Hanging Out with the Japanese Branch of the Freddie Mercury Fan Club

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

September 8, 2023


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Well, last was a quiet week but the weekend was a different matter, starting on Friday. So on Friday I took delivery of my new bedmate, Emma. My new mattress was delivered and the old one taken away (very responsibly as you will expect) by the people who brought my new one. I always thought the story about mattresses needing replacement after 8 years being hogwash but my old one was definitely as decrepit as its owner after 9 year’s service. My new one is much better and I’m even sleeping longer which I’m sure is good for me.

I left Emma on her own to go to the dentist to have what was left of my broken tooth to join its other half in recycling (actually, I don’t think you can recycle them). That hurt enough. Then home for a painless meeting with Hounslow officers as I gradually get to grips with the difficult matter of Health Integration. Thank the lord we have officers who know about this because it’s tricky to get my head around it.

Then, my lord, as I’m off to St Paul’s church for a bit of worshipping of the Creative Mile. The lord didn’t help my photos bit I thought this one, of the artist who leads the Creative Mile Mark Pearce and his supporter and I think one of his many sponsors more appropriate than sundry councillors , though the bonus is one of the Council Leader’s ear and the hair (where available) of the Worshipful Mayor.

Mark Pearce at the Creative Mile

Good fun but the real activity for me started on Saturday at the library, followed by the Steam Museum, Watermans centre, Wendy Mackenzie’s studio and finally a visit to the artistic venue formerly known as the Blue Road. There was so much lovely stuff I could put up 50 pics but you’d get even more bored than usual.

Creative Mile jewellery display

Creative Mile Wishing Tree

Creative Mile painting

Anyway, there’s a small sample, and I continued on Sunday at Boston Manor House (Jimmy Choo’s academy was much more interesting than I expected), the Wishing Tree lovely (though I decided I wanted to be elsewhere rather than doing my own picture) lovely stuff in the Magpie, Studio Flox and a collection of artists on Lots Ait and, last for me Marthe Armitage printing demonstration in Commerce Road.

Printing demonstration

And I missed many I regret missing but a chap has only so much capacity!

Monday was a bit more relaxed with the only real activities about Hounslow Community Foodbox. Our Treasurer (and really CEO) who has been dedicated to the Foodbox for years – about 4 or 5 I think, working tirelessly – has decided it’s time to actually retire and do a lot of travelling. Quite traumatic for us remaining trustees and there’s a huge hole to fill. On Monday I met a couple of people we have recruited to work part time in the Foodbox – both have been volunteering then and it's great to have them on board. We also have a new Treasurer so we have a basis to keep things on the road and secure the future. In the evening we had a little leaving celebration in the Coach and Horses. Must have been 30 or 40 volunteers there – fantastic to see them.

On Tuesday I had a brief Teams meeting with colleagues from health and social services, mainly to prepare for a more formal meeting which happened on Thursday. After that I was cycling off to Feltham for a Freddie Mercury celebration. As you probably know that was his home and he has a road named after him.

Freddie Mercury celebration
Freddie Mercury celebration

I believe it was his birthday and we had a deputation from the Japanese Freddie Mercury fan club who had donated a Sakura tree to be planted in his memory. As you can see, there was quite a crowd and the tree was unveiled (with a bit of difficulty -these trees have bits that stick out, called branches) by Freddie’s sister and the Mayor. Freddie was a Zoroastrian and we had a bit of prayer from the ‘vicar’ and a translator, plus a message from Japan from a Japanese lady and her interpreter. Lovely day and the Friends of Feltham Green do a fantastic job with this small park which looks great.

Freddie Mercury sakura tree unveiled
Freddie Mercury sakura tree unveiled

Got over to Hounslow House for a session with officers and colleagues to talk about a new Waste plan for West London. I confess I remain puzzled why we (not us - I think it’s West London Waste Authority) need to engage learned consultants on this matter, though the point is we collectively for the 6 boroughs plan for what is likely to happen to waste over the next decade. After all, the people on WLWA are experts at this themselves, but there was a heavyweight team (not me obviously) of experts from the council at the meeting including the exec directors of Housing and Environment.

In the evening we had cabinet, which was a particularly heavy agenda with the permanent approval of Cycleway 9 through Chiswick (with some amendments) and the Climate Emergency plan annual update. Katherine Dunne had a busy evening as does our Leader, Shantanu who had 3 papers to present as well as chairing. I had a modest one – about health integration, as did my colleague Shivraj (known as Gary) about plans to improve consultation. We got through it all and moved on to another private cabinet meeting, where poor old Katherine was in charge of 2 out of 3 topics – about ULEZ – now a fact of life I’m pleased to say – and plans for Net Zero Neighbourhoods. I’m proud of what we’re doing here, a leading authority in this crucial matter.

On Wednesday I had two tours to join. The first was about Hounslow Highways. I was chauffeured from Isleworth Leisure centre by the officer who supervises Hounslow Highways and me and the head of Highways was joined by the director of environment. It’s no secret that we are facing real challenges in controlling weeds without using dangerous chemicals - this study shows the damage goes beyond bees – so we met with two teams – one of 4 and one of 9 operatives dealing with a few streets in Hanworth. One of the things that makes life difficult in Hounslow is that we have a lot of area – nearly 4 times as much as Hammersmith – and a lot of roads – twice as much mileage of roads. We have invested strongly in more resource but it remains a really big challenge and we despite lots of experiment the most effective way to deal with weeds is via hi-tech – hoes and brooms! Other things help in some circumstances but not in most. We ended our tour looking at a very dodgy road surface in Bedfont. This one missed the pothole pledge but the short road is in a bad state and is busy despite being a cul de sac. Why? Perhaps because at the end of it, next to the A30, is the preferred field for those of the plane spotter tendency to set up their camp!

Then it was back to the Isleworth Leisure Centre for a tour and some updates for the local management and the wider Lampton Leisure team. Me and Leader Shantanu were impressed by the people and the excellent progress they have made since we took the service ‘in house’ with membership booming at both Isleworth and Hanworth Air Park Leisure Centres: if we could find more swim trainers we would be doing even better. We are training more but the demand is really strong so if you fancy getting your flippers out…

Of course Wednesday afternoon on the day the schools go back (I think ours escaped the concrete fiasco that has affected schools in Ealing and Hammersmith) is a good day to visit if you don’t want too many people getting fit in the pictures! I must say, having not been in much of a state to gym myself recently I was reminded that we have some really good facilities, much cheaper than commercial gyms and every bit as good.

A local leisure centre

A local swimming pool

I spent the rest of Wednesday mugging up on Health Integration papers ready for a trip to Westminster Town Hall on Thursday where about 30 people from the NHS, local authorities etc were gathered on the 18 th floor (forgot to take pics!). Complicated meeting and I’m mainly still in listening mode as I’m still a novice on this subject.

Well, that’s my week. I can’t resist taking and sharing gorgeous pictures of Brentford (and Kew) when the weather is so gorgeous.

Brentford canal views

Councillor Guy Lambert

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