gold and silver helical spiral “enwrought with” (or “created out of”) the “golden and silver light” of one of Yeats’s best-loved Bedford-Park-era poems, “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”.

With one week to go and 5.5% of the £134K target still to find, our project committee are confident that pledges on our crowdfund page from Bedford Park and Chiswick residents over the next seven days will more than cover the remaining £7,500 needed to honour WB Yeats, one of the twentieth century’s outstanding literary figures, on his “home ground”, literally, of Bedford Park, where he lived with his family in the 1880s and 1890s.

The “trophy” doesn’t simply celebrate Yeats’s status and his much-loved and remembered poems, but pays tribute to Bedford Park’s role in fostering his genius, with its progressive and artistic community becoming the catalyst that transmuted his love of Irish landscape, legends and lore into Nobel-Prize gold.

Many artists, writers, and theatre people came to live in 19th-century Bedford Park, helping to create that vital aesthetic/Bohemian/Utopian ambience, but Yeats (and his brother Jack, Ireland’s most famous 20th-century painter) were the most significant artists to have grown up here.

Images above: The Woodstock Road house where the Yeats family moved when Yeats was enrolled at Godolphin in Hammersmith – which was a boys’ school in the 1870s/1880s, The young WB Yeats by John Singer Sargent

Supporters

So those supporting the artwork project have been a real mix of some who’d simply want to see Yeats’s greatness celebrated in London, and many who envisage the artwork as recognising the Bedford Park connection, the role of fellow artists in nurturing creativity, and the success of Jonathan Carr’s Arts-&-Crafts first-garden-suburb and its communal atmosphere in inspiring the aesthetics and intellectual ideas that actually became the template for the second half of the twentieth century.

In the past week alone it’s been fascinating to watch names such as Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, poet Scarlett Sabet local actors Kevin McNally and Phyllis Logan, and Washington-based Yeats scholar, Joseph Hassett, pitch in to join a wide array of supporters and donors that includes Marie Heaney (wife of the late Seamus Heaney, Yeats’s successor as Ireland’s national poet and another Nobel-Prize winner), broadcaster and Chiswick-enthusiast Jeremy Vine, rock musician and campaigner Bob Geldof, poet and former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, National Theatre actor Ciarán Hinds – whose reading at the project’s Irish Embassy launch was a key inspiration for the artwork – local authors Polly Devlin, Fergal Keane and Anne-Marie Fyfe, critic and broadcaster Tom Paulin, theatre director Shevaun Wilder, Sligo poet Joan McBreen, Yeats’s official biographer Professor Roy Foster, and former president of Ireland’s Yeats Society, Martin Enright.

That’s in addition to major donors such as London’s Royal Academy, the Irish Embassy in Grosvenor Place, Hounslow Council’s “Thriving Communities” scheme and The Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation created by Lord Saatchi to honour his Irish poet-and-novelist wife who died in 2011.

In number terms those are only a very small percentage of the 330 supporters who’ve pledged £127K so far, the majority being poets, actors, artists, architects and the “ordinary” – perhaps arts-loving – “home supporters”, the Bedford Park and Chiswick and West London residents, who’ve joined in over the past five months as awareness of the project grew through the planning process, through publicity in The Chiswick Calendar, Chiswick Magazine and local members’ newsletters such as those from St Michael and All Angels (the Yeatses’ family church from 1879, although the church arrived after they did!), Chiswick Pier Trust, Our Lady of Grace and St Edward, and, recently, from the Bedford Park Society who have offered help and advice since the project was first announced at a Fergal Keane “Yeats reading” as part of the Bedford Park Festival some years ago.

Image above: Leading London artist, Conrad Shawcross, whose design Enwrought Light, for the WB Yeats Bedford Park Artwork, has been awarded £25,000 from the Royal Academy’s Sir George Frampton Fund towards the cost of creating and installing the artwork in Bedford Park.

Reception

What’s been particularly exciting since the image of the artwork was first publicised in Chiswick Calendar hasn’t just been the buzz that Chiswick’s getting its own Conrad Shawcross artwork, following Paradigm at the Crick Institute, The Dappled Light of the Sun in the Royal Academy Courtyard, Optic Cloak on the Greenwich Peninsula and Schism at Château-La-Coste near Marseille… but the extent to which people have taken Conrad’s creation, Enwrought Light, and its multiple meanings, to their hearts, as we’ve seen from the many supporting emails we received during the planning-application phase and since.

There’s the obvious idea of visually celebrating Yeats’s genius spiralling upwards in gold and silver, reaching for the sun as an aspiring artist such as the young Yeats clearly did.

But that interpretation is matched with the sense that the artwork also captures Bedford Park’s forward- looking, progressive spirit spiralling out centrifugally into the wider world where its first-garden-suburb ideal was copied internationally and its underlying ethos (as a rare intellectual oasis in Victorian London egalitarian, anti-imperial, feminist/suffragist, multicultural and spiritually diverse) “conquered the world” in the words of author G.K. Chesterton – who was a fan of Bedford Park and married a girl from Bath Road!

And the poem that inspired Conrad, in Ciarán Hinds’s reading at the Irish Embassy launch, wasn’t simply important because it suggested to him the idea of working with the play of light, reflecting changing time of day and passing seasons in its “golden and silver”, and “blue and dim and dark… light and half light” but because it expressed Yeats’s desire to create beauty (even though the poor poet says in the poem he has “only [his] dreams”) as well as capturing what Conrad could recognise, on his visits to Bedford Park, as the embodiment of the Arts-&-Crafts ideal of embedding the aesthetic in the everyday.

Yeats’s quest for beauty, and Bedford Park’s desire to integrate art in life, could be seen in contemporary terms, not so much as “work/life balance” (though that was part of the aim, all those Bedford Park houses built with studios and music rooms) but as an even more essential “work/life/art” balance.

Some of the more exciting responses have, unsurprisingly, come not just from artists and art critics but from art teachers who can see students, and schoolchildren at every level, inspired by the artwork’s geometrical shape and form (Conrad defines his work in terms of Psychogeometries), its play on light and its potential for interpretation…as flocks of birds (“I would that we were my beloved / White birds on the foam of the sea”), as a swirl of autumn leaves (Yeats writes of “the trees in their autumn beauty”) or as flights of angels floating upwards beside the high windows St. Michael and All Angels Church, the angels that appear, for example, throughout Yeats’s work and on his 1890s book covers!

Image above: artist’s impression of the sculpture

What Happens Now?

It ain’t over until it’s over, of course, which is 20th July or when we hit £134,164 if sooner, though unlike with a football win, the celebration isn’t instant and won’t be “over” for quite some time. And although we’ve been playing in extra time, since the crowdfunding deadline was extended due to delays at the planning stage, the two month extension has given us much more time for the project committee, Fr. Kevin Morris, Torin Douglas, Polly Devlin, Matthew Fay and Gerald McGregor, to have conversations, like those mentioned with artists and art teachers, for example, surrounding the project’s “Phase Three” which begins almost immediately.

“Phase One”, funded by local donations and gifts-in-kind involved setting up and launching the registered charity, all the conversations and explorations that led to commissioning Conrad’s dazzling design and a complicated and detailed planning application process.

“Two” was “Celebrate Yeats in Bedford Park”, the crowdfund phase that, once successfully completed, gives us an artwork to unveil on Yeats’s birthday next year.

And “Three”, backed by poets, academics and educationalists attracted to the project, won’t just be the poetry and arts events surrounding the June 2022 unveiling, but a complete education/arts/heritage experience wrapped around the artwork as focal point attracting visitors, local and international, adults and children, to “Discover WB Yeats in Bedford Park”…with a smartphone/app version of the long-running Land of Heart’s Desire literary walk (with Google directions, images, info, talks and Yeats readings by celebrity actors), educational Yeats-poem workbooks (virtual or print-out) for schoolkids, families and school-parties, the unveiling events themselves plus ongoing/future poetry readings and talks, and a promotional video telling the world the Yeats/BedfordPark story through Conrad Shawcross’s artwork and Bedford Park’s history and legacy!

All hanging on that wave of enthusiasm generated since mid-February seeing us through the next week, though, up to the final whistle!

Pledges via: spacehive.com/yeats-bedfordpark-artwork
Info on: wbyeatsbedfordpark.com
Contact: cahal.dallat@wbyeatsbedfordpark.com

Cahal Dallat is the organiser of the WB Yeats Bedford Park Artwork Project

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Cheese Market, Sunday 18 July 2021

See also: Chiswick Book Festival 9 – 15 September 2021

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Still Breathing – 100 Black Voices on Racism

Images above: Suzette Llewelly; Suzanne Packer and their book Still Breathing – 100 Black Voices on Racism

One of the speakers at the Chiswick Book Festival 2021 will be Suzette Llewellyn, known better as an actor. She has played Patrick’s third wife, Sheree, in EastEnders since 2019 and before that played Estelle Vere in another TV soap, Doctors.

Suzette and co-writer Suzanna Packer (also an actor, best known for her role in Casualty) have put together Still Breathing – 100 Black Voices on Racism. 100 ways to Change the Narrative.

It’s a beautiful book, glossily produced as a coffee table book which you can dip in and out of, so you can absorb the various stories as and when the mood takes you. It’s also beautiful in the sense that it’s positive and inclusive. Yes there’s pain and sorrow and anger, but it’s mainly about ways to rise above and move on.

Images above: Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE; Sharron D. Clarke; pages from Still Breathing

Many of the contributors are well known Black people from the world of TV and film, such as Kwame Kwei-Armah (Casualty) and Sharon D. Clarke (Doctor Who, Holby City), which reflects the writers’ circle of friendships, but they’ve also included Black people from different walks of life – politicians, a Bishop and a civil servant among them.

‘We decided to tell our story … These testimonials would demonstrate the harm and damage experienced by the contributors and at the same time, show the way each survivor of racism and prejudice had managed to transform that trauma into strength and potency’.

The murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement were the catalyst for the book. Many Black people have said they have run out of patience and energy when it comes to explaining racism to White people.

Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race quickly became a best seller in June last year. That sentiment is reflected by some of those who chose not to take part in the book, whose comments Suzette and Suzanne include at the beginning:

‘I don’t think I’ll be able to contribute to your project right ow because I am also wearied about reliving some of the experiences so frequently’

‘I found Black Lives Matter emotionally exhausting and I’ve lots of other stuff going on right now that I don’t actually have the brain space to dig all of that up too’

Images above: Michelle Griffith-Robinson, former international athlete and Olympian; Lord Paul Boateng, politician; Sharron J. Francis, politician; pages from Still Breathing

A conversation starter

Suzette says she hopes the book will be a conversation starter and will be read by Black and White people.

“Yes it’s good for Black children to see that what they’re experiencing is not new and to see how others have coped with it, but I hope White people will read it as we’re all part of this conversation. Racism is not helpful to this country”.

It’s as damaging psychologically to those who perpetrate it as it is to those who are on the receiving end, she says.

White people often don’t ‘get’ racism if it’s subtle or unspoken. Name calling and violence we can all understand, but an atmosphere which translates to a lack of opportunity for Black people is not as easy to pin down.

This is a book for anyone who thinks: ‘I’m not racist and I understand it’s hurtful but why must they go on about it all the time?’

And for anyone who says ‘All lives matter’ as it that were at issue. Of course all lives matter but reading this book will explain why Black people feel their lives are not held to be as important as those of White people, which is why Black Lives Matter needs saying.

Of the hundred testimonies in Still Breathing, here are a couple. The first from actor Rakie Ayola (Holby City).

Image above: Rakie Ayola’s account in Still Breathing

Consequences

‘Six people walking down a street. Two teenage girls in front. Two pre-teen boys behind. On the other side of the road heading in the same direction, a 3-year-old girl and me. An adult. The only one of them known to me is the 3-year-old. I’m holding her hand. She’s my friend’s daughter. It’s a beautiful day and I’m taking her for a walk around the leafy neighbourhood.
From across the road I hear that word.
Large a large unwieldy stone, awkward and heavy, it manages to make contact with both my head and my heart. I reel internally, but keep walking. The 3-year-old is saying something about her shoes. As she witters on I try to remember the last time I was called that word.
I realise this is the first time I have been called that word.
My reaction springs from an emotional connection to it that runs deep. A connection that began the moment I saw its corrosive effect on others and felt the venom with which it’s used.
A boy of 9 or 10 has just hurled that word at me like a hand grenade and he’s walking away unscathed. And I’m walking away. Wounded.
Suddenly I stop. I cross the road. The 3-year-old ask where we’re going.
‘To talk to those boys,’ I say.
The girls are still ahead, oblivious.
The 3-year-old and I reach the pavement in front of the boys. They stop and peer up at me. I stop and stare down at them.
‘Do I know you?’
Eyes huge, they shake their heads.
‘Do you know me?’
They mumble, ‘No’.
I take them in. These children. I find myself wondering what circumstances led to this moment. I wonder what these boys have seen and head and been taught that made hurling that word any kind of option. I wonder if they know its effect. I wonder if they care. I’m a grown-up: why the fuck don’t they care?
I bend closer. Narrow my eyes. Reduce my voice to a low whisper.
‘I could be your new neighbour …
‘I could be your next teacher …
‘I could be your dentist.’
I realise they’re trembling. Terrified.
I realise I’m glad.
‘What’s going on?’
The teenage girls have noticed the boys are talking to a stranger.
With my eyes still on the boys, I say, ‘I’ll leave them to tell you’.
‘This is boring’ says the 3-year-old.
‘Yes, it is’ I say. We turn and walk away. I look back in time to see one of the girls slapping one of the boys across the head. He cries out in pain. I watch as he sobs.
I blink as my eyes burn.
‘I’m tired’ whines the 3-year-old.
‘So am I,’ I say. ‘So am I’.
I lift her onto my back and walk on’.

Image above: Veronica McKenzie’s account in Still Breathing

This second account, from film-maker / writer / director / producer / Veronica McKenzie, strikes a chord with me, having worked at the BBC.

The Silence

‘One day I was in the toilets, fixing my dress. I worked hard to keep up a fashionista image on a budget.
Two colleagues came in and started talking. My name came up.
One said, ‘Veronica is so nice’.
The other responded, ‘Yes she’s lovely’.
The first girl emphasized, ‘She’s just so nice’.

Then there was a long pause. I held my breath to hear what they’d say next. The silence went on for a long time, but it was probably only seconds. I felt with every fibre in my body what they were not saying. They were not saying, for a black girl. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew. They carried on talking as I pushed the door open. Their red faces! I joked about my wonky dress and they relaxed. They were nice colleagues, but clearly surprised to click well with someone who was ‘not one of them’. Someone different.

I went back to the main office and looked around properly, as if for the first time. There were perhaps 100 people. The fashion department with the very posh producer. The laddish news team. Forward planning. I looked for black faces. There were two. Of course, I had noticed them before. Though we worked in different sections, and sometimes had drinks with the group, we didn’t band together. It’s like we observed some unwritten rule when we joined up. Took on the mantra. Everyone for themselves! – somehow knowing it wouldn’t be cool to meet up separately.

Though nobody talked about race, I started paying attention to the unsaid. The silences. There was the black intern, who complained about racism and was let go the same day. The Asian producer, who left having been bypassed for promotion. The homophobia. The women crying in the toilets. Fearful conversations in the smoking room. The senior manager jokily wondering how I had a Scottish surname, and me having to laugh along like Oops! It just happened.

I saw that it was a toxic workplace, and that being desperate to work in TV meant many people were putting up with appalling treatment – me included. Soon after, I quite and never looked back’.

Suzette will be talking at the Chiswick Book Festival 2021 (9- 15 September), along with Gyles Brandreth, Clare Balding, Ed Balls, Mary Anne Sieghart, Anne Sebba, Sarfraz Manzoor, Emily Mortimer, Tim Marshall, Steve Richards, Dr Amir Khan, Andrew Lownie, Suzannah Lipscomb, Parm Sandhu, Stuart Prebble, Jim Down, Roger Hermiston, Jacqueline Riding and many more.

Still Breathing is available from Bookcase London at 260 Chiswick High Rd, (a member of The Chiswick Claendar Club Card scheme, which offers a 10% discount off all books), Waterstones and Amazon.

READ MORE: Who’s speaking at the 2021 Chiswick Book Festival 

chiswickbookfestival.net

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Bring back the Anti Nazi League

See also: Lord Peter Hain talks to Peter Oborne & Richard Heller about his book on cricket and apartheid, Pitch Battles

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.