PCA Newsletter 42 - December 2009

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In This Issue

 

Christmas Fayre No Damp Squib

Calendar

And The Winners Are…

Northfields Do It Again

Annual General Meeting

The Book of Light

Cobweb Removal

St Barnabas Odeon

News From The Lane

One Deck Or Two?

Furnishings

That Was The Year That Was

Christmas Fayre No Damp Squib

Pitshanger Christmas Fayre

We promised you something different, and so it was. No fireworks, no switching on of the tree lights, no hordes of teenagers banging off silly string in that dark space between the stages, and altogether a calmer and more community and family focused evening.

Height Order at the Pitshanger Christmas Fayre

As expected there were a smaller number of visitors, some deterred by the wet weather while others seemed confused by what was going on. “What time did it start?” asked one puzzled visitor before the event had even begun, unaware that the lights had already been on for a week at the request of the Pitshanger traders.

People strolled among the street market stalls meeting and greeting friends and neighbours and picking up gifts and goodies for Christmas. A small stage in the middle of the market offered a variety of entertainment – choirs from Montpelier and North Ealing Schools, dancers from Ealing Dance Studio and the Davydova Dance School (including a stunning demonstration of Russian dancing by the principal, Anna Davydova), a ridiculously talented group of 12 year-olds appropriately named Height Order (pictured), finishing with the 40-strong Ealing Rock Choir on full power.

More shops were open than last year, and the traders seemed generally pleased with the changes. The Duke of Kent’s Hog Roast quickly sold out as did the PCA’s own barbecue, which continues to amaze organisers by performing so efficiently every year despite the constant stream of alcohol flowing from the Village Inn. Much credit should go to lighting director Andrew Dixon who created a magical quality of light by stringing pea lights along the market stalls and reducing the level of overall illumination, enabling visitors to actually see the tree lights for once.

Cobweb Removal

Calendar

Get down to the park on New Year’s Day and blow those cobwebs away! Stroll round the park and join us for mince pies, mulled wine, and an ‘indoor quiz’ in the Play Centre at 2 pm. Entry to the quiz is £1, but there are drinks and chocolates as prizes.

Final reminder – the ‘Pitshanger Memories’ calendar is available from the Pitshanger Bookshop, price £9.99 including postal envelope.

St Barnabas Odeon

Member Ian Hamerton is part of a group setting up a cinema club, specifically for local people, to show films "worth talking about". The venue is St Barnabas Millennium Halls and the first event is scheduled for the 16th January. The group plan meetings every six weeks or so, and at each there will be separate showings for children, ‘early evening’ adults (usually a film with some controversial material or topic), and 'late night'.

The January show will have a family screening of Bugsy Malone (U) at 3pm. The main feature at 6.45pm is Moon (15), and the late showing at 9pm is District 9 (15). Tickets are £3.50 each for children, including a carton of juice and popcorn, £7.50 for adults which includes a glass of wine and nibbles.

And The Winners Are…

Street Wars Winners

On two Saturdays in October teams from eleven Pitshanger streets battled it out at St. Barnabas Church Hall, wrestling with ten-round quizzes set by quizmaster Ian Hamerton, ably assisted by his wife Anne. General and local knowledge was tested. Questions such as ‘What was the original colour of the doors and window frames of houses on the Brentham estate?’, ‘In which area adjacent to Ealing was the Royal Agricultural Show first held?’ and ‘In which year did the first May Day parade

take place at the Brentham Club?’ were eagerly discussed whilst copious amounts of wine were consumed. After the first two rounds, the leading teams were Princes Gardens and Kenmure Mansions.

However, the final, held on Saturday 21st November, threw up lots of surprises, when the title of the brainiest street in the area was won by the dark horses from Barnfield Road, who came from behind to achieve the highest score. The PCA would like to thank Ian and Anne Hamerton for the huge amount of effort put into the compilation of the quizzes and the provision of enormous fun for the local community.

News From The Lane

Your editor has been sitting in a corner wailing “where will I get two and a half inch size ten screws at 5 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon now?” ever since hearing that Robert Dyas is closing on Christmas Eve. The shop is “no longer economically viable”.

However, there is better news elsewhere on the Lane. Mike Matthews, manager of the recently closed Wine Rack has teamed up with Harrison Vintners, a local wine wholesaler looking to expand into the retail market, and they are aiming to open in Pitshanger Lane early in 2010. Hopefully we’ll see Mike back in his rightful position behind the barrels before long.  Click here for details of a special Pitshanger pre-opening offer.

Northfields Do It Again

Party In The Park sponsors Northfields have got another gong – they’re “Best Independent Estate Agency of the Year” according to The Negotiator magazine, “the leading publication for estate agents today”.

One Deck Or Two?

In October’s newsletter we asked what you thought about the double decker buses on the E2 route. We received about 20 emails and a couple of comments on the Pitshanger Voice message board. Based on this small survey, the tide of opinion is running against the double deckers. Respondents generally thought they are cumbersome, unsightly, noisy, often empty (particularly the upper deck) and cause damage to trees, especially in Woodfield Road. However, some rush hour commuters find it easier to get on the first bus to arrive these days, and one respondent likes the fact that noisy children use the upper deck, leaving the seats downstairs free for the rest of us. And it was pointed out that double deckers have been operating in Pitshanger Lane for some years now – the night buses.

There was some praise for the new “Enviro” buses, but not everybody has noticed any difference. We received some constructive ideas, for instance running the double deckers only during rush hours and getting drivers to persuade more people to use the upper deck. The most popular answer was to go back to the past – a single decker service with extra buses during the rush hours, but even that has its problems as more rush hour buses could lead to worse traffic congestion. We will take these results to Transport for London and let you know what they say.

Annual General Meeting

The PCA Annual General Meeting took place at St Barnabas Church Hall on 14th December, attended by about 45 members. The two big topics this year were the success of the Pitshanger Centenary – in terms of both events and community co-operation – and the long struggle towards straightening out the PCA accounts.

The good news on the financial front is that all cash has now been accounted for, and the AGM agreed that a verified baseline would be adopted as the starting point for the 2009-10 accounts. The bad news is that the accounts for the previous two years are still not ready for independent inspection, the remaining problem being centred on the depreciation of fixed assets. The PCA Committee is now concentrating on moving forward from the 2009 baseline, and we have adopted strict new procedures to ensure we stay on top of things from now on. However we would like to hear from anyone with accounting acumen who could take on the challenge of working back from the 2009 baseline and unravelling the final strands of the last two years’ accounts. If you are that person, please email [email protected] for further details.

Elsewhere on the AGM agenda, revisions to the PCA constitution were agreed that ratify the better accounting practices already adopted and will provide access to the PCA accounts via the web site.

Furnishings

The Book of Light

The picnic tables in the playground, provided by the PCA several years ago, are to be refurbished with £1,500 from the Cleveland Ward Forum budget. This is going hand in hand with the Play Builder scheme to renovate the playground and provide new equipment.

Elsewhere in the Park, we have been promised that the Superloo will open soon, after a delay following a dispute over who’s responsible for a water leak.

The PCA launched an appeal at the Christmas Fayre to raise £10,000 to help buy new tree lights for the Lane. The present ones have suffered a lot of damage and are becoming difficult to maintain, so in 2010 we intend to replace them at a total cost of about £20,000. We’ve already been allocated £5,000 from the Cleveland Ward Forum budget, thanks to our local Councillors, and the rest will be raised in other ways.

As part of this, The Book of Light is an opportunity for you to buy a light bulb or multiple bulbs (£1 each for under 16s, £5 for adults). Purchasers can write a dedication in The Book of Light, put their name on a sticker, and attach it to our pop-up tree banner. The Book of Light is available at the Pitshanger Bookshop, thanks to Walter and Bee Wyeth, but will be appearing at PCA events next year.

That Was The Year That Was

Has this been the PCA’s best-ever year? Certainly it is if you go by the number of events we’ve held – the PCA quiz, the biggest Party In The Park yet, summer’s ‘Pitshanger Memories’ exhibition, the Pink Tea Party, September’s first ever family Picnic In The Park, Ferret Racing, the Street Wars quiz tournament, and of course the inaugural Pitshanger Christmas Fayre. In addition we’ve worked to achieve improvements in the park (more coming soon) and to amend the Council’s Streets for People plans. Relations with our local Councillors, MP, and our superb Safer Neighbourhoods Ward Police Team have never been better. We supervised the Pitshanger Lane centenary celebrations and have also put much effort into improving our internal practices and procedures.

The management committee has attracted new talent in John Waters, who has brought rigour to event planning and site management, and Jan Vaughan, our new membership secretary who’s adding an entrepreneurial aspect to the job’s traditional administrative duties – watch out for much more PCA publicity at events. We were unfortunate to lose Martin Kelly, who resigned as events director, and Barbara Boyle, whose second stint as membership secretary ended sooner than it might. In all, a good year, but challenges remain. Finding a place for young people to meet, raising money for the new tree lights, and above all helping the Pitshanger traders to get through these difficult economic times.

Your committee would like to thank all of you who help at events – it is the complete truth that we couldn’t do it without you – and to wish members and their families a very happy Christmas and a rewarding New Year.