Online entertainment April 2021

The theatres are gearing up to start their new productions. Meanwhile there is still lots of live streamed and as-live entertainment online. Pam O'Toole has been looking at the broad spectrum of material available. If your idea of fun isn’t spending a cold April night wrapped in blankets in a pub garden, there’s still a lot of online entertainment about. So settle down by your fireside

Chiswick musician writes a new musical: Theme Park Fan

Image above: Nick Hutson Chiswick musician Nick Hutson has written a new musical, in collaboration with friends, about a shared passion: theme parks. He told Matt Smith how the musical was born out of lockdown. Nick has lived in Chiswick all his life and for the last six years has been working as a a music composer for the theme park industry, something which he admits is "a rea

Arts Ed Saturday classes are back from 17 April 2021

News from ArtsEd

Following the government's confirmation that the roadmap out of lockdown is on schedule we are delighted to announce that ArtsEd EXTRA, our Saturday School, is returning to in-person teaching from 17 April! One of the most popular weekend Schools in West London, our Saturday Skills Academy provides Musical Theatre and Acting courses for ages 7-16. Taught by industry

New Spring classes at Chiswick Art School 2021

Image above: Plein Air painting session; Chiswick Art School Chiswick Art School is looking forward to opening its doors again, with a range of classes, including classes for children, both on site and online. New classes for this term include some one day courses, in printmaking, watercolours and digital creativity.

New: One day courses

Printmaking: Saturday 15 May and

Mama Maria’s Italian Easter specialities

Image above: Maria and Mario at Mari's Deli on Chiswick Mall; photograph Frank Noon Mamma Maria and her son Mario run Mari's deli and cafe on Chsiwick Mall. Mama Maria does a lot of the cooking and this week she's been preparing pastiera and Casatiello for Easter. Images above: Mario and Maria preparing pastiera Alina from Mari's Deli tells us: "The Neapolitan

A tour of the new Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub

Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub is due to open its doors on 12 April. Located in the middle of Gunnersbury Park, the brand new sports venue includes a large 100+ station gym, two group exercise studios with automated virtual classes and a large sports hall offering competition standard facilities for a variety of sports such as handball, futsal and volleyball, as well as many others.

Olive costs Andrew Cotter the race against James Cracknell

One of the redeeming features of the last year has been BBC sports correspondent Andrew Cotter's videos with his two labradors, Olive and Mabel. In the early days of business meetings by Zoom as we were all getting used to the medium, his spoof assessment by a company boss of his employees, using the two dogs as stooges, was comedy gold. Olive and Mabel have become superstars. He brought

Running stories

A new book out called ‘Running Stories’ tells the tales of those who run – why they do it and what role it plays in their lives. 100% of the revenue from sales is being donated to The Running Charity, who use running to improve the lives of homeless young people in the UK. I’ve you’ve ever tho

A year of pandemic – how has Chiswick fared?

Image above: Bell & Crown pub, closed spring 2020; photograph Joanna Raikes It's a year since Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock announced in Parliament that "all unnecessary social contact should cease". He made that announcement on 16 March 2020 and a week later Boris Johnson told the country that people "must" stay at home and that certain businesses must close. T

Remembering those the pandemic has taken – David Stewart

Images above: David Stewart We now know that the number of people who died from Covid-19 in Chiswick between March 2020 and the end of February 2021 is 61. That’s 61 groups of family and friends for whom the pandemic represents rather more than a financial loss or an inconvenience, who have suffered real loss. Local funeral director Oliver Peyton told us how hard people hav

Chiswick’s ‘Concierge Cabbies’

How London's embattled black car drivers are faring after a year of the pandemic

It’s been a tough year for many trades. But few have been as badly hit as London’s black cab drivers. With the City shuttered, and travel severely curtailed, their livelihood has all but disappeared. Pictures in the national press last November showed a black cab “graveyard” in a field near Epping

Retail: “I’ve never had to work so hard in my life”

Image above: Sally Price at Insider Dealings; photograph Anna Kunst Retailers have had a tough year. Trying to work out whether what they sell is 'essential' or not (flower stalls weren't essential but garden centres were); redesigning their premises to lay out social distancing, refitting them with screens to protect their till staff and customers; closing, opening, closing again

Young people who started their own business during lockdown

Images above: Rita Kastrati; Olivia and Francesca Johns

"We just thought, we have this long summer holiday stretching ahead of us with nothing to do and nowhere to go, so we'd go for it"

Francesca and Olivia Johns are 22 and 20 respectively. In the summer of 2020 Francesca graduated from Kings, with a degree in Geography; her sister Olivia had just complete

On being ‘elderly and vulnerable’ in a pandemic

Image above: Rainbow from the window of Barbara's flat

It’s a pandem, and all stations panic

Text and photogrpahs by Barbara Chandler Today, Tuesday, I will get my second Covid jab, thanks to the admirable enterprise of the local doctors who are selflessly running the large Chiswick vaccination centre. It’s within the 12 week window, with a week to spare. Will it

The Felix Project and Cookbook Kitchen provide basic supplies and simple cooking ideas

Pandemic hits poor

Almost 700,000 people in the UK, including 120,000 children, have been plunged into poverty as a result of the Covid economic crisis, according to the thinktank the Legatum Institute. The Institute says it is only the Chancellor's temporary £20-a-week boost to Universal Credit which is stopping a further 700,000 people being in the same position. There are vario

Clare Balding: I’ve never been at home as much as this

Images above: Torin Douglas; Clare Balding The Boat Race on Easter Sunday will be the first major sporting event Clare Balding has done for the BBC for over a year. Normally jetting all over the world to cover sporting events, she talked about how a year full of lockdowns has been for her, in the first of the 2021 Spring Lectures for

Desperate for kittens

Images above: Zeb and Ziggy

Lockdown stampede for furry companions sees animal charity swamped by applications

Freezing adoption applications for animals in need of a home is not a decision an animal charity takes lightly. But that is what the Covid emergency has forced Hounslow Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) to do. Since the first lockdown, exactly a year ago, they have be

Cancelling Christmas for the love of animals

Image above: Village Vet staff member with a client Lara Waterson, Regional Support Manager at Village Vet, has always known that her colleagues were willing to go the extra mile to help the pets of Chiswick. But it

Out of lockdown Harriet’s Kitchen was born

Image above: Harriet Benton and Alan Weavis; photograph Anna Kunst Harriet's Kitchen is celebrating its Golden anniversary - measured in weeks, not years that is, as Harriet's Kitchen is a child of 2020 and the first lockdown. Harriet Benton has been a caterer for more than 40 years. With her partner Alan Weavis she built up a very successful business as

Zooming with wine bottles: teaching Pilates during Covid

Images above: Ris Widdicombe celebrates the second birthday of the Pilates now! studio, Pilates Now! studio It doesn’t seem long since Ris Widdicombe proudly showed me around her Pilates studio, saying “In a year’s time, this will all be mine!" It was early 2020, and Ris was referring to the top-of-the range Reformer Pilates equipment she’d purchased for her business, Pi

Pandemic one year on – Unexpected silver linings: Ballet classes online

Image above: Donna Schoenherr, founder / owner, Ballet4Life teaching online

“I was always very snobbish about doing dance classes online”

“I was always very snobbish about doing dance classes online” says founder and owner of Ballet4Life, Donna Schoenherr. “For years people had been asking me to do dance online and I said it couldn’t be done that way”. As

Setting up a business in lockdown: Rita Kastrati – Bea’s Flowers London

Images above: Rita Kastrati; Rita and her mother Bea

Bea's Flowers London

Rita Kastrati, 21, graduated in the summer of 2020 with a degree in International Political Economy. She had a job lined up in New York which she wasn't able to take because she couldn't get there. She has gone into business with her mother, selling flowers. "In October 2020, durin

Setting up a business in lockdown: James Willcocks – software engineer

Images above: James Willcocks; James' dog Harry

Software engineer

James Willcocks, 24, lives on Dartmoor. Coming from a farming family, he wasn't convinced that he wanted to work in London, but thought he should at least give it a try. He moved to Chiswick in September 2019 but during the following year, as central London offices emptied and he improved his network of conta

Setting up a business in lockdown: Francesca & Olivia Johns – Boeboes

Images above: Francesca and Olivia Johns with Boeboes Roman blinds and cushions


Francesca and Olivia Johns are 22 and 20 respectively. In the summer of 2020 Francesca graduated from Kings, with a degree in Geography; her sister Olivia had just completed her first year studying Criminology at Oxford Brooks University. Did they spend the summer in

Setting up a business in lockdown: Jake Stewart – Cello

Images above: Jake Backer; Cello


Strictly speaking a pre-lockdown business, Jacob Stewart, 23, started Cello, a one-person company making and selling his homemade Limoncello, in late 2019 When he left school he taught fencing, football and cricket in a school for a couple of years before starting a degree in aeronautical engineering. But he quickly decided universi

Pandemic one year on – Unexpected silver linings: Bread making courses online

Remember when there was a run on eggs at the beginning of the first lockdown in 2020? Like toilet rolls and hand sanitiser, as the supermarket shelves emptied, they briefly became highly prized items. People who'd never kept chickens before suddenly decided they would, and the manufacturers of chicken coops quickly ran out of stock. Sara Ward at Hen Corner suddenly found there was a market

Pub in the Park tickets now on sale

Tickets have now gone on sale for Pub in the Park in the grounds of Chiswick House, 3 - 5 September. A glorious mix of great food and music. Michel Roux Jr, Chef Patron of the double Michelin-starred Le Gavroche in Mayfair, will be among the chefs joining Chiswick host Marcus Wareing. Across the weekend some of the UK's most respected chefs will share tips and tricks of the trade, including

Asian Art auction – 100 Chinese Stories

Images above: Celadon glazed ‘arrow vase’ from the 12th Century

Every piece of art has its own story

Chiswick Auctions is looking for Chinese art. They have a big sale coming up on 1 June and they are trawling for interesting items. What makes them interesting? Chinese art depicting narrative scenes. Art with a provenance or history that they can trace and items whos

Torin Douglas interviews Clare Balding 

Image above: Clare Balding Director of the Chiswick Book Festival Torin Douglas interviews sports broadcaster and children's author Clare Balding on Tuesday 16th March 8.00pm-9.15pm. The online talk is the first in a series of talks to raise money for the Upper Room, a charity which supports homeless people in west London. Clare Balding is arguably television’s most versat

Headliners Comedy Club – Mayfest 2021

Mayfest 2021

Headliners Comedy Club is back at the Boston Room of George IV on Friday 21 May with Mayfest - two weekends of comedy on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, with eight acts each night of the last two weekends of May. Friday 21 May line-up Hal Cruttenden, Phil Nichol, Babatunde Aleshe, Jeff Innocent, Ria Lina, Fin Taylor, Ian Stone, Paul Thorne