Episode 38: Holding the line for a free press

The Culture and Media Secretary Lucy Frazer has intervened to scrutinise the sale of the Daily Telegraph to a company backed by the Abu Dhabi ruling family, over concerns around public interest. Would they interfere with the editorial in pursuance of their interests? It wouldn't be the first time a newspaper owner had tried it, with more or less success. The Three Old Hacks, aka Sunday Times Economics editor David Smith, political analyst Nigel Dudley and former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose,  compare notes on interfering owners with whom they have worked over their long careers. Listen to the podca

Brentford 3, Luton Town 1

One down, three to go, Yarmoliuk hares through the Hatters Hat’s off to Bees Having been given a dusting by Liverpool and then edged out by Arsenal, the Bees were patently determined of getting back to winning ways. They need not have worried. Last season qualifiers for the Premier League, The Hatters – so named because of the town’s history in the titfer trade – have been struggling since its start and their visit to the Gtech Community Stadium did nothing to suggest happier days were imminent. The first half saw Brentford dominate the visitors, creating a string of chances without converting any of them into goals. Early on, Bryan Mbeumo came close, firing a shot past a post. Sadly, this has not been exactly a rarity in his game, but the paucity of Luto

Chiswick Cheese Market – Sunday 19 November

Image above: Chiswick Cheese Market Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin At the last market, we joined forces with The Academy of Cheese for the first ever, LIVE, Big Cheese Weekender – and what a day it was! Fantastic demos from the Queen of Cheddar herself, Mary Quicke, who showed us how cheddar is made, sharing her love and enthusiasm for the miracle that is cheese. Next up… Perry Wakeman, Affineur of the Year two years in a row, showed us how the maturing process works. A fun event with the Academy and Patrick McGuigan introduce

“The Police are more interested in raising money for the Government than they are in protecting the public”

Guest blog by Ann Crighton I am a criminal barrister with thirty years’ experience of both prosecuting and defending, who now specialises in motoring offences. Regrettably I have come to the conclusion that the police are spending the majority of their time prosecuting people for what most of us would consider minor offences and ignoring crimes we care more about, such as street robberies, burglaries and shoplifting. The job of the police has become one of revenue collection - taking money from hard working members of our community who very often are unaware they have committed an offence, because they are easy to

Brentford 3, West Ham United 2

Players and fans salute the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal's Last Post Hammers’ bubbles burst Three matches, three victories, nine points – that’s all it took to see the Bees emerge from the doldrums into Premier League sunshine. Following a three-nil limbering up against Burnley – even the presence of celebrity Alastair Campbell couldn’t disguise the Lancashire club’s deficiencies – followed by the courageous 2-0 turnaround against Chelsea, the Bees resumed their pattern of invariably getting the better of the pride of East London. On this occasion they managed it with a much-needed goal by Neal Maupay, who hadn’t scored a PL goal since last September (for Everton) and must have been thinking he’d lost the knack. He has played well in his

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

Bill Hagerty receiving his award from the London Press Club - L to R children Adam and Will, wife and fellow journalist Liz Vercoe, Bill and daughter Faith Guest blog by Julia Langdon Chiswick journalist Bill Hagerty has just pulled off the scoop of his life and that’s not a bad claim for a man who started in newspapers as a boy “sixty-something” years ago. Hagerty is himself the star of this story because what he has scooped is the most prestigious award in British journalism – that of Journalist Laureate 2023. It is a prize so honoured that it has only been presented to four previous recipients and it went to Bill Hagerty not only because of his lifetime of significant achievement and his editorship of three national newspapers but because o

Episode 37: Three Men in a Boat navigating British Journalism

Our podcast with The Three Old Hacks, aka former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose, Economics editor of the Sunday Times David Smith, and political analyst Nigel Dudley, has been described as 'the modern equivalent of Jerome K Jerome's book Three Men in a Boat' by broadcaster and journalist Lucy Beresford. Like George, Harris and Jerome they are old friends who consider themselves overworked and in need of a holiday (always). Like the River Thames, they have a tendency to meander. Theirs is not so much a travel guide as a commentary on the state of British journalism based on their experiences over the p

Riverside Cllr Amy Croft on speaking at the Labour Party Conference

Image above: Cllr Amy Croft speaking at the Labour conference in Liverpool Cllr Amy Croft reflects on her first time speaking at a Labour conference Guest blog Last week I swapped the sunny suburbs of Chiswick and headed to the uncharacteristically sunny and warm (for October) Liverpool, for the annual Labour Party Conference. I was struck by the very clean streets despite the large distance between litter bins, and heavy concentration of bars and restaurants, alongside historical buildings, sitting in relative tranquillity without adjacent high-rise, and the fact that the equivalent of Lime scooters far outweighed the alternative bike provision; your focus definitely changes once you become a

Brentford 3, Burnley 0

Image above: Burnley's Roberts before his second yellow card Third Season: Singing in the rain ‘Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink’, said my mate Charlie as Brentford’s secured their first victory since 19 August to the accompaniment of torrents from the skies. It could have been worse: had the clouds decided to join the afternoon action nearer the kick-off, a flotilla of small boats might have been required to rescue the players and match officials from a flood. As it was, the Bees found some of the form enjoyed in promising performances at the beginning of the season, most satisfying a 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. But that was then and now was now, when supporters were busy calculati

New Chiswick street food market Sunday 22 October – what to expect

Winners of the British Street Food Awards bring an explosion of international flavours to the first Chiswick street food market Guest blog by Richard Johnson We’re BEYOND excited to launch Food St - our new street food market - in West London this Autumn. We’ll be taking over the car park outside the George IV - the site of Chiswick’s first outdoor market, set up by soldiers returning from WW1 - on the fourth Sunday of every month. And we’ll be hoping to entice visitors down to experience all of Chiswick’s independent shops, cafes and restaurants. We run the biggest street food competition in the world. Currently in 16 countries across Europe - and we’re launching in the US in November. So it makes sense that the opening of Food St will be peppered with

Big Cheese Weekender comes to ‘Cheesewick’

Save the date: Sunday 15 October 2023, 9.30am - 3pm Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin The UK’s cheese accreditation body, The Academy of Cheese, hosts an annual National Cheese Weekend packed with on-line events. For the first time ever, it will be LIVE and it will be from Chiswick Cheese Market. ‘Cheesewick’ is well and truly on the map! The Academy will stream live from the market all day, there are extra activities happening and more stalls than ever before. On top of our monthly range of over 180 different artisan cheeses we have Mellis mongers bringing cheeses from the Highlands and islands, Ty Caws bringing us some of the exciting artisan Welsh cheeses and Maltby and Greek bringing us some of the better and lesser-known cheese direct from Greece.

Brentford 0, Arsenal 1

Image above: Brentford v Arsenal, Wednesday 27 September 2023; still from YouTube video EFL Cup: Third Round Following a dismal performance against Everton, Brentford set out to re-establish themselves as a power in the Premier League. The fixture list dictated they would have to take on Arsenal in a third-round tie of the ELF Cup to achieve such lofty ambition, but hey, who said it would be easy? Not Arsenal, that’s certain. Head coach Mikel Arteta fielded a starting line-up that lacked some of his squad’s more glittering talents but still presented a lesson in slick passing that made the home team – only a couple of changes from the Everton game – look like… well, look very much like the same bunch that had been unceremoniously thumped 3-1. Aaron R

Brentford 1, Everton 3

Off to a bad start with Schade injured in the warm up Third Season ... Second Defeat The first omen of the day arrived in the match programme, where Alex Lawes warned that beating struggling Everton might not be as straightforward as form and the League table suggest. Then, in the warm-up, Kevin Schade took a tumble and received treatment on the pitch before disappearing at a limp towards the dressing room. Uh, oh! If one was to count the devastating injury suffered by Rico Henry at Newcastle, this made a hat-trick of bad luck (a quartet if including the renewed injury problem of Ben Mee), which as anyone’s superstitious mum would tell them, signalled potential disaster. Never doubt the foresight of those superstitious mothers. When the football got underway

The Simple Tale of a Cycle Lane: Jewel Heists to the Luftwaffe

Image above: C9, Chiswick High Rd Guest blog by Michael Robinson on the final, final decision on the installation of the cycle lane through Chiswick High Rd C9, the cycle way which comes through Chiswick High Rd, has has its last and final sign off by Hounslow Council. The debate surrounding its installation has caused more division in Chiswick than any other localised topic in recent memory. Eight Conservative councillors, six of them Chiswick councillors (excluding Cllr Jack Emsley, who didn't see the point, and Joanna Biddolph who didn't get a vote because she sits on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee herself), made a last ditch attempt to get Hounslow's Overview and Scrutiny Committee to make the Cabinet reconsider, but the attempt failed and the intermina

Episode 36: A perfect profession for spying

Former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose, Economics editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political analyst Nigel Dudley continue setting the world to rights with their podcast Three Old Hacks. This week their subject is spies, and how the journalistic profession lends itself to approaches from foreign powers. Listen to

Chiswick Cheese Market, Sunday 17 September

Images above: Lincolnshire Poacher producers Simon & Tim Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin Here’s a lovely cheesy story for you …… Remember the dark days of lock down? We had no idea how long it would be; we had no idea what the ‘other side’ of the pandemic would look like; and yet human nature strives to find a way through. And so it was for Simon and Tim, makers of Lincolnshire Poacher cheese. Normally, they sold a percentage of their milk daily simply as milk but their wholesaler would not take it, the route to market for artisan cheese had stopped. What to do? They created a cheese that could be matured for longer using an alpine style recipe hoping that after the pandemic it would be mature and ready to sell. Well, that day has come (woohoo) and

Cultivate London gets a new patron and some money

Arit Anderson in Cultivate London's Salopian Garden in Isleworth Guest blog by Karen Liebreich Cultivate London, the local environmental charity founded thirteen years ago with a mission to make use of unused spaces in London to grow vegetables and maintain urban green spaces, had a busy summer. They moved their HQ, acquired new sites, acquired a new patron and received a substantial tranche of funding from LB Hounslow. READ ALSO: Hogarth Centre among community groups to receive grants from LB Hounslow This week Cultivate launches its new patron, Arit Anderson, star presenter of BBC TV’s Gardeners’ World and a

Apple Day in Chiswick

Image above: 25 large crates of apples ready to be juiced Apple pressing at Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday 3 September 2023 Karen Liebreich On Sunday at the Flower Market the big apple press came out and volunteers made free juice for passers-by. This season Abundance has so far picked from 24 fruit trees in the area, making up nearly two tonnes over the season. This included 18 apple trees, 11 pear trees, 3 plum trees and a damson. We still have more apple trees to harvest from, and the quince and grape harvests are just beginning. All this fruit is saved from being wasted. On Sunday we pressed about 25 large crates full of fresh local fruit. In addition we made six fruit donations of several crates each time to the Upper Room, six to th

The need for visible policing in Chiswick

Image above: Leader of Hounslow Council Shantanu Rajawat at George IV in Chiswick Working with the Police and retailers Inspector Michael Binns, who is in charge of the Safer Neighbourhood Team across the whole of Hounslow, and Sergeant Jim Cope, who is responsible for community policing in Chiswick, addressed a meeting of Chiswick's retailers on Friday (1 September), and listened to their accounts of the impact persistent shoplifting has had on them. READ ALSO: Police ‘Safer Neighbourhood’ team in Hounslow severely understaffed Leader of Hounslow Council Cllr Shantanu Rajawat was also there, answering questions on behalf of the

Brentford 2, AFC Bournemouth 2

Image above by Liz Vercoe Third Season: Last gasp catch-up The good news is that the Bees’ unbeaten record in this fledgling Premier League season remains intact. The bad news is that missed chances and a collection of defensive errors meant only a late, late show of Bryan Mbeumo’s undoubted talent enabled them to pocket a point. For the uncommitted fan, there was much to admire in this late summer contest at the Gtech Community Stadium. Bournemouth, with only a point gathered from the three games played prior to this one, offered a lesson in immaculate passing that often had the home defence scuttling about like headless chickens in their own penalty area. Brentford, meanwhile, scored an early goal, conce

A challenging year for home-owners and the housing market

Image above: Terraced houses in Chiswick; Photograph Anna Kunst Interest rates still on the rise It has been a year since that mini-budget – the one which triggered higher mortgage costs for millions and led to the swift political demise of its architects Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng. Since then, interest rates have gone up and up. Before that budget the Bank of England’s official bank rate was 1.75%. Eight incremental rises since September 2022 have brought it to 5.25%, piling the pressure on anyone with borrowing. The Centre for Economics and Business Research is forecasting two more rate rises in the current cycle, with Bank rate peaking at 5.75%. It is not just the price of borrowing which is affecting buyers but the price of housin

Brentford 1, Crystal Palace 1

Image above: Celebrating Kevin Schade's goal; picture Brentford FC Third Season: Honours even There were two outstanding incidents in a match that rarely excited – one of those encounters that linger in the memory for no more than a few minutes. The first surprise was a ferocious cloudburst that sent many supporters of both camps scurrying to the back of the stands. The second was a Brentford goal that may well figure highly next May in TV viewers’ polls to decide the best of the season. First, the rain, which drenched thousands without any of them realising the irony following the delay in starting the first game if the new season – no water was to be had anywhere in the stadium or the sky. Fortunately, Kevin Schade’s goal was so grand that all memory o

Brentford 2, Tottenham Hotspur 2

Henry returns as fast and furious as ever Third Season: Here we go again! As I was saying before being rudely interrupted by the cricket season, what a terrific campaign Brentford conducted in finishing ninth in what was only their second Premier League experience. Was it a footballing flash in the pan? And can it be repeated, or even improved upon, in the months ahead?  Read on for the highlights of a 2023/24 debut, during which these questions were not necessarily answered but gave us a hint or two. But first, to set the scene, a few quirky pre-match points – quirky because we are talking Brentford, after all. The matchday programme, for example, in which the squad lists on its back page did not include their shirt numbers. Confusing for those who don’t

Chiswick Cheese Market – Sunday 20 August

Images above: Gherkins growing; gherkins pickled Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin A Chiswick tale… A fabulous lady called Lucy bought a packet of seeds from a lovely man called Alfonso at The Chiswick Cheese Market. She planted the seeds and green shoots soon grew. She looked after the plant in a pot on her patio and by August she was harvesting beautiful unusual little fruits. She pickled them, waiting for autumn to come so she could share her home-grown gherkins with her friends alongside a lovely warming, ooey-gooey raclette. The End It's not me – it’s Lucy Lee-Tirrell of the cheese market team and she has tended her seeds she bought from @Collanverdefarm stall back in March.  Alfonso is back with us after a visit to their olive farm in It

The little coffee cart which nearly grew up to be a big cafe

Considering whether to turn Coco Coffee at Strand on the Green into a bricks and mortar cafe It sounds like a children's bedtime story, but really it is a cautionary tale about how dicey it is trying to set up a business selling coffee in Chiswick. Anthony Duckworth's coffee cart at Strand on the Green is a thriving little business, though a tough gig for the barista when it's cold and pouring with rain. For a brief moment he toyed with the idea of opening a bricks and mortar cafe near the High Rd and he got quite a long way down the line before it all went pear shaped. Now he's quite glad he didn't get to go through with it. Guest blog by Anthony Duckworth So, according to a certain global coffee publication, I own and operate a

Episode 35: What the Nigel Farage ‘debanking’ saga tells us about British journalism

Much has been written and said about the Nigel Farage ‘debanking’ story. Thinking a client is a ‘disingenuous grifter’ or a xenophobic racist is not supposed to be a good enough reason for a bank to deny someone an account. But what about the journalism involved in breaking the story? Was the BBC’s Business Editor Simon Jack right to have broadcast a story based on the word of a very senior figure within the bank? Yes, the Three Old Hacks - aka former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose, Sunday Times Economics Editor David Smith and political analyst Nigel Dudley - are unanimous that he should have been ab

Children’s author Lotte Moore – obituary

Image above: Lotte Moore, who died, aged 87 on 12 July Best known for her wartime memoir Lotte Moore - A Child's War Obituary by Nicholas Bromley Though Lotte Moore only took up her pen in 2006 at the age of 70, she managed to write and publish over 25 children’s books in her lifetime as well as novels, poetry collections and a biography. Ink ran in the family. Her grandfather was the writer and humourist A.P. Herbert and her father John Pudney, besides being a novelist and journalist, was one of the foremost poets of his generation. Lotte’s early childhood was spent as an evacuee during World War Two and this experience was embedded in her memory. Alan Herbert and his wife Gwen lived on Hammersmi

Chiswick Flower Market – a home for British flowers?

Image above: British flowers at Chiswick Flower Market; photograph Anna Kunst A focus on British grown flowers at the next Chiswick Flower Market, Sunday 6 August  Guest Blog by Ollie Saunders Summer is the perfect time for British grown flowers – they are at the height of their beauty as we enter the season of dahlias, sunflowers and sweet peas. When we open this Sunday, Chiswick Flower Market will have the largest selection of British grown flowers available in London.  You can buy directly from ten different flower farmers at our market; some of the flowers have been grown within walking distance of the High Road.  They will have been cut the night before our market. Now you can’t

It’s a wrap! A long and very busy year in performimg arts at Chiswick School

Image: From the school's dance production Aberfan It's a wrap! Guest blog by Tommy Robinson It's been a long year. Well actually it's been as long as any other year: 195 days 39 weeks, four full terms. However, when you fill an empty bag with as much as we do, it somehow feels fuller. In a year that has seen industrial action that has limited the reach of extracurricular, both by schools and transport, we could have been excused for taking our foot off the accelerator, and students losing impetus. Keeping the students in school in our priority and Chiswick school does that particularly well, we are well above average for attendance and this year was recognised with an FFT National school Attendance Award, which puts us in the top 10% in the c

Episode 34: Gamesmanship and Protest

The Three Old Hacks, aka Sunday Times Economics Editor David Smith, former Sports News editor at the BBC and author of many books about sport, Mihir Bose, and political commentator Nigel Dudley, have been chewing over the week's news - in particular the cricket, and whether or not the Australians have behaved abominably. Warming to their theme, they discuss gamesmanship, colonialism, the Just Stop Oil protests and the efficacy of protests at international sporting fixtures in general, recalling disrupted matches now lost in the mists of time. (And yes, irritating though they may have been, the