And here’s a little Twickenham Christmas something to read aloud as you sit by the fire on Christmas Eve.
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE TWICKMAS
or “A Visit From Saint Nicholas”
not by Clement Clarke Moore
Twas the night before Twickmas and all through the town,
Not a creature was stirring, the shops had closed down,
No stockings were hung on the chimneys for fear,
That El Brute’s famous leader, Lord True, would appear.
El Brute and Nick True planned to make Twickenham better,
Sending plans out to all in a ‘village’ newsletter,
The Twickenham Action Plan, known as the TWAP,
Contained fine aspirations but also some crap.
Shop local? Definitely! There’s a lot of twitter traffic these days about ‘shop local’. There have been a few comments on this site too. It’s a good thing, right? Probably. Mostly.
Of course what most of the shop local brigade mean is ‘shop at independent local stores’. Tesco, bad. Independent local grocer, good. It’s a laudable sentiment. Or rather, most people think it’s a great idea until it gets to 7.00pm and you need a crisp lettuce, a loaf of bread that’s still within its sell-by date or something easy to stick in the oven. And then the convenience, the opening hours and range of products at the UK’s ‘favourite’ grocer comes into its own. And of course it’s not just Tesco versus the people. Twickenham now has a local version of Sainsbury’s, will soon have a Morrisons and, if the rumours are true, an Aldi. Why are these ‘locals’ here? Money, obviously. The internet has put paid to the rise and rise of the edge of town hypermarket. Why wander round an aircraft hangar of a supermarket enduring an experience that’s about as entertaining as a domestic argument in Ikea (and yes, we do mean the Croydon one not the Wembley one) when you could have your weekly shop delivered right to your door? Why go to Big Tesco to buy a television or a microwave when you can get it cheaper from Luxembourg’s very own internet giant, Amazon?
Oh, alright then.
Even if you don’t live by it, go running or walk the dog by it, it’s worth getting down to the river early on a bright spring morning. Although we don’t usually say things like this… it’s actually quite uplifting.
Spring morning, Orleans Gardens
We get through a lot of words on this site. No sooner has the latest delivery arrived at the twickerati warehouse near Heathrow than we’re out and about spreading them around the site. Do any of them make sense? Individually yes, but once we start stitching them together into what we like to call ‘sentences’ then the meaning can sometimes be lost. We reckoned that summarising what it all means is best done through the medium of a ‘word cloud’ and so we went onto the Wordle site and cooked up this thing. It shows the most commonly used words on twickerati at the moment. It also shows we love local Twickenham stuff. Beyond that? Not a lot, but it’s quite fun.
Twickerati “Wordle” graphic
* Make your own at Wordle
Strawberry Hill is up in arms, the natives with their strange customs are revolting and beautiful maidens are fainting at the thought of Horace Walpole spinning in his grave. Is it the plot of a recently discovered gothic novel? No, it’s the latest edition of the Strawberry Hill Residents Association’s newsletter. It majors on a boundary dispute that’s rocking the Hill and putting other territorial conflicts around the world into the shade. The SHRA is outraged that Twickenham has launched a vicious land grab on parts of Strawberry Hill under the auspices of Richmond Council’s ‘village plans’.
“I remember when all this were paper.” Is that what you think when you stand looking out across the local media landscape? It often feels like the once-dominant local newspaper industry has been bulldozed to make way for a bright new media estate of tweets, blogs, microsites, listing sites, Facebook posts and just about anything else that can be used to transmit news from person A to person B. Except that it’s not quite like that because somewhere in the middle of this confusing new landscape still stands the local newspaper, like a listed building surrounded by new-build.
But even that’s not a totally fair assessment either, for two reasons. The first is that the local paper, in our case Ye Olde Richmond & Twickenham Times, is not just some thatched cottage totally overshadowed by the new. It still has an important role, significant influence and is trying to adapt to the new world. The second reason the thatched cottage analogy doesn’t work is that when the going gets tough, the local paper is not a listed building that can be propped up by English Heritage or Lottery grants for historical or sentimental reasons; it’s a business and could quite easily suddenly stop being one.
TIMES ARE CHANGING
Why mention any of that? Well, sometime ago, many months if we’re honest, a message reached us asking if anyone actually read the Richmond and Twickenham Times anymore and “wouldn’t it be good to do a survey about it”? The answers to those questions are yes and yes. People still read it, businesses still advertise in it and angry residents still write letters to it. But all three of those groups also increasingly do those things online. The business of making actual newspapers out of dead trees is in serious decline. It’s only a matter of time before the traditional printed newspaper is found only in the world of Hoxton retro-chic.