Tag Archives: ramblings

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

20 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff

On Yer Bike! Well, Are You?

Village bike

A village bike

Did you see last week’s Ricky Twicky Times? Well did you? Cor blimey! That front page all about that bloody cyclist clocking 41mph in Richmond Park. Dangerous eh? And breaking the 20mph speed limit too. The article elicited plenty of comment online. Ban ’em! Leave ’em be! What about the motorists, they’re even worse. And as for those deer, wandering around, eating bark and chestnuts like they own the bloody park: twig-headed idiots. There were no winners.

It got us thinking about cycling. Unlike that chap in the park, not everyone wants to race around wearing lycra that provides onlookers with way too much information about what goes wrong when you hit middle age. But not everyone wants to ride at a sedate pace waving at vicars whether that be on a bike or on a deer. It’s about balance isn’t it? And there are always valid arguments both for and against that.

Lycra louts

Lycra louts on Cross Deep

How about some tolerance and respect and understanding? Why, just the other day, your humble correspondent got called a “two wheeled terrorist” for having the audacity to try to cycle through a green light whilst a group of rugby fans were attempting to cross the road despite the ‘red man’ facing them. Thanks guys. The very next day we witnessed a car braking hard when making a left turn into a side road, not because the driver had made an error when overtaking a bike but because a cyclist had been bombing along the pavement and had crossed the junction without so much as a sideways glance. Pavement cycling by small children is one thing (namely, illegal, a bit irritating but understandable), but there seems to be a small but determined group (usually men in their twenties, often in hi-viz work vests, en route to some place or other) who think a pavement equates to a cycle lane. Dudes, it doesn’t. Continue reading

100 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News

Pic of the Week: Where’s This Then?

It’s the summer silly season and things just would not be complete without a fatuous test of your Twickenham knowledge. It’s really very simple. Where is this tile? Or rather where are these tiles? There are a few of them. They’re not hidden away, they’re perfectly visible from the street. So where are they? Where is our gallant knight Sir Gareth?

A tile... in Twickenham

A tile… in Twickenham

We’ll give you the answer… soon.

In fact we’ll do it now… it is indeed part of a series of tiles between the shops on London Road, The Munch Box, Ke Suushi, the new Bonjour dry cleaners etc.

IMG_6104

6 Comments

Filed under Pix of the Week, Random Stuff

Ghost Signs of Twickenham

Twickenham’s glory days. Are they behind us, do they still lie ahead? Or are they actually right now? Whatever the answer, we predict that in years to come, with the benefit of hindsight, we’ll look back with a sense of nostalgia at how we imagined the future would turn out. But before we do that, we thought a quick tour of Twickenham’s past would be in order. We don’t mean the obvious signs such as historic buildings but rather the ones that got away – old adverts, road signs referring to a long dead borough and even fire hydrant covers. Below is a selection. It’s almost certainly not complete but feel free to point us to more of Twickenham’s ‘ghost signs’ and we’ll add them in.

Lipton sign - York Street

Lipton sign – York Street

Twickenham Borough Council - fire hydrant

Twickenham Borough Council – fire hydrant

Changing signs, changing times. Staines Road

Changing signs, changing times. Beef tea & chicken broth on Staines Road


Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Pix of the Week, Random Stuff

A Marble Hill Mudfest (Updated)

The recent Foodies Festival at Marble Hill House drew in punters from around the area keen to experience a wide range of stalls, watch cookery demonstrations, listen to some live music and generally stuff their faces full of food and drink. Not a bad idea if you ask us. It was a good event. But of course it was an English Bank Holiday weekend and that usually means one thing: rain. OK, so it didn’t rain for the duration but there was plenty of it. The result? Getting all those vehicles off the park left the grass in front of the house looking more like farm tracks than a suburban park – and we should know, we went to the countryside once.

Not good:
Marble Hill mud (2) - June 14

Basically, a large area is a massive mess. We’re talking mud, ruts and the odd splattering of engine oil. We’re sure it will be sorted out between English Heritage and the festival organisers but it’s likely to involve some quite significant costs. The planning statement for the event indicated that it would return for a second year but we can’t see either English Heritage or park users being particularly keen on that unless something changes, and not just the weather. English Heritage’s ‘Design and Access’ statement in their El Brute submission said, “The principal physical impacts on the site are the wear and tear of vehicles during installation and dismantling, mitigated by the use of a track-way. Reinstatement of any damage to the grounds will take place immediately after the event”. Well, there was a trackway but it was clearly inadequate for the heavy rain / heavy vehicle combination over the weekend. Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Food & Drink, Local Issues & News, What's on

Pic of the Week: Pointer to the Past?

Confused sense of identity

Confused sense of identity

Surely something’s gone a bit awry here? It’s not simply that the Borough of Twickenham no longer exists, that’s not the issue, it’s the combination of a reasonably new sign making reference to a borough which only existed from 1926 to 1965, being used to give a sense of history and tradition to a row of 18th century houses. Eh? In short, the borough status referred to on the sign came 200 years after the construction of the row. Perhaps the residents of Montpelier Row were keen to hark back to the glory days of the mid twentieth century. Or maybe, just maybe, the very original signs for Montpelier Row anticipated the creation of the borough in order to save on the cost of new signs at some future date. Here at twickerati HQ we love a bit of history and tradition but in this case it seems to have got a bit confused. Ah well, what do we know?

7 Comments

Filed under Pix of the Week, Random Stuff

Twickenham Film House?

Calm down, it doesn’t exist and there’s not even a plan. But apart from those small obstacles it does sound good doesn’t it? A brief tweet last night (n.b. all tweets are brief) from @julie_twickers sparked a flurry of retweets and responses. What did she say? Well, she simply said: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a cinema back in Twickenham? How could we progress this idea? @twickerati @twickenhamlocal @AmyDyduch”. Did we say ‘flurry’ of retweets? It was more like a bloody frenzy. A Twickenham-esque restrained frenzy, perhaps.

So could it work? Would it work? And where would it be? And who would go there? And why? Enough already! You’ve probably got the idea by now. A multiplex? That’s not going to happen. An arty little affair showing the better class of films just like Richmond Filmhouse? Well, that’s a maybe because Richmond Filmhouse is no more – it’s the Curzon Richmond these days, part of a small chain. How about something like the Olympic Cinema in Barnes showing films with a trendy cafe bar to boot? Sounds good but would it be sustainable in Twickenham? Perhaps.
Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under Random Stuff

Twas The Night Before Twickmas….

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.
Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Random Stuff

Shop Local? Absolutely! Probably

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.

Bread
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.

Oh, alright then.

Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Features, High Street Updates, Local Issues & News