Paediatric doctors seek to reassure parents over vaccines for 12-15 year olds

Paediatric doctors working in west London have sought to reassure parents unsure about vaccinating their children that they should have them vaccinated.

NHS North West London hosted an online discussion on Wednesday, 26 January for young people, parents, guardians, carers, teachers and school nurses to provide information about the vaccine and immunisation programme.

The panel included consultant paediatricians Dr Liz Whittaker and GP Dr Hermione Lyall, as well as a parent whose daughter, who was not clinically vulnerable, had suffered from a severe Covid infection which resulted in her hospitalisation. The session also included questions from the public around potential side effects from vaccination.

The hour-long webinar began with Dr Whittaker presenting Covid-infection, serious illness and death data among young children. She highlighted that England had some of the best data in the world showing how many children were admitted to hospital with Covid-19. Out of 11 million children in England, 3.6 million who were estimated to have tested positive, 5,830 were hospitalised and 251 went to the Paediatric ICU.

Almost 700 children were admitted with PIMS-TS, a rare inflammatory condition brought on in children post-infection, and of these children 309 were sent to Paediatric ICU.

Dr Whittaker said children from non-white backgrounds and those with chronic illnesses were more likely to end up in intensive care as a result of catching Covid.. Though admitting only a “tiny proportion” of children out of the whole population are admitted to hospital because of Covid, she stressed preventing these admissions through vaccination would be “fabulous”.

Images above: a child suffering from PIMS-TS, a post-Covid infection long-term illness

Vaccine reduces risk of infection illness PIMS-TS

Dr Whittaker elaborated on the side affects of PIMS-TS, symptoms of the illness can present as red rashes on the surface of the skin, bloodshot eyes, a cough, vomiting, abdominal pain, sore throat, headaches and diarrhoea.

Citing vaccination data from the American Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Dr Whittaker highlighted how between July and December 2021, vaccination reduced the likelihood of 12-18 year olds developing PIMS-TS by 91%. The same CDC data revealed that 95% of adolescents hospitalised with with PIMS-TS were unvaccinated and no vaccinated patients who were admitted needed life support.

The CDC data summarised that vaccination was the best protection against PIMS-TS.

Further data presented by Dr Whittaker showed vaccination largely prevented the development of long Covid in adults, though there was no accompanying data presented for adolescents.

Image above: Anna Down and her daughter Alex

“Athletic” child who swam regularly hospitalised with Covid

The session included GP Anna Down and her daughter Alex sharing their experiences after Alex was hospitalised with Covid.

Despite being in none of the risk categories, Alex caught Covid in September 2021 as part of a big outbreak at school where over half of her year tested positive with the illness.

While a “big proportion” of those children were unwell and missed several days of school, Alex was admitted to hospital eight or nine days after being infected and subsequently to intensive care where they met Dr Whittaker. Alex had “significant Covid infection” and spent over a week in hospital, not making it back to school properly until January 2022.

Anna said:

“By way of background, she’s a competitive swimmer, she’s the fittest person we all know and has no underlying health conditions. It’s great she’s back to where she was and back to competing in terms of swimming. But it was a pretty tough few months and a tough time in hospital.”

Alex said she was frustrated she and her friends hadn’t been given the option to get vaccinated sooner, wishing she could have avoided the ordeal entirely. Following the guidance, Alex was vaccinated 12 weeks after infection as soon as she was eligible.

Image above: a graphic taken from BBC news used in NHS presentation

Benefits vs risks

Dr Whittaker went on to discuss the benefits and risks of vaccinating children.

Per 1 million first doses, two intensive care admissions are prevented and 87 hospital admissions are prevented. Per one million second doses a minor increase of 0.16 intensive care admissions are prevented and six hospital admissions are prevented.

Vaccine risks include up to 34 cases of myocarditis per million doses. Myocarditis is a rare heart inflammation side effect associated more-so with the Pfizer vaccine.

Myocarditis presents itself as mild chest pain and breathlessness and young people who are unlucky enough suffer from it. Dr Whittaker noted that children tend not to be in hospital for very long should and are often prescribed ibuprofen and discharged. As a precaution doctors also recommend no vigorous exercise for up to three months.

The second highest risk group, as reported in American data, was 12-15 year old males who had a 45.7 out of 37 million chance of reporting a case of myocarditis. While stressing she did not want to diminish the cases of illness as reported in American data, Dr Whittaker said the risk of contracting Covid and its associated complications was much higher than those associated with vaccination.

She added vaccination is a way for many to return to “normal life” as well as be increase confidence among families with vaccinated children as they would have an extra layer of protection with the additional benefit of decreased risk of infection and transmission.

Parents were concerned about fertility

Parents attending the webinar quizzed the doctors about their concerns about the affect the vaccine could have on fertility.

Giving only her first name, Eve asked:

‘Has sufficient research been done on the impact on hormonal development and fertility with respect to vaccinating 12 yr old girls?’

To which Dr Whittaker replied:

“Obviously this is a huge concern for many people. There has been lots of anecdotal data about the impact of vaccines on periods, and people having bigger gaps between their periods, there’s the natural conclusion that might have an impact on fertility. I think as well the fact it’s called an MRA vaccine, it sounds like DNA, that itself can cause a lot of worries about impact on fertility.

“The UK Obstetric Surveillance System and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology have been doing research into this because it is obviously hugely important to understand. We know that many things can influence your periods, including being unwell, having infections, being stressed. We’re human and those things affect our hormones.

“But they haven’t seen any evidence, from this vaccine or any other vaccine, that causes an impact on fertility to date. There is not biological plausability as to how that would happen either. You can’t scientifically explain how the vaccine would impact on fertility, but you can explain how it would impact on your periods because we are human and we respond to things like that.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Fuller’s launches new health benefit for team members

See also: New mental health campaign launched by NHS with ‘Help!’ from The Beatles

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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New IKEA opening in Hammersmith in February

IKEA will be opening new store in Hammersmith next month.

The Swedish store, known for for its affordable furniture, unique appliances and meatballs will be opening on 24 February in the former Kings Mall shopping Centre.

The store will have have an entry on King St, which is the first time UK customers will be able to shop for IKEA products a high street. Normally customers would have to travel via car to a larger store, typically usually on the outskirts of a large town or city. The store will be the first of its kind in the UK, and only the eighth of its kind globally.

Being a smaller store, this IKEA will focus on home accessories and soft furnishings, while larger home furniture pieces will be on display and can be ordered for home delivery or delivery to nearby collection points. The shift towards smaller format, inner city stores comes as more of IKEA’s business shifts online. Digital sales grew by 73% last year and now account for around £1 in every four spent with the shop.

The premises will be roughly one quarter the size of a regular IKEA store, with 4,000 product lines on display and 1,800 available to take away on the same day.

Despite the reduced store size, The Swedish Deli, and the IKEA staple meatballs, will be available. The deli will serve hot and cold traditional Swedish food, including smörrebröd open sandwiches, Nordic chicken caesar and Swedish mazarin. Variations of IKEA’s traditional meatballs, including plant balls, will also be available.

Images above: store entrance inside the former Kings Mall shopping centre, the Swedish Deli (Images taken from IKEA)

New store ‘accessible, affordable and sustainable’, says IKEA boss

Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer at IKEA UK & Ireland said:

“As shopping habits evolve and city centres continue to be redefined in the wake of the pandemic, this new store format marks the next step in our business transformation as we strive to make IKEA more accessible, affordable and sustainable.

“For the first time, Londoner’s will be able to take the tube to an IKEA store, pop in, grab a yellow bag and buy all the home furnishing accessories that make a house a home. They will also be able to explore the whole range, for delivery to a convenient collection point or directly to their home.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Empire House apartments almost ready to go on sale

See also: Chiswick Indian restaurant Republic added to the Michelin Guide

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Developers introduce height cap after Ealing tall buildings statement

Plans for the regeneration of Friary Park in Acton are being changed to cap the height of the buildings.

Developer Mount Anvil and housing association, Catalyst, say they are responding to Ealing’s Tall Buildings Position Statement.

They say they will work with experts from the council and the Greater London Authority on the revised scheme, which would retain all of the outside space and amenities.

The joint venture aims to build an additional 106 affordable homes in phase one.

The scheme received planning permission in 2019 for 990 homes, with 45% of them classed as genuinely affordable. Communal areas and outdoor spaces would be included, and are not expected to be changed by the height cap.

LB Ealing recently promised to stop the “spread of skyscrapers”, issuing new guidance to developers stressing the need for more affordable housing and more sustainable buildings. It defines tall building as “those that are substantially taller than their neighbours and/or which significantly change the skyline”.

READ ALSO: Ealing Council new policy limiting tall buildings

Image above: 25 storey ‘monster tower’ next to the Bollo Lane railway crossing in Chiswick

‘We have listened to concerns’, say developers

Marcus Bate, a Mount Anvil director, said:

“Our business is built on collaboration and listening.

“We’ve listened to concerns about the proposed increase in height to the four tallest buildings at Friary Park and we are collaborating closely with Ealing’s planners to find a better solution, which achieves the same community benefits.”

Richard Smith, of Catalyst, added:

“Community-oriented communal outdoor spaces and enlarged balconies for all homes are going to really enhance the lives of Friary Park’s residents.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Empire House apartments almost ready to go on sale

See also: Chiswick Indian restaurant Republic added to the Michelin Guide

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Hounslow to celebrate LGBTQ+ history month with arts event

 

LB Hounslow is hosting an online arts event on Tuesday 8 February to celebrate LGBTQ+ history month. The event will look at queer history and heritage and various guest speakers are lined up for the occasion.

It will take place from 5.45pm to 6.45pm. Tickets are free, and the event will be held online.

Hounslow residents will also be able to submit their artwork to the borough’s adult education tutors, who will choose a selection to display at an exhibition scheduled for June 2022.

The online event aims to foster artistic talent in the borough and offer a platform to display local residents’ work. Entrants need not belong to the LGBTQ+ community to submit artwork.

The theme, Politics in Art: ‘The Arc is Long’, will involve portraying the long fight for equality and struggles of LGBTQ+ community against homophobia as well as the empowering and championing of rights for the queer community. All entries will be judged on their composition, originality, technical ability, adherence to the theme and suitability for inclusion in exhibition.

Entrants must be over 18 and must declare any conflicts of interests, such as knowing a member of the judging panel. Other entry requirements include submitting work that has not already been exhibited, avoiding the use of religious or party political symbols, brand logos, slogans and nudity. Group entries will be accepted.

Image above: Freddy Mercury, previously a Hounslow resident, and his blue plaque in Hounslow (BBC News)

Council hopes to ‘nurture artistic talent’ in the borough

Guest speakers include artist Rowan Frewin, museum curator Amy Dobson and Councillor Katherine Dunne.

There is a rich heritage of art in Hounslow to discuss as Amy Dobson, a curator at Gunnersbury Park Museum, explains:

“We want to celebrate local LGBT+ icons like Freddie Mercury and Charles Robert (CR) Ashbee as well as contemporary artists like Rowan Frewin. Everyone knows Freddie as a global rock legend, but he was from Feltham and studied art and fashion, while the hugely influential designer and architect CR Ashbee grew up in Isleworth. Equality is a political issue and has long been expressed through art of all kinds.”

Image above: Covered bowl, designed by Ashbee, 1900; portrait of Ashbee by William Strang, 1903

CR Ashbee (1863 – 1942) was a prime mover of the Arts & Crafts movement.  He is variously described as an ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘social reformer’ as well as a designer and architect. As a craftsman his work included metalwork, textile design, furniture and jewellery.

His family’s dynamic was interesting and illustrative of the time: a conservative father irritated by “the excessive education” of his daughters and his wife’s support of suffragism, from whom Charles, not only gay but a socialist, became estranged.

Cllr Dunne will open the event and is Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities. She said:

“I’m looking forward to celebrating LGBT+ History month with this event. We are proud of our diverse communities in Hounslow and we will try and offer a unique learning experience to attendees.”

Above: Rowan Frewin’s artwork posted via their Twitter

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Empire House apartments almost ready to go on sale

See also: Chiswick Indian restaurant Republic added to the Michelin Guide

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Andrea’s film review – Leopoldstadt

Leopoldstadt ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Tom Stoppard’s critically acclaimed new play Leopoldstadt is a passionate drama of love, family and endurance. Relayed to selected cinemas as National Theatre Live.

I was lucky enough to see Tom Stoppard’s Olivier Award-winning Leopoldstadt just before Covid forced all theatres in London to shut down after the first lockdown.

If you missed this then or are unable to find any tickets for any of the next seven-week run at the Princess of Wales Theatre in the West End, then this Thursday is your chance to go and watch it Live at the Cinema.

The working title for this was The Family Album which perfectly encapsulates what the play is about: sketches of a story of a Jewish family (the Merz) across six decades from 1899 to 1955 in a house in Vienna.

Needless to say, given the time span and the fact that we are in Vienna, their journey will go from the high reaches of society, though the horrors of the first and second world wars and the Holocaust.

The play might be set over one hundred years ago, but its power and relevance reverberate today as it gets darker and darker as we move through the ages.

We first we meet the wealthy Merz family as they celebrate Christmas in 1899. It is a warm and unexpectedly funny start and while at times it’s easy to get lost among the many members of the extended family – you might be excused for not remembering who everyone is at each given time, but also some of them are rather sketchy – it’s impossible not to spot early subtle hints of anti-Semitism. There is talk about the way Jews are being treated in universities and work places, seemingly still irrelevant and semi-concealed within an apparent cheerful and festive atmosphere.

Once we hit 1938, the spectre of war changes the tone and it’s where the play really started to we work for me.

It’s a tense, harrowing and poignant watch: a painful reminder of what should really never be forgotten.

The scene in which Austrian soldiers storm into the house on Kristallnacht is as tense as any anything one might be watching in a cinema, though clearly it can only scratch the surface.

Without giving too much away, the epilogue in 1955, with only few lucky survivors serves a haunting and final tribute the many generations we’ve lost in the Holocaust.

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

Leopoldstadt is on at Chiswick Cinema on Thursday 27 January and Thursday 10 February.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Back to the Future: The Musical

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Mind Matters – Two years of COVID how are your relationships?

A number of very welcome announcements have been made recently to highlight the role of talking therapies (counselling and psychotherapy) and the range of services available for young people and adults. In this article I thought it worth shining a light on our relationships.

The pandemic has brought many changes that have impacted upon relationships – home working and schooling, lockdowns, reduced social contact, fewer holidays, loss and bereavements, more time or less time together – so something that can be said with certainty is that our relationships have experienced change.

Having relationships is crucial to our health, as is the health of our relationships and, as we approach the two year anniversary of COVID now is a good time to reflect on how they have changed.

There is such potential for us to look out for and be helpful to each other as we continue to navigate our way round, through and out of the pandemic but often whilst people notice changed behaviours in themselves and others they do not know what to do with their experience. The result of this is that often opportunities are missed to reduce each other’s suffering or catch spiralling negative patterns of behaviours.

Often people say they understand each other until such a time when they say they don’t understand each other as though a switch has been thrown. In reality understanding is always by degree and we have approximate levels of understanding that are either tolerable or not.

For example, you have a friend who is always late, it is something that the two of you laugh about and then one day you are late, they are furious and suddenly you both realise it is not the relationship you thought you had, you no longer trust that there is understanding.

The desire for understanding in our closest relationships comes from a need for both security and safety – often closely associated with the idea of loving or being loved. Naturally those closest to us are the people most likely to be relied upon in an emergency and in emergencies nothing is more important than clear communication and understanding – it is nothing less than a need born out of a drive for survival. Potentially it all starts from birth – if understanding does not exist between us and our primary carers then we risk death – therefore the first thing we do as babies is fight for understanding.

How we do this varies depends upon what we learn in our attempts to gain attention – is it more effective to be noisy or quiet, happy or sad, laugh or cry, eat heartily or refuse food, be well or sick, tidy or messy, dependent or independent, creative or practical – the list is endless. Therefore what we learn in the early days is the closest we come to having an approach to life and relationships that is “hardwired”. Simply put, we are good at doing or being in ways for which we have felt the existence of understanding.

The implication is we need to challenge our assumption we understand and are understood around the most basic of concepts. For example, love. How love is expressed varies enormously across cultures, communities and families. Just ask your friends how love was shown to them as children and you are likely to get a wide variety of responses from food, fun, time together, talking, not talking, sharing, giving, taking, education, discipline, fairness, holidays the list is endless.

Another good example is how people are looked after when sick. In some cultures it is common for everyone to visit sick friends and relatives, in others the patient is cared for by being protected from visitors. Neither is right or wrong but someone who is used to visitors when sick will feel neglected and uncared for if their partner tells everyone to keep away as they need rest!

Fundamentally a shared language can be all we need to build and maintain healthy relationships and understanding. It sounds basic however, the single most important idea to hold onto is understanding is not something we achieve before focussing on something else, understanding is a constant process of interaction that helps us to maintain sufficient understanding as change happens. In my experience relationships break down due to the conversations that have not been had rather than those that have.

Here are some basic rules:

  • Words like “love” are short cuts – use them at your peril. Instead, never assume that the word means the same to you as others.
  • It requires commitment from all parties to develop an understanding.
  • If you feel hurt by something that your partner does or says then (as long as it is not physically or emotionally abusive) it is likely that your defences and theirs are revealing a conflict of understanding. Do not assume that the intention was to hurt you, instead say how you felt and ask if that was what had been intended. Likewise ask how you have been experienced and what the other person thought of your intention.
  • Never underestimate the possible impact of change, difficult times and stress. Anything that changes your routines or patterns can bring stress that triggers defences – at difficult times in life you might find it difficult to recognise each other. Look out for bereavements, fertility issues, children arriving and leaving, career changes, health challenges and traumatic events.
  • Remember that relationships are co-created and the most resilient ones are those where there is an expectation that how they are going will always be open to discussion and scrutiny, with feedback always being welcomed and offered.
  • Finally, if you are struggling then do not hesitate to seek professional help. If you’ve had a conversation more than once then you are not having it, so try something different. Many people seek help when it is too late – when there is too much misunderstanding and hurt and not enough energy and commitment left in order to make the changes required.

Nicholas Rose
Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Couples Counsellor and Coach

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

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

nicholas-rose.co.uk

Read more blogs by Nicholas Rose

Read the previous one – New year but old patterns of negative thinking?

See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here

Read a profile of Nicholas here

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See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

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New Backgammon group at the Steam Packet at Strand on the Green

Image above: Kate Burness

A new backgammon group is starting up in Chiswick. Kate Burness is organising monthly games at the Steam Packet pub on Strand on the Green on the first Wednesday of the month, starting Wednesday 2 February.

Kate, who lives in Grove Park, became interested in the game when she was living in Monaco in 1976.

“I got in with a group of people who played it” she told The Chiswick Calendar.

She was soon organising a tournament in which top players earned big money. Film star Omar Sharif and Princess Mary Obolensky were among the players.

During Covid lockdowns she started playing again, but online, which isn’t nearly as much fun, she says, as playing in person.

What she has in mind for Chiswick is far more down to earth:

“We want people who would like to learn how to play and improve their game. It would be good to have a bit of knowledge of the game. If there are any really good players we will put them together but we hope people will move round and play with different people.”

There will not be any structured tournament format or prize pools – just an evening of social backgammon. There is no cost and the evenings will start at 6.30pm. Kate is in touch with the Ealing backgammon group but as far as she is aware there is no other group in Chiswick. She would like to encourage some younger people to give it a try.

The Steam Packet is a member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, offering card holders 15% off food and drink, seven days a week.

You will need a backgammon board. Bring your Chiswick Calendar ClubCard and most of all she says, be Covid safe. She asks that people who come have taken a recent test.

To find out more, join the Facebook group. Alternatively, if you aren’t on Facebook, email kate at backgammonW4@btinternet.com to be kept up-to-date by email.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: More restaurants due to open on Chiswick High Rd

See also: Rare first edition of Harry Potter book up for auction in Chiswick for £30K

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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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.nbsp;

 

Sondheim tribute at Chiswick Playhouse

Image above: Posters from some of Stephen Sondheim’s musicals

Isn’t He Something – 3-4 February

On Friday 3 and Saturday 4 February Chiswick Playhouse stages a tribute to Stephen Sondheim, the American composer and lyricist who died in November.

Four singers will perform songs from his musicals, which included Follies, A Little Night Music Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods. He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story, to Leonard Bernstein’s music.

Sondheim is credited with having “reinvented the American musical”, choosing themes which tackled “unexpected themes that range far beyond the [genre’s] traditional subjects” and composing music and lyrics “of unprecedented complexity and sophistication”.

Images above: Stephen Sondheim with Leonard Bernstein in 1978; photograph Weissberger; Stephen Sondheim as an older man – picture Sky News

An interview with Charlie-Jane Jones

I spoke to Charlie-Jane Jones, who is producing Isn’t he Something in association with the Playhouse and is performing in the show.

Q: Why put on Isn’t He Something?

A: This is a show I’ve been working on for quite a while. I started on it in spring 2021, six months before he died. I just love his music. It bridges musical theatre, opera and plays. It’s such intelligent work.

Q: What’s in the show?

A: There’s a huge selection in the show, something from all 16 of his musicals. There are four of us performing: Beth Clarence, Ifan Jones, Tom Elliot Reade and myself. We all trained at the Royal Academy of Music.

Q: Pick two songs and tell me why you’ve chosen them.

A: One of the most beautiful duets he wrote is Move On from Sunday in the Park with George. Dot and George are characters from the early 1900s and we see them at various points in their lives. The duet comes towards the end of the show and she sings to him:

“Anything to you do, let it come from you,
Then it will be new, give us more to see”

It just captures the whole sentiment of when you feel that what you do isn’t good enough and it’s a reminder that if you’re true to yourself it’s ok.

The other song I’d choose would be Isn’t He Something from Road Show, his final major work which he wrote in 2008. It’s not the most well known of his songs. It refers to a lady talking about her son, but it gives us the title of our show.

Q: What has been your involvement with his work?

A: I worked on two of his shows while I was in training – two roles that were challenging and interesting. I played Dot, the lead character in Sunday in the Park with George and I played Lynette Squeaky Fromme, one of the assassins in Assassins, which was about the actual or attempted assassinations of American presidents.

Image above: Beth Clarence, Ifan Jones, Tom Elliot Reade and Charlie-Jade Jones; Tom and Charlie-Jade in Sunday in the Park with George

Cast

Beth Clarence

Training: The Royal Academy of Music

Theatre Includes: Thursford Christmas Spectacular (Thursford Collection), Lucky Stiff (Union Theatre) Lead Vocalist for The Queen Victoria (Cunard).

Charlie-Jade Jones

Training: The Royal Academy of Music

Theatre Includes: Love Story (Cadogan Hall), Parade (Frogmore Paper Mill), State Fair (Cadogan Hall), Thursford Christmas Spectacular (Thursford Collection), Anything Goes (Cadogan Hall).

Ifan Jones

Training: The Royal Academy of Music

Theatre Includes: Fiddler On The Roof (Frinton Summer Theatre), The Hired Man (Union Theatre), Bernstein’s Mass (Royal Festival Hall), Tom’s Midnight Garden (Birmingham Stage Company), Thursford Christmas Spectacular (Thursford Collection).

Tom Elliot Reade

Training: The Royal Academy of Music

Theatre Includes: The Choir of Man (European & Australia Tour), The Commitments (UK & International Tour), Lucky Stiff (Union Theatre), Judy! (Arts Theatre).

Isn’t He Something is on at Chiswick Playhouse Friday 3 and Saturday 4 February. Book tickets through the Chiswick Playhouse website.

chiswickplayhouse.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Women of Pensionable Rage at Chiswick Playhouse

See also: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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.

 

 

 

Women of Pensionable Rage at the Chiswick Playhouse

Women of Pensionable Rage opens tonight (Tuesday 25 January) at Chiswick Playhouse. Judy Buxton’s one woman show brings you three characters who’ve been round the block and then some.

There’s Linda – outraged that she is reduced to playing panto at the Palace theatre in Fleetwood rather than the Palace Manchester – Julie, whose eternal regret is that she did not pick up the phone – and Miriam, downtrodden no longer.

The leisurely start draws the audience in as Judy gets into character before your eyes, selecting a wig, a necklace, earrings and a jacket before striding into the spotlight to unveil her first character.

Linda is a TV soap star whose one-nighter with a fellow celebrity left her with a daughter and a contemptuous dislike for gay men who, while they’re in the closet, think they may as well try a bit of the other. A call from her agent, who had booked her into a panto run without even asking her first, prompts a torrent of embittered rage.

Returning to her make-up table to select another wig, jewellery set and jacket, Judy becomes Julie, the redhead in the poster with the strategically placed tattoo. She’s a landlady of holiday lets in Fleetwood, with a gay son who is a hairdresser by day and a drag artist by night. On the day he makes a trip to London’s Soho with his mates – 30 April 1999 – she is busy. The phone won’t stop ringing and she still has four beds to turn down, so she takes it off the hook, and has to live with the consequences for the rest of her life.

Selecting her final wig, necklace, earrings and jacket for her last character, Miriam, Judy becomes the suburban housewife, Miriam, who has ‘lost’ her husband. “I’ve not lost him, he died” she says savagely as she ushers her well-meaning neighbours out of the door after the funeral. It’s not as if she’s misplaced him in Tescos or the local garden centre. Irritated by the well-meaning platitudes, it is only when they have all gone that she is able to give vent to her real feelings: relief that he is gone, after a lifetime of abuse. Now she has a chance to live her own life.

Writer / director Anna-Lisa Marie explores the emotional baggage of three characters, all women of a certain age. I expected them to be linked in some way, their stories intertwined, but all they share is their emotions: bitterness, frustration, sadness, rage. Only the last one has found happiness, in a rather unconventional way.

Actor Judy Buxton brings her considerable experience to the characters. She herself has worked extensively in television and theatre, in everything from School for Scandal, as Lady Teazle, playing opposite Sir Donald Sinden at the Haymarket, to pantomime, though her CV doesn’t reveal if she has ever sunk as low as Fleetwood!

Women of Pensionable Rage is on at the Chiswick Playhouse from Tuesday 25 – Saturday 29 January.

Book tickets through the Chiswick Playhouse website.

chiswickplayhouse.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jazz at George IV programme for February 2022

See also: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Experience cinema as you would have nearly 100 years ago

Image above: Poster for Buster Keaton’s silent film The General; Donald MacKenzie

While Chiswick Cinema is showing the latest releases with the most spectacular special effects, a couple of miles down the road in Brentford, The Musical Museum is showing films as they were nearly 100 years ago.

Famed for their Wurlitzer organ, the museum has invited Donald MacKenzie, the renowned organist from the Odeon Luxe cinema in Leicester Square, to come and accompany Buster Keaton’s silent romantic comedy The General on Sunday 13 February.

Buster Keaton’s cinematic masterpiece centres on his two loves… his gal, Annabelle Lee and his locomotive, the General. This spectacle of the silver screen premiered 95 years ago in February 1927. The train wrecking scene cost $42,000 – the most expensive single shot in the history of the silents.

I find it quite amazing that in these days of digitally remastered sound, surround sound and suchlike you can still go and see a bloke at an organ recreating the atmosphere of the film’s thrills and spills live, just as an audience would have experienced it almost a century ago.

How does someone choose that as a career? Donald MacKenzie started playing music to films at the age of 14, finding it quirky and interesting. A musically gifted child who got his first professional job at 14 playing the organ at church, he has now been playing the organ to audiences at the Odeon in Leicester Square for 28 years, entertaining people before the films start.

He travels widely accompanying silent films, often in cathedrals, and has a repertoire which includes Phantom of the Opera, Nosferatu, Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! and Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid.

“I love the freedom of expression in improvisation” he told me. “The film is the manuscript. You haven’t got a musical text to follow.”

He watches a film several times to get it into his head and takes his cues from the screen.

He was very lucky, he told me, growing up in Paisley, to have been able to borrow films from the Scottish film archive, which the local music society played on a 16mm projector.

The Musical Museum in a former church houses the private collection of the late Frank Holland, enhanced and added to over the years by enthusiasts and opened to the public in its current form in 2008 with the help of a National Lottery grant.

Its collection of working instruments, displays and interactive exhibits tell the story of how music has been recorded and reproduced, from mechanical inventions to the present day. Its prized possession is the Mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ in the concert hall.

Donald is a regular performer at the Musical Museum. Tickets for The General, at 2.30 on Sunday 13th February, are £17.50 and include a glass of prosecco. Book through the website: www.musicalmuseum.co.uk/whats-on or call them on 0208 560 8108.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

See also: Pub in the Park announces line-up of chefs for September

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.

Student from Chiswick raises money for clean water charity by climbing Mt Kilimanjaro

Image above: Mt Kilimanjaro

Sarah Delabriere, a student at the London School of Economics who grew up in Chiswick, is raising money for the clean water charity Dig Deep by climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. Where Dig Deep work in Kenya, eight out of every ten people lack access to clean water, safe toilets and good hygiene.

Sarah’s fundraising target is  £2,700, half of which goes towards covering her expedition costs, the other half goes to the provision of clean water, sanitation and good hygiene. She is taking on the challenge with three friends this summer.

“Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most impressive sights in Africa and climbing it is one of the all-time great achievements” she says. “It is the largest freestanding mountain in the world and the trek encompasses terrains from jungle to glacier. Reaching the summit and watching the sun rise over the vast African plains truly is the experience of a lifetime.”

Dig Deep’s purpose is to collaborate with the Kenyan government, local businesses and communities, to transform the provision of clean water, sanitation and good hygiene in Bomet County – one of the most challenging and least resourced areas in the country.

Most residents live in rural communities and spend hours every day walking to collect dirty water or find a safe place to relieve themselves.

To support Sarah’s fundraising, use the QR code above or go to her Dig Deep fundraising page here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Pub in the Park announces line-up of chefs for September

See also: Drone halts Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers match

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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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.

More restaurants due to open on Chiswick High Road

Image above: The Italians, 454-456 Chiswick High Rd

The Italians and The Sushi Co

Two more restaurants are due to open on Chiswick High Road: the popular cafe and deli The Italians is planning to take over the former site of the Vietnamese restaurant Caphe Guests, two doors down from its current premises, to open a pizza restaurant and wine bar and The Sushi Co is planning to open on the site which was previously The Flight Centre.

Last week the owner of Annie’s on Strand on the Green, Lorraine Angliss, confirmed she would be taking over site previously occupied by Bill’s restaurant.

The Italians already serve pizza from their existing premises at 454-456 Chiswick High Road, but last year staff shortages brought on by the pandemic and Brexit meant the restaurant was without a pizza chef. The restaurant still has vacancies for pizza chefs, which have been open for three months.

Pianta, the Italian plant based restaurant which opened at the end of last summer in Turnham Green Terrace, has been forced to close because their Italian chef left and they could not find another one.

Image above: the now-closed Vietnamese restaurant Caphe Guests 

Too many restaurants?

The Sushi Co. has ‘now hiring’ advertisements out front for managers, chefs and front of house staff. Lorraine Angliss told The Chiswick Calendar she was opening another branch of Rock & Rose, a cocktail bar and restaurant similar to the one she has in Richmond.

Two weeks ago the owner of Betty in Barley Mow Passage, Steve Novak, told LB Hounslow’s licensing panel Chiswick was over-subscribed for lunchtime eateries, as many office workers were still working at home. He said what Chiswick needed now was a late night place.

Chiswick not only has a lot of restaurants, but a lot of top quality ones. Republic, the Indian restaurant opposite The Italians, was added to the Michelin Guide in December, bring the number of Chiswick restaurants in the guide to five.

Image above: The Sushi Co is planning to open on the site which was previously The Flight Centre

See all the restaurants, pubs and cafes in The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Owner of Annie’s opens Rock & Rose in Chiswick High Rd

See also: Chiswick Indian restaurant Republic added to the Michelin 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.

Rare first edition of Harry Potter book up for auction in Chiswick for £30K

Images above: Lot 109 from Chiswick Auctions – a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

A rare first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling’s first book set in her wizarding world, will be auctioned on Thursday (27 January) at Chiswick Auctions. It is expected to fetch £30,000.

The book is one of the most sought-after books in the world, as only 500 were printed in the first run, 300 of which were sent to schools and children’s libraries. Hardcover first editions of the first Harry Potter book are characterised by a print line that reads 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 and credits ‘Joanne Rowling’ instead of ‘JK Rowling’.

This copy is being sold by a private owner who has been in possession of the book since it was bought in 1997. It is described as having ‘a faint crease’ to its back cover and ‘very light just visible wear to cover edges’.

Standard first editions sell for anything between thousands and £20 depending on their condition and the print run. You can also get as much as £1,800 for first editions of the 1999 deluxe edition and early versions of the Australian and US print runs (where it’s called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – printed in 1998).

The auction house is also selling a collection of children’s books including a signed copy of the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and a signed copy of Newt Scamander: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, which are each expected to fetch around £700.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Indian restaurant Republic added to the Michelin Guide

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

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 Empire House apartments almost ready to go on sale

Image above: CGI of how Empire House will look when finished; Great Marlborough Estates

Great Marlborough Estates, the developers who have taken over the Empire House site on Chiswick High Rd, say they will be ready to start selling apartments there within a few months.

The area has suffered from planning blight, with units from the Old Packhorse pub on the corner of Acton Lane as far as the Wild Bunch cafe standing empty for several years. Previous owners Lendlease sold the site to Great Marlborough Estates last September.

READ ALSO: Last business standing

READ ALSO: Lendlease puts stop on temporary use of development site

Image above: New façade, with retail units facing the High Rd; CGI Great Marlborough Estates

The one-acre site has planning consent to provide 137 residential units. Two of the directors of the firm came to the Chiswick Area Forum on 18 January and gave a presentation showing how the site would look, with 66 one and two bedroom apartments in Empire House, 46 apartments and four townhouses at Essex Place and a further 21 apartments to be developed at the corner of Essex Place and Acton Lane.

Great Marlborough Estates director Dean Clifford told the meeting they were looking to create “a contemporary look and feel” to the development, designed by award-winning Assael Architecture. Empire House will have a new façade, with retail units facing the High Rd. All the homes will have access to private outdoor space such as a balcony or garden, as well as to communal roof terraces.

Image above: ‘Contemporary look and feel’; CGI Great Marlborough Estates

They aim to reduce carbon emissions by using solar panels and air source heat pumps and say they will provide a new ‘pedestrian-friendly and welcoming space’ where currently there is the “rather unlovely” delivery lane on the boundary between the Empire House development and Sainsbury’s land.

In a nod to the site’s history, they are calling one of the apartment blocks ‘Stoll House’, after Sir Oswald Stoll, founder of the Stoll Moss theatre company, and another block ‘Adelaide House’ after his mother.

Stoll worked with theatre designer Frank Matcham on the creation of the Chiswick Empire theatre, which opened in 1912 as a venue for variety and music hall. Many famous entertainers performed there, including George Formby, Laurel and Hardy, Chico Marx, Peter Sellers and Liberace, but the theatre was demolished in 1959. It was recently commemorated in a collage by Sir Peter Blake.

READ ALSO: Sir Peter Blake’s collage of Empire House unveiled at Turnham Green Terrace piazza launch

READ ALSO: Theatres mark centenary of the death of the greatest theatre architect

Image above: Rooftop garden overlooking Turnham Green; CGI Great Marlborough Estates

Great Marlborough Estates was set up by Dean Clifford and his partner Grant Lipton 15 years ago. They have an impressive track record of developing residential sites in London, including the refurbishment of Regents Crescent on Regent’s Park into flats, the refurbishment of Grade II listed buildings in Fitzrovia and on a much larger scale, a new town centre for Vauxhall, designed by Zaha Hadid’s firm of architects.

They have “a very experienced team” working on the Chiswick Green project, Mr Clifford said. “We believe it will be a positive addition [to Chiswick].”

Contractors are currently carrying out the ground works. There will be a series of completion dates, the latest in the fourth quarter of 2023. They have not released prices for the apartments yet, but plan to set up a sales office on Chiswick high Rd in the next couple of months.

Image above: CGI of how an apartment in Empire House, with the spire of Christ Church seen through the window; Great Marlborough Estates

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market attracts 60,000 visitors

See also: Chiswick Indian restaurant Republic added to the Michelin 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.

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Man in the Middle 81: Fathers and Sons

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

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

No 81: Fathers and Sons

I’ve turned my back on my son and am staring out of the window of his fourth floor flat on the Exeter university campus. It’s the start of his second term.

Behind me, he is unpacking his suitcases and watering his cacti, which somehow have survived the Christmas season. I guess that’s what cacti are good at.

Below me, Exeter is submerged under fog. A few church spires hold their heads up above the damp mist, but the rest of the city is wrapped in a grey shroud. The city is as lifeless and lost as Boris Johnson drowning in the miasma of his own deceit.

I’m gazing out not because I’ve become a twitcher but to recover my breath. The lift was out of order and I’m out of condition, so lugging myself and one of my son’s bulging suitcases up four flights has done me in. My cheeks are flushed and my chest is heaving like a lifeboat on a wild sea.

I don’t want my son to notice how unfit I am, so I’ve turned my back on him and am refilling my aching lungs by quickly sucking in small sips of air like a hummingbird daintily sucking up pollen. I hope I can recover my breath while preserving my dignity as the Pater Familias.

‘Is you?’ he asks.

‘Is what me?’

‘The sound like an old donkey with emphysema,’ he says.

‘Probably the pipes in your bathroom,’ I say. ‘The plumbing in student accommodation is notoriously noisy.’

*

My wife suggested we travelled on the train together.

‘It’ll give you the chance to talk to each other,’ she said.

‘About what?’ I said, racking my brains for anything we might want to talk about required me to go to Exeter on a train on a Saturday.

‘You know. Father and son things,’ she said.

‘Like cricket?’

‘No. Important things.’

‘Don’t tell me you haven’t told him about the birds and the bees, yet?’

She shrugs.

‘This could be one of those moments when you could be helpful to him.’

‘You mean carry his bags for him up that hill?’

‘No, to show you care about him as he takes another step towards independence.’

‘My mum and dad never came to see me at university,’ I say. ‘I would have been appalled if they’d even suggested it. Not cool.’

‘You’re always saying your father never spent any quality time with you. This is a chance not to make the same mistake.’

My memory of my student days is that I stayed away from the parental nest and was as socially distanced as it was possible to be. I was an ungrateful, non-homing Pidgeon who came back only when the clothes basket became too gamey.

However, it’s not often my wife admits she thinks I could be useful, I’m happy to do as she suggests and book a return ticket to Exeter St. David’s.

*

‘Did you spot the shoe?’ asks my son.

He’s finished unpacking and is standing next to me pulling the window ajar. I notice he’s an inch taller than me. Somehow, he seems to be a bigger person here.

‘What shoe?’

‘That shoe,’ he says pointing at the yellowsole of a running shoe lying upside down in a puddle on the roof of the nearest universitybuilding.

‘Whose is it?’

‘Dunno. It’s been there since I got here.’

A seagull lands next to the shoe and takes a peckat it before flying away, disgusted by the taste of rotting rubber.

The shoe reminds me of a book I read about the

Night Climbers of Cambridge, a group of prankster toffs dedicated to climbing onto the roofs of colleges at night and leaving inappropriate stuff on them – like cars, chairs, clocks and shopping trolleys. Lord Byron was one, apparently.

‘Probably someone was just having a laugh,’ I say.

‘Probably,’ he says.

My heart beat is down to normal.

‘Do you want to see the mad stuff people put in their bedroom windows? We’ve got a cardboard Pope, a hundred Ed Sheerans and, of course, beer walls.’

‘Beer walls?’

‘A beer wall is when you stack empty beer bottles in your window until you block out the daylight.’

‘OK. Let’s go,’ I say.

‘Sweet,’ he says. ‘But you have to be quiet out in the corridor. The rest of the flat is still asleep.’

‘You can’t be serious. It’s 1pm?’

‘This is early. No talking until we’re outside.’

He posts a picture of himself onto his flat’s WhatsApp group so they know he’s returned. We tip-toe downstairs.

*

We walk together around the campus. It’s the first time I’ve done that with him and although we don’t talk much, it feels I’m part of his world if only for an hour or two.

We wave at the cardboard pope and laugh at the number of Ed Sheeran face masks hanging in the windows. But he so unattractive I say.

Best of all is windows walled up with empty green beer bottles so no meaningful amount of sunlight could enter.

‘Even your cacti wouldn’t survive in a room like that,’ I say, and he laughs.

‘Can you imagine the smell in there?’

*

An hour later I’m boarded back on the train to London. A brief hug at the station is enough for both of us and then he’s turned and is tramping back up the hill to his flat. And his mates. And his new life.

Somerset slides by. It’s a flat watery place: barren trees, pig pens and hedge rows sharp as steak knives.

Before Tiverton, we pass a junk yard where a few men and boys are admiring old farm

equipment and running their hands along the rusted sides of the various lots. I wonder if their farmers and sons out for the day, like me.

‘How did you get on?’ asks my wife.

‘He called it home. Twice. Otherwise, it was great.’

Read more blogs by James Thellusson

Read the previous one – Man in the Middle 80: New Year Dreams

See all James’s Man in the Middle blogs here

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

New traffic restrictions come into force in Grove Park

Image above: Junction of Burlington Lane with A316

New traffic restrictions came into force on Monday 24 January in Grove Park, to the south of the A4 and west of the A316.

The changes, which have caused much controversy in the area, are designed to stop drivers using it as a cut through. They are a refinement of measures brought in during 2020 and 2021 which were found to decrease traffic on some roads but increase it on others. Hartington Rd, beside Chiswick Bridge, was one of the busiest in the area, with nearly 8,000 vehicles on an average weekday at its busiest point. Many of these drivers were not local but came from outside London.

Drivers are now not allowed to turn left into Grove Park, coming from Chiswick Bridge towards Hogarth Roundabout, unless they have a residents permit which expressly allows them to use Hartington Rd or Staveley Rd. The entrance to Burlington Lane from the A316 has been blocked off with a barrier and no entry signs have been put up, with access for cycles only.

Images above: Signs at the entrance to Hartington Rd from A316, beside Chiswick Bridge

Hartington Rd

Vehicles with pre-registered licence plates will be able to continue to travel in a northbound direction (i.e. away from the A316). Vehicles permitted to travel northbound through the restriction are all residential properties that sit within the geographical area covered by the ‘CS’ and ‘RV’ controlled parking zones, which LB Hounslow says will be controlled by an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera.

Residents who have not already done so can register their vehicles here. Hartington Rd / Cavendish Rd register.

Visitors and deliveries do not have access to Grove Park via Hartington Rd. These vehicles need to enter Grove Park by an alternative route. For most this will now be Sutton Court Rd from the A4.

Access to Roko gym and the new all weather pitches

Access to Roko gym and the new all weather pitches opposite is permitted, as the restriction only comes into force at the first mini roundabout.

Image above: Entrance to Staveley Rd from A316

Staveley Rd and Burlington Lane

The new access restriction to general traffic on Staveley Road will operate from 8am to 7pm, Mondays to Saturdays, except for buses and permit holders. Motorists and cyclists will still be able to exit Burlington Lane onto the A316. Both this and the no entry to Burlington Lane from the A316 have been introduced under Experimental Traffic Management Orders.

All residents within the ‘Grove Park residents CPZ’, and ‘Fauconberg Road CPZ’, along with those residents living to the east of the A316 (between and including Boston Gardens (to the north) and Riverside Drive (to the south, including Staveley Gardens), will be eligible to apply for an exemption to the restrictions on Staveley Road.

Find out if you are eligible for a permit here: Staveley Rd eligibility

Apply for a permit here: Register for a Staveley Rd permit

Image above: Sign in Riverside Drive, directly opposite A316 entrance to Staveley Rd 

Access the Chiswick School, Sports Centre and cemetery

The restriction starts northwest of the access to Chiswick Sports Centre, so entry to Staveley Rd from the A316 for access to the school entrance, the sports facilities and the cemetery entrance nearer the A316 junction, is still permitted. Access to the allotments is also permitted for members of the Chiswick Horticultural and Allotment Society.

Car Boot sale

The car boot sale at Chiswick School takes place on Sundays, so will not be impacted by the restriction on Staveley Road which operates Monday – Saturday.

Images above: No entry sign at junction of Burlington Lane and A316; No left turn onto Burlington Lane

Anger and confusion

Most residents should have received a reminder letter with details of how to apply for permits, but many are angry and confused, saying “you can’t get in to Grove Park any more.” They are unsure where they can drive without being fined.

Lorraine Angliss, who owns Annie’s restaurant on Thames Rd and Little Bird cocktail bar on Burlington Lane, spoke for many when she told The Chiswick Calendar Grove Park had been turned into a “fortress.”

One resident said to me at the weekend:

“When you’re coming back from France you can’t turn left anywhere until you get to Hogarth Roundabout.”

Others have been crowing about the changes, seeing it as a victory for cyclists and for the environment. Paul Campbell Tweeted on Friday:

“Last workday for driveists to use Sutton Court Road as a rat run to the A4 in Chiswick. New 8am to 7pm restrictions start on Monday. Can’t wait.

“Lots more of the cargo bike guy though. Oh yes. So many parents rocking the cargo bikes at Grove Park School.”

Councillors representing Riverside ward have been received assurances from the Council that for the first two weeks of operation any infringement of the restrictions will result in a warning letter rather than a PCN.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Owner of Annie’s opens Rock & Rose in Chiswick High Rd

See also: From Aberdeen to Truro, FOI request finds the biggest group of drivers fined for driving into Grove Park from the A316 are from outside London

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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

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Brentford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2

Images above: The line up: so far so normal

Most fans would agree there’s never a dull moment when watching Brentford, but this encounter took the zany entertainment to a new level. It might have been suitable for developing for the West End stage as The Football Match That Went Wrong, although unless you were there it would be difficult to believe.

Forget the football for a moment and examine the list of diversions served up by these Premier League combatants.

The game was in its infancy when a long clearance by visiting goalkeeper José Sá was chased down by two Brentford players, with the resulting clash of heads requiring medical attention for Rico Henry and Mathias Jensen. Blood everywhere and concussion substitutions that saw Mads Roerslev and Shandon Baptiste vacate their places on the bench.

In what seemed like a blink of an eye later, referee Peter Bankes stopped play in mid-flow. Players of both sides looked puzzled. Mr Bankes, taking centre-stage of what was devloping into an intriguing drama, looked to the heavens, where the more sharp-eyed could spot a drone dark against the baby blue sky.

Following FA rules, the ref shepherded both teams off the pitch and down the tunnel to the relative safety of the dressing rooms. And there they stayed for a quarter of an hour or more, returning after a helicopter caused the possible sky-spy to zip away and the teams took part in a desultory limbering up before the match could resume.

Images above: The goal’s that way – Wolves on the attack, Brentford 0 Wolves 0 – drone 19 minutes 

Nineteen minutes were added to the playing time and the interval was reached eventually without the necessity of summoning an ambulance, the police, or the military. But Mr Bankes’ starring role in proceedings was not over. A fault with his radio meant a touchline conference and then the referee’s departure to wherever spare radios are stored. Time ticked on. ‘We want our money back,’ warbled the visiting fans. ‘This is embarrassing,’ tunefully responded the Brentford end. ‘Just remember the date,’ legendary announcer Peter Gilham wryly suggested over the PA system.

And that was the end of the dramatics until immediately after the final whistle, when Thomas Frank strode on to the pitch to remonstrate with a Wolves’ player who had displeased him and then turned to discover – you’ve guessed it – Mr Bankes waving in quick succession a yellow card and a red to signal the coach’s sending off.

Meanwhile, concurrent with the play-within-a-game, a football match was continuing as planned. Just a few minutes into the second half João Moutinho and Nelson Semedo smartly exchanged passes to flummox the Brentford defence before Moutinho placed his shot beyond the reach of keeper Jonas Lössl.

The home side’s response was spirited, but not for the first time in recent matches they were experiencing great difficulty in creating opportunities to score.

Substitutes came and in two cases went as Marcus Forss and Yoane Wissa replaced the paramedic pairing of Roerslev and Baptiste. But it was the old firm of Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney who put the home side very much back in the game when Mbeumo’s flighted free kick cleared the defence to find Toney lurking beyond the far post and smacking the ball home, possibly in celebration of his short new haircut.

Images above: Exit pursued by Wolves – Ivan Toney with new aerodynamic hair cut, Subdued celebrations: consolation at least

Referee Bankes, presumably tired of being left in the wings for a while, re-entered the scenario sporadically, first waving a red card at Wolves’ defender Toti Gomes for serious foul play but then withdrawing it; then signalling a Wolves’ goal before consulting VAR and changing his mind. What a star!

The visitors re-established their lead when Brentford’s defence failed to respond quickly enough as Rúben Neves accepted Moutinho’s pass and carefully bent his shot clear of Lӧssl. Whereupon, with Kristoffer Ajer, a real wing-back with pace, bolstering the three strikers, Brentford dominated a finale in which seven additional minutes were added by Mr Bankes after he had ruled offside another successful Wolves finish.

That’s our fourth consecutive defeat, I moaned to my mate Charlie – have we forgotten how to win anything?

‘No,’ said Charlie, ‘but the referee deserves an Oscar.’

Brentford: Lössl; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Canes (substitute Ghettos), Jensen (subs Baptiste, Forss), Norgaard, Janel, Henry (subs Roerslev, Wissa); Mbeumo, Toney.

Wolves: José Sá; Kilmann, Coady, Gomes; Nélson Semedo, Dendoncker, Neves, João Moutinho, Aït-Nouri; Podence (sub Machado Trincãoa) Fábio Silva (sub Traoré).

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

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Drone halts Brentford v Wolverhampton Premier League match

An unauthorised drone halted the Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League match on Saturday (22 January), which led to players leaving the pitch in the 28th minute.

There were fears for the safety of the players and the crowd, had the operator lost control the drone. A helicopter was brought in to to try and drive the drone away.

The Football Safety Officers’ Association has been trying to make people aware of the dangers of drones at football games. Some drone pilots routinely try to film live football games through the devices and have been prosecuted for this in the past.

The teams eventually reappeared and had a short warm up before the action resumed with the game still goalless.

Wolves won the match 2-1 thanks to goals from Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves.

Images above: Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers; photograph Liz Vercoe

Police investigating incident 

A spokesperson for Brentford FC said:

“The Brentford v Wolves match was suspended for period of time due to an unauthorised drone flying above the Brentford Community Stadium.

“Given the risks, the match officials and the stadium safety team followed agreed protocols to suspend the game and remove both teams from the pitch.

“The police are now investigating the incident.”

The Metropolitan Police have not commented on it.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 – match report by Bill Hagerty

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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New image goes up on W4th plinth

Image above: Abundance London putting up the new image on the railway embankment at Turnham Green Terrace

Abundance London has put up the latest in its series of community art works on the railway embankment at Turnham Green Terrace, which they like to call the ‘W4th plinth’.

In a departure from the previous artworks chosen, this one is not created by an artist, but is the work of the Suomi NPP satellite. Over a period of six orbits, the Suomi NPP satellite provided the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument enough time to gather the pixels for this synthesized view of Earth showing North Africa and southwestern Europe.

The image was proposed by Felicity Goodall and reproduced with the permission of NASA.

Image above: The earth from the Suomi NPP satellite 

Abundance London, the not-for-profit which carries out planting projects around Chiswick and also created the Chiswick Timeline underneath the railway bridge on Turnham Green Terrace, has been putting up new art works every few months since September 2019. The first was a collage of music hall entertainers at the Empire theatre, by artist Sir Peter Blake.

While the next one was chosen by popular vote, the onset of the pandemic has made that process too complicated, so subsequent images have been chosen by an Abundance jury led by the artist. Sir Peter, who is most famous for the Sgt Pepper album cover he created for the Beatles, is a long time Chiswick resident.

These are the previous artworks which have been displayed at the site:

Images above: Sir Peter Blake’s collage of music hall performers at the Empire theatre; Penny the Orangutan by David Kimpton and Richard Lawton; Stay At Home collage by students at Chiswick School; A Quiet Sarnie Under the Tree of Life by Suzan Inceer

Abundance London has now opened submissions for the next art work, to be installed in six months’ time. Submit your entry here.

abundancelondon.com

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Pub in the Park announces line-up of chefs for September

See also: Rare first edition Harry Potter book up for auction

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Chiswick Indian restaurant Republic added to the Michelin guide

Image above: Co-founders and owners of Republic, (L) Kuldeep Mattegunta and (R) Mustaq Tappewale

Republic, the Indian restaurant at 301-303 Chiswick High Rd, has been added to the Michelin guide. This brings the number of Chiswick restaurants in the guide to five: La Trompette, Le Vacherin, Silver Birch, Michael Nadra and Republic.

Republic describes itself as a casual dining experience, which offers the vibrance of fine Indian cooking combined with British seasonal ingredients. This is the first restaurant co-founders Mustaq Tappewale and Kuldeep Mattegunta have opened. They met at Kricket group’s flagship restaurant in Soho, and together have twenty years’ experience in the London restaurant industry.

They were on the point of opening in December 2019 when the prime minister announced another lockdown, so instead of a swanky opening night and full restaurant service they were reduced to starting out in Chiswick by doing takeaways only, but word soon got round about how good their food was.

READ ALSO: New restaurant owners “gutted” they can’t go ahead with Chiswick opening, December 2020

READ ALSO: Viva Republic! Restaurant opens in May 2021

READ ALSO: Is this the best restaurant in Chiswick? Review

Image above: Republic’s kitchen is open to the restaurant

The next Michelin starred Indian restaurant?

The Michelin guide says:

‘Two Kricket alumni have joined forces to bring contemporary Indian cooking to Chiswick; ask for a seat at the kitchen counter.

‘Around half of the attractively presented dishes on the menu are vegetarian; spicing is well-judged and the charming owner is always on hand to guide his guests.’

Mustaq and Kuldeep are now going all out to get their first Michelin star this year. Michelin stars are not based on customer reviews, but on undercover inspections by anonymous experts. Their inspectors remain anonymous to avoid being given preferential treatment and undergo official Michelin Guide training in France.

The judging criteria are the same for each restaurant, focusing on the quality of the ingredients, cooking techniques and, most importantly, taste. Michelin stars are awarded solely on the standard of cuisine, so inspectors will not consider a restaurant’s decor or ambience when awarding stars, although the comfort is considered.

At Republic the kitchen is open to the restaurant, so diners can sit at the counter and watch the chefs prepare the food.

Restaurant owners are not told when the inspection will take place, and an inspector may return around three to six times before reporting back to their fellow inspectors, who then come to a joint decision about whether or not to award stars. A restaurant can be rated from 0-3 stars, and there is also a ‘Bib Gourmand’ award for restaurants offering quality food at a reasonable price.

The Chiswick Calendar is delighted that both Republic and Silver Birch are members of our Club Card scheme.

Book a table at Republic here: republicW4.com

See all our Club Card members Food & Drink offers here: Club Card / Food & Drink

Image above: Republic Indian restaurant, Chiswick

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Pub in the Park announces line-up of chefs for September

See also: Owner of Annie’s opens Rock & Rose in Chiswick High Rd

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Pub in the Park announces line-up of chefs for September 

Image above: Pub in the Park, Chiswick

Chefs Tom Kerridge and Matt Tebbutt will be hosting this year’s Pub in the Park event in the gardens of Chiswick House 2 – 4 September. Tickets go on sale on 4 February for the food and music festival which will include Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Craig David among the musicians playing.

This will be the third time Pub in the Park has been held in Chiswick, following its success in 2019 and 2021.

See our gallery of pictures from the 2021 Pub in the Park weekend here: Pub in the Park 2021

This year the popular mix of good food with demonstrations by celebrity chefs and live music has added two more locations to its tour of England – putting on food and music weekends across the summer in Marlow, Wimbledon, Warwick, Bath, Dulwich, Tunbridge Wells St Albans and Brighton as well as Chiswick.

The first pubs and restaurants to announce their participation include Tom Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers, Atul Kochhar Restaurants, Andrew Pern’s The Star Inn, The Mariners by Paul Ainsworth, Joshua Moroney and Mursal Saiq’s Cue Point.

To get first dibs on tickets, sign up to the Pub in the Park newsletter via their website for access to tickets pre-sale on 3 February: pubintheparkuk.com

Images above: Tom Kerridge; Matt Tebbutt

Tom Kerridge is an English Michelin-starred chef who opened The Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in 2005 with his wife Beth Cullen-Kerridge. Within a year he gained his first Michelin star.  In the 2012 list, he won a second Michelin star, the first time a pub had done so. He launched Pub in the Park in Marlow in 2017.

Matt Tebbutt is an English chef and television food presenter best known for presenting shows such as Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped and Drop Down Menu, the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and the Good Food channel’s Market Kitchen.

Images above: Masala lamb chop; Ox cheek Benedict

Providing food for this year’s festival will be some familiar faces and some new ones. Among the other pubs and restaurants which have signed up to the Chiswick weekend are Paul Ainsworth’s  The Mariners, brand new to Chiswick, by the chef-patron at Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 in Padstow, Cornwall, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2013 and has four AA Rosettes.

The award winning Hoppers will be there, serving Sri Lankan and South Indian inspired dishes, and The Begging Bowl serving Thai food. Back by popular demand are Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, Indian cuisine, Atul Kochhar Restaurants, Andrew Pern’s The Star Inn, and Joshua Moroney and Mursal Saiq’s Cue Pointcelebrating the best in British Afghan fusion BBQ.

“We’re so excited to be bringing some seriously top notch chefs and their incredible pubs and restaurants to the towns we love this year” said Tom Kerridge.

“Food is at the very heart of what we do. I’ve had a sneak peek at the menus and I’ve definitely got my eye on a few of the dishes – we can’t wait for you to try them!”

Images above: Craig David; Sophie Ellis-Bextor

This page is paid for by Pub in the Park

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market attracts 60,000 visitors

See also: Top Ten things to do in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Andrea’s film review – C’mon C’mon

C’mon C’mon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Review by Andrea Carnevali

When his sister asks him to look after her son, a radio journalist embarks on a cross-country trip with his energetic nephew to show him life away from Los Angeles. In Selected Cinemas.

Once in a while a film comes along which unexpectedly not only touches you in ways very few things can, but it will also leave a mark that stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

C’mon C’mon is the latest film by Mike Mills (the director Beginners from 2010, another one of those that made me cry like a baby).

It’s the story Johnny, a soft-spoken radio journalist, who travels the country, interviewing children and recording their stories and their thoughts and feelings about what the future might hold for them.

When his estranged sister asks him to take care of her nine year old boy, Jesse, while her husband is in hospital for some mental illness, Johnny takes the child back to New York City where they will slowly forge a deep and intimate bond, something which clearly they both desperately need.

Let me tell you, I loved this film!

It may have something to do with the fact that it’s about a nine-year old boy, which is the age of my son right now.

What C’mon C’mon does is that it manages to capture exactly what children are like: their perception of reality, their never-ending energy, their seemingly distant mind when you try to talk to them about serious things, their capacity to switch from happy to sad within seconds, their lack of inhibitions and their infinite wisdom half hidden behind their simple language.

Jesse is a nine-year old who speaks and acts like one. This is not an interpretation by a screenwriter, or a heavily directed performance, or a movie; this feels like reality!

And of course it goes without saying that his performance is one of the most astonishing by a child I have seen in years, down to his impeccable American accent (an astonishing thing, since he’s actually British).

In fact he is so good that at times he even manages to outshine Joaquin Phoenix, one of the best actors of his generation. Phoenix too is particularly exquisite and wonderfully restrained in this film… To think that only a couple of year ago he played the skinny Joker!

This is a splendid slow-burning film with so many layers to unpack, so many character moments, which ring so true they often look as if they’ve been improvised and not scripted.

The director also mixes the main storyline about the relationship between uncle and nephew, with some documentary-style interviews with other children, filmed and edited in a unique, often almost abstract way, but never losing sight of the emotional trajectory that the film is following. This adds a level of realism to the film as well as some insightful wisdom from the most unexpected places.

It’s hard to talk about C’mon C’mon without making it sound boring or pretentious. Yes, it is probably a bit indulgent in places, but despite its seemingly meandering pace, the muted black and white cinematography, its power is undeniable. I found myself wiping tears off my eyes more than once.

It might not be apparent how good this film is straight away while watching it, but hopefully it will resurface in retrospect, possibly long after the film has finished.

In fact I watched this yesterday and it still lingering with me today as I am thinking back to moments in it, wondering whether I can be a better man…. and a better father.

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

C’mon C’mon is in selected cinemas now.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Back to the Future: The Musical

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Chiswick Flower market attracts 60,000 visitors

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market,May 2021; photograph Anna Kunst

Chiswick Flower Market had 60,000 visitors in 2021, it reported in its annual review, published today.

The market was launched in September 2020 as a Community Interest Company run by volunteers to revitalise the economy of the High Rd. Despite the pandemic, the team were able to run eight markets in 2021 and it is now well on the way to achieving its aim. Data from TfL’s cameras show footfall on a flower market Sundays in Chiswick High Road are 70% higher than a non-market Sunday.

“Our surveys also show that 54% of our visitors were from outside the immediate W4 area and 22% of all visitors had travelled more than 5 km to visit us.” said Karen Liebreich, one of the directors.

The Chiswick Flower Market has also made a profit. Total revenue was £20,000 in the year, with operating costs of £8,000. The surplus of £12,000 is being invested back in the local area including £3,500 which the team used to replant the flower beds of Chiswick High Road.

Finance director Kath Mitra said:

“As the market gets into a financially stable footing, we will be able to invest more into the market and the local area based on need assessments – we invested in improving the planting around the High Road and have funding available for other ideas. We would welcome any suggestions on this.”

Image above: Vicky of London Houseplants, one of the Columbia Rd readers who have joined the market, at the July market; photograph Frank Noon

Encouraging new local businesses

The market organisers have also been keen to encourage new and especially local businesses. Of the 60 different traders at the markets, 65% were locally based, 75% of which were new businesses.

Director Ollie Saunders, who chooses the traders for Chiswick Flower Market, said:

“We always wanted to have a rich mix of different traders ranging from local start-up businesses to established and well-known traders including RHS Gold Winners Jacques Amand and Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, plus traders from other markets including Columbia Road.”

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market bags on sale; photograph Anna Kunst

Developing a sustainable market

One of the aims the market has found most difficult to achieve is making the market plastic-free. Most traders across the horticultural industry use plastic pots and black plastic in particular does not lend itself to recycling.

“We want to play our part in reducing the horticultural industry’s use of virgin plastic” said Kath Mitra, “so we will be launching a plastic pot recycling scheme at our market on Sunday 6 February.

“Customers will have a place to drop off used plant pots which will be used again – either by other visitors who can collect them or by our traders who will use them for plants they will be selling in our market later in the year.”

The market told traders last year they would no longer be able to give out plastic bags. Instead market goers are encouraged to bring their own bags or to buy one of the large Jute bags which bear the market’s logo and are robust enough to carry quite big plants.

From the beginning the market has operated a cargo bike delivery service operated by volunteers, to encourage people not to bring their cars. There is also a plant ‘creche’ when buyers can drop their purchases while they get lunch or go shopping.

The market is trying to the carbon footprint of the plants on sale. As most cut flowers and houseplants come from Holland and Denmark, it is hard to run a flower market without importing.

“Around 75% of what is sold is grown or produced in the UK and we have worked with our traders to reduce the use of peat” said Ollie.

“We want to increase the number of British grown flowers and are working with growers to find ways to bring the highest quality of seasonal, sustainable, locally grown flowers to our market.

Image above: Chivaree ice king and queen, stilt-walkers at the December market; photograph Anna Kunst

Queen’s Jubilee Market

As social distancing rules were reduced in 2021, the market was able to experiment with street entertainment, with 17 acts including stilt-walkers, fire-eaters, jazz musicians, tap dances, school choirs and the local rock choir.

Plans for this year include a special Queen’s Jubilee Market on the June bank holiday weekend.

The next Chiswick Flower Market will be on Sunday 6 February. Others are planned for the first Sunday of every month throughout the year.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Top ten things to do in Chiswick

See also: Reactions to the ‘Big Ideas’ proposed to develop Chiswick town centre

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Fuller’s launches new health benefit for team members

Fuller’s, whose beers are brewed at the Griffin brewery in Chiswick, has launched a new health benefit package for its staff who work in their pubs and hotels.

Fuller, Smith and Turner have a good reputation for treating their staff well, but health benefits are more usually used in industry as a benefit for office staff. Extending it to even the lowest paid staff in pubs is seen as industry leading.

Paul Nunny, Director of Cask Marque, an independent assessor of quality cask ales, praised the initiative:

“This programme is industry leading – I don’t know of anyone else in the sector who has anything like this. It reflects the way Fuller’s looks after its employees.”

Team members from kitchen porters to deputy managers across Fuller’s Managed Pubs and Hotels will benefit from the scheme, which provides support for routine medical treatment, a virtual GP service, help with optician costs, dental plans, access to alternative and complementary therapies, and contributions to prescription costs.

The new healthcare benefit as part of a package of improvements to its pay and benefits, at a time when the hospitality industry is struggling to attract staff in a very difficult market.

Image above: The Pilot; The George IV, Fuller’s pubs in Chiswick

The new service is run in partnership with Medicash, a well-established healthcare cash plan. General Managers and Head Chefs at Fuller’s are already covered under Fuller’s existing private medical insurance, but the new scheme ensures that all pub and hotel team members, who have been with the company for at least 12 months, have access to a healthcare benefit.

The benefit in kind tax has also been absorbed by Fuller’s, to ensure the new scheme is totally free for its team members. Dependent children are automatically covered and partners can be added at the team member’s own cost.

Other improvements made in recent months to the Fuller’s benefits package include an improved staff discount that rises with tenure of service and the launch of a new platform called My Fuller’s, which brings all of the benefits on offer together in one place.

This includes access to a huge range of discounts on everything from shopping and leisure to gyms and insurance, a range of wellbeing services, the Fuller’s Give as you Earn scheme for those donating regularly to charities, improved parental leave, access to online learning tools and a link to Wagestream, a service that provides advanced access to wages when needed.

Dawn Browne, People and Talent Director at Fuller’s, said the new health benefit was something she was really proud of.

“If you want to work for a company that takes looking after its people seriously, Fuller’s is definitely the place where you belong.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See also: West London borough police commander sacked for gross misconduct

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Lisa Armstrong shows off her new home

Lisa Armstrong, whose divorce from Ant McPartlin made news in the tabloids for months, has been showing off her new west London home on social media. The award winning makeup artist has invested part of her significant divorce settlement on a swimming pool and gym.

The former couple were long-term Chiswick residents prior to their split. When their marriage ended in 2018 their £5m home in Chiswick went to Lisa and she has since sold it.

Ant and Dec famously bought houses next door to each other at Strand on the Green when they first came to Chiswick and then built bigger houses next door to each other nearby in Grove Park.

Lisa was also awarded a substantial part of his wealth in the divorce, reported to be £31 million. She submitted papers to the council in a planning application for the overhaul, as part of her first big spend since her split from TV star Ant. Lisa also wants to install an outhouse and gazebo in the grounds of her house.

Image above: Lisa’s Tweet showing her new home

She is making the changes as she settles down with her new partner – 37-year-old electrician James Green.

She moved into her new home in 2020 and in the same year her divorce was reportedly finalised and she went public with her new relationship with James. Ant has since married his former PA, Anne-Marie Corbett.

‘It’s like it never happened’

Ant and Lisa met at a Smash Hits concert in Newcastle, in the mid-90s, when Lisa was in girl group Deuce and Ant was performing with Declan Donnelly as PJ & Duncan. They stayed together for 23 years, 11 of them as husband and wife.

They married in 2006, with Dec serving as best man. Lisa helped Ant after he battled a prescription drug addiction and a stint in rehab in 2017.

When posting pictures of her new home on Instagram, Lisa said:

‘And relax!!! #itslikeitneverhappened All back to normal… Happy 2022!!!’

Speaking of his new relationship, Ant said:

“Anne-Marie honestly is the fundamental reason for the great change in my life. She’s been my rock. She’s a beautiful soul. We’re very happy.”

Image above: Ant and Lisa together; Ant with his wife Anne-Marie

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Brentford 1 Manchester United 3

Image above: Brentford v Manchester United, Wednesday 19 January 2022; last time these two faced each other in the same league was 1947

If ever a game justified the cliché of football being a game of two halves, this was it.

For forty-five minutes Brentford pummelled the visitors, with only inadequate finishing and the brilliance of keeper David de Gea preventing them reaching the interval a goal or two ahead. In the second half, United pulled themselves together, went in front and scored two further goals before the Bees resumed where they had left off earlier and snatched a goal of their own – a consolation score as it is known, although there was little evidence of them being consoled.

Let’s concentrate on that first half display for a moment. Here was Brentford at their scintillating best, dominating what was a cracking game right up to the moments when they came close, but not close enough, to scoring.

Jonas Lössl, preferred in goal to the hapless Alvaro Fernández, was largely a spectator as United weaved pretty patterns of passing without taxing him unduly. At the other end, chances came and went. Mathias Jensen, hardly an accomplished sharpshooter at the best of times, tested de Gea so much that he cleared the ball only with an extended foot. Christian Nørgaard fired an effort too high. Three Brentford corners won in quick succession had the visitors reeling.

Image above: Behind you! Christian Nørgaard pursued by Bruno Fernandes

This was an unexpected turn of events for United, a team worth billions if you include those on the bench, being spanked by West London’s Premier League newcomers valued at, say, less than fifty million. Surely there will be Premier League spendthrifts getting in line when the transfer windows come around.

The United front-runners stuttered like a cheap firework, with Cristiano Ronaldo so rarely in evidence that the juveniles in the crowd delighting in booing him whenever he touched the ball soon stopped, presumably on the grounds of boredom.

But the second of the two halves arrived with a different complexion. There was barely time for Ivan Toney to head against the United crossbar and Jensen to attempt a long-range lob that didn’t trouble de Gea and a soft shot into the keeper’s arms that might have been described as being served up on a plate had a plate been handy, before United took control.

First Fred pierced the home defence with an immaculate pass that enabled Anthony Elanga to head past Lössl; then Ronaldo chested the ball forward to Bruno Fernandes whose run and cross set up Mason Greenwood to add a second.

With a two-goal cushion, United slowed their involvement to a funereal pace, blatantly so when Diago Dalot paused to re-tie a bootlace slowly while Mads Sorensen waited by the nearby touchline to take a throw-in. The crowd hooted and interim manager – now, surely there’s a first! – Ralf Rangnick made substitutions that included the bad-tempered departure from the field of Ronaldo.

Image above: A deeply disgruntled Cristiano Ronaldo is subbed by Harry Maguire

But United hadn’t finished yet and it was the industrious Fernandes who supplied the cross for the recent arrival from the bench Marcus Radford to make ground before rendering Lössl’s dive redundant.

Dispirited but not despairing, Brentford retaliated by swarming forward to find something to write home about, if only to their mums. Jensen made way for Yoane Wissa, who immediately became an irritant to the United defence, and Shandon Baptiste, having earlier replaced Vitaly Janelt, fizzed creatively.

The excellent Bryan Mbeumo continued to harass the defence and Toney snatched a goal from close in – nice to see him on the scoresheet again – with just five minutes to play; too little, too late and less than Brentford deserved, but at least establishing something for the home fans later to reminisce about while bemoaning the injustice of it all.

‘United are unbelievably lucky,’ observed a frustrated Thomas Frank at the close.

Image above: Making memories: a match to bring the family to

Funny game, football, I mused to my mate Charlie.

’I’m not laughing,’ said Charlie.

Brentford: Lössl; Pinnock, Jansson, Sorensen; Roerslev, Jensen (substitute Wissa), Norgaard, Janelt (sub Baptiste), Canós (sub Henry). Mbeumo, Toney.

Manchester United: de Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf; Varane, Telles; Fred, McTominay (sub Matic); Greenwood (sub Rashford), Fernandes, Elanga; Cristiano Ronaldo (sub Maguire).

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

Photographs Liz Vercoe.

Read more stores on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford FC reports record annual turnover despite Covid challenges

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Andrea’s film review – Hostile (2021)

Hostile (2021) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Hostile is a feature-length documentary focusing on the impact of the evolving ‘hostile environment’ policies, which are designed to make living conditions so difficult for migrants that they voluntarily leave the country. Released on 21 January in selected cinemas.

I started watching this not knowing anything about it – Always the best way to watch a movie in my view (In fact I don’t know why you’re even reading this).

Within five minutes I had already made up my mind, I wasn’t going to like this documentary at all. It felt cheap, un-focused, TV-like, pretty obvious and it seemed to want to score cheap points by firing at the Conservative government for its “hostile approach” to immigration (an easy target, really!), while a sad violin music played in the background.

But then something must have happened because all of a sudden I found myself listening (actually LISTENING) to the stories I was being told and completely forgot I was meant to review this afterwards.

The documentary (not to be confused by the horror film “Hostile” from 2017), after few random misfires and cheap headlines at the start, started to focus on single stories about individual people: and that’s when it begun to work for me.

Stories about international students, ‘victims’ from the Windrush generation, the so-called ‘highly-skilled migrants’ and incredible community organisers – not all heroes wear capes really!

Even more interesting when it started blaming both sides of the British political landscape, going as far back the times of the British Empire. Tony Blair’s ‘New Labour’ got as much blame as Boris Johnson today during his Covid-stricken mandate.

Nothing feels easy or is trivialised and nothing gets depicted as either black or white here – even Johnson himself seems to pass for a decent guy at some point (spoiler alert: he’s not, at least in the film-makers’ eyes). This is a serious subject and it’s treated with upmost seriousness, but the point the film wants to make is not difficult to get: this is unjust and horrific.

In the end, not only was I proven dead wrong and I had to eat my own words, but I also found myself moved by several of the stories I was watching. In fact, not just moved, but also frustrated, angry, powerless, annoyed, shocked.

So despite my initial reaction, this is a powerful piece, which does some meandering, some heavy-handed violin-like music to prove its points (not that it needs it anyway) and a slight inconclusive end – possibly a problem with the subject matter itself than the documentary.

This is the kind of stuff that should be mandatory watch in schools followed by an in-depth discussion.

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

Hostile (2021) is released on 21 January in selected cinemas

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Back to the Future: The Musical

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 car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

A master conman, who manipulated a series of victims out of hundreds of thousands of pounds over several decades, used to prey on potential victims from the car showroom where he worked in Chiswick.

Robert Hendy-Freegard went from one victim to the next, using different names and identities, spinning fantastical tales, trapping his marks in a web of lies, alienating them from their friends and families, inflicting emotional and financial ruin on them and raking in nearly a million pounds in the process.

The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, a three-part documentary series just released on Netflix, tells the story of his career as a master conman: how as ‘Robert Freegard’ he made a group of students believe he worked for MI5 and they had to go on the run with him to avoid assassination by the IRA and how, as ‘David Hendy’ he turned another woman against her children to isolate her and control her.

The mini-series unravels the stories through the accounts of some of his victims and their families, and interviews with an FBI officer and retired police officer stationed at Hammersmith, who laid a trap for him and eventually caught him.

In June 2005, Hendy-Freegard was convicted of ten counts of theft, eight of procuring money by deception and two of kidnapping, but two years later, to the dismay of his victims, he was cleared of the kidnap charges on a technicality. His life sentence was revoked but he still served nine years for the other offences. He is now free and thought to be living in France.

In the documentary, a former colleague from the Chiswick showroom tells how he used his good looks and charm to hit on women continually, until he was sacked for it.

Image above: John Atkinson (left), Sarah Smith (centre), Maria Hendy (right) – from The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, Netflix

Hendy-Freegard posed as an MI5 agent to lure his victims

The conman first struck in Newport, Shropshire, in the early 1990s, where he was working as a barman. He met a wealthy farmer’s son, John Atkinson, and his then girlfriend Sarah Smith, with their housemate Maria. The three were students at an agricultural college.

He told John that he was an MI5 undercover agent who was investigating an IRA cell in the college. Using the political climate at the time to his advantage, Freegard convinced John one of his flatmates was working with the IRA. He persuaded John to tell the girls he had terminal cancer and that they should go on a road trip around England to help him enjoy his last months, to get them away from the college for their own safety.

During the trip, John was told to come clean about his lie and reveal ‘the truth’ about the IRA threat against them. He frightened them into believing their families would be in danger should they contact them, so all communications – unless sanctioned by Freegard – were severed. The three were made to go on ‘missions’ around the country, with Sarah racking up big credit card bills.

Her father realised something was not quite right. He tracked the locations where she had used her card and doggedly phoned anywhere they might have stayed. It took ten years for him to get her back, but his meticulous research helped the police when they eventually took Hendy-Freegard’s crimes seriously.

Both John and Sarah persuaded their parents to part with hundreds of thousands of pounds, believing it was necessary to keep them safe from the IRA. Both say they contemplated suicide when they realised how badly they had been conned.

The money was largely spent on various James Bond style luxuries, including seven BMWs as well as an £80,000 Aston Martin Volante, Rolex watches and Savile Row suits.

The third student of the group, Maria, became his lover and gave birth to two children. He was both physically and emotionally abusive towards her. John returned to his family farm for what he thought was a temporary spell, while he waited for updates from Freegard – updates which eventually ceased. Sarah was imprisoned in one of the ‘safe houses’ where she was locked in the bathroom and left for days without food.

Images above: Renata Kister with her new car, the Chiswick car showroom where Hendy-Freegard worked – from The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, Netflix

Working in the car salesroom in Chiswick gave him the opportunity to meet women and gain their confidence

In 2000 Hendy-Freegard met a lawyer, Renata Kister, a customer he sold a car to at the dealership in Chiswick. He persuaded her to give him money for a business they would run together and stole £14,000 from her building society account.

They became lovers and went on holidays all over the world. They then became engaged but her family intervened. Speaking in the documentary, Renata said:

“He persuaded me to buy a brand new car. Robert told me that his real job is being a spy. Over three years I have lost about £20,000 to him, which Rob promised to pay back… But he just disappeared.”

One day, Hendy-Freegard rang Renata, claiming he had a friend who needed to stay somewhere safe.

“He managed to persuade me she would be a good help to me, so I agreed for this lady to come and live with me” Renata said. Sarah lived with Renata under the pseudonym Carrie, working as her cleaner.

Soon after, the police contacted Renata who began to co-operate with their investigation into the conman – who, she learned, had recently been arrested. Sarah was reunited with her family.

Image above: artist’s sketch of court room proceedings – from The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, Netflix

Arrest, conviction and appeal

He entrapped an American child psychologist, Kimberley Adams, with tales of how he was an undercover spy, had infiltrated a criminal network and how he had killed a criminal who had threatened to expose him.

Weeks into their relationship, he proposed but told Dr Adams she would have to be a spy also, resign from her job in Reading and end contact with her family.

In 2002 Scotland Yard and the FBI organised a sting operation. First, the FBI bugged the phone of the Kimberley’s parents. On instructions from the FBI and Scotland Yard, her mother told Hendy-Freegard she would hand over £10,000 but only in person. He met Kim’s mother in Heathrow Airport where police arrested him.

Images above: Jake (left) Sandra (centre) and Sophie Clifton (right), Jake and Sophie Clifton – from The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, Netflix

Relationship with Sandra Clifton

Hendy-Freegard is now in a relationship with Sandra Clifton and a regular on the pedigree dog-show circuit using the name David Clifton.

The couple met on a dating app in 2012 after Sandra had got divorced. Hendy-Freegard ‘bought’ her a brand new blue Audi, telling her he was working in the media selling advertising space. The car turned out to be financed in her name.

Sandra’s relationship with her children slowly deteriorated over two years, with Hendy-Freegard suggesting Jake, then 16, was gay and repeatedly locking him out the house. After these incidents continued, Jake went to live at his father’s house.

Sophie, Sandra’s daughter, cut off communication with her brother and father after being “brainwashed” by Hendy-Freegard. She says she was coerced into handing over £10,000 in savings to him. Sophie remembers him laughing when he found out about her savings account.

In 2020, Jake tried to stop Hendy-Freegard getting his hands on the house his mother inherited from her parents by putting it into trust. Sandra challenged the attempt, accusing her son of trying to steal from her. The two saw each other for the first time in years in a virtual-court hearing.

Jake explained he merely wanted to preserve the house for her so it wouldn’t fall into Freegard’s hands. Legally, the judge had no choice but to relinquish ownership to Sandra. The house was worth £300,000.

When police contacted Sandra to open her eyes to Hendy-Freegard’s past crimes, she told them she knew who he was and didn’t care. Freegard has strongly denied accusations he is controlling her. Her heartbroken children, supported by their father, cooperated with the documentary series as they want her back in their lives.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: West London borough police commander sacked for gross misconduct

See also: Chiswick masseur convicted of voyeurism

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 Tender Bar

The Tender Bar ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

A boy growing up on Long Island seeks out father figures among the patrons at his uncle’s bar. Available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Tender Bar is the latest film directed by George Clooney (yes, that George Clooney) and it’s based on a 2005 memoir by journalist J.R. Moehringer, who would eventually grow up to be a Pulitzer-winning writer (and the celebrity ghost-writer of autobiographies for people like Andre Agassi and Prince Harry.

It is essentially a sort of good-hearted coming-of-age story, set in the 1970s, and ‘80s, about the young JR (for Junior) who lives with his mother at his grandfather’s house after her breakup with his dad. His uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck) acts as a surrogate father and will essentially teach him how to be a man and pursuit his dream of becoming a writer.

It is a simple story, which despite the feeling of familiarity (how many times have we seen a family huddled up anxiously waiting to open a letter from a university to see whether the son has been accepted?) has a lot of warmth to it and running at 1 hour and 46 minutes never really outstays its welcome.

The film is told in a non-linear structure, through a series of flashbacks, jumping about from the 1970s and ‘80s. At times some of the transitions feel a bit rushed and even messy and the film often loses its focus, as it tries to cover too much ground (this is the classic thing which would have been better suited to a mini-series and focuses on sub-plots and characters which are actually not as interesting. As a result, many of the side characters end up feeling a bit superficial, just like two-dimensional caricatures. For example Christopher Lloyd, who plays the grandfather,  is really wasted as he’s given much too little to do.

However the highlight of The Tender Bar is Ben Affleck – something I never thought I would ever have said, when I watched Pearl Harbour for the first time, more than 20 years ago.

His portrayal of the affable uncle Charlie lights up every scene he’s in, even when he doesn’t talk and just sits there and stares. He’s just been nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he nabbed an Oscar nod too.

His presence alone, as well as the warm and loving nostalgic feel throughout, aided by a terrific soundtrack with some great period songs, makes this film a lot more enjoyable than many critics may lead you to believe.

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

The Tender Bar is available to watch on Amazon Prime

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Back to the Future: The Musical

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.

Ealing Council new policy limiting tall buildings

Image above: 25 storey ‘monster tower’ next to the Bollo Lane railway crossing in Chiswick

LB Ealing has promised to stop the “spread of skyscrapers”, issuing new guidance to developers stressing the need for more affordable housing and more sustainable buildings.

It defines tall building as “those that are substantially taller than their neighbours and/or which significantly change the skyline”.

Local residents have campaigned for the past few years against developments the Council has sanctioned which overshadow their homes. The Planning Committee approved an application by developers to build ten towers, including one which is 25-storeys high, in South Acton in January 2021.

The ‘monster tower’ development on Bollo Lane was approved by ten votes to three, despite more than 600 residents objecting. The 25 storey block will be by far the tallest in the Chiswick area.

Image above: CGI of the entrance at 93 Bollo Lane (Picture credit: Alistair Downie)

A planning application for more tower blocks on Bollo Lane was submitted in August 2021. Local residents reacted against the application, saying it was:

‘yet another high-rise crammed into an over-developed part of Ealing’ and would ‘significantly [impact] on the privacy of houses in the area’. Others said there was ‘bound to be more traffic along Bollo Lane’ the development were to be built, which would threaten to create a ‘vastly over-crowded road.’

READ ALSO: 25 storey ‘monster tower’ planned for Chiswick, July 2020

READ ALSO: More tower blocks planned for Bollo Lane, August 2021

In today’s statement, the Council acknowledged the borough has seen a larger number of tall buildings being proposed by private developers outside of designated areas for growth over the past few years.

They would continue to consider buildings of  an “exemplar standard of design” if they were deemed appropriate.

LB Ealing has also set out new local planning policy guidance that sets out the character of each of Ealing’s seven towns, which introduces a new housing design guide to encourage good-quality and sustainable buildings.

The Ealing Character Study and Housing Design Guide contains “generic design principles” that will be applied to the consideration of tall buildings by the Council, including the visual impact on views, the integration with neighbourhoods and the effects on the microclimate.

Councillor Shital Manro, Cabinet Member for Good Growth said:

“In making this statement, we are making it abundantly clear to both developers and planners alike what our expectations are going forward.”

Ealing Council Leader Peter Mason

The Council is balancing opposition to tower blocks with the needs of those on its waiting list for housing, which currently stands at 11,000. Leader of Ealing Council Peter Mason said:

“We do not want to see the spread of skyscrapers in Ealing. London has an affordable homes crisis and a climate emergency, and we will not solve either with ever more luxury apartments in the sky.

Last year Cllr Mason announced a new approach to development which he said would put community led development in the driving seat of regeneration:

“COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work forever. We’ve spent more time in our local areas than ever before; more of us are working from home and lots of us either want to keep it that way or to work more locally and flexibly. People are feeling more invested in the future of their neighbourhoods than ever before.

“Many people don’t feel in control of the areas they live in, and I want to change that. From now on, communities will be in the driving seat when it comes to regeneration in Ealing. Local communities need to lead the process of changing our borough, not developers.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Gary Malcolm

Gary Malcolm, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Ealing Council and a councillor for Southfield ward, told The Chiswick Calendar he welcomed the move but the Local Plan would need to be consulted on and agreed, a process which would take several months, so at the moment the Council’s policy merely amounted to posturing.

“Over the past five to eight years the Council has agreed lots of tower blocks in Chiswick and Acton which will change the face of the area. It’s true that Government legislation makes some of these hard to turn down, but where the Council has failed is that is has not had a very strong Local Plan.

“Any developer who puts in an application who meets basic building requirements pretty much gets rubber stamped. It’s a bit late in the day for them to be doing this because they have not been turning down buildings which are inappropriate.

“When you update the Local Plan there’s a process you have to go through of consulting with residents, councillors, residents associations and organisations in the area, which can take months.

“My fear is that with every month that goes by while the new Local Plan is being discussed, more developers will put in plans and the trouble is, the Council is obliged to give them a decision, to accept or reject it within a certain time frame.

“I was saying ten years ago we ought to have a stronger Local Plan.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See also: Reactions to the ‘Big Ideas’ proposed to develop Chiswick town centre

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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