Tag Archives: twickerati

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

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.

5 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff

2015 in Twickenham: A Year in Review

ice-cream-van-twickenham-twickeratiWhat a funny old year it’s been on twickerati. From a springtime of booming reader stats and heated debate in the comments sections to a summer lull and retrenchment, and then to ending the year trying to move things forward with additional contributions. A very big thank you to the many people who have provided such positive feedback about twickerati. If it wasn’t for you the site would definitely be consigned to the internet wilderness by now. Thanks too to the lovely locals who have offered to help with additional content, especially to those who have already provided copy, namely ‘Bill Webb-Ellis’ and the ‘Newbie’ journo. It’s much appreciated. Here’s to more collaboration in 2016.

Of course, regardless of the sustainability or otherwise of the finest and only blog featuring ‘news, comment and ill-informed opinion about Twickenham’, the town itself has had plenty of newsworthy excitement in 2015, so much so that we wrote a few words for the Richmond & Twickenham Times about it. You can read it on page 14 of the current edition of the paper. Can’t find your copy? You could always sign up for the e-edition couldn’t you? In the meantime, we’ve included it below for your public convenience. We hope you enjoy it…

Twickenham – A Year In Review

2015, eh? What a year it’s been. First there was January happily ticking along all on its tod and then, hot damn, before you knew it a load of other months turned up one after another, after a-flippin-nother. And this happened not just in God’s Own London Borough (that’s Richmond upon Thames, btw) but across the whole of the south of England too! It really is amazing how LBRuT (aka El Brute) manages to co-ordinate this with other local authorities. Hats off to them! And what of plucky Twickenham, you ask. Well, here at twickerati HQ this is what we remember about 2015.

It all began with a lot of heated debate about bus stops moving, pavements changing and cycle lanes migrating. And then it just carried on. It’s all part of El Brute’s Twickenham Action Plan aka the “TWAP”. First it was the new luxurious York Stone paving in the town centre that got people all in a lather. This was a tad ironic because, as we’ve all now found out, a jolly good lather is exactly what is needed to keep those fine slabs gleaming and gum free. The one teeny problem? This hasn’t actually happened yet. As for the new cycle lanes in central Twickenham, there’s nothing like dedicated cycle lanes to transform the whole cycling experience and what we have is nothing like dedicated cycle lanes. To be fair though, the uncertainty about what bikes and vehicles are now supposed to do in King Street keeps everyone hyper-alert, and we especially love those new car-sized boxes at traffic lights where drivers can pull up and stop on top of a bicycle painted on the road. Satisfying.

London Road

London Road, cycling

By the time we got to April, election fever was in full swing. It was turning into the battle of the doctors but not in the sense of Baker versus Tennant versus Capaldi but rather Cable against Mathias. Continue reading

30 Comments

Filed under Features, Local Issues & News, Reviews

The Future of Twickerati – Are You Part of It?

ice-cream-van-twickenham-twickeratiHi Twickenham people, you’re all looking mighty fine today it has to be said.  But then again you always do.

Way back in May I told you that I wanted to take a step back from the blogosphere for a while or possibly even for ever. In true twickerati style I did and also did not do exactly that.  Everyone in the team (of one) certainly cut right back from those heady days of trying to update the site twice a week. It was like a very heavy but strangely pleasant weight being lifted off our collective shoulders (both of them) but we still ended up doing a smattering of ‘not-so-good’ posts anyway because in Twickenham there’s always interesting shizzle going down.  In other words, I couldn’t quite bear to give up completely on something that’s time consuming, frequently frustrating but often fun. Killing off a vibrant ‘hyperlocal’ web site felt illogical. Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News

Twickerati Takes A Break

ice-cream-van-twickenham-twickerati
Hello everyone. I want to share some news with you hence abandoning the pretentious first person plural style and going straight to the first person singular. This is the 501st posting on this blog and it’s one of the more important ones.

When I started twickerati in May 2010 I didn’t really know what to expect. I just felt there was an opportunity for someone relatively normal to witter on about Twickenham. Someone who was not linked to any political party, local society or interest group and who wasn’t even the sort of person who wrote regular letters of complaint to the Richmond and Twickenham Times, laudable as those things are. There was a lot going on in 2010: the future of the Riverside, shops opening and closing, the planned station redevelopment, schools issues and so on. In the first few months I got very few hits on the site. A mere handful, if the hand in question belonged to a small child. Then one day someone posted a comment on one of my stories and then someone else did. Thank you Maria, thank you Chris. I began to realise that it was not just family and close friends who were following my ramblings but that other people were actually reading them out of choice rather than loyalty. Amazing! Ditto for Twitter and Facebook. In those early days I thought I’d be happy if I got one thousand page views a month on the blog and one hundred Twitter followers. Fast forward five years and the site now gets over 5,000 views a week from an audience of nearly 2,000 locals. Often more. On Twitter, @twickerati now has over 9,000 followers… although you can of course buy that number for about $100 if you really care about such trivial things.

Most of those Twickenham issues from the early days are still relevant and continue to be the subject of heated debate in our town. However, after five years of posting fresh items once or twice a week and tweeting several times a day I’ve decided to scale things back. It’s just too time consuming given other things going on: family life, the day job, building work (maybe), other hobbies, and basically just life in general. There’s no money in local blogging, I can vouch for that, although had twickerati generated even a trickle of income I might see things differently. Has it all just been a massively time consuming hobby? A bit of fun? An addiction? A labour of love? A millstone and a bind? Yes, it’s been all of those things at different times and sometimes all of them at once.

“Boring. Get to the point”, I hear you cry. Well the point is that I will be cutting right back on new postings and closing existing threads to new comments. Perhaps I’ll dabble with the occasional High Street Update, opinion piece or write something about the Rugby World Cup. I just don’t know yet but I didn’t want twickerati to become one of those websites which just stops or becomes totally rubbish without any explanation. You deserve better.

It’s been great creating something that people seem to enjoy and I’ve met some fantastic people along the way. A few of you even wrote pieces for the site so thank you again for those. And hell, some of your comments have made me laugh too – plenty of them for the right reasons and some of them for the wrong ones.

This isn’t necessarily a complete end to twickerati but it’s the end of it in its current format and I’m certainly going to enjoy taking a bit of a break from it. Well, at least I think I am.

So, if you do want to know when a new post is published your best bet is to sign up for email subscriptions (there’s a box on here somewhere) and that will save you the trouble of returning time and again to the same tedious, unchanging page. The twickerati@gmail.com email will still be valid but please don’t take offence if your requests for publicising X, Y or Z gets ignored or if I take a while to reply to any other messages. It’s nothing personal.

Tweeting will be cut right back too. If you want to get in touch you can always find my other account on Twitter for the occasional tweet about football, running, cycling, Twickenham and other life-affirming matters. It’s here.

In the meantime, get yourselves hyped up and ready for Twickenham Festival (maybe we’ll meet there for a beer or two?), fresh arguments about the Riverside and town square developments, Heathrow battles, more El Brute shenanigans and a whole bunch of new shops opening and then closing down again. It’s what we all love about living here isn’t it?

I’ve really enjoyed the last five years of turning out regular Twickocentric updates and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. So, for the short term at least, thank you so much for your support Twickenham, it’s been a blast.

Russell

 

UPDATE 19/05/15:
Wow! Thank you for all you kind words, advice and suggestions. I really do appreciate them. I have said above that I hope this is not a complete end to the blog and I will consider some of the ideas you’ve made although I won’t be leaping into anything straightaway. Just to address a few of the points raised.

Would I consider a collaborative thing? Yes, but as you’ve seen above, it’s a time consuming enterprise and previous requests for contributions have generated a bit of interest but only occasional end product. Regular writing is quite a commitment. I’d also want to ensure the ‘ethos’ of the site remained even if writers’ styles differ.

Can these things make any money?  I have generated some money (about £1,500 in total) for charities Spear & Shooting Star Chase but as many a ‘real’ business knows, turning site views into any kind of regular money can be hard work. And of course the returns get smaller if they get split several ways. Sponsorship? Maybe but it needs to not affecting the editorial, he said whilst enjoying a delicious, refreshing Twickenham Ale.

Anyway, I don’t want to give too much thought to new ideas immediately but if people are serious about getting involved in something new then a pub-based discussion might be appropriate in a while.

Thank you all once again and bye for now.

111 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News

A Twickenham Christmas Message From Santa

Hooray! And a Ho Ho Ho too. Santa’s been to Twickenham to deliver this special video message just for the good people of the town….

(And a very big thanks to Claud Gibson, a very talented musician for letting us use her track – hear it properly right here.

 

And in other Christmas and New Year news…

First of all a very big thank you for taking the time to read this website over the last 12 months. It’s you, the great twickerati of Twickenham, that make running this site just about worthwhile. Every single member of the team here at the twickerati blog HQ appreciates it, from the canteen staff and the humblest sub-editors through to the chief reporter, editor-in-chief and non-executive directors. Even the company chauffeur values your engagement. In fact, it’s only the shareholders who have expressed any concern after another year of no dividends.

But what a year it’s been! We’ve had an election, a massive (read: MASSIVE) scrap about a new home for a certain royal barge, plenty of shops closing, plenty of shops opening, 20mph limits introduced, summer festivals, big traffic jams, new look pavements, school site shenanigans and El Brute’s purchase of land for a town square. We’ve had heated arguments about every single one of them. Or rather, you have. And there have even been a few constructive suggestions too. Lovely stuff.

And what about 2015? We’ve got a General Election, the Rugby World Cup, plenty of shops closing, plenty of shops opening, battles over a third runway at Heathrow, traffic jams and yet more feisty and occasionally entertaining debate on all things Twickenham. That Alexander Pope wordy bloke would be well proud of you.

And so without further ado we say, Merry Christmas to you all and very best wishes for a Happy New Year.

You can even add your own 2015 predictions below if you feel the urge.

12 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff

Get Ready For… The 4th Annual Twickenham Twickerati Social Thingy

Remember, remember, the thirteenth of November. Why? It’s only bloody time for the 4th annual Twickenham twickerati hyperlocal meet up thingy, isn’t it?! Some might call it a ‘social’, others a ‘tweet up’, and others might just wonder what the hell we’re talking about.

The point of it, if indeed there is one, is to have an informal ‘buy your own drinks’ social for any Twickenham-based tweeters, ‘likers’, bloggers, scribblers, web hosters, Facebook posters, business folk and folky types who want to get together. It’s a chance to talk Twickenham (or even not), swap ideas, put faces to names, and even make some contacts. Or just have a beer or a glass of wine. And that’s it! There’s no hard sell, no presentations, no group hugs.

There have been three previous events, with the last two years attracting over 40 people. Yes, really. This year we’re delighted to be going to The Cabbage Patch, one of Twickenham’s best pubs.

As FDR might have said, had he been alive and inclined to come along, “Do not be shy. You have nothing to be shy about except shyness itself”.

Details:
Date: Thursday 13th November 2014
Time: From 8.00pm
Location: The Cabbage Patch, London Road, Twickenham (in the space at the back)

One last thing… if you do run a local website, blog or whatever and you do want people to know who you are (which might be useful) then feel free to wear some kind of name badge. It would be a great help.

Any questions? Ask them below or email us: twickerati @ gmail .com

Right then… who’s in?

13 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff, What's on

Twickenham Action Plan – Phase 2 Announced

With the regeneration of Twickenham continuing, Richmond Council (aka LBRuT) are now looking further ahead to ensure that, in their words, “the town builds on its recent successes and continues to develop in a way that’s fit for the future”. El Brute’s planning gurus have been thinking big thoughts about what the town should look like by the final years of the next decade. A project, called “Twickenham 2026” is being led by external consultants but has the full support of El Brute. The main challenge they’re looking to solve is how to capitalise on current roads and pavements work whilst accommodating the ever-increasing demand for property and the knock-on effect on school places, traffic and local services. It’s basically phase 2 of the Twickenham Action Plan (aka TWAP2).
Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff

Carol Concert to Help Homeless

SPEAR Christmas Carol

SPEAR Christmas Carols (click to enlarge)

We generally don’t give individual events their own story on the main news feed of this site. Why? It’s a careful blend of editorial policy and sheer laziness, that’s why. But we’ve made an exception here because it relates to the excellent local charity SPEAR. Based in Twickenham but working right across the borough of Richmond, SPEAR help homeless and other vulnerable people to transform their lives, build new skills and increase their self-esteem. The event in question is a fundraising carol concert on Wednesday 4th December, 19.00 to 21.00 at St John the Divine Church in central Richmond. The Richmond Choral Society will be there to help make you sound good and, of course, there’ll be mince pies too. Tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 children.

P.S. You can find out more about SPEAR on their website and we’re sure they’d happily take a donation from you if you felt inclined. And you may remember that last year we raised money for SPEAR in a ‘Christmas appeal’ through the generous donations of readers of this website. That donations page is still live and so if you want to donate through that page we’re sure SPEAR would happily accept that too.

LINKS:
* Click the image above to enlarge for more carol concert info
* More details from fundraising@spearlondon.org
* SPEAR website
* Twickerati appeal for SPEAR London donation page (2012 but still live)

1 Comment

Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff, What's on