Category Archives: Random Stuff

Pic of the Week: Comedy Pavement or Art Installation?

Here’s a scene that raises one simple question. Why? These new flats on Heath Road, called Twickenham House, have given rise to some comedy paving or perhaps it’s actually modern art, we’re not entirely sure. What seems to have happened is that once upon a time there was a pavement with a line of edging stones next to a building, then some hoardings were put up to allow construction work to take place and then the builders decided to make the line of the hoardings the precise line for the intersection of the old pavement and their attempt at new paving. The result? Something that looks like this…

But is it art?

But is it art?

If that’s the quality of finishing for the outside space we can only hope that they’ve done a better job on the inside. Is it actually finished? We don’t know but we hope Richmond Council’s planning bods are taking a long hard look at it, assuming their eyes can stay focused on it. Paving stones? Paving stoned more like.

new flats with 'comedy paving' on Heath Road

new flats with ‘comedy paving’ on Heath Road

You may recall that these are the very same flats where the developers’ boards promised views across Mediterranean rooftops rather than of a suburban railway bridge and a Tesco Express. I suppose we now have to call these things ‘alternative facts’. It’s a funny old world.

Twickenham House on Heath Road

Twickenham House on Heath Road

Room with a view… of the Med.

Views across the Med

Views across the Med

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New Cinema Club for Twickenham

If you like watching classic and cult films which rarely get an airing on television or in cinemas then you’re in luck.  A new cinema club is launching in Twickenham to do just that.  Called, rather unsurprisingly, Twickenham Cinema Club, the aim of the new venture is to create a club run by members, for members. You can expect an eclectic mix of film with the idea that the members are the curators. There will also be a social element to screenings with an opportunity to chat before and afterwards. The opening film is 1945’s ‘Mildred Pierce‘ starring Joan Crawford. It’s something of a noir classic, a tale of ambition, struggle and mother daughter rivalry and is based on the novel by James M Cain whose other books include The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. How’s that for pedigree?

twickenham-cinema-club-logo

 

To join the club costs £10 per year with the first film free and subsequent films at £7. Otherwise it’s £10 on the door for non-members.  For local film buffs, the new club is a welcome complement to Richmond Film Society which has been running since 1963 and focuses on world cinema with screenings at St Mary’s University.

Mildred Pierce is showing at Patchworks at The Cabbage Patch pub on Wednesday February 8th.

 

LINK:

twickenham-cinema-club-debut-film

 

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Merry Twickmas, Twickenham

“Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, building Trumpton one block at a time. With flats by the river and parking galore, we just have to hope that it’s better than before”.

Yes folks that’s what Councillor Pamela Fleming is absolutely insisting gets sung before all meetings at Richmond Council this Christmas. We’re not sure if she can actually hold a tune but we do know that she can hold a (party) line.

 

twickenham-christmas-tree

Christmas is upon us just as it was at this time last year. It’s a time when we look forward to wincing at our bank balances and praying that our guests will leave  (just bloody leave!) but we also look back on the year that’s ending. It’s been year of strange events, plucky Leicester City winning the Premier League, plucky Brits voting for Brexit, and plucky billionaire bully-boy businessman Donald Trump winning The Pres Factor across the pond. Here in Twickenham we’ve had our fair share of surprises too.  Surprise that LBRuT, aka ‘El Brute’, stuck with their unpopular scheme and chosen architect for Twickenham Riverside despite strong local opposition. Surprise that the high street at the end of the year looks very similar to the way it looked at the beginning, and surprise too that a new third runway at Heathrow got the nod from the government. Actually none of those three was remotely surprising but they warranted a token mention.

What of the riverside scheme? Here at twickerati HQ we’ve been disappointed that the Council have persisted with a plan that doesn’t do justice to the potential of the site, is overloaded in terms of scale and features a design that pays a traditionalist homage to a non-existent past.  After all these years of dithering and deliberation Twickenham looks set to end up with something that’s ‘sort of OK’ rather than something great. It’s a shame.  But on the bright side we do have a wonderful new station to enjoy as we go about our business. You’ve not seen it? What?? Well it was definitely going to be built after the Rugby World Cup. Definitely! The rugby world cup ended over a year ago but nothing’s been started yet. On the plus side, it’s not actually behind schedule because the phrase ‘after the rugby world cup’ applies to all dates from November 2015 to the very end of time. Hurrah!

At least the development opposite the station on the former post office sorting office site is nearly complete. It’s even got our new ‘community building’ / ‘cultural hub’ in it where things will happen that the community can do or look at or maybe wear or something. In truth, we’ve no idea. If it can support a thriving theatre-cum-performance space then that will be good but the only concrete idea we’ve had is that it might have been better to have a community building as part of the riverside development but what do we know?

On the high street, long standing Chinese restaurant Jun Ming closed,  Arthur’s is up for sale and we said farewell to the mysterious Cakes World and Marc Jason’s Shoeworld. The Press Room and Caffe a Roma arrived but so did Costa. The Heath Road restaurant that never lasts and which was most recently called Flavours of Sicily didn’t last. Former Blockbuster video store turned Morrison’s supermarket closed its doors again and is now turning into a Screwfix and a Co-op mini-supermarket has appeared in what was the Old Anchor pub. This, my friends, is the way of the world these days.

So what else happened? We had summer festivals and Christmas lights. New primary schools opened, more places are on the way in a giant new block at St Richard Reynolds College as is a whole new secondary school on the Richmond College site in Egerton Road. A man made national news when he brought Twickenham traffic to a standstill on a rugby day by throwing bricks and tiles off a roof and thieves blew up a cash point on Heath Road and made off with the contents. Richmond Council continued its merger with Wandsworth with the aim of making savings in back office costs through sharing resources. And if you wanted an ice rink to get you in the festive mood then you were to be disappointed. El Brute rejected proposals for a temporary winter rink in Radnor Gardens. Apparently school kids need the space…. even when they’re on holiday.

Here at twickerati we even managed to disappoint ourselves by living up to our recently lowered expectations. We updated the site only occasionally and focused on the same few stories over and over again.  The simple fix of finding more time, of writing with more wit and style and of securing regular contributors proved to be not quite so simple after all. But we battle on and, after all, why wouldn’t we with plenty of Twick-o-centric developments likely in 2017. Work on the riverside, maybe that new station, some new flats that look just like all the others, shops closing, shops opening, a permanent home for the Eel Pie Music museum.

This is what living in God’s own leafy outer London suburb is all about. This plus the parks, the river, the pubs, cafes and restaurants and above all else the people, i.e. you lovely lot.

As we conclude we say to you, put away thoughts of that charming John Lewis advert and think instead of the new seasonal YouTube video from El Brute Supremo, the Blue Baron aka Lord True.  Buster the Boxer’s got nothing on him.  This Council video is all about listening to Sir  True’s view of the world whilst looking at the back of his head in a giant mirror. Nothing says Christmas quite like that!

And that, little friends, is that. Have a great Christmas, have a wonderful New Year and thanks for reading this blog over the last 12 months.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL

Some Twickmas going on

Some Twickmas going on

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Pic of the Week: Cash Machine Carnage

Top tip: If you forget your PIN there’s no need to lose your rag and take it out on the machine.  At around 2.30am on Saturday morning a loud bang rang out along Heath Road in Twickenham. Was it an explosion of some kind? It certainly sounded like one. The result? One mangled cash machine… devoid of cash.   The ex-stand-alone cash machine is located on the corner of Heath Road and Heath Gardens, opposite Tesco Express. By the morning, the scene was taped off and police officers were busy looking for evidence in the debris strewn across the pavement and talking to locals who may have seen something.

The incident is similar to one on the morning of August 10th when thieves used propane to blow open a cash machine at an Esso petrol station on Hounslow Road in Hanworth. And there are more examples around of this type of cash machine robbery. Propane, petrol, sensible stuff.

If you have any information that might be of interest to the boys in blue, we’re sure they’d love to hear from you.

 

Well out of order

Well out of order

Looking for clues...

Looking for clues…

The former cash machine

The former cash machine

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Pic of the Week

The River Thames was unruffled by the result of last Thursday’s referendum. It was good to see someone, or rather something, keeping calm early on Friday morning as the result became clear. 

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Harlequins: Marking the End of the O’Shea Era

We don’t often cover rugby on this site but, and it’s a big but, Harlequins are Twickenham’s top flight team and in the last few years under the direction of Conor O’Shea the club has achieved some notable success including winning their first (and only) Aviva Premiership title in 2012. Now O’Shea’s leaving the club and heading to Italy, times are changing and we felt it was worth paying tribute to the man and the success he brought to The Stoop. Occasional twickerati roving reporter and big Quins fan Bill Webb-Ellis looks back on the O’Shea era and ponders on what the future may bring…

 

With the reduced, ‘de-funned’ (for which read, de-deathed due to excessive drinking) London 7s last weekend, as well as the Aviva Premiership semi-finals taking place, the players at Harlequins were busy posting photos of themselves in Cannes on Instagram. Their coach for the past six years however may well be ruing his send off the previous Friday night in the European Challenge Cup Final.

With 80 minutes played and trailing by seven points, Quins had possession in their own half, if they could get a converted try, they could take the game to extra time. The ball came to flyhalf, Ben Botica, who inexplicably kicked it up field, giving possession to Montpellier who carried it out to win the match and the cup. Botica had already signed to play for Montpellier next season, and the conspiracy theorists had a field day. In truth, the game had been lost in the previous 80 minutes with Harlequins out-muscled by Jake White’s strong South African bolstered side, unrecognisable from the team that Harlequins put 41 points past at home in November 2015.

Conor O’Shea arrived at Quins in March 2010 among the embers from Bloodgate, and took over from caretaker coach John Kingston after Dean Richards resigned and was then banned from rugby for three years. O’Shea won 35 caps for his country as a stylish full-back and had played, captained, coached, been Director of Rugby and even Managing Director of London Irish, before working for the RFU as Director of Regional Academies and then National Director of the English Institute of Sport.

In O’Shea’s first full season, he took Harlequins to victory over Munster at Thomand Park in a Challenge Cup semi-final, becoming only the second club to beat the Irish province at home in a European Competition. In the final, Quins beat Stade Français with a last-minute try from Argentinian wing Gonzo Comacho, sent through the French side’s defence by a grubber from Danny Care; the conversion by Nick Evans gave them the cup by a point, 19–18 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The confidence that came from the cup win after the lows and humiliation from the season before brought about a new Quins’ style. O’Shea held a summit with his four coaches as to what was needed to move on. The words and phrases that cropped up were leadership, culture, empowering players, discipline, and the response was immediate. In the 2011–12 season, Harlequins won their first 10 premiership games before losing to Saracens at Twickenham in the Big Game 4. A home playoff semi-final against Northampton Saints saw a 14-man maul go over the line for Joe Marler to score the winning try and secure a 25-23 victory.

Quins v Wasps [copyright Seconds Left Images]

Quins v Wasps  (Copyright Andrew Fosker / Seconds Left Images)

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Pics of the Week: Spring & Water

If you can’t always remember what’s great about living in Twickenham then spring mornings and spring tides should be near the top of your list. Need some photos to remind you? Here’s four for you then.

Looking towards Radnor Gardens

Looking up river towards the Heart of Darkness (aka Teddington)

Early doors, Twicke-side

The Thames, early doors, Twick-side

Oh no, not again.

Oh no, you’ve only gone and bloody parked there again.

Arriving at The White Swan in style

Arriving at The White Swan in style

There are probably a bunch of other reasons too but we’ll come back to them another time (when we actually remember them).

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A Twickenham Cultural Hub. Well, Will It Be?

You’ve probably seen this building loads of times. Perhaps you walk past it every day on your way to the station. Maybe you’ve even pondered on how it’s possible to put so much scaffolding against one single structure? But what exactly is it?

Brewery Wharf, Twickenham

Brewery Wharf, Twickenham

Why, it’s the new ‘community and cultural building’ for Twickenham of course! It’s part of the large Brewery Wharf development that’s going up on the old Royal Mail sorting office site. It’s a big site and will include over one hundred new flats and houses with a very light sprinkling of shared ownership homes too. Part of the deal for the development was for some kind of community building that would benefit the town. It’s not a bad idea even if, according to us here at twickerati HQ, it’s in the wrong place. Wouldn’t it be better located right, slap bang in the town centre, possibly even as part of the Twickenham riverside development? We think so, but what do we know.  Anywayyyyy…

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Please Sponsor Me In The Brighton Marathon

Spear LondonHello Twickenham. Here’s a request that’s a bit different from the usual twickerati nonsense. I’m after your money. Not for me you understand but for SPEAR, the Twickenham based charity helping homeless people in the area. I’m running in the Brighton Marathon on Sunday 17th April and any donation you can make to SPEAR will be very much appreciated. With less than a week to go there’s no time like the present to act so why not read on then immediately click on the link to donate via the twickerati JustGiving page. Yes, do it right now please.

What & why?
Apart from doing things like having a day job and updating twickerati with Twickenham related stuff, I also do a bit of running from time to time. 5k, 10k, 10 miles and more, but one thing has been missing – a full marathon. And that’s why I’m running Brighton. 26.2 miles is a long way. A bloody long way. Apparently, it’s twice the distance of a half marathon! It’s going to be hard, it could take a while, my knees and ankles are going to hate me more than they do already, but it will be worth it if I can raise money for an excellent local cause too.

Who?
I am raising funds for SPEAR, a charity based in central Twickenham. If you live locally you’ve probably heard of it. Its mission is to enable homeless people in South and West London to find secure accommodation and work towards a positive future.

If you enjoy reading twickerati whether on the blog, Twitter or Facebook then I’d be hugely grateful if you could make a donation to SPEAR to help it with its important work with vulnerable people. Any donation, however large or small, would mean a lot to me but it will mean much more to them. Thank you very much. Russell

 

UPDATE 18 APRIL 2016:

Thanks so much for all your donations, you have helped raise over £1,000 for Spear. Both Spear and I really appreciate it. The money will be put to good use tackling homelessness in our part of London. As for the run, I reached my ‘best case’ target time of 3h 45m thanks to a bit of preparation, fantastic support along the route and the knowledge that I was running for a good cause. Thank you all again. Russell

Sorry about the photo, the staff photographer was having an off day but you get the idea.

 

Did it!

Did it!

 

LINK:
* DONATE: twickerati JustGiving page for SPEAR
* More about SPEAR

ice-cream-van-twickenham-twickerati

P.S. If you are an actual friend of mine (and for the avoidance of doubt I like to think I have at least three, maybe four at a push) I also have a personal JustGiving page for exactly the same thing in case you’d prefer to sponsor me there.
P.P.S. And if you’re wondering why I have not asked for sponsorship earlier, my propensity to accrue minor sporting injuries has put me off doing that until now.

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