January 2023 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Jessica Bloom has a look at what’s on offer and chooses Forever, Interrupted; Hell Bent, and The Shards.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“In that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.”

When Elsie Porter meets Ben Ross on a rainy New Year’s Day, their chemistry is instant and electric. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. At the hospital, Elsie must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met—and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.

Images above: Forever, Interrupted front cover, author Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

“Wealth. Power. Murder. Magic. Alex Stern is back and the Ivy League is going straight to hell.”

Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory?even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale.

Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents.

Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.

Thick with history and packed with Bardugo’s signature twists, Hell Bent brings to life an intricate world full of magic, violence, and all too real monsters.

Images above: Hell Bent front cover, author Leigh Bardugo

The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis

“A novel of sensational literary and psychological suspense from the best-selling author of Less Than Zero and American Psycho that tracks a group of privileged high school friends in a vibrantly fictionalized 1980s Los Angeles as a serial killer strikes across the city”

Bret Easton Ellis’s masterful new novel is a story about the end of innocence, and the perilous passage from adolescence into adulthood, set in a vibrantly fictionalized Los Angeles in 1981 as a serial killer begins targeting teenagers throughout the city.

Seventeen-year-old Bret is a senior at the exclusive Buckley prep school when a new student arrives with a mysterious past. Robert Mallory is bright, handsome, charismatic, and shielding a secret from Bret and his friends even as he becomes a part of their tightly knit circle. Bret’s obsession with Mallory is equalled only by his increasingly unsettling preoccupation with the Trawler, a serial killer on the loose who seems to be drawing ever closer to Bret and his friends, taunting them—and Bret in particular—with grotesque threats and horrific, sharply local acts of violence.

The coincidences are uncanny, but they are also filtered through the imagination of a teenager whose gifts for constructing narrative from the filaments of his own life are about to make him one of the most explosive literary sensations of his generation. Can he trust his friends—or his own mind—to make sense of the danger they appear to be in? Thwarted by the world and by his own innate desires, buffeted by unhealthy fixations, he spirals into paranoia and isolation as the relationship between the Trawler and Robert Mallory hurtles inexorably toward a collision.

Set against the intensely vivid and nostalgic backdrop of pre-Less Than Zero L.A., The Shards is a mesmerizing fusing of fact and fiction, the real and the imagined, that brilliantly explores the emotional fabric of Bret’s life at seventeen—sex and jealousy, obsession and murderous rage. Gripping, sly, suspenseful, deeply haunting, and often darkly funny, The Shards is Ellis at his inimitable best.

Images above: The Shards front cover, author Bret Easton Ellis

Jessica Bloom

Jessica Bloom is a bookseller at her family bookshop, ‘Bookcase London’, an independent bookshop open in Chiswick since 1993.

See Jessica’s and Anna Klerfalk’s book choices from previous months here.

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Brentford 2, Tottenham Hotspur 2

Images above: Brentford celebrating after a goal; photographs Will Hagerty

Second Season: Back to the Future

The sky was blue and so was the away strip of the visitors. Christmas had been celebrated and Boxing Day action beckoned. All was right at the Gtech Stadium, with sunshine helping to set the scene for the resumption of activities. Now, where are we…

Seven weeks since kicking a ball in anger, the Bees set out to resume where they had left off. A big ask, considering their 2-1 demolition of Manchester City was probably the most notable away victory in the club’s history, but a demand they answered splendidly for five minutes over an hour.

It took that long for Brentford to establish a two-goal lead and Spurs – slow starters who have turned overcoming early conceded goals into an art form – to wake up, and spectacularly so at that. A cross from Clement Lenglet saw a cluster of players take off skywards to meet it, but compared to Harry Kane’s spring heels, the defence appeared to be nailed to the turf. Kane’s glorious header was unerringly directed beyond David Raya.

Six minutes later, during which the visitors practised hit and run raids deep into Brentford territory, the second Spurs goal arrived, Pierre-Emile Hӧjbjerg finding some inviting, unattended space from which to fire home.

So swift was Tottenham’s turn-round that the splendidly vocal home crowd was hushed. Yet the majority would probably have accepted a draw had they been promised that result pre-kick-off. Certainly, there was much to admire in a crackerjack of a game in which each side’s striker-in-chief displayed no signs of pressure regarding their respective problems.

Image above: Ivan Toney scoring Brentford’s second goal 

Kane’s goal and the skilful marshalling of his team nullified memory of his second high, wide and far from handsome penalty in England’s unsuccessful World Cup quarter-final against France. The home crowd had earlier enjoyed teasing him with a chant of ‘Ivan Toney – he would have scored that!’ but showed the respect he deserved following his goal.

Toney, nonchalant as ever, capped a quality performance soon after the start of the second half with his eleventh goal of the season, a centre-forward’s simple conversion at the far post after a Christian Nørgaard flick-header from a corner. To Toney, those FA charges of 262 illegal bets must have been seemed a thousand miles away.

From the start, he and Bryan Mbeumo had harassed goalkeeper Fraser Forster, drafted into the side instead of Frenchman Hugo Lloris, presumably being given a post-World Cup rest although occupying a seat on the bench just in case.

Poor Forster! After just 15 minutes Mbeumo, racing down the left, ignored Toney’s feint of a supporting run to find Matthias Jensen heading towards the goalmouth at a gallop. His volley was deflected by Lenglet and Forster could only parry the ball, leaving Vitaly Janelt to prod it home from close in.

Images above: Brentford line up to defend against a free kick

 

Toney’s goal was as good as it was to get for Brentford. Having earlier dashed clear to score – demonstrably offside, but good for the soul – he joined the rest of the Bees in fending off Kane and company right until the added five minutes were up. Forster was doubtless pleased to have a breather as Spurs established domination. Lloris, a superb keeper, may well have been happy that he hadn’t been called upon, especially in the first half.

Thomas Frank, while later regretting the loss of two points, called upon just three substitutes – two with only a minute of ordinary time remaining – which for him is possibly a record; normally he likes to see four or five joining any defensive battle being waged by his players.

Most spectators – excluding the ever-dissatisfied loudmouths – seemed happy enough. ‘Happy New Year’, I wished my mate Charlie, adding a reminder that there is still one game to go this year, West Ham hosting the Bees on Friday evening.

‘No problem. They’ll just be blowing bubbles’ said Charlie.

Brentford: Raya; Zanka, Pinnock; Mee; Roerslev, Jensen (substitute Ghoddos 67), Nørgaard (Dasilva 82), Janelt; Henry, Mbeumo (Wissa 82), Toney.

Tottenham Hotspur: Forster; Tanganga (D Sánchez 67), Dier, Langlet (Davies 90+5); Doherty, Bissouma, Hӧjberg, Perisic; Kulusevski, Jane, Son Heung-min.

 

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group. Pictures by Liz Vercoe.

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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House fire in Park Rd Chiswick destroys upper floor

Image above: Fire at house in Park Rd; photographs Steve Nutt

Eight fire crews took three hours to put it out

London Fire Brigade was called to a serious fire in Park Rd in Chiswick on Thursday 29 December.

House number 135 Park Rd, where building work was being carried out, was well alight, as these pictures show. Eight fire engines attended with some 60 firefighters from Chiswick and other nearby fire stations.

The house, opposite the junction with Lawford Rd, was surrounded by scaffolding and the fire took hold on the top storey and in the roof space. Firefighters were called at around 4.30pm. It took three hours to get the fire under control.

Owners away while house was being refurbished

Site manager Duda Mwale told The Chiswick Calendar the house was being totally refurbished and the owners had moved out while the work was being carried out.

“I feel so sorry for them” he told us. “They are pretty shaken up. We will have to re-do the whole house.”

The building contractors had completed the first phase, a loft conversion, and planned to have the rest of the work, including an extension, completed by the end of January. They were working at the site on the day of the fire and spoke to the London Fire Brigade last night.

The contractors have not been allowed back on the site yet to assess the full extent of the damage, as the electricity board are on site and they are waiting for clearance from the fire brigade that the site is safe to enter.

It is clear from the outside though that the whole roof has completely gone and, said Duda, the first floor ceilings had also been destroyed. The two houses on either site are currently cordoned off while inspectors assess the damage.

There is no indication yet as to what caused the fire. London Fire Brigade will carry out an investigation.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Grove Park access restrictions suspended over Christmas period

See also: Brentford FC’s Ivan Toney convicted and fined over driving offences

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.

Sisters, 8 and 10, raise £100 in 5p coins for Chiswick RNLI

Image above: young fundraisers visit Chiswick RNLI with their £100 in 5p pieces

The girsl saved their 5p pieces over several years

Two girls have raised around £100 for Chiswick RNLI, by collecting 5ps pieces over ‘many years’.

Pepper and Sloane Moseley, aged 10 and 8, visited the Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat Station in December, where they were “made very welcome” by Chiswick Lifeboat volunteers Liam and Matt as they  handed over the coins in little glass jars with their grandparents Mary and lvan Moseley.

Betty Frith, the honourary treasurer of the RNLI’s Hertfordshire branch initiated the idea of giving children little glass jars to colled five pence pieces in, so they are known as ‘Betty’s pots’.

In 2016, Betty appealed to local cafes, B&Bs and hotels, or anyone who uses the small conserve pots, to keep them aside to cleaned, re-labelled and re-used for 5p donations.

Mary Moseley, Pepper and Sloane’s grandmother said:

‘Our grandchildren enjoyed donning their life jackets and going on the lifeboat, and we’re delighted to think that those heavy 5p pieces were going to a very good cause.’

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 4,000 incidents and rescued more than 1,750 people. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Planners recommend approval for TfL car park on ‘wildlife reserve’

See also: House fire in Park Rd Chiswick destroys upper floor

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.

Black Sheep Coffee to open branch on Chiswick High Road

Image above: Black Sheep Coffee, Bow St 

Popular London chain choose Chiswick as their next venture

Chiswick High Road is soon to have another coffee shop, after Black Sheep Coffee announced its intention to take over the premises at number 322 – formerly occupied by the Joy Boutique.

The company, which is a common sight in northern and eastern parts of central London, says it is the only coffee retailer in the world to serve 100% specialty grade Robusta Coffee in a market dominated by Arabica.

It was founded in 2013 by university flatmates, Eirik Holth and Gabriel Shohet, and has expanded from a stall in Camden to over 35 branches across the capital. Most recently, it opened a new branch in Fulham.

Its signature flavours include Robusta Revival, Rebel Decaf and Blue Volcano. They also serve Norwegian waffles.

The café will be 105 sq meters and fit 46 covers according to designs submitted for planning permission. They have also applied for advertising displays outside the premises.

A spokesperson for the group said:

“We are opening in Chiswick because our mission is to rid the world of average tasting coffee, so Chiswick is the next spot that needs some Black Sheep Coffee!”

Image above: old shop Joy Boutique 

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: House fire in Park Rd Chiswick destroys upper floor

See also: Planners recommend approval for TfL car park on ‘wildlife reserve’

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Ealing & Hounslow both appear in list of most complained about councils

Image above: Hounslow House; Ealing Council Offices

Hounslow 8th and Ealing 5th on list

The London Boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow have both made it into a top ten of most comp,ained about English local authorities.

Small claims company Claims.co.uk analysed the data from the Local Government Ombudsman showing the number of complaints from residents and placed LB Hounslow as the 8th most complained about council in the UK, and LB Ealing the 5th most complained about.

Ealing Council received 37 complaints per 10,000 residents between 2016 and 2022. The most complaints were about housing. In Hounslow there were 32.2 complaints per 10,000 people but here the issues most regularly raised were benefit and tax.

Ealing had the lowest percentage of upheld complaints among the top ten. From 2016 to 2022, only 142 complaints were upheld and 93 were not, meaning 60.42% were upheld. In around two fifths of cases, the council was found to have behaved correctly or had already resolved the issue.

Image above: graphic of most complained about councils in England by Claims.co.uk

‘Speak out if you feel that your council has failed to deliver a service’ 

George Patton, who helped prepare the report for claims.co.uk, said:

“Council tax increased by an average of £67 for Band D properties in 2022 amid the cost-of-living squeeze. Because of this tax hike, residents rightly have rising expectations towards their local authorities to provide better services.

“Hence, although taking on your council might seem daunting, it’s vital to know your right as a resident and speak out if you feel that your council has failed to deliver a service.

“Your first step should always be contacting the service provider in question. And if you are not happy with the solution provided, the Local Government Ombudsman will come as a final resort.

“Be sure not to delay and lodge your complaints as soon as possible. Moreover, stay polite throughout the process and provide clear evidence to support your claim as the Local Government Ombudsman’s decision is final—your case won’t be reviewed again unless new evidence comes to light.”

Hounslow and Ealing have not responded to being named on the list.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Black Sheep Coffee to open branch on Chiswick High Road

See also: Sisters, 8 and 10, raise £100 in 5p coins for Chiswick RNLI

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.

Grove Park access restrictions suspended over Christmas period

Image above: Grove Park traffic access restrictions

Scheme suspended from 23 December 2022 until 2 January 2023

LB Hounslow is suspending the Grove Park access restriction on two roads over the festive period.

There will be no enforcement of the restriction on Staveley Road and Hartington Road from 7.00pm on Friday 23 December until 8.00am on 2 January 2023.

Jefferson Nwokeoma, Hounslow’s Assistant Director of Traffic, Transport & Parking, wrote to councillors to confirm the decision.

To coincide with the restarting of the A4 roadworks, which will require full eastbound closures between M4 junction 2 and Hogarth Roundabout, the council will again temporarily suspend enforcement of the access restrictions on Staveley Road and Hartington Road on Saturday 7 January and Saturday 14 January, from 8.00am – 7.00pm.

TfL have also confirmed the A4 has now reopened in both directions between Hogarth Roundabout and Chiswick Roundabout for the Christmas period.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Roadworks threaten congestion over Christmas period

See also: Strikes affect train, bus, tube and airport services, healthcare and mail deliveries over Christmas and into the new year

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 FC’s Ivan Toney convicted and fined over driving offences

Image above: Ivan Toney with his car; photograph via Instagram

Police described Toney as “rude and obstructive”

Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been fined a legal bill of almost £700 after he was caught by police driving with dangerously-tinted windows and an illegal personalised number plate on his £160,000 Mercedes.

The 26-year-old Premier League star was accused of being “rude and obstructive” at the roadside when he was pulled over by an officer on 2 April.

The Met Police PC accused Toney of “not caring” about the traffic stop and offences he was suspected of when he was pulled over on the A4 in Chiswick.

At Bromley magistrates court last Thursday (15 December), Toney was convicted of using a vehicle in a condition likely to cause danger of injury and driving a vehicle when the registration mark failed to conform with regulations.

He was ordered to pay fines totalling £540, plus a £54 victim surcharge and £100 in costs. The Premier League footballer was also given three penalty points on his licence.

Image above: Ivan Toney; photograph Brentford FC

Toney faces significant ban by FA for breach of betting rules

Toney is already facing a significant football ban by the FA over allegations he breached its rules on betting. He was charged with over 232 alleged breaches of betting rules in November. On Tuesday he was charged with a further 30 alleged breaches of FA betting rules.

Sky News reported Brentford FC is weighing up options to replace Toney, should the FA ban him from playing, though it is thought finding someone to commit to the team short term will be difficult.

Toney said in a post on Twitter after the allegations emerged in November:

“I have been assisting the Football Association with their enquiries and will not be making any comment until such investigation has reached its conclusion.

“I am a proud Englishman and it has always been my childhood dream to play for my country at a World Cup finals.”

He has yet to comment on the further alleged breaches or his driving offences.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford FoodBox Christmas appeal

See also: Strikes affect train, bus, tube and airport services, healthcare and mail deliveries over Christmas and into the new year

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.

Cyclist injured on Chiswick High Road

Image above: a bike propped up against an ambulance on Chiswick High Rd on Monday evening; photograph from Facebook

35 year old man injured in collision 

A cyclist has been seriously injured in a collision with a Toyota Prius on Chiswick High Road on Monday (19 December)

The 35-year-old man has been taken to hospital after being involved in the collision, which was at the junction with Dukes Avenue around 7.15pm.

Video footage published in social media shows a bike propped up against the back of an ambulance.

The cyclist received back injuries and was brought to the hospital via ambulance for treatment, but his condition is not believed to be life threatening.

The driver was not arrested but the police say they are continuing to make enquiries into the incident. The cause of the accident remains unclear.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New bishop appointed for west London

See also: Brentford FoodBox Christmas appeal

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.

New bishop appointed for west London

Image above: the Rt Revd Dr Emma Ineson with Fr Kevin Morris, the vicar of St Michael’s, and other west London clergy

New bishop to take up her post in spring 2023

The Rt Revd Dr Emma Ineson, currently Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, has been announced as the next Bishop of Kensington, which covers the London Boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea, Hounslow, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Richmond-upon-Thames.

She met clergy and members of the congregation at St Michael & All Angels, Bedford Park on Thursday 15 December, together with clergy from St Nicholas Church and St Peter’s Southfield Road.

Bishop Emma will formally take up her post in spring 2023 and will join the College of Bishops in the Diocese of London. She succeeds the Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin as Bishop of Kensington, who stepped down in August to lead the Centre for Cultural Witness.

Bishop Emma was ordained in 2000 and served her curacy in Christ Church, Dore in the Diocese of Sheffield, before moving to Devon where she was a Chaplain to the Lee Abbey, an ecumenical Christian community. She was appointed as Tutor of Practical and Pastoral Theology at Trinity College, Bristol in 2006, and Director of Pastoral Studies in 2010.

New bishop’s hopes for “transformational engagement” with local communities

She was appointed Principal in 2014. During this time she also served as Associate Minister of St Matthew’s, Kingsdown, and of St Mary Magdalene, Stoke Bishop, in the Diocese of Bristol. In 2019, Emma was appointed Bishop of Penrith in the Diocese of Carlisle, and in 2021 she took up her current role as Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

She has been a member of the 2022 Lambeth Conference Design Group, chairs the Church of England Minority Ethnic Vocations Advisory Group, is a member of the Commission for Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, and the Tearfund Theology Committee, and is Central Chaplain to the Worldwide Mothers’ Union.

Bishop Emma said:

“The Kensington Area stretches from Knightsbridge to Heathrow, encapsulating areas of extreme wealth and also of poverty, with nearly a million Londoners calling it home.

“For the good news of Jesus Christ to reach every corner, we need to enable people to be confident in living and speaking about their faith, so that everyone has an opportunity to hear and respond. We need to be ambitious in supporting our parish churches in their transformational engagement with local communities.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford FoodBox Christmas appeal

See also: Artists at Home raise £3,216 for The Upper Room

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.

Woman’s body found in woods in Hounslow

Image above: Donkey Wood Hounslow

61-year old woman found dead in river

Met Police detectives are appealing for information after the body of a 61-year old woman was discovered in a wood in Hounslow.

Police were called at 11.29am on Tuesday (20 December) to Donkey Wood off Staines Road in Hounslow after reports of a body in a river.

Officers attended and the woman from the Feltham area was recovered from the river, where she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Although the woman has not been formally identified, police are confident they know who she is. The woman’s family have been informed and they are being supported by specialist officers.

The death is being treated as unexpected and unexplained and a crime scene is in place. A post-mortem examination will take place in due course.

Any information no matter how relevant could be “vital” say police

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Thrower, of the West Area Command Unit, said:

“We are working hard to narrow down the relevant times, but our enquiries suggest that the relevant dates are on Sunday, 18 or Monday, 19 December. This lady’s car, a silver Ford Fiesta, was later found parked in Roman Close, Feltham.

This road is close to Donkey Wood, just off Staines Road near Baber Bridge. I am asking anyone who saw this car arrive or was in the area of Donkey Wood, particularly near the river Crane, to contact police.

“It does not matter if you don’t think you heard or saw anything relevant, you may still have vital information, so please do contact us. If you don’t want to speak to police you can contact Crimestoppers and they will never ask for your name, but however you choose to make contact please do, we need your help.”

Any witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 or contact via Twitter @MetCC. Please quote CAD 2602/20DEC.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford FoodBox Christmas appeal

See also: Strikes affect train, bus, tube and airport services, healthcare and mail deliveries over Christmas and into the new year

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.

Five Children and It review – Theatre at the Tabard

Simon Thomsett reviews Five Children and It

Christmas theatre production for families from Theatre at the Tabard

There’s a breath of festive fresh air at the Theatre at the Tabard this Christmas with their seasonal offering, a new version of E Nesbitt’s much loved classic tale, Five Children and It.

Louise Haddington’s lively adaptation focuses on the essentials of the story and takes us back to an inventively imagined Edwardian setting somewhere by the seaside where the discovery by the children of a Psammead (sand fairy to you and me) that can grant wishes leads to a series of adventures.

Once again, the Tabard have assembled a talented and hugely likeable cast.  As the children, Sam Lightfoot-Loftus, Lucia Jade Barker, Lucy Mai Heathcote and Ben Prout (as the rather dippy younger brother) make a convincing family ensemble and embody a child-like appetite for adventure.

Image above: The children find they have some explaining to do, to a policeman

Most importantly, they connect with the younger audience members to just the right level to keep them eagerly engaged.  Lizzie Treece confidently keeps order as the Mother and switches effortlessly to reappear as a put-upon market stall holder.

The Psammead itself, a puppet operated by the brilliant Adam Boyle, is an ancient, wise and not altogether patient mixture of teddy bear and gremlin and steals the scenes he is in.

Director Simon Reilly keeps the action zipping along, makes the most of some colourful lighting effects and clever use of sound and has bucketfuls of wit and invention.

The real test for a family show such as this is how the children in the audience react and they were clearly having a whale of a time. Chiswick parents who are looking to keep their young ones happy and away from a screen will no doubt be grateful for this upbeat and big-hearted show. Five Children and It runs until 31 December and is thoroughly recommended for children of all ages.

Image above: Sam Lightfoot-Loftus, Lucia Jade Barker, Lucy Mai Heathcote and Ben Prout 

Five Children and It is on until 31 December in the small studio theatre above the Tabard pub in Bath Rd W4 (just around the corner from Turnham Green tube station).

Book tickets through Theatre at the Tabard’s website.

tabard.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Argentinians in Chiswick celebrate a nailbiting World Cup final

See also: Artists at Home raise £3,216 for The Upper Room

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 – Aftersun

Aftersun ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ – Review by Andrea Carnevali

Sophie reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father twenty years earlier. Memories real and imagined fill the gaps between as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t. On in cinemas now.

This striking first-time feature, written and directed by Scottish director  Charlotte Wells, follows a father and his daughter Sophie (characters apparently loosely based on real people in the director’s own life) during a holiday at an all-inclusive, run-down resort somewhere in Turkey.

The thirty-something dad is separated from Sophie’s mother, though he seems to maintain a healthy relationship with her, something which Sophie as an 11-year old, struggles to fully understand. “Why do you still say ‘I love you’ to each other?” She asks at one point. “Your mother is family” is the dad’s answer.

The film is seen through the eyes of the now grown-up Sophie, as she looks back through some shaky home video footage taken by the pair at the time.

At times the camera seems to have been left on, probably by mistake, but it happened to capture what feels like real life, just at the edge of frame, sometimes in sound only, while focusing on an opaque reflection of the couple. But the beauty of those videos is that even a fleeting look can now be paused and looked at over and over again to reveal unspoken words and hidden truths.

The film shifts from past to present capturing both the innocence of young Sophie and the maturity of her older self as she watches those images and  is now able to reconstruct pieces of the relationship, filling the gaps with her own memories, (even if some might be more real than others).

It is a loving (and lovely!) relationship and while a lot is said, there’s clearly a lot behind the scenes we can only catch tantalising glimpses of.  We see the young dad trying his best to give her daughter the perfect holiday, but at the same time he seems to struggle with problems of his own. The film never really tells us what is specifically wrong with him, but he’s clearly depressed and lonely.

Sophie was too young to fully comprehend the scale of the problem, but even then she seemed to understand the father’s need for happiness. At one point in the film she convinces a group of strangers to sing “He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” for his dad’s birthday, thinking that would make him happy. As it happens is has the opposite effect.

Aftersun has a unique quality of feeling extremely real, thanks to the way it’s been filmed and two terrific performances, while at the same time has a dream-like quality to it, just like memories do, real and dreamy at the same time.

It is an often mesmerising film, which might feel like meandering and prove to be slightly challenging to some, but as it develops, it slowly peels off many different layers slowly revealing an intimate, gentle, affecting and moving portrait of a father and her daughter. It’s is a film both about being a divorced parent and being an “almost teenager”, at that difficult age when you’re too old to be playing with the kids at the pool and yet too young to understand and enjoy all the sex talks by the slightly older ones.

Wells avoids imposing any conclusion, but it’s because of this ambiguity that what we are left with by the end will resonate even more strongly.

Still out in cinemas. This is the perfect anti-Avatar antidote, if you need one. Or maybe like me you might be able to find room for both.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick, and a co-creator of the Chiswick In Film festival.

Aftersun is on in cinemas now.

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

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival will be back next year

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Auction of fine jewellery raises money for the Upper Room

Images above: Items in the silent auction

Marmalade Fine Jewellery finds clever way to sell fine diamond jewellery and give 25% to charity

Marmalade Fine Jewellers in Turnham Green Terrace is raising money for the charity The Upper Room, which supports homeless people in west London, by holding a silent auction.

Since the launch on Monday 12 December they have been putting up for auction a different piece of diamond jewellery each day for customers to bid for online. Every day between Monday 12 and Friday 23 December anyone interested has until 10pm to bid online, when the highest bidder at that point will win the item.

For comparison, retail prices range from £750 for an amethyst pendant with a diamond halo in 9 carat rose gold to £4,750 for an 18 carat white gold sapphire and diamond ring.

Marmalade Fine Jewellery will donate 25% of the proceeds to The Upper Room.

You can view today’s piece of jewellery here: marmaladejewellery.co.uk

Images above: Items in the silent auction

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Argentinians in Chiswick celebrate a nailbiting World Cup final

See also: Why you should not give up on 3D and go and see Avatar 2

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 FoodBox Christmas appeal

Image above: food donations at Hounslow Community Foodbox

Demand for emergency food support soars 

Volunteers working at the Hounslow Community FoodBox in Brentford say there has been an exponential increase in people coming to them for emergency food support over recent weeks in the run up to Christmas.

Between 50 and 60 people rely on the food bank’s services every day and by Monday 19 December the volunteers had sent out 160 Christmas hampers, providing food and gifts for Christmas Day, which will help around 500 people.

Food banks are one of the most popular ways to donate food to people in need and one of the most relied-upon charity services. Use of food banks has skyrocketed over the last decade, with UK food bank charity the Trussell Trust reporting that reliance has increased by 81% in the last five years.

To qualify for food support from Brentford FoodBox applicatns must live in the London Borough of Hounslow and need to be referred by one of the charity’s referral partners, which include various Hounslow Council services such as the Community Hub, local schools and GPs.

Organisers at the Hounslow Community FoodBox, based out of the Rose Community Centre in Brentford, say they expect to help more people in 2023 than they have needed to in previous years. The charity was set up in 2012 in response to the rising number of people facing poverty in the London Borough of Hounslow.

They spend up to £2,000 per week on food from supermarkets,  which comes from donations and sometimes out of their own pockets. They say while emergency food donations cannot solve poverty, they can provide a lifeline while people try to address other issues.

Image above: trolleys filled with donated items 

How can I donate?

With Christmas fast approaching, here is how you can support Hounslow FoodBox – or find help for yourself, your family or your friends.

Donations are welcome during the food bank’s opening hours, between 10.00am – 12.00pm. The food bank is closed on Mondays adn will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

FoodBox will be open as normal on Christmas Eve from 10am – 12pm and will reopen after the Christmas break on Wednesday 28 December at 10am. On New Year’s Eve FoodBox will be open from 10am – 12pm and then reopen in the New Year on Tuesday 3 January.

You can donate in a variety of ways:

  • Bring your donations directly to FoodBox at the Rose Community Centre, or a volunteer driver may be able to collect from you.
  • Bring your donations to one of the charity’s collection points at ASDA Hounslow, Co-op Boston Manor Road Brentford, Morrisons Brentford or Sainsbury’s Isleworth.
  • Organise or contribute to a street or neighbourhood collection in your area
  • Run a volunteer food drive either as an individual, business, school or other religious or non-religious organisation.
  • Donate as a local catering business or one that has a kitchen. School kitchens can also donate surplus supplies.

You can contact volunteers at Hounslow FoodBox at info@hounslowfoodbox.org.uk or on 07719 891787 during opening times and 07718 263614 at other times. If you aren’t able to food, toiletries or other items, the charity accepts cash donations too.

Image above: festive donations to the food bank from local churches 

What should I donate?

Volunteers said they would be grateful for all non-perishable, frozen and fresh food donations this Christmas.

Non-food items such as: toiletries, toilet paper and cleaning products are always in need too.

Festive treats such as selection boxes, toiletries sets and as many small new toys and treats for school children as possible are in need too.

Stock levels vary from week to week, meaning the Foodbox’s requirements are often changing. For the most up-to-date shopping wish list, you can download the most up to date shopping wishlist on their website. Regular food items which are needed include:

  • Tinned & fresh potatoes or mash
  • Tinned meat – casseroles, corned beef, ham
  • Tinned fish – tuna, salmon, sardines
  • Tinned vegetables – sweet corn, peas, carrots, beans
  • Tinned and fresh fruit
  • Instant noodles
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Biscuits
  • Cereals
  • Jam/preserves
  • Small cooking oil
  • Tinned custard
  • Rice pudding
  • Squash
  • Halal compliant, Gluten-free & foods suitable for diabetics

The charity’s Christmas Appeal is supported by Brentford F.C., who visited the food bank to help out recently.

Above: YouTube video of Brentford FC visiting Hounslow Community Foodbox

How can I get help?

If you need to use the food bank’s services, you need a referral from either a GP or any one of the FoodBox’s referral partners.

Hounslow’s Community Solutions team perform a triage service for food bank services, which bypasses the need for a GP referral or otherwise. Self referrals are unfortunately not allowed.

Many teams at LB Hounslow provide referrals too, including:

  • Children’s Centre and Adult Services
  • Community Hub (020 8583 2211 or communitysolutions@hounslow.gov.uk)
  • Discretionary Local Crisis Payments
  • Early Help Hub
  • Families First and Intensive Support
  • First Contact Team
  • Homelessness, Independence and Preventative Services
  • Hounslow Early Intervention Service
  • Hounslow Housing, Planning and Communities
  • Mental Health Support, Wellbeing and Prevention
  • Wellbeing, Recovery & Placement Mental Health Team

Find out more about Counslow Community FoodBox on their website.

hounslowfoodbox.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Argentinians in Chiswick celebrate a nailbiting World Cup final

See also: Strikes affect train, bus, tube and airport services, healthcare and mail deliveries over Christmas and into the new year

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.

Roadworks threaten congestion over Christmas period

Image above: emergency roadworks at Chalker’s Corner after a burst water main

Burst water main at Chalkers Corner / South Parade closed for two days / A4 roadworks and Cycleway works paused

A burst water main at Chalkers Corner, where the Lower Richmond Road (A316) meets Mortlake Rd (A205) just south of Chiswick Bridge has been causing traffic jams since Thursday 15 December.

Meanwhile, South Parade will be closed for two days this week, on Wednesday 21 December and Thursday 22 for resurfacing. The roadworks on the A4 eastern approach to Chiswick Roundabout have now been postponed until the new year. Upgrades on Cycleway 9, paused for Christmas, will resume in January.

Image above: Tweet from BBC Radio Travel London on Monday (19 December) showing the extent of the water mains burst 

Chalker’s Corner – burst water main repairs

A burst water main at Chalker’s Corner in Mortlake is causing congestion just south of Chiswick Bridge, as Thames Water engineers try and repair the damage.

Long delays have been reported since Thursday (15 December) on the A205 South Circular both ways at A316 Lower Richmond Road, with congestion around Mortlake Cemetery, Chiswick Bridge, Mortlake High Street back past the brewery, Sainsburys at Manor Circus in Richmond, and back through East Sheen back to Barnes Common.

Drivers reported “traffic mayhem” on all roads in the area as repairs began on Saturday (17 December). Temporary lights have been put up but some have complained they are not working properly, further adding to the frustration of motorists.

As a result of the burst water main, the A205 South Circular Mortlake is down to two lanes on all approaches and queues continue to build up along all surrounding roads outside of peak times.

Transport for London say work will continue there until Thursday 22 December.

Image above: congestion along the A4 during the works

A4 Roadworks postponed until January

The A4 roadworks on Cromwell Railway Bridge on the eastern approach to Chiswick roundabout have been postponed until January. The roadworks were initially planned to be finished by the end of December, but closure of the road for the Queen’s funeral cortege to pass in September and the recent weather conditions have put back the finish date.

The M4 / A4 was due to be closed eastbound from Junction 2 to Hogarth Roundabout over the weekend of Friday 9 – Monday 12 December, but work was cancelled at the last minute due to the snow.

Transport for London say there will now be full eastbound closures between M4 junction 2 and Hogarth Roundabout over two weekends in January, from 10.30 om Friday – 5am on Monday on 6-9 and 13-6 January.

Image above: roadwork barriers on South Parade

South Parade resurfacing works

South Parade is to be closed for two days this week for resurfacing, as part of a broader project to improve pavements and kerbs in the area.

Work will begin on Wednesday 21 December and Thursday 22 December between 8.00am and 5.00pm. Congestion is expected in and around Bedford Park.

The road will be shut from the junction with Acton Lane by the Duke of Sussex pub and the mini roundabout by Fishers Lane. Parking within the work area will be suspended and any vehicles parked in the working area will be relocated to a neighbouring street, according to Ealing Council. They will not be returned to their original position once the works are complete.

Access to Ramillies Road, Rusthall Avenue & St Albans Avenue will not be permitted through South Parade and traffic, including the 94 bus, will divert via The Avenue, Southfield Road and Acton Lane.

The resurfacing work was originally meant to take place earlier, but was postponed due to the A4 roadworks.

Image above: a cyclist on Chiswick High Rd

“Delays are possible” during cycle lane ‘upgrade’ works

Work in Chiswick High Rd on Cycleway 9, paused for Christmas, will continue on Tuesday 3 January.  The cycle lane will be closed while workers finish phase 3b of the project. It is expected to be completed by 31 January at the latest.

Work at the junctions of Cranbrook Road and Devonshire Road have already been completed. Other work as part of Phase 3b includes:

  • New entry treatments and raised crossings Brackley Road, Linden Gardens and Duke’s Road.
  • New eastbound and westbound bus shelters at Mayfield Avenue and Linden Gardens.
  • Left turn exit only for motorised vehicles at Duke’s Road Junction.
  • New parking spaces near Duke’s Road Junction.
  • A new advanced stop line for cyclists will be installed at the junction with Acton Lane.
  • Junction resurfacing and installing a yellow box junction at the Chiswick High Road junction with Turnham Green Terrace and Annandale Road and at the junction with Duke Avenue.
  • New zebra crossing on Chiswick High Road junction with a one-way exit at Linden Gardens.
  • Resurfacing of the westbound carriageway of Chiswick High Road at Heathfield Terrace.

LB Hounslow says access to residential areas adjoining Chiswick High Road and to local shops will be maintained at all times. Diversion signs will be clearly signed informing of alternative routes where applicable.

The work will take place between 7.30am and 4.00pm from Monday to Saturday. The Council says residents and businesses in the area have been informed directly and they will receive further advanced notice of any night working which will be required to resurface the carriageway on Chiswick High Road in January.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Strikes affect train, bus, tube and airport services, healthcare and mail deliveries over Christmas and into the new year

See also: Devonshire Road evening access restriction made permanent

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.

Strikes affect train, bus, tube and airport services, healthcare and mail deliveries over Christmas and into the new year

Image above: the RMT’s General Secretary Mick Lynch on a picket line in London

Christmas of discontent 

Strikes continuing through December and into January will affect services including mail, rail, ambulances, hospitals, airports, tubes and buses.

Public transport is particularly affected in Chiswick & west London, with services from Chiswick and Gunnersbury stations hit as well as some bus routes.

As the cost of living continues to bite with inflation rising to 11.1%, workers want their pay packets increased in line with inflation, and some also have specific grievances over pensions and working conditions.

See below how the strikes are expected to affect London and Chiswick.

Image above: SWR train at Chiswick Station

Train strikes

Passengers hoping to get a train from Chiswick station will find either there will be no trains or the service will be disrupted and unpredictable from Saturday 24 December until Sunday 8 January.

On strike dates there will be significant disruption to rail services across the UK. South Western Railway, which services Brentford, Kew Bridge and Chiswick Stations, is one of the 13 private rail operators affected by industrial action by the RMT.

SWR services will be disrupted in some shape or form, which means services will be disrupted for 16 consecutive days:

  • Christmas Eve (24 December) – early shutdown at 3.00pm with last trains departing as early as 12.00pm. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary
  • Christmas Day (25 December) –  no service
  • Boxing Day (26 December) –  no service
  • 27 December – late start-up from 12.00pm with some first trains starting much later. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary
  • 28 December – 2 January: services between 7.00am and 10.00pm only. SWR advice: check your whole journey before you travel
  • 3-4 January – services run between 7.30am to 6.30pm only. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary
  • 5 January – first trains depart from 7.30am, no further timetable update. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary
  • 6-8 January – services run between 7.30am to 6.30pm only. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary

Check South Western Railway schedule of industrial action for updates here: South Western Railway

Other companies affected by strike action are: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, London North Eastern Railway, London Overground, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Transpennine Express and West Midlands Trains.

Rail industry bosses say changes need to be agreed to afford pay increases and ‘modernise’ the railway, which is disputed by union bosses who point to ‘excessive’ profits of private train operators.

Image above: Gunnersbury Station

District Line and London Overground services at Gunnersbury station

While there are no Tube strikes planned over the next few weeks, the RMT strikes will affect services from Gunnersbury station.

Most London Underground services will continue to run, but there will be some disruption on the Elizabeth Line, the Bakerloo line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone and on the District Line between Richmond and Turnham Green and Wimbledon and Parsons Green. There is no service on any TfL routes on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Staff on the London Overground services will be taking strike action. Transport for London say:

24 & 27 December: 

  • Journeys must be complete by 3.00pm on the District Line between Wimbledon & Parsons Green and Richmond and Turnham Green.
  • Journeys must be completed on the Bakerloo Line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone.
  • Journeys must be completed on the London Overground by 11.00am on Stratford to Richmond/Clapham Junction, Gospel Oak to Barking and Romford to Upminster.
  • Journeys on London Overground services from Euston to Watford Junction, Highbury & Islington to Clapham Junction/ Crystal Palace/ West Croydon/ New Cross must be completed by 1.00pm.
  • Elizabeth Line journeys must be completed by 2.00pm

January 2023

Strikes affecting these services are planned on:

  • Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 January 2023
  • Friday 6 and Saturday 7 January 2023

Check Transport for London’s schedule for strike action for further updates here: Transport for London

Image above: an Abellio bus

Bus strikes

There are strikes planned on Abellio bus services. On strike days, TfL said they will aim to run as many services as possible, but disruption is expected.

Most routes which are affected are in south and west London. Other services not affected by strikes will be busier than normal.

On the days after strikes, a good service will be running by approximately 6.00am, say TfL. There are bus strikes on these dates:

  • Christmas Eve (24 December)
  • 27 December
  • New Year’s Eve (31 December)
  • 4 & 5 January
  • 10 January
  • 12 January
  • 16 January
  • 19 January
  • 25 & 26 January

Routes affected

  • Day routes affected: 3, 27, 45, 63, 68, 109, 130, 156, 195, 196, 201, 207, 267, 270, 278, 315, 322, 350, 367, 381, 407, 415, 427, 433, 464, 482, 490, 969, C10, E5, E7, E10, E11, H20, H25, H28, H26, P5, P13, R68, R70, S4, U5, U7, U9
  • 24-hour routes affected: 24, 111, 159, 285, 344, 345
  • Night routes affected:N3, N27, N63, N68, N109, N207, N381
  • School routes affected: 671

Image above: Heathrow Airport British Airways check-in

Border staff strikes

Around 1,000 Border Force staff who work in passport control will walk out over Christmas at UK airports including Gatwick and Heathrow.

About 75% of Border Force staff are members of the PCS union, which balloted for strike action after it said the government had refused to increase a 2% pay rise offer. As a result British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have stopped selling new tickets for inbound flights to Heathrow on the days Border Force staff strike over Christmas.

Military personnel, civil servants and volunteers are being trained to check passports when Border Force staff walk out on 23-26 and 28-31 December.

The Home Office has warned passengers should expect disruption to their journeys.

Image above: a Royal Mail worker

Mail strikes

Postal workers plan strikes on 23 and 24 December after the Communication Workers’ Union extended their programme of strikes in response to a recent pay off by Royal Mail, which the union said was “unacceptable”

The CWU also objects to proposed changes to working conditions, including compulsory Sunday working. They added the Royal Mail needed to “wake up” and realise the union would not allow the company to “destroy the livelihoods of postal workers”.

Royal Mail said it will do what it can to keep services running during the strike action, but it cannot fully replace the daily efforts of its frontline workforce. During strikes, deliveries are affected. The last day for Christmas post were 12 December for second class and 16 December for first class mail.

In a statement released last Monday (12 December) Royal Mail urged CWU members to accept their “best and final” offer for pay and change.

“The revised offer includes extensive improvements that have been made during the negotiations with the CWU, including an enhanced pay deal of 9 per cent over 18 months and a number of other concessions to terms and agreements.

“We’re urging CWU leadership to accept the change and pay offer, call off future damaging strike action, for the good of our customers and our people.”

Image above: Doctors and nurses

NHS strikes – ambulance staff and nurses

Some 10,000 ambulance staff in England and Wales will walk out on Wednesday 21 and 28 December. The strike action is being led by three major unions: Unison, GMB and Unite.

Ambulance crews will respond to all category 1 calls, for conditions such as cardiac arrest, which need to be responded to in an average of seven minutes. Ministers say it is “likely” that category 2 calls, for serious conditions such as stroke or chest pain, will also be responded to by striking crews, but this is not confirmed. These calls require an average response time of 18 minutes.

Nurses will similarly walk out on Tuesday 20 December and their union, the Royal College of Nursing, has warned of further strike action in the weeks ahead should the Government refuse to come to the negotiating table with serious pay offers.

Unions representing NHS workers are asking for staff pay rises above inflation, but the Health Secretary Steve Barclay says that is “unaffordable”.

NHS officials say that, regardless of any strike action taking place, it is important that patients who need urgent medical care come forward as usual, meaning you should still call 999 and go into the hospital if you feel that you need to. Despite this, both sets of unprecedented industrial action are likely to seriously disrupt care.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Roadworks threaten congestion over Christmas period

See also: Argentinians in Chiswick celebrate a nailbiting World Cup final

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.

Rachel Busch obit

Printmaker and “quietly involved” member of the Chiswick community

Chiswick’s artists’ community is mourning printmaker Rachel Busch, who died on 29 November.

Rachel (60) was a member of Artists At Home, opening her home to the public every summer to sell her work with fellow printmaker Lucy Strathon. She also took part in The Chiswick Calendar’s Chiswick In Pictures exhibitions at the Clayton Hotel.

Rachel was a member of the Printmakers Council. Her work Voysey’s Curves has been selected for the Council’s archive, held by The Scarborough Museum Trust, one of a series of prints she made of Voysey House in Chiswick, picking up on architectural details.

“I find inspiration from the beautiful buildings that surround me” she wrote.

“Some of these buildings are so well known and used, yet very often, overlooked. I wanted to stop, appreciate them properly, get to know every curve, brick, nook and cranny and try to impress that feeling of architectural awe into every print I make.”

Images above: Rachel’s prints of Voysey House in Chiswick 

Focus on west London’s architecture and industrial heritage

She shared an interest in railways and Britain’s industrial heritage with her partner Howard Heather, who met the annual invasion of their home during Artists At Home weekend with equanimity. Among her prints there were many of tube and rail stations and close-ups of the detail of historic engineering.

She started each of her architectural projects by visiting, sketching and photographing a chosen building or scene at different times of the day and night, later developing it back in the studio.

A sketch became a detailed drawing which she then transferred onto lino or cardboard, before starting the lengthy process of cutting, inking, wiping and masking the ‘block’. She burnished each print by hand with a wooden spoon or Japanese baren, to create one unique print at a time – “made with lots of care, dedication, patience and joy!”

Images above: Industrial architecture by Rachel Busch: Chiswick Park tube station, Kew Railway Bridge, detail of Hammersmith Bridge

Selected by the Royal Academy

Her most recent prints were a series of black and white images of the Palm House at Kew Gardens, which were on show as part of The Chiswick Calendar’s Chiswick In Pictures exhibition until a few days before she died.

Rachel’s background is as an illustrator. After graduating from Maidstone College of Art with a BA(Hons) in Illustration she worked as a freelancer in editorial publishing for over twenty-five years.

Looking for a change in artistic direction, Rachel discovered The Fry Gallery in Saffron Walden and was inspired by the work of the ‘Artists of Great Bardfield’, in particular Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious and Sheila Robinson. Having always been fascinated by the craft of printmaking, she decided to enrol in a short course at The Curwen Print Study Centre near Cambridge and never looked back.

Her work was recognised by the Royal Academy, who selected one of her pieces for their Summer Exhibition in 2018 and shortlisted others in 2019 and 2020. Pieces of her work can be found in many private collections (including mine, if you can call it that), but also at the Department of Health and the headquarters of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and in several books published by BBC Books.

Images above: The Palm House at Kew Gardens by Rachel Busch

“She always had time for people”

Rachel was lovely to work with, always very appreciative of anything I did to promote her work. She had a mischievous sense of humour and was always ready with a kind word and a cup of tea if I called round.

Fellow artist Arabella Harcourt-Cooze told The Chiswick Calendar:

“She was one of the sweetest, most lovely human beings – incredibly loyal, utterly honest and an extraordinarily dedicated, talented artist.”

Lucy Strathon told us:

“She had a great sense of humour, a sparkle about her and she always had time for people.”

Images above: Addison Grove Gable; Bedford Park

Sally Grumbridge, a fellow artist and a neighbour, living across the road from her in Cleveland Avenue for more than ten years, said Rachel was also “quietly involved” in the local community.

“At the beginning of the first lockdown we set up a street WhatsApp group linked to the Chiswick Covid-19 Mutual Aid Facebook group. It was clear that some of our neighbours were not comfortable with social media so, whilst I administered all the online and social media communications, Rachel set up a list of the neighbours who preferred communicating by phone or email.

“We worked closely together during that first year of Covid, making sure that all our neighbours had the latest updates and could call on someone close by if they needed help / shopping / whatever.”

Howard, her partner, who knew her for more than 30 years, told me she was kind, gentle and supportive:

“She took my rough edges off.”

Rachel died of cancer only a month after it was diagnosed. She leaves her mother Maggie behind and three siblings: Anita, Nigel and Sally. Her funeral will be on 5 January at Barton Woodland in Cambridgeshire.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Christmas in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Argentinians in Chiswick celebrate a nailbiting World Cup final

Image above: Mel Altomano (front centre) with crowd watching the World Cup final

Argentinian World Cup victory over France 4-2 on penalties, “amazing” and “incredible” but “so stressful”

“I have this ball in my chest that is still there 24 hours later” says Mel Altomano, Argentianian in London, living in Chiswick.

“I am over the moon. Beyond over the moon, I am so happy. It was amazing, but it was so stressful – the anxiety. I really suffered during the penalties.”

She is one of 100 or so people who watched the World Cup final on big TV screens at the Vauxhall Beer Garden.

“There were mainly Argentinians but also a lot of English people, probably with Argentinian partners, and lots of Latin Americans – from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela.

“It was so good. We were singing all the way through and there were the big drums and flags. We are very passionate about football.

“We were leading 2-0 in the first half and feeling pretty good. Then in the second half France scored one goal and then instantly another. Just silly, stupid goals. I felt I was going to have a heart attack.

“We scored our third and we were like ‘we’ve got it!’ but then they scored again. I felt this ball form in the middle of my chest of anxiety. It was so stressful.”

Images above: Argentinians watching the match at Tiger Tiger nightclub, organised by Argentinos en Inglaterra

Scenes of wild rejoicing

Argentina’s victory against France on Sunday is being described as perhaps the best World Cup final ever. Argentina is in the middle of an economic crisis with high unemployment and rampant inflation, but the World Cup has united the country. Tuesday will be a day of celebration as the team arrives home from Qatar.

“It’s crazy how many people were on the streets” Mel told The Chiswick Calendar. “Argentina is so divided by politics but football has this ability to mix people of different backgrounds, ages and points of view. This is like a breath of happiness.”

The scenes in Buenos Aires were replicated in Trafalgar Square as many of London’s 5,000 strong Argentinian population celebrated there. Juan Pilgrem, manager of the Buenos Aires steakhouse in Turnham Green Terrace, saw the match at the Tiger Tiger nightclub in the Haymarket with about 1,500 others and headed to Trafalgar Square afterwards.

Video above: Celebrations at Tiger Tiger, organised by ARgentinos en INglaterra:

 “?????? Estuviste viendo la final en Tiger Tiger ??????
Vamos Argentina!!! 1650 argentinos distribuidos en 3 pisos disfrutaron, celebraron…”

A night to be with other Argentinians

Juan has lived in London for 20 years, but Sunday night was a night to be with other Argentinians.

“It was nice to be with Argentinians, to share the passion. It brought back so many memories. I had about five heart attacks during the match. I think it was the support of the people that saw them through. Our team had the most fans in Qatar.”

The celebrations in Trafalgar Square were wild, despite the icy rain:

“Everyone went to Trafalgar Square and we were singing but then a Murga band [football / carnival / percussion band] turned up and they’d brought fireworks and it really got going.”

The celebrations continued at the restaurant on Monday night, albeit in a more muted fashion. They were busier than usual and had to open both floors to cope with the demand, Juan told us, as Argentinian regulars who live locally came in to eat and share in the victory.

Image above: Buenos Aires Argentine steakhouse, 32 Turnham Green Terrace

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Strikes affect train, bus, tube and airport services, healthcare and mail deliveries over Christmas and into the new year

See also: Roadworks threaten congestion over Christmas period

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Artists at Home raise £3,216 for The Upper Room

Artists donate their work to an online auction

Artists At Home have raised £3,216 for The Upper Room, which supports homeless people in west London. The group of artists, who open their homes and studios to the public each summer, held an auction of their work last month to raise funds for the charity.

“Artists at Home are delighted to be able to support the Upper Room this winter” said their chair Kathryn Davey.

“It’s such a challenging time for so many people, and the Upper Room are currently feeding around 120 people each day, their busiest time ever. Thank you to all our amazing artists, supporters and bidders for their incredible generosity in enabling us to raise money for such an exceptional charity this year.”

“An outstanding effort”

Iain Cooper, Interim CEO, The Upper Room added:

“We are extremely grateful to and humbled by the extraordinary efforts Artists at Home have gone to in raising this amazing amount of money for The Upper Room.

“From the creativity involved in producing such exquisite works, to the generosity of thought towards people undergoing particular hardship right now, through to the bidders being as enchanted as we were with the pieces, it has been an outstanding effort.

“I am sure their new artworks will look great in their homes. This amount of money enables our amazing team of staff and volunteers to keep people warm and fed at a very difficult time for them.”

To donate money to The Upper Room, go to their website.

theupperroom.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Auction of fine jewellery raises money for the Upper Room

See also: Rachel Busch obit

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 – Nicholas Rose on the nature of goblins

Image above: Illustration from The Arthur Rackham Fairy Book, 1933

‘Goblin mode – “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”

In a BBC news story this last week I read that the first Oxford word of the year to be chosen by public vote had been announced.

Witnessing the arrival of a new word excited me, but reading the article caused my mood to shift to one of deflation and irritation. Notwithstanding the winning word is actually two words being used to form a slang term, I’m just not convinced it offers us the ability to express anything particularly meaningful, adds anything new to existing language or is helpful.

I found myself wondering: is this an example of one of our fine institutions bowing down to pressure from social media driven populism? Let’s explore this new word further and you can judge for yourself.

The new ‘word’ is “goblin mode” and Oxford University Press state that it is a slang term that might be used in a sentence such as “I am in goblin mode”, further that it’s meaning is “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”.

Whilst reading the suggested meaning I couldn’t help thinking about whether the word goblin does really have a meaning for most of us as per the stated intention? When I think of a goblin I think of a non-human creature which may not only be naughty of character but also unpleasant in an intentioned way to others. A search of online dictionaries offers a variety of meanings but yes my first thought is broadly consistent with words such as mischievous and malevolent being used.

Reading further through the article it explained that the word came about because of the pandemic and how some people found a resistance to a return to previous norms of behaviour. I thought that we had an already perfect word for this – that being rebellious? But maybe “goblin mode” is a rebellion against the use of the word rebellion?

Isn’t there a danger that in the creation of this new word we are normalising a way of behaving that hides behaviours and experiences which should really be a warning, a call for action, the launch of a challenge or the offer of help? The words that capture the behaviour ‘unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy’ all suggest underlying negative emotions – tiredness, low mood, depression, hurt, anger and I would want to ask anyone in “goblin mode” about the feelings being experienced.

Another thought that nagged away at me was the introduction of something fictional. The suggestion we can be like something fictional is surely absurd? I think my irritation then led me to thinking that a motivation for anyone wanting to use the word is not so much rebellion but an avoidance of personal responsibility? I had an image of parents, trying desperately to understand whether their teenagers are struggling or thriving being thrown completely off course because it’s simply about being “in goblin mode”.

All our behaviours have consequences and rather than invent words that appear to suggest that we are possessed by an other-worldly spirit, is it not better to make use of perfectly good existing language? It is surely a perfectly natural experience for us all to at some point feel like doing nothing and rebelling against expectations – the idea that we might not want to apologise for it surely misses the point because the only person we are ever truly accountable to is ourselves?

If you chose to apply or adopt the word “goblin mode” to your behaviour or those closest to you then I suspect the only apology you might ever be making will be in your imagination to your younger self. It is always with hindsight that we realise a difficult behaviour was actually signalling a struggle and all too often there can be regret for not having sought or offered help.

I end up thinking about how this new word “goblin mode” whilst representing something negative and for me sitting uncomfortably with the wonderful language already available to us, might be a force for good if we see it as a way to identify something that needs attention?

Nicholas Rose

UKCP accredited Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy, counselling, relationship therapy and coaching.

PGDip, MA, Adv Dip Ex Psych

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

nicholas-rose.co.uk

Author of Better Together 

Read more blogs by Nicholas Rose

Read the previous one – Mind Matters – Do we really need to talk about our feelings?

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

Andrea’s film review – Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar: The Way of Water ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Review by Andrea Carnevali

In the sequel to Avatar, Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. A familiar threat returns and Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their home. Out in cinemas Friday 16 December.

Why do we go to the cinema? To relax and unwind, to lose ourselves in somebody else’s story, to have fun, to laugh, to cry, to be wowed by amazing special effects, to see things and places you wouldn’t otherwise see, to root for your heroes, to get a kick out of actions scenes and get that rush of adrenaline you don’t really get in the outside world.

I realise there are many other answers too, but if any (or all) of the above sit well with you, then Avatar: The Way of Water (or most lazily known Avatar 2) is definitely a film you should watch.

Also you might just want to be part of the conversation by the time this film breaks all the possible records at the box office, because let’s face it, it’s going to make a gazillion of money!

After all, this is why cinema was invented. It’s that communal experience where we just walk in and witness something close to magical.

By this time, if you’ve seen the first film (currently sitting at number one in box office cinema history just shy of 3 billion dollars), you probably know what to expect: a visual marvel which is so incredible and immersive, that it makes even sitting through the average plot worthwhile.

Indeed, while some of the characters are arguably much better defined this time around (so much so that it does actually matter whether they live or die), it’s fair to say that originality is not really Avatar 2’s strong point: there is actually very little in this story that we haven’t seen in many other films before.

Does that matter? Maybe a bit, because the film asks you to sit through 192 minutes and that’s a really long time, even when watching something as visually strikingly beautiful as this.

Retrospectively, after seen it twice, I don’t think it should have been this long. The first act, is particularly slow and the film doesn’t quite get into the right gear until we finally reach the “water” part, promised in the title.

There’s a lot of clunky exposition to start with, some of which relies on you to remember plot details and characters from the first film, as if you’ve just seen it (and not 13 years ago).

This part of the film is particularly fragmented, messy, confusing and doesn’t seem to find its way, nor its main character to focus on, until we finally ‘head to the water’.

Of course, you’ll catch up at some point (After all this ain’t some highbrow essay), but given its long duration, it’s inexcusable that we spend so much time in the forest in a film that’s called The Way of Water.

The middle part (or rather the hour and a half that follows) has some cracking action scenes (a chase sequence with a massive ferocious fish-like monster had me jumping off my seat a few times), some spectacular vistas and mind-blowing special effects.

It’s been more than a decade since the first Avatar came out and by now the CGI recreations, the choreography of the scenes and the amount of detail have reached such a level of complexity that after a while you just have to stop wonder how on earth they we able to achieve what they did and you just have to abandon yourself to it sheer hugeness.

There is rarely a shot which looks out of place in this film. Whether it can spark the same magic that the first one did, I’m not so sure. I guess it’s probably easier to be wowed by the many details in a forest, with all those made-up plants, trees, flowers and animals than by an environment which is mainly made by water, which is after all.. well, just water.

However, there are still surprises to be had and beautiful things to marvel at. The sense of scale between humans, avatars and the overall environment is often breath-taking and a lot of love, care and attention have clearly gone into rendering it all so beautiful.

A lot of the story centres around the family and the emotional beats of the story are carefully laid out for all of us to see and be moved by, but eventually this sequel, possibly even more than the first one, is mostly a war movie and it’s all heading to a big final battle which is takes place throughout the whole last act.

That’s when writer, producer, director and detail-obsessed maverick James Cameron pulls all his stops and shows what a master he still is at his craft, handling multiple storylines, characters and prologued action scenes and turning up everything to over-drive. All of which makes the last act a real rollercoaster ride (including a self-referenced Titanic moment).

I was generally impressed by some of it and undoubtedly the effects are some the best I’ve ever seen (the 3D is just as immersive and even more beautifully calibrated than in the first), but I must say I didn’t love it (though to be honest I didn’t love the first one either, but I did re-evaluated it when re-watched it a few weeks ago on its re-release).

I did feel it all of its 192 minutes and, with my film editors cap on, I was convinced that there is a slightly better shorter film somewhere.

The Way of Water (to quote the film itself) “has no beginning or end” (at least two or three more sequels are coming out over the next few years), it’s baggie, overblown and a bit cheesy, but clearly Cameron doesn’t care what I think (or those rather few snooty reviewers who have panned the film). He’s still laughing all the way to the bank as people will flock to see what the fuss is all about.

And you should see it too, but the only way to watch this film is on the biggest screen you can find and in 3D. After all the spectacle, the immersiveness and the experience are the only ‘raison d’être’ for this sequel, so you might as well embrace it and go with it.

READ ALSO: Why you should not give up on 3D and go and see Avatar 2

This might be very well the film that saves cinema (or maybe kills it for good).

So 4 stars as a cinematic experience, but 3 as a film.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick, and a co-creator of the Chiswick In Film festival.

Avatar: The Way of Water is out in cinemas on Friday 16 December.

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

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival will be back next year

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Devonshire Road evening access restriction made permanent

Image above: Devonshire Road; Google streetview, September 2022

Vehicle access restriction pushed back to 6.00pm

After two and a half years of trials and consultations, the current arrangement preventing vehicles from turning into Devonshire Rd from Chiswick High Rd and driving down it in the evenings is being made permanent – with one modification, that the road will be open to traffic for one hour longer than it is currently, until 6pm.

At the moment drivers can use the road between 8am and 5pm without restriction. Overnight between 5pm and 8am access is restricted  to disabled drivers with blue badges and those needing access to properties in the one-way part of Devonshire Rd, Devonshire Mews and Prince of Wales Terrace. Anyone else driving to the Glebe estate or further down Devonshire Rd, has to find another way of getting there.

The suspended parking bays between no. 8 (Duci) and no. 22 (Hangar 22), in front of The Stitching Room, aprilmae dress shop, Wild Swans dress shop, Genco barbers, Vinoteca wine bar and Top Hat dry cleaners, will become a permanent footway.

Image above: Suspended parking bays between 8 & 22 Devonshire Rd

A compromise between those who want the restrictions withdrawn altogether and those who want the road pedestrianised

The decision by Hounslow’s Assistant Director of Traffic, Transport & Parking, Jefferson Nwokeoma, represents a compromise between those who wanted to see Devonshire Rd completely pedestrianised and those who wanted it left as it had been pre-pandemic, with no traffic restrictions. The discussions over these restrictions have been fraught.

The initial restrictions introduced in June 2020 banned most traffic during the day, between Chiswick High Rd and Glebe Street, with the intention of preventing through traffic.

Some people enjoyed the opportunity to sit outside restaurants and eat in the summer evenings without risk of being run over or breathing in exhaust fumes. The hospitality businesses loved it after all the tribulations of the pandemic.

Others, notably businesses such as W4 Plumbers which relies on the white van trade, and Frivoli, the art gallery, said it damaged their business and drove away customers.

There followed a long period of online consultation, during which both those in favour of the restrictions and those against claimed the exercise was rigged, allowing people from other areas outside Chiswick to pile in and skew the results.

Image above: Duci and The Stitching Room

Consultation, consultation, consultation

In May 2021 the Council’s consultants reported:

‘Analysis has demonstrated that the primary area of concern is the measure’s impact on the local economy, particularly the independent shops located on Devonshire Road, largely due to perceptions of decreased footfall, brought about by the removal of vehicle access and parking on the street.

‘Of those that provided an open response, over half expressed concern about this. Related to this, some respondents expressed concern that the removal of vehicle access makes shopping on Devonshire Road unattractive.

‘Other key areas of concern include increased congestion on surrounding roads, reduced air quality, unclear signage and the restricted access for residents of the Glebe Estate.’

A second round of more focused consulations followed in June 2021, involving direct engagement with businesses and residents. This led to the introduction of the current restrictions in July 2021, in the evenings only.

As is the way of these things, this was also a trial, to be tested with traffic surveys and further ‘engagement’. Once shopkeepers and residents had been given six months to get used to it, the Council embarked on another round of talking to those directly affected by the changes.

Image above: Devonshire Rd; Google streetview

Both residents and businesses split on the issue

The announcement that the current restrictions are being made permanent follow detailed analysis of a process of engagement in May and June this year in with 35 out of the 38 independent businesses and 77 out of the 103 residential properties in this part of Devonshire Rd, Devonshire Mews and Prince of Wales Terrace as well as ‘stakeholders’ such as the ward councillors.

This consultation too had its critics, as many of the residents of the Glebe estate felt they should also have been consulted. The results show how controversial a process this has been and how difficult to decide fairly.

When residents were asked their preferences as to whether the restrictions should continue in place:

  • 36% preferred the measures to be made permanent as they are.
  • 32% preferred the measures to be made permanent (subject to some
    modification)
  • 32% preferred the measures to be removed now.

When businesses were asked the same question:

  • 49% preferred the measures to be removed now
  • 46% preferred the measures to be made permanent
  • 5% preferred the measures to be made permanent (subject to
    some modification)

The split reflects the type of business, as the businesses who would prefer the measures be made permanent with or without some modification, were a combination of hospitality, and
beauty/grooming salons.

Image above:  Devonshire Road closed for a street party in 2017

Insufficient consideration of elderly and disabled people and pregnant women

The decision by Jefferson Nwokeoma takes into consideration an overall fall in traffic passing down Devonshire Road (and some displacement increasing traffic in Brackley Rd), with the resulting impact on air pollution levels.

It also acknowledges that some groups such as pregnant women, elderly and disabled people had been negatively impacted by the initial changes introduced in June 2020.

“The access restriction may have had a disproportionate impact upon the elderly, disabled, and pregnant women on the basis that they would be less likely to be in a position to change their mode of travel to walking or cycling.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Frivoli may be “forced to close”

See also: Local Government Ombudsman criticises LB Hounslow for Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Rd closures

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

A4 roadworks closures postponed until January

Image above: Junction of Sutton Court Rd and A4, September 2022, Google Streetview

December closures cancelled due to weather

The A4 roadworks on Cromwell Railway Bridge on the eastern approach to Chiswick roundabout have been postponed until January.

Transport for London say there will now be no works between 11.30pm Friday 16 December and 5.00pm Monday 19 December due to the adverse weather conditions. Originally, the M4 was due to be closed eastbound from Junction 2 to Hogarth Roundabout on the A4, which is likely to have caused significant traffic disruption.

The closure due to take place the previous weekend (Friday 9 December – Monday 12 December) was cancelled at the last minute due to the weather.

TfL say they now expect to complete these works in the new year, which will require full eastbound closures between M4 junction 2 and Hogarth Roundabout from 10.30pm on Friday to 5.00am on Monday on the following dates:

• Friday 6 January to Monday 9 January
• Friday 13 January to Monday 16 January

TfL say delays and queues are expected and are advising drivers to allow more time for journeys using the A4. Signed diversion routes will be in place for local traffic.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Devonshire Road evening access restriction made permanent

See also: Chiswick House conservatory closed indefinitely, at risk of collapse

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.

Chiswick House conservatory closed indefinitely, at risk of collapse

Image above: Chiswick House conservatory; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Emergency repairs could exceed £5m

A report into the state of the Conservatory at Chiswick House has found it is at risk of collapse and is no longer safe for public use.

Emergency repairs, due to be completed in January 2023, are being carried out to stop the building from collapsing but this is considered to be a short-term fix. Chiswick House & Gardens Trust say more radical action is now required.

The wings of the conservatory have been closed all this year, with only the rotunda in use. The whole conservatory will remain closed over the winter, but Chiswick House Trust hopes to open the rotunda again in March.

The Conservatory used to be opened to the public in February and March to show the heritage collection of camellias, which bloom over winter, but if the rotunda is reopened in March the wings will stay closed.

Keeping the existing conservatory no longer considered “viable”

Over the past ten years, Chiswick House and Gardens Trust has already spent £98,000 on repairs, with the emergency work expected to cost Hounslow council, which owns the site, a further £60,000.

Chiswick House & Gardens Trust paid for a team of experts to explore what options exist for the future of the Conservatory, using money from the Culture Recovery Fund. They concluded that because of the degree of fungal decay in the timber structure, retaining and repairing the existing fabric is not considered viable.

The costs of full repair options range from £2.7m to £5.5m. The report adds the cost of ongoing maintenance repair costs, even after these expensive improvements, will amount to tens of thousands of pounds a year.

Image above: Chiswick House Conservatory; photograph Jon Perry

Reconstruction options – or possibly demolition

The Chiswick House & Gardens Trust is now looking at options for reconstruction of the Conservatory. They are looking at four options, but are also keeping the option of demolishing the Conservatory onthe table as a “fallback … if reconstruction should prove to be unachievable”.

A full report is not expected to be presented to Hounslow Council until next autumn.

In a statement published by the Trust, Chairman Sir Derek Myers points out the current conservatory is not the original, built in 1813. The walls, floors and backsheds masonry structures are still predominantly from 1813, but the current timber glasshouse superstructure dates from the 1930s.

Conservatory “not the Trust’s first priority”

Sir Derek continued:

‘The Conservatory cannot be our first priority, given the huge sums required to give it a new long-term future.

“In recognition of its importance, conservation of the Conservatory will be the second phase in the Trust’s multi-phase 10-year vision. We are therefore working in partnership with the London Borough of Hounslow, who own the Conservatory, to put together a partnership project.

“This will allow us to progress planning for the future of the Conservatory, with a view to securing this iconic building.

“In the meantime, we are committed to monitoring the condition of the Conservatory and carrying out interim repairs, with the support of London Borough of Hounslow, to ensure we can continue to use the central rotunda for weddings, events and for our visitors to access the Kitchen Garden.”

The Trust has ambitious plans for extending its charitable work beyond the maintenance and conservation of the historic gardens and buildings, “to ensure we can offer opportunities for learning and enhancing confidence and wellbeing for our local community.”

They want to create a ‘Cultural Hub’ to improve community and learning facilities, which they say are “vital first steps for securing the future of the House and Gardens in the current economic climate, as well as providing opportunities for skills building and supporting the local economy.”

Image above: Where the Beatles recorded the music video for Paperback Writer

“Major accident” likely if emergency repairs are not carried out

Since 2008 the building has been repaired three times, which has cost tens of thousands of pounds, but these piecemeal repairs have not been able to stop the advance of the decay. Chiswick House & Gardens say this reactive cycle of repairs are “unsatisfactory” as new areas of deterioration are constantly being discovered and even when they are not a structural risk they make it look as though the building is “unloved”.

The report submitted to LB Hounslow says:

“The structure is now fundamentally weakened and most of the building is not safe for public use and has been closed off. Without emergency repairs, the building will deteriorate faster and cost more money to renovate and risk a collapse for which the Council would be responsible as the owner.

“Reactive emergency repairs are only a short-term mitigation and that failing to bring forward a scheme for full renovation and structural in a timely manner is likely to increase the risk of building collapse or a major accident.”

Images: Chiswick House & Gardens collection of heritage camellia plants

What will happen to the camellia collection?

The Conservatory and the unique collection of heritage camellia plants housed within it are a big draw for visitors to Chiswick House Gardens. The original, completed in 1813, was commissioned by the 6th Duke of Devonshire, the great-grandson of Lord Burlington and designed by Samuel Ware, who also built Burlington Arcade in Piccadilly.

At 300ft long, it was one of the earliest large glass houses to be built and thus a forerunner of Decimus Burton’s glass house at Kew and Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace. It is also the place where the Beatles recorded what is thought to be the first ever music video for Paperback Writer.

The Trust website describes it as: “definitely one of the beloved icons of our Estate!”

On the safety of the camellias, which are usually shown every February – March, the Trust says:

“The camellia is a hardy plant and prefers to be outside. It gets too hot under glass and camellias need regular watering, to be kept shaded (by pulling the blinds down) and free of pests and disease. To safeguard the camellias, we have taken cuttings and we also have plantings of duplicates outside where they are thriving without regular care other than seasonal pruning.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Man charged following fatal collision on A40

See also: Local chemists struggle to get hold of antibiotics for Strep A

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.

Michael Gove requires councils to review housing conditions for tenants

Image above: Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove

Levelling Up Secretary announces urgent review into housing sector

The Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has written to housing providers requiring them to provide an urgent review into the housing conditions for private and social tenants.

Gove, who is also Secretary of State for Housing and Communities, warned housing providers they must raise the bar dramatically on standards and take urgent action when people complain about damp and mould.

Responding to the findings of a panel set up by the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing in June, he said:

“We have all been horrified by several recent reports of dangerously poor standards in social housing and the utterly devastating impact it has had, including the tragic death of Awaab Ishak.

“This report highlights the importance of landlords working with tenants, putting their voices and needs first. It also underpins the need for our Social Housing Bill, which will strengthen the rights of tenants, improve the regulation of social housing and ensure better quality, safer homes.”

The report found the management of communication and complaints topped the list of concerns from those consulted, alongside issues with the maintenance and repairs of homes.

Housing crisis in the UK is “worse than ever”, says Hounslow Council

Image: Cllr Sue Sampson

Cllr Sue Sampson, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Homelessness for LB Hounslow, welcomed Michael Gove’s announcement, saying::

“The UK housing crisis is worse than ever, we have an acute shortage of homes, waiting lists are rapidly growing and sadly an unacceptable number of people living in poor-quality housing conditions as shown by the tragic case of two-year-old Awaab Ishak in Rochdale.

“It’s vital that the mistakes made in Rochdale are not repeated in our borough. In Hounslow, we want to help ensure every resident has a place to live and call their home – one that is in good condition, safe and secure.

“We support the urgent review, which has been directed by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities regarding damp and mould conditions, and practices for private and social tenants across the country.”

The Government’s directive is specific in its information requests and sets short deadlines for responses, by end of January.

Cllr Sampson said LB Hounslow was collaborating with the government, London councils and housing associations to thoroughly review the conditions and enforcement practices across the borough’s social housing stock, housing associations properties, private rented accommodation secured by the Council, and wider private-rented accommodation.

Criticisms of Hounslow’s housing standards raised by Cllr Joanna Biddolph

Image: Cllr Joanna Biddolph 

Chiswick Cllr Joanna Biddolph, who is the opposition spokesperson on houssing in LB Hounslow, issued her own press statement in response to Clle Sampson’s, in which she said she had called an emergency meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee to discuss the housing department’s performance.

“Cllr Sampson suggests we should appreciate the borough’s performance in maintaining standards but, as she continues to refuse to meet me and other councillors, we still don’t know what, if anything, she and her department are actually doing to improve local housing” she said.

“Housing department officers are immensely dedicated and hard-working, taking up issues of concern speedily and effectively. Unfortunately, councillors do receive complaints about performance and standards in Hounslow’s housing as well as in housing associations.”

“Now is not the right time for media sensationalism” says Cllr Sampson

Anticipating comment from Cllr Biddolph, Cllr Sampson she accused her of using the Government’s housing review as an opportunity for “media sensationalism.”

“It is pleasing to see the interest being paid to this issue by the opposition housing spokesperson, Councillor Biddolph. I am sure that she will appreciate the borough’s performance in maintaining the standards and safety of our properties, and the strides we have taken to influence housing associations and their government-appointed regulator, and private landlords.

“In the light of the Secretary of State’s directive, I am sure that she will also agree that now is not the right time for media sensationalism, rather it is for focusing on identifying new actions and powers that may be needed for further improvements.

“We have set up a Project Group to co-ordinate the preparation of our submission to the Secretary of State by 27 January 2023. We are keen to develop alternative and proactive arrangements that also enable effective enforcement.

“Our detailed submission will therefore explain the condition of rented accommodation in the borough. It will also call for a review of our powers and greater regulation of private-rented accommodation.

“We look forward to making real changes that assist us in raising the standards of social housing and empower local authorities to improve conditions in private-rented accommodation.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Devonshire Road evening access restriction made permanent

See also: A4 roadworks closures postponed until January

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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LB Hounslow seize £370,000 illegal vapes at Heathrow

Image above: a seized fake vape

Warning issued about illegal vapes containing hidden nicotine 

Health officials with Hounslow Council are warning consumers about harmful hidden nicotine found in non-compliant vapes, after £370,000 worth of them were seized at Heathrow since August.

The Council’s Trading Standards team seized the vapes before they entered the country, preventing them from going into the supply chain and being used by the public. All the confiscated vapes have been destroyed.

These items look virtually identical to vapes and e-cigarettes on sale to the public which comply with UK legislation. Some were misleadingly labelled to suggest they did not contain highly addictive nicotine when they did. Labelling on the front of some boxes stated the vapes contained 0% nicotine, yet descriptions on the rear of the boxes suggested that they did contain nicotine.

In one example, a consignment of vapes seized by officers was listed as containing only fruit and floral flavours and was nicotine free. When these items were tested, they contained one per cent nicotine. This is enough to legally warrant it to be displayed on the front of the packaging. Officers also say that some importers avoid using descriptions such as ‘vapes’ on their customs declarations to get them into the country undetected.

In a separate operation Trading Standards and police carried out a test purchase exercise at seven premises within Hounslow. Under the supervision of a plain-clothed police officer, a 14-year-old police cadet attempted to buy a vaping product at each of the premises.  On two occasions the under-age volunteer was sold a vape. It is an offence to sell any product containing nicotine to children under 18.

Don’t start vaping, says council Leader

Image: Leader of Hounslow Council Cllr Shantanu Rajawat

Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, said:

“We want to keep people in our borough safe from these potentially harmful vapes. Our Trading Standards team has prevented thousands of these illegal products from being used by adults and children.

“Vapes and e-cigarettes can be really helpful to those people in our borough who are giving up smoking cigarettes. However, we would urge residents who do not already use them not to start.

“It is particularly concerning that we have found evidence of these vapes being sold to children in our borough. Thankfully, the majority of retailers in our borough act responsibly and play by the rules.

“Our messages to those who don’t is simply – you will get caught. Always ask for ID when you are selling vapes to young people and if you are unsure then do not sell them.

“These vapes contain nicotine, which can be highly addictive, and other chemicals and flavourings which are entering your lungs when you inhale them.
“The long-term health risks of vaping are still not fully understood, so if you do not vape already, please don’t start.”

The maximum penalty for selling nicotine products to anyone under 18 is a £2,500 fine.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Devonshire Road evening access restriction made permanent

See also: Chiswick House conservatory closed indefinitely, at risk of collapse

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.

Planning permission sought for flats above High Rd shop

Image above: Paperchase at 346.348 Chiswick High Rd

Four one-bedroom flats proposed 

A planning application has been submitted to Hounslow Council to convert the two floors above Paperchase on Chiswick High Road into four self-contained flats.

Kallis Properties Ltd are seeking permission to change the purpose of these upper floors from ‘commercial, business and service uses’ to ‘residential use’.

Two residential units would be situated on the first floor with a similar arrangement of two flats on the second floor. The applicatns say Paperchase would be unaffected and would remain trading while the conversion was carried out.

Works would involve internal and external alterations, including new residential access on the ground floor at the rear (from Dolman Road).

If approved, this would create four two bedroom flats at the site on 346-348 Chiswick High Rd.

It is hoped that the proposed works, which are estimated to cost up to £2m, would commence in November 2023 to be complete in March 2024.

You can comment on the proposals by searching P/2022/3552 in the planning applications section of Hounslow Council’s website.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Devonshire Road evening access restriction made permanent

See also: A4 roadworks closures postponed until January

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

December 2022 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Jessica Bloom has a look at what’s on offer and chooses Stella Maris, City of Last Chances, and Night Shift.

Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy

The best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Road returns with the second volume of The Passenger series: Stella Maris is an intimate portrait of grief and longing, as a young woman in a psychiatric facility seeks to understand her own existence.

1972, BLACK RIVER FALLS, WISCONSIN: Alicia Western, twenty years old, with forty thousand dollars in a plastic bag, admits herself to the hospital. A doctoral candidate in mathematics at the University of Chicago, Alicia has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and she does not want to talk about her brother, Bobby.

Instead, she contemplates the nature of madness, the human insistence on one common experience of the world; she recalls a childhood where, by the age of seven, her own grandmother feared for her; she surveys the intersection of physics and philosophy; and she introduces her cohorts, her chimeras, the hallucinations that only she can see.

All the while, she grieves for Bobby, not quite dead, not quite hers. Told entirely through the transcripts of Alicia’s psychiatric sessions, Stella Maris is a searching, rigorous, intellectually challenging coda to The Passenger, a philosophical inquiry that questions our notions of God, truth, and existence.

Images above: Stella Maris front cover, author Cormac McCarthy

City of Last Chances by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Arthur C. Clarke winner and Sunday Times bestseller Adrian Tchaikovsky’s triumphant return to fantasy with a darkly inventive portrait of a city under occupation and on the verge of revolution.

There has always been a darkness to Ilmar, but never more so than now. The city chafes under the heavy hand of the Palleseen occupation, the choke-hold of its criminal underworld, the boot of its factory owners, the weight of its wretched poor and the burden of its ancient curse.

What will be the spark that lights the conflagration?

Despite the city’s refugees, wanderers, murderers, madmen, fanatics and thieves, the catalyst, as always, will be the Anchorwood – that dark grove of trees, that primeval remnant, that portal, when the moon is full, to strange and distant shores.

Ilmar, some say, is the worst place in the world and the gateway to a thousand worse places.

Ilmar, City of Long Shadows.

City of Bad Decisions.

City of Last Chances.

Images above: City of Last Chances, author Adrian Tchaikovsky

Night Shift by Robin Cook

In this exhilarating medical mystery-thriller by Robin Cook, fan favorites Jack and Laurie are lured into the dark underbelly of hospital dangers when an internist is murdered.

Colleagues turned spouses Dr. Laurie Montgomery and Dr. Jack Stapleton already have their plates full with crazy work schedules and family pressures. The last thing they need is a murder. When Laurie’s longtime friend, by all accounts healthy Dr. Sue Passero, dies mysteriously in the hospital parking garage, an autopsy is required, which falls squarely under Laurie’s purview as newly appointed chief medical examiner. So when Laurie asks Jack to take special care with the case, he can hardly refuse.

With his curiosity sparked by the mystery around Sue’s death, the indefatigable Jack, compelled to resolve the case at hand, sets out to investigate on-site at Manhattan Memorial Hospital, even though it means blatantly defying the Office of Chief Medical Examiner’s rules. What started out as an inquiry into Sue’s tragic passing soon turns into a deadly and dangerous chess game between Jack and the clever and deranged killer, who might just administer another lethal blow if Jack isn’t careful.

Images above: Night Shift front cover, author Robin Cook

Jessica Bloom

Jessica Bloom is a bookseller at her family bookshop, ‘Bookcase London’, an independent bookshop open in Chiswick since 1993.

See Jessica’s and Anna Klerfalk’s book choices from previous months here.

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Christmas Cheese Market, Sunday 18 December

Image above: Chiswick Cheese Market; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Guest blog by Abigail Pitcher

Our final fling for 2022 is full to the brim of festive cheer and a humongous amount of cheese!

First up, the festive cheer. It’s a musical double this week with a carol-singing choir between 11am and 1pm, followed by festive tunes from some talented musicians from 1pm-3pm.

Bring the kids and get them hunting for our cheesy elves hidden amongst the stalls. Prizes of chocolate coins for all those who find them all!

Christmas gift alert – Jo Pratt is signing her cookbooks with us all day on Cheesewick HQ.

And come say hi to Sam’s Larder – Mulled wine, mince pies and hot chocolate – with £1 from each cup of mulled wine sold going to The Upper Room charity. All donations make a difference but never more so than at this time of year.

The cheese! It’s the season for stilton and we have both the cheeses of the key makers on the market – Cropwell Bishop on Heritage Cheese and Colston Bassett on Big Wheel – buy a slice of each and see how they compare.

And if you’re really keen (like us) then go and see James at No. 2 Pound Street because he has Stichelton – the original Stilton recipe cheese made from raw cow’s milk. It’s a menage a trois bleu in the making.

Speaking of recipes – check out our website for two great canapés using stilton by our very own Lucy Cufflin – both from her book – Lucy’s Food.

A lot of the traders will be bringing special gift packs for Christmas, so if you’re still looking for ideas for foodie family or friends then this is the place to come.

Joining us with their cheese are:

  • Gary the cheesemaker and owner of Hamm Tun Fine Foods with his Northampton blue cheeses.
  • The delicious Italian cheeses and charcuterie from Gastronomica.
  • Red Cow Parmesan cheese from Bianca Mora.
  • French Comté – the full selection of French cheese and Mont d’Or.
  • Big Wheel – a selection of cheese from Sussex and stilton.
  • 2 Pound Street will have their raclette machine again to serve melted Ogleshield with pickles for you to eat whilst your wander. Plus a selection of key cheeses for your Christmas cheeseboard.
  • Drunk Cheese with their unique Italian cheeses matured in different wines and alcohols.
  • Heritage Cheese are the people to talk to for key English and Irish cheeses.
  • Marlow Cheese – handmade cheeses from jersey cows’ milk made in Marlow.
  • Dispensamor – Italian cheese selection.
  • Roi with the multi-award-winning Trethowan Brothers Gorwydd Caerphilly and Pitchfork Cheddar.
  • Nut Knowle goat’s cheese from Sussex – these are so good!
  • Bath Soft Cheese – organic cheese made in Bath
  • La Latteria – locally made mozzarella and Burrata (as seen on Stanley Tucci’s Italy programme)
  • Palace Culture – dairy free cheese – cleverly made with cashew milk and utterly delicious.
  • The Halloumi Press – hot Cyprus halloumi rolls
  • Somerset Cheese Company range of cow, sheep and goat’s hard cheeses
  • Cheese on the Wey – small-batch cheese lovingly made in Hampshire
  • Deli at Number 5 with Oxford Cheese Co and Padstow Cheese Co. selection
  • Grate & Grill – hot cheese toasties! Hurrah!

And not forgetting our cheesy accoutrements in the form of micro-bakery Daly Bread and The Bread Lady;  Love Fermented kimchis and krauts; Bean’s World very special balsamic vinegars; local chutney makers Ealing Relish and Kentish Town Jam; kitchenalia from Room & Roots; olives, nuts and charcuterie from The Olive Bar; honey and olive oil from Paulo;  Wood & Leg Smokery and their smoked meats, cheese and specially for Christmas, hot smoked salmon; Bray Cured handmade cured meats from Berkshire; plus, the brilliant Bradgate Woodcraft with their wonderful wooden cheese boards and cheese knives, and not forgetting those cute wooden mice!

See you on Sunday 18 December! The Christmas Cheese Market will be open from 9.30am – 3.00pm

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Why you should not give up on 3D and go and see Avatar 2

See also: Circus 1903 at the Hammersmith Apollo

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.