Coffee, air quality, and a certain house extension
I spent some of Friday cruising the High Street and Kew Bridge Road delivering invitations to the coffee morning our MP will be having for Brentford Ward residents at the end of November. This is quite a task as there are a lot of addresses in the ward, though we’re only covering half of it for this coffee morning. In these Brexity days we have to be careful about the cost of imported coffee, the pound being where it is. Perhaps with global warming and Brexit we will start growing our own coffee in due course.
Saturday evening and it’s the soft launch of La Cuisine in Isleworth. The chef, Joffrey, is a Belgian and part of the family, being Katherine Dunne’s partner. I had misread the address slightly and thought the restaurant was in the undertakers (which is actually next door) and worried about my food being cremated. In fact it was excellent: though they do serve a lot of dodgy French stuff like snails and what have you the frites were in the true Belgian tradition and blooming marvellous. They do make you eat a bit of salad, though that was no serious hardship. After a goodly pickling in Belgian beer (me, not the bike) my trusty steed bore me home without incident.
Sunday evening I went up to St Mary’s Church in Ealing for an Air Quality event. A really good talk from Prof Frank Kelly from King’s College followed by some others and my takeaway (no, not food for a change) was that air quality problems are thought to kill 29000 prematurely, whilst obesity accounts for a mere 20000 (though smoking is more like 90K). I bumped into my former flat mate from Acton who I haven’t spoken to in about 30 years, so that made my evening. I hadn’t realised there is a cycle path that takes you from the top of Clayponds Gardens through to this church, and it was a special pleasure to cycle through Ealing’s massive cemetery in the dark on (nearly) Halloween. However I had dodged the undertaker the previous evening so I dealt confidently with the various spooks I encountered. I had anyway rather lost the will to live when someone in a discussion group at the event suggested that Heathrow should be relocated to RAF Manston: I’m all for alternatives to Runway 3 but…
Monday afternoon I met with Andrew Dakers – a former Brentford Councillor (Lib Dem, but nobody’s perfect) who now heads up West London Business – to update on developments in Brentford and get his perspective. Fact finding, in fact, in the Magpie and Crown, where facts abound. It’s good to get a business perspective, and I always seem to miss Brentford Chamber of Commerce events these days due to clashes, and of course Andrew has a very good understanding of Brentford.
Tuesday I cycled down to Teddington to meet up with a potential volunteer for Thamesbank Credit Union. A perfect day for a bike ride down ole father Thames it was, then back to ole father Civic centre in the late afternoon to talk about (you’ve guessed it) budget cuts. In the evening a talk by Claude Littner (of Apprentice fame) at our friendly neighbourhood University. Well attended and very engaging: Claude is a major supporter of Brilliant’s very own Business School, which is now named after him.
Wednesday my usual morning on estate business: a brief visit to our Labour office and then a meeting with my fellow ward councillors and council Leader Steve Curran, to talk about all the things that are happening or about to happen on the development front. Many of these are actually in Syon ward but of huge interest to residents across the Brilliant Conurbation. We were pleased to hear that Theo Dennison will be organising a public meeting to discuss these developments – specifically those on the Morrisons, Police station and Watermans sites - which a few people have asked for. Steve was off afterwards to the Watermans to see the latest exhibition about the Police Station/Watermans sites from developer London Green. This repeats on Saturday so interested parties should go take a look.
For me, it was an evening with party activists back in the Chiswick headquarters. This is not helped by our dearly beloved friends BT having messed up the broadband service in the office and not being able to send someone round to fix it for a week, but we struggle on, using quill pens generously provided by the USDAW trade Union (I made that bit up).
Thursday evening it was planning committee. I was out of town today so failed to do my usual thing of looking out all the places that are up before us beaks, but as it happened I had been to all but one previously. Most of the items were uncontroversial but one, in our ward, which Mel and I had called in to the committee, was the exception. There was a dispute over some factual matters and Mel smoothly asked for a deferral to the next meeting so that any doubts can be ironed out. The evening’s highlight concerned works being proposed to a certain property in Brilliant owned by someone who goes by the name of S. Curran. The planning committee went through this with an especially fine-toothed comb but sadly our planning colleagues, despite no doubt having strained every sinew to find a flaw, could not find anything wrong with it so us councillors were left without a leg to stand on and had to let it through. All in all, rather a boring planning committee and I was able to drop Mel home before 9.30 and watch the highlights of Man United getting humiliated again (what a terrible shame).
November 8, 2016