Test Blog Post


Naila Hazell selected for Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition

Work by a local artist Naila Hazell has been selected from over 1,500 entries to appear alongside artworks by some of Britain’s leading artists.

The Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition will be on display at Mall Galleries from 20 to 29 February.

Naila Hazell is a British contemporary artist, taught by renowned Soviet social realism painter Boyukaga Mirzoyev while she studied fine arts at the Azerbaijani Fine Arts academy. She has had numerous solo and group shows in Baku and is now continuing her work and exhibiting in London.

The Royal Society of British Artists holds an open submission exhibition in central London each year at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1

Open 20 to 29 February, 10am to 5pm

Admission £5, Free to Friends of Mall Galleries and Under 25s.

Chiswick Calendar offer

The gallery is happy to offer free entry for two Chiswick Calendar readers on mentioning The Chiswick Calendar at the Gallery Desk.


Worried about the High Rd?

The problem of empty shops in the High Road is as bad as it has ever been. The issue of why businesses are closing down is complex: the shift in shopping habits to buying online, competition from Westfield, high rents and rates are all important factors.

The Chiswick Calendar is pleased to be part of a consortium of businesses and residents who have ideas for improving the economy of the High Road, which include a flower market, a vintage clothing market and an association of landlords and tenants. The group includes Abundance London, which brought Chiswick the mural at Turnham Green Terrace, the refurbished piazza there including the ‘W4th plinth’ community art work and a variety of planting schemes in urban spaces.

It also includes commercial surveyor Ollie Saunders, surveyor Steve Nutt and landscape gardener Stefano Marinaz, all local residents and businessmen who would like to see some community action to improve the vibrancy of the High Rd. We’re holding a public meeting to outline these proposals and invite other ideas.

Public meeting

7.30pm on Thursday 20 February in the Boston Room of George IV, 185 Chiswick High Rd.

Please come and contribute your thoughts on the subject. Click here to register for a (free) ticket, just so we have an idea of numbers.

Photograph of Chiswick High Rd by Anna Kunst – annakunstphotography.com

The Chiswick Calendar freebie – winner

Who won our competition for a meal for two at Little Bird cocktail lounge and restaurant, opposite Chiswick rail station?

Ailsa Sheldon  @ailsasheldon

Congratulations to Ailsa, who wins a meal for two up to the value of £80.

All you had to do was to:

1. Follow @thechiswickcalendar and @littlebirdrestaurant on Instagram
2. Like our Giveaway! post on Instagram
3. Tag a friend you could share the offer with⠀

The giveaway closed last Thursday – but we will be having another one soon for a meal for two at Annie’s restaurant. Watch this space, as they say…

Little Bird Chiswick
1 Station Parade, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London W4 3HD


Pub in the Park 2020 tickets go on sale

Tickets have gone on sale for Pub in the Park 2020, in the grounds of Chiswick House 4-6 September.

The popular food and music festival is returning to Chiswick for a second year, hosted by Master Chef judge Marcus Wareing, with Basement Jaxx playing on the Friday night, The Feeling and Kaiser Chiefs on Saturday; Marc Almond and Reef on Sunday afternoon.


Basement Jaxx duo Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe are regular transatlantic club chart-toppers and won the BRIT Award for Best Dance Act in 2002 and 2004. Their Friday night DJ set won’t be their first performance in Chiswick. They played here before at Chiswick House in the summer of 2012.

The Feeling, playing on Saturday afternoon, have toured the world and made five studio albums together. Currently working on their sixth album for release this year. Over the last decade ‘so many incredible experiences’ included playing at Wembley stadium for the Diana tribute concert and playing the pyramid stage at Glastonbury festival.

Kaiser Chiefs, playing on Saturday night, had a new album out in 2019: Duck, their seventh album. They have become one of Britain’s most successful bands, with hits such as ‘Oh My God’, ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Never Miss A Beat’ having achieved the status of ‘anthems’.

Marc Almond, playing on Sunday afternoon, also has a new album out: Chaos And A Dancing Star, released on 31 January 2020. His career, spanning over four decades, started with Soft Cell in the early eighties, best known for the 1981 hit Tainted Love. He embarked on his solo career in 1984 when they disbanded and has sold over 30 million records worldwide.

Reef, also playing on Sunday afternoon, have a huge following from their long career, with five studio albums so far and many years of touring the world. They achieved commercial success in the mid-nineties when they toured with Paul Weller and The Rolling Stones. In the last couple of years they have been touring the UK promoting their fifth album, Revelation.

Images above: Kaiser Chiefs: Basement Jaxx


Tom Kerridge is the driving force behind Pub in the Park. The Michelin-starred chef is best known for his pub in Marlow, The Hand & Flowers – the only pub in the UK with two Michelin stars. He is currently presenting a BBC 2 series Lose Weight and Get Fit with Tom Kerridge.

He has established Pub in the Park as a touring festival of good food and live music. The 2020 tour starts in Marlow in May, continues through Chichester, Warwick, Bath, Dulwich and Tunbridge Wells, before reaching Chiswick in early September and ending in St Albans.

Images above: Marcus Wareing; Charlotte Nicholson

Tom and his chef mates have put together a programme featuring some of the biggest names in food and music. At each venue, there will be ‘Michelin-starred and award-winning pubs and restaurants serving tasting dishes showing their signature style … chef demonstrations, top quality shopping and other festival fun’.

In Chiswick the ‘Pop-up pubs’ include: The Hand & Flowers, Atul Kochhar’s VaasuThe Star InnJosé PizzaroThe WigmoreTredwellsSaborCornerstoneClaude Bosi and Rick Stein.

The chefs taking part include Marcus WareingAtul KochharAndrew PernJose PizzaroChris KingChantelle NicholsonNieves BarraganTom Brown and Claude Bosi.



February 2020 Books

What’s new and good to read this month? Annakarin Klerfalk has a look at what’s on offer and chooses three good reads for February.

Saving Missy

Readers who loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine should definitely pick up Saving Missy, written by Beth Morrey. Missy Carmichael is 79 and lonely. Her husband died not that long ago and she is pottering around her big house in Stoke Newington. She blames herself for her own lonliness; her daughter is distant and her son and grandson have emigrated to Australia. An unexpected friendship with a single mum opens a new door for Missy. Is her life about to change?

Nina Stibbe praised it and said “Bittersweet, tender, thoughtful and uplifting. Reminds you that everyone deserves a second chance. I loved it.” Saving Missy is HarperCollins’ biggest debut for 2020 and it’s out on 6 February.

Little Friends

From Jane Shemilt, the bestselling author of Daughter, comes another stunning suspense thriller called Little Friends. Three families are brought together by their children’s friendships. But despite barbeques, dinner parties and a holiday in Greece, their marriages are over. Their resentment leads to an affair and they lose track of their children. Then a tragedy strikes. The couples revert to parenthood and realise what they have done.

Ebook bestselling author Suzy K Quinn reviewed it as: “Extremely clever, readable and elegant…perfect for fans of Big Little Lies. Domenstic noir at its best.” Little Friends is published by Michael Joseph on 20 February.

Grown Ups

Grown Ups is Marian Keyes’ 14th novel. Her debut, Watermelon, was a huge hit and all her following novels have been equally loved. The Caseys are a glamourous family; Johnny Casey, his two brothers, their wives and all their children spend a lot of time together. On the outside, all appears well and happy. But under the surface lurk personality clashes and infatuations, and when Ed’s wife Cara gets concussion, all the secrets are about to leak out. Is it perhaps finally time to Grow Up?

Graham Norton said its “Magnificently messy lives, brilliantly untangled. Funny, tender and completely absorbing!” Grown Ups is published by Michael Joseph on 6 February.

Annakarin Klerfalk

Anna is a literary agent based in Chiswick who is keen to hear from authors trying to get their books published. Contact her on anna@intersaga.co.uk. She used to run the Waterstones bookshop in Chiswick. You can read more about her and Intersaga here.


See more of Anna’s book choices here

Read about the annual Chiswick Book Festival here







The Stable pizza restaurant

The Stable pizza restaurant by Kew Bridge offers sourdough pizzas with an interesting range of toppings and more than 50 types of cider. They also have great pies, salads and a vegan menu too.

Address: Unit 12, 8 Kew Bridge Road, Brentford TW8 0FJ

Phone: 0208 568 8667


Lightopia Picture Gallery

We went to the the opening night of Lightopia in Chiswick House Grounds last night. Lightopia is the new winter light trail event for 2020 and this year includes some interactive illuminations. Take a look at some of the highlights below. Photographs by James Willcocks.

Organisers Outreach Creative are offering Chiswick Calendar Club Card members 20% the ticket price. See how to access the Club Card offer here.

Lightopia opens at Chiswick House 

Lightopia opens in the grounds of Chiswick House on 22 January 2020 and continues throughout February.

A series of illuminated sculptures all around the gardens create a magical wonderland after dark and visitors can control some of the extraordinary sculptures using touch pads and drums.

Following on from Chinese lantern displays in previous years, the handmade silk installations by Outreach Creative combine ancient techniques of Chinese lantern making with modern technology to create spectacular outdoor show.

This year’s display is much more interactive than previous shows. There are 45 groups of light installations, including the Tree of Life centrepiece: a 10m tall sculpture surrounded by 20 drums, which the public can use to change the tree’s colours.

In another part of the grounds there’s a stunning 18m long peacock. Light pulses through its wings in time with the beat of the music.

Photographs by Ray Marsh

Elsewhere there’s a display of 70,000 individual flickering roses, there are enormous glowing eggs which change colour when rocked, and musical buttons on the ground which create musical light shows when stepped on.

The installations have been designed by contemporary artist Ava Moradi, with a mission to create an immersive artistic experience for visitors of all ages, around the theme of Harmony. The event also features acrobats and musicians.

Photographs by Ray Marsh

Tickets for Lightopia cost £20 for adults, £13 for children and £58 for family tickets (1 adult and 3 children, or 2 adults and 2 children).

Entry from 5.00pm – 9.00pm.

Buy tickets here

Choose the next image for the W4th Plinth

The W4th Plinth art space was launched by Abundance London in September 2019, taking its name from the Trafalgar Square 4th plinth of rotating artworks. Sir Peter Blake’s collage of the Chiswick Empire music hall theatre has occupied the space on the wall of the railway at Turnham Green Terrace thus far. Now it’s time for the next piece of art to take its place. A panel led by Sir Peter Blake has selected a shortlist of four, and it is now down to you to choose its successor.

Karen Liebreich of Abundance London writes:

‘While Sir Peter Blake’s Chiswick Empire Theatre held the stage magnificently for the first six months, we welcomed submissions for the next artwork. We had 31 entries, of very high quality, and it was a difficult decision. A panel led by Sir Peter Blake selected the shortlist of four, and these are now subject to public vote to decide which one will be installed for the next six months on the wall overlooking the piazza at Turnham Green Terrace.

Voting opened on 19 January and closes at midnight on the last day of February. The winning entry will be installed in March. We are now inviting submissions for the next work, to be installed in September.’

Abundance London will pay for the printing and installation.

Shortlisted works

Images above: Penny the Orangutan by David Kimpton; Chiswick House Dog Show by the late Alfred Daniels

David Kimpton: Penny the Orangutan

Indonesian rainforests are being cleared to create palm oil plantations. Our artwork was created to raise funds for the Sumatran Orangutan Society, whose message is ‘every penny counts’ in the fight to save the endangered animals and their environment.

Alfred Daniels: Chiswick House Dog Show

In 2014 Danny (the late Alfred Daniels) was asked to design a poster for the Chiswick House Dog Show. He enthusiastically agreed but had never used dogs as subjects before and needed some photos. Jan Preece, Chair of the Show committee, gave him a selection and from these Danny put together this painting.

Images above: Oh Vincent! by Flor Ferraco; We are all Characters by Suzan Inceer

Flor Ferraco: Oh Vincent!

“Vincent screams freedom, movement and hope. What your eyes can feel is what I want you to receive. As he said, ‘What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything…”

Suzan Inceer: We are all Characters

“It’s a London sofa, a London street, the Thames at the top left. There is an audience, but it’s unclear – who is the entertainment? Are they communicating? Being understood? Or are they/we just shouting in a language known to no one else? I, for one, am curious.”

Which one will you vote for?

To vote (or submit a new artwork), visit abundancelondon.com

The Chiswick Calendar – Sipsmith Community Activism awards

Thanks to all those who came to our party last week in the Boston Room at George IV, celebrating five years of The Chiswick Calendar.

The Chiswick Calendar is a Community Interest Company. We provide daily events listings of all that’s happening in the Chsiwick area, the Club Card scheme to enable local businesses to offer deals and discounts to local residents, the weekly newsletter and the events we put on – the monthly Jazz at George IV and our Media Club. We’ve recently relaunched this website and it’s now how we want it to be, fast, reliable and easy to find your way round, thanks to web developer Dawn Wilson, software engineer James Willcocks and our main content producer Alice Gilkes.

We would be able to do none of this without the support of our sponsors John D Wood & Co, who have backed us almost since the beginning, and Asahi, who took over the sponsorship when they took over the Griffin brewery from Fuller’s. Also our partners the Hogarth Club, ArtsEd and Chiswick Auctions.

Ruth Cadbury was not able to come to the party but sent us this lovely message:

“Congratulations Bridget on the amazing work you’ve done through Chiswick Calendar and its offshoots, to bring people in Chiswick together in a way that is both imaginative and productive.  Chiswick is a richer place because of Chiswick Calendar and I thank you.”

Thanks also to Sipsmith, who provided bottles of London Dry Gin for the winners of our Community Activism Awards, and to Fiona at the Bell & Crown at Strand on the Green, who provided a voucher for lunch for two for one of our winners who doesn’t drink alcohol.

Who were the ten winners and what had they done to deserve their award? Some have worked hard to provide lovely cultural activities we all enjoy; some have got stuck in to physical labour to improve our environment, or gone out of their way to help people. Others have literally risked life and limb to rescue people.

2020 Chiswick Calendar – Sipsmith Community Activism Award winners

Image above: Left Julian Worricker; centre Andrea Carnevali; right Bridget Osborne; photograph by Jon Perry

Andrea Carnevali – Chiswick Oasis

Three years ago St Mary’s RC School in Chiswick discovered it was on the list of the 50 most polluted schools in London, because of its position next to the A4. In those three years Andrea Carnevali has gone from knowing next to nothing about air pollution or fund raising to becoming the fount of all knowledge on both. As a result, having raised more than £100,000, last summer the Mayor of London opened the Chiswick Oasis, the ‘green wall’ along the side of the playground, with some 12,000 plants intended to mitigate the worst effects of air pollution inside the school grounds. Andrea is looking to share his new-found expertise with any other schools who would like to do something similar.

Images above: Paul Hyman; Joanna Brendon

Paul Hyman – In The Drink

Sir David Attenborough has been in the news again this past week saying we have reached the ‘moment of crisis’ with climate change. It was his series Blue Planet which made many of us aware of the extent of the problem of plastic waste in the oceans, with those images of a sperm whale trying to eat a plastic bucket. Paul Hyman, who runs the Active 360 paddleboarding outfit at Kew Bridge, has been an environmental activist for many years and has been instrumental in setting up the In the Drink campaign, to stop single use plastic being used, especially near rivers. He organises regular clear-ups of canals in London and our bit of the River Thames by paddleboard, and has recently been talking to the organisers of the Boat Race to see what can be done to stop the monumental amount of rubbish which ends up in the river every year.

Joanna Brendon – Artists At Home

Artists At Home has been running in Chiswick for nearly 50 years. Arguably it was the first Open Studios in the country. Every year artists open their homes and studios over one weekend in June and we are all invited to wander round and have a look at their work. They now have about 80 artists in 60 or so locations in Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush. Joanna Brendon has been involved in Artists At Home for many years. She used to run it. They she looked after its promotion – which is how I got to know her. She stepped down from the Artists At Home committee, but has been made an honorary member for all her years of service to promoting artists in west London.

Images above: Denny Anthony receiving his award; to see his face you will find him on the very far left of the crowd scene!

Denny Anthony – Hogarth Youth Centre

The Hogarth Youth Centre at the end of Duke’s Rd has been a life saver for the generations of kids and parents who have used it over the past 40 years or so. They provide after school and school holiday activities while hard pressed parents are working. Chiswick has pockets of poverty which go unnoticed in the general description of the leafy suburb being such a great place to live. It’s not so great if you have no money. I went to a fundraiser at the Hogarth Centre recently, because it is no longer council funded and now has to stand on its own two feet financially. A string of parents stood up and made statements about how grateful they were to the centre’s lead youth worker Denny Anthony for his support and guidance, that had made and continues to make a real, material difference to their lives.

Images above: Donna Schoenherr; Jan Preece

Donna Schoenherr – Move Into Wellbeing

Donna Schoenherr settled in Chiswick some 20 years ago, from New York, where she’d been a professional ballet dancer, touring the world with several different dance companies. She set up Ballet4Life which offers dance classes for adults, and Move Into Wellbeing which specifically offers dance and movement classes for people with restricted movement. She was nominated in last year’s One Dance UK for Inspirational Work in Education and as an Inspirational Community Dance Practitioner.

Jan Preece – Chiswick House Dog Show

The Dog Show at Chiswick House is a fantastic event. Hundreds, if not thousands of dogs descend on the Cricket pitch every September and it’s become the biggest dog show in London. Every year they have prizes for all sorts of daft canine achievements. There’s a  fancy dress theme for dogs and owners and celebrity judges. Jan Preece chairs the committee that runs it. So thank you to Jan for just providing a free fun day out.

City Harvest

City Harvest London is a charity which takes surplus food from restaurants and supermarkets and distributes it to organisations around London which feed the hungry. They’re actually based in Acton but they do work in Chiswick. Unfortunately they couldn’t be at the party to pick up their award. They’re about to start a series of supper clubs, about which there will be more details in The Chiswick Calendar newsletter.

Images above: Cllr Ron Mushiso; Geraldine King

Ron Mushiso – Litter picking

Being a local councilor can be a thankless task. Hours of tedious meetings. Reams of documents to read through. People moaning at you. Ron Mushiso does all that, has a full-time job as a teacher and still finds time to organise litter picking sessions.

Geraldine King – Chiswick House & Gardens Trust

Geraldine King is the head gardener at Chiswick House. She could say that thousands of people and dogs traipsing through her precious gardens was unthinkable. But instead she seems to embrace the challenge and manages to keep the gardens looking fantastic all year round, despite the fact that it’s a favourite place for people to walk and for children to play. For the past few years they’ve won a host of awards in London in Bloom, including Heritage Park of the year, best Walled Garden and the People’s Choice. She does it all with an army of volunteers, but she’s the brains of the operation.


There’s been a lifeboat station at Chiswick Pier since 2002. It quite quickly became the second busiest station in the whole of the UK and Ireland, second only to Tower Bridge. In the time they’ve been running they’ve carried out more than 3,600 rescues and rescued over 1,750 people. Last year was the busiest since 2004, with 235 call-outs. The Chiswick station has nine staff and the rest of its crew members are all volunteers. The RNLI is funded entirely by its own fundraising.

Wayne Bellamy, who originally worked on lifeboats in Vancouver, is the station manager. Andy Mayo was originally a volunteer on the Dover lifeboat and joined the Chiswick crew in 2003. He’s now a full-time helmsman. David Clarke was in at the beginning and is now the station’s press officer, having retired from crewing. Guto Harri is better known as a writer and broadcaster, but is also a volunteer crew member at Chiswick. His late father was a volunteer for the RNLI in the Arran Islands.

They only do things together, as a crew, so they came up as a crew to receive their awards.

Photograph below: Bridget Osborne by Jon Perry



Keira Knightley’s new film, created by Rebecca Frayn

Keira Knightley stars in a new film released in March, about the disruption of the 1970 Miss World contest by Women’s Lib protesters. I spoke to the film’s creator Rebecca Frayn, who lives in Chiswick.

1970. Hot pants and bell-bottomed trousers. Glam Rock and glitter. Edward Heath became prime minister. There were widespread protests in America against the Vietnam war. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian hijacked four passenger planes. Terrorist groups with odd names like the Angry Brigade and the Weathermen pursued their singular agendas. Mick Jagger was fined £200 for the possession of cannabis. Paul McCartney left the Beatles. Jimi Hendrix, the Doors and Joan Baez performed at the Isle of Wight Festival and the first Glastonbury Festival was held. Protest and youth counterculture dominated the headlines.

Central to that heady mix was the fight for women’s rights. The Women’s Liberation Movement was new and making waves. In New York some 50,000 women took part in the Women’s Strike for Equality, which demanded abortion on demand, free childcare and equal opportunity in the workplace. In London, Women’s Lib protesters disrupted the Miss World contest, hosted by Bob Hope at the Albert Hall, throwing flour bombs, squirting water pistols and shouting ‘moo’ in protest at the ‘cattle market’.

Images: Lesley Manville and Greg Kinnear; Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Misbehaviour 

I vaguely remember it. Five women were arrested, and made a mockery of the proceedings at Bow Street Magistrates Court, calling the magistrate ‘daddy’. There’s little record of it now and the protest might have passed into history as no more than a feminist footnote, had writer and film maker Rebecca Frayn not pounced on the story and decided to write a screenplay. Rebecca has a track record of making films about women, (Annie Leibovitz, Leni Riefenstahl, Norah Ephron, Aung San Suu Kyi and the BBC 2 documentary Tory Wives). She also knows a thing or two about campaigning, having set up the We CAN environmental movement, which lobbied the government to take action on climate change in the run up to the 2010 Copenhagen Conference.

Photograph: Rebecca Frayn by James Willcocks

“Golliwog moment”

In 1970 Rebecca was still a child. “For me it was what I call a ‘golliwog moment’” she tells me, where something everyone was familiar with, which was completely normal and unremarkable, was suddenly seen in a different light. “As a young woman you had a sense that something was amiss and oppressive, and you didn’t know what it was”.

She grew up watching Miss World, as did millions of people around the world, as family viewing on primetime television. The women paraded in swimsuits as their breasts and hips were evaluated, and turned in a long line across the stage as the camera panned across their backsides. How was that ok? How was that ever considered acceptable? There’s a great line in the film (penned by co-writer Gaby Chiappe) in which the main protagonist, Sally Alexander, is at home with her mother and takes exception to her encouraging her little sister to twirl around like a beauty queen. “You used to love playing Miss World when you were a little girl” says the mother. “Yes and we also liked eating our own snot” retorts Sally.

Image: Jessie Buckley and Keira Knightley as Jo Ann Robinson and Sally Alexander just before it all kicks off

Like me, Rebecca was dimly aware of the disruption of the Miss World contest at the time, but it was listening to The Reunion on Radio 4, which brought the five women who were arrested back together to reminisce, which made her realise the potential for a feature film.

The dramatic possibilities of the flour bombs and water pistols were a given, but she was also attracted by the women’s wit and anarchic exuberance. “They had a great sense of mischief and humour” she says. They defended themselves in court, calling Bob Hope and Miss World organiser Eric Morley as witnesses, and when they declined to appear, calling a policeman to take the stand to ask him questions like ‘who washes your socks?’ and ‘who irons your shirts?’ to ‘put Patriarchy in the dock’.

There’s also a clash of civil rights issues, as this was the first Miss World won by a Black contestant (Miss Grenada). In the film version, the Miss World organisers have brought in four Black judges to answer allegations of racism, and to introduce a Black and a White contestant to represent South Africa, as they were under pressure from the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

Even so she found it hard to raise any interest for her script. It was Pathé who took it up, who also made Pride and Made in Dagenham. They evidently have a thing for grass roots struggles, social realism with a dollop of earthy British wit.

“Six months later the women’s marches happened and the Me Too movement took off.” The film company realised they were onto something. Shining a light on a moment where a civil rights movement found the spotlight was suddenly topical.

“Things shifted” says Rebecca. “The project took on an energy. It was easier to get Keira Knightley.”

Keira Knightley plays Sally Alexander, the intellectual leader of the group, who still teaches history at University College, London. Her character explains the serious rationale behind the protest: “This competition makes us compete with each other and makes the world narrower for all of us in the end”.

While Keira Knightley is the headline Hollywood A lister, she is also backed up by a brilliant cast. Jessie Buckley plays another of the protesters, Jo Ann Robinson, who was more of a firebrand: “They’re turning oppression into a spectacle. Let’s make a spectacle of our own”.

Phyllis Logan is Sally’s mother; Keeley Hawes plays Julia Morley, (who is still running beauty pageants in far off countries where they’re still acceptable, and who refused to meet Rebecca when she was doing her research). Rhys Ifans plays her partner, the late Eric Morley, and Greg Kinnear plays Bob Hope (who can still be seen somewhere on Youtube dodging flour bombs in the real event, says Rebecca).

Images of Misbehaviour courtesy of Pathé Films

The film has been made by an all-female team – written by Rebecca Frayn and Gaby Chiappe, produced by Suzanne Mackie and Sarah-Jane Wheale and directed by Philippa Lowthorpe, the only female director to have won a Bafta.

Misbehaviour will be in cinemas from 13 March.


Award win for Ben Lampert

Ben Lampert, the UK’s only full-time deaf football coach was among the winners at this year’s UK Coaching Awards. The prestigious annual celebration of Great Coaching, which demonstrates the role coaching plays in transforming lives and inspiring an active nation, was held last month at The Tower Hotel, London. Ben, who works for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, took home the Changing Lives Award – supported by Sport England.

Through his Deaf Sports Plus project with the Trust, Ben breaks down barriers by providing free sporting activities to deaf children. That is in addition to working with hearing and deaf children in West London schools, where he coaches football and teaches sign language. New for 2019, the Changing Lives Award is awarded to a coach who is leading the way to empower, inspire and connect people from diverse communities to overcome life challenges using the power of Great Coaching.

Ben who is also Assistant Manager of the England deaf men’s football team, said: “Coaching is so different to playing. You need a whole host of different skills to coach. We’ve been running the deaf football scheme at Brentford (Community Sports Trust) for ten years and at first we struggled but you come to realise that sport is the same whoever takes part in it.”

The full winners on the night were:

Awards for Coaches:

Children and Young People’s Coach of the Year – supported by sportscotland

Sasha Moore (multi-sport, Stockport)

Community Coach of the Year – supported by Spond

Andrew Beech (multi-sport, London)

Changing Lives Award – supported by Sport England

Ben Lampert (football, London)

Talent Development Coach of the Year – supported by UK PCA

Danielle Brayson (swimming, Glasgow)

High Performance Coach of the Year – supported by UK Sport

Mel Marshall (swimming, Derby/Loughborough)

Young Coach of the Year – supported by Sport Wales

James Galt (football/futsal, Lancashire)

Coaching Moment of the Year – supported by Sports Journalists’ Association

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC – 4-0 win over Barcelona in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League semi-final

Lifetime Achievement Award

Judy Murray OBE (tennis)

The Coaching Chain

Ben Stokes (cricket) – Jon Gibson, John Windows, Geoff Cook, Andy Flower and Trevor Bayliss

Hannah Mills (sailing) – Anne Barrett, Ollie Green, Alan Williams and Joe Glanfield

Awards in Support of Coaches:

Coach Developer of the Year

Sue Ringrose (horse racing, Linconshire)

Transforming Coaching Award – supported by Believe Perform

Great Britain Hockey Coach Development Offer

Coaching for an Active Life Award

The Bulldogs (boxing, Port Talbot)

UK Coaching’s Director of Coaching, Emma Atkins said: “What a fantastic night. It has been such a privilege getting to meet so many inspirational coaches. The range of coaching talent in the UK is astonishing and the UK Coaching Awards offers us a chance to recognise the exceptional achievements of just a fraction.

“Whether it’s at community or world class level, Great Coaching is all about people – a great coach focuses on a participant’s character, their feelings and motivations to help them thrive. They create healthy and happy lives and in many cases, can even change the trajectory of someone’s life for the better. You cannot fail to be inspired by the finalists and winners at tonight’s Awards. Congratulations to all of them – and to the work of all coaches doing great work all over the UK”.

Get fit in 2020

It never hurts to at least start the year with intentions of getting fit. 

The Hogarth Club in Airedale Avenue offers an exclusive Chiswick Calendar membership deal, with a reduced joining fee and an offer of two months’ membership for the price of one.

The Hogarth Club offers a state of the art gym and a pool, with sauna and jacuzzi and a range of classes from Bodypump to yoga.

But if you don’t want to join a gym, you just want to pick a bespoke activity to focus on, have a look at our Fitness Guide for a range of fitness activities around Chiswick, from ballet to paddleboarding.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Getting back to fitness after childbirth

See also: The Fitness Directory

Man in the Middle – Chapter 15: Christmas Crackers

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact?

If you’d like to begin at the beginning and missed the first instalment, you can read
No. 1: The Letter here

No.15 Christmas Crackers

This Christmas we have people flying in, popping by and sleeping over. It’s going to be a week-long Bacchanal which will test our livers, family unity and organisational skills to the max. There’s only one person capable of pulling this complex operation off and it’s not me. Wife, on the other hand, has the diplomatic and logistic skills of an Olympian. If she’s on her game, we’re all OK. If she’s not, nothing will happen. Christmas will be a cock up.

In days gone by, she would have embraced her role as Head of Making Christmas Happen willingly. She would even have counted it as fun. But her love affair with Christmas has been eroded over the years and now hangs by a thread. It started with the children skipping Midnight Mass and now involves the questioning of most of the rituals and routines which she created for them and once charmed them so much. She must feel like a Pope faced with the Protestant Reformation.

I haven’t helped. I lack Christmas spirit, apparently. I say things like ‘I don’t like Christmas carols as a genre’ and if someone starts waxing lyrical about the John Lewis Christmas advertising, I will lecture them about the contradictions between the preaching’s of Jesus Christ and what capitalism has done to his birthday celebration. Thinking about it, I’m probably the biggest Christmas downer of all.

We need Wife to ‘Get Christmas Done’. The oven is ready but the turkey is days away from being stuffed. Which is why when I hear Mother say she wants to veto Christmas crackers I start to panic.

‘No point buying them. I’ve heard all the jokes before. After all, I grew up with half of them.’

Son supports her on environmental grounds. According to him, the UK wastes 30% more paper at Christmas than at any other time of the year and cutting back on Christmas crackers would be a small step towards climate salvation.

‘Why stop at crackers? I think we shouldn’t wrap any of our presents this year,’ says Daughter. I can hear Wife grinding her teeth as another relic of her Christmas ritual is thrown to the heretics of utilitarianism.

‘Respect,’ says Son, as if he were a hoodlum from the Bronx. ‘What else can we ditch?’

‘Please God, the Queen’s Speech,’ says Mother throwing herself fully into the unfestive spirit.

I am genuinely worried that Wife might explode if this conversation goes on. Not least because her mother will want to watch the Queen’s Speech, making it another conflict zone to navigate come the day. I switch the conversation to the Christmas menu, which is normally controversy (but not gluten) free.

‘I’m thinking nibbles are smoked salmon canapes, crisps, nuts washed down by a glass of prosecco. Spinach souffles as a first course and for the main event beef wellington and a vegetarian loaf. Potatoes, red cabbage, carrots, peas, bread sauce on the side. Christmas pudding for dessert and then cheese and port. OK?’

‘Are you feeding the five thousand or just the family?’ asks Wife, dry as a ten-year-old panettone.

‘You need to lose weight, not put it on,’ says Mother, thinking she’s supporting Wife.

‘Your vegetarian loaf is like a brick,’ says Son. ‘I don’t see why I should be penalised at Christmas because of my vegetarian principles.’

‘This is why I may go to Jonny’s. Why does Christmas have to be so bloody stressy,’ says Daughter, perhaps not realising that the threat to be elsewhere on Christmas day is only adding to the stress.

I am having a man in the middle moment. It’s like being surrounded by smoke on a battlefield. You can hear shouts and groans but you can’t see where they’re coming from. It’s impossible to know what the right thing to do is next. But doing nothing is dangerous, too.

Mother has made her decision. She’s retreating to her bedroom. She’s picked up the smell of gunshot and decided she may get caught in the crossfire if she stays.

Age UK says more than half a million older people aren’t looking forward to Christmas, because they feel lonely. I wonder if she feels the opposite.

Read the next in the series – Chapter 16 Rorke’s Drift here

Performance art?

Images above: Dartmoor Winter 1 painting; artist Joanna Brendon

One of Chiswick’s best loved artists posted on her Facebook page a day or two ago about ‘One of the most embarrassing incidents in my life…’ In for a penny, in for a pound, Joanna Brendon says she’s happy for me to share it. The story unfolds in Poundland in Chiswick High Rd …

Joanna writes:

I went into Poundland to buy some washing detergent. I found the one I wanted but it was on the top shelf so I asked this woman if she could reach up and get it for me. She happily did that and put it straight into my wheely basket. When I got to checkout, I suddenly slipped and fell into a large stack of biscuit tins, and chocolates which came tumbling down around me. Embarrassing. Then I realised that I had slipped in a pool of detergent which had leaked from the litre bottle in my basket. Then – and this is the cringe-making moment – I looked back and saw that I had left a trail of detergent up one aisle and down the other. In other words, everywhere. Even more embarrassing..

If Poundland had intended to instal a festive skating rink, I would say that they’d done a pretty good job. All the buyers ( in some cases, just potential buyers as they skidded past their intended purchase) were skating all over the place, crashing into display shelves, carefully erected stacks and each other. I was aware that there was a lot of squealing. As they skidded around, they spread the detergent even further, so that people could only exit this mayhem by mincing along tiny slivers of ‘dry’ land. Mortifying.

The woman who had put the detergent into my basket was nowhere to be seen, but it wasn’t her fault; the bottle must have been cracked all along. And it wasn’t mine as I never touched the bottle. But this didn’t prevent me from wishing the floor would swallow me. I was given a replacement bottle, paid for my goods and shimmied out of the door, leaving three or four men trying to clear up the mess.

It was an exciting experience for the few children in the shop. They especially liked the mass of foam where one of the cleaners had added water to the detergent, creating a tiny igloo.

What a farce!

See more of Jo’s paintings on her page in our Directory of Chiswick Artists

Image below: Reflected Trees

Riverside Studios open for business

Riverside Studios in Hammersmith has opened to the public. In what is known as a ‘soft launch’ the new building, along the riverside right by Hammersmith Bridge, is currently open just for food and drink from the cafe and bar (Cafe / bakery open weekdays 8.00am – 4.00pm; bar / Restaurant open seven days a week from 12.00 – 11.00pm) and for an exhibition by local artists.

The first theatre production will be in January. Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, with Olivier award winner Alice Krige and Nobuhle Ketelo (featuring William Close and his Earth Harp) opens 23 January, and runs until 23 February. Tickets are already on sale for that and the second production: Love, Loss & Chianti by Christopher Reid, with Robert Bathurst and Rebecca Johnson, 25 February – 17 May.

The cinema is still being built, or at least there is no staircase leading down to it, but operations manager Jake Stanley is quietly confident it will be ready to open on 1 February. When I went in to have a look round last week there was a palpable air of excitement, as the staff can’t wait to show of their shiny new building to the hordes expected through the doors.

The foyer is massive. Looking a bit bleak at the moment, aside from a solitary Christmas tree, it will eventually have big interactive screens to entertain the crowds of people queuing for the four studios, cinema and restaurant. Krishnan Guru-Murthy was sitting in the foyer when I went there, with the production team of Channel 4’s election night special, putting the final touches to Thursday night’s live broadcast from Studio 1, the arts centre’s dedicated TV studio.

Photographs above: Riverside Studios massive foyer; Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy

“It’s the most modern, state of the art TV studio there is” Jake told me proudly. “You can come in from Heathrow, come straight here from the motorway and drive straight in to our special loading dock with all your gear.”

The studio is supremely flexible, so TV companies can build bespoke stages for their shows. It’s already been used for Richard Osman’s World Cup of the Decade and the Brit Award nominations. Impossible to tell they were the same venue as Channel 4’s election night broadcast. The studio has capacity for an audience of 550 but the tiered seats are fully retractable. They fold up like a concertina, floor and all. With a black curtain pulled across it’s as if they were never there.

Photograph above: Old Riverside Studios in 1975. Courtesy of Riverside Studios

Historic venue

The Riverside Studios has a fantastic history. Bought by Triumph films in 1933, the former Victorian iron foundry on Crisp Road was converted into a film studios with two stages and a dubbing theatre.  It changed owner several times, and in the 1940s films such as We’ll Meet Again (1943) with Vera Lynn and The Seventh Veil (1945) with James Mason were produced there. Some of the great British film actors worked there, including Trevor Howard, Alistair Sim, Margaret Rutherford and Alec Guinness.

In the 1950s and ’60s the studios were used by the BBC to make television programmes. Opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1957, during it’s second incarnation some classic TV shows were made at BBC Riverside Television Studios, as it then became: Hancock’s Half Hour, Dixon of Dock Green, Six-Five Special, Z-Cars, Top of the Pops, Blue Peter and some of the first series of Dr Who.

The Riverside Studios that I remember is the arts centre it became in 1974, when the Riverside Trust, formed by Hammersmith & Fulham Council, took it over. David Bowie played there. The Sex Pistols rehearsed there in the early days when they were still called The Strand. Julie Covington starred in a landmark production of The Cherry Orchard; Helen Mirren, who started her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, performed in Measure for Measure. It was home to Dance Umbrella, had exhibitions of work by Edvard Munch and David Hockney, Antony Gormley and Yoko Ono.

From the late ’90s it renewed its connections with television, hosting audience participation shows such as TFI Friday with Chris Evans (Channel 4), and panel games Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC) and Celebrity Juice (ITV). It closed on 14 August 2014, by which time the building was literally falling apart.

Photographs above: Samuel Beckett coming out of rehearsals for Waiting for Godot, 1984. Photo credit: John Minihan/University College Cork. Group picture: from Left to Right: Paul Jones, Peter Bowles, Anna Massey, Alan Bates, Leigh Lawson, Elizabeth Estensen, Hayley Mills, Judy Parfitt, Peter Gill, Brian Cox, Eleanor Bron, Phillip Joseph, Emma Piper, Martin Shaw, Tony Steedman. Courtesy of Riverside Studios.


The new building has not been funded on the old model of local authority and Arts Council funding, but on the new developer-led model, whereby Mount Anvil. working with A2 Dominion, have built an entirely new venue.

165 residential flats, four new studios to be used for television, theatre and as flexible event spaces; another studio for rehearsals, two cinemas, (one with 202 seats, and another smaller 46-seater for private hire) as well as Sam’s Riverside restaurant (as in Sam Harrison of Sam’s Brasserie fame in Chiswick) which opened at the beginning of November (an ‘upmarket, stylish site, serving finely tuned classics’ – Evening Standard).

Hence the £25 million debt Riverside Studios now has to pay off, mainly by renting its TV studio space.

Paintings above: The Market Will Decide by Brian Deighton; Mexican Dance Masks by Romy Rey

Riverside Artists

The Riverside Artists Group, who used to show their work at the old Riverside Studios and have been homeless for the past five years, are delighted that despite the necessity of making a commercial success of the studios, the Riverside Trust still wants to engage with the local community.

Of the 37 artists in the group, 27 are showing their work, including Clare Belfield and Chloe Freemantle, whose work is known to Chiswick people from Artists At Home open studios. The exhibition also includes work by Romy Rey, a Swiss artist whose work has been displayed in galleries throughout the UK. Her Mexican Dance Masks painting is typical of her work, which she describes as falling into four categories: Ancient and Tribal, Geometrics, Dreamscapes and Landscapes. Brian Deighton’s work, The Market Will Decide, which is the poster image for the exhibition, is a protest at the impact of the big fossil fuel companies on the environment. Prices range from £120 to £10,000.

They’re an interesting lot, the Riverside Artists Group. They were set up in 1986, the same year as the old Riverside Studios and their adventures have included holding exhibitions in both Russia and Spain. The Russian trip, in the last remnant of the Cold War, involved an exchange with Russian artists. They showed their work in Moscow and played host to Russian artists exhibiting here, who all lived on their hotel breakfast and saved up their £5 daily expenses to take home such luxuries as kitchen appliances and in one instance (a sculptor I presume), a chainsaw.

The new Riverside Studios’ brief, says Jake, is to be ‘as adventurous as possible’. Here’s to the next great adventure. Let’s hope it achieves as great a reputation as its predecessor.

Photographs above: Riverside Studios foyer cafe


Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tabard theatre becomes Chiswick Playhouse

See also: Directory of Chiswick artists

Introducing Lucy O’Sullivan

Guest blog by Lucy O’Sullivan

Lucy is the parliamentary candidate for the Brexit party for the Brentford & Isleworth constituency, 2019 general election

When you read this blog, we will have only two days left to the General Election.

Unlike many of you in Chiswick, I voted Leave in 2016. My decision to leave was not – as the papers would have it – due to insularity, age, or lack of education – indeed I am the daughter of graduates, trilingual myself and I have a Masters in modern languages from a top flight university. No, unlike all the other candidates, I lived and worked in Brussels for 16 years – and my decision was based on what I witnessed first hand. And which scared me. Lack of any meaningful economic growth, massive youth unemployment (apart from in the UK ) and no useful policies to boost employment, grandiose plans for EU expansion, EU flags, anthem, and planned EU Army … but most of all, our loss of Sovereignty and autonomy. As a EU contractor, I was even flown on a few days EU networking ‘super jolly’ to Finland with 450 others and no justifiable aims. I knew something was very wrong…. As the second largest contributor, WE – you and me – paid for that trip and the EU’s now permanent ‘largesse’.

And this week when I see riots and strikes paralysing France because Macron is trying to streamline their overgenerous pensions system – public sector pensions eat up 16% of Government spending (in UK its 6%) …I despair. No wonder 70% of French school pupils want jobs in … the public sector. THAT’s the height of their ambition. An easy life with big fat salaries, big fat perks and even bigger, fatter, pensions at the end. Let me say it again: WE ARE THE EU’s SECOND LARGEST CONTRIBUTOR.

I want to see our country succeed. I want to see our country thrive. I want to see our country welcoming the brightest and the best from around the world not just from the protectionist EU. And I want our children and grand children to be well educated, to have ambition, creativity and fulfilment. We are the world’s fifth most successful economy let’s stay that way or surpass it! But if the Boris/May Treaty goes through Parliament unamended we will find it virtually impossible (‘LEVEL playing field’, ‘regulatory alignment’ ‘no State aid’ ) to make trade deals with any other part of the world and we will find everything from financial services to our forgotten fisheries bound by EU law…which WE fund and pay for. The Brexit Party need seats in Parliament to keep the Tories to their ‘promises’.

My (now adult) children were at Chiswick & Bedford Park pre-prep school so, naturally, early in 2008 we returned back to this vibrant West London area. I noticed the streets were far busier, traffic denser, cultural activities broader, hospitals bursting, house renting and buying exorbitant, and the cost of living prohibitive for the many. So the first thing to tackle in Brentford and Isleworth is the cost of living. This could be done when we leave the EU immediately by reducing tariffs on imported non-EU goods. Twenty per cent of UK food items are sourced out of the EU and leaving would allow us to have zero tariffs on certain foods, footwear and clothing. Secondly, the Brexit Party wants to cut VAT on domestic fuel. EU rules stop this happening but we would zero rate energy bills immediately we leave and saving an average £65 per household.

And what of our beloved NHS? The Brexit Party wants to invest in the NHS and to improve local services: unlike the other parties, we wish to implement 24hr GP surgeries and create a new non-degree level nursing qualification providing more medical and care staff in hospitals and homes.

Chiswick High Road is a car choked thoroughfare. CS9 adoption, though very divisive, might – after obvious disruption – inject some real local community feel to the area. And the Brexit party wants to invest in all our high streets, – alongside reforms to corporation tax, we would replace business rates with a simpler system funded by an online sales tax. This would make an immediate difference. Local shops and businesses must be locally supported and encouraged or we’ll lose them. After 25 years as a business consultant, I see such support as crucial to my own business success.

We would also tackle the terrible scourge of homelessness which we see on the streets of West London. We would change the funding model so councils could borrow from central government more easily to build council houses. And we would allow more flexibility in the number of affordable homes within a development scheme.

We would definitely increase police numbers – provide more visible policing on the streets and ensure focus on combating violent crime, robbery and burglary rather than as we see currently, enforcing restrictions on free speech. We also – as a priority – wish to stop the menace of drug dealers, youth gangs and the horrendous growth of knife crimes. This should not be happening in a ‘civilised’ society.

Finally, all of us at the Brexit Party intend reforming our political system so that Parliament truly represents and works for the people – and not just for ‘career politicians’. We alone are the New Radicals.

You may read our ‘Contract with the People’ at www.thebrexitparty.org

Man in the Middle – Chapter 14: Made in Chelsea

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact?

If you’d like to begin at the beginning and missed the first instalment, you can read
No. 1: The Letter here

No. 14 Made in Chelsea

I have never believed life imitates art. But I do now because Mother is telling me about her courtship with my Dad.

It’s as if they had modelled their early relationship on Benedict and Beatrice in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Mother playing the role of the feisty, young Beatrice and dad is Benedict, the aristocratic wit and marriage hater. Like the characters in the play, they spent their early meetings throwing barbed comments at each other like rival artillery brigades, their courtship more fight than flirt.

‘I first met him at a dinner party. He was so arrogant that after a few exchanges I simply turned my back on him. Refused to speak to him for the rest of the meal.’

Picture the scene. It’s Chelsea in the late Forties. Everyone’s dressed up for dinner and how you hold your knife and fork says more about you than your bank balance. Turning your back on someone at dinner is a public declaration of war.

‘What did he do to deserve that?’ I ask, not sure if I really want to know. Every time we discuss my father with her, I feel I’m walking through a minefield.

‘He told me he was holding a drinks party the following week and asked me if I could ask my sister to it. He suggested that if I could persuade her to come then I could come too. Hardly, flattering, don’t you think?’

Mother’s sister was a successful actress at the time and married to a film director. She was a minor celebrity and would have added some cache to father’s cocktail party. I struggle to see my father as this social snob. But I can see him saying something as ham-fisted as this. He was a shy man and didn’t always handle social situation’s well.

I want to know why she was there in the first place. She comes from a large, working class Irish family with barely a bean to their name.

‘How come you were hobnobbing in Chelsea given your lowly start in life,’ I say, not meaning to sound patronising but failing.

‘Thanks to my sister’s connections and my looks. I was modelling then. Being good looking has always been a passport to social mobility,’ she says.

‘Sounds like an episode of Made in Chelsea with Grandpa as that stuck up p***k Spencer Matthews. Frankly, it’s amazing they ever got married,’ says daughter, later, as I share the story.

I am not sure which one is Spencer Matthews, but I know the programme is a loathsome celebration of vanity and social neuroses among the over tanned trustafarians of SW3. I remember lecturing the children on the lack of wit and moral fibre of its participants and begging them to switch over to something more wholesome like Blue Planet. Unsuccessfully.

‘Must be tough for you,’ says Son, as he cuts into a Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausage. ‘All those years telling us not to watch the programme because the people were so self-obsessed and stupid. And now it turns out that you were ‘Made in Chelsea’ yourself. How does that feel?’

I want to answer but I can’t find any words. Instead, a picture of Derek Underwood, the England bowler comes to mind, his off stump being wrenched out of the ground by a ferocious fast ball from Michael Holding and him turning immediately towards the pavilion, defeated.

Read the next in the series – Chapter 15 Christmas Crackers here

Man in the Middle – Chapter 13: Burning down the house

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact?

If you’d like to begin at the beginning and missed the first instalment, you can read
No. 1: The Letter here

No. 13 Burning down the house

Wife is telling us that it is essential that Mother doesn’t feel like a lodger in our home. She must have full citizenship, not settled status is the thrust of the lecture.

‘She has to feel this home is as much hers as ours. We must encourage her to have her friends around. Have parties.’

‘And sleep overs,’ says Son.

‘Them, too,’ says Wife refusing to rise to his bait. However, I am distracted by an image of elderly women in sleeping bags on Mother’s floor, sucking on popcorn while arguing over which Cary Grant movie to watch.

‘We need an online booking system. I’ve got a few parties booked over Christmas and we don’t want diary conflicts,’ says Daughter, who’s on a flying visit from University.

‘Where are these parties happening?’ I ask.

‘Here, of course. Why else would I be suggesting a family booking system?’ says Daughter. Both children look at me as if I’m an inferior species.

‘Keep up,’ says Son.

Later that week, Mother tells me that two of her former neighbours, who now live in South Africa, have arranged to come around at the weekend to see her.

‘Are they staying with us?’ I ask hesitantly.

‘Why would I ask them to stay without checking with your wife? Just because I’m old doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my manners,’ she snaps. ‘Lunch. It’s just lunch.’

‘Would you like me to do anything to help?’

‘Yes. Make sure everyone’s out by 12.45 on Saturday. I don’t want you fussing around me or the boy slumming in front of the TV playing one of his ghastly games. Just buy me some lemons and makes sure there’s full bottle of gin around.’

It is clear she has fully embraced Wife’s philosophy of ‘Mi casa, su casa’. In fact, it feels like she’s taking it one step further. Not only has she asked friends into our home, but she’s throwing us out. This is more ‘Mid Witch Cuckoo’ than ‘Su Casa’. I wonder how this will go down with Wife.

‘Perfect,’ she says. ‘This is just how it should be. She wants to be in control of her party and to have some privacy with her old friends. We can go out for lunch.’

‘What about me?’ says Son. His Saturday morning routine of slobbing around is in tatters.

‘You’ll have to be up and dressed before mid-day for once. It’s nothing to be scared of,’ replies Wife.

I can’t resist chipping in.

‘Mummy and Daddy will be there for you through the trauma. Just like we always have been there for you at the big turning points in your life.’

‘Boomers.’ He shakes his head and walks out.

Wife and I come back at about teatime to find Mother triumphant from her lunch party. Three hours of uninterrupted, old fashioned banter about the old days, the old neighbours and the old man, my father. What’s not to like?

‘They loved the house, by the way. They asked me to complement you for your marvelous good taste and to thank you for your hospitality.’

I don’t need to turn around to know Mother is talking to my wife not me.

‘They loved the new wood fire, especially. Reminded them of winter in London. In South Africa they only need fires to barbecue on,’ she laughs.

‘Wood fire?’ says Wife alarmed.

‘Yes. I put some logs on the fire in the sitting room to make them feel at home. Such a wonderful, woody smell, isn’t it?’

The fire she’s referring to isn’t a real fire. It’s a ‘Wood Burner Gas Fire with Realistic Flame Effect’. Unfortunately, it looks so real Mother has spent the afternoon lobbing wood logs onto it. Luckily, its fire retardant and hasn’t caused an explosion.

Later, with Mother upstairs exhausted with fun, Wife sweeps up the ashes.

‘Thank God for EU safety standards. They could have been burnt alive. You must warn her about not doing it again.’

Mother’s sister died of severe burns after candles set her bed alight. Telling her she’s almost burnt our house down will remind her of that. It’s going to make her feel foolish, too. Is that helpful? Will that stop her making the same mistake again? Or just humiliate her?

Son, who has changed back into his pyjamas and is booting up the PS4, pipes up.

‘Shall I have a chat with her instead of Dad? It’s easier for me to tell her she’s a silly old bat than him and I won’t make it sound like a lecture.’

There are moments when you realise how good your child rearing skills are. This is one of them.

‘Perfect, ‘I say. ‘Deal.’

‘Coward,’ says Wife, as I rush upstairs.

‘Just going to check if the insurance policy,’ I say. ‘Want to see if we’re covered for arson by elderly relatives.’

Man in the Middle was first published in Age Space


Read the next in the series – Chapter 14 Made in Chelsea here

Prospective buyers and sellers turn to renting

Photograph by Anna Kunst

Guest blog by Tannaz Bhoot

John D Wood & Co has a lettings section as well as a sales department, and this year we have found a lot more people wanting to rent. Despite the continuing uncertainty regarding Brexit, we have had a record year for businesses relocating their staff to London, and a surge in a new type of renter – prospective buyers and sellers. In a market where buyers have not found their dream home, get sudden cold feet about a long-term commitment, or just financial nerves, renting became a flexible and less committed option. Vendors who were fortunate to secure a good sale have also joined the army of renters, as they in turn became buyers and the option of renting became an attractive safety net.

Not enough rental property

As is often the case, a rise in demand has created a shortage in supply, and towards the latter part of the year we began to find there was a decline in available property. Chiswick has not suffered from this as much as other parts of the capital, but there has been a drop in the number of properties coming on to the market. This may be that current tenants who started out as buyers have decided to extend and stay on as tenants. The risk of moving, but not finding a suitable option to buy, has meant many people have renewed for a further term. In Chiswick we achieved some strong rents for our landlords and were able to also avoid any prolonged periods without tenants.

Tenant Fee Ban

The Tenant Fee Ban came into force in June this year. The new legislation stopped the practice of tenants having to pay letting fees to agents in the private rented sector, and it also introduced a cap on tenancy deposits. What impact would this have on ourselves and our clients? It took a great deal of planning and preparation to ensure we were legally compliant. The general feeling has been that the law has further protected tenants and has required us agents to be even more on knowledgeable in order to be able to advise both landlords and tenants in the right way, as both prospective tenants and landlords are asking us more questions.

Zero deposits

Zero Deposits came to the market, a change many of us are still getting used to. Prospective tenants can now rent a home without having to pay a hefty security deposit. Instead, you pay a non-refundable fee equating to one week’s rent, to an independent company. We’ve found that this has been helpful to first-time renters, many of whom have found that they could buy something important for their new home with the money they would have had to pay as a deposit, such as the sofa they really wanted.

It is a major change to how we have traditionally worked in lettings and is yet to be tried and tested. We will see this next year when tenancies come to an end. with zero deposits will put the Zero Deposits companies to the test. We predict that rents may increase into the New Year as demand is unlikely to reduce; whether supply meets the demand is a question we are all asking. 2019 was a year of a lot of change in the industry and we will see the effects into 2020.

Tannaz Bhoot is the Head of Lettings for John D Wood & Co


John D Wood & Co sponsors The Chiswick Calendar

Introducing Helen Cross

Guest blog by Helen Cross

Helen is the parliamentary candidate for Lib Dems for the Brentford & Isleworth constituency, 2019 general election

Chiswick’s Dilemma

Chiswick is a tolerant, international community. EU citizens are core to its identity, commerce and culture. Many Chiswick residents have enjoyed the freedom to move to the EU to live, work and love.

Brexit changed that. It made many EU people feel that they had become ‘second rate’ citizens. It is contributing to falls in inward investment and even house prices. It is destroying the prospects of British citizens who have moved to EU countries or who would like to.

Not that the voters of Chiswick wanted Brexit. We voted overwhelmingly against it in the Referendum and we backed the Liberal Democrats in the recent European Parliament Elections. It is the Tories who imposed Brexit on us. It is the Tory Party, which has spent the last twenty years tearing itself apart with its Euroscepticism.

Brexit has led to the death of moderation in the Tory party. Brexit is its new evangelism. Which is why so many moderate One Nation Tories like Justine Greening, Nick Bowles, Sam Gyimah, Dr Phillip Lee, Sarah Wollaston and Dominic Grieve have left the party (or been expunged from it). The current Tory Party has little to do with the party of Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine and John Major. Instead, Boris Johnson’s party is backed by Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage.

That’s why I want to make an appeal directly to Conservative voters in this constituency: Vote Liberal Democrat.

Vote Liberal Democrat if you believe your children and grandchildren deserve the benefits of EU citizenship and freedom of movement which you’ve enjoyed.

Vote Liberal Democrat if you want our businesses to continue enjoying being part of the largest single market in the world.

Vote Liberal Democrat if you want to avoid years of trade negotiations with the EU27 and the rest of the world extending the nation’s focus on Brexit for years.

Vote Liberal Democrat if you want to unlock the potential of a £50bn Remain Bonus, which would finance proper childcare and the NHS.

Vote Liberal Democrat if you want to end Heathrow expansion – which would see hundreds of planes a day flying the length of Chiswick High Road.

Vote Liberal Democrat if you want to protect our local business community, which is so reliant on EU27 workers and entrepreneurs.

Do not vote for a Conservative party, which could give us a no deal Brexit at the end of next year. (Does anyone believe that Johnson can get a free trade deal in a few months?).

Read what the Bedford Park Society, HACAN and others are saying about the impact on the local community of Heathrow expansion. Then ask yourself do I want to vote for a Tory government?

Read Peter Oborne’s devastating blog about the Johnson government’s attitude to truth and ask yourself: Do I want to reward this sort of behaviour?

Do you want to vote for a Tory candidate who isn’t local and voted Leave or for someone who has lived here for over 15 years and cares about the place?

In this constituency, many moderate conservatives have already joined the Liberal Democrats or are supporting us on the doorstep. We are the alternative to a Labour and Conservative Party, gone to the extremes. There is no way that Jeremy Corbyn will be Prime Minister on December 13th based on the current polling and in any case it is clear that as long as he is in charge of Labour it will supportive of Brexit.

So, if you want to stop Brexit, this election is probably your last chance to put an end to the waste and prevent years and years of trade talks leaving the country’s businesses in limbo. This is the last chance to stop a prime minister whose personality and track record make him unfit for office. This is a time to stand up and be counted. Vote Liberal Democrat.

See also: Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London visits Chiswick

Chiswick Cinema update

I’d say the construction of Chiswick Cinema is in good hands. Mark Brown, project manager on behalf of Conamar Building Services, has been responsible for several theatre projects, including the modernisation of the Dominion theatre in Tottenham Court Rd., though perhaps the pinnacle of his career was to project manage the building of the 97 storey Infinity tower in Dubai (pun intended). When you’ve done that, and sat round a table with 36 Arab stakeholders, trying to keep up, with beginners Arabic, overseeing a project such as the construction of the Chiswick Cinema doesn’t seem quite so stressful.

There have been a few setbacks. Squatters held back the start of work earlier this year for several weeks. “They were very nice” says Mark, “even invited me in for a cup of coffee”. Chiswick Cinema took legal action and they were evicted.

From then on it’s been plain sailing. They’ve demolished the interior, keeping the front facade and one major wall. There’s still more demolition to do, but the next stage, having put in pilings and dug the drainage, will be to install the structural steel columns to support the upper floors.

Photographs: Project manager Mark Brown; looking down inside from the first floor gantry; the three levels where the main cinemas will be

There will be three cinema screening rooms seating around 100 people each, which will be roughly where the three areas of yellow brickwork are now (pictured). There will also be two smaller screens, one of them for hire as a private screening room seating 15 people, with a private dining space adjacent.

There’s nothing left of Ballet Rambert, which occupied the building for 40 years. They did find some broken crockery and a pile of teeth, says Mark. I must have looked slightly alarmed, as he hastened to assure me they didn’t belong to the squatters. More like a horse’s teeth he thinks, judging from the size (which still raises more questions than it answers!)

Images: As it looks now from the High Rd and as it will look on completion

The plan is to have a mezzanine area with seating and a wall of glass overlooking the High Rd. There will be bars and food areas and the whole building will be wheelchair accessible. The opening is currently on track for this time next year, though in the construction industry it’s always rash to be too precise.

The foundation memberships have now all been sold; the last few having gone on sale last week. There will be other types of membership – student membership and an annual membership, all to be confirmed some time next year.

“People are really interested in the project” says Mark. “They stop me and ask what we’re building, and the reaction is always very positive.” A film buff himself (he and his wife go regularly twice a week) he thinks the cinema will go very well in Chiswick. “When I say what we’re building, people say ‘that’s great, this is really what we need here.’ It seems like it’s a really tight community. People round here all seem to know each other and support each other.”

Good to hear. Roll on next November.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New cinema for Chiswick

See also: Chiswick Cinema about to start construction

Christmas Toy Appeal

Residents in Hounslow are collecting toys for diistribution to disadvantaged children locally.

Shockingly, child poverty in the Hounslow area has worsened in the past year alone, with over 8,600 children living in poverty across the local area (Child Poverty Action Group statistics for the Brentford and Isleworth constituency for May 2019).

Looking to play a part in tackling the issue, a small group of residents with extensive experience working for charities tackling poverty and hunger in London have decided to put their skills and experience to use in their local area.

Having launched a community appeal for the second year running, they hope to collect 2,000 new toys from local residents for local children, for distribution through a network of over 10 charity partners. These include organisations such as children’s charities, baby banks and even food banks.

Want to help?
Donate a toy, donate money, help with wrapping and distribution. The toy appeal will culminate in a Community Toy Wrapping Event, where local residents are invited to come together to sort and wrap the donations before distribution. Sunday 15 December at the Nishkam School in Isleworth.


“Shameless electioneering”

Press release by leader of the Labour group on Hounslow Council, Steve Curran

In answer to Chiswick’s Conservative councillors’ criticism of the suggestion that work on Cycleway 9 at the Kew Bridge junction could start before Christmas …

Cllr Steve Curran said: “Cllr Joanna Biddolph, Leader of the minority Conservative Group in Hounslow, is using the council’s approval of Cycleway 9 as a cynical attempt to divert attention from the Tory party candidate for Brentford and Isleworth, Seena Shah’s position on Brexit and Cycleway 9. As we know, the Tory candidate is a fanatical Brexiter and has also publicly stated she is against Cycleway 9, this is in stark contrast to Ruth Cadbury, the Labour Party Candidate.

“Cllr Biddolph is now using the temporary closure of Hammersmith Bridge as an excuse to try to stop Cycleway 9. She also has the bare face cheek to suggest the decline in the high-streets will be further exasperated by CW9 and the Bridge closure. She forgets that her own government since they were elected in 2010, have done nothing at all to help high-streets and small businesses, especially with regard to reducing Business Rates, as we all know when the Prime Minister was Foreign Secretary, he said “F*** business”.

“She is also complaining about leaves on the pavement and roads, I know she is surprised at this, but it is Autumn and that’s when leaves fall! We have over 11,000 trees in the Borough (making us one of the greenest boroughs in London), with 23 staff exclusively working on leaf clearance over the next few months. I am really grateful to Cllr Guy Lambert, Lead Member for Recycling and Highways who is working very hard with Hounslow Highways, who are out there in all-weathers keeping our pavements and roads clear and safe”.

“I would have hoped, Cllr Biddolph and her colleagues would be more worried about air quality and pollution. The Labour Group and the Council have already signed up to the Climate Emergency and we are committed to do everything we possibly can to improve air quality in the Borough, especially for young people and children. It’s a shame Cllr Biddolph doesn’t appear to share that view, she is more concerned about traffic congestion in Chiswick High Road”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘Shockingly irresponsible’ decision to start work on Cycleway 9 at Kew Bridge junction – Cllr Joanna Biddolph press release

See also: Decision time for Cycleway 9

“Chiswick Food Market enabled us to survive as a family business”

Mike Belcher, from March House Farm in Leicestershire, has been coming to the Food Market in Chiswick since it first opened 20 years ago. Being able to market their meat direct to consumers in London has been a lifeline for his family farm, he says.

“Farming had been through two recessions. We had 180 acres, a small family farm supporting two families, and we needed to expand to survive”.

Many farmers diversified around that time, moving into tourism, offering Bed & Breakfast and opening their farms for public events during lambing and sheep shearing. The BSE crisis in the mid nineties had a terrible impact on the sale of beef, though it didn’t affect their herd directly, and things were about to get even tougher with the outbreak of Foot & Mouth in 2001.

“Food has been sold too cheaply in this country” says Mike. “It’s a hang over from the Second World War, but food producers need to be able to stand on our own two feet and not have to rely on subsidies”.

“Consumers want to know where their food comes from”

Mike started running stalls in at markets in Wimbledon and Twickenham around the same time as the one at Dukes Meadows in Chiswick and they now sell 60% what they produce through farmers markets – at Wimbledon and Twickenham on Saturdays, Swiss Cottage midweek and at three markets: Bishops Park in Fulham, Queen’s Park and Dukes Meadows on Sundays.

Direct contact with consumers has helped the family’s bank balance, but it has also made them realise the extent of the disconnect between producers and consumers. “We try and explain what goes into the food” says Mike. He finds consumers in London are interested to know what they’re eating and want to know about the production process.

March House Farm is not organic. Mike doesn’t think organic food is necessarily better and doesn’t believe it is sustainable in terms of feeding the whole planet. Instead they mix the latest technology with traditional farming methods to get the best yield from the land, and in doing so, have reduced their input of fertilisers by 40% over the past decade.

The Belchers now farm 1400 acres, a mix of arable farming and livestock rearing, and they seem to do a bit of everything – wheat, barley, sheep (2,000 breeding ewes) and cattle (160 cows), pigs (30 sows) and turkeys, ducks and geese for Christmas. The farm, at Great Dalby in Leicestershire, has been in his family for four generations. Mike’s wife Heather does the books; their sons Daniel (36) and Thomas (33) run the farm, while Mike runs the marketing operation.

Latest technology combined with traditional farming methods

Mike explained what he meant by their use of the latest technology with traditional farming methods:

“We use GPS in the tractors, so we follow a straight line, which means there’s no overlapping, so there aren’t bits of land which get a double dose of fertiliser”. They also map the fields, so they know which bit of land has a greater or lesser amount of potash, phosphate or boron, and they are able to programme the distribution of fertiliser accordingly. That’s how modern technology contributes to their farming methods.

The part played by traditional farming is the rotation of crops; they plant forage crops in between the barley and wheat harvests – stubble turnips, forage rape, rye grass, maize and kale, which with the addition of farmyard manure increases the biodiversity of the soil. It also makes them almost self-sufficient in cattle fodder. They just add cattle cake to their diet to ‘finish’ the cattle and cereal bars to give pregnant ewes a bit of extra nutrition.

Mike claims this is the most eco-friendly and sustainable type of farming there is, and says British farming is two and a half times more efficient than the world average in terms of carbon footprint, “because we are using what is naturally ours – the finest grass in the world” and grass is the biggest sequester of carbon. (Scientists back him up on this. A recent study from the University of California, Davis, found that grasslands are more resilient carbon sinks than forests).

“Our farm footprint is exactly what it was 100 years ago” says Mike, “except that we’ve taken out one hedge”. I asked him about the impact of modern farming on birds and wildlife. “We’ve never lost the numbers of birds and wildlife” he says. “My family generations back would feel absolutely at home on the farm today. They’d recognise it as pretty much how it was then”.

Right now they’re concerned with how wet the land is. They haven’t been flooded, as they’re not near a river and they have areas of ridge and furrow, not planted since the 1700s, which give the farm a bit of a natural flood defence, but their fields are sodden and just five miles away there are lakes where there should be fields, under water for several weeks. It means only ten percent of the winter wheat has been sown.

Supermarkets pay too low

It’s hard work driving down to London a the crack of dawn, but by selling direct to the public Mike finds he is able to make what he considers a fair living, while consumers are paying around the same price they would at a supermarket.

Their local slaughterhouse supplies Waitrose, M&S and Sainsburys, also Aldi and Lidl, who are “huge backers of British food producers” he says. But while supplying supermarkets gives them a regular income, says Mike, they couldn’t survive as a business on the rates they pay.

Direct to the public, March House Farm leg of lamb sells for £12.00 per kilo, lamb shoulder for £10.00 per kilo, lamb cutlets at £16.00 per kilo. Beef topside sells for £13.00 per kilo, best rib at £21.00 per kilo and sirloin at £26.50 per kilo. Manor House Farm turkeys sell for £75 – £80 for a bird around seven kilos.. Sausages (Moroccan / Merguez/ lamb and mint / pork and leek / Lincolnshire / cracked black pepper / Fire Cracker chilli and plain gluten free pork) £10.00 per kilo.

“Homely” bowls club

Over the years Mike has made many friends in Chiswick. He enjoys the interaction between country and city and feels at home at the Bowls Club, who ply him and his team with tea and coffee, and among the other market traders, several of whom have been coming to the Sunday morning market as long as he has.

“The club is fantastic – helpful and friendly. There’s a homeliness about coming here and Friends of Dukes Meadows offer a fantastic facility”.

Mike would like to offer 10% off to anyone who spends over £20 at Dukes Meadows Christmas market on Sunday 15 December (open 10.am – 2.00pm) who mentions The Chiswick Calendar. That includes orders for Christmas. If you can’t get to the market that day, you can put in your order by phone: 01664 563919.



Hounslow bids for London Borough of Culture 2021

Hounslow has put in a bid to become London Borough of Culture in 2021. A red Routemaster bus  took the Mayor of Hounslow and assembled arty types and councillors to City Hall to deliver it last week.

It promises a ‘Culture Superhighway’ from one end of the borough to the other, which will ‘unlock opportunity, connect people, and celebrate the borough’s cultural gems’ if they win the £1.35m in funding.

‘If successful, the borough will connect its communities and journey them through all parts of the borough to access and participate in culture like never before’ says the declaration.

I spoke to Cllr Samia Chaudhary about it – “Bidding for the London Borough of Culture 2021 has occupied a huge part of my life these last few weeks, so it was absolutely fantastic to see all the different threads coming together” she said.

“Great” says I, “so who’s involved from Chiswick?” The internationally regarded Arts Ed which delivers ‘outstanding’ education in musical theatre, whose alumni populate the stages of the West End and Broadway? The Chiswick Book Festival? The Bedford Park Festival? Our two long established amateur dramatic societies, and the five or so choirs?

“I’ll find out and get back to you” she said. She didn’t.

Cllr Tony Arbour, London Assembly  member for SW London, with Hounslow Mayor Tony Louki and Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services.

So I made a few phone calls. The Arts Ed clearly knew nothing about it. “We’d love to be involved” said their Director of Development Sue Sandle.

How about the annual open studios Artists At Home? “We’ve not seen anything about it. Not heard a squeak” said Jill Revie, co-ordinator of Artists At Home.

“No one’s been in touch” said Torin Douglas, Director of the Chiswick Book Festival and one of the organisers of the Bedford Park Festival, which has been putting on the cultural and community event for more than 50 years.

“Chiswick is one of the most culturally vibrant parts of the borough” said Torin. “If you go into a bid without all of the Chiswick culture, you’re going into it with one hand tied behind your back”.

To be fair, representatives of the historic houses with which the council has had a long association – Chiswick House, Gunnersbury Park and Hogarth’s House – were invited to meetings about it.

But as an attempt to represent and unite the borough, ‘to help fund a programme of arts, culture and entertainment for all of us across Hounslow’ it was a piss poor effort.

Which way will Remainers vote?

As an area which voted 70% Remain in 2016, how will that affect our vote in this general election?

There’s definite Brexit fatigue – the ‘I give up, let’s just decide something. Anything. We need strong leadership’ school of thought.

But there’s also the ‘finally I get an opportunity to say what I think. Let’s nail this whole stupid idea and go back to how we were before the referendum’ school of thought.

(Also a ‘Brexit – that’s a good idea’ school, no doubt, but a view heard less often in Chiswick).

Psephology experts reckon as many as 80 seats could change hands through tactical voting. So what happens when you type a W4 post code into Gina Miller’s Best for Britain calculator? It tells you to vote for Ruth Cadbury.

Without tactical voting, it predicts a very narrow Labour win, with only a a couple of points between Labour and Conservatives.

With a scenario of 30% pro-Remainers voting tactically for Ruth Cadbury, who has been strongly pro-Remain all through, it increases her lead to eight points.

I expect Seena and Helen will have something to say about that at our debate!

Limerick Competition

The Chiswick Calendar has been running a Limerick competition, in partnership with the Chiswick Book Festival and Dr Sara Lodge, who gave a talk about the celebrated writer of nonsense verse Edward Lear.

I say, what a great competition,
Our readers have been on a mission
To write us some twaddle
On the Limerick model
And thus satisfy their ambition

Thanks to all of you for sending us your verse. Most of you can’t write poems which scan for toffee! (You’re not alone in this. Torin told me mine didn’t scan properly either.) But they’re good fun, and we’re really chuffed you took the trouble.

This one from Moyra Ashford has to get top marks for topicality:
Said Boris, famed author and hack
‘Your Maj, let us try a new tack,
With a little recess
I can fix this sad mess,
I’ll Brexit before they are back’.

I rather like this one from Dr Bob Turvey as well, which he promises is ‘nursery clean’!
Said a writer of limericks, “Wow!
I need to write one on a cow.”
So he tattooed the side
Of a cow, but it died.
So we’ll never know what he wrote now.

We’ve had Limericks about Yeats, Donne and Burns, Herman Melville and Harold Pinter. This one by Mary Sidney I think should have pride of place on the Book Festival website:
Chiswick’s the in place to be,
If literature’s your cup of tea.
Bookshops, there are many.
Reading groups, ten a penny,
And a festival held annually.

Our winner is Roy Kelly, who gives us this verse on Harold Pinter:
A playwright called Harold Pinter
roomed in Chiswick summer and winter.
He espoused political causes,
and wrote plays full of pauses
as quick as a prize-winning sprinter.

A book token is on its way to you sir.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Edward Lear painting for sale

See also 2019 Chiswick Book Festival guest blog by Director Torin Douglas: So many memorable moments, so many vivid memories

Club Card Offer – Exclusive membership deal with family club Maggie & Rose – Creative activities for kids of all ages

Maggie & Rose – Exclusive Club Card Membership

Maggie & Rose is London’s original members club designed exclusively for families. ‘Our club has been created to give families a place to play, eat, learn and relax together, all under one roof. We offer creative classes for little ones from 6 months up, a double-decker Bus for arts and crafts, a bespoke soft play area, a Brasserie, nursery and roof top terrace’.

Maggie & Rose, in Essex Place (by the big Sainsburys) is offering Chiswick Calendar club-card holders an exclusive offer – when you sign up to our annual membership, you will receive unlimited classes for the first month, absolutely free! (Classes usually priced at £15 per class or £150 for 12 classes).

Get in touch to find out more.