It’s beginning to sound a lot like Bublé, everywhere you go. Yes folks, Christmas is upon us once again.  It shouldn’t really be a surprise, it’s been going on for a good few years now.  It also means it’s nearly the end of 2018 although to be fair, this is the first time that particular things has actually happened.  What a year it’s been in Twickenham! We’ve had all sorts to keep us entertained, irritated and amused over the last 12 months. Can’t remember what happened? Here’s a quick reminder of some of what we’ve covered on here.

January: Won’t someone spare a thought for the Lidl children? Contractors begin the demolition of Ryde House in East Twickenham as part of the plan to build a new home for the Deer Park School and a new Lidl supermarket.

Lidl and Deer Park School

February: Orleans House Gallery re-opens after a £4m refurbishment and if you haven’t had a look round it since then you really should do. It’s really very shiny and remarkably octagonal in parts.

March: The Eel Pie Museum opens in new premises on Richmond Road, inventor and Twickenham legend Trevor Baylis dies, English Heritage consults on its plans for ‘reviving’ Marble Hill Park and, amazingly, El Brute approves its very own plans for the Twickenham Riverside development. Ah, the good old riverside. La plus ca change.

View from river

April: We exclusively reveal that Twickenham is to regain Borough status… although that was on 1st April. The first ‘dockless hire’ Ofo bikes appear in Twickenham – great for kids who want to earn kudos by riding round on a yellow tank of a bike with the lock broken off or simply pushing them over like dominoes –  and you lovely lot raise nearly £2,000 for local homelessness charity Spear by sponsoring your humble correspondent in the London Marathon. Thank you!

ofo bikes

May: The brutes of El Brute change colour from blue to a kind of yellowy green. Yep, the Conservatives get the heave ho from York House and are replaced by the Lib Dems with a smattering of Green Councillors. Step one for the new administration? Put the brakes on the riverside plans pending a re-boot of the whole project to better reflect the views of the great Twickenham masses. It’s just like old times and a bad case of deja vu all over again.

June:  Heathrow’s plans for a third runway get approved by government ministers, the Rolling Stones play at the Stadium, Twickenham Festival takes place and we realise that we’re being spied on by baby faced alien assassins hidden in the concrete of the road by the station. It’s true. They’re coming for us and they’re going to make the new station,  Fort Twickenham, their new base.

Spook

July: An arguing couple mobilise pretty much all the local emergency services including the Teddington lifeboat for a ‘dramatic’ waist deep river rescue. Money well spent. Eminem plays Twickenham. We might not have an 8 Mile Road out here in the burbs but we have got our very own 6th Cross Road for our own Twick Hop Battles. Who needs Detroit?

August: After months and months of waiting, the new path along the River Crane between Craneford Way playing fields and Twickenham Station opens. Twickenham Junction Rough path – or Craney McLaney, if you prefer – is a great route by the River Crane as long as you aren’t actually hoping to get a view of the river as you walk along it. That would be asking too much.

September: English Heritage re-boots its plans for Marble Hill House and Park after having listened to locals’ feedback. Well, they either did or did not listen depending on your point of view and the new, tweaked plans then get approved in December. The idea of a foot and cycle bridge between Twickenham and Ham gets an airing at the Council. Radnor Gardens is the suggested location. Cue much discussion about how much it might cost, exactly where and if this TwickenHamHam Bridge might ever come to pass. One view: do we really want to make it easier for people from the wrong/Surrey side of the river to get over here?

Possible view upstream

October: El Brute launches a consultation on its proposal for a borough wide 20mph speed limit, giving hope to the dream of many drivers in Twickenham that they might one day be able to achieve such incredible speeds. The Council also announces its plans for taking the Twickenham Riverside project forward through a piece of work involving assorted community groups and, at last, a proper design brief. And with that we all looked to the words of Ron Greenwood’s England 1982 World Cup squad for inspiration, “This time, more than any other time, we’ll get it right”.  We bloomin well hope so.

November: Concrete ends up in the mains sewers in East Twickenham and causes a major blockage of traffic as well as drains as Thames Water try to fix it. TFL’s proposals to change bus routes through the town cause #buswankers (one for Inbetweeners fans) to rise up and half-heartedly stick out their arms hoping to bring the thing to a halt.

A bus stop. In Twickenham

December: As the year end accelerated towards us, we realised that:

  • All the shiny GPS tracked Ofo cycles had disappeared apart from a few rogue bikes hiding out on Twickenham Green and in the woods at Orleans Gallery like the most rubbish ever remake of Blade Runner.
  • If you can’t open a charity shop you’d better open a vape store instead. Four stores and counting so far in central Twickenham. How much caramel vapour can one person consume in a day?!
  • A bunch of shops and restaurants had closed over the course of the year including MultiYork, Delhi Durbar, Carphone Warehouse, Riley’s Sport bar and ‘The Canteen’. Amazingly, a bunch of shops and restaurants opened too. Nando’s; The Meat Room; Sayurit Sushi, the People Hive, Brewery Market and…  wait for it… a Crown Paint Decorating Centre.
  • And one place in particular vied for the title of the new La Serenata. We’re talking about Palm Grill on London Road of course. Is it open? Is it closed? Yes, it’s closed. Definitely closed… apart from those very few times when it appears to be open. Gotta love a Twickenham tradition haven’t you!

And in December we also realised that this review was nearly over. What can we expect to see in 2019? We’ll let you take a view on that but in the meantime, thank you for your support and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.