A year of pandemic – how has Chiswick fared?

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

The roadmap out of lockdown 2021

Image above: Chiswick House Gardens; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

March

The schools went back on 8 March; colleges have reopened, and university students have returned to practical courses. Care home residents can have one nominated visitor, with testing and social distance precautions. From 29 March We can meet outside with one other household, o

Remembering those the pandemic has taken – David Stewart

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

Chiswick’s ‘Concierge Cabbies’

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

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

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

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

Young people who started their own business during lockdown

Images above: Rita Kastrati; Olivia and Francesca Johns

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

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

On being ‘elderly and vulnerable’ in a pandemic

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

It’s a pandem, and all stations panic

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

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

Pandemic hits poor

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

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

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

Desperate for kittens

Images above: Zeb and Ziggy

Lockdown stampede for furry companions sees animal charity swamped by applications

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

Cancelling Christmas for the love of animals

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

Out of lockdown Harriet’s Kitchen was born

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

Zooming with wine bottles: teaching Pilates during Covid

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images above: Rita Kastrati; Rita and her mother Bea

Bea's Flowers London

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

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

Images above: James Willcocks; James' dog Harry

Software engineer

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

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

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

Boeboes

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

Setting up a business in lockdown: Jake Stewart – Cello

Images above: Jake Backer; Cello

Cello

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

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

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

In Conversation with celebrities – Fane Online

Fane continues to offer some top-notch names “in conversation” online, rolling on until the autumn. Book ahead for Dame Maggie Smith and Kathleen Turner or Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi in April, or way ahead for a Hollywood actor Stanley Tucci, live-streaming from the London Palladium in October. From 24-31 March, Fane is also offering Black Matters, a musical event with Giles T

Films, yoga and drama clubs – Riverside Studios, Hammersmith

Riverside is offering three independent films which have received rave reviews – the award-winning animation Away plus Falling, and 

Orange Tree Theatre performances, Richmond

The Orange Tree is launching its first live streamed performances – a series of world premiere short plays by six emerging and established writers. The plays tell stories of “estrangement and loneliness, connection and redemption, despair in confinement to hope found in life outdoors”. The first tranche of three plays run from 25-27 March, the second from 15-17 April. They can be wa

What the Butler Saw – Theatre Royal Bath

The Theatre Royal Bath is offering the farce “What the Butler Saw” by Joe Orton as an interim show during lockdown, starring Rufus Hound. A co-production with the Leicester Curve Theatre, it’s a filmed version of a stage production. theatreroyal.org.uk/online-theatre/

Opera in a Kensington Clock Shop

Grange Park Opera has no less than 19 free events online in what it calls its “Interim Season”. Its latest offering, available from 20 March, is Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole.  It was filmed in and around an antique clock shop on Kensington Church St. Watch this trailer for a behind

The Marriage of Figaro – Royal Opera House

This filmed version of Mozart’s comic opera, The Marriage of Figaro, is available to stream on demand until 4 April for just £3. stream

Emilia – Original Theatre Company

Emilia, the triple Olivier award-winning play, is running again on Original Theatre until 31 March. It’s based on the story of Emilia Bassano, said to be the first woman in England to assert herself as a poet back in Shakespearean times, and who was possibly the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Emilia is a joyous experience and its all-female cast an inspiration. Payment is what yo

Barnes’ People – Original Theatre Company

Barnes’ People is about four theatrical monologues starring Jon Culshaw, Matthew Kelly, Jemma Redgrave and Adrian Scarborough. Then there's A True Born Englishman, starring Adrian Scarborough. Billed as a “world premiere”, it tells the story of a footman at Buckingham Palace who decides, after 30 years, to spill his secret. Duration: around 20 minutes per monologue. Tickets

A Splinter of Ice – Original Theatre Company

A Splinter of ice is a political drama, set in Moscow in the final years of the Cold War. British novelist Graham Greene meets his old MI6 boss, Kim Philby, Britain’s greatest spy – and traitor. Starring Oliver Ford Davies, it’s penned by Ben Brown, whose award winning West End play Three Days in May inspired the Oscar-winning film, Darkest Hour. Filmed onstage at the

Pongo’s Party – Stream.Theatre

Stream theatre is offering a series of children's theatre. Pongo’s Party The children’s show is now streaming online, featuring Justin Fletcher as the voice of Pongo the Pig. Available on demand until 31 March. Price: £12.99

Grimmz Fairy Tales – Stream.theatre

Grimmz Fairy Tales - traditional stories get a hip hop spin. Suitable for ages 8+. On demand until 31 March. £15.00