Isleworth's Cathja seeks a new home or urgent temporary storage
Thursday played out as predicted (in terms of my personal activity – nobody can predict what happens in General Elections). I was based at our campaign centre on Ealing Road from about 7.15am to about 9.30pm, but spent several hours up Brentford Towers (I ascended 4 of them, two of them twice) and in Clayponds Gardens. By the time I arrived at the count at Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre at about 11.30pm it was clear to me that, whilst I could still cycle nicely, my feet had had it and I could only hobble about. This is what being old and fat does to a fellow.
It was, of course, depressing if not altogether surprising to hear the exit poll at 10pm. I frankly have no idea what the next 5 years holds because Johnson has said very little and in any case I have learned never to believe a word he says. All I know for sure is that it won’t be pretty. The next disappointment was that my party lost the Feltham by-election for John Chatt’s old seat, though we were successful in Feltham. But we were all very pleased and proud of Ruth, who came through with a majority of over 10500. I tramped the streets with her in 2015 looking to have her replace Mary Macleod in what has traditionally been a mainly Tory seat. Rather to our amazement, Ruth secured a majority of 465 (which began my downward spiral into councillorship, and in turn, to this river of drivel I serve up weekly). In 2017 we were quietly confident, and I though Ruth might get a good 2000 majority but blow me down it was 12500. This election was always going to be difficult for Labour and I’m delighted that Ruth held on to nearly all of that ‘unnatural’ Labour majority. The Commons will be no fun for her though, full of braying Tories.
Anyway, I got home around 5am, watched a bit of TV (as you do) and retired about 6.30. So Friday was devoted exclusively to sleeping and keeping my feet up, as I was not walking anywhere for anyone.
Saturday I spent sorting out various stuff from the election day and generally catching up with myself. I was planning to go to the grand opening of the Brewery Tap later. I went down about 9pm, observed the crowds, decided it would probably be 11 before I could break through to the bar, made my excuses and left! The BT would still be there another day.
On Sunday I trekked over to darkest Beckenham to visit some friends, taking a few of the astonishingly wonderful and calorific pastries from Rye by the Water, having first secured a bank loan to finance them. I cycled to Victoria and gave Pegasus a rare train ride adventure. I was delighted to find that my host had provided a wine that honoured my bike. Pegasus is TT though so I had to drink it myself.
On Monday I went to a lovely lunchtime party at Cathja’s in Isleworth. A bit of the old mulled wine and good company. It was a shock when I heard later in the day that they have been given notice to quit by the landlords and have to be out by the end of December. If anybody can help with new premises, even if only for storage, do let them know urgently. The council is looking out to see if there’s anywhere available.
Afterwards I went to Hounslow House for a meeting with the planning officer dealing with air conditioning units for Trimmer Walk. This had been organised by the Melvinator but Corinna called in sick and Mel had a diary malfunction, so it was just me and the planner. We agreed some conditions to allow things to proceed.
I then ventured out to the splendid carol concert in St Paul’s Rec. A very good turnout and some excellent singing. Monsieur le Melvinator provided the male counterpart to a mainly female church choir but I must say my favourite was the children of St Paul’s School. Such enthusiasm – warms the heart.
On Tuesday I had an assignation with old workmates at the Wetherspoon’s pub in Chancery Lane (yes, I know, but I’ve given up on Brexit now) and rather foolishly cycled there and back. There was good, crisp but pleasant. Back was wet and I arrived home soaked and with a very muddy back (and hair, had I not had my hoodie on).
In the evening I’d agreed to accompany a friend of mine to a storytelling thing in Ealing. She was keen to try it out but nervous about going alone. A very nice experience run by the Campfire (FaceBook TheCampfireUK) with people telling stories limited to 5 mins with the rules: must be on theme (in this case Dress ups, mess ups and fess ups); must be true; must be your story. Some funny, some serious. My companion – who is a white American married to a black African – told of a tube journey where her husband wore an afro wig and she was dressed in traditional (white) American costume. In the US they would have not been well received. Here, nobody turned a hair and she said they both felt they had found home.
The other affecting story was from an Afghan man. He came here as a refugee when the Russians were there. His mother went to California and his sister stayed in Afghanistan. Later he worked in Afghanistan for the UN and managed to find his sister, who had moved about under the Russians, Mujaheddin, Taliban etc. He wanted to reunite her with mum but at the time you couldn’t go to Kabul airport unless you were military or UN. He found out you could enter from Pakistan without formalities as there were many Afghan refugees there. So he and his mum tried to cross the border, but because they were in Western clothes the border guards singled them out and refused to accept they were Afghan refugees (though a few Drachmas or whatever they use in Afghanistan solved the problem). An interesting take on dressing up!
On Wednesday I went with a friend of mine to enjoy the very good value set lunch at the Guru Tandoori in the Watermans centre. A pleasant way to spend lunchtime. In the afternoon, back to Hounslow House for a leaving do for Michael Marks our director of Education, who has decided there are better fish and chips in Southend. Education in Hounslow has flourished during the 10 years he has worked here and there were heartfelt tributes from primary and secondary head teachers, staff members and management colleagues. Apparently he completely failed his A-levels first time around and went on to get one E-grade second time, so there’s hope for anybody. He’ll be missed.
In the evening I make the Brewery Tap for a busy but not overcrowded Blues session. A guy at the bar pokes me in the chest and says Guy Lambert. I think, Oh God, a disgruntled resident. Then he says Paul Stewart, we worked together for Honeywell years ago. Blimey, so it is, but he was dark and hairy with a moustache then. Now he’s about 70, grey, somewhat bald and clean shaven but still full of zest for life and, it turns out, leader of the Paul Stewart Band.
Here he is, banging out Spoonful
A really great night in The BT with a number of familiar faces in evidence. Fortunately the wobbly bike ride home is only about 2 minutes long.
I notice that it’s the 19th December and my higher maths tells me that 19 + 7 = 26 and 26 = Boxing Day. Most likely I’ll be too drunk to write anything and everybody will be having too much fun to read anything so don’t be surprised if I take a week off.
Cllr Guy Lambert
December 20, 2019