Massive development near Chiswick roundabout approved despite objections

A massive development proposed for the B&Q site near Chiswick Roundabout has been given the go ahead by LB Hounslow planning committee.

Given approval on Thursday, 2 December, the ‘Fourth Mile’ when completed, will comprise of 234 flats, a 197 room hotel, a ‘technology showcase’ building and a new public square.

There will be five buildings in the development, linked by a three-level podium and arranged around a public square (Hudson Square) in the centre.

The ‘technology showcase’ building will extend parallel to the A4 and elevated M4 alongside the western boundary. Three main blocks stretching from east to west and would be eight, nine and ten storeys high respectively.

A 12-storey hotel building will be located in the southeast towards Chiswick Roundabout, with this forming another side of the square. There will also be three residential blocks that are located at the east and northeast part of the site facing Gunnersbury Avenue, with these forming the other two sides of the square. These will be two 12-storey and one 13-storey residential blocks of which 40% of the units contained would be classed as ‘affordable’.

Between 15-25 technology companies are expected to occupy the showcase building, including new entrants into the market. The applicant, Reef, says that the hotel is a key part of the overall scheme, supporting anticipated business conferences and tourist demand.

CGI rendering of Hudson Square from the developer

Critics attack development’s height and environmental impact

The application received various objections regarding the the height and mass of the building, which will be visible from a number of conservation areas and listed buildings including Strand on the Green and Gunnersbury Park. The latest design reaches a maximum of 13 storeys high, lower than an earlier proposal for the site which was 17 storeys high.

The West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society criticised the ‘scale, height, and density’ of the proposed development’, claiming it was ‘far too high’ and would impact local heritage sites, as well as leading to an increase in air pollution locally.

Hounslow Green Party’s planning spokesperson, Tony Firkins, claimed that the embedded carbon of the building and development could exceed two and a half times the Council’s CO2 current emissions, which would breach Hounslow’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.

After the plans were approved, Stephen Clark, the Green Party candidate for Brentford West in 2022’s local elections, said:

“The Council were unduly impressed by the promise of a so-called ‘Technology Showcase’ – a very vague scheme without any apparent backing from educational institutions or businesses. It’s a vast expenditure of money and carbon for an uncertain return.”

Image above: CGI showing how the scheme would appear from Gunnersbury Cemetery

‘Some harm’ will occur to Chiswick’s conservations areas

Hounslow planners acknowledged in a report, prior to the development’s approval, that there would still be ‘some harm’ to the Strand on the Green Conservation Area and Gunnersbury Park Conservation Area and Cemetery, even though the plan as passed is lower than the original.

Addressing various criticisms prior to the development’s approval, Hounslow planners said:

“Taking all these matters into account, and balancing the benefits of the development against the harm, approval is recommended, as positive social, economic and environmental impacts would outweigh the harmful effects of the development.”

The developers say that the scheme will lead to 1,500 jobs and apprenticeships with in excess of 2,000 jobs during the construction stage.

The development is anticipated to be completed in 2025/26.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council urges residents to check new ward boundaries

See also: 17 year old charged with murder of Rishmeet Singh

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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West London music teacher who groomed students is jailed

A former music teacher who groomed and sexually abused his teenage students in west London has been jailed for 17 years.

Ben Breakwell, 40, enticed girls aged 13 and 14 into illicit relationships, organising secret meetings with his victims at his flat and the basement of the school where he worked.

Breakwell, who took up teaching at secondary school in Hammersmith, was caught in 2017 when friends of one of his victims reported him to school staff. He was sacked by the school when the allegations first came to light.

He was convicted of 32 offences on Monday 2 August at Isleworth Crown Court and was remanded in custody pending sentencing. The 32 offences related to sexual activity with three girls and indecent images of a fourth. He was jailed for 17 years at Isleworth crown court on Thursday 2 December.

Breakwell denied but was convicted of 21 charges of sexual activity with a child, three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, four charges of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust, a count of sexual assault, and two allegations of taking indecent photographs of a child.

Breakwell’s former school “appalled”

A spokesperson for the Breakwell’s former school said it is “absolutely appalled” by his crimes.

“Behaviour like this has no place anywhere in society and we fully support the judge’s sentencing decision today.

“As soon as concerns about this individual were raised in September 2017, he was immediately suspended and then shortly afterwards was dismissed. We also immediately contacted all the statutory authorities including the police, and have supported their lengthy investigation ever since. We repeat our thanks to the police for securing this individual’s conviction while conducting their investigation with sensitivity and professionalism.

“The wellbeing of those in our care is our over-riding priority and at the heart of everything that we do, supported by robust safeguarding procedures that have been reviewed and praised by the NSPCC. Above all we would like to pay tribute to the victims who showed such bravery and dignity to ensure that this person’s offences first came to light and to ensure that justice has been done.”

Police urge victims to speak out sooner

Detective Sergeant Ben Lawrence-Smith, who work on the investigation, said:

“Breakwell is a sexual predator, who targeted vulnerable children. I am very pleased that he has been removed to a place where he can’t cause further harm to children.

“The girls who were betrayed by Breakwell were incredibly brave in coming forward. Without their courage he could not have been brought to justice.

“As a teacher he had a duty of care to the girls, but instead he betrayed their trust in order to abuse them. He manipulated and exploited them and convinced them that what was taking place was not abuse, but love.

“I understand that it can be difficult for victims of sexual offences to speak out, but keeping abuse secret only protects the abuser.

“I urge anyone who believes they are at risk from, or have been a victim of abuse, to tell someone – a parent, a carer or ideally someone in authority, but please do speak to someone.“

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Former Hammersmith music teacher convicted of 32 sexual offences

See also: 17 year old charged with the murder of Rishmeet Singh

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.

17 year old charged with murder of Rishmeet Singh

A 17 year old boy has been charged with the murder of 16 year old Rishmeet Singh, who was killed Southall in November.

The teenager was arrested on suspicion of murder on Thursday, 2 December. He was due to appear at Wimbledon Magistrates Court on Friday, 3 December.

Rishmeet was stabbed to death on Raleigh Road, Southall, in the borough of Hounslow, on Wednesday 24 November. Police were called to Raleigh Road at 9.07pm after reports of a stabbing that followed a fight involving a group of people.

Officers attended along with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and found Rishmeet with stab wounds.

Despite the efforts of the emergency services, he died at the scene a short time later.

A 19-year-old man arrested on Tuesday 30 November has been bailed to a date in late December.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Southall stabbing teen victim named

See also: Arrest made after Southall fatal stabbing

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.

Council urges residents to check new ward boundaries

Residents of LB Hounslow are being advised to familiarise themselves with the borough’s new ward boundary changes, ahead of upcoming local elections.

The next local elections in Hounslow will see the introduction of new ward boundaries, which may impact where residents cast their vote and for which ward. The next elections will be held on Thursday 5 May 2022.

As part of these changes, implemented by the Local Government Boundary Commission of England, the number of Hounslow wards will increase from 20 to 22. The total number of councillors who represent Hounslow will increase from 60 to 62.

Familiar ward names are set to be changed and some residents’ addresses may fall within a different ward.

Changes include the expansion of Turnham Green ward to the west and its renaming as Chiswick Gunnersbury, and a new ward called Syon and Brentford Lock.

Image above: ward boundary changes in LB Hounslow

Polling stations may be different for some residents

The ward boundary changes mean that polling stations may be different for residents. Those who participated in the Council’s polling district and polling place consultation in August played a role in helping to shape elections in the borough.

The council says it is vital residents check what electoral ward their address is in and where their polling station is. To find out residents can visit hounslow.gov.uk/polling-station-finder.

Residents can register to vote by visiting gov.uk/register-to-vote. The deadline for registering to vote at next year’s local election is midnight on Thursday, 14 April 2022.

The new Chiswick Homefields, Chiswick Gunnersbury and Chiswick Riverside wards will all yield three councillors. Currently, Chiswick’s nine councillors in LB Hounslow are all Conservatives.

Another three councillors in the Southfield ward, which is in LB Ealing, are Liberal Democrats. Ealing has separate ward boundary proposals but these have not yet been finalised.

Residents should familiarise themselves with changes to avoid confusion, says council

Niall Bolger, CEO of LB Hounslow

Niall Bolger, Chief Executive and Returning Officer for London Borough of Hounslow, said:

“It’s important that residents make themselves familiar with these new ward boundaries now to avoid any confusion.

“Remember decisions that elected councillors make over the next four years will shape future services provided from the Council. Elections are the key way in which residents can have a say in local democracy, by choosing who represents them.

“Registering and then getting out to vote, wherever residents live in the borough, is therefore really important so we’re urging residents to ensure they are registered and know where their allocated polling station is.

“We want to ensure everyone eligible to vote can do so easily”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL confirms OneChiswick has withdrawn Cycleway 9 legal challenge

See also: Extensive roadworks planned for A316 Great Chertsey Rd

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.

Best Books for Christmas

Image above: Jessica Bloom, Bookcase London

Books are usually a good bet for ideas for Christmas presents. Jessica Bloom at Chiswick’s independent bookshop Bookcase London has some suggestions.

Bookcase has been in Chiswick High Rd for 28 years and specialises on good books at discount prices. More recently they have expanded their range to include all the latest books, which they have available at retail price. They are also members of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering Club Card holders 10% off all their stock, whether it is already discounted or not.

Recommendations from Chiswick’s independent bookshop Bookcase London

Guest blog by Jessica Bloom

Children’s Discount Books Recommendations

The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton with illustrations by Angela Barrett (RRP: £29.99 Our Price: £14.99)
A stunning deluxe edition of Jessie Burton’s dazzling feminist fairytale. Illustrated by Angela Barrett, this extra-special edition includes an exclusive print and gorgeous sprayed edges, all enclosed in a beautiful slipcase. An essential gift, this inspirational story is a modern classic to be handed down for generations.

Stories for Every Season by Enid Blyton with illustrations by Becky Cameron (RRP: £19.99 Our Price £9.99)
A beautiful treasury of stories for every season from one of the world’s best-loved storytellers. With gorgeous full-colour illustrations throughout, this collection will delight at any time of the year and makes the perfect gift. Step into a world of magic and nature, where elfin tailors make clothes from autumn leaves and a spring lamb remembers a kind little girl.

Divided into four sections to reflect the seasons, this treasury contains 28 timeless stories from Enid Blyton’s archives – plus a bonus extra story for Christmas. Some of these wonderful tales are collected in book form for the very first time. It is gorgeously illustrated by Becky Cameron, acclaimed illustrator of Treasury of Bedtime Stories by Enid Blyton and of Paddington and the Christmas Wish.

The Complete Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling with illustrations by Stuart Tresilian (RRP: £35 Our Price £19.99)
A beautiful luxury gift book to cherish for years to come, The Complete Jungle Book is the ultimate edition for Jungle Book fans. With a foreword by award-winning writer and superfan Katherine Rundell, this book contains Rudyard Kipling’s best loved classic animal stories: The Jungle Book, The Second Jungle Book, the bonus story The Cat That Walked by Himself and Kipling’s most famous poem, If.

Step into Kipling’s wonderful jungle and join Mowgli, Bagheera, and Baloo on their adventures in this one-of-a-kind book, featuring stunning illustrations and colour plates by Stuart Tresilian. A luxuriously designed and foiled die-cut cover, head and tail bands, green foiled edges and a ribbon marker, this truly is a gift edition to treasure.

First Fairy Tales by Margaret Mayo with illustrations by Helen Stephens (RRP: £14.99 Our Price: £6.99)
Bursting with magic and mischief, adventures abound with this new collection of classic fairytales authored by bestselling author Margaret Mayo. Join favourite characters as they scale beanstalks, ride in carriages made of pumpkins, and eat poisoned apples …

Much-loved classics that feature in the collection include Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rumplestiltskin, These timeless tales are vivaciously retold by Margaret Mayo, who perfectly captures their enchantment. The highly illustrated edition features artwork by Helen Stephens, whose colourful sketches deliver the stories to their dramatic full potential.

Wonders of the World’s Museums by Molly Oldfield with illustrations by Harriet Taylor Seed and Peter Malone (RRP: £14.99 Our Price: £6.99)
Open up this treasure trove of wonders to visit 43 museums and 50 exhibits. Discover the most fascinating and mysterious objects found in museums, from star attractions to unsung exhibits. With Molly Oldfield, research elf of hit television show QI, unearth the astonishing stories of how these treasures were created, found and finally displayed.

Travel back in time to discover an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, encounter China’s mysterious Terracotta Army, sail the seas in a Viking ship, take flight in the world’s first aeroplane, defend World War Two Britain in Churchill’s siren suit, journey to the Moon with Neil Armstrong in the Apollo 11 Command Module and even play in a World Cup Final wearing Pele’s victory shirt.

Through stunning photography and glorious illustration, these wonders and many more will bring history, science and culture to life for readers aged 10+, as well as the whole family!

Children’s Full Price Books Recommendations

The Nutcracker: Wind and Play by Lily McArdle and Twas the Night Before Christmas: Wind and Play by Clement Moore (£20)
Bring the magic of music into your home with this interactive book, which features a wind-up mechanism that sounds just like a musical jewellery box. Wind and play the nostalgic carol Deck the Halls as you settle down to share Clement C. Moore’s classic story ‘Twas Night Before Christmas and play the Waltz of the Flowers as you share the enduring joy of this classic ballet story. The holidays never sounded so magical.

Planetarium by Raman Prinja with illustrations by Chris Wormell (£25)
Welcome to the museum that is always open to explore… Step inside the pages of this beautiful book to discover galleries of galactic matter, expertly curated to bring you the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the comfort of your own home. Planetarium features all aspects of space, from the Sun and our Solar System, to the lives of stars, the Milky Way and the Universe beyond.

With stunning artwork from Chris Wormell and informative text by Professor Raman Prinja, Planetarium is the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in this fascinating field.

Fairy Tale Land: 12 classic tales reimagined by Kate Davies with illustrations by Lucille Clerc (£20)
Fairy Tale Land opens the gates to the magical land where all the fairy tale characters live. Get lost in this visually stunning, oversized gift book that features all the well-loved stories, and immerse yourself in their enchanting world!

The tales are expertly retold, perfect for bedtime, and each story is followed with an exquisitely illustrated, detailed map of its neighbourhood. You can drop into Hansel and Gretel’s cottage, explore the palace from Beauty and the Beast, and dive deep under the sea with the Little Mermaid.

What wonderful things can you find in your favourites’ homes? Beautiful, stylish and vibrant illustrations adorn each page, as the magical text transports readers to faraway lands of mystery, fantasy and magic. Stunning full-page artworks and the detailed maps of the lands in which these stories take place mean this title will be lovingly pored over time and time again.

The History of the World in 100 Animals by Simon Barnes with illustrations by Frann Preston-Gannon (£20)
An exquisite edition of The History of the World in 100 Animals by author and journalist Simon Barnes, adapted and abridged for younger readers, with superb illustrations by award-winning artist, Frann Preston-Gannon, illustrator of I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree.

This outstanding gift book proposes the 100 animals who have had the greatest impact on humans and the way we view the world around us. From the bees who pollinate our food to the chimpanzees who share over 98% of our DNA, this book explores the unique and thought-provoking relationship between humans and animals throughout history. This fact-filled guide is sure to inspire and delight animal lovers young and old, and will make the perfect gift this Christmas.

Little People, Big Dream Treasuries: 50 Stories of Brilliant Dreamers by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (£28)
Dive deeper into the world of Little People, BIG DREAMS with this keepsake treasury featuring 50 dreamers from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling series. Learn more about each of your favourite dreamers with new in-depth stories, facts and figures. Each story is rewritten to be appropriate for an older audience.

Revisit best-loved figures from the series and some new ones, too, including Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel, Maya Angelou, Amelia Earhart, David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Elton John, John Lennon, Malala Yousafzai, Mindy Kaling, and Prince.

From inspiring artists and passionate climate activists to intrepid explorers and ground-breaking musicians, this collection goes further than the original series into the lives of these iconic figures, perfect for curious minds who always want to know more! Each of the beautifully written biographies is accompanied by a timeline, featuring extra information, important dates and real photos. This keepsake treasury makes the perfect gift for holidays, birthdays, and more.

Adult Discount Books Recommendations

River Kings by Cat Jarman (RRP: £25 Our Price: £9.99)
Follow bioarchaeologist Cat Jarman – and the cutting-edge forensic techniques central to her research – as she uncovers epic stories of the Viking age and follows a small ‘Carnelian’ bead found in a Viking grave in Derbyshire to its origins thousands of miles to the east in Gujarat. By examining teeth that are now over one thousand years old, she can determine childhood diet, and thereby where a person was likely born.

With radiocarbon dating, she can ascertain a death date down to the range of a few years. And her research offers new visions of the likely roles of women and children in Viking culture.Told as a riveting story of the Vikings and the methods we use to understand them, this is a major reassessment of the fierce, often-mythologised voyagers of the north, and of the global medieval world as we know it.

Bob Dylan: No Direction Home by Robert Shelton (RRP: £30 Our Price: £14.99)
Robert Shelton met Bob Dylan when the young singer arrived in New York in 1961. He became Dylan’s friend, champion, and critic. His book, first published in 1986, was hailed as the definitive biography of this moody, passionate genius.

Shelton tells the intimate and first-hand story of Bob Dylan’s formative years in Greenwich Village NYC, and it is the only biography that has been written with his active cooperation. Following his Nobel Prize for Literature Award in 2016, Dylan’s standing is higher than at any time since the 1960s and Shelton’s book is now seen as a classic.

This new illustrated edition, published in the year of Dylan’s 80th birthday, includes key images of Dylan throughout his incredible, enduring career, making it a must for all Dylan fans.

Asian Green by Ching-He Huang (RRP: £20.00 Our Price: £9.99)
Asia has always had an abundance of delicious recipes that are traditionally meat and dairy free. Here, Ching-He Huang MBE draws inspiration from across the continent to create simple, healthy home cooking that everyone can enjoy. From Nourishing Soups to Fast & Furious and Warm & Comforting, each chapter features fresh and vibrant vegan dishes that are both nutritious and packed with flavour, including Wok-fried Orange-Soy Sticky Sprouts & Wild Rice Salad, Peking Mushroom Pancakes, Smoked Tofu & Broccoli Korean-style Ram-don, and Chinese Black Bean Seitan Tacos.

Orchids by Bo Mossberg and Henry Aerenlund Pedersen (RRP: £30 Our Price: £14.99)
A beautiful, richly illustrated book on Europe’s wild orchids – perhaps the most enigmatic and popular group in the botanical world. The orchid family (Orchidaceae), numbering some 25,000 species, is one of the world’s two largest families of flowering plants.

Whilst the vast majority of orchids are found in the wet tropics, Europe accommodates c.130 native orchid species which are equally arranged in dense inflorescences of great beauty. Beautiful watercolour artwork accompanies the text, making this an indispensable gift for anyone interested in the natural world. Not only is it a useful field guide, it is also a beautiful art book.

Vogue: The Gown by Jo Ellison (RRP: £30 Our Price: £14.99)
Illustrated with fabulous images from Vogue‘s archive, Vogue: The Gown is the ultimate book for fashion lovers. In Vogue: The Gown, Jo Ellison has gathered more than 300 images and grouped them into five thematic chapters: Classical, Fantasy, Drama, Decorative and Modern.

The book provides an evocative celebration of almost a century of fashion history, showcasing the work of photographers including Tim Walker, Nick Knight, David Bailey, Herb Ritts, Norman Parkinson, Corinne Day, Cecil Beaton and Horst.

Something about a gown’s intrinsic construction, unashamed opulence and sheer feminine romance ignites in us the promise of fairy-tale adventure and unparalleled glamour. The magical gowns featured here give full reign to those fantasies, be they the sublime yet simple classical creations of Madame Gres, the heavenly bodies sculpted by Azzedine Alaia, the lean, seductive lines of a Deco-inspired silhouette or huge tulle poufs fit for a princess.

Now available in a new format with a luxurious real cloth cover, at a more pocket-friendly price of GBP30, this is essential reading for fashionistas everywhere.

World Atlas of Beer by Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont (RRP: £30 Our Price: £12.99)
As craft brewing continues to go from strength to strength across the world, World Atlas of Beer is the definitive and essential guide to beer. Understand the rich, multi-faceted traditions of Belgium, the Nordic legend that is Finnish Sahti, the relatively new phenomenon of the New England hazy IPA, and why Australia’s lower-strength beers are one of its great successes.

With thousands of breweries now operating around the globe, and more opening every day, this is the expert guide to what is really worth drinking. Country by country the book considers a vast range of brewing techniques, beer styles and traditions. Detailed maps describe crucial trends in major territories and features such as matching beer with food and how to pour different kinds of beer complete the picture.

Now in a fully updated third edition, this book is the perfect companion to help you explore the best beers the world has to offer.

Peanuts: The Poster Book by Charles M. Schulz (RRP: £14.99 Our Price: £6.99)
Celebrate the classic art of Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts with this unique collection of twenty images, beautifully printed and ready to remove for framing. Whoever your favourite character is, you’ll find them in here, along with classic moments that will make a distinctive addition to your home.

Adults Full Priced Books Recommendations

The Penguin Modern Classics Book by Henry Eliot (£30)
Struggling to find a gift for the person who has read everything?! This book may be exactly what you’re looking for! The essential guide to twentieth-century literature around the world.

For six decades the Penguin Modern Classics series has been an era-defining, ever-evolving series of books, encompassing works by modernist pioneers, avant-garde iconoclasts, radical visionaries and timeless storytellers. This reader’s companion showcases every title published in the series so far, with more than 1,800 books and 600 authors, from Achebe and Adonis to Zamyatin and Zweig.

It is the essential guide to twentieth-century literature around the world, and the companion volume to The Penguin Classics Book. Bursting with lively descriptions, surprising reading lists, key literary movements and over two thousand cover images, The Penguin Modern Classics Book is an invitation to dive in and explore the greatest literature of the last hundred years. We also have a limited number of signed editions!

Nature Writing for Every Day of the Year edited by Jane McMorland Hunter (£20)
Enjoy a whole year of the very finest nature writing, with one carefully selected piece to savour every day. This beautifully illustrated daily anthology brings you the very best of nature writing from around the world and through the centuries, from Pliny the Elder’s Natural History to modern authors such as Helen Macdonald and Robert Macfarlane.

Encompassing fact and fiction, essays and field guides, letters and diaries, it’s a rich banquet of prose, the perfect companion to help your mind escape into the world of nature every day.

Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci (£20)
From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen. For Stanley and foodie fans, this is the perfect, irresistible gift.

Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about growing up in Westchester, New York, preparing for and filming the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia, falling in love over dinner, and teaming up with his wife to create conversation-starting meals for their children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burnt dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last.

Written with Stanley’s signature wry humour and nostalgia, Taste is a heart-warming read that will be irresistible for anyone who knows the power of a home-cooked meal.

Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury (£14.99)
A guiding light in the darker months, Big Panda and Tiny Dragon is the beautifully illustrated and mindful journey of two friends through the seasons, inspired by Buddhist philosophy ‘Which is more important,’ asked Big Panda, ‘the journey or the destination? ”The company,’ said Tiny Dragon.

Explore your surroundings with the inquisitive eye of Tiny Dragon, our friend who is big in heart if not in stature. And on their journey through the ever-changing seasons, join these two friends as they learn how to live in the moment, be at peace with uncertainty, and find the strength to overcome life’s obstacles, together. Inspired by Buddhist philosophy and spirituality, the story of these whimsical characters makes the perfect gift for anyone looking for a little hope and comfort.

Peter Blake: Collage (£50)
Peter Blake (b. 1932) has remained constant and groundbreaking in his exploration of the medium of collage throughout his career spanning seven decades. Most recognised for his iconic 1967 cover for The Beatles’ Sgt.Pepper album.

From his early paintings depicting assembled fragments of popular imagery, to his found-object constructions and his most recent inkjet print collages, Blake has broadened the scope of what collage can be and communicate. Peter Blake Collage provides the first comprehensive survey of Peter Blake’s work in the medium.

It features a foreword by David Hockney, an essay by Patrick Elliott, Chief Curator of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, a recent interview with Peter Blake by Natalie Rudd, Senior Curator of the Arts Council Collection, over 250 colour reproductions and a newly compiled illustrated chronology.

The Beatles: Get Back (£40)
The book opens in January 1969, the beginning of The Beatles‘ last year as a band. The Beatles (The White Album) is at number one in the charts and the foursome gather in London for a new project. Over 21 days, first at Twickenham Film Studios and then at their own brand-new Apple Studios, with cameras and tape recorders documenting every day’s work and conversations, the band rehearse a huge number of songs, culminating in their final concert, which famously takes place on the rooftop of their own office building, bringing central London to a halt.

The Beatles: Get Back tells the story of those sessions through transcripts of the band’s candid conversations. Drawing on over 120 hours of sound recordings, leading music writer John Harris edits the richly captivating text to give us a fly-on-the-wall experience of being there in the studios. These sessions come vividly to life through hundreds of unpublished, extraordinary images by two photographers who had special access to their sessions-Ethan A.

Special Recommendation

And of course this article would not be complete without a special mention of our beautiful Chiltern Classics which would make absolutely wonderful gifts!

Jessica Bloom is part of the Bookcase London team.

Bookcase are part of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme and offer 10% off any book bought in store.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: A resurgence in independent bookshops – Bookcase London

See also: Chiswick Christmas lights turned on by Sophie Ellis Bextor

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.

Estate garden manager Geraldine King to leave Chiswick House

Image above: Geraldine King

“I only meant to stay six months” said Geraldine King, estate garden manager at Chiswick House. In March 2014 she had been intending to head west to work in the countryside, having given up her job working for the City of London.

“I was actually boarding a plane for a week’s holiday in Lanzarote when I got a call from (former estate manager) Fiona Crumley asking if I could help out the director of Chiswick House, Claire O’Brien, as there was no one with much experience on the team”.

Images above: Geraldine with Sadi the elephant; picking up Captain Rawes camellia from Chatsworth House; pruning

Claire had been newly appointed. Fiona Crumley, who died last year, had overseen the restoration of Chiswick House Gardens and moved on. They needed the expertise of someone used to managing a large park with lots of visitors.

When she came back from holiday Geraldine met Claire and started work at Chiswick House the following week, intending only to stay a few months. Nearly eight years later she will be picking up the threads where she left off, moving to the countryside to take up the position of garden manager of the ornamental gardens at RHS Rosemoor in North Devon.

“It’s a plantsman’s dream” she told me. “The Gardens at Chiswick House are an eighteenth century landscape, so you are restricted in the range of plants you can use. Rosemoor has a massive palette of plants. It is a plantsman’s paradise”.

“But it has been amazing to be part of the birthplace of the Landscape movement at Chiswick. It has given me a love of camellias and I have learned so much. I have always been conscious that I have merely been a custodian of these gardens.”

Image above: Gardeners’ Question Time; Current gardening team; Camellias photograph Jon Perry

Looking after the collection of Heritage camellias in the conservatory at Chiswick House has given her and her team the opportunity to attend international camellia conferences in France and China in pursuit of historic camellias and she now has a wealth of knowledge about them, based on Chiswick’s unique collection.

READ ALSO: Captain Rawes returns to Chiswick House

READ ALSO: Chiswick House camellias 2020 gallery of photographs

Image above: First time Chiswick House Gardens won both Heritage Park of the Year and Walled Garden of the Year in London in Bloom

Heritage Park of the Year winner four years running

She has led her team of gardeners – two estate gardeners, one kitchen gardener, freelance tree contractors and some 60 garden volunteers – to win Heritage Park of the Year four times in a row (2016 – 2019) in the London in Bloom competition. Twice they won the double – both Heritage Park of the Year and Walled Garden of the Year in 2018 and 2019. They won Walled Garden of the year again in 2021 and they have regularly picked up a clutch of awards and special mentions for the work of the volunteers.

Geraldine has been a London in Bloom judge for 22 years and an RHS judge for six.

Chiswick House has 65 acres, with an Italian garden, a rosary, a shrubbery, a kitchen garden and two wildernesses as well as the Heritage collection of camellias. They have a lake to look after and meandering paths used by thousands of people and dogs every week.

Image above: Doing a spot of boat work

Geraldine had previous experience of managing a large acreage and dealing with the public, having run Hyde Park as an assistant garden manager for the Royal Parks for four and a half years before coming to Chiswick. She planted an avenue of trees for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and met the Queen, surprised that they were about the same height (ie. short).

She had also managed a large park in West Ham, working for the City of London.

Geraldine started her career as an apprentice with Luton Borough Council in 1992. After a short stint as a ledger clerk which she hated, a job came up as a groundsman. They asked her one question: “Can you drive a tractor?” She said “Yes” and she was in. After a period they took her on as an apprentice and sent her to do her National Certificate in Horticulture at Oaklands College in Hertfordshire.

She later took a year’s sabbatical to do her National Diploma in Horticulture at Cannington College in Somerset, where she was awarded the St Bridget’s cup for student of the year, and went on to add a Certificate of Management studies from Birkbeck College in London.

Image above: Chiswick House Gardens being judged for London in Bloom

“I’ve absolutely enjoyed working with all the volunteers at Chiswick” she told me. “I’ve had fun and I’ve learned a lot from them. I’ve had an amazing gardening team and it’s been great to watch them develop and enhance their careers”.

She was full of praise for the community vibe in Chiswick, paying tribute specially to Karen Liebreich, Abundance London and the Chiswick Flower Market, to the Chiswick House Dog Show team and even The Chiswick Calendar for its support.

“I’d like to say a massive thank you and come and see me at Rosemoor” she said, which I suspect is one of the traits which makes her such a successful manager.

She leaves on 19 January. Chiswick House Trust is advertising for her replacement here: chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk

Images above: Geraldine doing tree work; posing with the team at one of Chiswick House’s many public events; taking part in Chiswick Flower Market

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New room2 hotel opens in Chiswick

See also: Chiswick Christmas lights turned on by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 73: Tanya Aldred and the global pressure to save cricket from climate change

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.

Tanya Aldred has become one of Britain’s most respected cricket writers, contributing notably to  The Guardian, The Cricketer, Wisden Cricket Monthly and many other media. She is a co-editor of The Nightwatchman, the publication which showcases the best cricket writing every quarter. For the past three years, she has contributed one of the most significant sections of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, on cricket and the environment. She is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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After her penetrating analyses in Wisden of cricket and climate change, the threat to cricket from extreme heat and toxic air and cricket’s carbon footprint, Tanya confirms that she is preparing another environmental section for 2022. However, the strict code of pre-publication omertà by the Editor, Lawrence Booth, precludes her from revealing the topic. Lawrence has been highly supportive of the section and has himself written regularly about environmental issues and cricket. 2-3 minutes

She dwells on the risks to the health of cricketers from playing outdoors in cities with toxic air, especially but not exclusively in the Indian sub-continent. Top international players have to breathe this deeply, in intense activity, over up to five days, but there are also special risks to the oldest and youngest recreational cricketers. In London, Surrey CCC are trying to mitigate the emissions of the heavy constant traffic near the Oval with a planting programme. However, the ECB’s environmental programme was delayed by the pandemic and the ICC has shown no leadership on environmental issues at all. 3-6 minutes

Recently, Tanya surveyed the variety of environmental threats to cricket in each of the twelve finalists in the recent T20 World Cup. In England, the heat threat had received most attention, in forcing on the MCC the startling new policy of allowing Members to remove their jackets in the Pavilion. But in her view the greatest threat to English cricket, especially recreational cricket, is exceptional rainfall. Last season it had caused thousands of cancelled matches, and left recreational pitches with problems beyond the capabilities of their volunteer carers. The growing substitution of artificial pitches has had mixed and complex impacts on the environment. 8-11 minutes

She notes how the carbon footprint of cricket has been increased by the proliferation of tours and competitions making cricketers fly overseas (and support staff, media and other accompaniments). Many tours last only a few days and even at the highest level tours are increasingly abbreviated to two Test matches. However, it would be an invidious task for any authority to decide who has the right to tour (including women, disabled cricketers, veterans and young cricketers, teams from new cricket countries) and to limit the earning opportunities of top cricketers with short careers – particularly since all the present travelling cricketers in the world have a minute carbon footprint compared to say, business travellers. However, there was certainly scope to eliminate pointless short tours. It would also be very valuable to survey international cricketers’ own preferences about travel and touring during the year. 5-6 minutes; 11-16 minutes

Tanya highlights some cricketers who have become involved in environmental issues, mostly up-and-coming ones, such as Joe Cooke of Glamorgan CCC, rather than present or past stars. However, she also cites the Australian male and female cricketers who have supported the “Cool Down” initiative of former rugby international David Pocock, including the new men’s captain Pat Cummins and Rachel Trenaman. Shane Warne has sat on an MCC committee on climate change and cricket. In India, she mentions Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh. In Pakistan, she notes Wasim Akram’s involvement in campaigns to clean up plastic waste and Imran Khan’s strong emphasis on his environmental record in both provincial and national government. 17-22 minutes

Tanya accepts the offer of a commercial for  her online pressure group, @theNextTest. 22-24 minutes

She describes her journey into becoming a cricket writer from teamaker and copier at Wisden Cricket Monthly, paying tribute to the support and mentorship she received from its editor, Tim de Lisle, and citing the value of learning to speak to people over the telephone. She believes that the arrival of women such as Donna Simmonds and Alison Mitchell in the commentary box was a major development which led the cricket world to accept women as reporters and analysts of cricket. Press boxes have become much more welcoming not only to women but also to all new entrants: she names some of her nicest colleagues.  24-33 minutes

She gives an account of her (modest) career as a player and her current role as a cricket mother, highlighting the role of clubs such as her daughter’s (Didsbury) in giving opportunities for children, especially girls, denied them in state secondary schools. She also praises softball cricket for giving access to the sport to children who might be deterred by the risks of a hard ball and the cost of equipment. 34-36 minutes

Tanya wrote a powerful piece some months ago about three Afghan women cricketers who felt threatened by the return of the Taliban. She analyses the problems of getting reliable information about the state of cricket – and women – in Afghanistan and the risks of making the situation worse through the wrong response. 37-43 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 72: Scyld Berry – England’s greatest cricket-watcher – shares highlights from over forty years of England on tour

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

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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.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

New room2 hotel opens in Chiswick

Images above: Vestibule, receptionist and ground floor lobby at the room2 Chiswick

A ‘hometel’ not a hotel

Room2 has opened in Windmill Rd. Described as a ‘hometel’ as opposed to a hotel, the suites and rooms have kitchens, there’s a laundry area guests can use and a gym as well as the more standard bar and communal area, the idea being that business travellers staying for an extended period will make it their home from home, more like an air b&b than a conventional hotel. To customise the room for their stay they offer guests a choice of a softer or firmer mattress.

Image above: Ground floor lobby at room2 hotel

It is what I would call a boutique hotel, where the designer has been let loose to create something stylish and original – the antithesis of a corporate hotel. I love what interior design manager Diana Darmina has done with it. She showed me round the day after it opened.

The Lamington Group, based in Hammersmith Grove, has only one two other developments like this – the room2 in Southampton which opened in 2017 (that’s not a typo by the way, it’s trendily written with a lower-case initial letter and without a space, as in all things social media), and the room2 ‘lite’, a smaller version in Hammersmith. They are currently developing the interior of the old Fulham Town Hall, a listed building, and plan to have 5,000 rooms on offer by 2030. Diana’s next project will be in Belfast.

Images above: Bar chairs by Fabrili; textured glass in the bar inspired by a similar design at William Morris’s Red House in Bexleyheath

In all their buildings she tells me, they take inspiration from the local area – in this case the Arts & Craft movement and William Morris, as he lived in Hammersmith. The Arts and Crafts movement promoted original designs by individual craftsmen and women instead of mass production, so Diana has chosen furnishings and furniture by smallish, relatively local makers.

The high chairs at the bar, the arm chairs around the coffee tables in the lobby, some of the the tables and the cushions on the sofa pictured above are by Fabrili, bespoke furniture makers with their workshop in west London.

The marbled tiles on the large table in the lobby and the splashbacks in the bathrooms are by the Granby Workshop in Liverpool. The irregular shaped mirrors with blonde wood surrounds,  inspired by coastal forms, are by Kieran Letts, an artist and furniture maker based in south east London.

Images above: Seating in the lobby; Cushions and arm chairs by Fabrili

They are now looking for work by local artists to hang on the walls. Since Chiswick has a thriving artists’ community and is home to perhaps the oldest annual open studios event in existence, Artists At Home, they will be spoiled for choice.

READ ALSO: Visit the William Morris Society’s museum

READ ALSO: Emery Walker and the Private Press Movement

Image above: Ground floor lobby at home2 Chiswick

Fully net zero

Other than buying from artist / makers their other claim to fame is that they intend to be a net zero hotel – “the first hotel in the world to fully account for its entire carbon footprint, making it ‘whole life net zero’ “.

By ‘whole life’ they mean both the embodied and the operational carbon have, and will be, rebalanced throughout the building’s entire lifecycle:

‘All emissions associated with the hometel’s production and construction, materials used, operations, maintenance, refurbishment, and including the eventual clearance of the building will equal zero’.

They do this in two ways. They keep their carbon footprint as low as possible by using renewable energy and recycled materials. They reckon room2 Chiswick will operate at 89% less energy than a typical UK hotel. For the unavoidable emissions, they calculate the footprint and offset it by investing in a reforesting partner in Nicaragua.

Robert Godwin, who founded room2 with his brother Stuart, says:

“Responsibility falls on all of us to make strides towards building a more sustainable future and keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree target within reach. We hope other hotel companies will join us in this urgent fight against climate change.”

Image above: Interior design manager Diana Darmina in her bright pink marble papered lift featuring one of Kieran Letts’ mirrors; bedroom design

Renewable energy is maximised on site with solar and ground source heat pumps, which convert 100% of the energy needed for heating, cooling and hot water. Ultra-low flow pressure showers use less water with aerated water fixtures and ultra-energy efficient lighting and appliances are combined with occupancy sensors across the building.

Diana proudly showed me their touch screen display which goes into more detail of all of the ways in which they are promoting sustainability, which you can read more about here.

As we continued our tour she pointed out the bar, made from recycled elm wood planks and furnishing fabrics from the Yarn collective, who make environmentally friendly textiles woven with recycled cotton from the fashion industry that otherwise would have gone to landfill. The carpets in the corridors are made from recycled plastic fish nets. There’s also a compartmentalised recycling bin in every bedroom.

All very right on, but would I like to stay there? Yes I would. The rooms are fresh and light with exuberant patterns in small doses (though I’m not sure I’d like to get in that lift with a hangover!). Guests are able to choose from two colour schemes. Definitely uplifting, in contrast with the depressingly uniform drab of many business hotels.

They have 86 rooms available in four categories – There are three suites, then ‘lounge’, ‘studio’ or ‘snug’, all twin or double rooms, with a double room starting at £120 a night.

We are delighted to say they have joined The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering Club Card holders rooms from £59 until 31 January when booking with promo code W4LOCAL.

Images above: Bedrooms at room2 Chiswick

Meeting the neighbours

The Lamington Group has owned the site since 2014 and they are looking to mend some fences with neighbours who have fought the development since its inception on the grounds of potential noise and disruption.

They are holding a series of open house social events for anyone who’d like to come in and have a look round. Some are for specific groups, such as their immediate neighbours in Windmill Rd and other local businesses. Others offer a general invitation to anyone who’d like to see what it’s like.

Consider yourself invited to an evening of drinks, nibbles and live entertainment on Thursday 9 & Friday, 10 December 2021 from 6pm to celebrate the opening of room2 Chiswick.

You can also pop in during the day to buy coffee and pastries in the lobby or in the evening for a drink, though the full food and drink offering will not be available until February 2022.

Image above: room2 hotel, 10 Windmill Rd

room2 hotel is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. See their current offer to Club Card holders here: room2 Chiswick Club Card offer

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: LB Hounslow grants licence for new room2 hotel

See also: 500 new trees planted in Harvard Park

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.

Frozen the Musical – review

Image above: Frozen at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Review by Tim Hiley

On a chilly winter afternoon, Frozen was a sure-fire way of bringing warmth and Disney joy to the newly refurbished Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. In a long overdue West End debut, after being delayed for a year because of the Covid 19 pandemic, Frozen is a wonderful, fantastical escape certain to thaw the hearts of even the most cynical. If anyone on the planet missed the movie, it tells a tale of the bond between two sisters, Elsa and Anna, being broken by Elsa’s magical icy gifts.

Frozen is set in the wild northern kingdom of Arendelle, brought mesmerizingly to life on stage by Scenic and Costume Designer Christopher Oram. Elsa hides away from the rest of the world in a room in the palace, having almost killed her sister accidentally because she couldn’t control her powers. However, when their parents the King and Queen of Arendelle perish at sea, Elsa is next in line to inherit the throne and is forced to open the gates of the palace for her coronation.

Image above: The coronation scene; set design Christopher Oram

Struggling to get the better of her magic powers, Elsa, played to perfection by Samantha Barks, loses control spectacularly at her coronation and freezes the entire kingdom.

As she flees, accompanied by Frozen‘s most famous song, Let It Go, her transformation into the ice queen she becomes is a moment of pure Disney magic. It left this audience unable to contain whoops of delight. Adults and children gasped in wonderment, to Christopher Oram’s credit.

Elsa takes up residence in her chillingly lonely new home and the creation of the Ice Palace closes the first half of the show.

Image above: Elsa, played by Samantha Barks

Review by Tim Hiley

On the far side of Arendelle, bubbly Stephanie McKeony’s Anna gives us the perfect foil to self-tortured Elsa with a joy and zest for life that is truly infectious. Her chemistry with the entire cast, especially with her sister, a reindeer loving ice salesman and eventual love interest Kristoff, (Obioma Ugoala), and even the villainous Hans (Oliver Ormson) binds the show together. She becomes the main character and the force of her personality galvanises the show.

Ugoala, fresh from his stint as the original West End George Washington in Hamilton, uses his wonderfully deep and soulful voice to show the inner depths of his feelings for Anna.

The other star is the brilliant Craig Gallivan, who provides the comic delight of Olaf the Snowman with such joyful innocence and wacky humour that he has the audience in the palm of his hand, or rather his twigs, as he is a snowman.

Image above: Obioma Ugoala as Kristoff with Stephanie McKeony as Anna; Craig Gallivan as Olaf the Snowman

Along with all the favourites from the movie, Let It Go, Do You Want to Build a Snowman? and For The First Time in Forever, there are new songs specially written for this production. The standout new tracks include a sweet song for Young Anna and Young Elsa, A Little Bit of You, the surreal opener to the second half called Hygge and Elsa’s emotional second half number, Monster, where she reflects whether she can ever truly be free of her actions. The song  is a perfect bookend to Let It Go.

It is, of course, particularly popular with young girls and there were many girls in the audience in Elsa dresses. We overheard two little girls’ commentary – a serious analysis of the characterisation with credulous comments such as “I don’t know if he can be trusted” on Hans, the villain and appreciation of Olaf’s humour.

Images above: Samantha Barks as Elsa and Stephanie McKeony as Anna

It’s clear how Frozen has captured a generation, in the same way The Lion King or The Little Mermaid did their parents. Please note that the theatre has changed its policy since the production opened, so now children under four years old will not be permitted.

Frozen the Musical is the perfect frosting on the cake for any fans of the movie, and even for their parents, but even if you have never seen the film or were trying to escape the earworm Let it Go, if you love musicals, you will love this outstanding production.

Frozen: The Musical is running at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and is now booking through to 26 June 2022

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric – review

See also: Book, Film and Theatre reviews

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.

Chiswick Flower Market full of festive spirit

If you were in any doubt that Christmas would be soon upon us, Sunday’s Chiswick Flower Market would have put paid to that, with its bright festive colours, mince pies and live music.

The December flower market was bigger than usual with more stalls, greater variety and a festive spirit helped along with the Chivaree ice king and queen stilt walkers and performances from Chiswick Rock Choir, Chiswick School’s steel band and other local musicians. Anna Kunst was there with her camera.

Image above: By Anna Kunst

Anna Kunst and Frank Noon were also taking photographs the day before when Sophie Ellis-Bextor turned on the Christmas lights. See their photographs here:

Christmas lights switch-on gallery, Saturday 4 December

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Book, Film and Theatre reviews

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric Hammersmith – review

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.

Chiswick Christmas lights turned on by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Image above: Sophie Ellis-Bextor

The celebrated singer-songwriter and Chiswick resident Sophie Ellis-Bextor turned on the Christmas lights on Saturday (4 December) before a crowd of more than a thousand people.

Choirs from Belmont Primary School and ArtsEd sang carols and the Mayor of Hounslow Councillor Bishnu Gurung gave a short speech. He was supposed to hand over to Sophie for the big count down to the switch on, but looked like he was going to do the whole thing, upstaging her totally, carried away in the moment.

Professional that she is, she grabbed the mic and went seamlessly into the countdown, only to find that nothing happened. Never perform with children, animals, or apparently Christmas trees. What had happened was that some well-meaning soul had locked the fuse door on the lamppost which was providing the power. Eventually, with Sophie calling on the “disco gods” to intervene, the tree lights came on and all was well.

Weeks of planning by Chiswick Flower Market directors Karen Liebreich and Steve Nutt and emails back and forth between them and various bits of Hounslow Council about where the tree should be (near the statue of William Hogarth, outside where Barclays Bank used to be), road closures, electricity supplies and so on, paid off with a beautiful tree – the first time the editor of The Chiswick Calendar can remember there being such a big Christmas tree, publicly funded and in so prominent a position in Chiswick.

The tree was paid for by the Government’s Welcome Back funding to help high streets recover from the pandemic. Anna Kust and Frank Noon were there taking pictures.

READ ALSO:  Sophie Ellis-Bextor raises £1 million in 24 hour Children in Need danceathon

Images above: By Anna Kunst

Images above: By Frank Noon

Anna was at the Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday too, bigger than usual with more stalls, greater variety and a festive spirit helped along with the Chivaree ice king and queen stilt walkers and performances from Chiswick Rock Choir, Chiswick School’s steel band and other local musicians.

See her pictures here: Chiswick Christmas Flower Market 2021

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Book, Film and Theatre reviews

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric Hammersmith – review

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.

December 2021 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Annakarin Klerfalk has a look at what’s on offer and chooses Hide, The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay and Winter at Cliff’s End Cottage which are all out in December.

Hide

Nell Pattison is the author of The Silent House, which was a USA Today bestseller and Silent Night – featuring British Sign Language interpreter Paige Northwood. Nell has also been a teacher in the Deaf community for 14 years in both England and Scotland.

Hide is described by Author T.M. Logan as “tense, twisty and full of toxic secrets – a chilly fight for survival guaranteed to give you shivers.”

Seven friends gather for a Boxing Day hike, with the intention of bringing their nature group together. Emily is the girl who never lets her hearing loss stop her from anything; Lauren always feels a step behind; Morna doesn’t get on with Lauren; Ben is obsessed with Emily; Dan, the quiet type, new to the group; Kai isn’t just there for the wildlife – and, lastly, Alex, who knows all their secrets.

At sunset, one of them is killed – and someone in their group is the killer.

Hide is published by HarperCollins on 9 December. 

Images above: Hide front cover, Author Nell Pattison

The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay

The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay, written by Julie Brooks, is a twisty dual-time novel for bookclub readers.

English Rose and Ivy board a ship to Australia, in 1919; one with the destiny to marry a man she has never met – and the other will never arrive.

Australian Molly discovers a photograph with “Rose and Ivy 1917” written on it and a letter from her grandmother, asking her to find out what happened to her own mother, Rose.

Molly sets off on a journey to England to fulfil her grandmothers wishes and solve the mystery of Rose and Ivy.

Kathryn Hughes said “I thoroughly enjoyed this immersive story which spans both generations and continents. The evocative details and impeccable research make for a delightful reading experience and I can pay it no greater compliment other than to say ‘I wish I’d written it’”.

The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay is published by Headline on 29 December.

Images above: The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay front cover, Author Julie Brooks

Winter at Cliff’s End Cottage

A December blog has to have a cosy Christmas story in it and what could be a better choice than Winter at Cliff’s End Cottage by Sheila Norton.

Elderly Stella lives at Cliff’s End Cottage, a local landmark on the South Devon coast but when young journalist and struggling mum, Holly, comes to interview her, she is dismissed out of hand.

Holly doesn’t give up – and in the company of cats and some cake, a friendship starts to develop between the two women. As Stella tells her story, they discover that they have a lot in common and maybe they can find a way forward together.

Sarah Morgan reviewed it as “A charming read. Made me want to move to the country and buy a cottage with roses around the door.”

Little, Brown Book Group will release Winter at Cliff’s End Cottage on 9 December.

Images above: Winter at Cliff’s End Cottage front cover, Author Sheila Norton

Annakarin Klerfalk

Anna is a literary agent based in Chiswick who is keen to hear from authors trying to get their books published. Contact her on anna@intersaga.co.uk. She used to run the Waterstones bookshop in Chiswick. You can read more about her and Intersaga here.

intersaga.co.uk

See more of Anna’s book choices here

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.

Andrea’s film review – Finch

Finch ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

On a post-apocalyptic earth, a robot, built to protect the life of his creator’s beloved dog, learns about life, love, friendship and what it means to be human. Available to watch on Apple+

I’ve only just managed to catch up with this one even though it’s been around for about a month on Apple+ (yes I know, there are way too many streaming channels these days and it’s hard to keep track of things).

If you ask me, a movie starring Tom Hanks is always worth a watch. And if the movie has to be an apocalyptic story about one survivor on a dying planet Earth, wouldn’t you want that man to be Tom Hanks?

As ever Tom (he’s such a nice man, that one feels like calling him by first name) brings with him his usual charm throughout this one-man show which reminded me a lot of his sublime performance in Cast Away. In that film he was talking to a ball (Wilsooooon!); here he’s in the company of a dog (best thing in the film) and a robot. It won’t take a genius to find out what’s going to happen in the film as soon as you see him coughing right at the start.

There’s a certain inevitability or predictability to the plot that even my nine year-old son asked me half way through whether the film was going to end the way we all thought it was going to end.

Indeed the film has so few surprises that one wonders why it was made at all, other than to fulfil the star’s contract with Apple+ (this is the second film for the streaming channel after the rather unremarkable Greyhound).

Finch is not a bad film. It kept my attention and I even shed a few tears (yes, the film is a little bit sentimental, but I didn’t mind that too much). The real problem is there’s nothing we haven’t really seen before and if it hadn’t been for Tom’s presence, I don’t think anyone would have paid any attention.

There’s no sense of drive (no pun intended since it’s a road movie), rarely do you feel any real sense of danger and even the few comedic moments might just about make you smile but never really laugh.

Everything feels a bit muted and subdued… slightly dead like the planet where the story takes place.

In the end the only thing that really left a mark on me is my son’s question during the final credits: “dad, why do you always choose sad films?’’. I guess the next Tom Hanks film will have to be Toy Story … once again.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Finch is available to watch on Apple+

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

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.

Andrea’s film review – West Side Story

West Side Story (2021) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. Out in the cinema from 10 December.

Steven Spielberg has been waiting to make a musical throughout his whole career. Apparently he considered converting his 1941 into a one, halfway through production.

Also somewhere in a parallel universe there’s probably a musical version of Hook from 1991 (the version the Spielberg really wanted to make.. with Michael Jackson in the lead. In fact composer John Williams had already written eight songs for it, until “creative differences” sunk that version).

In both instances those films might have turned out better than they actually did, but that’s a discussion for some other time…

We did get a brief but tantalising glimpse into what a Spielberg musical would look like in the opening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984. Even then we knew he could do it… but we would have to wait 37 years to finally see the results of him trying.

Those who know me also know too well about my (excessively freaky) passion for the director’s body of work. Jaws, Raiders, Indy, Empire of Sun, Schindler’s List are just some of my favourite films of his (and in general), and that’s without counting all the ones he produced over the years (I’ll just say… Back to the Future and leave it there). Yes, he can be a bit sentimental at times, but surely there are worse sins. And don’t we all need a little bit of sentimentality nowadays?

The moment when I was able to talk to him during a Q&A at his Bridge of Spies premiere in London and tell him how much he means to me and how he ‘singlehandedly changed my life’ is still one of the most important moments of my life. But even I have to admit that what he made over the last 20 years or so has been rather underwhelming. Yes, technically marvellous, but indulgent, forgettable and at times suffering from a “multiple-ending” syndrome.

Now, a year after his original release date (courtesy of Covid), here comes his version of West Side Story, a film which, let’s be honest, nobody really needed. After all the original won ten Oscars in 1962 and to this day it remains the musical film with the most Academy wins, including Best Picture) Or at least I thought we didn’t need it. How wrong I was! And how happy I am to be proved wrong.

In fact, thinking about it, don’t I go to see new staged versions of plays we know all the times? How many Hamlets, or Midsummer Night’s Dreams, or Macbeths have there been?
I’m not citing Shakespeare by chance here: the original West Side Story is of course a beautiful retelling of the immortal Romeo & Juliet: that’s a pretty strong starting point for anything.
Spielberg’s film (Because this IS really HIS film: his fingerprints all over it) is a new interpretation of the play from 1957, rather than a remake of original film from 1961 (and if you know that film well, or the play in fact, you’ll enjoy this film even more): it is clearly a piece of work born out of passion for the source material, with so much love and vitality that it’s joy to watch.
It somehow manages to be both incredibly reverent to the source and yet by subtlety turning the story of territorial divide into one of racial divide, it makes it feel contemporary, relevant, fresh and exciting.

This is the kind of film that Hollywood was known for in its heyday: glitzy, colourful, grand, emotional and with ensemble cast to die for, which is certainly going to shake the imminent Award season. The costumes are breath-taking, the production design immaculate, the cinematography lush, rich and brilliant. All of them seem a sure bet win from where I stand. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Spielberg up there again on the stage for the third time.

Every decision he made both as a producer and director feels spot on, starting from the seemingly obvious one (and yet it took 60 years!) to actually cast Latino actors to play Puerto Ricans and ending with the decision to have the original Spanish dialogue without any subtitles: a very clever, brave (and yes, slightly PC) choice.

The cast is one of the strongest ensembles I’ve seen in a long time, mostly made of unknowns with two noticeable exceptions: Ansel Elgort and the divine Rita Moreno. Rachel Zegler, here in her first screen role, has all the quality of a star in the making. She’s beautiful, fragile and strong, graceful and broken and wow she can sing! Famously Natalie Wood from the original movie, not only was darkened with makeup for not being too white (I know… different times) but was also dubbed by ghost-singer (is there such a term?) because she couldn’t really sing.

And talking about singing, every time a new song started (interesting to see them shuffle a bit throughout the film) you just can’t help being swept away.

Spielberg’s ability to place the camera always in the right spot and then move it so seamlessly and so naturally is really second to none, whether in Hollywood or anywhere else in the world, in my book. Here we get bird’s eye views, sweeping cranes, Dutch angles, dynamic movement, sometimes pushing the audience to become part of the dances themselves.
I was in complete awe as those 156 minutes, as time whizzed by.

The film is so full of wonderful small inventions, clever and subtle updates which never felt crowbarred or preachy (another tiny sin in Spielberg’s latest filmography), while at the same time it’s impossible not to recognise that this is old-school film-making, so confident and timeless that it feels like a classic already.

One wonders how the younger audiences, raised on Marvel superheroes and visual effects, will respond to this, but if you love musical and cinema itself you might just fall in with love with this, like I did.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

West Side Story is out in the cinema from the 10th of December.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

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.

Andrea’s film review – Encanto

Encanto ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

A young Colombian girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers. In cinemas now.

Disney’s ability to produce films which can be enjoyed both by grownups and kids alike is really second to none. I went to see Encanto with two different families and six kids and we all had a great time, but it was interesting to notice how we all experienced the film is different ways, each of us picking up different things from it.

In an age of franchises, sequels, remakes, all of which are so overloaded with superheroes and magical creatures, it is incredibly refreshing and original to see such a mature and profound examination of the burden of having (or not having) magical powers.

What’s also striking about the Studios’ 60th animated feature is how it manages to feel both a “classic Disney”, with that elegant and unique warmth and magic, as well as ambitious, innovative and actually quite brave. And this applies to both the visuals and its themes.

Encanto is mainly a film about families and, without giving too much away, repressed emotions.

It is a much gentler film than we are used to, with very few thrills. In fact the more Indiana Joneseque moments are probably the least interesting and noticeably there is no baddie. While this does create some tiny stumbles from a narrative point of view, it is also breeding ground for some wonderful family dynamics and interactions.

The film organically, elegantly, subtly and gently (here’s that word again) reveals details and plot points as it unravels, drawing us closer and closer to all the members of the family, a real ensemble cast, each of them with their own struggles, secrets and dualities. There are no cardboard cut-out characters here.

I’m probably making it sound like it’s hard work, but don’t get me wrong, this is still a dazzling, colourful and fascinating film full of smart ideas. Some of the most successful visual gags concern a house which is living and breathing and has its own personality: genius!

Not to mention its spectacular musical numbers written by the ever-reliable Manuel Lin-Miranda – possibly one of the busiest man in Hollywood these days. Yes, a couple of songs did feel a bit like padding and were not completely necessary, but they were all visually stunning and constantly inventive.

But in the end, beyond the sparkling songs, the huge cast, the magical house and beautiful saturated colours, this is actually a very intimate film with huge heart… and all the better for it.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Encanto is in cinemas now.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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.

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TfL confirms OneChiswick has withdrawn Cycleway 9 legal challenge

Transport for London has confirmed that legal proceedings which challenged the decision to install C9, the cycle lane which runs through Chiswick High Rd, have come to an end.

Campaign group OneChiswick started proceedings for a Judicial Review of the decision in 2020. TfL were named as an ‘Interested Party’ in the case.

TfL’s December 2021 commissioner report, which provides an overview of major issues and developments for each meeting of the TfL Board, revealed today that OneChiswick had discontinued its legal claims.

The Chiswick Calendar reported in November that the Judicial Review had been dropped, after speaking with sources close to the case. A member of OneChiswick Facebook group also commented on social media that they were unable to continue with the action because the traffic order they had initially challenged had been superseded. OneChiswick officially denied they had dropped the case.

OneChiswick has been against all the traffic restrictions introduced in Chiswick since the beginning of the pandemic. The group claimed the Council had made a number of legal errors when the scheme was introduced, under a temporary traffic order in 2020. This measure has been replaced by a new one introducing the latest changes, making the action irrelevant.

Image above: a OneChiswick Member points to campaign leaflets in front of the Hounslow Cabinet Member for Transport – Cllr Hanif Khan

What happens to the money?

The group started a fundraiser to take the challenge to the High Court. The total amount they have raised to date is £44,517. The amount spent so far has not been made public.

When the fundraiser was first launched, organisers said none of them would be a beneficiary of funds raised and that any excess at the end of the campaign would be donated to a local charity.

Organisers said the money raised would pay for campaign materials such as ‘eye-catching leaflets and posters’ and consultants’ reports as well as legal advice, which ‘at this stage’ would add up to a total of £50,000.

This Chiswick Calendar has approached several members One Chiswick for comment.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: LB Hounslow mark up Chiswick High Rd in preparation for Cycleway 9 changes

See also: Extensive roadworks planned for A316 Great Chertsey Rd

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.

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Hammersmith Bridge ferry plans scrapped

Plans for a temporary ferry service at Hammersmith Bridge have been scrapped, after the Hammersmith Bridge taskforce decided it was no longer necessary.

The proposal to link Hammersmith and Barnes by boat has taken so long to implement that the taskforce, led by Transport minister Baroness Vere, said the ferry service was now ‘unlikely to be needed.’

The bridge reopened to pedestrians and cyclists in July, effectively removing the need for a ferry. Plans for the ferry were at an advanced stage before being axed, but were almost a year behind schedule.

Planning applications had been submitted to build temporary piers on both sides of the river and Uber had been lined up to ferry passengers across the Thames at £1.55 per trip. Each trip would have taken around 90 seconds.

The Hammersmith Bridge SOS group have supported the decision.

Transport minister Baroness Vere, who chairs the Hammersmith bridge taskforce which includes the Government, Transport for London and Hammersmith and Fulham council, Tweeted on Wednesday (24 November):

“The bridge remains open to pedestrians + cyclists & it’s clear a ferry service is very unlikely to be needed. The decision was therefore ratified for TfL to cease preparations for a ferry service at this time.”

Image above: Hammersmith Bridge – photo by Matt Smith

Residents fear another closure amid row over funding

The bridge first closed in April 2019 to motorists, and then also to pedestrians and cyclists in August 2020, amid fears it was at risk of collapsing.

Full repairs for the bridge remain unfunded and residents in Barnes fear being cut off from central London again if it has to close once more to enable additional works to take place.

Hammersmith and Fulham council expects to complete stabilisation works to the bridge in less than a year, at a cost of £6m, which it says is £24m less than previously thought.

H&F Council leader Stephen Cowan told BBC London that fixing the bridge is expected to cost £141 million but politicians cannot agree on where the money will come from.

The bridge belongs to LB H&F Council but councillors want the Government, TfL, and Richmond Council to help with funding. Cllr Cowan said LB Hammersmith & Fulham cannot afford the Government’s suggestion that the council pays a third of the repair costs.

Cllr Cowan added he has had sleepless nights over the bridge and the council’s budget has dropped by around £60 million since the Tory-Lib Dem coalition in 2010.

Details of the council’s latest plans are here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL confirms OneChiswick has withdrawn legal challenge to Cycleway 9

See also: Extensive roadworks planned for A316 Great Chertsey Rd

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.

Arrest made after Southall fatal stabbing

Detectives investigating the fatal stabbing of 16 year old Rishmeet Singh in Southall have made an arrest.

A 19 year old man remains in police custody after being arrested on Tuesday (30 November), on suspicion of murder. Rishmeet’s family have been informed and continue to be supported by specially trained officers.

Rishmeet was stabbed to death in Raleigh Road, Southall, in the borough of Hounslow, last Wednesday (24 November).

Police were called at 9.07pm to reports of a stabbing, which happened after a fight involving a group of people. Officers arrived along with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service, where Rishmeet was found with multiple stab wounds. Despite the efforts of the emergency services, he died at the scene a short time later.

 

Image above: Rishmeet Singh

Police still seeking information

Detective Chief Inspector James Shirley, who is leading the investigation, said:

“My thoughts continue to be with Rishmeet’s family and friends following this development in our investigation.

“While one man remains in custody, we still need anyone who has any information about the events that led up to Rishmeet’s death to come forward and speak to us.”

The investigation is led by homicide detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Southall stabbing teen victim named

See also: Brother of Brentford stab victim criticises police community response

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.

NHS launches new mental health service for young people in west London

NHS Trusts in North West London have launched a new patient-centred model of care to help the increasing numbers of young people requiring urgent mental health care.

Covid-19 has caused a steep rise in numbers of young people with mental health issues. According to the NHS, one in six young people aged five to 16 are likely to have a mental health problem, 75% of whom do not receive the care they need. Up to 67% of young people believe Covid will have a long-term negative impact on their mental health and 39% of those have reported suicidal thoughts throughout the pandemic.

Hoping to tackle this, three NHS Trusts in London – Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and West London NHS Trust, have come together and other local and national partners to create ‘a transformative new approach’ called Best For You.

Best For You will combine ‘specialist medical and mental health care integrated with community services for the first time, and digital tools to provide comprehensive, rapid and long-term care in a way that best meets the needs of the individual and their family in London’.

Every element of Best For You, including the new digital platform, is being developed in collaboration with young people and their families.

What will Best For You provide?

The first phase of the service is the launch a the new website, which acts as an online port of call for young people and families looking for mental health support.

It has clinically-approved information about mental health conditions as well as offering help with accessing services and support. Crisis information is available including a dedicated text support service that is free, confidential and accessible 24/7. There is also peer support that aims to connect with, and inspire young people encouraging them not to feel afraid about seeking support and  advice on how to find the help they need.

Day services will be launched next year to provide a space for young people and their families to get immediate mental health support without needing an appointment, including outpatient clinical care, therapies and family support. ‘The day services will connect with the in-patient service and community services to ensure patient experience is not fragmented but instead joined-up and available long-term to support recovery and ongoing wellbeing’.

The service aims to bridge the gap between the clinical and community setting by providing community services. Partnerships with the private sector, schools, community groups, crisis services and digital services ‘will ensure comprehensive and personalised care is optimised and available for as long as required’.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Southall stabbing teen victim is named

See also: Tube strikes continue as talks break down

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.

Andrea’s film review – The Beatles: Get Back

The Beatles: Get Back ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Documentary about The Beatles featuring in-studio footage that was shot in early 1969 for the 1970 feature film Let It Be. Now streaming on Disney +.

Whether you love or even care a little for The Beatles there is no denying that Peter Jackson’s 468 minutes film (that’s 7 hours and 48min divided in three parts will most likely be remembered as one of the most important music documentaries ever made. Some people might argue it is actually a historical document more than an actual documentary, and they might be right, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful or important.

Director Peter Jackson is certainly not a man known for his ability to deliver tight films. We all remember the 45 different endings of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I wondered how many of you have managed to get through The Hobbit trilogy (and believe it or not there are even a longer versions too!) and I won’t deny that there were moments throughout this ‘opus’ where I thought to myself “Mmm… this is a bit indulgent”, and yet amazingly by the time I got to the end of the third episode I also found myself craving for more.

Drawn from mostly never-seen-before footage edited together from hundreds of hours of audio and video, both of which in pristine condition, this film is not only an unprecedented window into the Fab Four which will change the narrative that’s been told over the past 50 years (which is basically that by the end the Four hated each other and Yoko Ono had a lot to do with the band splitting up), but it will also make you feel as if you were actually there, in those rooms with them, witnessing some of the mundane (“I’m hungry, what shall we have for lunch?”), the pointless (Ringo: “I’ve farted I thought I should just let you know”) but most of all giving you privileged access to the amazing insight into their creative process: through all the ups and downs, through writer’s blocks (“This sounds like the same old shit we’ve always done”), many cups of tea, glasses of wine and infinite numbers of cigarettes … to priceless moments of pure magic.

We literally see songs like Let it be coming to life from very early incarnations as Paul tries different notes in the background, while the others discuss set designs with impressive knowledge. There’s a funny off-the-cuff line in the last episode where Paul says “shall we do Let it be?” to which one of the producers replies “which one was Let it be?).

It is a mesmerising experience like I’ve never seen before: and while some of the false jeopardy (mainly though captions on the screen) feels a bit forced, the seemingly unedited footage that you get (which includes clapperboards, flash frames and long lingering shots) contribute to the feeling that you are actually witnessing unscripted real life, packed with silences, dead spaces, stumbles and repetitions but also honest truth.

And if you let go, you’ll be able to discover so many moments filled with doubts, fear, disappointments, agreements and disagreements, but also so much joy and laughter. John Lennon asks at some point “What do we do that’s fun… beside work?”

And of course, in among all that, some incredible performances too. After all these are The Beatles we are talking about. Not just their songs, but many by others, pieces which are clearly dear to them too.

Rehearsals over rehearsals, trying different pitches, different speeds, different lyrics, different arrangements. We recognise old tunes and future songs which will only appear years later (John Lennon’s Jealous Guy’s melody comes from a song called The Road to Marrakesh).

It is a weird, unshaped, seemingly aimless project which perfectly reflects the state of mind of the group back in 1969. “Is this a documentary of us recording an album?“ asks Paul at some point? Somebody from the crew replies: “There’s some great stuff in the footage, but there’s no story, no ending”.

“Can you imagine people in 50 years’ time watching this?”. It doesn’t get more meta than that and I certainly never thought I’d be able to experience this ever. Thank you Peter Jackson for making it possible.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

The Beatles: Get Back is streaming on Disney +

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

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.

 

 

Andrea’s film review – House of Gucci

House of Gucci ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

When Patrizia Reggiani, an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel their legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately… murder. On in cinemas now.

For all the talent on the screen – a cast to die for: Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Lady Gaga, Adam Drive and Salma Haykek and Jared Leto (so covered with make-up that he’s just unrecognisable); all the money which clearly went to secure the beautiful locations in Italy and the vintage costumes; and a real story to draw from which could have given The Godfather a real run for its money, it’s a real surprise that film director Ridley Scott could only come up with something so average.

Yes of course, it’s watchable (though a bit long), but so was Dynasty back in ‘80s, a TV series so close to this film both in tone and script and where the word ‘subtlety’ doesn’t seem to be regarded as a high priority.

It’s over the top, but not enough to be entertaining in a ‘so-bad-that-it’s-good’ type of way. It looks good, but not enough to make you go ‘wow’. It has expensive clothes, cars and villas, but the film doesn’t seem to have any fun with any of that, it doesn’t seem to want to revel in any them, nor it seems to embrace any of the ridiculousness that it trying to depict, preferring instead to tell the story in rather straight and boring manner as we are left watching coldly, from the distance and rather uninvolved, a series of very unlikeable characters.

Which brings me to the cast.

Clearly all those people who are hailing Lady Gaga’s performance as ‘Oscar worthy’ do not speak Italian, hence are not bothered by the fact that her accent is so dreadful, in fact she might as well be Russian. Of course I am Italian and I would pick that up, but it really took me out of the film so many times.

Wasn’t there anyone on the set who dared to say to her “excuse me darling, you don’t sound anything like an Italian person”?

This is of course nothing new in Hollywood. I remember being horrified by Nicolas Cage’s rather abysmal accent at the time of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, but I would have thought that 20 years later a little bit more attention could be paid to get the accent right.

In fact, to be honest, I would take it further that that: hardly anyone in the film sounded Italian, with the exception of Al Pacino maybe, who at least has the excuse that his character lives in America (and a few extras). For crying out loud, the protagonist of this film is called Maurizio and NOBODY ever pronounced that name properly! AArgh!!

But hey, if you disregard the sound, they are all pretty good at doing the right faces at least and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of those names up there on the Oscar stage next year, but throughout the film, I kept finding myself thinking “this would work a lot better once it’s dubbed into foreign languages”… or possibly without sound altogether, which would have helped with those pretty cheap lines of dialogue too.

Clearly not enough time was spent in making the script sparkle, or the characters crisper and more fascinating or even more hateful, if that’s what they were aiming at. Instead, they’re all just a bit boring and bland… like the rest of the film.

It felt like a rushed job on every level (there are even few scenes where the rain seems to appear and disappear according to what angle they cut to, which actually proves my point, that it was done in a rush and they couldn’t afford to wait for the right moment or reshoot or even alter those moments).

There’s a line in the film at some point that says “chocolate and s**t may look the same, but they certainly taste different”, well, I wouldn’t go as far as calling the film s**t, but it certainly not chocolate either and it’s a great shame because they had all the elements to make something really good.

In the end being just an average (and forgettable) thee stars-movie makes this even more disappointing than if it had been a two or a one star movie.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

House of Gucci is in cinemas now.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

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.

 

Andrea’s film review – The Hand of God

The Hand of God  ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (È stata la mano di Dio) Review by Andrea Carnevali

In 1980s Naples, young Fabietto pursues his love for football as family tragedy strikes, shaping his uncertain but promising future as a filmmaker. On Netflix from 15 December.

The latest film by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, Academy Award-winner for The Great Beauty, and more recently, HBO’s The Young Pope with Jude Law, is also his most personal, depicting his own life as a young boy growing up in Naples in the ‘80s, with his extended family and friends.

The is a film of literally two halves. The first part is mostly a laugh-out-loud comedy lived through the eyes of young Fabietto (Sorrentino’s alter ego), played by the charming Filippo Scotti, clearly wanting to be a new Italian Timothee Chamalet. Even the very last shot of the film reminded me of the one at the end of Call me By Your Name, another Italian export. Alas Scotti, however sweet, doesn’t seem to have the range and especially the depth of Chamalet.

Whilst this is supposedly an autobiography, there’s no doubt that Sorrentino’s depiction of many of the members of Fabietto’s family and friends have been inspired by the characters seen in those old movies by Federico Fellini. And so we have the overweight sister, the grumpy (and foul-mouthed) grandmother, all the way to the big-breasted aunt, who loves to sun-tan naked, the mentally challenged neighbour, and so on…

It’s all bit over the top, often veering towards the grotesques, but it’s also quite entertaining and we found ourselves constantly laughing, even though we knew we shouldn’t. Obviously some of the nuances are lost in translation, but the mostly British audience I watched this with seemed to have a great time.

If you know anything about Naples you‘ll soon realise that what you are seeing is actually not that far from reality.

And so a lot of the clichés you might expect to see from the South of Italy are all here for us to enjoy: people shouting at each other, men being obsessed by naked women, lots of lazy lunches outside in the open, people jumping in the sea all the time, riding their scooters (possibly with three people all crammed together and don’t even mention the word helmet), going wild for football and because we are in Naples, they’re all treating Maradona as nothing less than a God. And let’s not forget the Saints, jinks…and as the title suggests, Fate.

And it’s Fate, or “the hand of God,” that plays an important part in the film when an unexpected and abrupt accident turns this film from a comedy into a drama. But that’s also when the film became less successful for me.

For a start he is over-writing his script: everything is spelt out (“I can’t cry about it”, “you need to cry about it” “why don’t you cry about it?” gets repeated at nauseam); every moral lesson is explained (see the creepy sex scene with the old woman, or the meeting with a film director).

He crams so many details and characters into the story that at times he seems to forget what the film is really about: Fabietto’s dealing with a trauma.

Sorrentino’s aim is to try to restrain his usual flamboyant (or, as he calls it, baroque) style and camerawork to focus on the personal, but he seems to be unable to do that and often falls into his old trappings, creating an over-hyped sense of reality which takes you away from the emotional resonance that the film should bring with it.

It doesn’t help the fact that one of the most moving and cathartic moments in the film not only happens too way early (leaving a final act slightly exposed and baggy), but also happens off camera (a really bad directorial choice).

The result is film which is a real pastiche of characters and moments (some more successful than others) which are certainly bursting with passion, style and ideas, but don’t always hit the mark.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

The Hand of God is on Netflix from 15 December.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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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500 new trees planted in Harvard Park

Image above: Tree planting in Harvard Park, beside the A4

National Tree Week 27 November – 5 December

It’s National something week every week of the year, but trees are being taken very seriously in Chiswick. Director of Abundance London Karen Liebreich writes:

Various groups have been out digging and planting across Chiswick over the weekend, even though the weather was cold and rainy.

The Friends of Harvard Hill organised a very successful weekend of planting, with 500 whips planted to create more biodiverse hedgerows, creating a protective hedge between the A4 and the residential areas behind.

Image above: Tree planting in Harvard Park, beside the A4

Meanwhile on Acton Green, at the other end of Chiswick, Alison Wood’s family and friends, under the guidance of Ealing Council’s Tom Jennings, helped to plant hundreds of bulbs and woodland plants, including daffodils, English bluebells, foxgloves, primrose, ferns and forget-me-nots to enhance the new birch and other trees that were planted a fortnight ago to create the new Alison’s Wood.

READ ALSO:  Wood planted in memory of Alison on Acton Green

Free trees

London Borough of Hounslow has organised a free giveaway of trees at Dukes Meadows to encourage residents to plant additional trees in their own gardens. Among those to nip down and pick one up was architect Peter Murray.

READ ALSO: Hounslow Council offers free potted trees to residents

Have your say on what trees should be planted on Turnham Green

The Council’s parks department has also embarked on a lengthy consultation over tree planting on Turnham Green, after Councillor Joanna Biddolph managed to prevent tree planting last year. Regular readers will remember Cherrygate.
If you would like to have a say on what type of trees should be planted on Turnham Green, the consultation runs until 15 December and can be accessed here: Tree planting proposals for Turnham Green
Image above: Tree planting in Harvard Park, beside the A4

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Westway closure diverts traffic through Chiswick

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor to turn on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

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.

 

The Chiswick Calendar freebie – win a £100 giftcard from little dobbies

Image above: Christmas decorations available at little dobbies

Win £100 to spend at little dobbies Chiswick this Christmas

Opened in Chiswick in September, little dobbies is a high street version of Dobbies Garden Centres which have become the leading brand among garden retailers, with 74 branches across the UK.

The Chiswick branch was one of the first Dobbies’ high street stores to open, selling houseplants, pots, Christmas decorations and gifts such as candles and chocolate, making it ‘the perfect place’ to buy Christmas presents, or to treat yourself.

To enter the competition, just answer one very simple question. The first person to email info@thechiswickcalendar.co.uk with the correct answer will win the giftcard. Please put ‘dobbies competition’ in the subject box.

QUESTION: Which plant do people traditionally kiss under at Christmas time?

Terms & Conditions

  • The prize is 1 x £100 giftcard to be spent in little dobbies Chiswick.
  • The gift card can only be used in the store. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. The giftcard will be valid until November 2022.

This competition has been paid for by Dobbies Garden Centres.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor to turn on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

See also: Westway closure diverts traffic through 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.

Brentford 1, Everton 0

Image above: Ivan Toney slips the ball past Jordan Pickford; photograph by Will Hagerty

Whenever the lyrics of Hey Jude are sung lustily by the Brentford crowd along with the Beatles’ recording, Paul McCartney would be forgiven for taking delight in this West London devotion to one of his most famous songs. But not, perhaps, on Sunday last. After all, McCartney is an Everton supporter.

As for the match, the players on both sides had little to sing about. Currently managed by the eminent Rafael Benitez, Everton arrived with a recent record of six consecutive losses. Brentford’s draw with Newcastle came after four straight defeats. The euphoria of early-season successes had evaporated for both teams.

So desperation became the order of the day.

Brentfordians would not have known so. As ever, they were in fine voice and in a burst of autumn sunshine the ground looked as pretty as spring, although visiting goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, England’s number one choice, might not have appreciated the rays likely to interfere with his vision in the first half.

The Bees set off at a canter and appeared to have the measure of a team noticeably lacking in attacking flair. Twenty-four minutes in they were given the opportunity to capitalise, when a clumsy attempted clearance from his goalmouth by Andros Townsend saw his boot deliver a chorus-girl high kick to the face of Frank Onyeka.

Turmoil followed as referee Darren England called the cops – first the VAR for its verdict and then a trot to the touchline to watch a rerun of the incident. Onyeka remained prone until required to vacate the area and allow Ivan Toney to prepare for the spot-kick.

What a remarkable player he is. A mere twitch by Pickford as he started to dive to his left saw the be-gloved Toney stroke the ball towards the opposite post and into the net for his eleventh successful penalty kick.

Images above: Three steps to a perfect penalty: Ivan Toney slips the ball past Jordan Pickford; photographs by Will Hagerty

A highlight of the game, for sure. In fact, the only highlight in what became a nip and tuck contest between two sides with what seemed to be limitless energy but little creative thinking when within striking distance.

Toney, constantly bamboozling the Toffees – since you ask, a nickname derived from the two sweetshops close to the club’s first ground – with a flick here and a penetrating pass there, sent Bryan Mbeumo through, only for his shot to provide a brief moment of exercise for Pickford. This Brentford partnership may well develop into a matchwinner, especially if Mbeumo can improve on a strike record that tends to concentrate on the woodwork and the hands of various agile keepers, rather than the gap between the two.

Everton emerged after the interval with fire in their bellies, presumably stoked by a good talking to from Benitez. They fizzed and whizzed and dominated in terms of possession – 60 per cent to Brentford’s 40 overall – but on the few occasions they threatened the goal were thwarted by poor marksmanship or the capable keeping of Alvaro Fernández.

The more frustrated Everton became, the more resolute in defence became Brentford. Toney, continuing his all-purpose involvement here, there and everywhere else, was noticeable when intervening in Everton attack plans and getting the ball clear.

A bizarre incident, when Rico Henry was felled midway inside the Everton half and was left on the ground by referee England for several minutes, waving on play despite entreatments from other players and loud booing from the stands, eventually stopped the game. Pickford, a gentleman as well as a England star, ran from his goal to check Henry was still in one piece before the full-back received treatment from the bench.

And so to an added anxious five minutes when substitute Demarai Gray further worried the Brentford defence and Thomas Franks sent on Yoane Wissa to deliver his familiar late, late show with a goal, only for Pickford to prevent his hat-trick of successes with an easy save.

‘I feel a bit sorry for Everton’, I said to my mate Charlie. ‘They’ve had several injuries and no luck at all.’

‘I couldn’t give a toffee,’ said hard man Charlie.

Brentford: Fernández; Goode, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós (substitute Wissa), Onyeka, Nørgaard (sub Baptiste), Janelt, Henry (sub Roerslev); Mbeumo, Toney.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Digne; Townsend (sub Gray), Doucouré, Allan, Gordon; Iwobi; Rondon.
Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group.

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

 

Aladdin at the Lyric Hammersmith – review

Image above: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith

This year’s pantomime at the Lyric, Hammersmith is Aladdin. There’s no single big name in the cast who you know off the telly and I think the show is better for it. It isn’t just a vehicle for some celebrity just back from eating bugs with Ant and Dec to tell smutty jokes to the adults in the audience.

The Lyric’s production is two hours of really good fun with a well-matched team of lead actors pulling together. It never drops pace and offers some of the corniest puns in panto, delivered with panache.

If there’s a stand-out star, it’s the magic carpet, and I mean no disrespect to the actors. I still can’t work out how they made it fly across the stage and out over the audience with no visible means of support. Magic!

Image above – Ellena Vincent as Jasmine

I went with two boys and spoke also to two girls, up with their mum and dad from Somerset specially to see the show. Remi (7) and Kaci (5) chose the panto because the Disney version was their favourite film, watched many times over. Remi liked Aladdin’s sister Wishy best while Kaci’s favourite was Jasmine, in both cases because they were “nice”.

Despite knowing the story inside out and backwards, they liked the ending best. I don’t think I’m spoiling it for anyone to divulge that Aladdin gets the girl and the evil Abanazer is consigned to the cave for the next thousand years. All’s right with the world.

‘Nice’ in this case does not mean ‘wet and drippy’ – they’re both pretty feisty characters, the kind of independent women you’d like your daughters to grow up to be. Parents Nathan and Holly thought it “incredible” and well worth the trip. Holly said she laughed and cried all the way through.

The boys, Max and Louis, admittedly a bit older, were more taken with the evil Abanazer. They thought his evil laugh was hilariously funny and the best bit was when Aladdin’s dad Dave Twankey could not get his name right (who? Half a lager? ‘Ave a banana?). They thought the whole thing was very funny and also liked the music.

Image above: Kate Donnachie as the genie

Jasmine – Ellena Vincent, who recently appeared in Hamilton at Victoria Palace – had an amazing voice. Gracie McGonigal did a great job making her professional stage debut as Wishy. Irvine Iqbal, with a long list of theatre and TV credits, was a perfect Abanazer and Stephan Boyce was a very entertaining Twankey.

Qasim Mahmood, in his first major lead professional theatre role, kept them all in order as Aladdin, injecting the performance with energy and enthusiasm.

My favourite was Kate Donnachie as both the genie and the emperor, bringing great originality to both parts and apparently giving up the pretence that the parts were played by different actors as the show went on, the costume changes got quicker and she had to find ever more ludicrous excuses to go off stage – “I’ve left something in the oven”.

Nicely written by Vikki Stone and directed by Abigail Graham, with some witty topical touches. Truly a pantomime that everyone can enjoy.

The production opened to the public on Saturday but the cast are nicely warmed up from doing two weeks of three shows a day to local schools. LB Hammersmith and Fulham does a fantastic thing by offering free tickets to children at state schools in the borough so they all have a chance to experience live theatre.

Image above: Stephan Boyce as Dave Twankey

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: The Moose Hut alpine pop up bar opens at The Roebuck

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor to turn on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

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.

Mummy Wine Club December wine tastings

Image above: Champagnes for the Champagne and Cheese masterclass

I heard someone dare to voice what I privately think the other day – that they preferred Prosecco to Champagne. I’m told if you think that, you just haven’t tasted the right Champagne. Victoria Daskal is holding two Mummy Wine Club evenings on Thursday 2 and Saturday 4 December to address just that sort of question.

A Sparkling Evening

Thursday 2 December, 7-9pm
High Road Studio, 129 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, W4 2ED

This is a perfect chance to put the sparkling wines to the test and truly understand the difference between Champagne, Prosecco, English Sparkling, and other classic fizz! Victoria will guide you through the aromas, flavours, and quality levels and explain how each wine is made and what makes it unique.  She will finish with a compare and contrast of two classic dessert wines and discuss their ideal food matches. Cheese & charcuterie will be included to taste along with the wines.

Ticket price £59pp

Book tickets

Champagne & Cheese Masterclass

Saturday 4 December, 2-4.30pm
Ivy Crescent, Chiswick W4 5NG

In this exclusive masterclass, Victoria Daskal will lead guests through a carefully selected flight of all the major Champagne styles.  Participants will taste Blanc de Blancs vs Blanc de Noirs, Vintage vs Non-Vintage, Brut Zero vs Demi-Sec, and Rosé Champagne and discuss what makes each style so unique and how to taste the differences between them. We will taste from Champagne producers of all sizes – from tiny family growers to prestigious Champagne houses to cover all ground.

The cheese pairings will help illustrate Champagne’s exceptional food-friendly versatility at the dinner table. By the end of the tasting guests will know Champagne is more than just celebration bubbles, it is a fascinating fine wine with a long history and exciting future.

Ticket price £105pp

Book tickets
See also: Chiswick Christmas entertainment guide

See also: Chiswick Christmas shopping guide

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.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

 

Episode 19: That Peppa Pig Moment

The Three Old Hacks discuss this week whether or not the prime minister has lost it. He appears to be “teetering on the edge of appearing out of control” they think. It’s hard to bluster your way through a speech when someone else has written it for you and you clearly haven’t read it, especially as you’re just got to the “and here’s what we’re going to do about it” bit.

There’s a distinct sound of knives being sharpened in the Tory party. “The moment he’s not a winner, he’s a goner” they say.

Listen to former BBC News sports editor Mihir Bose, Economics editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political commentator Nigel Dudley on the events of the past week.


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Listen to more episodes here.

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

Episode 72: Scyld Berry – England’s greatest cricket-watcher – shares highlights from over forty years of England on tour

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.

Scyld Berry, a former editor of Wisden, has watched nearly 500 England Test matches (more than anyone in history), and reported them for The Observer and then The Daily Telegraph.  He has just published a penetrating account of all the countries where he has seen England on tour: Beyond The Boundaries, published by Fairfield Books. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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Scyld reveals the original intended title of his book – which conjures up a startling and hitherto unknown vision of a well-known commentator.

A recent sighting of Brunel’s pioneering steamship the SS Great Britain leads him deep into the history of England cricket tours. It made possible the first two tours of Australia even before the opening of the Suez canal. Described by W G Grace’s brother, it took the England party to Melbourne in reasonable comfort in two months without having to stop in South Africa for coal.

Scyld’s first tour described in the book was Australia 1978-79. He describes how the print technology and the associated deadlines at that time forced him to downplay the first big story of the tour – the success of the Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg operating with the new machine-made Kookaburra cricket ball. Players and media were much closer in that era (often literally, booked by the same travel agent into the same accommodation and transport) and there was a strong code of “what happens on tour stays on tour” protecting players’ off-field activities. Press conferences were rare and news was generally gathered in the bar. Scyld thinks this a healthier system than the now constant spoon-feeding of the media with formal statements for citation and conferences and players put up for interview. However, he notes the success of media training in making players more articulate and informative. He pays personal tribute to the current England media manager, Danny Reuben.

From the rich detail in his book Scyld picks out some key points or stories from each country (in alphabetical order) he has seen on tour.

Australia: the historic isolation of indigenous people from Australian cricket and Australian society generally; the strength of grade cricket, especially in Sydney, and its contribution as a pipeline of talent to the full Australian side; the recent challenge to the primacy of cricket, and its exclusive use of dedicated land and stadiums, by Australian rules football.

Bangladesh: the contribution of rooftop cricket to the early development of many players, including Tamim Iqbal – although Tamim was also lucky enough to have a driveway where he literally learnt to drive. Scyld also underlines the underprovision of cricket facilities for the enthusiastic Bangladeshi community in Britain (100,000 in East London with no local access to a turf wicket). It led him to establish the Wisden City Cup (now the ECB T20 City Cup) to create new opportunity for them. He tells a sad story of a Bangladeshi waiter, a brilliant slow-left arm bowler, turned away from the Middlesex nets because he could not speak English.

India:  after a delightful story of a friendly match in a Calcutta orphanage in the 1980s, when an England bowler was taken off in favour of his 12-year-old captain, Scyld shares the joy of seeing young talented players in the Indian subcontinent discovering how to play the game in their own way. He urges India’s top players to exercise the same ethical influence on topical issues as Muralitharan in Sri Lanka. He hopes that Virat Kohli’s recent powerful intervention in support of Mohammed Shami will start a new trend.

New Zealand:  the wonderful intimacy and informality of New Zealand’s “boutique grounds”; the unassuming attitudes of their cricketers, led by Kane Williamson, even in their recent rise to the heights of international cricket.

Pakistan: the unforgettable experience of cricket high in the mountains of Chitral and Gilgit; the great Bronze Age city of Mohenjo-daro, where they might have played an early form of cricket; the vital role of Sattar Edhi and his Foundation in providing health and welfare services to Pakistan; competing accounts of the origins of the doosra and reverse swing;

On South Africa Scyld explains why the events of the World T20 have made him optimistic that cricket there is at last coming to terms with the legacy of apartheid and on the path of achieving full integration.

Sri Lanka:  he traces the English influence on Sri Lankan cricket through its élite schools (particularly that of C B Fry).

On the West Indies he pays a moving tribute to Sir Everton Weekes, as an almost unique combination of great batsman, great commentator and great human being.

Of all that he has seen of cricket overseas, he would most like to replicate in English cricket the New Zealand governance model – with a strong influence by ex-players. He contrasts this with the cricketing experience of most of the ECB.

Listeners are invited to contribute to the MCC Foundation appeal donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a056900001v5HIzAAM  It will aid the Foundation’s National Hubs, which offer cricket and personal development to disadvantaged communities in Britain, and the wonderful Alsama Project in Lebanon which is transforming the lives of young Syrian refugees. The podcast featured Alsama and three of its young beneficiaries earlier this year.

Episode 39: The sky is the limit for Alsama Cricket Club, where refugees from Syria get new lives

All contributions to the Appeal made between midday 30 November and midday 7 December will be doubled in value.

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 71: The great commentator Fazeer Mohammed brings up to date the stories of BlackLivesMatter and West Indian cricket

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.

The Moose Hut bar at The Roebuck

It’s hard to make the courtyard of a pub in west London look and feel like an ‘authentic Alpine experience’, but The Roebuck this December brings you the pop-up Moose Bar.

The weather was doing its best to be helpful with the authenticity when general manager Josh and The Roebuck team launched its Christmas theme bar on Monday night. With a bit of imagination and a willingness to go with the flow, you can almost think yourself enjoying the après ski at Courchevel or Megève – almost.

On the Savoyard kitchen menu – Raclette: Raclette cheese, new potatoes and cornichons; Tartiflette& Salade Verte- Potato, shallots, lardons, wine, cream, Reblochon cheese and green salad; Sourdough pizza – a selection of thin-crust, stone-baked sourdough pizza (including vegan options).

On the Fondue menu – Three cheese fondue: Gruyère, Emmental and Comté, cooked with white wine, finished with kirsch, served with bread and cornichons.

The Chiswick Calendar’s sampling team thoroughly enjoyed the Fondue and a pizza and were quite partial to the cocktail menu. The Moose Hut Bar serves steins and an array of cocktails ranging from an ‘Alpine Berry Spritz’ to a ‘Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini’.

Après group bookings

If you’re looking for an outside office party or just fancy something different, a Chamonix Pass at £25 per person buys you a reserved area for your party to enjoy an Alpine Berry Spritz or a Bavarian beer on arrival, one item from the Savoyard kitchen menu and a MOOSE Shot-Tail.

The Val d’Isère at £35 per person buys you a reserved area for your party to enjoy all of the above and a sharing Fondue.

MOOSE, for the uninitiated, is a vodka based spirit blended with mountain botanicals and maple.

Beats the palava of having to travel to the real thing and hike up mountains. A few of those MOOSE shot-Tails and you’ll be a lonely goatherd no more.

The Roebuck is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar website

See also: Chiswick Christmas entertainment guide

See also: Chiswick Christmas shopping guide

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.