Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ⭐ – Review by Andrea Carnevali

In 1957, Indiana Jones becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls. Available to watch on Disney +

In preparing for the release of the fifth (and we are told, “last”) film, we re-watched the the first three episodes from the 1980s and enjoyed them all immensely.

With all the backlash this fourth film had (and a lot of it for good reasons… more about this later), I was sort of dreading going back to it and actually thought of skipping it altogether. But is it really that bad?

I still remember the excitement of going to see it when it was first released in 2008, at the Odeon in Leicester Square, wearing my Indiana Jones T-Shirt.

Back then, the prospect alone of Spielberg and Harrison Ford reuniting for a new adventure had my heart rate up to unbelievable levels.

The anticipation had been building up for 19 years and the expectations were high… which is probably why the disappointment was so much greater.

Watching it today, I am much more prepared to face the bad bits, which I still vividly remember, as a scar on my retina.

Some of the most infamous moments, like the fridge scene, the bad CGI (in fact surprisingly bad for a movie by Spielberg), Mutt swinging among the trees with those fake monkeys and that horrendous final act with the spaceship and those bloody aliens, have gone down in history as some of the worst moments, not just of any Indiana Jones films, but of anything made by Spielberg himself.

Watching it this time, much colder and more detached than I have ever been, I was able to notice how poor the script actually is, with its needlessly convoluted plot and the clunky exposition, boring dialogue, but also how bland, cartoony and two-dimensional the main foe is (Cate Blanchet, a great actress is completely wasted here) and how badly paced the whole film feels, dumping very long talky sections in between action set-pieces in the most stilted way.

OK, now I have now got all of that off my chest, I can talk about some positive stuff: Harrison Ford, for a start. Despite being 68 years old, he’s able to kick some serious ass!! From the moment he shows up on screen (and what an entrance that is!!) he IS Indiana Jones.

With or without fedora, the man is just incredible and oozes charisma from every pore! He’s not just great as an action man, but even in more emotional moments (I hear there’s more to come in the last instalment!) his facial expressions throughout are pitch-perfect, from the moment when he sees Marion for the first time again (that smile!) to when he’s terrified by the snake…

As for the character of Mutt, to be completely honest, I never really had much against Shia LaBeouf either, nor his relationship with Indy. People for some reason really took really against him, possibly because at that time he was (and I hear… still is) one of the most obnoxious actors in Hollywood and the fact that he was poised as a possible successor for the character of Indiana Jones (as if he could be replaced by anyone!).

The first 15 minutes of The Crystal Skull are actually pretty good: the whole scene in the warehouse is beautifully paced and choreographed (plus that nice little wink to the ark from “Raiders” that had the geek inside me scream with joy).

The moment that follows, in the reconstructed town/test-site is eerie, surprising and actually rather brilliant. And yes, that nuked-fridge scene was probably a step too far, but it did made me laugh. Indiana Jones was never one for realism (demons coming out of the ark, people jumping off planes on a dingy, a crusader still alive after hundreds of years), so let’s not complain about that.

The first problems arise when the film begins to use bad CGI to tell its story or when huge sections of dialogue are dumped on us to allow to explain what’s going on. However once the film finally gets going and the action kicks in and Indy starts exploring the various underground temples, the film is actually rather enjoyable.

My son didn’t seem too bothered by any of it and actually had a lot of fun (“This is epic!” He shouted at one point), so who am I to complain?

Clearly, this is not a very good film, especially when you compare it to any of the previous instalments and crucially they should not have gone X-Files with it.

It is mostly uneven, very uninspired, it has too many characters and generally you can tell that Spielberg’s heart was not in it, but there’s still enough stuff to entertain, plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour and even some slick old school film-making at play from time to time to remind us all of the good old days.

To recap, yes, I know… it probably deserves two stars… but it’s Indy after all, and Spielberg and Harrison Ford… so please don’t ask me to do that!

Jokes aside, I still have some hopes that the next one (which I am due to see in a few hours) can redeem this fourth episode and give us the ending we all really deserve.

Fingers crossed.

St Nicholas Church musical tribute to William Hogarth

Image above: St Nicholas’ Church, Old Chiswick

BBC’s Lars Tharp to offer his insight on Hogarth’s life 

This Friday (23 June), a special concert will pay homage to the artist William Hogarth at St Nicholas’ Church in Old Chiswick.

Organised by a new choir under the leadership of Charles MacDougall and the direction of Bridget Cunningham, the event aims to celebrate Hogarth’s artistic vision, his profound influence on the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and the Foundling Hospital, as well as his musical connections with composer George Frideric Handel.

The concert promises to be an extraordinary experience, with insights into Hogarth’s work from the BBC’s Lars Tharp, a leading Hogarth enthusiast and ceramics historian. Tharp’s commentary will shed light on the life and artistic achievements of Hogarth, revealing the inspirations behind his well known creations and the indelible mark he left on west London and British society as a whole.

The programme will showcase a carefully curated selection of music closely intertwined with Hogarth’s legacy. The choir members include sopranos Ana Beard Fernández, Jenni Harper, and Danni O’Neill, as well as alto vocalists Cathy Bell, Lucy Goddard, and Ruth Kiang.

Anticipated highlights of the concert include Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthem, compositions inspired by the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, and cantatas influenced by Handel’s personal art collection during his residency at Brook Street in Mayfair.

The choice of St Nicholas Church for the event holds a profound significance, as the church’s cemetery is the final resting place of William Hogarth. Visitors are able to see his gravestone, which is engraved with a homage to the artist’s far-reaching impact:

“Farewell great Painter of Mankind, Who reached the noblest point of Art. Whose pictur’d Morals charm the Mind, And through the Eye correct the Heart. If Genius fires thee, Reader, stay, If Nature touches thee, drop a Tear: If neither move thee, turn away, For Hogarth’s honoured dust lies here.”

Tickets are £11.55, which you can buy on eventbrite.co.uk.

Attack on privileges committee a “further contempt of Parliament” says Hilary Benn

Image above: Susannah Simons and Hilary Benn MP

“His behaviour has been positively Trumpian”

Hilary Benn MP packed out St Michael & All Angels Church on Thursday, when he was interviewed by Susannah Simons as part of the Bedford Park Festival. The interview covered a range of topics, including Brexit, international aid and Boris Johnson.

After the event, which took place on the day that the House of Commons privileges committee released their report on Boris Johnson’s conduct over ‘partygate’, the former Cabinet minister spoke to The Chiswick Calendar.

Mr Benn described the report as “pretty damning” and said that the committee “looked at all the evidence and the verdict is very, very clear, which is why Boris Johnson jumped before he was pushed.

“The thing that worries me most is the way in which he and some of his supporters have reacted to it: attacking the members of the committee, the process and calling it into question. Which is, in my view, a further contempt of Parliament and is very damaging for our democracy. His behaviour has been positively Trumpian”.

“I’m not sure that Boris Johnson is wandering off into the sunset”

Hilary Benn MP told The Chiswick Calendar he thought:

“what it demonstrates to the British people is that the Conservative Party continues to be convulsed by a blazing row over one thing and then another. And the lesson from history is that parties that are consumed in their own internal arguments and vicious in-fighting do not impress the voters because they think: ‘well they’re not interested in me so let’s look for someone who is’.”

On Johnson’s future role in politics, Mr Benn warned:

“although he’s left Parliament I’m not sure that Boris Johnson is wandering off into the sunset”.

“It’s quite a soap opera” in Scotland too

When asked about Nicola Sturgeon’s arrest the previous weekend, Mr Benn said:

“Well I think the SNP is in some difficulty, to put it mildly, in Scotland at the moment.”

He continued that the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Anas Sarwar, “is doing a jolly good job and so we have hopes of winning a number of seats at the general election in Scotland.

“And that’s really important because the SNP has always thought their best hope of winning independence is if there’s a really, really unpopular Tory government in London.

“And once people in Scotland see that it’s possible for that not to be the case and there could be a Labour government in Westminster, then it may change some of the dynamics. 

“We fight to win seats in all parts of the country, but it’s quite a soap opera there too.

“We’re making steady progress, but we have such a mountain to climb in terms of winning the next election, but we’re working as hard as we can to do that. In the end the good voters will decide.”

Hilary Benn is the MP for Leeds Central, but has his London house in Chiswick.

Find out about the Bedford Park Festival on their website: bedfordparkfestival.org

Opera in the Garden: Lovers, Losers & Larrikins at The George IV

Images above: The George IV, Fuller’s Opera In The Garden 

Saturday 24 June 2023 at 7.30pm 

The George IV garden will come alive with opera on Saturday 24 June as the acclaimed opera troupe, Rogue Opera, returns with a brand-new production titled Lovers, Losers & Larrikins.

From 7.30pm to 10.00pm the audience will be treated to an evening filled with the grand themes of opera, including ‘doomed love, star-crossed lovers, the eternal battle between good and evil, loyalty and jealousy, power and revenge’. Rogue Opera weaves together spoken English dialogue and music in the original languages in which the pieces were written, connecting a diverse range of opera pieces that showcase the genre’s most beloved larrikins, jokers, comedians, and sidekicks.

Rogue Opera’s four singers and pianist will take the stage at Fuller’s Opera in the Garden, known for its intimate setting and immersive experiences. The troupe is renowned for their ability to present full-length productions and tailor-made events in unconventional spaces, aiming to bring opera to new audiences and locations.

Performances by Rogue Opera are conducted in the original language, accompanied by English surtitles – captions projected on a screen above the stage translating the text being sung – and piano or instrumental accompaniment. The unique setting allows audiences of 50 to 300 people to witness the intensity of each performance up close, which organisers say allows attendees to feel the emotions conveyed by the singers, and experience the vibrations of every note.

While the troupe frequently stages shows in traditional theatres across London and in St Albans, Bournemouth and Deal, they have also transformed unconventional spaces into captivating theatres. A 15th-century barn in Kent has been reinvented as a theatre, accommodating an audience of 90 people, and a special show was presented at a North London synagogue. Rogue Opera also do pop-up performances in parks, retail centres, and High Streets, as they work to introduce opera as a part of people’s everyday lives.

Tickets for Lovers, Losers & Larrikins at The George IV are available now. With limited seating available, it is advisable to secure your spot early.

Buy tickets here: georgeiv.co.uk

Murder investigation launched after four found dead in Hounslow

Image above: Family photo; Metropolitan Police

Police say they are not seeking anybody else in connection with the deaths

A murder investigation has been launched after the bodies of a family of four were discovered at a home in Hounslow on Friday (16 June).

Michal Wlodarczyk, 39, Monika Wlodarczyk, 35, Maja Wlodarczyk, 11, and Dawid Wlodarczyk, aged three, were found dead at a property on Staines Road, Bedfont after concerns were raised for the children’s welfare.

A post-mortem examination gave Monika Wlodarczyk’s cause of death as multiple sharp force injuries. Michal’s cause of death as sharp force injuries to his neck, while post-mortem examinations into the deaths of Maja and Dawid are due to be held on Wednesday.

The bodies of Monika and Michal were found alongside their two children after police forced entry to the property when concerns were raised for their welfare.

The Met Police were contacted by 11-year-old Maja’s school at 3.12pm on Friday, June 16, after she failed to attend school for four days and family members failed to respond to messages.

The date of their deaths remains unknown.

Tributes have poured in over the weekend to the family, while police have confirmed they are not currently seeking anybody else in connection with the deaths.

Inquests into their deaths will open and adjourn on Tuesday, 20 June, at West London Coroner’s Court.

Murder has sent “shockwaves” through the community

Detective Chief Inspector Linda Bradley, who is leading the investigation, said:

“I would like to assure the community that specialist detectives continue to investigate the circumstances which led to this tragic incident and I will continue to provide further updates as soon as appropriate. We are also continuing to support family members at this unimaginably difficult time.

“The situation remains that we are not currently seeking anybody else in connection with the incident.

“We are however retaining an open mind, and I would ask anyone who feels they have pertinent information to contact us as soon as possible.

“Officers remain at the location and forensic examination of the flat is ongoing.”

The Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat said:

“I am deeply saddened to hear about the deaths of four people in Feltham North, a truly tragic event. My heartfelt sympathies go out to their family and friends at this extremely difficult time.

“I know this will send shockwaves across our community but want to assure residents that the police are not currently seeking anybody else in connection with the incident. Specialist officers are working hard to establish exactly what happened in this incident.

“I ask that residents please respect the police investigation at this crucial time while formal identification and informing next of kin is conducted.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Chiswick environmentalist awarded MBE in King’s Birthday Honours

Image above: Jacqui and David Shreeve

David Shreeve awarded honour for his contribution to environmental conservation

Chiswick resident and co-founder of The Conservation Foundation, David Shreeve, has been recognised for his contribution to environmental conservation in the King’s Birthday Honours. Mr. Shreeve, who also serves as an Environmental Adviser to the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, has been awarded an MBE for his services to the environment.

David has been at the forefront of environmental initiatives for several decades, having launched The Conservation Foundation in 1982 alongside the late Professor David Bellamy, a renowned figure in environmental campaigns and popular from TV programmes of the 1970s and ’80s.

Since its inception, The Conservation Foundation has spearheaded numerous programmes, projects and award schemes covering a wide range of environmental issues in collaboration with businesses, the media, prisons, trade associations, and other official bodies.

To commemorate the Foundation’s 40th anniversary, a significant collection of environmental books and publications amassed over the years have been presented to the University of Kent. David’s influential work also earned him a rare Lambeth Degree in 2003, recognising the profound impact he has had on the Church of England’s understanding of environmental issues. Recently, his collection of books on the environment and faith found a new home in the Lambeth Palace Library.

Shreeve praises King for unswerving record of environmentalism 

Expressing his gratitude for the recognition, David said:

“I have been very touched to discover the number of contacts and colleagues who have supported this honour. I am delighted that it has been one of the first given by our new King as he has been the one ‘constant’ throughout my environmental career.

“He wrote messages of support featured on two of the Foundation’s very first projects, and despite all the changes over the years, he remains totally committed to the cause – and that’s something I know is not always easy.”

The Conservation Foundation, which was established with the aim of ‘inspiring, enabling, and celebrating positive environmental action’, continues to thrive under David’s guidance.

The organisation manages a diverse range of environmental projects, award schemes, awareness campaigns, publications and events, catering to various audiences and addressing a broad spectrum of environmental concerns. Moreover, the Foundation serves as an incubator for budding environmental organisations, helping transform innovative ideas into tangible and fundable projects.

For more information about The Conservation Foundation and its initiatives, visit their website at conservationfoundation.co.uk.

Boston Manor House set to reopen on 7 July

Image above: Boston Manor House; Photograph Matthew Smith

400th anniversary of the Grade 1 listed property

Boston Manor House, a historic Grade I listed property in LB Hounslow, is set to reopen its doors on Friday, 7 July, which marks its 400th anniversary.

In the run up to the public opening, Hounslow Council Leader Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, along with the funders who made the £6 million restoration project possible, were treated to a special preview of the landmark property.

Thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, and Historic England, Boston Manor House was successfully removed from Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk Register’ in 2022, securing its future for generations to come.

The house is located within 34 acres of Boston Manor Park, which features a lake and ancient cedar trees. The three-storey Jacobean property was originally constructed in 1623 for Lady Mary Reade.

Image above: Boston Manor House interior

Centuries old wallpaper found during restoration was ‘preserved through the ages’

It stands as one of London’s earliest examples of English Renaissance-style architecture. Over the years, the Clitherow family, who owned the house from the 1670s until the 1920s, made numerous architectural and decorative additions, which imbued the property with its unique character.

During the extensive restoration work, original wallpapers from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were discovered which had been preserved through the ages, and will be available for public viewing for the first time in centuries.

While the interior has been meticulously restored to reflect the ambiance of a seventeenth-century home and subsequent periods, Boston Manor House also features modern touches. For the first time in its long history, the property is fully accessible, thanks to the installation of a new lift.

Boston Manor House will be open to the public free of charge throughout the year. In addition to self-guided tours, the house will host a community programme offering learning opportunities, public events, and volunteering initiatives. Visitors will have the chance to explore exhibitions and galleries showcasing the rich history of the property. A modern café will be available for refreshments, and the house can be hired as a wedding venue.

Image above: From left to right: Stuart McLeod, Director of England, London & South for The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Louise Duggan, Head of Regeneration for Mayor of London, Breda Daley, Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas for Historic England, Cllr Afzaal Kiani, Mayor of Hounslow, Cllr Shivraj Grewal, Hounslow Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities and Culture.

“Essential we protect and celebrate our historic buildings”

Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, said:

There is so much to celebrate about the restoration of Boston Manor House which brings us here today to see the site in its former glory in 2023, when the House celebrates its 400th Anniversary.

“This has all been made possible with the incredible support of our funders. We are extremely grateful for the support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, and the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund.”

Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“We’re thrilled to see Boston Manor House reopen after nearly £4 million support, thanks to National Lottery players. This project has seen this Grade I listed Jacobean building be completely restored to safeguard it for the future – the perfect way to celebrate its 400th year.”

Jules Pipe CBE, Deputy Mayor of Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said:

“I’m very pleased the Mayor of London has been able to support the restoration of Boston Manor House through his Good Growth Fund. It’s a great example of the variety of historic places our city has to offer.

“It’s essential we protect and celebrate our historic buildings for future generations to enjoy. They tell us stories of past centuries but also play a powerful role in shaping vibrant and prosperous places for our communities today.”

Emery Walker’s House seeking volunteers

Image above: Emery Walker’s House; Photograph Lucinda MacPherson

Guides, Stewards and social media volunteers needed 

The Emery Walker Trust, which runs Emery Walker’s House in Hammersmith, is seeking volunteers in the run up to the summer holidays.

In particular, the house’s custodians are looking for guides, stewards and social media volunteers to help with the general running of building and its promotion.

Prospective volunteers are invited to sign up for a Volunteer Open Day at Emery Walker’s House, where attendees will enjoy a brief tour, light refreshments in the riverside garden and a chance to mingle with current volunteers.

Emery Walker’s House at 7 Hammersmith Terrace is a historic Georgian townhouse which serves as a museum and a testament to the life and work of Emery Walker, a prominent figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. The house is a hidden gem, showcasing the preserved interiors, original furniture, and an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and fine art.

Video above: Tour of the house with Lucinda MacPherson after it was refurbished and reopened to the public in 2017

Emery Walker, William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement

Emery Walker, born in 1851, was a close friend and collaborator of William Morris, the renowned textile designer, poet, and social activist. They were both committed socialists and together they played a pivotal role in the revival of traditional craftsmanship and the promotion of the Arts and Crafts philosophy. Walker was a passionate advocate for the arts, a typographer and printer, and his house reflects his dedication to these fields.

Visitors to Emery Walker’s House can explore the various rooms, including the ground-floor printing workshop where Walker conducted his typographic experiments. The house also features a library filled with rare books, manuscripts, and artworks collected by Walker throughout his lifetime. The collection includes works by Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and other notable figures of the Arts and Crafts movement.

The open days are scheduled for 6 July at 3.00pm and 13 July at 5.00pm.

Book your place here: emerywalker.org.uk/events

If you have any questions, please reach out to the House’s Manager, Ashley Weaver-Paul, at info@emerywalker.org.uk

Thames Tradesmen’s women’s crew triumphs at the 2023 British Rowing Masters Championships

Image above: TTRC’s women’s crew

Thames Tradesmen beats opponents by one second

Following their victory at the Head of the River race earlier this year, Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club (TTRC) continued their winning streak at the 2023 British Rowing Masters Championships held at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham on Sunday 11 June.

A group of four determined women from the club emerged victorious in the Open Masters Quad Race, narrowly defeating Ireland’s Portora Boat Club by a mere one second.

The winning crew, composed of Francesca Streeter, Jackie Marie, Isabelle Meron, and Louise Martin, battled against other formidable crews from Monmouth RC, Hollingworth Lake, and Maidstone Invicta.

TTRC is situated at the University London Boathouse on Hartington Road in Chiswick, and has been a longstanding institution dedicated to fostering rowing excellence and supporting athletes in their pursuit of success. The recent achievements of the club’s women’s crew have further solidified their reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the rowing community.

Image above: TTRC Chairman Nigel Brophy

“Great to see all these wins for Thames Tradesmen’s – just like old times” says Chairman

Reflecting on the intense race, Isabelle Meron, Crew Member and Ladies Captain of TTRC, said:

“It was a tight 1k race between TTRC and one of the Irish crews from the start. Portora were ahead after their start, but our stroke Fran kept our race pace consistent and kept close to them. They managed to pull away by a boat length close to the 300m mark.” Meron continued:

“Our steerer Louise encouraged us towards the last 200 meters as she could see the win was still within our reach. So much so that we caught up with the Portora BC crew and managed to beat them by just one second on the finish line. The finish was so close; we couldn’t initially tell whether we or the opposing crew had won. Hearing the Thames Tradesmen RC name over the loudspeaker confirmed our win, and we all felt ecstatic.”

The club’s Chairman, Nigel Brophy, expressed his delight at the growing success and commitment of TTRC saying:

“It’s great to see all these wins for Thames Tradesmen’s – just like old times. The work ethic these racing crews are putting themselves through is phenomenal.” Mr. Brophy went on to highlight the club’s popular Learn to Row program, saying:

“We’re continuing with our very popular Learn To Row programme. We have these novice rowers with their new skill entering local regattas throughout the summer – which is great fun.”

For more information about TTRC and their accomplishments, visit their website at ttrc.org.uk

Bedford Park Festival programme 2023 – week two

Image above: St Michael All Angels church in Bedford Park

Film, music, lunch and open gardens

Wednesday 21 June marks the start of the second week of the Bedford Park Festival, with an event scheduled every subsequent day until Sunday. David Juritz, one of the most versatile violinists working in the UK is performing at St Michael All Angels Church on Wednesday evening. A private house concert with multi award-winning singer Ema Nikolovska, a film night, classical music and an open gardens are on the programme for the rest of the week.

Images above: Bedford Park Festival poster, David Juritz

David Juritz Baroque Concert: Towards the Goldberg Variations

Renowned violinist David Juritz is set to captivate the audience with his upcoming performance The Juritz Baroque Concert: Towards the Goldberg Variations as part of the second week of Bedford Park Festival.

Taking place on Wednesday (21 June) at 7.30pm, this musical journey will take place at St Michael and All Angels Church.

Speaking to The Chiswick Calendar, David shared his inspiration for the programme and shed light on the upcoming performance. Juritz’s vision for this programme was to delve into the rich tapestry of music from the baroque era, spanning 150 years and encompassing a diverse range of compositions.

The concert’s programme promises an exploration of the Baroque era’s vibrant landscape. It includes compositions by figures such as Henry Purcell, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Marin Marais, as well as lesser-known gems from William Byrd, James Oswald, and Juan Arañés, among others. Audiences will be treated to a selection of lively, dance-based pieces which showcase the incredible diversity and global influences of the era.

“St Michael’s is the place to be on Wednesday night”

One highlight of the evening, David said, will be the iconic Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach. Juritz’s arrangement, specifically crafted for violin, guitar, and cello, breathes new life into this beloved work. The Goldberg Variations are known for their emotional depth, artistic complexity, and unwavering ability to leave listeners in awe of Bach’s genius.

Reflecting on the upcoming performance, David Juritz expressed his excitement, saying: “The Bach-Goldberg variations are one of those iconic pieces of music… It’s an extraordinary piece of music, emotionally, artistically, and in every single way you could imagine.”

He added the event is one not to be missed:

“It’s a chance to hear some very, very entertaining music which they might not get a chance to hear in other places… St Michael’s is the place to be on Wednesday night”.

Tickets for The Juritz Baroque Concert: Towards the Goldberg Variations are available for £15.00 and can be purchased on the festival’s official website.

For more information, visit Bedford Park Festival or contact the festival organisers at contact@bedfordparkfestival.org.

Buy tickets here: ticketsource.co.uk/smaaa

Images above: Ema Nikolovska, Jonathan Ware

House Concert with Ema Nikolovska and Jonathan Ware

Multi award-winning mezzo-soprano, Ema Nikolovska and pianist Jonathan Ware will perform songs and arias by R. Strauss, Debussy, Schumann and Meyerbeer.

The pair will perform at ‘A Bedford Park Studio’ the address of which will be confirmed when you purchase tickets.

Ema and Jonathan will be berforming on Thursday (22 June) at 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

Tickets are £40.00

Buy tickets here: ticketsource.co.uk/smaaa

Image above: Poster for Very Annie Mary

Film night: Very Annie Mary, a musical comedy

Very Annie Mary is a coming-of-age film set in South Wales about a woman in her 30s who lives with her overbearing father.

After her father suffered a stroke, Annie Mary is forced to take care of him but uses the circumstances to emancipate herself and find the courage to sing once again.

Available to view on Friday (23 June) at St Michael & All Angels parish hall, where supper is served at 7.00pm with the film showing at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £15.00.

Buy tickets here: ticketsource.co.uk/smaaa

Image above: Milly Forrest

Milly Forrest Early Evening Concert: Marriage of Figaro

Billed as “a feast of musical highlights: from the Marriage of Figaro by Mozart”, Saturday’s early evening concert with Milly Forrest will feature many regular soloists from the Royal Opera House and the English National Opera.

“Children are encouraged to come along and experience what will be a spectacular evening of classical music” organisers said.

The concert starts from 5.00pm and finishes at 7.30pm

Tickets are between £1.00 – £18.00 (depending on concessions).

Buy tickets here: ticketsource.co.uk/smaaa

Images above: Festival Mass Lunch 2022, a garden in Bedford Park

Festival Mass Lunch & Bedford Park Open Gardens

Sunday, the final day of Bedford Park Festival, has two events to enjoy.

From 12.30pm to 2.30pm, enjoy a freshly prepared food in the vicarage garden, the “perfect way to start the final afternoon of the festival with friends new and old”.

Tickets are £10.00 for adults and £5.00 for children.

At 2.00pm, Bedford Park Open Gardens begins, with some of the most beautiful and inspiring gardens in Bedford Park available to view to ticketholders.

Start at the Parish Hall, where cream teas will be available from 3.00pm and you can leisurely stroll around the gardens until the end of the festival at 6.00pm

Buy tickets for the Mass Lunch here: ticketsource.co.uk/smaaa

Buy tickets for Bedford Park Open Gardens here: ticketsource.co.uk/smaaa

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Artists at Home celebrates 50 years

Image above: Bobbie Kociejowski

“You develop relationships”

A total of 97 artists took part in Artists at Home this weekend, celebrating the event’s 50th anniversary. The weekend saw artists across our part of west London open up their homes and invite members of the public to browse their work.

Across the weekend I managed to visit a mere 14 studios and spoke to some of the artists taking part.

Hand-weaver, Bobbie Kociejowski, who describes herself as “being happiest when I’m sitting at my loom”, has taken part in Artists at Home for over 24 years and told me how the event had grown:

“It was always by the river, you know, that’s where the main studios were.

“It’s a really nice way of showing your work to the public, because being a maker is a lonely business… it’s much nicer than putting stuff in shops or even the big shows, they’re so expensive to do, the pressure is quite different. This is a very nice way of doing it.

“You develop relationships… I’ve met people that have bought from me and then continued to buy from me, you know, come back”.

Image above: Jasna (left) and Gala Bell (right)

“It’s really nice to be able to see someone’s reaction”

“It’s a fantastic bond between us and we are really good working together”, Gala Bell told me. She has displayed her work alongside her mother Jasna’s for the past ten years.

The multidisciplinary artist said what she liked about Artists At Home is that:

“It’s really nice to be able to see someone’s reaction. Usually, in a gallery, you don’t get to stand with the person”.

Image above: Lisa Pfeiffer

‘I just loved seeing the neighbourhood’

After 50 years, Artists at Home continues to attract new artists. This weekend was Lisa Pfeiffer’s first time taking part in the event.

The artist, who has lived in Chiswick for five years, said she had visited other artists in previous years before deciding to take part herself:

“I just loved seeing the neighbourhood and since moving from California it’s just been nice to meet people and see the area.

“I love art of course so just visiting people and talking and our neighbours actually said ‘we’ll give you a bottle of wine if you do it this year’, so I was like, okay. It’s been really nice”.

Image above: Sally Grumbridge (left) and Lucy Strathon (right)

“It’s got a lot bigger, a lot more professional”

Sally Grumbridge, a printer and painter who has taken part in Artists at Home for 18 years told me:

“The face to face contact is what is special and that’s been the same ever since I joined.

“When you show in a gallery or in an exhibition you’re removed from your work, you can’t really talk or explain it. Whereas here, people that are interested can ask questions, you can chat, you can show them how you do things and that’s very unusual in this busy world where everything is done by social media.”

Like Bobbie, Sally told me how the event had grown:

“It’s got a lot bigger, a lot more professional, but I don’t think it’s lost the the essence of what it is. It’s still very much the same, the same people coming into our homes and looking at our work”.

Find out more about Artists at Home: artistsathome.co.uk

Artists at Home 50th anniversary picture gallery

Pictures by Anna Kunst

Artists at Home celebrated 50 years this weekend and photographer Anna Kunst was there to capture the moment. Enjoy her beautiful pictures of the event.

Photographs copyright Anna Kunst

Find out more about Artists at Home: artistsathome.co.uk

Visit Anna’s website: annakunstphotography.com

Delayed A316 repair works to continue

Image above: Grove Park Bridge A316

Lane closures will take place every month from 23 June until at least 4 December

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the delayed maintenance work on Grove Park bridge, situated on the A316, will recommence later this month.

TfL will oversee the project, which aims to conduct necessary repairs and maintenance on the bridge that spans the Great Chertsey Road over the railway tracks.

The majority of the work will occur beneath the bridge, causing minimal disruption to road users. But selected dates from 23 June to December, there will be temporary lane closures during weekends and overnight periods on the A316.

Previous lane closures have led to significant traffic delays.

Originally scheduled to begin in April, the project was postponed due to rail strikes.

On the specified dates, the northbound side of the A316 will be closed by TfL from 10.00pm to 8.00am on weekends and from 10.00pm to 5.00am on weekdays. Contraflow traffic lights will be installed, allowing vehicles to travel in both directions on the southbound side of the road.

Additionally, the pavement on the northbound side will be closed, and bus stop Hartington Road (Stop P) will be temporarily relocated closer to the junction with Hartington Road.

Lane closure dates

The following dates will see lane closures:

  • 23, 24, 25 June
  • 4, 5, 6 August
  • 30, 31 August, 1, 2 September
  • 25, 26, 27 November
  • 2, 3, 4 December

Lane closures will occur when engineering works necessitate the closure of the rail lines.

The site compound will be positioned on the south grass verge at the junction of Riverside Drive.

TfL advises motorists planning to drive on the A316 Great Chertsey Road during these periods to allocate extra time for their journeys.

It is important to note that the Grove Park bridge, which connects Chiswick and Barnes Bridge, is located just south of Chiswick New Cemetery. This bridge should not be mistaken for the other bridge in Grove Park that links Sutton Court Road with Grove Park Road.

Brentford Canal Festival returns Saturday 24 June

Image above: Brentford Canal

Event begins midday and goes on until 6.00pm

Brentford Canal Festival is set to make a comeback on Saturday 24 June, promising to be bigger and better than last year.

The festival takes place from midday and goes on until 6.00pm. It will span across various locations including Brentford Lock Piazza and the River Brent.

This year’s event, like last year, aims to celebrate the vibrant canals and waterways that have played a significant role in Brentford’s history and with the ongoing redevelopment of Brentford, the importance of the waterways for its future.

The festival boasts an extensive lineup of activities catering to all ages and interests. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy boat trips along the Grand Union Canal, with an additional canal trip boat added to meet the popularity experienced last year. The trips will take visitors to Clitheroe Lock and back, offering visitors to experience the charm of the canals up close.

Local talent will be treating visitors to day-long live music performances, kicking off at midday in Market Place and Brentford Lock Piazza. Performers include the Chiswick School Steel Pan Band and The Rigmarollers Duo.

Image above: Canal barges, dancing and canoeing at last year’s Brentford Canal Festival

Canal Fest “becoming cornerstone of Brentford’s future”

There are dance performances scheduled throughout the day, offering a variety of global styles from Bhangra to contemporary and traditional dance, including Albanian, Armenian, and Spanish dances.

The festival will also showcase art and photography exhibitions, with local studios and galleries opening their doors. Children can get creative with interactive canal art activities at Brentford Lock Piazza.

In addition to the cultural and artistic highlights, the festival offers various water sports activities, including kayaking, canoeing, and Katakana trips on the Grand Union Canal and the River Brent.

Founder and Organiser of Brentford Canal Festival, Martin Case, is encouraging everyone to join in and celebrate the canals and waterways that have shaped Brentford’s history and will be integral to its future. Martin told The Chiswick Calendar:

“With the new Ballymore development, the waterways are going to become more integral for Brentford’s future… It’s a good thing, because it was in the doldrums for a long long while, but we just think [Brentford Canal Fest] and the Crazy Mile that happens in September, are kind of becoming cornerstones for Brentford’s future.”

He added:

“We would love to see lots of our Chiswick neighbours come along for the day and join us for a great day out.”

Image above: Last year’s Brentford Canal Festival

For more information and a glimpse of last year’s event, visit the Brentford Canal Festival website at brentfordcanalfestival.co.uk

Ruth Cadbury criticises Government over Charing Cross Hospital u-turn

Images above: Ruth Cadbury MP, Charing Cross Hospital; library images

“Decade of underinvestment” has put hospitals in dire condition, says Ms. Cadbury

Ruth Cadbury MP has criticised the Government for its recent u-turn on the repair of Charing Cross hospital, along with Hammersmith Hospital and the rebuild of St Mary’s.

These hospitals had been included in the Government’s ‘‘2030 new hospital programme’’, with plans to invest in parts of the NHS estate, yet in a recent statement in the House of Commons the Government admitted they would no longer receive support to enable a full set of repairs before 2030.

Ms. Cadbury warned that this u-turn would have a huge impact on people across West London who rely on Charing Cross, St Mary’s and Hammersmith hospitals.

Ruth Cadbury also used the debate as a chance to address the impact that the NHS backlog was having on people locally, along with the wider pressures facing NHS staff.

Speaking after the debate on Tuesday, 13 June, Ms. Cadbury said:

‘‘It is shocking that the Government have u-turned and refused to give Charing Cross hospital, St Mary’s and Hammersmith the support these hospitals desperately need to be able to serve patients properly. Our NHS estate is in a dire condition because of a decade of under-investment by the Government and it is clear that they have no plan or a strategy to turn it around.

“Because of the backlog of repairs electricity, sewage systems and lifts are failing. Many of the buildings at these three hospitals require replacing. These failures add to the already unacceptable waits facing people locally for diagnosis and treatment services.

“These delays are not due to NHS staff, who are working tirelessly in increasingly unacceptable conditions, but rather are the result of a decade of incompetence by the Government. That’s why I will continue to campaign to ensure our NHS gets the support it needs and people locally can access treatment and care.’’

Take me to the river

Rowing is the sport which defines Chiswick more than any other

Chiswick’s iconic sporting event is the Boat Race. The annual tussle on the Thames between the elite eights of Oxford and Cambridge ends at Chiswick Bridge and is the only sports event in the area with global appeal. 

Each year, the race attracts TV millions from 200 countries and a quarter of a million people flock to the riverbanks to cheer for their favourite shade of blue at an event which can look (to an Oxbridge outsider) like an Open Day at a Pall Mall Gentlemen’s club or a Flash Mob for college scarf fans.

Even if you only watch the Boat Race in the hope a boat sinks or to see how far the cocky coxes can test the match referee’s patience by clashing oars like rutting deer, it’s hard to deny that rowing is the sport which defines Chiswick more than any other.  

With the river running through it, it’s not surprising so many rowing clubs have hunkered here since the sport took off at the turn of the 18th century. The Middlesex side of the Thames has several clubs, toad like maisonettes squatting on the muddy banks. They are human versions of the burrows which used to house smaller mammals like water voles until the American Minx dined them out of existence in the 1990s. 

Famous rowers have congregated in Chiswick, too. There’s a gold post box outside Chiswick Town Hall to celebrate the Olympic gold winning efforts of local Pete Reed in the 2012 Men’s Fours and a blue plaque in Grove Park Gardens for Jack Beresford, who won five back-to-back Olympic rowing medals of which three were gold. Beresford’s gargantuan feat probably makes him Chiswick’s greatest ever sportsperson and his haul of five successive Olympic medals was only recently matched by Sir Steven Redgrave.  

Not that you need to be an aspiring Olympian or have rippling biceps to enjoy rowing (though it is a superb sport for those looking for a ‘whole body’ exercise routine). Most are in it for fun. After all, as folk singer Josh Macrae said, ‘there’s nothing quite like messing about on the river’.

Image above: Fiona Betts, captain of the Tideways Scullers Club

‘I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone fall into the river in one of the courses!’

‘Sculling allows you to be alone with your thoughts and escape the pressures of life. Or rowing in an eight develops teamwork in a special way. We have people here aged 13 to 80. Some come to potter and others come to push themselves as hard as they can,’ says Fiona Betts, captain of the Tideways Scullers Club, which was founded in 1957 and has approximately 200 members.

(For those that don’t know, the word scull is a noun and a verb. It is the name for a boat designed for one and the act of rowing. To complicate things, oars are also called sculls. The only thing a scull is not is a skull, which is what pirates put on their flags.)

The club has a number of serious rowers. It has been represented at every Olympics and most years it will have juniors and alumni competing at an international level. But it also welcomes beginners and those after a fitter, healthier life.  

To get newbies out on the water, the Club offers a week-long introductory course called the Alec Hodges Sculling Course, which is named after a founding father of the club and a former captain. Alec died in 2008, but his passion to pass on his love of the sport is captured forever in this course, which is open to all ages. The goal is to get everyone confident enough to race in a regatta or a time trial by the end of the course. 

‘The first thing we do is basic technical training on a rowing machine. Then we send them out onto the water in a three-person boat with experienced rowers. We always make sure we have a high ratio of trainers to beginners. I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone fall into the river in one of the courses!’ says Betts. 

‘The training is very high quality and is delivered by qualified paid coaches. And with new people we try really hard to make them feel welcomed and part of the club. We’re an inclusive friendly club,’ she continued. 

Image above: Tideways Scullers Club

I went to a ‘rowing school’. The boathouse was a Temple to Jockery, a religion marked by its intense physicality and wellie wearing. The rowers were a laager lot, river Voortrekkers who enjoyed being shouted at by older men with megaphones and thought the rest of us were weeds. 

The culture at Tideways Scullers is, of course, nothing like this. Several of the senior executives are women and the membership is balanced across genders and age. It’s a community club with an active policy of trying to diversify the membership and build an inclusive supportive culture (if that doesn’t make them sound like the tofu eating wokerati so detested by Suella Braverman). The club is also encouraging rowers from schools which don’t offer rowing to join – a strategy which is beginning to bear fruit with their junior teams. 

‘Recently, a young lady with juvenile arthritis came to see me. She wanted to learn to row because it will help with her condition. We welcomed her and now she’s rowing with us regularly. My message is: we will do our utmost to help you try out the sport and stick with it,’ says Betts. 

I don’t understand the hierarchy of rowing competitions. But Henley at the end of the month is a Big Deal for competitive rowing. It’s also significant culturally as it is the last surviving place in Britain where straw boaters and extravagantly feathered hats can be worn without irony. 

I ask Fiona if the club has hopes of medals this year. 

‘We’re in a rebuilding phase as far as senior competitive rowing goes. We have seniors racing at Henley and Henley Women. Having said that probably half of our rowers compete at a very high level.’ 

Tideways Scullers is the sort of place I’d try rowing if I could overcome the fear that my beer belly would deliberately capsize me as I got into a scull. It feels like an interesting place to be. There’s a mix of people. Some working hard to race hard and others, like Ratty and Mole in ‘Wind in the Willows’, simply happy to scull about a bit before heading to the club for a chin wag over a cheese toastie and a cup of coffee. Competitive but collegial at one and the same time. 

The Boat Race attracts the attention of the world’s non-rowers. Once it’s over, though, us dry bobs go back to our daily land-lubbing grind and forget about the river. Meanwhile, quietly Chiswick’s myriad scullers, pairs, quads and eights are out on the Thames (with or without a cox) making something out of this great public asset. 

By the time, I finish my interview, Al Green’s song ‘Take me to the River’ is playing inside my head. Maybe it’s time to pack away my memories of the school boat house and give sculling a go. Even if my beer belly has to come with me. 

[You don’t need a boat to start rowing. But if you do get hooked there is a joining fee of £100 and monthly membership costs £55. Student fees are less at £31] 

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Review by Andrea Carnevali

In 1938, after his father goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Indiana Jones finds himself up against the Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers. Available to watch on Disney +

Let’s face it, they don’t make them like this anymore. This is probably one of those last “adventure movies” filmed all around the world on actual location, with an actual script and some great set-pieces, before CGI came in and made them all look more like video-games.

This might be a bit of a controversial opinion, but “Last Crusade” is possibly my least favourite of the original trilogy. That doesn’t mean that it’s less enjoyable or less of a handsome film.

It may not have the memorable action set-pieces from “Raiders” or the tension and the energy from “Temple of Doom”, but it makes up for all that in charm and so much humour that my jaws still hurts from all the smiling.

The chemistry between Sean Connery and Harrison Ford is pure gold: their comedic timing is impeccable, whether they’re tied up on a chair while a room is on fire, or flying on a plane or riding a motorbike, their expressions and banter balances the fact that actually the action and stunts are not as impressive or original as one might remember.

Of course there are great ideas here too, like the introduction to young Indy, rats in the catacombs under Venice, the tank chase, the three final challenges and of course bringing back the Nazis (including Hitler himself). And that final ride into sunset, which many still think should have ended the trilogy once and for all.

But there are less successful things too: for example bringing back Sallah felt more like a fan-serving exercise than anything (so much so that he’s left with very little to do), the ploddy scene full of exposition telling us everything we needed to know about Holy Grail, the rather cheap-looking scene on the boat at the start of the film (that one annoyed me even back in 1989 for how set-like it looked) or the slightly wasted opportunity to have fun with boats and gondolas along the canals in Venice.

Spielberg is so keen to make us laugh and to bring humour everywhere he can (after being criticised for all the darkness in the previous instalment) that he seems to forget the kind of action that made the other films so thrilling.

Don’t get me wrong: I still think this is a great ride and I love it with all my heart (and I really adore its soundtrack too), but I have to be honest I love the first two a bit more. So, not quite a five star… but pretty damn close.

Just Stop Oil halt rush hour traffic on Chiswick High Road

Image above: Just Stop Oil protestors march near Chiswick Roundabout

Three Just Stop Oil protestors arrested, one “unlawfully”

Just Stop Oil supporters are once again marching in their eighth week of daily action in London to demand that the UK Government halt all licences and consents for new oil, gas and coal projects.

At around 8.00am on Wednesday (14 June), 68 Just Stop Oil supporters in five groups began marching on roads around West London, including: Chiswick High Road, the Westway, Cromwell Road and near Chiswick Roundabout. They halted rush hour traffic for about 20 minutes before either complying with police or being arrested.

Two supporters were arrested at around 8.20am for walking on the A205 near Chiswick Roundabout. Just Stop Oil say another supporter was “unlawfully” arrested on Cromwell Road after police did not issue a Public Order Act (Section 12) notice appropriately.

There was an angry response from some of the motorists stuck on the queues of traffic that reached up to Chiswick Roundabout, but some residents shouted support for the demonstrators when arrests were being made.

The police say that they imposed Section 12 conditions under the Public Order Act at 8.15am and the road was cleared six minutes later. The imposition of these conditions can be made by the senior officer on the scene if he or she believes it is necessary to prevent disorder, damage, disruption, impact or intimidation.

Image above: A Just Stop Oil protestor is arrested

“I’m terrified of a collapsing society”

Around 600 people from all over the UK have taken part in the marches of whom 95 have been arrested and 40 charged.

One of those on the road this morning, Eddie Francis, 74, a retired joiner from Lincoln said:

“I’m terrified of a collapsing society because of the climate crisis, we’re experiencing crop failure already. I feel I have to stand up and take action to get the government to stop new oil, gas and coal, because I can see, right now, that it’s presiding over a disaster”.

Another of those on the road this morning, Rachel White, 52, a former NHS Health professional from Rochford, said:

“I am taking action with Just Stop Oil because I have tried writing to MPs and signing petitions, I even walked 500 miles from London to Glasgow to COP26 to try and raise awareness, but our government is still issuing new gas and oil licences. This is a death sentence for millions. Canada is on fire, the Arctic is melting at a rapid rate, Europe is already reaching record temperatures, but this is hardly reported by the media.”

“If my grandchildren are to have a liveable climate, all new gas and oil must stop. What other choice do I have other than to take action? There is no other choice now, as it is clear the government will carry on business as usual unless everyday people like me demand otherwise.”

The Metropolitan Police says that the cost of policing these protests so far has been £4.5 million.

Chiswick Area Forum to focus on events at Gunnersbury Park

Image above: Chiswick Town Hall – venue of Chiswick Area Forum

Next Chiswick Area Forum is Tuesday 20 June

As Gunnersbury Park’s festival season starts, the next Chiswick Area Forum, the first of the new council year, will give residents the chance to hear about policies and practices that have been put in place to manage the impact of Gunnersbury Park festivals on locals – and ask questions about their experiences and concerns for this year.

The forum will begin next Tuesday (20 June) at 7.30pm formally, with an informal meeting with tea, coffee, sandwiches and stalls beginning an hour earlier at 6.30pm.

The agenda also includes a report from the police, a short update on the e-bike scheme, a presentation on Hounslow council’s thriving communities fund and, as usual, the public forum during which residents can raise questions on any topic.

The session on festivals will start with presentations from David Bowler, CEO of the Gunnersbury Estate CIC (community interest company), followed by Victoria Wallas, Hounslow’s assistant director of community enforcement and regulatory services including licensing.

The forum will then hear from Peter Robertson, a local resident and music festivals organiser who produced a report last year on the way sound travels and the behaviour of festival promoters, which caught the attention of Gunnersbury Park CIC and Hounslow’s enforcement team.

Local police sergeant Jim Cope will provide an update about community safety and his team’s response to the current spate of break-ins and car thefts.

Residents are invited to raise any other subjects during the open forum.

Image above: Chiswick councillors Amy Croft (left – Labour), Gabriella Giles (centre – Conservative) and Joanna Biddolph (right – Conservative) at a recent area forum; Photograph Yagnesh Nakarja LB Hounslow

Complaints about “disruptive” events must be addressed, say councillors

“With the start of Hounslow’s Summer of Culture outdoor events, I wanted to give residents and businesses the opportunity to share their views,” said Cllr Councillor Gabriella Giles, this year’s chairman of the Chiswick Area Forum and Conservative councillor for Chiswick Riverside ward.

“Although last year’s Gunnersbury Park festivals resulted in the most complaints, from residents throughout Chiswick and from further away too, I know that others were disturbed by events elsewhere such as in Chiswick House and Kew Gardens.

“After so many disruptive events, and with residents’ complaints so often ignored, we need to know the specifics of what will be done.”

Cllr Joanna Biddolph, vice-chairman of the Chiswick Area Forum and Conservative councillor for Chiswick Gunnersbury ward said:

“Last year resulted in a huge number of complaints about festivals, particularly Waterworks. Comments were far stronger; there were many more of them; and they came from a much wider geographical area.

“With Waterworks specifically, complaints were not only about decibel levels but also about the booming bass which made houses shake and windows and doors rattle. Waterworks is coming back this year and there must not be a repeat of last year, or for the same to happen at new festivals.

“The majority of residents understand that festivals, circuses and other events are needed to bring in income to maintain and improve our public parks and gardens. There must, however, be a significant shift towards respecting locals, and recognition that these events take place in a local community.”

Agenda

6.30pm Informal networking, stalls about various services, sandwiches, coffee/tea

7.30pm Formal meeting starts

E-Bikes update

Police and the community safety team reports

Thriving Communities Fund presentation

Gunnersbury Park: Managing the Impact of Events

Open Forum

AOB

Junior doctors strike to have “significant impact” on local hospitals

Image above: Charing Cross Hospital

Strike action to last 72 hours

Junior doctors have began four days of strike action, which a west London NHS trust says will have a “significant impact” on patient care.

The British Medical Association (BMA) declared junior doctors will be striking for 72 hours from 14-17 June in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Moreover, the BMA has warned there will be a minimum of three strike days per month until the expiration of their strike mandate in August. A BMA spokesperson said:

“Since April’s strikes, we have had three weeks of negotiations with the Government, seeking a deal that fully restores pay for junior doctors after the more than 26% drop they have suffered over the last 15 years… In that time we have received an offer which is in no way credible or even reasonable for where we are in the negotiating process.”

All the London hospitals affected are: Barnet, Charing Cross Hospital, Croydon, Ealing Hospital, Epsom, Great Ormond Street, Guy’s, Hillingdon, Homerton, Jane Atkinson Centre, King George Hospital, King’s College, Kingston, Lewisham, Maudsley, Newham, North Middlesex UH, Northwick Park, Princess Royal, Bromley, QEH Woolwich, Queen’s Hospital, Royal Free, Royal London, Royal Marsden, St Anne’s, St Bart’s, St George’s, St Mary’s, St Thomas’, University College and Whipps Cross.

Above: Tweet by Dr Mary Bousted showing support for junior doctors picketing outside St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth

No services exempt from action, says Imperial College Healthcare Trust

A spokesperson for Imperial College Healthcare Trust, which oversees Charing Cross Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital, said:

“We expect this will have a significant impact on our hospitals, with no services exempt from the action. As with all industrial action, our priority will be to ensure everyone’s safety.

“We will continue to run urgent and emergency services throughout the strike, including our A&E departments and maternity units. However, to help us run these services safely, we expect we will need to reschedule most of the planned operations and outpatient appointments that are currently booked in for those days. If we need to reschedule your appointment, we will aim to contact you directly by Monday 12 June to tell you. We will arrange a new appointment as soon as we can

“We are expecting a challenging few days, with extended waits in our A&E departments. We encourage anyone who needs non-emergency medical help or advice to go to NHS 111 online or call 111. But, if you need emergency care (for instance if someone is seriously ill, injured or their life is at risk), you should continue to call 999.”

More strike dates likely

Previously, junior doctors rejected Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s proposed pay increase of 5% and a one-time payment of at least £1,655. The BMA remains determined that a 35% raise is essential to compensate for the below-inflation pay rises experienced over the last 15 years.

In addition to junior doctors, consultant doctors are also undergoing a separate ballot process until 27 June to determine whether they should strike. Potential strike dates include 20 and 21 July.

See Imperial College Healthcare Trust’s website for more information on healthcare during the strikes:

imperial.nhs.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – Review by Andrea Carnevali

I can hear some of you moaning already. What!? Five stars to this sequel?! (Yes I know It’s a prequel).

Is this it really as good as the first one? Well, of course not. But then again, hardly anything is in my book. But, is this one of the most entertaining, fun, dazzling, un-relentlessly inventive and non-stop action film in cinema history? My answer to all this is also a resounding YES.

I never get tired of watching “Temple of Doom”, and tonight watching with Giovanni, now turned Indy-worshipper too, with the lights turned down and the volume at full-blast, was like re-living it for the first time. I can’t hardly think of an action film that is this exciting, scary and entertaining all at the same time.

Let me just remind you. We start with a blast: a completely unexpected musical number, giving us a glimpse of what Spielberg would be able to achieve years later when he finally got around to direct his first musical, West Side Story.

After that we get introduced to Indiana, in his white tuxedo with red flower, a homage to Connery’s Bond, like no others. And then the exchange at the round table, the hilarious fight scene among falling white balloons, running behind the big silver gong (a scene which was meant to be in the first one and was eventually cut from the script for timing reasons), Indy and Willie falling out the window, the hilarious introduction to Short Round driving a car (aren’t we all please to see this new Ke Huy Quan’s renaissance these days?), and then that funny twist revealing that the plane Indy is fleeing on actually belongs to the baddie. And that’s all in the first few minutes.

And let’s not forget the scene with the beetles, the crushing-room with those spikes, the roller coaster chase in the tunnels, that relentless scene where Indy tries to save Willie from being dipped in lava… (possibly one of the most tense in the entire series), the final moment on the bridge. Hardly has action ever been more inventive and tense.

And let’s not forget those really funny moments too: the banter between Willie and Indy, the elephants, night-time in the jungle…

Yes, I know, the film can be very silly at times (falling off the plane on a dingy??!), but it was never supposed to be taken too seriously. It’s just a fun ride and we should go along with it.

It’s definitely darker too. Probably too dark in places. Some people really took against this. Spielberg and Lucas themselves always regretted going a bit too far with “Temple of Doom” in terms of its dark tones and horror-like quality, but as far as I’m concerned, that never bothered me and it still doesn’t.

I’ve always been a great fan of scary films and as kid (I know… bit of a disturbed child) I always loved every second of this, especially the darker scenes. We’ve become much too prudent, and politically correct these days – nobody would ever dare showing a chained-up child being used as slave in a family-oriented film. And as for the racist undertones… The infamous dinner scene today is probably considered a little bit insulting to foreign cultures.

Oh well, I think we are definitely becoming a little bit too sensitive these days. I’ve grown up all my life watching Italians being depicted as Mafiosi in films: no big deal. I mean, c’mon, it’s a film, after all, for crying out loud! And also, it was the ’80s. Everything was allowed.

Beyond all this triviality, this is another masterwork in film direction, pace and staging. It’s just a real pleasure to see how Spielberg moves his camera (not just during the action set pieces) and how it orchestrates it all. More than anyone he knows how to make us jump, cover our eyes and root for his hero.

And while all this happens, John Williams comes up, once again, with some of his best score. This is what action films should be like, look like and feel like, forget about 99% of anything that we get today!

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (and the other Indiana Jones films) are now available on Disney+ in advance of the release of Dial of Destiny at the end of June.

Why would you go to Syon Park to buy meat?

Wyndham House butcher’s

It seems an odd thing to do, to go to a stately home with landscaped gardens and a much-filmed Great Conservatory, to buy meat. But people do, says Lee Mullet, owner of Wyndham House butchers, and they are hoping more will do so in the future.

The estate, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, has been very canny over the past 30 years at bringing in businesses which will attract footfall, and profit. People still ask about the Butterfly House where huge tropical butterflies used to flitter about in a hot and humid glass house. That went many years ago, as did the Koi carp pond next to it.

In came a Hilton hotel, Buttercups nursery and Snakes & Ladders indoor soft play area, fishing in the Duke’s stream and hiring various parts of the premises for private functions – corporate events and wedding celebrations.

There is a huge garden centre run by Hillier, who took it over two years ago after Wyevale closed its operation in September 2019. The latest iteration of the garden centre also boasts a cafe, a large Lakeland shop selling kitchenware, and a food hall selling upmarket produce. Hence Wyndham House butchers.

Customers come to fill up with meat

“We get two types of customer” Lee told The Chiswick Calendar: “Some people come for a day out; they come for the gardens and leave with something for dinner. But there are others who come specifically to fill up with meat. They like our produce, they have realised you can park here for free, and they come back.”

They have also seen the first trickle of customers coming on foot from the new flats that are part of the Brentford Project. Syon Park is giving residents access so they can walk along the river and through the grounds of the house. As those flats are sold Lee and his daughter Holly hope they will see a lot more people come in that way.

Lee started in the meat business in the poultry sector. His work took him all over the world and he has seen the intensive farming of the American mid west, with huge areas fenced in, a square kilometre in size, overcrowded with cattle fed on a ‘zero graze’ diet of soya and cereals, classed as ‘concentrated animal feeding operations’.

Having seen it, he decided to go the opposite way, setting up a free-range poultry business in Nofolk. He moved into selling chicken at farmers markets at the very beginning of the movement, catching the new vogue for public interest in food and where it came from. ‘Wyndham House’ was the name of their farmhouse in Norfolk.

Images above: Wyndham House produce; Holly Mullet

Wyndham House one of the founder members of Borough Market

Lee was one of the founding members of Borough Market, where he still has a stall.

“It just got busier and busier and suddenly we found there was a film crew there every week.”

He learned his butchery on the job when he found customers did not always want to buy whole chickens.

“I bought myself a set of knives and got on with it.”

He and his wife then decided to diversify and open a butchers shop in Chelsea 17 years ago and their second shop, in Chiswick High Rd, 13 years ago. They sell grass fed beef and dry cured bacon. Holly is quite scathing about bacon injected with water, which looks juicy in the packet but shrivels to nothing in the pan.

She joined the business eight or nine years ago and is part of a young staff which includes three women. She has picked up butchery skills from her father, not so much hefting whole carcasses about but more nifty de-boning and butterflying, that sort of thing.

“I learned at Borough Market and Rod, the manager at Wyndham House in Chiswick High Rd has taught me a lot.”

Images above: Cuts of meat at Wyndham House counter 

Plans for the future

Holly studied Management with Innovation at Bristol University and is busy innovating ways in which their business can grow and move with the times. One is the cheery welcome you get when you go into the shop – not that you would not have got that from Lee – but she is adamant customer service, and the staff’s attitude to customers, is a top priority, so people might feel like coming into the shop again.

It is noticeable that you are immediately welcomed with a smile, the staff look as if they are enjoying their job, if the banter is anything to go by, and they will offer practical help in what and how much they need to buy for whatever it is they are trying to cook. (Clearly I am not the only one to be mildly embarrassed not to know my Brisket from my Shank).

Holly has the advantage of all her father’s experience and contacts to build on. Lee has been working with farmers for decades. They buy 70% their meat direct from the producer, including free range pork from Suffolk, from Blythburgh Pigs.

They have plans for the future too which go beyond just selling meat.

“I love food. Cooking is my passion” says Holly.

Wyndham House butcher’s shop at Syon Park is a member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme. They offer customers a 10% discount. Just show your Club Card, and if you have not got one and would like to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, you can do so here: Subscribe to our newsletter.

Find out more about Wyndham House from their website: wyndhamhouse.com

More people in Chiswick cycling to work

Fudge’s Cycles at Green Days, Acton Green Common this weekend

Commuters turn to bikes as cost of living rises and train strikes affect ability to get to work 

Fudge’s Cycles on Chiswick High Rd have seen an increase in sales over the past few months to people who have decided they need to buy a bike to get to work. The combination of increased fares for public transport, train and bus strikes and the general effect of cost of living increases have made people think about how they get to work, says operations director Lewis Finlay.

Fudge’s sell a range of bikes which cost between £150 and £5,500, suitable for road use, off road or ‘hybrids’ which are good for roads, tow paths and parks. They also offer a two year service plan and mend bikes on the premises, which all helps keep costs down.

“We take anything. We even fixed a spin bike last week” Lewis told me.

Best the cost of living rise

They have been offering ‘Beat the rise of living cost’ special packages of a bike +lights + lock, (an overall saving of £130) which they will return to before the end of the summer when they have more of the right kind of bikes in stock.

The campaign, which they launched at the beginning of the year, made a direct comparison between the cost of cycling to work and that of taking the bus or the tube. A Hybrid / commuting bike costs usually £549, a Kryptonite lock £54.99 and a helmet £24.99 – total package £628.98, which they were offering for £500.

A London Underground travel card for Zone 1 is £1,536 per annum. A travel card for Zones 1,2,3,4,5,6 is £2,812. They point out that cycling to work would save commuters £1,036 a year for those with Zone 1 cards and £2,312 a year for those with Zones 1-6 cards.

“Last winter was the best winter for cycling” Lewis told The Chiswick Calendar. People found they were getting to work inconsistently and it was costing them more.”

Image above: Coyote

Special deals for Chiswick Calendar subscribers

Fudges’s were offering some very generous deals over the weekend at Green Days, the big two-day fete on Acton Green Common which kicks of the Bedford Park Festival. They are extending the deals to Chiswick Calendar subscribers until 30 June:

  • A Buy One, Get One Free deal on Coyote Urban bikes
  • A Security Package, a GPS tracker and hefty lock at a 10% discount (more if you are buying a bike at the same time).

Take your Chiswick Calendar Club Card with you when you go into the shop at 176 Chiswick High Rd (near the junction with Turnham Green Terrace)

Fudges are also currently offering the Giant Escape 3 Hybrid bike with a 20% discount.

Image above: Giant Escape

See Fudge’s regular Club Card discount offer here: Fudge’s Cycles Club Card offer.

Check out their website for more details of the range of bikes and cycling accoutrements they sell.

fudgescycles.com

Artists At Home weekend 2023

Image above: Welcoming visitors to Artists At Home 2022; photograph Joanna Raikes

Open Studios in Chiswick, Acton, Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush

This is my favourite weekend in the Chiswick year – the chance to wander in and out of people’s houses looking at lots of lovely art work: paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media creations, pottery, jewellery, textiles, sculpture.

From Friday evening (16 June 2023) until Sunday afternoon you can meet artists in the area who have opened their homes to the public to show their work and talk to people about it.

Have a look on the Artists At Home website to see who is exhibiting where in 69 locations. Study the map and work out your own itinerary to take you to the ones you find most interesting.

artistsathome.co.uk

Enjoy!

Bedford Park Festival programme 2023 – week one

Poetry, art, music, culture …

Green Days weekend marked the start of a fortnight’s programme of events for the Bedford Park Festival. Tonight and tomorrow (13 / 14 June) two events celebrate the centenary of Irish poet W.B. Yeats winning the Nobel prize.

The Yeates and the Morrises

Tonight’s online talk at 6pm explores the connections between William Morris and his family and Yeats’ family in Chiswick and Hammersmith. Kelmscott House, where the poet’s sister Lily worked for William Morris’s daughter May, became a focal point for Sunday-night meetings with artistic and political London.

‘Morris himself was somewhere between patron and hero’ for W.B. Yeats say the William Morris Society.

Tomorrow’s in-person poetry evening is about dream themes, with special guest Marina Warner, writer of fiction, criticism and history, whose works include novels and short stories as well as studies of art, myths, symbols and fairytales.

Book for the online talk on the Yeatses, Morrises and Kelmscott house on the William Morris Society website: williammorrissociety.org.

Book for the poetry event, hosted by Cahal Dallat and Anne-Marie Fyfe, through the Bedford Park Festival webiste: ticketsource.co.uk

Images above: Hilary Benn MP; Susannah Simon

Interview with Hilary Benn

Susannah Simons interviews Rt Hon Hilary Benn on Thursday 15 June at St Michael & All Angels Church at 7.30pm. The MP, who represents Leeds Central in Parliament for Labour, has his London house in Bedford Park.

He served in the Cabinet from 2003 to 2010, under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He also served as Shadow Foreign Secretary from 2015 to 2016 and as Chairman of the Brexit Select Committee from 2016 to 2021.

Book for the interview with Hilary Benn through the Bedford Park Festival webiste: ticketsource.co.uk

Gareth Armstrong presents Alison Skilbeck’s Uncommon Ground

Images above: Alison Skilbeck; Gareth Armstrong

Fresh from the success of his new play The Critical Stage at the Tabard theatre, Chiswick playwright Gareth Armstrong presents Alison Skilbeck’s play Uncommon Ground in St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall on Friday 16 June at 7.30pm.

The play is about ‘six wildly different people, coping and connecting during one year on the Common, telling their unexpected tales of love, life, death and downright dottiness, while a seventh character lurks mysteriously’.

This is Uncommon Ground‘s preview for the Edinburgh Festival, where Gareth will be directing it at the Assembly Rooms in August.

Alison is the writer and performer of three critically acclaimed plays: Are There More of You?, The Power Behind The Crone and Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London. Her one-woman shows have received great acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival, in London, and on tour throughout the UK.

She is an actor, director, teacher and trainer, and has had a varied career in theatre, radio and television. As an actor her television appearances include Midsomer Murders, The Beiderbecke Affair, Miss Marple, and Sherlock Holmes.

Image above: Maximus the Mouse; Kim Ansell and Lisa Read, aka Inky Flamingo

Weekend events

On Saturday 17 June artist Mary West explores abstract painting at the Hyde Gallery on Chiswick High Rd at 10am. There is an audience with Maximus the Mouse for children in the Parish Hall at St Michael & All Angels Church at 1.30pm and wine tasting with David Kermore at Chiswick Cinema in the evening at 7pm.

Sunday 18 June is the Bedford Park Walk.

To book tickets for that and to find out about events the following week, including David Juritz’ Baroque Concert: Towards the Goldberg Variations on Wednesday 21 June and Milly Forrest’s concert: Marriage of Figaro on Saturday 24 June, see the Bedford Park Festival website.

bedfordparkfestival.org

‘Boris Johnson moving to Chiswick’ rumour resurfaces more strongly

Is he or isn’t he?

The gossip mill was working overtime at the weekend as to whether Boris Johnson, who stood down as an MP on Friday, had exchanged contacts on a house in Bedford Park. The Chiswick Calendar was told he had ‘”exchanged contracts” on a house in Priory Avenue being sold by Kinleigh, Folkard and Hayward.

The house in question is a detached six bedroom house with four reception rooms and two bathrooms, advertised at £3,950,000. It has a ‘Contracts exchanged’ label on it on their website and is currently being gutted and refitted by builders. There is a new-looking ‘Beware the dog’ sign on the back door. (Proof positive that the Johnson family is moving in if ever there were!)

The builders say they do not know who has bought the house. One neighbour told The Chiswick Calendar there was “no substance to the rumours”. Another told us Boris had been to see the house but their information was he had decided against buying it and had opted instead to buy in Henley (which he represented as MP from 2001 – 2008).

Colin Firth sells his house

One move we can confirm is that actor Colin Firth has sold his house nearby. Nick Clegg has bought it, but has not yet moved in.

Ruth Cadbury and Andy Slaughter head to Uxbridge to support Labour’s candidate in the by-election

Boris Johnson’s sudden departure on Friday, after the news the Privileges Committee were preparing to suspend him for deliberately misleading Parliament, means there will be a by-election in Uxbridge.

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, and Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, were both enjoying the sunshine at Green Days on Saturday when they got the call from Labour Pary HQ to hightail it round to Uxbridge to support Labour’s candidate there, Danny Beales asap.

Their candidate, who is 34, has been a councillor for nine years, five of them as a Cabinet member on Camden Council. He works in the health service, working to secure new investments and better access to care for people with long-term health conditions.

He grew up in South Ruislip and Ruislip Manor, raised by a single parent who was made homeless when Danny was 15.

“It was my first experience of homelessness, that drove me to join the Labour Party when I was a teenager.”

He has been out canvassing this weekend and says he expects to be out canvassing for votes every day until the byelection to replace Johnson takes place. Uxbridge is a key Labour target which Britain Predicts polling currently puts them on course to win.

Chiswick estate agent to swim English Channel for charity

Image above: Harry Middleton

Harry Middleton raising money for Make a Wish & homeless charity 

Chiswick resident and local estate agent Harry Middleton is swimming the English Channel for charity.

Harry, an endurance swimmer, is raising money for two causes: Make a Wish and the Fine & Country Foundation, which supports a range of charities. For the swim he will be in the water for more than ten hours straight, a feat he hopes to complete in the coming weeks.

Make A Wish is a charity that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses, bringing joy and hope to their lives.

The Fine and Country Foundation is the foundation set up by the estate agent Fine and Country, which donates money to a range of charities in the UK and overseas.

Writing on his donation page, Harry added:

“By supporting these two amazing charities through my swim, I hope to make a real difference in the lives of those who are in need. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live a fulfilling life, and by supporting these charities, we can help to make that a reality.”

Harry was raising money for the channel crossing at Bedford Park Festival on Saturday and Sunday (10 & 11 June), where he donned a swimming cap and was standing for hours topless in the 30 degree heat collecting donations. So far, Harry has racked up over £1400.

If you would like to donate, click here.

Just Stop Oil target Chiswick Roundabout in slow march protest

Image above: Just Stop Oil protestors marching through London; Photograph Met Police

Just Stop Oil begin eighth week of daily protests in London as 86 arrested

Just Stop Oil protesters again targeted Chiswick on Saturday 10 June. They slow-marched around Chiswick roundabout from 8am.

Just Stop Oil has entered its eighth week of daily action in London despite the ongoing crackdown on their protests by the Metropolitan Police. They are demanding the UK Government cease issuing licenses and consents for new oil, gas, and coal projects due to their contribution to the climate crisis.

Since the protests began, the Metropolitan Police have been cracking down on protests at sites across London. The Government’s new Public Order Act grants police increased powers to address groups like Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion, who often employ disruptive tactics to draw attention to the climate crisis and target key infrastructure.

In a lot of cases, police have imposed conditions from Section 12 of the Public Order Act, which has encouraged protesters to exit the highway within minutes. From the 156 slow marches that have taken place, 125 Section 12 of the Public Order Act conditions have been imposed. In some cases there has been cause to arrest those not complying.

Further figures show that of the 86 arrests made within this operation (mostly for breaching Section 12 conditions) 49 charges have been made. Eighty-six Just Stop Oil protestors have been arrested as of Thursday (8 June) according to the Met.

In some cases, protestors not complying to the Section 12 have been arrested.

Image above: Tweet by Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil undeterred by crackdown on protests as climate crisis escalates

Just Stop Oil remain undeterred by the police crackdown on their protests and say they will not stand by as the climate crisis escalates.

On Monday (12 June) at around 8.00am, 65 Just stop Oil supporters in four groups began marching on roads around Lambeth, Victoria and Earls Court. Public Order Act (Section 12) notices were placed on all the marches by 8.46am, including one march which was halted by police after only five minutes.

Activists has been marching at least six days a week since the 24 April.

Since then, the World Meteorological Organisation said there is a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027 – which would be catastrophic for life on earth.

UK fire chiefs have also announced that they plan to set up new Mediterranean-style specialist units to deal with the increased risk of fires, after more than 90 buildings were destroyed by wildfires close to urban areas last July – including in London. Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley, wildfire lead for the National Fire Chiefs Council said the risk and threat of such major wildfires was “clearly growing in the UK”.

Image above: Metropolitan Police officers

Police complain protests have shifted their duties away from local policing

Latest figures released by the Metropolitan Police on Thursday show that officers have been moved from dealing with local policing priorities for the equivalent of almost 13,770 shifts.

So far, the Met say this operation has also cost more than £4.5m.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, said:

“In deploying the new tactics of moving slowly in front of traffic along highways, Just Stop Oil’s intent has been clear on disrupting road users.

“This has caused significant impact to the public and officers have been responding as swiftly as possible once aware of the incidents.”

DAC Adelekan continued:

“We know that this action has been very frustrating for the public who just want to carry on with their day-to-day business.

“We would urge the public not to intervene or take matters into their own hands, but to call the police, let us know where the incident is and we will get to the scene quickly.

“It may look like we are not responding quickly enough, however policing protests is complex and there are steps officers must take to make sure our response is lawful and appropriate.

“You can see from both the arrest and charge figures that we are taking this operation very seriously, and once a protest is deemed to have caused serious disruption or may do so, we are taking swift action to stop it.”

Chiswick Cheese Market Sunday 18 June

Image above: Beufort alpage cheese 2022

Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin

I am writing this from the French Alps – Courchevel to be precise – a bit of a work trip but time for some fabulous mountain hiking  – so ‘Bonjour de les Alpes Francaises’…

Remember our affinage tasting a few markets ago at Chiswick Cheese Market? – if you enjoyed learning about it, what about joining us at the Affineur of the year competition final? We are the proud sponsor of the ard cheese category in the National competition to find the best ‘Affineur’.

One year ago, Quicke’s Cheddar delivered a 2 week old cheddar from their dairy to all the competitors – some are other well-known cheddar producers, some small cheesemakers and some are mongers. In that year they can have done anything they like to the cheese – washed the rind, soaked it in wine or stored it with different cheeses to allow other bacteria to influence the cheddar – there are no rules.

But on 14 June the competitors come together in London and unveil their cheese for the first time allowing the very prestigious list of judges to make their decisions and crown the winner. It is a great night for any cheese lover and a chance to rub shoulders with cheesemakers, mongers, affineurs and some pretty big fish in the world of CHEESE. There is tasting and sampling too! We will be there to keep an eye on it as sponsor but we simply love the whole atmosphere – I will update on our website but if you fancy coming along it a great evening for any cheese lover –

Tickets are available here: academyofcheese.org

Don’t forget it Father’s Day on Sunday and what better way to treat Dad than bring him along to Cheesewick to choose some special cheese. I was wondering the other day if there are cheeses more popular with men than women so we did a little straw poll amongst the cheese market crew and it seems that harder cheeses are more popular with our menfolk – I think I’ll have to investigate further to say for sure but here are the favourites of 4 of our husbands.

Smoked Red Leicester from Wood and Leg smokery is favoured by Simon – we all love the quirky and very interesting selection on this stall and the Red Leicester is a truly interesting cheese. It has a soft buttery texture, not spreadable of course, but not crumbly and the smoke is delicate so the flavour of the cheese is not lost – well worth a sample to make up your own mind.

Image above: Outside Cafe Affinage in France

Pitchfork Cheddar – well this has to be a Dad’s classic! Made by Trethowan Brothers this is top of the list for Chris. It is fair to say that Chris is not an adventurous cheese eater but knows his cheddars and he loves this beautifully balanced cheddar, moist texture, full flavours and some say a slight hint of tropical fruit – bring it on! Roi will be selling this and Gorwydd Caerphilly as usual.

Pevensey Blue is top dog for Ian. He is a blue cheese lover but he adores the earthy back notes of this cheese and just loves the creamy texture. It is strong enough to be a real winner at the end of a meal but soft enough not to frighten the faint hearted. Pevensey is the baby of Hazel and Martin Tkalez. They won supreme champion cheese at the Artisan Cheese awards in 2022. For a Dad who loves a blue this has to be a good bet for this Sunday!  Fay at Big Wheel Cheese will have this one on her stall.

Phil bucked the trend for hard cheeses going for Truffle Baron Bigod. He says that you just can’t beat Baron Bigod and to then add truffles to it – one of his favourite foods –  is sublime. Baron Bigod is made by Fen Farm Dairy in Suffolk using unpasteurised milk – a Brie de Meaux style cheese and a truly fabulous one at that! So if you have not tried it with Truffle then perhaps treat dad and ask for a sliver of his… If he’ll let you have some!

Image above: A seleciton of cheeses at Chiswick Cheese Market

These are only 4 and they are the choices of a few of our men but come to the market with Dad and let him taste his way along the stalls and why not let him choose his own pressie? That way you just can’t get it wrong! And then of course you need to find something for him to enjoy it with…

Vinagogo has joined our market and what a wonderful selection of wines he brought for us to try last month – we absolutely loved some of the Greek wines especially. Kevin says he has some very special offers for Sunday so pop along with Dad and make the most of those offers – let me tell you – when Kevin says he has a special offer he means it, so don’t miss out!

We hope to see you at the Affineur event – please come and say Hi – you will see us with our banner at the event, but if not see you at the next market on Sunday 18 June.

Just a quick note from the mountains… whilst out hiking yesterday I met a local cheesemaker  – he is one of the twenty or so  Beaufort Alpage farmers – this is small production Beaufort and the cows have to graze above 1500m so only made in the summer months and the cows have just moved up from the valley.

He is busy milking and making cheese up on the slopes but his ‘cave’ or affinage is lower down the valley and I popped in to see him today and was lucky enough to be allowed in the affinage room – rows of 1 year old Beaufort Alpage 2022 (drool) and some fabulous Tommes (about 3 months old) and an interesting blue I have yet to try.

There were some very young Beaufort only a few days old were just starting their maturation looking ghostly white compared to their 1 year old siblings. What an utter unexpected treat it was to chat to him and see first-hand his cheeses being lovingly matured to perfection.

So ‘au revoir’ from France and ‘A bientôt a Cheeswick’

June 2023 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Dan Coombes has a look at what’s on offer and chooses Translation State, The Trial and The Wind Knows my Name.

Translation State – Ann Leckie

The first science fiction novel in six years from a writer who won the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA and Arthur C. Clarke awards with their debut alone, Translation State is a grand-scale space opera set in an intricate far future that explores some of humanity’s most pressing themes and issues as only the best sf can.

Qven always had a clear path before them: learn human ways, make a match and serve as an intermediary between the dangerous alien Presger and the human worlds. The realization that they might want something else is the type of behaviour that results in elimination.

But Qven rebels, and in doing so their path collides with those of two others – Enae, a reluctant diplomat hunting down a fugitive who has been missing for over 200 years and Reet, an adopted mechanic who is increasingly desperate to learn about his genetic roots. As they come together and the long-standing treaty between humans and the Presger hangs in the balance, the decisions of all three will have ripple effects across the stars.

Masterfully merging space adventure and mystery, and a poignant exploration about relationships and belonging, Translation State is a triumphant story set in Leckie’s celebrated Imperial Radch universe.

Image above: Translation State, Author Anne Leckie

The Trial – Rob Rinder

Aside from being a jet-setting international celebrity and television personality, Rob Rinder is also a practicing criminal barrister, so you’d think that having decided to add another string to his bow, writing a gripping, funny and ridiculously entertaining legal thriller would be something he’d be pretty good at – and you’d be right.

WHO IS GUILTY?

When hero policeman Grant Cliveden dies from a poisoning in the Old Bailey, it threatens to shake the country to its core. The evidence points to one man. Jimmy Knight has been convicted of multiple offences before and defending him will be no easy task.

Not least because this is trainee barrister Adam Green’s first case. But it will quickly become clear that Jimmy Knight is not the only person in Cliveden’s past with an axe to grind. The only thing that’s certain is that this is a trial which will push Adam – and the justice system itself – to the limit.

Image above: The Trial front cover, author Rob Rinder

The Wind Knows My Name – Isabel Allende

A moving and powerful new novel from the author of House Of The Spirits, one of the most critically acclaimed books of all time, whose career has spanned four decades and essentially makes her a living literary legend.

No, we’re not lost. The wind knows my name. And yours too.

Vienna, 1938. Samuel Adler is five years old when his father disappears during Kristallnacht – the night their family loses everything. As her child’s safety seems ever harder to guarantee, Samuel’s mother secures a spot for him on the last Kindertransport train out of Nazi-occupied Austria to England. He boards alone, carrying nothing but a change of clothes and his violin.

Eight decades later, Anita Diaz and her mother board another train, fleeing looming danger in El Salvador and seeking refuge in the United States. But their arrival coincides with the new family separation policy, and seven-year-old Anita finds herself alone at a camp in Nogales. She escapes her tenuous reality through her trips to Azabahar, a magical world of the imagination. Meanwhile, Selena Duran, a young social worker, enlists the help of a successful lawyer in hopes of tracking down Anita’s mother.

Intertwining past and present, The Wind Knows My Name tells the tale of these two unforgettable characters, both in search of family and home. It is both a testament to the sacrifices that parents make, and a love letter to the children who survive the most unfathomable dangers – and never stop dreaming.

Image above: The Wind Knows My Name front cover, author Isabel Allende

Dan Coombes

Dan Coombes is a bookseller at Bookcase, an independent bookshop open in Chiswick since 1993. A specialist in science fiction, Dan has been a bookseller for 15 years.

Bookcase is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme – see their current discounts for Chiswick Calendar readers here: Bookcase Club Card offer.

See all The Chiswick Calendar’s previous monthly book reviews here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Winning photographs in the 2023 Bedford Park Festival Photography competition

See also: Shakespeare in Love Q&A with director John Madden at Chiswick Cinema

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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