Dr Finlay's Casebook and Making A4 Golden Again

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

August 4, 2023


The Councillor Who Cried Wolf on the Junction 2 Festival

Why Does Bill Gates Insist That I Live in Bradford?

Knocking Over One Sign and Ignoring Another

A Lack of Provision for Alligators at Boston Manor Park

Not Pretty Enough to Be a Canal Festival Volunteer

Herding Lime Bikes on the Haverfield Estate

My Planned Nice Weekend was Anything But

Creative Differences on the Set of My Latest Film

Unintelligible Traffic Lights and a Radioactive Cone

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My calendar for last Friday starts with a code PM9UOV. Have I signed up to some secret society? Am I sharing my National Insurance number? No, it's a spooky reminder I was supposed to be on the British Airways flight to Athens which would have been followed by a long coach journey and a boat across the Aegean to a Greek island, worrying about fires. Anyway all of that is history because I cancelled the trip due to having a dodgy collarbone.

Instead I cycled up to Boston Manor Park and cycled slowly round it to see if the mayhem predicted to follow Junction 2 had materialised. Basically, apart from a door post now lying forlornly on the floor it was mostly OK despite some of the grass had gone yellow and there was a little bit of damage. But on the whole it looked OK.

Obviously in the interest of research I stopped by the potting shed cafe to find out how they had got on with the Fiesta and I felt obliged to test their ice cream to find out if it was appealing to humans as it is to pooches. It is. I ask the people who work there how the weekend had gone. They said they thought it was very well organised and no trouble with the people (obviously didn't notice councillor Shaheen who told me he was very unruly) though they did close in the afternoon. Quite astonishingly, other than people who told me beforehand what a disaster it was going to be, and some who were cross about how access for local people was compromised (I agree with them) I didn't get a single complaint about the festival which is a startling contrast to previous versions.

Later, with Salman Shaheen, we visited a little used plot of land which we're hoping we can find a better use for. Then I was back to being the Uber service for Katherine Dunne as we sashayed over to Hounslow house for a presentation from the police about how they are changing how the Metropolitan Police will work in the future. This was quite a long session with talks from senior officers. I thought what they said was OK but of course I'll give it some time to see if they can deliver

On Saturday morning it was our surgery at the library but on this occasion we had no customers at all. Either people have no problems and nothing to complain about or people prefer to use emails or social media to get their views across. Anyway we had a bit of time to catch up with paperwork before venturing out into New and Hamilton roads to knock a few doors which is always a pleasure. One thing that was not a pleasure was when one person complained about the weeds in Brook Lane north and told me that the flat above him had been empty for two years since the previous tenant passed away. Hearing this makes me angry and I have asked for an urgent inquiry by the Director of Housing.

On Saturday afternoon, sadly for the last time in a while, there's a concert in Watermans park but I missed a lot of it, including a talented folk singer who sounded great. I did get Marky Dawson, someone I have heard celebrated many times over the years but whom I'd never heard myself. Well I did on Saturday and it was great. If I could generate the same power per kilogramme as Marky does we could forget about any energy crisis.

On Monday I made my favourite short journey (not) to Kingston where Boots locate their local ish hearing service. I'm due for my annual test. This was carried out by the very professional lady who works there. After telling me off for not cleaning the filter thingy as frequently as she would recommend she referred me to my GP which is a bit disappointing. I'm afraid this weekly blog is beginning more and more to resemble Doctor Finlay’s Casebook or Doctor Finlay’s Bookcase as my auntie Betty always insisted was the correct title. It reminds me that the receptionist at the doctor’s emporium in Tannochbrae, who seemed to be the very epitome of a fiercely conventional Scottish lady was actually brought up above a Speakeasy in Boston Massachusetts (no relation to Boston Manor Rd).

Then it was back to Brentford for a meeting with our director of planning and a couple of gents from Brentford voice. This was about the state of Great West Road and a few planning applications which are not very welcome to any of us (I'm not necessarily speaking for the director, though he seems sympathetic) and the wider question of clarifying what the ambition is for the development of that splendid stretch of road which was once known as the Golden Mile. Some of it today is a long way from being golden. West London is a different place than it was in the 1920s, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have an ambition to keep it or make it newly golden. Whatever happens next I think it was very helpful to start a discussion about this and we'll see what ensues.

I was invited and went for an excellent cup of tea and cake with equally excellent Brentford residents who had the added distinction of writing to me afterwards and referring to me as a VIP. Which is just a touch over the top but no less welcome for that.

The diary is beginning to get into holiday mode, in other words there's not much going on so this poor sap still has to think of things to fill up a blog. Fortunately on Tuesday I did have a couple of meetings at Hounslow House, one about a proposed improvement to the public realm in Chiswick, and one which is one of our regular cabinet planning sessions. Three topics on the agenda for this all of which are best left for introducing a little later.

On Wednesday I was back in Doctor Finlay mode with discussions with two doctors who seemed to have slightly different opinions on my clavicle and a lot of discussions with X-ray People who have a way of penetrating enter my deeper psyche or at least my shoulder. The result was the consultant’s opinion won the day which pleased me and allows me to carry on with my normal life (yes, I know) until I come up with my shoulder operation which I suppose now is 3 to 5 months away. Then I went to my daughter's flat and helped her with a bit of sorting of accumulated stuff, though whether a one armed dad is much use is a moot point.

On Thursday there was just one short Teams meeting with a new person who has joined us in a communications role. He has spent some time with the Metropolitan Police so he might think polishing Hounslow's communication is as good as retiring but I soon disabused him of that.

What I spent some time on these last couple of weeks is the story of the Lime bikes. I've never come across anything like this before at the council where we have changed the approach to a service in the way we have with Lime. This service is very popular with many users and has been in use for a couple of years mainly in Chiswick and Brentford. In those couple of years I saw the occasional time when a bike was left in a place where it caused a bit of nuisance. In all that time, Apart from one or two remarks on social media I had only one complaint raised with me about Lime bikes. The council decided, in line with a development agreed across London that we would change the basis upon which rental bikes are managed. Before, you could basically leave them anywhere, though you had to send the operator a picture of where you had parked so they could check that it wasn't anywhere silly. Now you can only leave your bike in a defined bay and the cycle company will fine you if you don't leave it in the right place. You’d expect that to make discipline in where and how bikes are left to improve but instead it seems to have started a new sport which involves pushing them over and sometimes leaving them in the middle of the road. It's causing a lot of trouble at the moment both with people who are affronted by what's been done. But it’s also taking a lot of my time and some other councillors trying to get it under control. Which is what is known in America as a PITA and no, I’m not translating.

Pictures at the end in line with recent tradition:

Important coppers and important Hounslow people (they all are to us) telling us how all crime and ASB will be improved

Good advice to us dopey bike riders (nothing about don't fall over and break a bone)

Marky with two talented chums

Mesculoskeletal sounds a bit horrible but all the people are lovely and as far as I can see well deserving of being given a Gold Ward.


Councillor Guy Lambert

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