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Where have all the cooks gone?

‘Where have all the cooks gone?’I am driven to share these thoughts with you by two recent  events: I like to start my day with ‘the best flat white in London’ prepared by my barista, the lovely Marianna of ‘Rhythm & Brews’. ‘R&B’ is my coffee-shop-of-choice on Turnham Green; it is there that Marianna and other attractive (I’m still allowed to say that, right?) waitresses serve exceptional coffee that gives joy and light to dark mornings. Yesterday though, I was ‘jonesing’ for some scrambled eggs to go with my croissant. Marianna explained that the kitchen was closed ‘for lack of a cook’. The owner, ever-elegant Ann, told me that the job had been advertised for some weeks ‘but we haven’t had one application’. By noon, I was gnawing my knuckles with hunger. I went on several websites, looking for take-away; I battled with website mice-type and the constant errors that is tech’s companion. I gave up and concluded it would be easier for me to walk to ‘Singapore Garden’ on Chiswick High Road. The restaurant is regarded by TIMES columnist Giles Coren as serving ‘the best Malaysian food in London’. That’s good enough for me.The charming hostess, Ping-Ting, explained that part of the difficulty in accessing the website is that ‘We don’t deliver any more, except Sunday evenings.; She shrugged. ‘We cannot get enough cooks.’WTF? Never mind ‘where have all the flowers gone?’ Where have all the cooks gone?The office of national statistics reports that, pre-Covid, there were one million unfilled jobs in the UK. Sixty thousand of these unfilled jobs were in the hospitality sector – before we donned masks and were told to stand six feet apart.If the jobs are there (and now, we presume, there are many more) why do so many people choose to ‘sign on’? Why do two million adults in this country choose to take money from taxes paid by those in work simply because, British citizens find the jobs unappealing. Two hundred thousand European nationals do not think like that; they scuttled home when Brexit told them they weren’t needed to  fix our loos, build our basements, dig our roads… and cook our meals. Perhaps some ‘Brexiteers’ thought that a ‘full English’ could be equally well cooked by a full Englishman? As the Brexit pigeons come home to roost, we are finding that the English who choose to be unemployed would rather live off the English who chose to be employed.Of course, there are thousands who are applying fruitlessly for jobs they are either over- or under-qualified for, and still they fail to secure a position.Our current Prime Minster is famous – among other things – for saying ‘I’m all for having my cake and eating it’.Does he know any good cooks? Alternatively, if he can find cake on the half-empty supermarket shelves, will he please tell us the precise location?© ‘Brian Clewly Johnson.07557407450

Brian Clewly Johnson ● 12d10 Comments ● 11d

533 bus route . Tfll refuses to let it stop  in Chiswick

This bus route  continues to operate but is now prohibited from stopping in Chiswick (A316)despite doing so for months, Representations from Nick Rogers AM our GLA member, local residents, Chiswick House staff and Chiswick School pupils and parents and others have been forwarded to the GLA deputy mayor Transport. Here's the latest communication from Tfl Dear All We have received an update from  TfL ' in relation to their monitoring of the usage of the 533 bus service. 'TfL have advised that in early September, they committed to monitoring usage of the 533 service and to subsequently share any updates on the frequency of the service, in view of this having been an area of great interest. The survey data TfL collected over the past few weeks showed that passenger numbers on the 533 are now considerably lower following the re-opening of the bridge to pedestrians and cycles. TfL have advised that the 533 will therefore continue to run non-stop between Mortlake and Hammersmith, to ensure a quick and reliable connection between Barnes and Hammersmith for those passengers who cannot easily walk or cycle across the bridge. TfL have further advised that they will be  keeping this under close review. Furthermore, they plan to conduct a full review of the network in the Barnes/Mortlake area in the new year based on comprehensive passenger data that is collected annually during November - traditionally one of the busiest periods in the year.' We emphatically do not agree with TfL’s decision to continue to run the 533 service non-stop between Mortlake & Hammersmith. We  will continue to challenge this decision..

John Todd ● 15d10 Comments ● 11d


As I don't have a car and cabs are more and more reluctant to drive around Chiswick, and are very expensive to boot, with many jacking up their costs recently,  I won't be able to use the new very distant recycling centre now that Stirling Road is closing.  So I am paying a licensed private contractor who charges less than Ealing Council does for bulk collections. Having in the past had very bad experiences with the NHS, when I went self employed more than 20 years ago I pay a hefty premium each month for critical illness and private healthcare cover as I have to work or can't pay the bills.   I do without expensive meals out, holidays, buying anything other than what is essential or running a car.  Yet I am also supposed to be paying for these service through my council and general very hefty taxation. Where does the money go?  Not on things that are important to me.  Yes, delivery drivers need to use roads, although I don't run a car,   and it's good to have some street lighting and a very basic level of NHS support, if you can access it in time for it to be of use,  and some rubbish collection although it is becoming more and more hit and miss, but I think before long, anyone who can pay for anything at all will do so as I have started to do, as we continue to get a  poorer and poorer service for things that our taxes should be paying for.  Councils and local goverments need to be held far more to account for the appalling waste of the money they get from incredibly hard-working people which is often not spent on even the basic services our taxes should cover.

Claire Moran ● 20d0 Comments ● 20d

Fishers Lane and the Southfield Lib Dems

Good news that Ealing have confirmed that Fishers Lane will stay calm and not return to 600 cars an hour competing to get through a tiny gap next to the playground and tailing back onto South Parade. Fishers Lane now the only safe north-south route for cycling in Chiswick and links Bedford Park/ Southfield and Acton to the High Road, and schools and businesses south of the railway. It is part of the Acton to Chiswick cycle route. Gary Malcolm, leader of the Southfield Liberal Democrats has opposed every active travel measure, despite representing a party that supposedly about the environment. He and his Southfield councillor colleagues voted to rip out Fishers, all Ealing LTNs and have been very silent about Cycleway 9. Where should environmentally-conscious ex-Lib Dem supporters in Southfield put their vote in May 2022? The CW4 story tonight is I suspect cut-and-paste copy from Gary Malcolm with his latest 'survey' showing yet again overwhelming anti-active travel sentiment in Chiswick. What is not mentioned is that the survey was first advertised via the Southfield FOCUS Lib Dem newsletter on 5th October, but mysteriously multiple people who had publicly supported the Fishers changes and were regular recipients of the newsletter did not receive that one. Then a day later at 2:13pm on 6th October Gary Malcolm advertised it on OneChiswick- Against Streetspace Changes private Facebook group. He's a member of that group. To join you have to pass a test to explain why you dislike the active travel changes. It has never to my knowledge appeared on the Southfield Lib Dems' own Facebook page and or Gary Malcom's Twitter feed.  The Deputy Leader of Ealing summed up well at the Scrutiny Committee last night.

Edward Seaton ● 35d105 Comments ● 25d