Every dog has his day

Or at least on The Chsiwick Calendar website they do. One of the advantages of Chiswick's leafiness is that people feel this is somewhere they can have a dog. On any given day in the grounds of Chiswick House you will see hundreds of them, and they all converge on the park in September for the Chiswick House Dog Show. Have a look at our Dog of the Day feature here each day to meet some of Chiswick's beloved dogs and read their stories. The Dog Show will be on Sunday 23 September. 

God Bless Aretha

There are some magical things which happen in Chiswick, one of which is the very popular women’s aqua-aerobics class at New Chiswick Pool on a Friday morning. It’s attended by women of all ages, shapes and sizes, tending more towards the older and more generously proportioned with a variety of dodgy hair dyes. In other words I feel right at home.  It is led by Glen, an affable and easy going bloke who does very little in the way of movement himself but has most wonderfully infectious and un-PC motivational style. (When he exhorted the class with "come on girls, you’re aquatic ballerinas" the resulting snort from me nearly caused me to drown).

Developer responds to ‘horrible plastic hedge’ criticism

The developer Indigo Scott is causing consternation in Chiswick where 'An inspired collection of 25 studios,1 and 2 bedroom apartments ideally located to embrace the enviable charms of Chiswick' are on sale at 510 Chiswick High Rd. Design journalist Barbara Chandler pointed out that it had a 'HORRIBLE PLASTIC HEDGE' on Twitter.  Sharon Scott, a Director of Indigo Scott says "the purpose of the hedge is to act as a privacy screen to the residents in the ground floor apartments, and to provide a 'soft boundary' to the building. "We were especially keen to provide something that fitted in with the glorious green foliage of the street" she says. They considered various opt

Gated community extension referred to planning officer

I reported last week that a planning application 3-8 Devonhurst Place, Heathfield Terrace was the cause of much concern for local residents. As a result of Cllr Ranjit Gill calling it in, the application for a roof extension to create a fourth floor with three additional residential units will now be considered by a planning officer and if they aren't concerned enough by the many objections to turn it down, it will be referred to the full planning committee of LB Hounslow.  

CS9 report ‘soon’

Transport for London is due to publish its response to the issues raised during the public consultation on Cycle Super Highway 9 this month. LB Hounslow's Head of Traffic, Transport and Environmental Strategy, Mark Frost says there are "a number of substantial changes" which have been made to the CS9 proposal. Improvements have been made as a result of the consultation. In response to opposition from Chiswick residents to the bi-directional cycle path taking pavement space from along the High Rd "some road space has been taken away and given to cyclists" he says instead.  TfL have met a group of Chiswick's councillors and Fr Michael Dunne, parish priest at Our Lady of Grace and St Edward on Chiswick

Shoplifting under £50 won’t be investigated by police

Hounslow Police officers have announced that it is no longer their policy to investigate shoplifting if the value of the goods stolen is less than £50. Giving their report to the Chiswick Area Forum meeting last week, two local police officers Dinesh Pillay and Adam Pitts confirmed that although Chsiwick is not a high crime area there is a fair amount of shoplifting which goes on in Chiswick High Rd but they don't have the resources to investigate every theft and would only do so if the value of the goods stolen was over £50. I know things have moved on a little from the days when you were hanged for stealing a sheep, but this seems to me a staggering admission of the inability of the modern Metropolitan Police to do the basic police work the public expects. Big companies with s

Cook Book Festival offers and recipes

Three of our Club Card businesses have got fabulous offers for the Cook Book Festival. Chateau on the High Rd is making four of Jo Pratt's recipes from her new book The Flexible Vegetarian. Over the Festival weekend from Friday 14 - Sunday 16 September try the roast beetroot soup & grilled peaches burrata with mint pesto. The following weekend, Friday 21 - Sunday 23 September go and try Jo's spinach soup & fig and goats cheese salad. 20% off for Club Card holders (AND the usual amazing 20% off the whole brunch / lunch menu continues). A few doors down As Nature Intended is offering a 20% discount to card holders mentioning the Cookbook Festival at the till all day Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September. When you've had your lunch and done your shopping head to Charlotte's Bis

Chiswick Book Festival this weekend

Director of the Chiswick Book Festival, Torin Douglas MBE and Jo James, Author Programme Director, have excelled themselves this year with a top line up for the 10th Chiswick Book Festival. The festival welcomes back historians Charles Spencer and Max Hastings. The 9th Earl Spencer will be talking about his book To Catch A King, which recounts the tale of his relative (albeit on the wrong side of the blanket) King Charles II's mad dash across the English countryside to escape the fate of his father. Sir Max Hastings will be discussing Vietnam, An Epic Tragedy, 1945 - 75 which he experienced first hand as a 24 year old reporter and now revisits with all the rigour of an acclaimed historian

Chiswick In Pictures opens at the Clayton Hotel Chiswick

Chiswick In Pictures is now open at the Clayton Hotel Chiswick. This year's exhibition, organised by The Chiswick Calendar, is more representational in style than last year's show, with recognisable Chiswick scenes painted by professional artists who live locally.  Delicate watercolours of Hogarth's House, Chiswick House and Gardens and local parks by Hugh Bredin, Sophie Ashdown Coady, Christine Berrington and Liz Butler MA, RWS hang alongside charcoal drawings by George Christie, Joanna Brendon MBE, MA and Jill Meager. Bright summer gardens and allotments by Francis Bowyer P.P.R.W.S., N.E.A.C.,  Glynis Porter and Rennie Pilgrem sit with arc

Recipe from Silla Bjerrum

Silla Bjerrum - Cookery Author Whilst studying Philosphy at the University of Copenhagen, Silla became a Smorresbrod Jomfru (Danish open sandwich maker) at the boutique sushi bar Nippon Tuk to support herself. The sushi proved more popular than the sandwiches so she turned her attention to rice preparation, fish cutting and sushi making. Silla traveled regularly to Tokyo and beyond to hone her skills, witnessing the global transition of sushi from an exclusive eat for the AB1 internationals to a broader appeal for mere mortals. She created a sushi service for pioneering Birley’s Sandwiches in Canary Wharf and then in 1999, after 7 years of strict discipline balanced by creative experimentation, she co-founded Feng Sushi. In 1999 Feng Sushi opened on the Fulham Road, esta

Recipe from Rich Harris

Rich Harris - Cookery Author Rich Harris is a British chef, home economist and food stylist. He’s worked behind the scenes on some of the UK’s favourite cooking shows, including Masterchef, Great British Menu, Britain’s Best Dish and River Cottage to name just a few. You may also have spotted Rich on Waitrose’s very own TV channel, or in its magazine, where he also presents and writes. After travelling to over 30 countries and working alongside many of the world’s most renowned chefs, Rich has experienced cooking inside some of the most high-pressured and exciting kitchens in the world. Although he is a meat eater, Rich's new book 'Root and Leaf' focuses solely on vegetable recipes,  as he attempts to encourage people to eat more vegetables and cut back on me

Recipe From Melissa Hemsley

Melissa Hemsley - Cookery Author Melissa Hemsley is one half of the Hemsley Sisters whose food business has pioneered modern healthy home cooking since 2010. They have two bestselling cookbooks; The Art of Eating Well and Good + Simple and also have a Hemsley + Hemsley café at Selfridges, London. Their primetime cookery show was shown on Channel 4 and distributed worldwide to over 20 countries Melissa has featured in The New York Times, Vogue, The Times, Stylist, GQ, House & Garden, Harper’s Bazaar, Bon Appetit, Conde Nast, The Evening Standard. She has also appeared on Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch, Sky News, Channel 4 News and has given talks atBFI, Radio Times festival, BBC Goodfood shows and cooked at festivals and high profile events internationally. Melis

Journalism – Robin Lustig interviews Alan Rusbridger

Kate Mosse – historical novelist

Men needed

It's not often in this post feminist world that you will hear that said, but this is a job that just requires men. The Hogarth Singers are in need of tenors and basses. The choir, which has been going for more than 20 years, has an excellent reputation not only musically but as a warm and welcoming social club. They meet every Monday night at 7.30pm at the Arts Ed on Bath Rd and their first meeting for the autumn season will be on 17 September, starting at 7.00pm. The Hogarth Singers will be performing Bach's Oratorio this Christmas, "one of the key works of choral music" says Musical Director Rupert Gill, "a great piece". Rupert, himself a bass, works with a range of professional and amateur music groups. He says the lack of men in choirs is a perennial problem. Perhaps it is to

A taste of the Cookbook Festival at Chateau

During the Cook Book Festival Anette Megyaszai at Chateau and her head chef Jimmy will be cooking up some of the recipes from one of the books being promoted at the festival as a special offer for holders of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card. Friday 14 - Sunday 16 September Taste TV Chef Jo Pratt's Roast beetroot soup and her recipe for grilled peaches burrata with mint pesto. Friday 21- Sunday 23 September Try out Jo's spinach soup and her fig and goat's cheese salad. The Flexible Vegetarian All four recipes are from The Flexible Vegetarian, available to buy in Waterstones or at the festival, price £20, or you can buy it online 

Charles Cumming’s new book The Man Between

Charles Cumming has a good grasp of contemporary geopolitics. His spy thrillers range from North Africa to Moscow and from Washington to Turkey. He always seems to have his finger on the pulse, whether he's writing about the Uyghurs in China or Basque separatists in Spain. His latest book concerns direct action in the era of Donald Trump and the alt right.  Writer Kit Carradine is asked to do a bit of spying on a trip to Morocco for a book festival and quickly finds himself out of his depth. Charles himself was invited to apply for a job with MI6 when he first left university. He says he didn't get the job, but the experience gave him some good material with which to start his career as a writer. Watch his interview

‘Horrible plastic hedge’

Developers Indigo Scott are causing consternation in Chiswick over the plastic hedge they have installed at 510 Chiswick High Rd where 'An inspired collection of 25 studios, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments ideally located to embrace the enviable charms of Chiswick' is on sale at 510 Chiswick High Rd. Design journalist Barbara Chandler tweeted 'We have this HORRIBLE PLASTIC HEDGE on Chiswick High Road. Shame on you #indigoscot' to which another Tweeter replied 'Ugh ugh ugh. Shame on all involved in its creation + display. Deeply eco-unfriendly too. Zero photosynthesis oxygen + looks like max indisposable plastic'.   I p

Jo Pratt’s new book The Flexible Vegetarian

Talking to Jo Pratt, TV chef, cook book author and co-organiser of the Cook Book Festival, I realise her book is exactly what I need. The Flexible Vegetarian is for cooks who want to try out vegetarian recipes but may want to add a bit of meat or fish if they feel like it. In any family gathering you're quite likely to have a teenager taking their first steps to becoming vegetarian and a diehard carnivore who doesn't consider it's a proper meal unless there's meat involved. Jo's book solves that problem. Vegetarian dishes are no longer the preserve of wild-eyed zealots hell bent on saving the world. Now that there are interesting vegetarian recipes available, there are plenty of non-vegetarians who like good food, want to eat healthily and are as likely to choose a vegetable dish for

Anger at extension plans for ‘exclusive gated community’

Up for discussion at the Chiswick Area Forum meeting on Tuesday 4 September are the local policing reports and the planning application for 3-8 Devonhurst Place, Heathfield Terrace. Cllr Ranjit Gill has called in the application for a roof extension to create a fourth floor with three additional residential units which received 39 objections during the consultation period. The complaints range from harm to the Turnham Green Conservation Area/Heritage assets to concerns about planning process in general, concerning the consultation, the number of applications and the type of applications which are being made.

Tidefest 2018

Tidefest was fun. More than two thousand people visited the stalls at Strand on the Green, including The Chiswick Calendar's, and took part in activities in Sunday's glorious sunshine which included angling, paddle-boarding, boat trips, river dipping, kayaking, nature reserve visits and a circus workshop,  You can see Anna Kunst's pictures of the day on The Chiswick Calendar website. I love the London child's look of horrified fascination when, allowed to wade into the squidgy mud with the water nearly over their wellies, they peer into their nets to see what manner of beastie is squirming there.

What does the Crossrail delay mean for Chiswick?

Crossrail, the £15bn infrastructure project designed to ease London's chronic congestion by connecting major hubs such as Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf, will not now open this December but in autumn 2019 it was announced on Friday. When fully operational the Elizabeth Line, as it will be called, will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west through 13 miles of new tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It is expected to be used by an estimated 200m passengers, increasing central London rail capacity by 10%, the largest increase since World War Two. It’s a hugely complex project and obviously they have to get it right; if it’s £600m over the budget, so be

Charles Cumming thriller writer

Chiswick Book Festival – Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair will be the theme of the opening night of the 2018 Chiswick Book Festival on Thursday 13 September.  ITV's 'new sexed-up period drama' (The Telegraph) hits our screens next Sunday, 2 September at 9.00pm and has all the makings of a huge hit. The screenwriter is Gwyneth Hughes, (Dark Angel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood). the director is James Strong (Broadchurch, Doctor Who) and the production company is Mammoth Screen, who made Poldark. The star-studded cast includes Michael Palin, Frances de la Tour and Martin Clunes but the lead roles are all played by actors in their twenties: Olivia Cooke (24) plays the heroine Becky Sharp, Tom Bateman (29) her husband Rawdon Crawley and Claudia Jessie (

Chiswick’s Festival Month

That's it, summer's over. Back to work, back to school, no more sea, sand and sunshine. But all is not lost for just as the holiday season comes to an end so Chiswick's Festival season begins. Starting with Fuller's Open Day next Saturday (1 September) and Tidefest next Sunday (2 September), we look forward to the Chiswick Book Festival, this year celebrating its 10th year, from 13 - 17 September and

Cook Book Festival

This is one woman you might prefer to email

Emma Bache, the UK's leading handwriting expert, lives in Chiswick and she can tell everything about you from your handwriting - almost. "It's easier to describe what I can't tell than what I can" she told me, so if you have contact with this woman and you're planning a murder, don't write her a note, send her an email. Emma's interest in graphology sprang from a chance weekend course in the subject in the 1980s, which led to her her studying it herself and building a career partly as a newspaper columnist, partly as an entertainer at parties, where she reads the guests' handwriting and analyses their personalities for the fun of it (Rupert Murdoch and Richard Branson have employed her in this way) and partly as a consultant in the corporate world, analysing the personality of candidate

Thinking about getting back on the bike?

A new scheme is starting in Chiswick in September to enable nervous cyclists who may like to get back on their bikes to cycle with their kids. Hounslow Cycling Campaign, in conjunction with the London Borough of Hounslow and Ealing Council, has organised accredited trainers to provide the classes. The pilot scheme – completely free - will run over four Saturdays, starting on 15th September, in Chiswick. There will be two adult-centred classes (2 hours each), followed by two classes for adults and children. Tabards will be supplied, bikes and helmets are being sourced to try out. Lessons will include safety, courtesy and road legislation. The course will be fun and safe. For those who complete the course there will be rewards and gifts (mainly for the kids!) Courses are tailored to

Maggie & Rose expands to China

Maggie & Rose, which currently has branches in Kensington, Chiswick and Hong Kong is expanding to China. Since China has relaxed its one child policy, nursery schools and clubs for children and families are suddenly very good businesses to be in. The first of the upmarket family clubs to open in mainland China will be in Hangzhou on 24 September and it will be swiftly followed by new clubs in Hong Kong in November and Singapore in December, with more planned. Maggie Bolger, the Maggie half of Maggie & Rose talked to me about how her concept - a private club which caters for children and their parents, where the children can be inspired and have fun and parents can also relax and enjoy

End of an era for the houseboats at Watermans Park in Brentford

The last remaining houseboat owners at Watermans Park in Brentford are packing up and leaving this week, having lost their appeal in June to remain at the moorings. The scenario is being replicated up and down the river as the riverside is being developed, houseboat living is becoming more popular and the lucrative possibilities in the gentrification of the riverside are recognized. Susan Penhaligon, the actor who lives in a houseboat in Chiswick, says the time has come for river dwellers to have some rights in law. What the Brentford example highlights is that unlike land-dwellers, a community which has been established for decades can be evicted with no legal redress if they don’t own the land on which their boats are moored. Photograph above: Houseboat owner Paul Mendoza, pr