Huge response from Chiswick for donations for Ukrainian refugees

Image above: collection of donations

The message went out and people responded

Chiswick residents have been organising support for Ukrainian refugees, with individuals rallying the community to organise and transport donations of essential supplies to the Polish border. Donations of medicine, flashlights, clothing, nappies, blankets, sleeping bags and other items have been collected for the refugees fleeing the invasion of their country.

On Saturday (26 February), Chiswick resident Marek Wizowski told his neighbour Margie Frew he had emptied out two vans he owned and wanted to take provisions across Europe for Ukrainian  refugees. Marek has family who live close to the border and his sister is a doctor, so they were well informed about what supplies were needed.

Margie offered her house as a drop off point for donations, sending out a text message to 20 people and asking for donations on social media. Margie’s friends spread the word through social clubs, schools and other neighbourhood groups. The message was disseminated across west London, with financial assistance for some of the donations coming from as far as the United States.

About a thousand people answered the call for donations, dropping off supplies over the course of two days, filling up eight vans and two lorries. Volunteers are now driving the vehicles to the Polish border towns of Medyka and Przemyśl and a fundraiser has been set up to fund the costs for crossing the border and for fuel.

“Spectacular” display of community spirit

Margie told The Chiswick Calendar the call for supplies just took off; people said they had heard about it on parent chat forums from Latymer School, Belmont Primary School and Ravenscourt Park.

She said:

“One mum from Belmont who’s American called her family back in the States and said we can do something here, now I need money. She got £1,500 and went to Costco on Sunday morning and bought men’s fleeces and jackets, socks, toiletries, baby food and formula, cat food and dog food.”

By 1pm on Sunday, Margie said more than enough clothes had been donated but there were too few sleeping bags, medical supplies and electrical items. Polish officials have said medicine is in short supply. Organisers started telling people to stop bringing clothes and instead to bring flashlights, batteries, medicine and sleeping bags.

“Within 30 minutes people started showing up with boxes from Robert Dyas, bags of toiletries; the message was turned on a dime. One woman turned up with 12 sleeping bags because she heard they were needed.”

At least a dozen volunteers were helping out in the house at any given time, most of them people Margie had never met before. Many asked how they could help and were happy to carry out their assigned jobs, even if all they were asked to do was to go to Sainsbury’s to buy more boxes and tape.

Margie said the community spirit on display was “spectacular”.

“People just rolled up their sleeves and tucked in.”

Marker pens at the ready

Many people who showed up took initiative and brought along permanent markers, boxes and packing tape so supplies were properly organised.

“One of the key things we were told is when you get to the site of a refugee area, you can’t just have everything mishmash. You have to know what’s medicine, what’s kids and what’s adults” said Margie.

If donations weren’t labelled or weren’t properly labelled, boxes and bags had to be opened up and separated so they could be properly repacked later.

“The kitchen was set up as a toiletry distribution area – there was a full area with toothbrushes, shampoo, hand wash, batteries, tampons, pads, Calpol, Nurofen, wet wipes.

“At one point outside of my house we had six giant boxes and at any given time there were three or four volunteers who were just separating items to fill entire boxes with one product.”

They have now finished collecting, as the vans and trucks are on the way.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Waiting for the fall of Kyiv

See also: Russian TV presenter with flat in Chiswick ‘a spy’

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 80: Waiting for the Assault on Kyiv

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

“It’s quite a pleasant day here, warmer and sunny,” says the expatriate cricketer, “and if we won the toss it’s definitely a day to bat first.”

The problem for Kobus Olivier is that he is speaking to Peter Oborne and Richard Heller from Kyiv, in the apartment where he has had to barricade himself against Vladimir Putin’s savage assault.

The 62-year-old South African is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ukraine Cricket Association. Before the war, cricket was beginning to thrive. He personally had introduced the game to over 2,000 Ukrainian boys and girls aged 6 to 17. There were high hopes of qualification for Ukraine as an Associate member of the International Cricket Conference, opening the path to international competition and finance. But now there is no cricket. Hell has stopped play.


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“There’s been a lot of explosions this morning, one right next to my building.” They are not the work of a conventional assault but of a form of warfare little reported in Western media. “It’s Russian saboteurs. They are all over Kyiv in the suburban areas,  dressed like civilians. They’ve been infiltrating Kyiv over the past months” (which would imply clear premeditation by Putin). They stage gun battles with Ukrainian forces (from his balcony the night before he had witnessed one of ten minutes with rapid machine gun fire) and perform acts of terrorism against civilians. “They blend in with their civilian clothes and go down into the metro subways people are using as shelters. Last night there were 200 people in one of these, like sardines, and about seven [saboteurs] opened fire on the two subway guards and shot them at point blank range.”

Conditions are even worse in Ukraine’s second major city, Kharkhiv, where the streets have been penetrated by regular Russian soldiers supported by tanks. It had home to the 15,000 Indian students, mainly medical, who supply almost all of Ukraine’s adult cricketers. About 7000 had left before the war, but 8000 are trapped in the city, some in their hostels, many more in the subways, terrified of a visit from the soldiers, all of them running short of food and water.

As a South African, he had many chances to leave. He rejected them all. Why? “Firstly, it’s my dogs”. Four Yorkshire terrier crosses. Frontier and medical formalities would have forced him to leave them behind. Nor could he give up his cricket mission in Ukraine. “It’s more than a passion it’s become an obsession.”

Kobus describes his long and peripatetic career. He was a top club and league player in South Africa and England. He was director of cricket at Capetown University, rightly proud of bringing Graeme Smith through its ranks and securing his friend Gary Kirsten as a coach. He became national youth coach for the Netherlands and then CEO of Cricket Kenya. He set up a cricket academy in Dubai with Ravi Ashwin. Cricket memories begin to pour out, clearly a relief from the present stress and the constant sleepless anxiety. He tells a lovely story of the South African batsman Hylton Ackerman failing to recognize Don Bradman who had come to greet him at an Australian airport and asking him to help carry his bags.

Everything changed when he went for a holiday in Ukraine. He fell in love with Kyiv in the snow, with its beautiful old buildings, its café society, its energetic people, many still favouring their national dress. He returned several times and decided to make a new life there, first as a wine importer, then as a teacher and director of one of Kyiv’s leading private schools. But cricket called him back -through the children. They were getting bored in English and PE. To give them something completely new, he introduced cricket into PE, with a softball cricket set. They took to it enthusiastically, and he was asked to introduce it in more and more schools. With more kit from Dubai and the Lords Taverners, and the backing of Kyiv’s mayor, the former boxing champion, Vitaly Klitschko, he scaled the programme upwards, training PE teachers to give the basics of cricket in public parks. “We focused on girls’ cricket,” he says. “Ukrainian girls are often phenomenal athletes and ahead of the boys of the same age.”

His youth programme filled a void in Ukraine cricket and allowed it to begin membership negotiations with the ICC. He was invited to the board of the Ukraine Cricket Federation, which had run the adult cricket, almost all for expatriate students, and he became its CEO.

Ukraine cricket was thriving before the war. Hundreds of children were eager to try hardball cricket and Kobus was seeking equipment and a supply of nets to satisfy them. New coaches were being trained. Around 600 adults were set to play a range of competitions. There were internationals against Hungary and Malta. There were new purpose-built grounds in three cities, the best of them a national stadium in Kharkiv. There were high hopes of ICC membership at the forthcoming meeting this July. Kobus had reached out to his counterpart in the Russian Cricket Federation.

Everything crashed when the Russians attacked. It fell on his day off school. He was walking his dogs very early in the morning when he heard a series of explosions. “I knew what was happening. It was the start of the war.” He had prepared for it, stockpiling provisions, especially dog food and water, and emptying his bank accounts. He earned mockery and even hostility from local people, who had never believed the Russians would actually attack.  He hurried the dogs back into his apartment where he barricaded the windows against blast with mattresses. They have not left it since. The dogs chase each other for exercise in a small space. When they are terrified by explosions or gunfire he huddles with them in the bathroom and plays them recorded cello music by Hauser. His once bustling suburb is a ghost town, empty of people and cars. At night he and the dogs have the apartment building to themselves: his neighbours have left for other countries or relatives in the countryside and the dogs are not admitted to the subways.

Fortunately, he still has power and communications. He has heard from many children at his school and others he has coached. Some have gone abroad with their families: none has been hurt. But some of his fellow teachers, men between 20 and 60, have not been allowed to leave Ukraine. The government has armed them and expects them to fight for the country – including some British and American. They may be in great danger if a Russian satellite government is forced on the country. The plight of the trapped Indian student players gets worse each day and their showpiece new stadium is unlikely to survive the fighting in Kharkiv.

Kobus was expecting the Russian army to penetrate Kyiv within hours of our conversation. “It will be hell. If you see what’s happening in Kharkiv this is going to be worse, we’ve got three million people.” But he will never leave the city which is his home, nor give up his mission and his hopes for cricket in Ukraine. “Maybe we can do another interview and you can congratulate us on our associate membership of the ICC.”

It seems unreal at times to be talking about cricket in a country overwhelmed by war and terror, where people’s only focus is on survival. But cricket is just one of the beautiful things in Ukraine which Putin seeks to destroy. The vanishing hopes of its players, young and old, show the power of one man’s sick fantasies to wreck millions of dreams.

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

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 79: Reporting the whole world of cricket: Osman Samiuddin

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller 

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

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

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

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

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Cllr Hanif Khan, Hounslow Cabinet Member for Transport not reselected for election

Image above: Cllr Hanif Khan, LB Hounslow Cabinet Member for Transport

Cllr Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport at LB Hounslow and Mayor of Hounslow, Cllr Bishnu Gurung, have not been reselected by their ward, Hanworth Park, to represent it in the May elections. Deputy Leader Cllr Lily Bath was not reselected by her ward, Heston West, either but has since found another ward to represent.

The deselection of Cabinet members comes as a huge shock, as LB Hounslow won the Council of the Year award last November in the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) awards. They have received praise for their housing policy, meeting their target to build 1,000 new Council homes across Hounslow last October and in the most recent round of Ofsted inspections, Hounslow schools received a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ for every school inspected.

Image above: Cllr Hanif Khan invited to Downing St to congratulate him on LB Hounslow’s Streetspace rollout

‘The wrong kind of Muslim’

Apparently Khan’s deselection has nothing to do with the Council’s performance. A senior source within the party told The Chiswick Calendar Hanif Khan had not been reselected by his ward because he was “the wrong type of Muslim”.

“The mosque in Hounslow has a lot of Labour party members who are trying to influence the selection”, our source told us. “Hanif wasn’t in the right mosque.”

Brentford Today & TV’s John Dale has also been talking to Labour Party members. He describes what’s going on as “open warfare” in the party. His sources have told him there’s a move to replace Steve Curran as Leader and make Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Lead Member for Finance on the Council, the Leader and Cllr Samia Chaudhary his deputy. She is currently the Council Member for Leisure Service. 

Images above: Cabinet Members Shantanu Rajawat and Samia Chaudhary

Late choosing candidates

The Labour Party in Hounslow is late selecting its candidates for the local elections on Thursday 5 May. Around 160 people applied to stand for 62 seats in 20 wards and many of them appealed against the decision when they were not approved as candidates. The process of working through the appeals, which involves input from objective councillors in other councils, only just finished last week.

Whereas the Conservative Party in Hounslow announced their candidates last September, the Labour Party is still holding ward meetings to select it candidates. The process continues for at least another week.

Council Leader Steve Curran announced on Tuesday he would not be standing for election again this time because of ill health. Cllr Katherine Dunne, currently Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency will find out on Thursday whether she has been reselected in Syon ward on Thursday.

Images above: Council Leader Steve Curran and Cabinet Member Katherine Dunne

Musical chairs

Cllr Khan still has an opportunity to be selected by another ward, as there are several wards which have yet to choose their candidates. Cllr Richard Eason, who represented Osterley & Spring Grove was suspended  from the party for a month last year after he called for Cllr Khan and Cllr Dunne to resign over the implementation of Streetspace measures. His ward, Osterley & Spring Grove, has yet to choose its candidates. Isleworth and two of the Brentford wards are due to be decided tonight (Monday 28 February).

Update: Cabinet Member Guy Lambert has been reselected by his ward.

READ ALSO: Labour rebellion on Streetspace initiatives in LB Hounslow

Image above: Cllr Hanif Khan confronted by a protester in Chiswick 

One place Hanif Khan will probably not choose to stand is Chiswick, which elected all Conservative councillors in the last election and where there has been very vocal opposition to the introduction of the Cycle lane and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

READ ALSO: Thousands sign up to traffic petitions

After the elections in May, the Labour Party will elect its leader. Last time Steve Curran was elected by just one vote: 25 to 24.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Waiting for the fall of Kyiv

See also: Tube strikes Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 March

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Brentford 0, Newcastle United 2

Apart from that, Mr Eriksen, how did you enjoy the game? Brought on as a substitute a few minutes into the second half, Brentford’s dynamic signing – hailed by many fans as a master move to arrest the team’s recent run of poor form – must have experienced mixed emotions as he tried to haul the Bees back from yet another substandard performance that had danger written all over it.

No matter that coach Thomas Frank had decided the former cardiac arrest victim would not be in the starting line-up. Along with Ivan Toney, whose ‘minor calf strain’ had lingered indecently for what seemed like months, Christian occupied a seat on the bench. Two greyhounds straining at the leash, we thought.

But, like so many Brentford unwritten scripts, the plot came undone. After just eleven minutes Josh Dasilva’s sliding tackle brought down defender Matt Targett and referee Michael Dean awarded a free kick to the Bees before departing in the direction of the monitor when advised to do so by the VAR.

From distance the tackle looked a timely intervention but once Mr Dean had taken a closer look it assumed catastrophic proportions. The red card brandished by the referee had Dasilva’s name all over it and was a trigger for Newcastle to pummel Brentford for the rest of of the 90-plus remaining minutes.

Valiant as ever, the Bees were embattled in their own half. David Raya coped magnificently but something had to give and after 33 minutes Ryan Fraser’s cross was headed powerfully and accurately past the keeper by the Brazilian Joelinton.

Surely it was time to send in the cavalry? But Eriksen and Toney remained spectators as an unrewarded Brentford corner attended by the entire side other than Raya led to a Newcastle breakaway and a Fabian Schär cross that Joe Willock converted with ease.

The arrival of Eriksen seven minutes into the second period was greeted rapturously by the home crowd and warmly by the visitors including the players. His presence was immediately noticeable – we hadn’t seen precision passing of such quality since back in the days prior to the start of a seven-match run from which Brentford gleaned only one point.

Toney’s arrival from the bench ten minutes later established order and gave the visiting defence some serious work to do, even if he has yet to regain the authority that made him an outstanding member of the squad before his minor strain derailed him several weeks ago. But Newcastle’s cutting edge was blunted and the addition of Sergi Canós, in place of the tireless but largely ineffectual Yoane Wissa, gave the ten-man side a balance it had understandably lacked throughout the afternoon’s dismal proceedings.

But chances to score remained sparse and the reckoning by those who specialise in such detail was that Brentford managed only one throughout the game.

Dasilva’s banishment remained the talking point for many of the Brentford faithful shuffling away at the end. Opinion was divided, with the predominant view being that he had been punished too heavily for what patently was not a deliberate foul. But the fact remains that while not yet exactly qualifying as a habit, clumsy contact with the opposition is not a rare occurrence for Josh: little more than a year ago he had collected a straight red after a foul almost identical to yesterday’s blunder in a match won 2-0 by Spurs. Same referee too!

With only eleven matches left on the Premier League calendar and their earlier cushion of points distancing them from the relegation zone at the foot of the table having been whittled down to a hope and a prayer, Brentford face an uncomfortable run in to the end of the season.

Very Brentford, I said to my mate Charlie – the only predictable view is one of unpredictability.

‘So what’s new?’, said Charlie.

Brentford: Raya; Ajer (substitute Canós 72), 3 Pinnock, Henry; Jensen (sub Eriksen 52), Nørgaard, Janelt, Dasilva; Mbeumo, Wissa (sub Toney 62).

Newcastle United: Dúbravka; Krafth, Schär, Burn, Targett; Willock (sub Lascelles 83), Shelvey, Joelinton; Murphy (sub Guimarães 64), Wood, Fraser (sub Almirón 90).

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

Photographs Liz Vercoe.

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.

Waiting for the fall of Kyiv

Image above: Kobus Olivier speaking to Peter Oborne and Richard Heller from his apartment in the suburbs of Kyiv

By Richard Heller

Peter Oborne and Richard Heller talk every week to cricketers around the world for their podcast Oborne & Heller On Cricket, hosted by The Chiswick Calendar, since Peter lives here.

This week their interview was extraordinary. A breathtaking account of what it is like waiting for the Russians to take Kyiv, from a man who has made the city his home and refuses to leave because of his four dogs.

Hell Stopped Play

“It’s quite a pleasant day here, warmer and sunny,” says the expatriate cricketer, “and if we won the toss it’s definitely a day to bat first.”

The problem for Kobus Olivier is that he is speaking to Peter Oborne and me from Kyiv, in the apartment where he has had to barricade himself against Vladimir Putin’s savage assault.

The 62-year-old South African is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ukraine Cricket Association. Before the war, cricket was beginning to thrive. He personally had introduced the game to over 2,000 Ukrainian boys and girls aged 6 to 17. There were high hopes of qualification for Ukraine as an Associate member of the International Cricket Conference, opening the path to international competition and finance. But now there is no cricket. Hell has stopped play.

“There’s been a lot of explosions this morning, one right next to my building.”

They are not the work of a conventional assault but of a form of warfare little reported in Western media.

“It’s Russian saboteurs. They are all over Kyiv in the suburban areas, dressed like civilians. They’ve been infiltrating Kyiv over the past months”.

They stage gun battles with Ukrainian forces (from his balcony the night before he had witnessed one of ten minutes with rapid machine gun fire) and perform acts of terrorism against civilians.

“They blend in with their civilian clothes and go down into the metro subways people are using as shelters. Last night there were 200 people in one of these, like sardines, and about seven [saboteurs] opened fire on the two subway guards and shot them at point blank range.”

Conditions are even worse in Ukraine’s second major city, Kharkhiv, where the streets have been penetrated by regular Russian soldiers supported by tanks. It had been home to the 15,000 Indian students, mainly medical, who supply almost all of Ukraine’s adult cricketers. About 7,000 had left before the war, but ,8000 are trapped in the city, some in their hostels, many more in the subways, terrified of a visit from the soldiers, all of them running short of food and water.

As a South African, he had many chances to leave. He rejected them all. Why? “Firstly, it’s my dogs”. Four Yorkshire terrier crosses. Frontier and medical formalities would have forced him to leave them behind. Nor could he give up his cricket mission in Ukraine. “It’s more than a passion it’s become an obsession.”

Kobus describes his long and peripatetic career. He was a top club and league player in South Africa and England. He was director of cricket at Capetown University, rightly proud of bringing Graeme Smith through its ranks and securing his friend Gary Kirsten as a coach.

He became national youth coach for the Netherlands and then CEO of Cricket Kenya. He set up a cricket academy in Dubai with Ravi Ashwin. Cricket memories begin to pour out, clearly a relief from the present stress and the constant sleepless anxiety. He tells a lovely story of the South African batsman Hylton Ackerman failing to recognize Don Bradman who had come to greet him at an Australian airport and asking him to help carry his bags.

Everything changed when he went for a holiday in Ukraine. He fell in love with Kyiv in the snow, with its beautiful old buildings, its café society, its energetic people, many still favouring their national dress. He returned several times and decided to make a new life there, first as a wine importer, then as a teacher and director of one of Kyiv’s leading private schools.

But cricket called him back – through the children. They were getting bored in English and PE. To give them something completely new, he introduced cricket into PE, with a softball cricket set. They took to it enthusiastically, and he was asked to introduce it in more and more schools.

With more kit from Dubai and the Lords Taverners, and the backing of Kyiv’s mayor, the former boxing champion, Vitaly Klitschko, he scaled the programme upwards, training PE teachers to give the basics of cricket in public parks. “We focused on girls’ cricket,” he says. “Ukrainian girls are often phenomenal athletes and ahead of the boys of the same age.”

His youth programme filled a void in Ukraine cricket and allowed it to begin membership negotiations with the ICC. He was invited to the board of the Ukraine Cricket Federation, which had run the adult cricket, almost all for expatriate students, and he became its CEO.

Ukraine cricket was thriving before the war. Hundreds of children were eager to try hardball cricket and Kobus was seeking equipment and a supply of nets to satisfy them. New coaches were being trained. Around 600 adults were set to play a range of competitions. There were internationals against Hungary and Malta. There were new purpose-built grounds in three cities, the best of them a national stadium in Kharkiv. There were high hopes of ICC membership at the forthcoming meeting this July. Kobus had reached out to his counterpart in the Russian Cricket Federation.

Everything crashed when the Russians attacked. It fell on his day off school. He was walking his dogs very early in the morning when he heard a series of explosions.

“I knew what was happening. It was the start of the war.”

He had prepared for it, stockpiling provisions, especially dog food and water, and emptying his bank accounts. He earned mockery and even hostility from local people, who had never believed the Russians would actually attack.

He hurried the dogs back into his apartment where he barricaded the windows against blast with mattresses. They have not left it since. The dogs chase each other for exercise in a small space. When they are terrified by explosions or gunfire he huddles with them in the bathroom and plays them recorded cello music by Hauser.

His once bustling suburb is a ghost town, empty of people and cars. At night he and the dogs have the apartment building to themselves: his neighbours have left for other countries or relatives in the countryside and the dogs are not admitted to the subways.

Fortunately, he still has power and communications. He has heard from many children at his school and others he has coached. Some have gone abroad with their families: none has been hurt. But some of his fellow teachers, men between 20 and 60, have not been allowed to leave Ukraine. The government has armed them and expects them to fight for the country – including some British and American.

They may be in great danger if a Russian satellite government is forced on the country. The plight of the trapped Indian student players gets worse each day and their showpiece new stadium is unlikely to survive the fighting in Kharkiv.

Kobus was expecting the Russian army to penetrate Kyiv within hours of our conversation.

“It will be hell. If you see what’s happening in Kharkiv this is going to be worse, we’ve got three million people.”

But he will never leave the city which is his home, nor give up his mission and his hopes for cricket in Ukraine.

“Maybe we can do another interview and you can congratulate us on our associate membership of the ICC.”

It seems unreal at times to be talking about cricket in a country overwhelmed by war and terror, where people’s only focus is on survival. But cricket is just one of the beautiful things in Ukraine which Putin seeks to destroy. The vanishing hopes of its players, young and old, show the power of one man’s sick fantasies to wreck millions of dreams.

Listen to the full episode here:


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Listen to more episodes here: Oborne & Heller on Cricket

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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 Godfather

The Godfather ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

The ageing patriarch of an organized crime dynasty in postwar New York City transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant youngest son. Re-released in cinemas this week.

This week The Godfather was re-released on the big screen on a pristine new print which not only brings to life the spectacular (and for the time quite revolutionary) cinematography, with its dark shadowy interiors in stark contrasts with the sun-scorched exteriors, but it also gives us an excuse to re-discover this undisputed masterpiece.

I must confess I had not seen the film in years (shame on me!). I thought I knew it well enough and I didn’t need to re-watch it again, but I actually had forgotten its true majesty and how good it really was.

We all remember the ultra-classic and infinitely quotable lines like “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” or “leave the gun and take the cannoli”, and of course those iconic moments like the horse’s head and those various killings throughout, but to watch it all again from start to finish was a real experience.

The Godfather didn’t just redefine crime and gangsters movies, but it transcended the genre and gave a whole new language to cinema itself.

The way it slowly builds to create tension using all the tools that a film-maker has at their disposal, from sound to editing, from cinematography to camera movements. Any random scene in The Godfather can be picked up and studied in any film-school today and it would tell you everything you need to know about storytelling, direction, acting, editing, sound.

Just look at the way it starts, from the iconic fantastic (and ultra-hummable!) score by Nino Rota, to the “I believe in America” speech, to the way we are introduced to Don Corleone, mainly through the people around him. The juxtaposition with what’s going on inside in those dark seedy rooms, where everything is much more controlled, set-up and tense and that lavish Italian wedding outside which almost feels like a fly-on-the-wall documentary, flawless in its depiction, down to the most minute detail.

All the way to the spectacular montage at the end, cross-cutting between various assassinations and a baptism (“Do you denounce the devil?”): a cinematic bravura with to this day people are still trying to copy.

And of course everything in between. 180 minutes with not a single misstep.

But it’s actually the quieter scenes which I was most impressed with this time. Those more intimate moments which give the film its emotional depth.

I love the way most of the dialogue scenes work, starting with tight close ups during those seemingly intimate conversation and then only after a few minutes revealing in wider shots that there are actually always a bunch of other people listening in.

And throughout this, the fantastic use of sound (car tires skidding, footsteps approaching, trains screeching in the background) or sometimes the lack of it (long stretches of silences) which heighten the tension, the peril and seem to make it all even more menacing.

Few of these “tricks” feel forced or flashy: they’re all organically and beautifully integrated into the story.

It is a film which is intentionally slow. Precise in its execution, it slowly and masterfully unravels through a wealth sub-plots all contributing to the audience’s emotional investment towards the characters and however bad we think they are, we can’t help but feeling for them.

And I’ve not even mentioned the stellar cast: Marlon Brando, of course, iconic to the point of parody these days, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, dozens of perfectly cast character actors who seem to be born to be even just in the background and last but certainly not least Al Pacino, who, at the very beginning of his career became heart and soul of the film.

Of course, for better or worse (mostly worse) this film was single-handedly responsible for changing the ideas of Italians around the world: it brought the concept of Mafia to people’s homes, as well as Italians’ innate sense of loyalty towards their family.

As an Italian living abroad, I’ve been victim of this cliché-view more often that I care to admit, but it speaks volumes of the power that this film still has on our collect consciousness. This latest re-release is just “an offer you can’t refuse” to refamiliarise yourself with one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.

… And by the way, talking about masterpieces, Part II will be out next week. I wonder if I’ll have enough stars to tell you how good that one is too!

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

The Godfather is re-released in cinemas this week.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

See also: Theatre review – Running with Lions at the Lyric, Hammersmith

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Russian TV presenter with flat in Chiswick ‘a spy’

Image above: TV Presenter Sergei Brilyov on Russian state TV

A BBC journalist working in Moscow has revealed that Russian state TV presenter Sergei Brilev held a British passport and owned a flat in Chiswick. Francis Scarr, who works for BBC Monitoring, Tweeted on Saturday:

“Here’s state TV presenter Sergei Brilyov lauding Russia’s “special military operation” on tonight’s news. He holds a British passport and owns an apartment in West London.”

Many have commented on social media that Brilev should have his passport revoked and ownership of the flat taken away from him. Some of the residents in his apartment block in Chiswick have added their voices to that call.

On Friday (25 February) Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia would be hit with a “massive” package of sanctions, targeting more than 100 businesses and individuals.

‘Close Putin ally’

Sergei Brilov

The Daily Mail writes this morning that Brilyov was a spy for the Kremlin while he was working in Britain and describes him as a ‘close Putin ally’ while Putin’s spokesman described him as an ‘absolute patriot’.

Daily Mail journalist Will Stewart writes: ‘Espionage expert Sergey Kanev said:

‘A source is signalling me that UK citizen and at the same time a presenter of Russian State Broadcasting TV and Radio company Sergey Brilev is allegedly an SVR staffer who earlier worked in London under cover of ‘journalist’.’

The Mail account also says despite being a British citizen, Brilev is listed as serving on the public council of the Russian Ministry of Defence which led the annexation of Crimea 2014.

While he was stationed in London for the Russian TV station Vesti, between 1996 and 2001, he was a regular contributor to Sky News and BBC News representing Russia.

Back in Russia from 2001, with his own TV show, he has been named the best TV news and current affairs presenter by the Russian TV Academy several times. He has also on several occasions been the official co-commentator of the live ceremony of the inauguration of the President of the Russian Federation.

Russian state TV is unashamedly propagandist. Brilev did an interview with the Russian president about the Salisbury poisonings, which failed to challenge Putin’s line that the novichok poisoners were just innocent tourists.

Russia’s opposition leader, lawyer Alexey Navalny, has accused Brilyov of being a “Putin propagandist”, who “never criticises the Kremlin.”

The Times published evidence from Navalny in 2018 that Brilov and his wife Irina were on the UK electoral roll and that Mrs Brilev had bought a £700,000 apartment in Chiswick in 2016.

Mr Navalny wrote: “Having lied on air, sung the praises of Putin and Putin’s Russia, and picked up his money from the state channel’s cash office, he takes the first plane out of Putin’s Russia. To London, to his family, to his apartment, and to his Queen.”

One comment in the Twitter responses to Francis Scarr’s Tweet on Saturday was from a Russian, Olga:

“I’m from Russia. I hate this war. I feel ashamed. I may be arrested or fined for participating in a peaceful rally. They told me that I am a bad person because I cannot force Putin to leave. I am not given a visa to EU countries.”

Image above: Apartment block where Sergei Brilov and his wife own a flat; photograph Google street view

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Waiting for the fall of Kyiv

See also: West London churches sign letter opposing conversion therapy ban

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Tube strikes Tuesday 1 and Thursday 3 March

The RMT union has instructed all 10,000 of its members working in London’s transport network not to turn up for work on Tuesday March 1 and Thursday March 3, to shut down the entire Tube network on these days.

The RMT confirmed on Friday (25 February) that the programme of industrial action announced two weeks ago would be going ahead. The strikes are expected to continue until June 2022.

The RMT say the strikes must go ahead due to the ‘abject failure of the company’ to address the issues at the heart of the dispute. A recent ballot of over ten thousand members across all grades of London Underground staff saw 94% of members who participated in the ballot voting to strike vote in favour of a strike, although TfL says fewer than 50% of RMT members voted in favour.

This strike action is in addition to the existing dispute over the Night Tube, which already means no overnight trains on some lines at weekends.

This is the programme of strikes for March and April – a series of one day strikes on Sundays, stepping up to two day strikes on weekends thereafter.

Strike schedule

The union has instructed its members not to book on for any shifts that commence between:

00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 13 March 2022
00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 20 March 2022
00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 27 March 2022
00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 3 April 2022

00.01 hours on Saturday 16 April 2022 until 23.59 hours on Sunday 17 April 2022
00.01 hours on Saturday 30 April 2022 until 23.59 hours on Sunday 1 May 2022
00.01 hours on Saturday 4 June 2022 until 23.59 hours on Sunday 5 June 2022

Bus services will run as normal but will be much busier.

Image above: Tube station shuttered during a strike

RMT blasts ‘cynically engineered crisis’ , TfL boss denies any harmful changes

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

“Our members will be taking strike action next week because a financial crisis at LUL has been deliberately engineered by the Government to drive a cuts’ agenda which would savage jobs, services, safety and threaten their working conditions and‎ pensions. The sheer scale of that threat was confirmed in talks yesterday.

“These are the very same transport staff praised as heroes for carrying London through COVID for nearly two years, often at serious personal risk, who now have no option but to strike to defend their livelihoods.

“The politicians need to wake up to the fact that transport staff will not pay the price for this cynically engineered crisis. In addition to the strike action RMT is coordinating a campaign of resistance with colleagues from other unions impacted by this threat.”

Andy Lord, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

“It is extremely disappointing that the RMT is planning to go ahead with this action. We haven’t proposed any changes to pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has or will lose their jobs because of the proposals we have set out. I hope the RMT will get around the table with us, continue talks and call off this disruptive action, which will cause huge frustration for our customers and further financial damage to TfL and London’s economy when we should be working together to rebuild following the pandemic.

TfL and Government come to funding agreement until June

TfL said they were ‘grateful’ the Government had confirmed an extension of its funding support for the transport network until June 2022.

After the funding was confirmed, Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said:

“Following discussions and negotiation over the last few weeks, I’m pleased that the Government has today confirmed an extension of its funding support for TfL through until 24 June 2022, for which we are grateful.

“There is no UK recovery from the pandemic without a London recovery and there is no London recovery without a properly funded transport network in the capital. The Mayor has already set out a range of proposals that will help support TfL’s financial sustainability in the future but it is essential that agreement is reached with Government on longer term capital support during this funding period. This is crucial for the coming years if a period of the ‘managed decline’ of London’s transport network is to be avoided.

“We will be meeting regularly to work towards agreement on the Government funding of the capital investment priorities shared by them, us and the Mayor. The Government has confirmed in this agreement that they support the operation and maintenance of essential and safe transport services in London, enabling us to continue our full and vital contribution to economic recovery and to support the Government’s priorities on decarbonisation, air quality and making transport better for users.

“Working together, we must achieve this longer-term funding settlement. Only that would ensure London’s transport network can remain safe, efficient and reliable, can continue to support the jobs and new homes that rely upon it and can support the economic recovery of the capital and the country as a whole.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tube fares to rise by almost 5% in March

See also: Months of ‘transport misery’ look likely as more Tube strikes announced

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Chiswick Flower Market ‘Highly Commended’ in national awards

Chiswick Flower Market has been awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate at the national Great British Market Awards.

Winners were announced at the February conference of the National Association for British Market Authorities (NABMA) in Birmingham. NABMA has been ‘the national voice for markets’ for over 100 years.

Chiswick Flower Market, the newest amongst all the prizewinners and commended markets, was presented with a Highly Commended certificate by Simon Baynes, the MP or Clwyd South and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Markets Group.

Many of the entrants have been in existence for centuries. The overall winner, Britain’s Favourite Market for 2022 was Bury Market, a large indoor and outdoor market with more than 350 stalls.

The flower market takes place on the first Sunday of every month between 9.00am and 3.30pm, on Old Market Place, Chiswick High Road, and attracts thousands of visitors from west and central London.

There are around 30-40 stalls selling everything horticultural from cut flowers, to house plants, bedding plants and pots. Traders vary from Gold Medal Chelsea winners Hardy’s, long-standing Columbia Road traders from east London and established nurseries on the outskirts of London to new local start-ups.

It has a ‘strong sustainability ethos’ with free local cargo bike delivery and recently launched a flower pot recycling scheme. It is run as a Community Interest Company by local volunteers in support of their High Road.

Images above: Chiswick Flower Market

‘Really proud’ say Flower Market organisers

President of NABMA Councillor Mick Barker said:

“It is heartening to see passion and enthusiasm for markets across the country.”

Kathleen Mitra, one of the directors of the Chiswick Flower Market team, said:

“We are really proud to have been acknowledged by this national organisation so early on in our steep learning curve. We look forward to growing the market and welcoming lots more visitors to Chiswick to get some lovely flowers and plants.”

Leader of the London Borough of Hounslow, Councillor Steve Curran said:

“We were delighted to be able to support the market from its conception.  It’s been a fantastic success for Chiswick and the borough. Well done to all involved.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Packhorse & Talbot pub general manager stabbed

See also: West London churches sign letter opposing conversion therapy ban

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 Duke

The Duke  ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2  Review by Andrea Carnevali

In 1961, Kempton Bunton, a 60 year old taxi driver, stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. On in cinemas now.

The Duke is a delightful British film based on the extraordinary true story of Kempton Bunton, who in 1961 hit the headlines for “allegedly” stealing Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London.

Bunton is an unassuming kind of guy from Newcastle, a fired taxi driver with a rebellious nature, but noble instincts as well as a knack for standing up for the working class.

At the start of the film we meet him trying to outsmart the TV licence detectors by claiming he has actually removed the BBC wiring from his old TV set, so he shouldn’t really be paying for it.

He’s a vocal campaigner for the TV licence to be free for old pensioners (a rather topical subject in today’s British political landscape) and once he is in possession of the painting, he decides to ask for a ransom with the idea of using the money to subside the TV licence for old people.

This could be the perfect set-up for some pungent and sharp satire, however the film doesn’t seem particularly interested in delving into any political issue about inequality or social injustice.

Instead, director Roger Michel, famous for films like Notting Hill (he sadly passed away last September) prefers to keep things light, sweet and brisk, veering more towards the comedic aspect of the story itself and the sweet nature of the protagonist.

And while the comedy is often a bit too easy and doesn’t always hit the mark, there is plenty to love about the characters.

Jim Broadbent in the main role of Bunton has such a gentle and whimsical quality to him, it makes him likeable straight away, even when we know he is doing things he shouldn’t really be doing. You just can’t help hoping he gets away with it.

In contrast Helen Mirren plays the much more down-to-earth wife who tries to keep him grounded, and while she may be exasperated by his eccentricity, at the same she just can’t help protecting him and loving him (who can blame her?)

There is also a slight televisual feel to the film, both in the way it’s shot and it the way it’s acted. You almost expect a laughing track to run under some of the dialogue at times, but while it is certainly a fairly by-the-number affair, it does however wear its heart on its sleeve and it’s a real crowd-pleaser.

And you know what? Despite my initial resistance to its artificiality, I have to confess The Duke (an inspired titled, which could refer both to the painting as well as the noble nature of Bunton), eventually won me over and left me with a huge smile.

I don’t usually give half stars, but this one totally deserves it.

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

The Duke is out in cinemas now.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

See also: Theatre review – Running with Lions at the Lyric, Hammersmith

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Racing trophy awarded by Queen Victoria could fetch £30,000 at Chiswick auction

Above: close up of the trophy (photo by Chiswick Auctions)

A recently rediscovered horse racing trophy, awarded by Queen Victoria in 1845, could fetch up to £30,000 at Chiswick Auctions next month.

Dubbed Her Majesty’s Vase, the silver piece was won by Sir John Barker-Mill at the Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall horse races and passed down through his family.

The trophy was separated from its stand and the award’s significance was forgotten over time. Both pieces were recently brought back together when Sir John’s living relatives discovered the engraved base in an outbuilding. 

The trophy is expected to fetch between £20,000 and £30,000 when it goes under the hammer in March.

It was commissioned for the races by Queen Victoria and crafted by silversmith John Samuel Hunt, and inspired by an ancient vase dating from the 2nd century AD that was found in fragments in 1770 at the bottom of a lake at Hadrian’s Villa near Rome.

Image above: the horse racing trophy  on its stand(photo by Chiswick Auctions)

Chiswick Auctions “thrilled” to lot trophy

John Rogers, head of silver at Chiswick Auctions, said:

“I am thrilled to offer such a stunning historical piece, made with such craftsmanship.

“The fact that it remained with the family for so long without them knowing what it was, is astounding and I’m delighted that both the vase and plinth were reunited and it can be offered in its full glory.”

It will feature during the Silver and Objects of Vertu sale at Chiswick Auctions on Thursday 3 March.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tracey Emin among prominent women artists in Chiswick Auctions Urban & Contemporary Art sale

See also: Tributes flow after death of ‘local legend’ Jamal Edwards

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.

Man who injected food products with blood in Fulham supermarkets claims insanity

A solicitor accused of injecting food products with his own blood has denied he was guilty, claiming insanity.

Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, entered five pleas of not guilty to contaminating food and assault. The court heard he walked into three supermarkets carrying a bucketful of hypodermic needles before jabbing at random products on 25 August last year.

A jury at Isleworth Crown Court was shown CCTV footage on Tuesday (22 February) which shows Elghareeb entering the Sainsbury’s Local in Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, between 7.00pm and 8.00pm.

Wearing an American sports-style t-shirt and shorts, Elghareeb makes his way towards the ready meal section before jabbing food with a syringe. The footage then shows him walking over to the next section, eyeing up further products while holding what appears to be another syringe in his mouth, before injecting more food.

Elghareeb also made his way into Tesco Express and Little Waitrose before police were called to reports of a man throwing blood-filled syringes and eggs. The three supermarkets had to throw away all of their products as a precaution, racking up nearly £500,000 in losses.

It is agreed that Elghareeb committed the offences but his defence is that, in the legal sense, he was insane at the time of the incident.

He denies three counts of contaminating goods and two counts of assault in relation to throwing a needle at Dr Meghana Kulkarni and pushing security guard Bilal Ansari in the chest. As he assaulted Mr Ansari, Elghareeb allegedly shouted: ‘You are all vile people and Sainsbury’s is vile.’

Above: CCTV footage showing Elghareeb contaminating food products 

Elghareeb ‘severely psychotic’ during incident

Dr Bradley Hillier, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, told the court Elghareeb was ‘severely psychotic’ at the time and could not appreciate his actions were ‘legally and morally wrong’.

He said: ‘He was not thinking straight. He was in a situation where he was trying to escape this wrath that the psychosis had created for him.

‘He was so burdened and tortured, is the word he used.’

Judge Alistair Hammerton sent out the jury to consider its verdicts. Prosecutor Philip Stott detailed the events leading up to Elghareeb’s arrest, he said:

‘In short what happened is this: in the early evening of a late summer’s day last year, Mr Elghareeb walked down the Fulham Palace Road in West London carrying a bucket. It was filled with syringes, some of which had hypodermic needles attached.

‘A number of those syringes were filled with blood – his own. Mr Elghareeb then entered, in turn, three supermarkets on the Fulham Palace Road – in order: they were Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – and he proceeded to stick those syringes in food products inside those branches of those supermarkets.

‘Along the way he also threw some of the syringes at people inside and outside the store including hitting a passerby on the street.’

Images above: CCTV footage of Elghareeb with a syringe in his mouth, Elgareeb appears to laugh after contaminating food

21 syringes recovered in total

Elghareeb threw a syringe at Dr Kulkarni, who then started speaking to other people on the street who were picking up syringes off the floor, before calling police.

When the supermarket staff were alerted, they asked all customers to drop their shopping and evacuate the stores.

Shortly before he was arrested, he walked past a Tapas bar called Avanti and threw a plant pot through the open door, narrowly missing a waiter, the court heard.

The three supermarkets found a total of 21 syringes during a thorough search and deep-clean before they were able to reopen.

A black plastic syringe box was also recovered from Fulham Palace Road by police officers.

Elghareeb, of Crabtree Lane, Fulham, denies three counts of contaminating goods and two counts of assault. The case continues.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: West London churches sign letter opposing conversion therapy ban

See also: Two serving officers and a former policeman charged with sending grossly offensive messages

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.

Residents protest against permanent barrier at Staveley Rd

Image above: Protestors including residents, councillors and anti-streetspace activists demonstrating against the Staveley Rd barrier

A small group of protesters staged a demonstration on Wednesday (23 February), objecting to the introduction of a barrier to Staveley Rd in Grove Park.

The residential road, famous for its cherry trees, has been divided by a plastic barrier since October 2020, to stop commuters cutting through. Staveley Rd used to see high volumes of traffic, 70% of which were not visiting Staveley Rd but just driving straight through.

There were over 5,500 vehicles using the road on an average weekday, with just under 500 vehicles using it in the busiest hour during the week.

While Staveley Rd residents have welcomed the change, some of the residents in Park Rd, which crosses Staveley Rd, object to the barrier, which LB Hounslow is now making permanent. The barrier’s installation has meant far less traffic along Staveley road, but anyone driving through the road now is obliged to turn into Park Rd at the barrier.

LB Hounslow say an independent review of the traffic data and consultation responses received during the trial period was undertaken, which informed the decision to make this measure permanent.  Implementation is expected to commence ‘in early 2022’.

Image above: proposals for a permanent barrier at Staveley Road/ Park road

Councillors and OneChiswick members join protest

Turnham Green ward councillor Joanna Biddolph visited to show her support for the protest, as did Chiswick Homefields councillor John Todd. Sam Hearn, a Chiswick Riverside councillor, who lives on Park Road, was also present.

David Giles, who campaigns against the Council’s Streetspace initiatives, was also there. He posted about the protest on the OneChiswick Facebook page. Giles was expelled from the Conservative Party in 2021 for his comments about Hounslow’s cabinet, who he described as the “Brentford Taliban”. He said:

“The main problem on Staveley Road is speeding which LB Hounslow and the Metropolitan Police have done nothing to prevent. There are no speed cameras anywhere in Grove Park.”

Images above: cherry blossoms along Staveley Road

Protestors ask Keir Starmer to force resignation of Hounslow Cabinet

The Park Rd residents group, established to fight the council’s installation of the barrier, recently wrote to Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer asking him to ‘stand up’ to Hounslow’s cabinet and ask them to resign. The group argued that the Labour-led council are ‘in breach of their public duty and have created such public distrust that these actions could represent misfeasance’.

At time of writing, there has been no published response from the Leader of the Opposition.

Images above: Staveley Road/ Park Road protestors in 2020

Overwhelming support for the barrier from residents of Staveley Rd

When the temporary barrier was first installed, The Chiswick Calendar carried out a survey of Park Rd and Staveley Road, asking every household who lived on the two streets their view. The results showed overwhelming support for the barrier from the Staveley Rd dwellers. Some residents in Park Rd were also in favour.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Packhorse & Talbot pub general manager stabbed

See also: West London churches sign letter opposing conversion therapy ban

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.

 

Huge crowd turns out for Jamal Edwards candlelight vigil in Acton

Images above: crowds gather for Jamal Edwards at his Acton mural, tributes left by vigil attendees 

Mourning fans gathered for a candlelit vigil in Acton on Monday night (21 February) to pay tribute to ‘local legend’ Jamal Edwards, following news of his shock death.

The 31 year old British entrepreneur and YouTube star was an instrumental figure in British rap and grime music. He launched SBTV, an online urban music platform which helped kickstart the careers of artists like Dave, Ed Sheeran and Skepta.

Jamal grew up in Acton, where a mural of him was unveiled in 2021. The mural was the focal point of the vigil, which was attended by his family, friends and fans.

In December 2021, Jamal shared a photo of the mural in Acton, and posted a picture on Instagram of Ed Sheeran posing beside it. Videos shared on social media showed people consoling each other at the vigil, as well as rapping freestyle in honour of Jamal.

Images above: crowds gather at the vigil (Twitter: @adulescent/ @s_ormiston)

‘Deepest heartache’ 

Jamal’s mother, Loose Women co-host Brenda Edwards, said in a statement following his death:

“It is with the deepest heartache that I can confirm that my beautiful son Jamal Edwards passed away yesterday morning after a sudden illness.”

“Myself, his sister Tanisha and the rest of his family and friends are completely devastated. He was the centre of our world.”

Nicky Caulfield, a drummer based in London who attended, said:

“This just doesn’t feel real. You are so loved and missed mate. Vigil for the late, great Jamal Edwards tonight. Devastating”

Another Twitter user said:

Vigil and flowers by his #Acton mosaic, in remembrance of ⁦@jamaledwards – a local hero. So many people turned out to mourn his premature death.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Packhorse & Talbot pub general manager stabbed

See also: West London churches sign letter opposing conversion therapy ban

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.

West London churches sign letter opposing conversion therapy ban

Image above: Gunnersbury Baptist Church

Members of west London’s clergy have signed a letter opposing the Government’s proposed ban on conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or transgender is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’. The letter, signed by more than 2,500 Christian Ministers and Pastoral workers, describes the harmful practice as ‘kind and merciful’ and brands LGBTQ+ ‘lifestyles’ as sinful behaviour.

Churches based in Chiswick, Ealing, Acton, Hammersmith and Brentford have signed up to the letter, which argues that certain religious exemptions to proposed conversion therapy legislation do not go far enough and calls for the ban to be scrapped altogether.

LGBTQ+ groups argue proposed exemptions of “private prayer” and “everyday religious practice” leave those in faith communities especially vulnerable to legal conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy has been thoroughly debunked by psychological experts and has been linked to higher risks of depression, suicide attempts, and drug addiction.

The letter argues that the proposed legislation risks making Christianity ‘a proscribed religion’ and would prevent churches from teaching ‘traditional’ Christian values. They argue that violation of traditional Christian teachings, such as sex and marriage being between one man and one woman, and accepting one’s gender as assigned at birth, ‘is not only morally wrong but carries with it deep and tragic consequences for individuals, families and society.’

Signatories from west London include:

  • Mr Clement Faux, Assistant Youth Leader at Gunnersbury Baptist Church.
  • Revd Stuart Cashman, Minister at Immanuel Church Brentford.
  • Mr Christopher Cradock, Elder at Ealing International Presbyterian Church.
  • Revd Keith Berry, Senior Pastor at Hammersmith Christian Fellowship, Old Baptist Union.
  • Revd Robert Ilderton, Minister at Grace Church Hammersmith.
  • Revd Alex Volossevich, Associate Vicar at St Mary’s Ealing.

Image above: protesters demonstrating against conversion therapy

Legislation ‘would impact normal practice of religion’, claim letter’s authors

The letter, authored by 11 Christian faith leaders from churches across the country and addressed to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, states:

“We are grateful to the government for having made clear in the consultation that it does not intend this legislation to impact the normal practice of religion. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned that the legislative approach outlined would do exactly this.”

Stonewall, the largest LGBTQ+ rights organisation in Europe, describe conversion therapy as any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity.

Despite this clear definition, the letter’s authors describe the term as “so broad as to be essentially meaningless”.

The church leaders and staff claim a central part of their calling to bring “Christ’s compassion to a broken world”. They argue they are duty bound to ‘convert’ people to live according to how God would want them to live, through pastoral support. They argue that repressing LGBTQ+ lifestyles by “urging and assisting people [to follow Christian teachings]… is a kind and merciful act, and of benefit to all”.

The letter continues:

“What is plainly and terribly harmful is when anyone, especially the young, believes that their identity is found purely in their feelings and that happiness is to be found in misusing and harming their healthy bodies… Yet the proposals would apparently criminalise us for seeking to care for people and seeking to dissuade them from this kind of harm.”

Church of England supports ban on conversion therapy

In May 2021, following the announcement in the Queen’s Speech that the Government will ban conversion therapy, the Bishop of London Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith Next Steps Group, said:

“The Church of England believes that all people are made in the image of God and must be cherished for who they are.

“The General Synod has voted overwhelmingly to reject coercive Conversion Therapies so we welcome the Government’s commitment to explore these matters further with a view to enshrining that position in law.

“We recognise the difficulties in defining Conversion Therapies and look forward to working closely with the Government to develop a viable definition and subsequent legislation.

“We want to prevent abuses of power, and ensure that issues of consent are made absolutely central to any future legislation.”

Image above: LBGTQ+ activists at a pride parade supportive of Transgender rights

Conversion therapy ‘must be outlawed in any setting’ says Stonewall 

LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall told The Chiswick Calendar that any proposed bill must outlaw all forms of conversion therapy, including loopholes which permit ‘Queer’ people from consenting to abuse.

Sasha Misra, Associate Director of Communications and External Affairs at Stonewall said:

“It’s appalling to see opposition to the UK Government’s plans to ban conversion therapy –  a harmful practice which devastates lives. The UK Government’s own National LGBT Survey shows that the majority of those who had undergone conversion therapy had done so in faith-based settings, so any ban which doesn’t include these settings will be ineffective and fail to protect LGBTQIA+ people from abuse.

“Any Bill must outlaw all forms of conversion therapies in every setting – without loopholes which permit LGBTQIA+ people to consent to conversion therapy, because no one can consent to abuse. It’s been over three years since the UK Government committed to banning conversion therapy, it must act now to protect our communities and outlaw this abhorrent practice once and for all.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Two serving officers and a former policeman charged with sending grossly offensive messages

See also: Tributes flow after death of ‘local legend’ Jamal Edwards

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.

 

Interview with actress Suzette Llewellyn

Image above: Suzette Llewellyn in Running with Lions at the Lyric, Hammersmith

It was a bit of a surprise to see Suzette Llewellyn playing a grandmother. It shouldn’t have been, as she is 60 this year, but if you see her around Chiswick she certainly doesn’t look it.

I saw her in Running with Lions, a new play at the Lyric, a brilliant play which I think deserves to become a British classic.

READ ALSO: Running with Lions review

In it she plays Shirley, who despite her matriarchal authority, bolstered by religion, is beset by guilt and regret. You get to see the full range of what she can do as an actress.

“I love the character” she tells me. “And I love that it’s a family story, an intergenerational story which deals with grief and mental illness in a Caribbean setting.

“I like working with new material. It’s very enriching. It’s exciting being involved in creating the whole piece. Unlike television when you’re working in theatre you’re doing your own editing.

“I love working with the whole cast. It does feel like a family. We read the play in audition and now it’s not the same play. It’s a real journey of discovery.”

The comparison she’s making is with television, where in the soaps and dramas she is used to playing, you come on, do your bit and go back to your novel until the next call, with very little creative input into the finished product.

Suzette played Sheree Trueman in Eastenders from 2019 to 2021, the part for which she is most recognised. Having trained at LAMDA she got straight into television and films, with parts in Personal Services, Playing Away and Sammy and Rosie get laid in the 1980s, becoming known for her TV role as Cheryl Patching in Surgical Spirit in the early ’90s.

Image above: Suzette with Ruby Barker (Bridgerton) in Running with Lions at the Lyric

Going to school in Chiswick in the 1970s

She has a teacher at Chiswick School to thank for encouraging her to pursue acting as a career, though she knew she was interested in acting from a very young age.

“I remember being very keen to get a bigger part at primary school” she laughs.

She went to Hogarth Primary School and then on to Chiswick in the 1970s, where English teacher Claire Thompson directed her towards the National Youth Theatre and the Cockpit Theatre. When she was accepted by the Central School of Speech and Drama and East 15 Acting School it was her teacher who asked around and advised her to go to LAMDA.

She made her debut playing Viola in Twelfth Night in a production with the Northumberland touring company, and theatre is her first love.

How has the Black experience in theatre changed over the years?

“In terms of going to see things it has definitely changed. There are so many more things to go and see where there are people who look like me.

“My mother used to take me to the Keskidee theatre in north London [Britain’s first arts centre for the black community, founded in 1971] and I remember being very impressed there were Black people on the stage. That was like, Wow!

“In terms of parts, I have spent most of my time being the only one or one of very few Black people in the cast and there has been a huge change in the type of role being offered.

“I remember going to the Riverside Studios and the Black person was always the problem, struggling with their situation.”

Image above: Suzette with Wil Johnson in Running with Lions at the Lyric

Working with the Talawa theatre company

Running with Lions is produced by the Black British company Talawa. The play happens to be about a British Caribbean family but the themes of dealing with love and loss and mental illness translate to any family.

It’s still rare to see a play about everyday life where being Black isn’t the issue, in a mainstream theatre.

Director Michael Buffong has said the company would “make outstanding work which will truly diversify and shape the cultural life of the whole country.”

It’s not Suzette’s first experience of working with Talawa. Her first was Urban Afro Saxons, a play in which “the actors gathered, there were two writers and no play. It was through improvisation that the play came about. It was about what it means to be British and was put on at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East.”

She enjoys the fact that there are now Congolese, Nigerian, Caribbean writers whose work is being put on, which gives a much broader range of opportunity for Black actors and she hopes to do more theatre.

Still Breathing – 100 Black Voices on Racism

Last year Suzette and co-writer and actor Suzanna Packer (best known for her role in Casualty) brought out a book together Still Breathing – 100 Black Voices on Racism100 ways to Change the Narrative. The murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement were the catalyst.

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

Racism is as damaging psychologically to those who perpetrate it as it is to those who are on the receiving end, she says and White people often don’t ‘get’ racism if it’s subtle or unspoken, so the book was for anyone who thinks: ‘I’m not racist and I understand it’s hurtful but why must they go on about it all the time?’

On living in Chiswick she says:

“I like what everybody likes about it. I like the open space. I feel safe here and I like that my children meet people who knew their grandparents.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Running With Lions review – Lyric Hammersmith

See also: Still Breathing, 100 Black voices on racism

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

 

Mind Matters – Venturing out in storm Eunice

I hope that Storm Eunice did not cause you or yours any harm and that you were fortunate not to suffer any damage, losses or inconvenience? For my part I did suffer some inconvenience and had to change some plans but the most impactful experience turns out to be how I found myself reflecting on my experiences and choices.

Watching the Storm Eunice coverage Friday morning reminded me of the pandemic and the lockdowns. In particular that experience of being told what to do, I thought carefully about the wording being used around the red warning and part of me, the tired and nervous part wanted someone to come on screen and tell me to stay home. Meanwhile another part of me felt frustrated and excited and I just wanted to get on with my day as planned and so that was what I decided to do.

Five minutes later walking along Chiswick High Road towards my office, with the red storm warnings from breakfast tv ringing in my ears, I had wondered whether my being out was brave or foolhardy? A question I first heard asked by my own therapist many years ago and, one that does surface at times of potential threat.

An experience of hypervigilance meant I constantly scanned for both threat and evidence. Looking up I studied the impact on trees and it made me think about the potential for falling trees and dead branches. I wondered whether the council had done a good job of maintaining the trees and I wondered whether it was realistic of me to think that even if they had then the maintenance alone was enough?

I then had the same thoughts about property, property owners and the potential for loose masonry and roof tiles. Turning my attention to street level I saw the varying levels of precaution taken by shops with the removal of signs or the taking indoors of outside furniture and thought about how everyone was involved in a carefully balanced negotiation of risk assessment and decision making.

A plane in the sky approaching Heathrow and double decker buses in service as normal both offered some reassurance when I again thought about the news coverage. So then I found myself drawn to how other people around me were responding. Looking around I wondered if there were fewer or different types of people out on the street that morning? That morning I had made an unusually early start and so not knowing what would have been ‘normal’ I could only carefully study who was out and look at their behaviour looking for clues in their movements and expressions.

With the walk safely over, my favourite meal of the day – breakfast – enjoyed without incident, I started to reflect on my experience and choices. Being a psychotherapist where I often talk with people about how they make decisions, the consequences and risks I can find myself feeling self-conscious around my own decision making.

I can feel less confident in my abilities nowadays than when I was younger but then when I look back on some of the decisions I made earlier in life I think about how more self-doubt might have been very helpful. There is one thing I can say with certainty and that is that in an ever-changing world with ever-changing circumstances and bodies and abilities we are going to get it wrong sometimes. Every situation calls on us to go through a complex process to make a new decision and we can only hope that we have the energy, focus, and information to make a good enough decision.

Sitting in safe and warm contemplation I noticed how I was thinking that I had made the right decision to continue my day as planned. Then I realised the absurdity of that because if I had not made it safely my thinking would most definitely have been different. But we are collectors of experience, constantly seeking meaning, learning, trying to flourish or at the least survive.

Of course Storm Eunice also comes during a time of pandemic and a threat of war in Europe. These other major reminders of the potential for instability, insecurity requiring us to think more about our choices and keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe and it raises the question of resilience.

Just how resilient are our societies, cultures, health systems, trees, properties and bodies and when we think that what does that do to us? Does it make you turn to others wanting expert advice or instruction or to your own experience, what do you expect from others and what do you expect from yourself? How do we know what is the right balance?

Asking myself this question brought up an answer I wasn’t expecting, I found my mind wandered to thoughts of relaxation, exercise and self-care. I realised the better question was what do you need to do to prepare and resource yourself to face all the challenges that life invariably poses?

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 next in the series – Try strolling instead of scrolling

Read the previous one – How to talk to someone who is really struggling

See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here

Read a profile of Nicholas here

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Episode 79: Reporting the whole world of cricket: Osman Samiuddin

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

Osman Samiuddin is Senior Editor at Cricinfo, the largest cricket website in the world. He is also the author of The Unquiet Ones, which during the past decade was one of a trio of epochal books on Pakistan’s cricket history. He joins the authors of the other two, Peter Oborne and Richard Heller, as the guest on their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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Osman appears at the onset of the busiest, craziest month of international cricket which Cricinfo will have to report in its lifetime of over 25 years. 1-7 minutes He cites the major events of March 2022: four men’s Test series (New Zealand/South Africa; West Indies/England; Pakistan/Australia; India/Sri Lanka) – and the most followed women’s World Cup in history, for which he assesses the likeliest winners. 4-5 minutes He comments on the growing gulf between the top women’s teams and the rest, and on the startling rise of Thailand in women’s cricket. 6 minutes Although they are not in the World Cup they have thrived in T20 and through locally-born rather than expatriate talent. There will also be a dramatic white-ball series between Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and the T20 world cup qualifying competition in Oman. When all these excitements have calmed down, Cricinfo will turn to the preparations for the Indian Premier League.

Osman describes the efforts Cricinfo makes to cover cricket globally, in response to followers’ demands,  and the increasing resources it has given to associate member countries of the ICC and women’s cricket. It continues to report domestic cricket daily in every full member country. He pays tribute to the writers who cover every match in the English County Championship, which had been much neglected in mainstream media, despite the ECB’s recently-introduced Reporters Network, which has launched some excellent new cricket writers. He and Cricinfo believe that it remains impossible to understand English cricket without following the county game. 8-12 minutes

Osman describes the origins of Cricinfo as a simple chat room at the birth of the internet to allow a small network of cricket enthusiasts, especially those marooned in American provincial towns, to receive and share cricket news. It grew from there into an online business, acquired by a succession of owners, including Mick Jagger: the present and most durable is the leading American cable sports TV network ESPN. Its following is truly global, led by the Indian subcontinent and (as at its beginnings) by cricket-loving expatriates in the United States. Recent growth has been boosted by a series of apps. 12-17 minutes Cricinfo’s leading source on US cricket and its recurring development problems is the stringent Peter della Penna, a previous podcast guest. 17-20 minutes

Cricinfo’s primary focus (says Osman) is reporting factually and accurately the global game to all its followers. That demand gives it little scope for campaigning, or connecting readers around campaigns. Nonetheless, it has covered major abuses in cricket, especially 20 years of matchfixing scandals, and deep issues shaping the game. He cites Firdose Moonda’s daily coverage of the Social Justice hearings in South Africa.  He notes proudly that its comment pieces have generated complaints from almost every cricket board in the world. 21-26 minutes

It has also raised regular hackles at the ICC. But he thinks this is a much misunderstood organization. It has a long history of excellent managers whose focus on the needs of the global game has been constantly frustrated by the self-interest of the member boards. These ignored the clear-sighted report into the game’s governance a decade ago by the senior English judge Lord Woolf and the equally clear-sighted more recent warnings about the cluttered international calendar by its own CEO, Geoff Allardyce. He cites Gideon Haigh’s description of the ICC as a glorified events management company. 26-34 minutes

From Cricinfo’s information he offers a cautiously encouraging assessment of the current state of cricket in Afghanistan. On their return to power, he believes that the Taliban recognize the popularity of cricket there and its importance to the country’s relationship with the outside world. It appears to have kept the door open for women’s cricket. The ICC’s appointed mission to Afghanistan has not yet been to the country: it should hurry to give an accurate assessment of the condition of cricket there. 35-39 minutes

Osman shares highlights of his playing record for the W G Gracefully club, near Lewes in Sussex. 40-42 minutes He describes his haphazard journey into cricket writing, shaped by the generous support of Tim de Lisle and the supremo of Cricinfo, Sambit Bal. 43-47 minutes

Finally, he shares moving memories of two recently deceased and notably unlucky Pakistan cricketers: Aftab Baloch (scorer of an almost forgotten first-class 400) and Raees Mohammad, the only one of five brothers not to play Test matches and an early mentor to the younger three, Hanif, Mushtaq and Sadiq. 48-53 minutes

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

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 78: English cricket’s biggest and longest crisis: economic inequality

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller 

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

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

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

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

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 20: Partygate and the Foreign Secretary who didn’t know Rostov was in Russia

The Three Old Hacks are back, raising a glass to celebrate the work done by journalistic colleagues in unveiling the various parties that took place at Downing St during lockdown. Sky TV, the Mirror and the Daily Telegraph all come in for special mentions, as does Liz Truss, but she gets a special mention for rather a different reason: as the focus of their scorn for being the Foreign Secretary who didn’t know Rostov was in Russia.

The Three Old Hacks, not so much setting the world to rights as lamenting Britain’s ignominious position in it.

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


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Listen to more episodes here.

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

A puppy’s take on moving to Chiswick

Chiswick has a new inhabitant – an eight week old Cavapoochon called Cassie. Like so many people who bought puppies last year, owner Sharon works from home and was looking for some company in her small flat.

So what will Cassie make of Chiswick? Over the next few weeks Sharon will be introducing her to the neighbourhood, training her and getting her jabbed and ready to strut her stuff on the mean streets. You can follow her progress on The Chiswick Calendar, beginning with how to puppy proof a flat.

Finding Cassie

“I’m going to Wales to get her” Sharon told The Chiswick Calendar. “I would have liked to get a rescue dog but I live in a one bedroom flat and I have lots of friends with small children and all those I looked at were either too big or not good with children.”

Instead she checked out about 30 Instagram sites and asked around for recommendations of a good breeder, which is how she ended up in Blaina, South Wales on a wet Saturday in February.

“You could tell it was a home with a lot of love” she said. “The breeder is a hobby breeder, so Cassie’s parents are the breeder’s own dogs. She sent me off with a hamper full of toys and treats.”

A Cavapoochon, for the uninitiated, is part Cavalier Spaniel, part toy poodle and part Bichon Frise. Cassie was the only girl in a litter of seven.

“I wanted a dog that was clever – poodles are clever – but I also wanted one which was friendly and good natured, as cocker spaniels are. I wanted one that was not as active as a cockerpoo, but not one that was not too needy.”

Puppy proofing the flat

Even though she works at home, Sharon has taken the week off to settle her in (‘peternity leave’ if you please). Last week was dedicated to puppy-proofing the flat, which involved installing a ‘piddle patch’ on the balcony and fixing netting round the balcony so she didn’t fall through the bars. (At six floors up, you don’t want to be nipping out with the dog on a cold winter’s night).

Take one roll of turf, a planter with a gravel bed and a tray underneath and lay it out so you can water it after it’s served its purpose and empty the tray after (best to check there’s no one walking below at the time). Sharon has also installed bells on the doors and plans to train her clever puppy to ring the bell to go out. She has bought reusable puppy pads for that other bodily function.

For food she’s gone with wet food pouches from Barking Heads (‘we’re potty about our pooches and use the best quality meat’).

So what does Cassie make of it all?

So foul was the weather, a journey that had taken two and a half hours in sunshine took four and a half on the way back in driving rain, but she didn’t complain once. She was “overwhelmed and excited” with the flat, loved her play-pen and the cage she will sleep in, and happy to use the lovingly prepared grass patch on the balcony, though she was a little skeptical about using the loo with a view at first.

The dizzy heights of the sofa

You are supposed to put a puppy down to sleep for the first time in the place you want its permanent bed to be. Although she liked her playpen / cage arrangement, she was lonely on her first night alone in the big city. As she is not allowed on the bed, there was only one thing for it. Sharon slept on a mattress on the floor in the lounge.

Originally from South Africa, Sharon has grown up with dogs, including one, a Yorkshire terrier, who was her own personal pet for 17 years. She has also studied Zoology at university, so she seems to know what she’s doing.

The bed may be out of bounds but the sofa is already a lost cause. She can’t jump so Sharon has to put her up there and watch she doesn’t fall off, but once there she likes to get as high as she can, to the top of the pile of cushions. She makes quite a good neck warmer too.

Day two – out on the town

Sharon has started training Cassie, rewarding her if she sits when told to or responds to her name. She has also taken her out. Not allowed to go down on the ground until she’s had her puppy shots, she was carried around like a baby in a sling on Sunday. (How much has this tiny scrap cost so far?!)

On a trip to the High Rd, and a very daring ride on the train from Gunnersbury Tube to Turnham Green, she met her adoring public, posed for photographs and generally got the lie of the land. As Sharon works in marketing, Cassie has of course got her own Instagram account already – @cassie_the_cavapoochon.

“It would be great to get some fellow furfriends and to set up some playdates in the area, to help her socialise. So that would be great to ask people to reach out to me” says Sharon, which you can either do through Instagram, or if you email us at info@thechiswickcalendar.co.uk we will forward your message.

Once she is allowed to put paw to pavement, she will be visiting the neighbourhood, checking out dog-friendly places and giving them her Paw of Approval – or not, as the case may be.

See how Cassie got in in her second week here – Cassie makes herself at home.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Ant & Dec stage surprise wedding at Chiswick House

See also: Storm Eunice brings trees down in Chiswick and Acton

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 architect wins West London ‘Business of the Year’ award

Image above: Paul Vick receiving his award, with Annabel Croft and Hannah Durling of Westfield; photograph Stephen Johnson

A Chiswick architect, Paul Vick, has won the West London Property and Construction Business of the Year award at the West London Business Awards.

Around 350 people were at Twickenham Stadium to see the award ceremony hosted by tennis star Annabel Croft, who lives in West London. Paul Vick Architects were also highly commended for Resilient SME (small and mid-size enterprise) Innovator of the Year.

The jurors highlighted the architect practice’s sustained commitment to low energy design, its mixed use regeneration and masterplanning work and its implementation with 100% planning permission record with new build and listed buildings.

Image above: Dolphin Square Bridge through the trees; photograph Paul Vick

Based on Chiswick High Road, their work includes a glass bridge and new offices in Chiswick, an innovation hub, a Studio Theatre and Sixth Form Centre at Brentford School for Girls, designs for a memorial space at St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park as well as residential work.

Paul recently attended the UN Climate Conference, COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021 and wrote about it in The Chiswick Calendar.

West London Business awards celebrate small and medium sized enterprises, describing them as the life-blood of the UK. The awards cover west London from Westminster through to Hounslow, Ealing, Brent, Hillingdon and Park Royal.

Presenting awards were the MP for Brentford and Isleworth, Ruth Cadbury, as well as Lord David Young and LB Brent councillor Muhammed Butt. Business leaders from Westfield, VentureX, Heathrow Segro and Brunel University also presented specific awards.

Images above: Examples of some of Paul Vick’s work

“Honoured and humbled”

Speaking after receiving the award, Paul said:

“This important moment for us leads us to reflect that in all the intensity of the day to day and its challenges it is vital to remind ourselves we are all part of a bigger community and share so much ground.

“We are honoured and humbled. West London, ‘the most connected place in the world’, contains some of the most vibrant businesses and opportunities as we all try to carve out a sustainable future.  Many great businesses and organisations come to mind with places like Heathrow, Westfield, Chiswick Business Park, Imperial College and Brunel on our doorsteps.

“I would like to thank all our clients and my team as well as all others who continue to help through these really challenging times. It has been interesting and not always easy as the shape of our economy and our world priorities change.”

Image above: Paul Vick’s glass bridge

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Good COP or Bad COP – What can you do for your home to address climate change?   

See also: Students encouraged to join Eco-Schools programme to ‘help save the planet’

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.

Changes proposed to two of Chiswick’s Conservation Areas

Image above: Bedford Park; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Ealing Council is considering changes to the borders of two Conservations Areas in Chiswick, which could have a significant impact for residents.

The Council has been conducting a review of all its Conservation Areas including Bedford Park and Acton Park, which they say is to establish whether the boundaries should be redefined and if any additional planning controls or guidance is needed to help preserve and enhance the special character of the area.

Interested parties are being consulted on the proposed changes for both Conservation Areas and the Council is inviting responses to specific questions. After a preliminary consultation and a decision by the Council, there will be another formal, statutory consultation before the Council adopts the plans which have been outlined.

Bedford Park Society supportive of proposals

The Bedford Park Society has alerted its members to the proposals outlined and is supportive of the changes, which include:

– Extending the Conservation Area boundary to the western end of Fielding and Blandford Roads up to The Avenue, including Ormsby Lodge

– Formally recognising certain buildings of particular interest as “key unlisted buildings” because of their design, form, elevations and/or historical integrity. These are Bedford Park Mansions, Sydney House, the parade of shops on Bedford Corner and specified houses in Fielding Road and Esmond Road

– Introducing an Article 4 Direction to ensure certain types of minor developments affecting 39-45 Esmond Road are brought back under the control of the Council and are considered through planning applications.

– Providing further practical design guidance to help deal with some of the key developments affecting the Conservation Area, covering roofing alterations, windows and doors, brickwork, extensions, outbuildings, fences and boundary treatment.

A recommendation made by the Conservation Area Advisory Panel to extend the Conservation area in Esmond Road to include the onetime Local Authority flats/houses in order to provide protection from any future development was not supported by council officers, but residents are asked to comment.

Image above: map showing existing boundaries of Bedford Park Conservation Area

Acton Green proposals

The proposals for Acton Green include:

– Removing the Beaconsfield Estate from the Conservation Area boundary on the basis that this modern estate (1970s) is very different in character from the rest of the Conservation Area which is Victorian / Edwardian in nature.

– Formally recognising buildings which contribute positively to the area. These include the locally listed buildings at 1-24 Fairlawn Court, Acton Lane and those defined as “positive indicators” – The Vicarage, 41 South Parade, St Albans Church, Rusthall Mansions, Esmond Gardens, Nos 79-81 South Parade, Nos 12-44 Acton Lane and 5-10 Hardwicke Road

– Introducing an Article 4 Direction for the Conservation Area, and providing further practical design guidance to help deal with some of the key developments affecting the Conservation Area, such as alterations to windows and doors.

The Conservation Area Advisory Panel’s proposal to add the triangle of land between Fairlawn Avenue, Fairlawn Grove and Ravenscroft Road to the Conservation Area boundary is not supported by council officers due to the differences in design and age of the houses compared to the rest of the Conservation Area.

For further information about the Bedford Park Society, email: information@bedfordpark.org.uk or check the website: www.bedfordpark.org.uk

The Bedford Park Society is encouraging residents to give their views on the proposals. Residents need not respond to all the proposals; they can respond to singular proposals if they so wish.

The questions where responses are invited, together with an explanation for each change, are set out on Ealing’s planning portal. Responses can be sent to: localplan@ealing.gov.uk

The deadline for the current consultation is 18 March.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Fallen tree clearance hampered by strong winds

See also: Storm Eunice brings trees down in Chiswick and Acton

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Teachers at Notting Hill & Ealing High School step up strike action

Image above: Notting Hill & Ealing High School; photograph Google street view

Five days of strikes this week and next

Teachers at Notting Hill & Ealing High School are taking strike action against the Girls Day Schools Trust decision to withdraw from the Teachers Pension Scheme.

Staff who are members of the National Education Union (NEU) have already taken one day of strike action on 10 February and are due to step up the strike this week, by not working on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 February and again next week on Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 March.

Parents at the school, which costs £6,600 a term, say the strike action is affecting their daughters’ exam preparation and are worried it will affect their A Level results.

The Girls Day School Trust (GDST) is a group of 23 independent girls’ schools, which include Putney High and Wimbledon High as well as Notting Hill & Ealing. The Trust is proposing to remove its teaching staff from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, which they say is necessary because of the financial situation it finds itself in.

They say the 43%  increase in employer contributions implemented by the government in 2019 “has had a severe impact on our expenditure and has put us in a very difficult position.”

CEO Cheryl Giovannoni said while they understood the strength of feeling amongst teachers, withdrawing from the scheme is “absolutely necessary to support the long-term sustainability of the GDST family of schools.”

They are proposing an alternative pension scheme, which will involve them making a smaller contribution.

Image above: Notting Hill & Ealing High School; photograph Google street view

“We have to stand up for our rights”

The NEU says its members will lose at least 20% the pension they were expecting to receive in retirement.

“Teachers don’t go into the career for the money. The pension is one of the attractions of the job” a spokesperson for the NEU told The Chiswick Calendar.

A ballot of NEU members resulted in 95% of teacher members at GDST schools voting in favour of strike action, an unprecedented and overwhelming vote in favour of action, showing the strength of feeling amongst teachers. The strike is the first in the Trust’s entire 149-year history.

The Union says The Trust has been “unable and unwilling” to demonstrate any financial imperative for this decision. Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The Girls’ Day School Trust has no justification in its plan to slash the pensions of its teaching staff. This will be a disaster for staff, for future recruitment and for pupils.”

Teachers on the picket line on the first day of strike said: “The GDST don’t care about us. We love our school, but this is our future.”

Another said colleagues would be £2,000 worse off a year:

“We’ve worked our socks off, all the way through Covid. We didn’t get a pay rise last year because we were told the GDST couldn’t afford it, yet the CEO got a pay rise. We can’t go any further because we can’t end up living off the state because we haven’t got a proper pension. It’s not just acceptable.

“It’s been a really difficult decision but we’ve decided we have to stand up for our rights. We’re determined we want a fair pension for the work we put in.”

In all, 1,500 teaching staff are expected to take part in 23 schools.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tributes flow after death of ‘local legend’ Jamal Edwards

See also: Fallen tree clearance hampered by strong winds

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Two serving officers and a former policeman charged with sending grossly offensive messages

Image above: Scotland Yard

A serving Metropolitan Police officer, PC Jonathon Cobban, 35, attached to the West Area Command Unit and a second serving officer, PC William Neville, 33, attached to the South West Command Unit have been charged with sending grossly offensive messages on a public communications network.

A third man, a former police officer, Joel Borders, 45, has also been charged, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The three men will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 16 March for their first hearing.

The Metropolitan Police have put out a statement saying they “await the outcome of criminal proceedings and will continue to support the IOPC with their investigation.”

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Bas Javid said:

“I am deeply concerned to hear two serving officers and a former officer have been charged with these offences. I understand that the public will be very concerned too.

“Criminal proceedings must now take their course so I am unable to comment any further at this stage.”

List of charges against west London officers stacking up

Metropolitan police commissioner Cressida Dick resigned earlier this month as evidence of a sexist, racist police culture with the Met has grown, with a string of controversies undermining  public confidence in the force.

Her resignation was, according to the editorial in last week’s Observer ‘long overdue’…  ‘She has failed to grapple with the fact that policing attracts recruits with unsavoury motives who can take the opportunity to abuse power that a police uniform creates.’

Stories of police abuse just in west London have been mounting up. We recently reported a west London officer had barely kept his job, receiving a two year suspended sentence for causing death by careless driving. The week before we reported a west London officer had been changed with rape.

Two weeks before that West London borough police commander Chief Superintendent Paul Martin was sacked for gross misconduct which included sexist bullying, misuse of police funds and failing to declare a conflict of interest.

His colleague Chief Inspector Davinder Kandohla was also sacked for gross misconduct and a third officer who kept his job was also found to have breached Standards of Professional Behaviour, amounting to misconduct.

That’s just what we know about, since Christmas.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: West London police officer sentenced for causing death by careless driving

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

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Tributes flow after death of ‘local legend’ Jamal Edwards

Tributes for ‘local legend’ Jamal Edwards have been flowing on social media, after his company announced his sudden death on Monday (21 February).

The 31 year old British entrepreneur and YouTube star was an instrumental figure in British rap and grime music. He launched SBTV, an online urban music platform which helped kickstart the careers of artists like Dave, Ed Sheeran and Skepta.

Jamal grew up in Acton, where a mural of him was unveiled in 2021. The mural was recently visited by Ed Sheeran.

Born in Luton, Edwards was appointed an MBE for services to music in 2014. He also became an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, a youth charity run by the Prince of Wales which helps young people set up their own companies.

The rapper attended the Brit Awards earlier this month and was understood to have performed as a DJ at a gig in north London on Saturday night. He died on Sunday morning, but no details have been released about his death.

Image above: Jamal’s mural in Acton, by artist Matt Small

West London mourns urban music ‘pioneer’ 

British Rapper AJ Tracey said: “RIP Jamal Edwards, west london legend status”

BBC journalist and Chiswick resident Dougal Shaw said:

“So sad to hear of the passing of Jamal Edwards, a local legend in Acton west #London, who I met a couple of times through work… RIP Jamal.”

Gunnersbury Park and Museum said:

“Terribly sad news about Jamal Edwards MBE

“A true west London legend, he founded JED, a grassroots youth project providing young people in Ealing with opportunities through music, media and sports sessions. He also refurbished and reopened four youth centres across Acton.”

A west London based fan named Josh said:

“I cannot believe this news. Rest in peace Jamal Edwards, serious icon not only for West London but the entire British music platform.”

Ealing Central and Acton MP, Rupa Huq, said:

“Local hero and pioneer of British urban music via SBTV Jamal Edwards has been taken from us age 31 He was hugely proud of his Acton roots – bringing @edsheeran along to the mural erected to him there recently. Shocking & sad news, love to his mum @brenda_edwards sister and family”

Image above: Jamal Edwards

SBTV and charitable works

In a 2013 interview with the BBC, Jamal said he filmed friends rapping or singing and began to upload the videos to YouTube to allow other friends to see them.

“You can say my videos had mixed reviews to begin with, some people didn’t get them, but others thought they were sick [good],” he said. “So I started to put them up on YouTube so everyone could see them, and it just grew from there.”

SBTV – his London-based platform for discovering emerging artists and named after Edwards’ own rapper moniker SmokeyBarz – has now grown to 1.22 million subscribers on YouTube.

It featured early music videos from dozens of British artists who were not widely known at the time, including Jessie J, Emeli Sande, Stormzy and many more.

Jamal had various charitable ventures, including JE Delve, a grassroots charity that provides youth clubs as well as learning and work opportunities for young people in west London.

He also worked with a handful of other youth charities locally, regularly making visits to speak to teenagers at both Acton High School and West London College where he had studied. He offered advice on business success and self-motivation.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Storm Eunice brings trees down in Chiswick and Acton

See also: Packhorse & Talbot General Manager stabbed

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.

 

Fallen tree clearance hampered by strong winds

Image above: Tree which fell in Thorney Hedge Rd on Friday; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Workmen trying to clear fallen trees from Chiswick and Acton are being hampered by continuing high winds on Monday.

Storm Eunice played havoc with ‘leafy Chiswick’, bringing down several big trees in Chiswick and Acton, blocking roads. It also brought down fences and walls.

READ ALSO:  Storm Eunice brings trees down in Chiswick and Acton

Images above: Workmen dismantling the tree; photographs Punita Pandya

On Monday (21 February) Council workmen are dismantling a tree which fell in Thorney Hedge Rd on Friday afternoon, crushing a car at its base on one side of the road and catching in a tree opposite.

The workmen are using a crane to lift the tree off, but as cranes can only be operated when winds are under 40mph, they have had to keep stopping while gusts of wind blew through.

The tree which fell is entangled in the branches of the one opposite. Punita Pandya, who lives in number 34, behind the tree, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I didn’t hear a thing, because I suppose it was caught in the tree outside, but thank goodness for that because if it had landed on our house it would have destroyed it.”

She is not able to leave her house while the work is carried out. These are her pictures.

Hounslow Council parking bays from number 1 to 41 on the road will be suspended from today until 12pm on Wednesday 23 February.

Images above: Workmen dismantling the tree; photographs Punita Pandya

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Packhorse & Talbot General Manager stabbed

See also: Cheese market cancelled, other markets go ahead

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.

Packhorse & Talbot General Manager stabbed

Image above: Packhorse & Talbot pub, Chiswick High Rd

The General Manager of the Packhorse and Talbot pub in Chiswick High Rd was stabbed after a fight broke out in the pub on Saturday night.

The fight happened while punters were watching boxing in the pub. Eye witnesses say a group of seven white, Irish men had been drinking since about 5pm and the fight happened at about 11.30pm.

The manager was stabbed four times, “nearly fatally”. He was stabbed in the neck, the head, the arm and the hand while he was outside phoning an ambulance for someone else who had been injured.

Police are looking for two Irish brothers who may have been parked near the Metro bank at around 6pm on Saturday.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Storm Eunice brings trees down in Chiswick and Acton

See also: Cheese market cancelled, other markets go ahead

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.

Ant & Dec stage surprise wedding at Chiswick House

Image above: ITV Ant & Dec Saturday Night Takeaway

An audience member at Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway was left stunned on Saturday (19 February) after being summoned down onto the stage to find out she was about to get married.

The show had a live audience for the first time in two years and Vicky Powell had gone along with her two friends, unaware of what what was about to happen.

The two presenters, both of which used to live in Chiswick (Dec still does), beckoned Vicky down onto the stage where her fiance Nick then appeared on a giant screen. Vicky remained unaware he was in the UK and assumed he was still on a work trip abroad, but eventually the screen panned back to reveal he was at Chiswick House with their family and friends. Everyone had been in on the secret and Nick had never left the country.

Image above: the moment when Nick proposed to Vicky; image courtesy of ITV Ant & Dec Saturday Night Takeaway

Nick got down on one knee and proposed again to Vicky, who is six months pregnant and works as a nurse for the NHS. She said yes again, to the relief of Ant and Dec and the studio audience. After this, she was told a helicopter was waiting to take her from the studio to her wedding.

The couple had already had to postpone their wedding three times and lost £28,000 when the venue they had booked went bust.

In secret, 100 guests, including Vicky’s parents, had gathered at Chiswick House with some flying in from as far as Australia and Brazil.

‘Lady Antoinette’ and ‘Miss Donna Lee’ close the show

Image courtesy of ITV Ant & Dec Saturday Night Takeaway

Towards the end of the show the presenting duo were transformed into their drag alter egos ‘Lady Antoinette’ and ‘Miss Donna Lee’ for the ‘End Of The Show Show’.

The transformation was made possible by Ru Paul’s Drag Race star Raven and Glow Up winner Ellis Atlantis with hair by Curtis William.

Drag Race UK winners The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Krystal Versace also appeared in the final performance, which was introduced by American drag queen RuPaul.

Making their entrance on to the show, Ant and Dec were embellished with fake boobs, heels and heavy make-up for the performance.

Red-head McPartlin was dressed in a black sparkly outfit while blond-haired Donnelly stepped out in a blue feather dress and red lipstick.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jeremy Vine gets back on the penny farthing a week after falling off and injuring himself

See also: Tributes flow after death of ‘local legend’ Jamal Edwards

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Jeremy Vine back on his bike – six days after being knocked unconscious

Television presenter and Chiswick resident Jeremy Vine has been back on his penny farthing bicycle this weekend (19 February), six days after an accident which knocked him unconscious.

The TV and radio host was riding his old fashioned penny farthing style bicycle when he was thrown off the bike and knocked out after slamming his head on the ground.

Jeremy admitted earlier last week he was having second thoughts about using vintage bikes after the impact shattered his glasses and put him in A&E. Speaking about the accident on his  morning TV show, he said:

“I didn’t see the divot, my front wheel went into it and I went over the handlebars and landed on my head.”

Image above: Jeremy’s injuries 

On Friday he posted a video of him riding the bike again, adding:

“Six days after my accident I was back on my penny farthing today. Perfectly safe ride, nothing untoward. Confidence coming back, but I won’t ever go on grass again. Thanks for all the kind messages.”

A picture of Jeremy’s bruised eye was also revealed on the Channel 5 current affairs show. In an interview with The Chiswick Calendar in January 2021, he admitted the penny farthing can be a difficult bike to control.

“The one thing is, there aren’t really any brakes so you need to step off it to stop. You need to go very slowly and predict lights and stuff, you’ve got to work out when lights are changing and be prepared to dismount” he said.

Spiteful comments on social media

Some local residents who are opposed to traffic restrictions and cycle infrastructure in Chiswick seemed to relish in the presenter’s unfortunate accident in comments online. One said:

“It couldn’t have happened to a nastier person”.

Jeremy, who promotes cycling in his social media and is engaged in a war of attrition with opponents of safe cycling routes, responded on Twitter by saying:

“The worst part of falling off a Penny Farthing in West London is that it triggers a volcanic reaction from people on Chiswick’s anti-cycling Facebook page. There are no more than half a dozen who spend all their waking hours attacking people on bikes. Claire Moran for example”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jeremy Vine and his penny-farthing bicycle

See also: Tributes flow after death of ‘local legend’ Jamal Edwards

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.

 

Running With Lions review – Lyric Hammersmith

Image above: Ruby Barker (L), Suzette Llewellyn (Centre L), Velile Tshabalala (centre R), Wil Johnson (R) in Running with lions at the Lyric

Running with Lions reminds me a bit of an Alan Ayckbourn play. The new play at the Lyric, Hammersmith, is a supremely well observed drama about a family – three generations of multi-layered emotions built from close proximity and shared experience.

It deals with unspoken emotional baggage which the younger generations refuse to leave unspoken and tensions between mother and daughter (twice over) as the characters seek to do what is right and what is best. It is also well structured, suspenseful, painful and funny.

This is a British Caribbean family in London rather than a white middle class family in Surrey or Buckinghamshire, but the building blocks are the same: Maxwell and Shirley, still in love but having lost the ability to communicate after so many years together; their granddaughter Imani, living with them because her single mother is in and out of mental institutions, doing well at school and desperate to fly the coop; Gloria, the mother battling bipolar disorder; all of them struggling to deal with the loss of their son / uncle / brother Joshua, who died.

Image above: Joshua (Nickcolia King-N’da) and Gloria (Velile Tshabalala) at the start of the play

It is unclear throughout much of the play what has happened to him. Running with Lions opens with Joshua (Nickcolia King-N’da) and Gloria (Velile Tshabalala) excitedly discussing their plans for the future: he is about to take off as an artist, having been offered his first solo show; she is about to leave home to set up home with her fiancé in her first flat.

When the scene changes we are 16 years on and Gloria is about to leave a clinic to come to her parents’ home. Fragile and uncertain, the last thing she wants is the big welcome home party her mother is planning. “What will I say to all our friends?” cries Shirley (Suzette Llewellyn) in dismay when Gloria makes it clear she’s having none of it. Imani (Ruby Barker) also feels let down when she rushes home, desperate to see her mother, to find she has already retired to her room.

When she does emerge Gloria can’t believe there’s no sign of Joshua in the house. None of his paintings or photographs are on view. And so the scene is set for the unintentional discord which inevitably follows from their clashing aims and outlooks.

Image above: Shirley (Suzette Llewellyn) and Maxwell (Wil Johnson) enjoying a moment

Wil Johnson is excellent as Maxwell, the pastor whose faith does not appear to be helping him with his grief. He loves to reminisce with a bit of old soul and rock steady on the record player.

Ruby Barker (famous from the character Marina Thompson she played in the Netflix series Bridgerton) is spot on as the supportive but independent teenager who wants to get on with her own life.

Velile Tshabalala portrays the frustration of trying to stay on top of things, maintain her independence and assert herself with the weight of a mental illness sending her from emotional highs to terrible lows of depression.

Nickcolia King-N’da inevitably has less of a role, being dead and all, but captures the hope of youth and has a poignant scene where he appears to his father after his death.

Image above: Imani (Ruby Barker) with grandmother Shirley (Suzette Llewellyn)

But it is Suzette Llewellyn who steals the show, with her matriarchal authority, bolstered by her sense of duty and moral rectitude, beset by guilt and regret.

I had no idea Running With Lions was playwright Sian Carter’s first play. It doesn’t feel like a first play. The theatre company is the Black British company Talawa. Director Michael Buffong once said the company would “make outstanding work which will truly diversify and shape the cultural life of the whole country.”

I think this play deserves to become a British classic. Running With Lions is on at the Lyric until 12 March.

lyric.co.uk

Image above: Shirley (Suzette Llewellyn), Imani (Ruby Barker) and Gloria (Velile Tshabalala) 

Photographs courtesy of Javin Morgan photography.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

See also: Books of the Month reviews

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

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