An Unpleasant Surprise in the Post After Morrisons Shop

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

October 27, 2023


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I had an astonishingly meeting-free long weekend – of course I found some other things to do including the traditional English heroic failure in the rugby world cup (I was only watching, don’t blame me) and the rather less heroic work by our team in the Cricket version – sounds like it’s getting worse today ☹ . At least Liverpool were up to scratch against our Derby opponents which might save me from needing to start supporting a team in the Tiddlywinks league.

Anyway I had no meetings until Tuesday morning but I did something useful on Friday, turning up for the first time in a long time at the Hounslow Community Foodbox. There was a sizeable team – about 6 of us – in attendance together with people in cars taking bags away to feed the world (or anyway, Hounslow Borough) and other cars turning up with car loads of food to replenish our shelves, which were quite well stocked compared with my last visit. It brought memories back of the dark days of the lockdown, when Morrisons wouldn’t sell more than 4 tins of beans and I was despatched to Costco where they also had very little available. It made a good change for me and I will do more of it, and dealing with the volunteers is a special pleasure nice people, doing something important.

Always needing more

I forgot to mention last week that I had heard about problems with the car park at the new Morrisons so I decided to experiment whether it was as bad as I’d heard, last Wednesday afternoon. Got in and parked with no problem, did a bit of shopping and got in a lift back to the car park, with a free parking voucher in my hot little hand. I observed to a fellow traveller that I’d heard of fines and he said he’d already had one and got it cancelled on appeal. Getting out, there were 6 people milling round the pay machines but nobody could get any of them working. I spent a few minutes trying to crack the system and eventually one of us supplicants said “ah, I’ve got this one working” so we queued up, with this good Samaritan coaching us and it seemed all was now well, though there was nothing really to confirm that.

So off I went and thought no more about it until on Friday morning this appeared in my post box.

I immediately appealed on the basis a) I had shopped in Morrisons b) I had a ticket thing c) This only happened because the machines don’t work d) everyone had the same problem and e) the picture they took was of me driving along, not parked. Naturally they rejected the appeal and asked for a copy of my bank statement. So I wrote to the manager of Morrisons who said “nothing to do with me, guv, it’s Ballymore” and I wrote at the same time to someone at Ballymore who didn’t bother to respond. I subsequently suggested to both Ballymore and especially Morrisons it might be an idea to engage properly with this. I doubt anyone has (so far – they will) even tried to park without paying for it but a number of people are already saying on social media that they will never darken Morrisons’ door ever again. I probably will, but not if I happen to be in the car.

On Sunday, as is my wont, especially when there’s sun, I was off on my bike and ended up in Chiswick at Lunch time. I had forgotten that the experimental food market was on that day so it was good to see it there. As usual, these markets are as deserted as the cycle lane and the Food market was no exception.

It was so deserted, I realised that the council’s master plan to destroy Chiswick was succeeding, to the extent I couldn’t get everything to eat because of the queues at the stalls, but I did manage to find a place in one of the local permanent hostelries.

Next appointment was in the never-spoonerised Feather and Hart for a brief meeting on Tuesday about Foodbox, then in the afternoon we had a Lampton Services board via Teams. Still improving and still facing some frustrations but the numbers are slowly improving.

In the evening, an informal cabinet about management of a sports ground out west, plans to reorganise how we do public safety and an update on the Lampton companies’ supervision arrangements. And we talked about a Cabinet Question Time. I think we should invite a celeb to be the compere. I’m thinking of the very deservedly Right Honourable Nadine Dorries.

On Wednesday morning I was back to W.Middx to see the consultant about my broken collar bone. They took the usual picture of it and the consultant gave me a few pokes and as it didn’t hurt he told me I didn’t need to come any more. It’s amazing that something sounds and looks so serious has virtually given me no pain whilst something else in my shoulder that looks like nothing has given me pain for over a year. I think it’s a form of what I always thought of as Arthur Itis as I had an uncle called Uncle Arthur who suffered from it.

Then it was time for Lampton Leisure board. They are in danger of being financially successful, and delivering some serious savings to the council, as well as radically improving their service ratings.

During the week I have been monitoring the work on Ealing Road being carried out by SSE to improve the power delivered to the little industrial estate near the A4 junction. I was furious about getting no notice – fortunately I noticed someone complaining about it on TW8 or would not have known a thing. It is not quite as bad as it first seemed, partly because it’s a small set of works and partly because half term makes a huge impact on traffic levels. Doesn’t stop me harassing Hounslow Highways and the contractors, because these utilities have a habit of stringing works out.

Going up there I noticed 2 of our bins overflowing (mustard for Hounslow Highways) and one of our bins seeming to have migrated to Ealing, without even using a small boat.

Wednesday evening it was our local Labour party AGM – all new now because the change in the parliamentary constituencies. Ruth will lose Chiswick and (if re-elected) pick up Whitton.

These meeting bore me into a stupor – mainly voting people into local party roles which are of no interest for me, but I did observe that one of them looked to me to be the MP for Swindon West in a few years’ time (ah, yoof!). Still, a couple of new members and a visit to the Beehive, a hostelry I hadn’t visited for several years.

Today, alongside writing a bloggette, I had a meeting on my most confusing responsibility (or perhaps most important) about integrating Health with social services. I’m beginning to understand what it’s really for, but it involves several hospitals, 8 councils and various other bodies. Complicated, but if we can fix this it will make a big improvement to people’s lives.

Later on I have the police ward panel, something I thought I would miss but can now attend – always worth it.

Councillor Guy Lambert




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