Brentford 2, Newcastle 4

Ready or not…the 38th and final match of the season 

Third season: One more time!

Last game of the season and come half-time the GTech Stadium was bathed in misery. Trailing 0-3 to a Magpies side still in with a slim chance of booking a European berth for next term, the Bees must have been thankful the relegation nightmare was over. Only Nottingham Forest had separated them from the relegated trio in the drop zone.

But then, as so often happens – to Brentford, anyhow – that same team emerged after the break as if they had been issued with a magic wand. The goals deficit looked more like a challenge than a prison sentence; the visiting players regular human beings rather than superstars from the planet Invincible.

And so it was until thirteen minutes or so of normal time, when Newcastle managed to snatch a fourth goal that stretched their lead beyond reach.

Mbeumo jousts with Newcastle’s Joe Linton

Make no mistake – the visitors deserved to take home the spoils. But the display of derring-do produced by a crowd most famous as a bus stop in Hounslow was acknowledged by those who applauded gratefully and stayed to do so again when the squad took to the pitch for a lap of honour.

That’s probably enough hyperbole for one season, so exactly what happened that sunny day in May?

The Bees did well early on, with Ivan Toney meeting a Bryan Mbeumo cross to put them ahead, although the celebration petered out when VAR ruled Mathias Jensen had been offside.

Toney also demanded attention with an overhead kick that was spectacular but inaccurate and Mbeumo broke clear and chased the ball with two defenders before he ran out of road and goalkeeper Nick Pope – back after a long injury break – snuffed out the danger.

In the meantime, Newcastle were looking uncomfortably slick up front and after 21 minutes Bruno Guimarães’ fine cross was headed home by Harvey Barnes to put the visitors ahead. Worse was to follow for Brentford, with Jacob Murphy scoring after 36 minutes and Alexander Isak two minutes later, two goals which may well have been those Thomas Frank would later describe as due to ‘defensive lapses’.

Player of the year Janelt’s goal gets his number in lights

And so to the Bees’ renaissance. Toney, Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa started to talk the same language in foraging for chinks in the visitors’ defence and it was Wissa who after three minutes of the second period fed Vitaly Janelt, the supporters’ Player of the Year, to score his first goal since February 2023. How cool was that?

Then, after 70 minutes, Toney headed the ball into Wissa’s path for him to leave the defence floundering before unleashing a shot that curled just enough to beat Pope at his far post.

Sadly, there is no fairytale ending to this story. Referee Simon Hooper pointed to the penalty spot when Mbeumo was judged to have unfairly brought down substitute Lewis Hall, only for VAR to decide the offence had taken place outside the box. That was the good news; the bad was Marek Flekken’s parry of the free-kick was seized upon by Guimarães to despatch gratefully the rebound.

Thomas Frank spoke warmly of his players in a brief speech to the remaining crowd, including five who will not be retained (Neal Maupay, who had run his heart out in the few games where he was called upon, had developed into a sort of talisman. The team’s supporters, being what they are, bade him a warm farewell).

Nice and kneesy, Jensen snaffles the ball; See you in August: Thomas Frank rounded up the season with thanks to team and fans

And what of Ivan Toney? England team manager Gareth Southgate was there to witness what was, we are assured, Toney’s last hurrah in a Brentford shirt.

Will we miss him, I asked my mate, Charlie?

‘Not for long’, said Charlie. ‘That’s football!’

Brentford: Flekken; Roerslev (substitute Ghoddos 63m), Pinnock, Reguilon (sub Maupay 74), Zanka; Nørgaard, Janelt (sub Schade 74), Jensen (sub Damsgaard 64); Toney, Mbeumo, Wissa (sub Yarmoliuk 84).

Newcastle: Pope; Krafth, Hall, Guimarães, Schãr (sub Dummett 92); Burn, Longstaff; Joelinton (sub Trippier 81); Isak (sub Wilson 81), Murphy (sub Almirón 68), Barnes (sub Anderson 68).

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor to the Beels United website. Photographs by Liz Vercoe.

READ ALSO: Former Fleet Street editor, Chiswick resident Bill Hagerty, is named Journalist Laureate 2023

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A Labour government would stop Rwanda deportations from day one, says Keir Starmer 

Image: West London Welcome does everything it can to make asylum seekers and refugees feel welcome

Labour committed to scrapping the Rwanda policy “absolutely, flights and all”

Keir Starmer made the Labour party’s position on deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda clear this week:

“There will be no flights scheduled or taking off after the general election if Labour wins that general election,” he told Sky News after making a speech about immigration in Deal in Kent.

Andy Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith, has repeatedly raised the dreadful conditions of asylum seekers in his constituency (which will become Hammersmith & Chiswick at the next election), most recently in a debate in Parliament this week.

He has written a guest blog for us about his experiences meeting asylum seekers at West London Welcome, and says while the government’s Rwanda policy appears to be having no effect on the numbers crossing the Channel, it is certainly causing fear and anxiety amongst those already here.

Guest blog by Andy Slaughter MP

Last month I raised the living conditions of my constituent Trhas Teklehaimanot Tesfay with the Home Secretary in a House of Commons debate on migration. Trhas is one of hundreds of asylum seekers living in hotels and hostels in west London, there are thousands around the country. Net Migration – Hansard – UK Parliament

Nothing unusual about that. My office deals with many similar cases every day. But what made Trhas’ case different is that she is an elite international cyclist who rode for her country before war made her an asylum seeker and who is due to lead Ride London later this month. The Guardian and BBC featured her circumstances.

I met Trhas on a visit to West London Welcome, a charity that helps refugees and asylum seekers with everything from legal advice and English classes to providing nutritious meals.

For many it is a lifeline and the only way of staying physically and mentally fit and well while being processed through the asylum system.

At West London Welcome I had a chance to talk to many asylum seekers. their stories of the abuse and violence that made them flee their homes are all different and all horrifying. Their stories about their treatment by the immigration services in the UK are depressingly familiar.

Firstly, there is the time it takes to process cases, often years instead of months, costing the taxpayer money and leaving the applicants in limbo.

A quicker decision on status would mean those unsuccessful were returned while those granted leave to remain could start contributing to both the economy and society here. I met people with legal and medical qualifications who simply want to get on with their lives and practise their professions.

Secondly, there are the conditions they live in. Small rooms are shared with strangers and many have communal bathrooms – even for nursing mothers, families and those with disabilities.

Served only microwaved food that is lacking nutrition and sometimes rotting and past its sell by date and usually have no option to cook for themselves, given just 8.86 a week and prevented from working, life for those in the asylum system are bleak. Imagine living like this for months, and very often years, on end.

Asylum seekers have become political pawns: from the small boats to the cost of accommodation to the time spent waiting for their cases to be determined.  None of this needs to happen and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the government likes having the issue at the top of the political agenda.

Where this has led us is the Rwanda Bill. A hugely expensive and almost certainly pointless exercise in trying to show something is being done even if that is just scaring those who are here awaiting a decision on their future.

For while the threat of deportation to Rwanda appears to be having no effect on the numbers crossing the Channel, it is certainly scaring those already here – as I heard from those I met.

Where the Home Office doesn’t have authority to forcibly deport an asylum seeker to Rwanda the Government has been offering money to bribe them to go. I raised one such case recently.

I met a young man with severe disabilities who had been telephoned and offered £3,000 to get on a plane to Kigali which caused him severe fear and anxiety and undid a lot of the confidence he had gained since joining the community services at West London Welcome.

In the UK he has established community and medical support, without which his future would be bleak, and he is very unlikely to find the support he needs.

There are many issues to resolve with our failed immigration services, but blaming, terrorising and deporting without cause those who have sought refuge here is not the solution.

Andy Slaughter

MP for Hammersmith
Labour candidate for Hammersmith & Chiswick.

Find out more about the work of West London Welcome or make a donation here: West London Welcome

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Spoons Galore

Image: Spoons Galore by Claire Ireland

Playing the spoons

Guest blog by Robert Eagle

William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) was a rather nervous clergyman from Oxford University who had a funny kind of stammer. He would unwittingly transpose the beginnings of words and end up saying something very different from what he intended to say.

At a wedding, for instance, he is reputed to have asked: Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride? He is alleged to have congratulated a fellow cyclist for having a well boiled icicle. And at a posh event at his college attended by Queen Victoria he is said to have surprised his colleagues by proposing a loyal toast to our queer old dean.

Actually poor Spooner almost certainly never uttered these words himself, but the apocryphal stories have stuck and spoonerism is now a popular verbal sport among shining wits like us folks in the media.

So it was with a trisson of frepidation that I greeted the Editor’s invitation to report on an event at Boston Manor titled “Swanky Spoons”. Could this really mean what the ghost of Dr Spooner was telling me?  Surely not?!?!  But if so, what should I wear? Should I take a partner? And was it going to hurt?

But when I went to do a recce, the nice people at Boston Manor assured me there was nothing to be afraid of, that the only special clothing likely to be necessary would be a smock or an old pair of jeans. And it would be totally suitable for children.

For Swanky Spoons is a have-fun-and-get-your-hands-dirty family event, on Sunday 2 June, that is really about what the title says: making posh, impressive, bizarre, eccentric and just plain crazy spoons.

Boston Manor is currently dedicated to spoonery of all sorts. The person largely to blame for this is resourceful local ceramicist Claire Ireland who has a studio at the Museum of Water and Steam in Brentford.

Back in 2020 she thought it would be fun to get friends and neighbours interested in pottery by making spoons, which were one of the earliest practical sculptural objects to be created by human hand.

During the lockdown this project blossomed into the Brentford Spoon Project; after starting off making spoons from clay, it developed into a multi-media enterprise with spoons being created by over 120 participants from all over the world out of just about every material you can imagine a spoon being made of.

And while some of the spoons still look as if they might still just about serve a practical use as actual spoons, many have moved deeply into art object territory or seem to be designed for some arcane magical purpose.

Since the end of March more than 500 spoons have been on display in the Brentford Spoon Project exhibition at Boston Manor, which is free to visit, as is the whole of this elegant historic house. It continues until September 8th.

Swanky Spoons is just one of a series hands-on events and talks organised by Claire Ireland and her colleagues during this period.

What you can be sure about with spoons is that they are bound to be stirring stuff. And I defy Dr Spooner to mess with that!

Robert Eagle is an art dealer who lives and works in Chiswick.

roberteaglefineart.co.uk

Book tickets for the Spoons Galore workshop on Sunday 2 June here: Brentford Spoon Project family craft

See detailes of Claire’s talks on Sunday 9 June and Sunday 14 July here: Artist talks at Boston Manor

Brentford Spoons Project Instagram: brentfordspoonproject

Claire Ireland, ceramicist: claireirelandceramics.com

Boston Manor house: bostonmanorhouse.org

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How to boost property value through interior design

Tips from Sarah Fox

Adding value to your house isn’t always the top priority when considering changes to the interior but it remains good to know what elements are likely to have the greatest impact.

Horton and Garton recently caught up with local interior designer Sarah Fox, from Fox Interiors, to find out what homeowners can do to boost value and appeal to potential home buyers and appeal to tenants.

We all know what a difference it makes being in a space that has been thoughtfully curated and designed. Having sold and let hundreds of properties over the years, Horton and Garton can confirm that homes that both function well and look beautiful often secure a top sales price and usually within a short amount of time.

Sarah Fox’s approach to interior design is to focus on creating a cohesive, functional, and aesthetically pleasing environment that appeals more widely to potential home buyers. Sarah says:

“It’s more than simply the style of the interior decor; it’s about creating an aspirational lifestyle. By investing in key areas of your property and paying attention to detail, you can maximise its value and marketability.”

These are Sarah Fox’s pointers that might make all the difference to the value of your home and its saleability or the price it can command on the rental market.

Neutral Colour Scheme

Opting for a neutral colour palette for walls and major furniture pieces like whites, greys, and beiges creates a versatile backdrop that appeals to a wide range of tastes and creates a light and timeless feel.

Upgrades to Frequently Used Rooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are key selling points for any property so upgrading these areas with modern appliances, fixtures, and finishes will increase the property’s desirability, plus, with wellness a number one priority for many, what better way to enhance relaxation than with a touch of luxury in the bathroom.

Built in Storage

Sarah recommends incorporating built-in storage solutions such as closets, cabinets, and shelving to help keep the space ordered and clutter-free. Furthermore, fitted joinery adds value to your property and is especially effective in bedrooms for an organised interior.

Quality Materials, Fixtures and Fittings

Just looking good isn’t going to cut it. Investing in high-quality materials and finishes for fixtures, countertops, flooring, and cabinetry and including materials such as hardwood floors, granite or quartz countertops, and stainless-steel appliances can elevate the perceived value of your property.

Natural Lighting

Natural light can make spaces feel larger, brighter, and more inviting. Sarah suggests installing larger windows where there is the option as a part of any renovations. Changes with a lower price tag and that are more straight forwards are using sheer curtains and strategically placing mirrors to reflect light throughout the space.

Open Plan

If feasible, consider opening up interior spaces to create an airier layout. This can involve removing non-load-bearing walls or partitions to improve flow and functionality, for example combining the kitchen, dining, and living area creates a comfortable living and entertaining space that is highly desirable to homebuyers.

Energy Efficiency

Integrate energy-efficient features such as LED lighting, smart thermostats, and energy-efficient appliances.

Not only do these features appeal to environmentally conscious buyers, but they can also lead to long-term cost savings on utility bills. Incorporating smart home technology can add convenience and appeal to your property.

Final stages of preparing for sale

It’s not always the case that the most recently renovated or redesigned homes command the top prices, without being well presented, all previous efforts can fall flat.

Premium homes will often engage the services of a professional property consultant who will stage their home. Dressing the property can help potential buyers and potential tenants visualise themselves living in the space which can lead to quicker sales and higher offers.

To discuss your plans to move home, please do get in touch without obligation.

Horton & Garton are at 161 Chiswick High Rd., Chiswick, London W4 2DT.

hortonandgarton.co.uk

Horton & Garton sponsors The Chiswick Calendar.

Police appeal for information after Chiswick woman goes missing

Image: 22-year-old Stephanie has gone missing from Chiswick

Stephanie frequents Watford and Hemel Hempstead

Police are appealing for information from the public to find a woman who has gone missing from Chiswick. Stephanie, who is 22-years old, is known to frequent Watford and Hemel Hampstead.

If you have any information  you can call 101 and quote reference 01/362162/24.

Missing People is a charity that offers a lifeline to the 180,000 people who run away and go missing each year in the UK. They listen in confidence, and support missing people and their families to explore their options and, where possible, to reconnect.

Missing People has launched 116 000 – the number to call or text for support if you or someone you love goes missing.

Ealing Liberal Democrats create new Shadow Cabinet role for “Council Honesty”

Image: Ealing’s Liberal Democrat Councillors

New position will focus on uncovering instances of Ealing Council’s “dishonesty”

Ealing’s Liberal Democrats have created a new Shadow Cabinet role for “Council Honesty” amid allegations the Labour-run Ealing Council has been consistently dishonest or has not been entirely transparent while governing.

Since becoming the official Opposition in May 2022, the Lib Dems say they have been highlighting a number of issues with the Council including £3m spent on Ealing Town Hall to turn it into a hotel and losing £65,000 of IT equipment.

More recently, the Lib Dems accused the Council of lying to the public by claiming that all Council workers and contractors are paid the London Living Wage. They said only a third of Ealing’s schools have committed to paying their staff the London Living Wage for support staff.

Ealing Council denied this. Critics accused the Lib Dems of deliberately misrepresenting the situation. An Ealing Council spokesperson said:

“Ealing Council has been a Living Wage employer since 2013. There is no need for schools to accredit individually as they are covered by the Council’s accreditation.

“Schools in the London Borough of Ealing that are academies and are managed independently of the Council will not be automatically accredited Living Wage employers.

“We actively encourage these schools to become Living Wage employers but cannot force this issue. It is very probable that the school advertising a role below Living Wage was an academy.

“As agreed in the meeting with trade unions last year, we will be writing to all governing bodies in our maintained schools, to remind them that they should be paying no less than the London Living Wage as per our Pay Policy Statement 2024-25 agreed by Full Council in March 2024.”

The Opposition say the new Shadow Cabinet role for “Council Honesty” has been created to uncover more examples of what they describe as Ealing Council’s “dishonesty”. The new responsibilities will be taken on by Cllr Gary Busuttil, as part of his position managing finance for the Lib Dems. His new title is Opposition Spokesperson for Finance and Council Honesty.

Cllr Busuttil said:

“The Liberal Democrats are on a mission to provide accountability to the Labour Party in Ealing. It’s been a really big two years for the Liberal Democrat opposition group, and we are looking to expose even more failings from the council.”

The Chiswick Calendar has approached Ealing Council for further comment.

Ealing Council spends £500,000 fighting planning appeals

Image: Ealing Council

Council spent over half a million pounds of taxpayer’s money from 2018 to 2023

Ealing Council has spent over £500,000 in legal costs fighting rejected planning applications that were eventually approved on appeal, a new Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The Labour-run council spent £506,248 of taxpayers’ money, during the period 2018 to December 2023, to challenge planning decisions of which £142,467.65 was total legal costs and £363,780.36 were costs awarded to the appellant.

Of 17 London councils who replied to the FOI request, Ealing spent the most on rejected applications which were then approved on appeal, according to the research by PR and Marketing company Coverdale Barclay. By comparison, Hounslow Council spent only £18,480.

Ros Barclay, Director at Coverdale Barclay, said:

“Under-staffed planning departments mean decisions are taking far too long to progress and, in some cases, culminating in decisions that incur an extra cost to the public purse.

“These figures demonstrate the importance of effective political and public consultation at every stage of the planning application process, ensuring decisions about plans for much-needed new homes are made efficiently and, ultimately, correctly.”

An Ealing Council spokesperson said:

“Two key priorities for Ealing Council are ensuring there are good, well-paid jobs in all our seven towns so that all residents can benefit from the borough’s economic prosperity, and tackling the housing crisis by delivering more genuinely affordable homes to let. In other words, we are pro-growth and pro-new affordable homes.

“But we reserve the right to fight on behalf of residents to ensure only the right sort of development takes place here. On occasion, this means fighting against appeals on rejected planning decisions.

“One case in particular skewed our figures as it absorbed significant costs, including paying for external witnesses and legal counsel. In that case, we had to pay legal costs both for ourselves and the appellant.”

Image: List of councils who responded to the freedom of information request

Cllr Katherine Dunne dropped as Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council

Image: Cllr Katherine Dunne and Cllr Shantanu Rajawat in March 2024

“Brutal, humiliating” dismissal comes out of the blue

Cllr Katherine Dunne, the Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment & Transport, has been dropped as Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council.

Cllr Dunne, who represents the Syon & Brentford ward, said she was “naturally disappointed” when the news broke of the sudden change on Saturday (18 May).

“Thank you to everyone who has sent supportive messages. I’m naturally disappointed but looking forward to concentrating on my Cabinet portfolio over the next year” she posted on X.

Council Leader Shantanu Rajawat announced his decision at Friday evening’s meeting of the Hounslow Labour Group of Councillors. During the meeting, Cllr Rajawat also appointed Cllr Dunne’s successor: Cllr Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, who the Labour Leader has known all his life, as they were at school together.

According to Labour sources who attended the meeting, Cllr Dunne asked Cllr Rajawat not to announce the move at the meeting, as he was announcing it to other Labour colleagues. According to reports, he ignored her and carried on, which caused Cllr Dunne to be visibly upset and was “brutal” and “humiliating”.

Cllr Guy Lambert, Cabinet Member for Highways, Recycling and Health Integration, also announced his resignation during the meeting. He will be replaced by Cllr Raghwinder Siddhu, who represents Bedfont ward.

Hounslow Council holds its Annual Meeting on 28 May, where the changes will be confirmed. The new Mayor of Hounslow, expected to be Cllr Karen Smith, who works at ArtsEd in Chiswick, will also be nominated.

Image: Cllr Katherine Dunne introducing Lime Bikes to Hounslow

Reason for Cllr Dunne’s dismissal unclear

As a Cabinet Member and Deputy Leader, Cllr Dunne has championed active travel, including Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes which have reduced traffic and air pollution in parts of Chiswick. Because of this, she has become a target of significant vitriol online from opponents locally.

No official reason has yet been provided for her sacking, but the leadership has been under pressure recently over the active travel policies, with some heated discussions in Cabinet reportedly.

There is some speculation over whether her support Cycleway 9 and the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood Scheme have led to the decision to sack her, but Cllr Dunne still retains Transport Strategy (including Active and Sustainable Travel), in her Cabinet portfolio, along with Aviation Policy, Climate Emergency, Net Zero Neighbourhoods, and Environment Strategy and Policy (including air quality).

During last Friday’s meeting, sources said Cllr Dunne questioned the optics of replacing her as Deputy Leader with another man and asked whether this called into question Cllr Rajawat’s commitment to gender representation on his leadership team. Unhappy with his response, Cllr Dunne pressed the Leader of the Council to answer her question in an exchange described as “heated”.

Responding to the news of her sacking on X, safe cycling campaigner Ruth Mayorcas said:

“I’m so sorry to hear this – really a loss – you are such an inspirational person who held the role with dignity, care and so honourably. The upside is you can really focus even more on your very necessary portfolio of #Environment #Climate #Transport”

Responding to a supporter on X who described her as “an asset to the borough”, Cllr Dunne said she hoped to remain so in the future.

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Chiswick Boathouse plans scrapped

Image: The site of the old boathouse as viewed from the Dukes Meadows Footbridge

Council says still “significant potential” in developing site

Hounslow Council has officially abandoned plans to rebuild the Chiswick Boathouse in Dukes Meadows due to insufficient funding. Instead, the Council is now redirecting efforts to a £50,000 feasibility study to explore commercial opportunities. They say they will still prioritise restoring sporting activities on the site.

The previous boathouse on Dan Mason Drive, vacated by the Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club (TTRC) at the end of 2021 and demolished in 2022, was meant to be replaced by upgraded facilities, including a café and four boat bays.

The TTRC settled a legal dispute over their lease with the Council and was collaborating on the new clubhouse plan. In the interim, the club has been operating from the University of London’s Boathouse on Hartington Road.

A recent report from Hounslow Council disclosed a budget allocation of £260,000 from the borough’s feasibility fund for a new appraisal of the boathouse project, alongside improvements to the access road and a refresh of the Dukes Meadows Masterplan.

Last year’s budget included £4,038,000 for developing the boathouse, intended for expenditure in the current financial year. Despite this, no construction has begun, and Hounslow Council has now decided against spending the money in this way.

The Council report did not specify the reasons for halting the project, though rising construction costs and cost overruns on the Dukes Meadows Footbridge are believed to have impacted its viability.

Updating the Dukes Meadows Programme,  £750,000 is now proposed for highway works and £400,000 for parks works, funded from the unallocated capital fund and the Thriving Communities Fund.

Revenue projections for the boathouse, particularly from the café lease budgeted at £100,000 per annum, may have been overly optimistic given seasonal footfall fluctuations.

The Council has considered and rejected the option of leaving the site empty, stating:

“This is a key riverside site which has significant potential for sport and community use.”

Images: Illustration of the new boathouse plans which are now scrapped, Illustration of cafe included in the plans; Hounslow Council

Thames Tradesmen Rowing Club chairman would be “devastated” if new boathouse is not built

The original vision for the new boathouse included introducing rowing across the borough’s schools in collaboration with London Youth Rowing and British Rowing, aiming to provide every state secondary school pupil with the opportunity to experience rowing.

Alan Meegan, British Rowing Facilities Manager, said discussions are ongoing with Council and said that he would be very surprised if the site would be considered for another use. He said:

“We will of course be feeding into any feasibility studies and are confident that any proposals we submit will be given full consideration.”

Nigel Brophy, the Chairman of TTRC, said he would be “devastated” if the new boathouse was not built. The Thame Tradesmen Rowing Club is committed to broadening participation in the sport and its volunteer-run Learn to Row courses have significantly increased the number of people taking to the river.

However, being the tenant of a single boathouse bay raises cost and capacity issues for the club. Having previously benefitted from a relatively inexpensive lease in the old Chiswick Boathouse, it has now seen a huge increase in rents.

When the proposal to redevelop the boathouse was originally put forward, concerns were expressed that the site might be given over to a private members’ club with the means to pay an annual rent which would give the Council a return on its investment. The Council say they remain adamant that the priority is to provide a facility that can be used by the wider community.

Cllr Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, said:

The boathouse site remains a priority for the Council and continues to provide an excellent opportunity to deliver a new riverside facility to meet the needs of the local community and provide access to water-based activities on the River Thames.

“We are currently working to appoint a consultant to explore a range of potential options and solutions for the future use of the site and expect an appraisal of these options by the end of June. This will be used to help decide on the future use of the site and the budget identified for this project.”

Hounslow’s adult social care services rated ‘Good’ by regulator

Image: A social care worker and a nursing home resident; library photo

Care Quality Commission praise Hounslow services following inspection

Adult social care services in LB Hounslow have been rated ‘Good’ by the health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In the report published after a recent inspection, the CQC highlighted areas of good practice and those which required further development, for which the Council was recognised as having a robust and effective improvement plan in place working towards improvement in those areas.

‘Could do better’ in some areas

The areas which required further improvement were in assessing people’s needs and supporting people to live healthier lives.

The report concluded that while the Council showed good practice in assessing need, some people waited longer for completion of a full assessment. In March 2023, 291 people had waited over 28 days for an assessment, including 99 people waiting for a Care Act Assessment, and 105 people waiting for an OT (Occupational Therapy) Assessment.

Hounslow acknowledged performance in relation to reviews of peoples’ long-term or short-term care were lower than the national and regional average and also recognised they do not serve unpaid carers as well as they should, and they have developed an ‘Improvement Plan’ to address this.

One carer told the CQC the Short Breaks respite service was insufficient, and not flexible enough. For example, if the staff member was off sick there was no replacement, and the respite would be cancelled.

One partner organisation told them of insufficient daytime provision for people living with dementia and said that it was a real concern for carers.

Assessment of service based on feedback and surveys of people receiving care and support

The report marks the regulator’s first published assessments of Local Authority Adult Social Care Services performance since 2010, when the previous rating system was scrapped by the coalition government.

The ratings were underpinned by scores of one (indicating significant shortfalls in performance) to four (an exceptional standard) across the following nine areas designed to capture how well the Council was performing their Care Act 2014 responsibilities:-

  • assessing needs
  • supporting people to live healthier lives
  • equity in experience and outcomes
  • care provision, integration and continuity
  • partnerships and communities
  • safe systems, pathways and transitions
  • safeguarding
  • governance, management and sustainability
  • learning improvement and innovation.

The CQC’s judgments were based on, amongst other sources, feedback and surveys of people receiving care and support, feedback from carers and staff, the views of providers and relevant community groups plus an analysis of performance data and studies of a sample of cases.

Image: Cllr Samia Chaudhary

Council “delighted” at rating 

Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Transformation, said:

“I am delighted that the CQC assessment has highlighted the good support we offer to our most vulnerable residents. This acknowledgement underscores the unwavering dedication and tireless commitment demonstrated by our staff and partners on a daily basis as they strive to provide crucial support to some of our most vulnerable.

“The CQC’s recognition of our efforts reaffirms our dedication in striving to provide people with positive experiences when using adult social care services.

“While we celebrate these achievements, we recognise the imperative to continuously enhance our services and will continue to do so through our improvement agenda.

“I want to extend my sincere gratitude to all our valued residents and partners whose collaboration has been instrumental in working towards achieving a good outcome for Hounslow.

James Bullion, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care and Integrated Care, praised the Council’s efforts, highlighting its collaboration with partners to promote independence and resilience among residents. However, he also emphasised the need for improvement in areas such as carers’ support and access to services. He said:

“Overall, Hounslow Council should be really pleased with this assessment. They’ve built a great foundation on which to build their future plans and make improvements. We look forward to returning to see how they’ve done this and how their current plans mature.”

The Care Quality Commission is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health and Social Care of the United Kingdom. It was established in 2009 to regulate and inspect health and social care providers in England.

The full report is available to read here: London Borough of Hounslow: local authority assessment

Tomboy (2011) – Review by Andrea Carnevali

Tomboy ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A family moves into a new neighbourhood, and ten-year-old named Laure deliberately presents as a boy named Mikhael to the neighbourhood children. On at Chiswick Cinema tonight (Friday 17 May) and Tuesday 21 May.

This small independent film from 2011 was made for peanuts (filmed on the tiny and cheap Canon 5D camera, with just a handful of people in the crew) and while it might have not made a huge impact at the box-office back then, it did leave a big mark on me and those few who actually managed to watch it.

Now Chiswick Cinema is showing it again and I would encourage you all to try to catch it if you can.

Zoé Héran is absolutely wonderful as Laure, the ten years old girl who’s just moved into a new neighbourhood where nobody knows her and pretends to be a boy (Michaël) with her new friends.

Her performance is astounding… I would probably go one step further and call it one of the best performances by a child I’ve ever seen: she not only perfectly captures that innocence that children of that age have, but at the same time she seems to have a deep understanding of the struggle and the pain that her character is going through.

Throughout the film she acts as if she were a real boy, in a way that is so believable at was a point when I really started to wonder whether “she” was actually a real boy.

In fact, the film knows too well, we, the audience, might be wondering and toys with us by stretching the lie as far as it possibly can, until it decides to show us so-called naked truth (sorry about the pun) in a beautifully handled scene: it’s just a fleeting moment and the filmmaker, wisely doesn’t linger on it, but it’s enough to put our minds at rest so that we can carry on following the rest of the story, without further distractions.

The director Céline Sciamma’s ability to film children making them look natural and the world around them so real, is incredible. It feels effortless as if the camera were actually one of the children. We observe them as they play in the forest and it’s almost as if we were spying on them, or as if this was all a documentary.

Rarely have I seen scenes with such young children that feel so honest and real: the approach is subtle and light, the atmosphere is almost muted. Any dialogue advancing the story is used to a minimum and silence is charged with meaning and intensity.

This is a subject that rarely makes the news, let alone shown in movie theatres. It’s so refreshing not just to see it depicted in a film, but to have it portrayed with such an understanding, honesty, open-mindedness and such a delicate touch.

All this together with the stellar acting from little Zoé makes the internal drama of Laure/Michaël even more poignant and powerful.

Be warned, this is a slow film and it has that French independent film quality to it, written all over it, from its pace, to its rough look and its lack of musical score, but if you, like me, love films about children growing up, this sensitive, tender and never heavy-handed story might just melt your heart too.

It also happens to be a very short one too, at only 82 minutes (something of a rarity these days) it proves once again that small things (and quiet ones) can leave big marks.

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

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

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival 2023

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Napoli on the Road wins best pizzeria in Europe outside Italy

Image: Napoli on the Road on Devonshire Road in Chiswick

Chiswick restaurant wins title out of 50 top European pizzerias

A pizzeria on Devonshire Road in Chiswick has been named the best pizzeria in Europe outside Italy.

Napoli on the Road topped the ranking over 50 other pizzerias at an event in Madrid on Monday 13 May. The event, 50 Top Pizza, listed the top fifty establishments after a thorough judging process in which restaurants were assessed during unannounced visits.

50 Top Pizza is an independent online guide which evaluates pizzerias with anonymous inspections during which the bill is paid in full.

The gala evening was hosted by Spanish TV personality and cookery host Verónica Zumalacárregui at the Fundación Pablo VI de Madrid.

Last year, the restaurant finished eighth with Sartoria Panatieri in Barcelona taking the top spot but this year the Catalan pizzeria was bumped down to second place. The third place on the podium was taken by Via Toledo Enopizzeria in Vienna.

This is the second prestigious award won by Napoli on the Road in the last 12 months, after head chef Michele Pascarella and the restaurant’s founder won Global Pizza Maker of the Year 2023. Michele lost that title this year to Tonino Cogliano of IMperfetto in Puteaux, France.

Michele opened Napoli on the Road in September 2019, and despite the timing, the restaurant has done so well he is about to open his second, in Richmond, in June.

He started making pizza in Caserta, near Naples, at the age of 11. No, not as I lazily assumed, at his grandmother’s apron, but in a pizza restaurant where he was working to earn money. No one in his family worked in the hospitality industry.

He found he liked it and was good at it and came over here at the age of 19 with a group from central Italy setting up restaurants in Plymouth, Truro and Newquay. From there he went to Sartori, the famous Italian restaurant in Soho, then set up his own business with a van selling pizzas at street food markets, which he still does at food markets in Kensington.

Image: Michele Pascarella

The top ten restaurants in this year’s awards

1 Napoli on the Road – London

2 Sartoria Panatieri – Barcelona

3 Via Toledo Enopizzeria – Vienna

4 50 Kalò – London,

5 Spree – Madrid

6 Pizza Zulu – Fürth, Germany

7 IMperfetto – Puteaux, France

8 nNea – Amsterdam

9 La Balmesina – Barcelona

10 Figurato Brothers – Madrid

Napoli on the Road is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. See their discount offer to Club Card holders here: Napoli on the Road Club Card offer

‘One Hounslow Community Stars’ nominations now open

Image: One Hounslow Community Stars awards in 2023, (L-R) Leader of Hounslow Council Shantanu Rajawat; Mayor of Hounslow Cllr Afzaal Kiani; Colin Bartlett, Jonathan Courtney, and Aubrey Crawley from WLQP; Cllr Shivraj Grewal

Who do you think deserves an award?

Hounslow Council is calling for nominations for the annual One Hounslow Community Stars awards event – to recognise and celebrate residents, voluntary groups and businesses who go above and beyond for their communities.

It will take place in Hounslow House on 15 July and the Council is asking for nominations for people or organisations who make an outstanding contribution to the borough, improving and enriching the lives of others.

There are no specific categories, but there are a broad set of themes conveying the type of people and organisations the Council wants to recognise to help guide nominations. Those themes are:

Community & Neighbourhood – Those people or groups/ organisations who help their neighbours, create community spirit, and foster a local support network.

Green – Someone/ group who have driven to improve their local area, supporting, and educating communities to think green, respect their environment and work together.

Social Enterprise – A local business which gives back, supporting residents, communities, or its neighbourhood beyond its core business.

Young Leader – An under 25-year-old who goes above and beyond for their community or peers.

Arts and Culture – A person or group which enriches our borough and the lives of others through culture.

Image: West London Queer Project won in 2023 for setting up a social group to support the LGBTQ+ community of west London

Nominations close on 16 June

An individual or group may meet one or several themes. The most important thing is that the person nominating feels like they make an outstanding contribution to our borough and its communities. Winners will receive a certificate and a trophy.

Council Leader, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, said:

“Celebrating the shining stars of our community is a joyous occasion, and I am thrilled to announce the return of the One Hounslow Community Stars awards event for its second year. This event is a testament to the incredible spirit and dedication of our residents, voluntary groups, and businesses who consistently go above and beyond to make Hounslow a better place for all.

At the Council, we believe in recognising those who make a tangible difference in our borough, and these awards are a way to honour their remarkable contributions. Whether it’s fostering community spirit, championing environmental sustainability, supporting local businesses, empowering our youth, or enriching our cultural landscape, each nominee represents the heart and soul of our community.

“I urge everyone to visit the nomination portal and help us shine a spotlight on those who truly make Hounslow a special place to live, work, and thrive.”

Full details, further inspiration, and a link to nominate your community stars can be found at hounslow.gov.uk/communitystars

The closing date is Sunday 16 June.

Gunnersbury Park announces changes to event management after complaints

Image: Waterworks festival taking place in Gunnersbury Park in 2022

Dedicated noise complaint hotline among new measures

Gunnersbury Park has announced management changes for the upcoming summer programme of events, including plans to ‘minimise disruption’ following a number of complaints by local people.

Residents have previously called for stricter noise limits on concerts at Gunnersbury Park and concerns about anti-social behaviour during the events has become a common theme in meetings between police and local people.

Image: Lovebox festival at the park in 2019

Summer programme “crucial to the upkeep of the park”

Julia Mattingley, Head of Operations & Commercial at Gunnersbury said:

“We understand that our summer events programme may not be welcomed by everyone, and we are committed to addressing concerns and ensuring a positive experience for all.

“This year, we have implemented several enhancements to sound management, facilities, and signage to minimise disruption and improve the overall event experience for residents and visitors.

“The Summer Programme at Gunnersbury is crucial for the upkeep of the park. The events provide vital income to enable the Gunnersbury Museum and Park Development Trust to maintain the estate and continue serving our community.”

Profits help to cover grounds maintenance and management of trees and water features in the Grade II* registered parkland, conservation of the Museum, Orangery, and Temple heritage buildings, as well as specific improvement projects, such as the current improvement works to park pathways.

This year, Gunnersbury Park aims to raise £1.35 million in income through commercial activities to support the ongoing maintenance and operations of the park.

Image: Gunnersbury Park by Jennifer Griffiths

Better sound management and more toilets promised

Key improvements for 2024 include:

  • Enhanced sound management – Gunnersbury Park has commissioned an independent acoustic consultancy to review events from 2023 and address complaints received from local residents and councils. This year, additional acoustic professionals will be present at each of the events carrying out an extra layer of sound monitoring, specifically implementing recommendations to reduce bass frequencies and minimise noise disruption. The dedicated resident Noise & Complaint line: 0203 781 0001.
  • Additional toilet facilities and signage – In response to feedback, there will be increased toilet facilities and signage for park events, enhancing convenience and comfort for event-goers.
  • Enhanced crowd management – To improve crowd management and minimise disturbance to residents, Gunnersbury Park will be building on the success of 2023 and continue to provide additional exit routes for attendees, ensuring smooth and orderly dispersal after events, and utilising alternative transport hubs to relieve the impact on Acton Town Tube station.
  • Community engagement – Gunnersbury Park is committed to fostering open dialogue and transparency with the community and our neighbours. Public consultation meetings will provide residents with the opportunity to discuss events directly with us, share feedback, and learn about the projects and benefits for the local community.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Save Our Watermans campaign put in bid to use the empty building

Image: Watermans arts centre, Brentford

Campaign group want to carry on using the building to maintain arts provision in Brentford

A campaign group launched by a collective of local residents, artists and former staff members, have submited an ‘expression of interest’ to use the building on a temporary basis, as it may not be demolished for several years.

Their spokeswoman told us leaving the Watermans arts centre site vacant while it awaits development would be a “terrible shame”.

Hounslow Arts Trust Ltd, the charity that operates Watermans arts centre, has announced it will close in mid-April because they could not afford the running costs. The arts centre was due to move to a new site in Brentford as part of the redevelopment of the town, but the development has been delayed, also by rising costs.

READ MORE: Watermans arts centre in Brentford closes

READ MORE: Watermans closure “the only viable option” for Hounslow Arts Trust, says Ruth Cadbury

READ MORE: Protest at closure of Watermans

Hounslow Council invited submissions at the end of last month for a ‘meanwhile use’ of the vacated building.

Image: Protestors outside Watermans when it was closed

Keeping the building empty would be “a terrible shame and a crime”

Save Our Watermans said:

“This is an opportunity to keep your community arts centre operating within the current building. We already have a Strategy Planning Group and are creating a feasibility plan and a strategy for the continued provision of arts and culture for the interim period. Your continued support is much appreciated as we move to the next phase.”

The riverside venue in Brentford has served the population of west London for decades with live theatre, dance and music, a cinema and restaurant, and a gallery for contemporary art shows.

The Trust has put on school holiday programmes for children in everything from Manga, the Japanese style of cartoon drawing, to Capoeira, the Brazilian dance martial art and game that includes elements of dance, acrobatics and music.

Campaign leader Ruby Almeida told The Chiswick Calendar:

“We don’t know what we’re being allowed to bid for. No guidelines and criteria have been set… We’re hoping to get some guidance about which part of the centre we might be allowed to have or whether we’ll be allowed the whole thing. We don’t know.”

Hounslow Council have yet to respond to the proposal and it is unclear how many other stakeholders have submitted an expression of interest, or how much of the building will be available for use.

It remains the Council’s policy to continue with the planned redevelopment of the site but the existing building may not be demolished for several years. A ‘meanwhile use’ arrangement facilitates temporary use of a vacant or under-used building by businesses or other organisations.

Image: CGI of how the development on the site of the old Brentford police station, where the new arts centre is planned

Council says it wants to encourage ‘Meanwhile’ use

The Chiswick Calendar understands a meeting with all those who have bid for the site is likely to take place in June.

Ruby continued: “I think the Council can see the value of Meanwhile use. Because there is going to be no development on that building for several years, so to leave the building empty and derelict would be a terrible shame and a crime as far as I’m concerned. Looking for positive bids for Meanwhile Use would be [the Council’s] best option.”

Cllr Tom Bruce, Labour Group Spokesperson for Regeneration and Development has reiterated that the long-term commitment to build a new art centre at the Half Acre site remains, and he confirmed the Council wants to enable meanwhile use on the current site.

Cllr Bruce said earlier in May:

“I am keen that we get the building re-opened as soon as possible. It is important to note that Hounslow Arts Trust currently hold the lease for the building and will do until September. Also, as the landlord, the Council will be required to conduct a structural survey to ensure the safety of the building and those who may occupy it.

“We are working closely with the trust to ensure the handover of the building and any associated equipment will take place as quickly and smoothly as possible, but also to ensure the resources and equipment they require for their community arts and culture projects can be safely secured and easily accessed.”

Barnes Railway Bridge to close for six days this summer

Image: Barnes Railway Bridge; photograph Anna Kunst

Closure will take place from 28 July to 2 August

Barnes Bridge will be closed for an extended period in summer, Network Rail has announced.

The bridge will undergo significant maintenance work from Sunday 28 July to Friday 2 August, disrupting rail services on the Hounslow Loop line. Engineers will be focused on replacing all 48 solid wooden blocks supporting the track across the Grade II listed structure.

These blocks, known as wheel timbers, will be upgraded to a more sustainable, weather-resistant material, to give the bridge a new lease of life.

In addition to replacing the wheel timbers, the project includes the installation of new baseplates to enhance track connectivity to sleepers, and the realignment of tracks approaching and leaving the bridge.

Engineers will also renew approximately 1.4km of conductor rail, responsible for powering trains, between South Acton and Brentford, carry out track maintenance between Isleworth and Hounslow, and electrified rail work between Kew Bridge and Chiswick.

As a consequence of these essential works, South Western Railway services between Barnes and Feltham will be temporarily replaced by buses. The service alterations are scheduled as follows:

  • Sunday 28 July: Buses will substitute trains between Barnes and Feltham via Hounslow.
  • Monday 29 July to Friday 2 August: Buses will replace trains between Barnes and Kew Bridge only, with train services operating between Kew Bridge and Feltham.

Image: Barnes Railway Bridge; photograph Joanna Raikes

The deteriorating conditions of the existing wheel timber have necessitated the extensive renovations, as they were deemed unfit for purpose due to their age. By transitioning to lighter and more durable materials, the railway network aims to significantly reduce maintenance requirements and associated carbon emissions over its 50-year lifespan.

Network Rail said the upgraded conductor rail infrastructure promises enhanced reliability for passengers, minimising disruptions and ensuring smoother journeys.

It is unclear whether the pedestrian footbridge and the Barnes Bridge Walkway will also be closing. We have approached Network Rail for comment.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Hounslow Council votes for “radical overhaul” of public consultations

Image: Hounslow House

Council hopes changes will mean more people are involved in public consultations

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet have voted in favour of a “radical overhaul” of the way consultations and community engagement is carried out in the borough.

At a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (14 May), councillors opted to revolutionise the Council’s approach to public engagement and consultation with a comprehensive overhaul of its operating model. Under the proposed changes, residents will witness a concerted effort towards more inclusive decision-making processes, aiming to ensure that every voice is heard and every opinion matters.

During the meeting, Deputy Leader of the Council Cllr Katherine Dunne said the changes will enhance community engagement by allowing the Council the opportunity to listen to a “broader range of residents”.

“We are a listening council, but sometimes it’s difficult to hear some of the voices because there are others that are quite loud” she added.

Leader of the Council Cllr Shantanu Rajawat said:

“There are groups we struggle to engage with and we should absolutely engage with, their opinion does matter, and they do have a say in the way we design the services that affect them.”

Key highlights of the revamped model include a new ‘engagement vision statement and set of principles’, designed to guide all interaction with the public. This will be supported by enhanced processes within the central Engagement Hub, aimed at coordinating and quality-assuring engagement activities across the borough. The new vision statement says:

“Every resident, business, partner and community organisation should be aware of and able to shape decisions about the subjects which matter to them.

“We are committed to ensuring diverse and representative views are at the heart of our decision-making processes, and clear about what people can shape and what they can’t. This means better

The new principles incorporate and expand upon what are known as ‘the Gunning Principles’, that every public consultation must adhere to in the UK to ensure that they are carried out fairly:

  1. Know the evidence
  2. Make it meaningful
  3. Make it clear
  4. Make it accessible
  5. Review with rigour
  6. Demonstrate transparency
  7. Publish by default
  8. Keep [residents] in the loop

Launch of new Residents Panel, revitalised area forums and new assemblies

A major change is the introduction of a Residents Panel, comprising a diverse group of residents who will actively participate in various engagement activities. Additionally, a Resident Survey will be conducted every two years to ensure a consistent pulse on public opinion.

The Council also plans to establish the Hounslow Assembly and Assembly on the Road, providing platforms for meaningful interaction between residents, businesses, and community organisations. Area Forums will be ‘revitalised’ with increased cross-council participation and more thematic focus, ensuring that each forum addresses the specific needs of its community.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Join the annual Big Help Out in Chiswick House & Gardens

Image: Join the Trust’s gardening team on the day; photograph Chiswick House & Gardens Trust, Chris Greer

Volunteer at Chiswick House, to ‘explore, be outside and connect with others’

Chiswick House & Gardens Trust is inviting people to come and get involved with a day of gardening on Saturday 8 June from 10.30pm to 12.30pm, as part of ‘The Big Help Out’ during National Volunteers Week.

The Big Help Out is a great opportunity for you to ‘roll up your sleeves, get some fresh air, learn something new and contribute to the community’, say the organisers. Open to families, local residents, keen gardeners and newbies, everyone who gets involved will help the charity to improve the meadow and smarten up the appearance at Burlington Gate.

It’s a one-off chance to volunteer at Chiswick House & Gardens and see what it’s like without committing to more. Chiswick House & Gardens have several other volunteering opportunities available throughout the year.

‘As a charity, Chiswick House & Gardens rely on the generosity of supporters to keep the House and Gardens looking spectacular for their thousands of visitors every year. By taking part in the activities participants will be able to get a taster of the work that goes into sustaining this special haven in West London’.

Rosie Fyles, Head of Gardens at Chiswick House & Gardens Trust, said:

“Volunteering offers a wonderful opportunity to explore, be outside, connect with others who share your interests, and make a positive impact on your community. We’re hoping for stunning weather, lots of smiles, and a shared feeling that we’ve made a difference.”

As part of the Big Help Out 2024 millions of people will be mobilised across the country for a weekend of social transformation and connection through the power of volunteering, across every sector and in every community of the UK.

Chiswick Cheese Market – 3rd Anniversary Sunday May 19

Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin

I can still hear the team saying, ‘Hand sanitiser? mask?’ as people queued through a small entrance in our market boundary. It was 2021 – we started the market under strict Pandemic regulations.

Visitors were counted in and counted out, masks were obligatory, no tasting cheese, no eating or drinking inside the market, no standing still apart from in a queue and most certainly no singing, chatting or just browsing!

We did not know if people would come, and here we are about to celebrate our 3rd birthday and with a huge thank you to you all, we not only survived those strange times, but we have flourished. So, a very Happy Birthday to all of us, volunteers, traders and you, our market visitors alike – we all play our part – ‘Happy 3rd Birthday!’.

Meet the Cheese Market Team here: Chiswick Cheese Market

Donna Freed from the Cheese market talking cheese at Kindred with Zaineb from @basket_press_wines talking wine in March.

Not just cheese …

We are a busy crew away from the market as well.

As a team, we have been leading cheese tasting evenings @londonkindred since March and this month Abi will be chatting about the intriguing world of ‘underground’ cheeses. I can guarantee you will most definitely taste more than one cheese you have never tried before – challenge accepted?

This is not only Abi passing on her broad and deep cheese knowledge but really giving us value for money by using her extensive wine qualifications to pair them with some truly exceptional drinks – what is not to like about that?

Tickets are available on: Eventbrite.co.uk

Matthew O’Callaghan at front instructing judges before judging begins – organiser and major force in artisan food industry

This month I have been judging at www.artisancheeseawards.com held in Melton Mowbray. You’re forgiven for thinking that it is all about pies there, but it’s not; this competition is about Artisan cheese.

Judging the Artisan Cheese Awards

It is not open to any of the big boys of cheese production but the smaller artisan producers, so there are quite a high number of newcomers, which is brilliant. It is also open to Southern Irish cheeses and there was a truly great showing from south of the border and I felt very lucky to be sampling them. A little bit about judging – just in case you are interested…

Firstly, as a judge, you must know your cheese – this is not really about what you like or don’t like, it’s about knowing what a great example of a particular style of cheese is – in exactly the same way in order to know if a Beaujolais is great you have to know the characteristics of the wine to start with.

You must be able to identify faults, errors in both looks and flavour and then admire and enjoy extraordinary flavours and textures that a producer may have been able to achieve in their cheese.

It’s a serious business and I was lucky enough to be judging alongside some of the most experienced palates in the cheese industry. Each cheese is given proper consideration. We tasted, deliberated, discussed, and voted for over 4 hours. Each category puts forward their champion to be judged against the other category champions to find the ‘Supreme Champion’.

To be a great cheese it has to have a great look and texture, mouth feel and above its flavour must be excellent. That’s it really, I guess – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!.. no, seriously after three years of study I am thrilled to be part of the cheese judging community.

The results are announced at The Artisan Cheese Fair next weekend. I’ll be there on Saturday as it is a spectacle well worth visiting and back to Chiswick for our market on Sunday – double cheese this weekend for me!

More info meltonfestivals.co.uk

Introducing ‘the Mother of all Bries’

So back to ‘’Cheesewick’ and our birthday market…

I am so excited that @thefrenchcomte will be bringing a very special cheese – Brie de Melun. This is the original Brie – this is the first Brie – this is the mother of all Bries.

Made with a longer fermentation period and hardly any rennet, this is an extraordinary pungently flavoured, creamy textured, almost rudely unctuous cheese made with raw cow’s milk. Like Brie de Meaux? If yes then OMG you are in for such a treat! It’s on my shopping list early so I don’t miss out.

Why not have a birthday splurge and get one of our bespoke Cheesewick tea towels or the Prada bag of cheese – a Cheesewick Tote to carry your purchases this month? All profits go into our charity funds.

And…

You’ve heard of Real Ale and Real Food … This is the Real Cheese Project

Introducing @therealcheeseproject. We are very excited to be on board with the launch of a brand-new cheese resource set up with the Cheese lover in mind – not only telling you about the cheeses and the producers but where you can buy near you and offering wonderful subscriptions to help you taste your way through the world of British Artisan Cheese.

They are hosting the first round of The People’s Choice Territorial Cheese competition at our market THIS SUNDAY, 19 May (what a thrill) and you are the judges! So come along to the market, log in, taste cheese and vote.

It’s as simple as that – a different category every 30 minutes so stay for a while and be the judge of more than one style of cheese from Cheddar to Red Leicester, from Caerphilly to Lancashire. The ones we all think are the best will go forward to the next round at our market in July (watch this space for news about that event as there are some very special judges coming along!)

Trader Spotlight

Our monthly insight into one of our traders at the market.

James Grant from No 2 Pound Street (and now The Real Cheese Project) and needs no introduction for most of you, but here is his story…

James enjoyed a career working in some of the greatest restaurants and hotels alongside some of the best of the best restaurateurs, allowing him to sample pretty much the most excellent cheeses out there. He fell in love with good cheese and when the opportunity came to open his own cheese and wine shop he leapt at the chance.

15 years on, No 2 Pound Street in Wendover, goes from strength to strength. James does not see his job as a career but simply sharing his love and respect for very special food.

James stocks excellent wines and procures his cheeses solely from the British Isles – chosen for their taste and their ethical and sustainable production. The shop offers cheese tastings and events in and around their ageing room. No 2 Pound Street is truly the complete package when it comes to a cheese monger!

James was one of the very first training partners at the Academy of Cheese and is one of the trainers who is helping form the next levels of cheese training programs.

When I asked him about why ‘The Real Cheese Project’, he answered simply that he wants to shout about ‘real cheese’ – over 95% of cheese produced in the UK is factory made without the same level of consideration as Artisan made cheeses.

He wants to help swing the pendulum towards artisan production and wants to be a force in educating us all in that direction. ‘The Real Cheese Project’ aims to champion the very best cheese makers and retailers throughout the UK.

James has recently become a huge advocate for farmers who look after their soil and land and wants to help us understand that the ‘terroir’ plays such an important part in the production of good food.

So, what can I say about James – he’s a pretty ‘big cheese’ in the world of cheese and his heart is very firmly with the Artisan producers and retailers in UK – we are honoured to have had him at our market from day 1 and long may it continue!

Recipe of the Month

Trabzon-Style Pide with Cheese and an Egg Yolk
Sebze by Ozlem Warren (Hardie Grant, £28) Photography by Sam A Harris.

Instagram: @ozlems_turkish_table

Makes 2

 This is such a delicious pide – oozy, buttery, melted cheese over soft pide with an egg cracked over – a dish you can eat all day long. The Black Sea region is famous for their variety of pides – almost every city has their own specialty pide and this Trabzon yağlı pide stands out for me. It has only a handful of ingredients and the result is such a treat. Follow a few key steps carefully and you will be making this scrumptious pide again and again.

  • 7 g (1 sachet) instant dry yeast
  • 185 ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 300 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, cubed, plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 120 g Trabzon’s kolot cheese, grated (although we don’t have this cheese at our market this month but @maltbyandgreek will be bringing Tinos Graviera and this would be an excellent cheese to use)
  • 200 g mozzarella, grated

Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well, cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Create a well in the middle and pour in the frothy yeast mixture. Knead with your hands for 2–3 minutes to bring the dough together.

Place the dough onto a clean, dry, lightly floured surface. Add the cubed butter to the dough and knead well for another 2–3 minutes until you achieve a smooth dough ball.

Lightly oil the mixing bowl, place the dough in, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and a dish towel. Leave in a warm place to prove for 30 minutes.

After this period, punch back the dough and knead. Divide into two equal dough balls.  Place them back into the bowl, cover and prove for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C fan/220C//gas 7. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Once the dough is risen, place one of the dough balls on a lightly floured surface, keeping the other covered. Stretch the dough into a thin, round shape, about 27 cm in diameter. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the other dough and place on the other baking sheet.

Separate the whites of the eggs into a bowl, carefully placing the whole yolks on a plate nearby. Transfer one of the yolks to a small bowl and add the teaspoon of olive oil to this yolk and combine well. Brush a 3 cm band of egg white around the edges of both dough circles and fold in the dough edges to create a 2 cm border. Press well so that edges stick to the dough – the brushed egg white will help seal them.

Brush the borders of both pide with the egg yolk mixture. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of water over the middle part of each dough and brush to cover the whole middle part (the water will prevent it puffing up).

Bake both pide for 8 minutes until the edges are golden.

Remove from the oven and spread half of the two cheeses on each pide evenly. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of water all round the middle part and dot over a few small dabs of butter.

Bake for a further 7 minutes until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and create a little dent in the middle of each pide. Carefully slide an egg yolk into each hollow. Bake for a final 1–2 minutes, making sure the yolk is still runny.

Serve immediately.

Gosh that was a lot for one month’s blog! I guess it’s true to say that from our constrained beginnings during the pandemic The Chiswick Cheese Market has really grown into a force bigger than we could have imagined.

Over the three years we have donated thousands of pounds to charity and in sponsorship to the Artisan Cheese industry, we believe that we have brought many visitors to our neighbourhood, we have become an established voice in the cheese industry (even had a mention on National TV on The Apprentice) and hopefully have given locals a great place to visit once a month and share happy times with friends and family whilst tasting and buying some exceptional cheeses. In short, I think we have really brought cheese home to Cheesewick! See you on Sunday!

READ ALSO: The Apprentice comes to Chiswick

A full list of traders can be found at www.chiswickcheesemarket.uk

Artists at Home 2024: Potter Nupur Narain Detar

Images: Nupur Detar, ceramic leaf plates

Nupur Narain Detar joins Artists At Home 2024

Artists at Home 2024 takes place in just over a month’s time, between Friday 14 and Sunday 16 June, when around 100 local artists will be opening their homes to invite visitors in to see their work.

From painters to sculptors, photographers to ceramicists, the event offers art enthusiasts the opportunity to explore a diverse range of artistic talents within their own neighbourhood.

This year, ceramist Nupur Narain Detar is making her debut, where she will be showcasing her beautiful handmade ceramics.

Nupur originally studyied interior design and was introduced to ceramics in Malta. She says she has never looked back since. Her main influences are her Indian heritage, exposure to world cultures and nature.

Nupur’s husband is American diplomat, which means they have both lived in 13 countries over last thirty years. Nupur’s ceramics are hand-crafted and many are inspired by all of the different countries and cultures where she and her husband have lived.

“It’s kind of been tough because every two to three years you have to pack up and start again, reinvent yourself” Nupur told me, “I’ve done many things over the years but I think pottery has been my favourite thing.”

Her pieces range from bowls and plates to vases and various other decorative ornaments, with majority of her creations being stone wear and porcelain.

Images: Collage of a selection of Nupur’s ceramics, a porcelain leaf dish

Ceramics inspired by cultures and nature from around the world

Describing her aesthetic and creative process as ‘very organic, constantly evolving’, Nupur says she loves freedom that hand building offers to make unique, functional yet free form, food safe ceramics.

“Every culture has a history of pottery, so it’s all kind of mixed up. A lot of is inspired by nature, a lot of leaves and natural colour.”

As self-trained ceramist who didn’t study at art school, and with a graduate degree in interior design, Nupur said she decided to become a participant in Artists At Home after being a spectator. Nupur fell in love with the concept of artists opening up their homes and studios to the public.

“I’m a little bit nervous frankly”, she said, having only been to the event once before. “I hope viewers will like what I really enjoys, but I’m still nervous!

“When I have something in mind I see something, I put it into my notebook but when I come to the studio and start working with clay it turns into completely different thing… There are so many ideas in my head that I can hardly keep up, every day there’s something different.”

Despite this, her work has a clear theme, with imperfect shapes and organic materials coming up consistently. Nupur admits she dislikes “perfectly round or perfectly square” shapes, and her pieces exude character.

Image: Studio 60 is on the corner of Grove Park Terrance and Fauconberg Road

Where to find Nupur

You can find Nupur at Studio 60, on the Corner of Grove Park Terrace and Fauconberg Road.

See more of Nupurs work at artistsathome.co.uk

Artists at Home 2024: Jeweller Azelle Thorowgood

Images: Azelle Thorowgood, ‘Unique blue twisted sea glass crafted in to a striking pendant drops from antiqued brass chain’

Azelle Thorowgood joins Artists At Home 2024

Artists at Home 2024 is approaching, in what has become an annual celebration of creativity and community spirit. The event, which takes places between Friday 14 and Sunday 16 June, is when local artists open their doors to show their work in the intimate setting of their own homes.

From painters to sculptors, photographers to ceramicists, this unique event offers art enthusiasts the opportunity to explore a diverse range of artistic talents within their own neighbourhood.

This year, interior designer Azelle Thorowgood is making her debut, where she will be showing her beautiful and unique sea glass jewellery.

Azelle, a mother of four originally from Scotland, runs her own local interior design consultancy with a speciality in incorporating antiques and the restoration of existing furnishings and upholstery. Quality, craftsmanship and sustainability are at the forefront of Azelle’s work.

Her elegant and cool collection of jewellery is made with pieces of sea glass, found on Azelle’s visits to the coast from East Sussex to the Hebridean Islands off the West Coast of Scotland.

Sea glass is physically and chemically weathered glass found on beaches along bodies of salt water. Weathering processes produce natural frosted glass, which is often then used for decoration, most commonly in jewellery.

Ever evolving and ‘a la mode’, Azelle’s collection now includes earrings, bracelets and necklaces all of which look “equally chic teamed with casual three quarter length jeans and a shirt, as they do with more formal wear.”

The necklaces are deliberately designed to be versatile enough to be worn as necklace, choker or bracelet. Understated gold-filled and brass chains carry carefully selected pieces of sea glass.

Images: ‘5 exquisite fragments of sea glass hover on an understated brass chain that drapes closely around the neck. Equally stunning wrapped twice around the wrist to double as a bracelet’, ‘Pretty pair of sea glass earrings. Highly flattering against the skin’

“Ethical, sustainable jewellery” 

Having been inspired to take part in Artists at Home through her day job as an interior designer, Azelle told me:

“I really love when I come across really beautifully made one-off pieces”

She is excited at the opportunity to showcase her own unique works of art.  “Ethical, sustainable jewellery” is a constant source of inspiration for Azelle.

“The environmental issue is the single-greatest issue we’ve all got to tackle. Any interior design work I do is inspired by the colours and the shapes of nature… that’s where the beauty lies.”

Importing that philosophy over into her jewellery, Azelle prefers not to alter the sea glass she finds but rather to “take it on as nature has treated it”, which makes every item unique.

Sustainability is “massively important” when creating works of art, Azelle says. “It’s key to my interior design business, I wouldn’t want to be promoting anything that wasn’t”.

The majority of people want to be as sustainable as they can be, Azelle tells me, “but unfortunately the main offering out there is still from big shops” who don’t give people an option to buy things which are good for the planet or are up-cycled. She says that given the choice, people tend to choose more sustainable options.

Dominance of corporate interests not only robs people of the opportunity to buy sustainable, Azelle says, but also has an impact on taste, something she hopes to challenge with her pieces.

“In a world now where we’re saturated by monopolies, big companies, shopping centres, everyone’s taste in interiors has become very uniform. We’ve all been forced to become very uniform in our taste because that’s all we’re offered.”

Image: Studio 15 is accessible only from Uxbridge Road

Where to find Azelle 

If you plan to visit Azelle during Artists at Home she is in Studio 15, which is on Keith Grove in Shepherd’s Bush. She is sharing a space with painter and sketcher Jill Revie.

“Our home is on the peripheral of artists at home, at the end of a very little known cul-de-sac… Lots of people are intrigued by the street but don’t have an excuse to go down it, but we’re down the very end” Azelle said.

One of the houses on Keith Grove won a prestigious award from the Royal Institution of British Architects, which Azelle says in itself makes the street worth a visit.

Keith Grove can only be accessed from Uxbridge Road, not Askew Road, so if you are planning to visit be aware of this.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

La Chimera (2024) – Review by Andrea Carnevali

La Chimera ⭐⭐⭐

Arthur works alongside a group of grave robbers looking for Etruscan artifacts buried underground. Out in cinemas now.

Josh O’Connor is really having a great year! It was only a few weeks ago that I found myself bewitched by his charisma and the electric chemistry with his co-stars in Challengers and now I’m seeing him speaking in Italian throughout the entirety of this film. (To be honest, his diction and pronunciation is far from perfect, but that’s also the point of the film).

While I was watching La Chimera I found myself thinking that this is the typical type of film that gets praised by the critics and yet will probably bore the general audience out of their minds. As always in these sorts of situations, I sat a little bit in the middle.

It is a rather languid and melancholic film, for sure, deliberately unpolished and looking muted, just like O’Connor’s pale clothes, but at the same time it can be playful, and it has a haunting and rather mesmerising quality to it.

Directed by Tuscan-born Alice Rohrwacher, it depicts an Italy in the 1980s, which I could hardly recognise, but I know it exists. An Italy much closer to the grim Gomorrah rather than the “picture-perfect” holiday destination one would dream to travel to.

In it, O’Connor (Arthur) seems to be almost stranded, looking almost like a zombie at times, drifting somewhere between the living and the dead, the past and the present, trapped in grief and haunted by the ghosts of his past.

He works alongside a band of picaresque grave robbers (the tombaroli… a lovely made-up Roman word, pretty much untranslatable) looking for Etruscan artifacts buried underground in the many ancient tombs scattered around countryside just outside Rome.

There is magic in this world too: Arthur possesses a gift of sensing where the treasures are buried, and nobody seems to question that.

Rohrwacher’s approach is sometime realistic, sometime whimsical (though I wasn’t particularly keen on her speeded up effects). She uses 35mm and 16mm films, mixes formats and aspect ratios, almost like to blur the lines between reality and fantasy.

Sometimes her camera is invisible, other times you can even see the rough edges of the frame itself as if somebody tried to cut them with a pair of old scissors.

In a few occasions the camera even swings about and frames Arthur upside down, like a hanged man, from a pack of tarots. And just like the title itself, La Chimera (another of those tarots which might symbolise an illusion, a fabrication of the mind or a dream which cannot be realised), everything here is open to interpretation, you just have to be willing to go with it.

I didn’t think it completely worked for me (I found it at times a bit too esoteric), but there was enough to inspire me, intrigue me and even move me… And that ending (no spoiler of course) is still haunting me, 24 hours later.

One final mention should go to Isabella Rossellini, here in a supporting role, made up to look even older than she is today, and yet sublime as ever.

That’s enough to recommend the film to those who are looking for something different than your average summer blockbuster, even if a bit too artsy and intellectual for its own sake.

The film is out in cinemas across the UK.

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

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

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival 2023

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Chiswick RNLI’s rescue of drifting party boat featured in BBC Saving Lives at Sea

Image: RNLI intercept the drifting Royalty vessel; Chiswick Lifeboat

Watch “dramatic video” on Saving Lives at Sea TV – Tuesday 14 May, BBC2 8pm

Chiswick Lifeboat’s rescue of a drifting party boat on the River Thames will be featured in the BBC’s Saving Lives at Sea series on Tuesday evening (14 May 2024).

A dramatic video from the crews’ helmet cameras will be featured, as well as interviews with the crew involved.

At 9.50pm on 7 July 2023, the crew on Chiswick Lifeboat were debriefing after a casualty care exercise at Broomhouse Pier when Thames Commander Mark Turrell noticed a large passenger vessel manoeuvring strangely.

Moments later, a call came through on asking the lifeboat for immediate assistance, the passenger vessel Royalty had lost propulsion with 50 partygoers on board.

The lifeboat responded at once as the tide swept the passenger boat towards a group of houseboats. The lifeboat crew quickly set up an alongside tow as that would allow better control.

Mark was able to speak directly to the captain via the radio and his own crew on their helmet comms. The vessel still had steerage so the lifeboat provided propulsion while the captain managed the steering. The vessel was towed by the lifeboat a mile to Putney Pier, its original destination.

The lifeboat was attached to the starboard side of the Royalty so crew-member Tim Hughes boarded Royalty to provide eyes from the port side.

The RNLI E-Class lifeboats, unique to the Thames, have towed larger vessels before but this was a different challenge as there were over 50 partygoers on board. At 110 tons and 100 feet long Mark was apprehensive about how the alongside tow would work:

“We were confident that our lifeboat would be up to the job but relieved that the 900 horse power E-Class was more than capable of making way against the tide with such a large vessel.”

Image: RNLI escorting the drifting Royalty vessel to safety; Chiswick Lifeboat

Partygoers “unaware” of the danger

The next challenge was negotiating the arches of Putney Bridge. Normally the Royalty would proceed in the centre of the arch but this would put the lifeboat under the lowest part of the arch. Mark asked the captain to go as far to the south of the centreline as he judged was safe and asked his crew to lower the lifeboat’s mast and aerials.

After successfully negotiating the bridge, Mark decided that the normal method of allowing the outgoing tide to ease the Royalty onto the pier could result in a sudden jolt, risking injuries onboard.

Using the precise control allowed by the E-class’s twin water jets, Mark was able to gently bring the Royalty alongside. Up to this point the dancing partygoers were unaware that their river trip ended with propulsion provided by another vessel.

“It was a challenging rescue but went smoothly, none of the partygoers noticed that there was an extra blue light in the disco!” said Mark

‘The situation could have had a very different outcome, it was satisfying to confirm that the capability of the E-Class and the extensive training of our crew, Adam Cairns, Tim Hallac and Tim Hughes, allowed us to carry out a seamless rescue for over 50 people.’

At the time, Chiswick lifeboat station manager Wayne Bellamy commented:

‘The RNLI search and rescue service on the tidal Thames has its roots in the campaign of the families who lost loved ones in the Marchioness disaster when 51 people drowned.

“The choice of lifeboats and location of lifeboat stations was established to deal with a similar incident. We daily attend all sorts of incidents but always have in mind that we may need to deal with a large passenger vessel with many people on board. It is gratifying that all our preparations have paid off in this rescue.’

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

Episode 42: Thank you Mr Crombie

Mihir Bose, former BBC Sports editor, talks to David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times, and political commentator Nigel Dudley about his memoir Thank you Mr Crombie – Lessons in Guilt and Gratitude to the British.

Mihir grew up in India, just after Independence, part of a wealthy family with a hierarchy of servants, where as a child he was treated like a little prince. Had he stayed there and remained a partner in what is now India’s accountancy firm, he might have made millions as the country developed. Instead he came to Britain to pursue his passion for journalism.

He met David and Nigel not long after he settled in London, and having been subjected to the usual 1960s racism – violence from National Front skinheads, landladies refusing to rent him a room, he finally found his niche on the Financial Weekly and his tribe, journalists, who did not care about his colour, and they have remained good friends ever since.

In this podcast they talk about how multicultural Britain has changed since those days, the impact of immigration, the legacy of Empire and Mihir’s personal journey.

Listen to the podcast on all the usual podcast platforms or on The Chiswick Calendar website.


More Platforms

Come and see Mihir talking about Thank You Mr Crombie at an event in Chiswick

Mihir will be talking about his memoir to friend and colleague, journalist Peter Oborne, on Wednesday 29 May at George IV pub in Chiswick.

Tickets: Eventbrite

Listen to more episodes here.

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

Firsts Bookfair – London’s rare book fair

One of the most popular and prestigious rare book fairs in the world

Guest blog by Stephen Foster

This week, Firsts Bookfair returns to the Saatchi Gallery in Sloane Square.  It is the UK’s premium event for old and rare books but is also one of the most popular and prestigious rare book fairs in the world.

This fabulous venue is just a short walk from Sloane Square Tube Station on the King’s Road.  Run by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, and open to the public between Friday 17 and Sunday 19 May, it is housed over three floors with exhibitors including not only some of the finest in the UK but from across the globe.

This year’s theme is the Art of the Book, and as usual, there will be some fabulous items on display, all of which can be purchased!

You’ll see everything from Illuminated Manuscripts and Incunabula, unique Archives and scarce author signed copies. These museum quality items attract the many libraries and institutions that travel from around the world to purchase for their collections. But as well as that, there is plenty on offer that will not break the bank.

Books can showcase the arts in so many ways, via the printing processes used, the typography, the skilled craft bindings.  Many well-known artists have produced books, and many great artisans have been involved in the fabulous illustrations and designs.

Image: Last year’s ‘Firsts’ Bookfair at the Saatchi Gallery at Sloane Square

Some of the most beautiful books ever produced in England

I’ve been a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association since 2000, and our summer bookfairs have always been a highlight of the calendar, but we’ve found a fantastic home at the Saatchi. A well-lit, spacious gallery, it provides an excellent space to allow us to show off the best of our books.

Last year one of my first sales was of the beautiful Eric Ravilious illustrated book High Street – the only major work with colour lithographs produced during his lifetime.

Images: Eric Ravilious’ illustrations for High Street

He was killed in the War, and the original printing plates were destroyed during the Blitz, preventing any reprint. The previous year, one of my colleagues sold a stunning copy of one of the most beautiful books ever produced in England, William Morris’s 1896 publication, the Kelmscott Chaucer.

Morris was inspired by Emery Walker  to set up the Kelmscott Press, just up the road in Hammersmith. Although we don’t have a copy of the six-figure original, we do have what I think is the best facsimile available of the beautiful Burne Jones illustrated book. It reproduces the Doves Bindery design on the cream Morocco binding, and it’s printed on a beautiful laid paper.

Images: Pages from the Kelmscott Press Chaucer

The very old and ancient are well represented at the event, but there is also the modern. Visually stunning books, posters and fine bindings from the 20th century and to date. First editions with their often iconic dustjacket artwork, Golden Age travel posters, and exquisitely executed designer bookbinding.

One of the more modern books we’ll be taking should feel especially at home in a Saatchi building. It is a special edition of Andrew Graham-Dixon’s book on Howard Hodgkin published in 1994.  Housed in a slipcase, it’s one of only 200 copies that were issued with a signed intaglio print, produced from one plate in two colours and hand-painted with red tempera.

Images: Andrew Graham-Dixon’s book on Howard Hodgkin

Free entry tickets to Chiswick Calendar subscribers

We’re offering a free entry ticket for Chiswick Calendar subscribers – you can download a ticket via the link on our website which gets you in for all three days.

Book tickets – Firsts Bookfair ticket link

We’ll be on stand K98, and you can view some of our highlights on the Firsts website, but we’ve also created a special catalogue of some of the books we’ll be taking.

Come to see the beauties on display, stay to meet the booksellers who know and love their stock, and maybe leave with a beautiful book that sparks a collection.

Stephen Foster is the owner of Foster Books at 183 Chiswick High Rd. 

Foster Books is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. See Stephen’s discount offer to subscribers here: Foster Books Club Card offer

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

David and Georgia Tennant to host charity gala night at Pub in the Park

Image: Line-up of celebrities expected at Pub in the Park’s charity gala in Chiswick

An all-star line-up on Friday 28 June

David and Georgia Tennant will be hosting a charity gala at this year’s Pub in the Park at Chiswick House, alongside celebrity chef Tom Kerridge.

The event, on the Friday night (28 June) promises to be a very starry affair, with other well-known actors, musicians, comedians and TV personalities coming to Chiswick to raise money for former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s charity – The Multibank.

Among the line-up of stars who will be coming are Arabella Weir MBE, Claudia Winkelman, Alex Jones, Romesh Ranganthan, Lenny Henry, Stephen Mangan, Gaby Roslin, Simon Rimmer, Dr Ranj Singh, Jose Pizarro, Matt Tebbutt, Mark Wogan, Andrea McLean and Kate Thornton, and there will be a special guest attendance from Multibank founder, Gordon Brown.

“These stars will appear on stage and around the festival,” say the festival organisers, “plus there will be the usual Michelin starred pop-up restaurants and headline music on the main stage from De La Soul, The Feeling, Stereo MCs and a Vernon Kay DJ set.”

“It’s going to be great fun and a spectacular night to celebrate and support a brilliant charity initiative, we are thrilled to be part of it,” said David and Georgia, who live in Chiswick.

Image: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a Multibank

Rasing funds for Multibanks

Multibanks are being established across the UK to fight poverty and maximise recycling of unused goods. A Multibank is much like a food bank, instead offering clothes, toiletries, bedding, baby goods, hygiene items, and furniture – essential things many families simply cannot afford yet desperately need. They often operate alongside existing food banks.

The idea is simple: companies have surplus goods that people need, and local charities know the people who need them; The Multibank initiative connects the two to reduce the effects of both poverty and environmental waste.

The initiative has been featured by Comic Relief, which helped establish it with £1million of seed funding from from Comic Relief and Amazon. The first were set up in Fife, Scotland and Wigan, Greater Manchester.

In its pilot phase, Multibank have helped 200,000 families with two million goods and now propose to offer 20 million goods to families in the greatest need.

“Pub in the Park has supported various Poverty action charities across the UK since it was established in 2017″ said Tom Kerridge. “This event plans to be one of our most worthwhile and spectacular to date”.

The evening aims to raise between £50,000 and £75,000 for the charity which will be used both nationally and to support the newest Multibank in Greenford, West London, opened just last week.

Tickets are from £55 with £10 per ticket going to the charity and Super VIP Party tickets are £300. With £250 for the charity.

Book tickets – Pub in the Park all-star charity night

Image: David and Georgia Tennant; photograph from their Facebook page

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Demystifying estate planning

The award winning wealth management and investment experts Killik & Co have opened a new space on Devonshire Road – House of Killik Chiswick. The Chiswick Calendar is pleased to share their guest blogs on how best to plan and save to acquire the wealth to achieve your goals.

Killik & Co won “Best Discretionary / Advisory Wealth Manager’ in the 2023 FT Investors Chronicle Awards.”

The essentials of estate planning

In this article, Phil Sole, Relationship Manager at House of Killik Chiswick shares his thoughts on the essentials of estate planning, focusing on some ways to mitigate the impact of Inheritance Tax.

What are the cornerstones of estate planning?

The first key step is to set up a valid will. This crucial document ensures that someone’s assets end up in the right hands after their death. The consequence of not having a will in place is that the fixed rules of intestacy apply. These impose a strict statutory running order in terms of who will benefit from an estate.

It is important that people are clear about exactly what a will does and doesn’t cover. For example, a will won’t cover most pensions, life assurance policies, or death in service payments from an employer. Assets held outside the UK are not automatically included, and it may be necessary to create a separate will for the relevant jurisdiction.

Next, it is worth revisiting assets that are jointly owned, such as a main home or bank accounts. They automatically pass to the surviving party when one of them dies, but this might not be how one party would want their share to be distributed.

How should someone choose an executor?

Most people nominate a spouse or partner, on the basis that they are known and trusted. The problem sometimes is that a surviving spouse may themselves be elderly or vulnerable.

Since more than one person can act in this capacity, it is also possible to appoint a combination of, perhaps, a spouse along with any responsible children, plus an external professional. The latter can bring an understanding of the legal and tax issues associated with a death estate and be able to speak or act objectively when it comes to managing any disputes.

Why do powers of attorney matter so much?

There are two types of lasting power of attorney (LPA), one covering property and financial affairs, and the other health and welfare. Once registered, they can be used should someone lose the capacity to look after their own affairs, or earlier if preferred. Many are never invoked but nonetheless provide valuable peace of mind.

How does inheritance tax work?

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is levied on what is called a “death estate,”- all property, belongings, investments, and money of the deceased, less any permitted liabilities, IHT-exempt assets and nil rate bands – and is charged at 40%.

What are the other broad ways to reduce an IHT bill?

The simplest option is to encourage someone to spend more. The trouble is the same people who have worked hard to accumulate wealth are sometimes the least likely to prioritise enjoying it.

The next thing to consider is ‘lifetime gifts’. For example, there is a £6,000 annual exemption available to a couple and, additionally, surplus income can be given away subject to the relevant tests.

These include making sure that any gift forms part of someone’s normal expenditure, does not reduce their standard of living, and is made out of income rather than as a reduction in their assets.

Beyond these opportunities, plus a few others that relate to specific circumstances such as marriage, there is the potentially exempt transfer (PET) rule. This allows gifts of any size to be made to any person, but they must happen at least seven years before someone dies to be fully effective.

Life assurance can be useful to clients who may be facing a large IHT bill without having sufficient liquid assets (for example, cash) to meet it. This situation is common where a family’s wealth is tied up in property. A protection policy won’t reduce the IHT bill, but it should make it easier to settle, provided the premiums are paid in accordance with the contract.

Are there any other options?

Firstly entrepreneurs, and anyone who has invested in unlisted companies in the past, will probably be familiar with the term ‘business relief.’ It applies at a rate of up to 100% on qualifying investments.

What this means is that, provided someone has owned the relevant assets for at least two years prior to death, they should attract a reduction of up to 100% in IHT as part of an estate.

Given that there are no free lunches, the types of investments that qualify are typically higher-risk smaller companies. So, proper consideration needs to be given to whether they are suitable and, assuming that they are, how much of someone’s overall investable wealth should be allocated to them.

The second specialist area is trusts. Here, the idea is that rather than making a direct gift, it is held by a separate vehicle on behalf of an ultimate beneficiary. That sounds simple enough, but trusts must be created with care if they are to achieve their original objectives and stay the right side of the tax rules.

Whether someone is setting up a simple, or a more complicated trust it is vital to get the legal structure right and deal with the related tax and administration issues correctly. Using a suitably qualified tax adviser and solicitor, in collaboration with a financial planner, can be the best bet.

To learn more about how we can help with estate and succession planning, please drop into House of Killik Chiswick for a complimentary chat or email chiswick@killik.com.

Please be aware that as with all investments, your capital is at risk and you may not receive back the same amount that you invest. Please note that tax treatments depend on personal circumstances and the rules may be subject to future change.


If you have any questions about this article, or wish to discuss your financial circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact Relationship Manager, Phil Sole and House & Community Coordinator, Emma Walker.

We welcome all Chiswick residents to House of Killik, no appointment necessary.  Pop in for a chat and a coffee at 13 Devonshire Road – we look forward to meeting you soon.


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May 2024 Books

What’s new and good to read this month? Dan Coombes has a look at what’s on offer from publishers in May and chooses Long Island by Colm Tóibín, Queen Macbeth by Val McDermid and You Like It Darker by Stephen King.

Images: Long Island by Colm Tóibín; Queen Macbeth by Val McDermid; You Like It Darker by Stephen King

Long Island – Colm Tóibín

Set twenty years after his most lauded and lovely literary landmark Brooklyn, Long Island continues the story of Irish immigrant Ellis Lacey, making her way in the United States of America in the late Seventies with her husband, children, friends…and an imminent, great big life-changing clanger that’s going to upend everything.

Colm Toibin is famous for his elegant and restrained writing and vividly drawn characters at turning points in their lives, thinking deep thoughts and probably gazing wistfully into the middle distance quite a lot, and there aren’t many more satisfyingly refined and readable writers out there.

A man with an Irish accent knocks on Eilis Fiorello’s door on Long Island and asks for her by name. Eilis and husband Tony have built a secure, happy life here since leaving Brooklyn, twenty years married and with two children looking towards a good future. But this stranger will reveal something that will make Eilis question the life she has created.

For the first time in years she suddenly feels very far from home and the revelation will see her turn towards Ireland once again. Back to her mother. Back to the town and the people she had chosen to leave behind. Did she make the wrong choice marrying Tony all those years ago? Is it too late now to take a different path?

Images: Long Island; Colm Tóibín

Queen Macbeth – Val McDermid

You’d have to be a pretty amazing author to rewrite acknowledged historical banger-that-you-can’t-mention-out-loud-in-a-theatre Macbeth, turn it on its head and transform it into an absolutely cracking thriller for the modern age, re-examining history while keeping you on the edge of your seat, so it’s good that Val McDermid took the job on, really.

A thousand years ago in an ancient Scottish landscape, a woman is on the run with her three companions – a healer, a weaver and a seer. The men hunting her will kill her – because she is the only one who stands between them and their violent ambition.

She is no lady: she is the first queen of Scotland, married to a king called Macbeth. As the net closes in, we discover a tale of passion, forced marriage, bloody massacre and the harsh realities of medieval Scotland.

At the heart of it is one strong, charismatic woman, who survived loss and jeopardy to outwit the endless plotting of a string of ruthless and power-hungry men. Her struggle won her a country. But now it could cost her life.

Images: Queen Macbeth; Val McDermid; photograph KT Bruce

You Like It Darker – Stephen King

Am I always going to recommend a new Stephen King book regardless of any other new releases in a month? Pretty much, and that’s because even if you think he’s gone off the boil in more recent decades (we are talking about a consistently amazing half century career here after all) not-quite-in-his-prime Stephen King is usually better than half the writers out there, and that’s no disrespect to other authors it’s just…y’know. Stephen King.

‘You like it darker? Fine, so do I’, writes Stephen King in the afterword to this magnificent new collection of twelve stories that delve into the darker part of life – both metaphorical and literal.

King is a master of the form, and these stories, about fate, mortality, luck, and the folds in reality where anything can happen, are as rich and riveting as his novels, both weighty in theme and a huge pleasure to read. King writes to feel ‘the exhilaration of leaving ordinary day-to-day life behind’, and in You Like it Darker, readers will feel that exhilaration too, again and again.

Images: You Like It Darker; Stephen King

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 16 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.

ArtsEd receives highest accolade from Independent Schools Inspectorate

Guest blog by Peter Middleton, ArtsEd Head Heacher

At the end of March 2024, ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form were inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) as part of their routine cycle of school inspections.

This latest inspection took place under the new framework that was introduced in September 2023. There is no ‘overall judgment’ of the school – ISI have removed single word judgments.

However, they are permitted to identify key areas of Significant Strength in a school. It is a label applied only where a school does something truly exceptional and with impact across the whole student body; the bar is set incredibly high. Accordingly, the School is thrilled that their inspection team identified the following area of Significant Strength at ArtsEd:

“standards that students achieve in performing arts, in line with the school’s expressed aims, are a significant strength of the school.”  ISI Inspection report  2024  (paragraph 4)

The inspection, and report, place student experience and outcome, along with school culture, at its heart; consequently, it provides a much better assessment on whether schools do what they say they do.

During the inspection, ISI inspectors look at whether the standards (The Independent School Standard Regulations) have been met in the following five areas, and the report provides commentary to support its findings:

  • Leadership and management, and governance
  • Quality of education, training and recreation
  • Pupils’ physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Pupils’ social and economic education and contribution to society

It was evident that the Inspectors left having really understood the essence of an ArtsEd education, our values, and crucially our students.  Not only was ArtsEd found to have met these standards in all areas, but the inspection team also identified a key area of outstanding excellence in our school – the strength of our performing arts provision.

The inspectors also recognised key attributes of our students and staff, and the centrality of the ‘ArtsEd Curriculum’, our ethos and values, and the pastoral care. These can be seen throughout the report, and some examples are reflected below:

“Leaders plan a curriculum through which pupils study a wide range of academic and vocational subjects. Pupils develop linguistic, mathematical, scientific and technological skills.  Leaders strategically plan ahead and adapt their curriculum in the light of the changing demands of the world of performing arts.

“Pupils are articulate, attentive, listen with respect and enjoy opportunities to work together

“Pupils have a sense of responsibility; they apply effort to their work and are self-motivated and ambitious” ISI Inspeciton report”  ISI Inspection report 2024  (paragraph 17)

“The leaders of the school have developed a culture of mutual respect and tolerance which is seen in the interactions between pupils and pupils and staff around the school. Inclusion and diversity are prioritised by leaders with the recent appointment of staff and pupil equality, diversity and inclusion leads.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 38)

“The curriculum, school policies and school activities encourage and support an ethos of mutual respect where pupils appreciate the individuality of others and feel they can be their natural selves.  Pupils are kind and tolerant, and there is a clear focus on matters of equality and inclusion.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 27)

“From their arrival at the school, pupils learn to accept responsibility for the standard of their performances and their behaviour. They develop skills of teamwork and leadership through the many opportunities to perform throughout the year.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 42)

The inspection process is, quite rightly, rigorous and detailed and relies on extensive interviews with pupils and staff, lesson observations, work scrutiny and questionnaires. The judgment of the school is built from the bottom up,  from the experience of our students and our parents.

“Leaders and managers have the knowledge, skills and experience to help pupils thrive and flourish.  They are highly attuned to the specific demands of a creative performing arts environment, where pupils need a challenging and broad education as well as a high standard of vocational training.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 10)

Further detail from the report describes the teaching of the performing and creative arts, our Significant Strength, as being:

“inspiring and informed by current professional practice.  Teachers have high expectations of pupils, who receive challenging tasks and are given a busy schedule of performance opportunities.  Pupils respond with focus and energy, producing work of a notably high standard both in the classroom and on the stage.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 22)

“The teaching of performing arts is dynamic and responsive to the needs of the pupils.  It is delivered by professionals who have expert knowledge so that pupils make rapid progress and achieve results well above the national averages in these areas.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 4)

We are one of very few schools to have been described as exhibiting a Significant Strength, as it is the highest accolade under the new inspection structure. This is a hugely exciting validation of all that we do here at ArtsEd.

We know this to be a major feature of the education we offer alongside a rigorous academic education, where continual review of teaching and learning strategies is also part of our culture.

I am incredibly proud of this feedback and it clearly reflects our school and who we are.  I am extremely grateful to the whole team here at ArtsEd for their hard work and support, and to all of our families for making our school and community a very special place for children to grow and succeed.

The Acting Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mrs Farida Mannan, is delighted with this outcome:

“The Report is a testament to the dedication of the Day School and Sixth Form staff to our pupils, and also to the genuine affinity the pupils have for this exceptional school.

“The trustees are immensely proud of this achievement on obtaining such a positive report and we will continue to work with the leadership at ArtsEd to maintain high standards across all areas of ArtsEd’s offer. I would like to thank the Senior Leadership Team for leading this successful inspection and all of the staff for their attention to detail, support and continuous hard work.”

This Inspection follows the extremely positive affirmations for ArtsEd’s Higher Education provision, which was recently recognised as being Outstanding by Ofsted (Higher Education RADA funding) and was awarded TEF Gold in late 2023.  Such accolades demonstrate  ArtsEd’s commitment to delivering the highest calibre of teaching and learning within performing arts education.

 At ArtsEd we are conscious that students often seek to move mid-year, or outside the usual entrance points. We have recently opened registration for our September (Day School & Sixth Form Open Evenings 2024 – ArtsEd), but we sometimes have occasional places and would be very happy to consider any and all such applications.  

Please contact pupils@artsed.co.uk to discuss any potential application.

The full ISI report can be found at this link:  ArtsEd-School-Inspection-Report-March-202418

Details of our Day School and Sixth Form Open Event:  Day School & Sixth Form Open Evenings 2024 – ArtsEd

Peter Middleton is the Head Teacher of the day school at ArtsEd 

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024) – Review by Andrea Carnevali

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Many years after the reign of Caesar, a young ape goes on a journey that will lead him to question everything he’s been taught about the past and make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. On in cinemas now.

Here’s a film for which I had zero expectations, mostly because the trailer made it look like another one of those loud, brainless, battle-filled, visual-effects-packed and mostly uninteresting wanna-be-blockbusters (or at least that’s what I got out of it), but also because the idea of resuscitating a franchise, which, after the previous three prequels, felt so complete and satisfying, seemed to me to be a pretty pointless cash-in exercise.

But I have to say, while this film surely doesn’t reach the heights (or rather the depths) and richness of the previous instalments (particularly the last two), I did find myself warming up to it and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

This is officially the fourth prequel to the classic original 1978 Planet of the Apes, but don’t worry, the beauty of this one is that you don’t have to do any homework.

In fact, as it turns out, you can shrink the plot of the prequels into just a paragraph without losing your audience: a virus breaks out, makes apes smarter and they take over the planet. There you go. Done. Fast forward 300 years and this new film starts.

Directed by Wes Ball (the man behind the forgettable Maze Runner films) Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (such a mouthful that I’m going to be calling it KOTPOTA from now onwards) is really a standalone “sequel” and sort of “reboot” with a whole new story, a new beginning and new characters.

Clearly the idea is to start building up to more sequels, and given the box office of its first weekend, I can see this developing into another new trilogy. That is not to say that this one doesn’t have a proper ending, because it does.

Sure, there are plenty of echoes of many other films before this, and to say that the message of the film is about colonialism, immigration, xenophobia, is probably giving KOTPOTA  a little bit too much credit, but I have to say, the angle about the different interpretations of history that different people (or in this case, apes) can have, felt fresh and interesting.

If you add to that some properly developed characters and some great visuals, the result is a blockbuster that doesn’t insult your intelligence and at the same time can still entertain.

And of course, this is all without mentioning the main reason why we’re all here: the visual effects, which, I can promise you, are truly stunning!

The CGI-Motion-Capture and scenery, created by the award-winning WETA FX wizards (a company born out of Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings more than two decades ago) are by now so beautifully rendered and well-integrated into the film, that pretty soon you’ll forget those apes were never actually there and in fact. Come to think of it, apes don’t talk either.

The film is out now in cinemas everywhere.

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

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

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival 2023

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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