PCA Newsletter 64 - July 2012

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In This Issue

 

Almost Perfect

Power Cuts

Yet Another Scam

Olympic Get-Togethers

Fame At Last

So Near

Rats – End Of The Story?

Festivals At St Barnabas

Join the Club

Otters

PCA Bits And Pieces

Road Runners

Almost Perfect

Pitshanger Party In The Park 2012

Party In The Park 2012 will be remembered by organisers as one which truly engendered the spirit the founders of the event intended.  It was indeed our ‘Village Fete’, put on for the enjoyment of the people of Pitshanger, and it seemed impossible to walk from one end of the site to the other without engaging in half a dozen conversations with neighbours and friends.

There were more stalls in both the Gastrodome and Craft Village areas, and other favourites such as the old-time carousel – on which rides were free, the majority of the cost being borne by the

Pitshanger Lane traders – were in much demand.  A feature this year was the Pitshanger Olympics, taking in children’s races, the dog show and tug of war, with an opening ceremony on the main stage.  Year 6 pupils from North Ealing School paraded across the stage waving national flags (“here, have a quid!” said the presenter as he proffered a coin to the child with the Greek flag) followed by a ‘flame lighting ceremony’ involving a rubber torch and a smoke bomb in a garden incinerator [splashing out as usual – Ed.].

As always our thanks go to the many volunteers without whose help the event simply would not take place, and to the Pitshanger traders for their financial support.  Special mention should go to Nisa, who supplied soft drinks and sweets at cost, Harrisons, who did the same with the wine, and Pagoda newsagents who donated the prizes for the races.

This year, we say goodbye to Event Manager John Waters, who’s hanging up his cable ties and multi-purpose tool after three years at the top.  Also leaving is marshals organiser Doug Winter.  Your committee would like to thank them both for their hard work down the years.

Rats – End Of The Story?

Members’ comments in our last issue about the infestation of rats along the paths through the golf course drew a response from the club’s Mike Pearce.  He points out that apart from being a golf course, the land “also supports a huge wildlife community [which] is nurtured by our staff”.  Mike continues: “This year there has been an appearance of rats adjacent to footpath areas and I am pleased to inform those nervous of these creatures that a programme to reduce this upsurge has been in place for a few months now…we think the problem referred to by your readers is now completely under control.”  He also states that “the litter referred to by one of your readers comes from members of the public throwing litter over the fence onto the course.  Spending cuts no doubt affect the Council providing litter bins and keeping them cleaned and similarly the golf club cannot afford a team to regularly clear along its many lengths of fencing”, although members do volunteer for such maintenance tasks.  Finally Mike tells us that new members and visitors are always welcome: visit the club’s website here.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the club is right – rat numbers appear to be down compared with a few months ago.

Power Cuts

Festivals At St Barnabas

Residents and traders along Pitshanger Lane and in the adjacent roads suffered another major power cut – the second in less than a year – on the evening of Monday 2nd July, forcing several restaurants and takeaways to close.  The problem appears to lie with a cable running along the north side of the Lane which repairers suggested had been damaged when the paving was re-laid a couple of years ago.  Apparently minor ‘nicks’ in the cable allow water to enter and cause failure so this might become a regular occurrence.  Time taken for power to be restored depended on how close properties were to the seat of the problem (outside the Post Office) and varied from just under three hours in Selby Road to 18 hours in the case of Roberts&co.

A Festival of Sacred Art and Music is to be held at the church from Thursday 19th until Sunday 22nd July.  Paintings will be on view (and for sale) from a wide range of artists, and you can spend the Saturday learning to sing Handel’s Messiah (10.30 am until 5 pm) before performing the work in the evening at 7.30.  Friday offers lunchtime and evening concerts, and on Sunday there’s a picnic on the church green at 5 pm followed by a showing of ‘Die Fledermaus’ at 7.30.  A flower festival will be running alongside the other events.  Further information here.

Advance notice of the St Barnabas Organ Festival on Sunday 7th October, with nine mini-recitals from 2 until 10 pm to show off the church’s magnificent new organ.

Yet Another Scam

A dispiriting aspect of this job is having to report periodically on yet another scam designed to deprive good citizens of their property.  This one has been perpetrated at Scotch Common and targets lone females.  A male and two females in their 40s of “Romanian origin” pull up in a car (the latest was a silver estate) and ask for directions.  Once given the women get out of the car and keep thanking the soon-to-be victim for helping them.  One of the female suspects, who are described as “very pushy”, puts a necklace or ring on the lone female and while this is being done – usually against the person’s wishes – the victim is relieved of her own necklace and rings.

The suspects are professionals targeting vulnerable people and have surprised even case-hardened police officers with the speed at which they commit their crimes.  Please pass on any information, including sightings of suspicious vehicles, by dialling 999 or contacting Cleveland Safer Neighbourhood team on 8721 2920 or email [email protected].  Remember to warn anyone you think could be subject to such an attack.

Join the Club

Pitshanger’s first club car, mooted more than a year ago, has finally arrived and can be found in a dedicated parking bay at the top of Harrow View Road.  PCA committee member John Bird is an early adopter of the service, and he explains: “we used to be a two-car family until last year when my car came off second-best to an east-European HGV on the M4.  We’ve just about got by with one car since then, but there have been times when the lack of a second car has been inconvenient.  Having a club car just up the road could be a big help at those odd times”.

Pitshanger's First Club Car

The car, a Toyota Yaris, is operated by City Car Club (www.citycarclub.co.uk), and the deal is based on a membership fee of £60 per year, then £5.70 per hour and 23p per mile to use the car.  For longer trips there is a 24 hour rate of £47.  John’s first outing, a 20-mile round trip to Harefield in about an hour, cost roughly £10.  We’ll be interested to see how this goes, as it seems to have some potential for easing the pressure on residential car parking space by reducing the need for second (or third) cars.

Olympic Get-Togethers

Otters

Buoyed by the success of their screenings of the Jubilee River Pageant and the Royal Wedding, Pitshanger Pictures and St Barnabas invite us to watch the Olympic opening ceremony on the big screen on Friday 27th July from 7 pm onwards.  Their experience shows that local people really enjoy the chance to come and watch together in an atmosphere where both young and old are welcome.

There will be children’s activities and food and drink to buy, although picnics are fine as well. There will also be screenings on ‘Super Saturday’, 4th August, when 25 gold medals will be won, and for the closing ceremony on Sunday 12th August.

There’s little the rest of London does that we don’t do better in Pitshanger (e.g. the Olympics), but we’re gracious enough to know when we’re beat.  Despite the charms of the Brent and the local rats we have to concede that the Wetlands Centre in Barnes might be more appealing to some.  It’s a great day out, and at the ‘Traditional Craft Weekend’ on 21st and 22nd July (1 until 4pm), PCA member Rosanna Henderson will be demonstrating the ancient art of mosaic making.  There’s an ‘eel display’ on the Sunday, and the weekend is an excellent opportunity to see the otters, the centre’s latest attraction, which are “so sweet”, says Rosanna.

Fame At Last

The PCA was featured in a recent Government Report into how local parades of shops are faring.  In a case study entitled ‘Community Events’ the PCA is described as “strong and very active” and the authors note our close working relationship with local traders, the Council and the police.  They were obviously impressed by Light Up The Lane and Party In The Park and conclude that the involvement of local traders in “these significant community events” emphasises their “integration with the local community and further builds customer loyalty”.

Generally the research shows that local parades are holding steady at about 16% of total retail spending, and suggests that “neighbourhood retail” might be more insulated from macroeconomic shocks than other locations.  The report highlights the close relationship that local shops have with their local communities and ends on an upbeat note. “This provides local shops and businesses with great opportunities to get to know customers and what they want from your shop – exploit these chances!”

The minister responsible for the report is Eric Pickles.  The suggestion that only parades with a cake shop were considered is both undignified and untrue.

PCA Bits And Pieces

We have a number of items of lost property from Party in the Park, a list of which is available on our website.  If you recognise anything belonging to you please contact [email protected].

Eligible members should by now have received their invitation to the Diamond Jubilee Tea Party to be held on Monday 10th September at the Brentham Club from 3 until 5 pm.  As space is limited please book your place as soon as possible.  Email [email protected] or phone 8998 2414.

Unfortunately for a variety of reasons, not least a very poor take-up and post-Party In The Park exhaustion, we’ve decided to postpone the PCA quiz until the autumn.

Finally, the latest beneficiaries of our lucky dip from the membership list are Christine Pearce and Paul Smith of Willowmead Close who receive £50.

So Near

We reported in our last issue that Harrisons were in the running for the title of ‘Deli Of The Year’.  They didn’t quite make it but came in the top 3%, a tremendous accolade for the business, and a reflection of the quality of the shops that we have along the Lane.

Road Runners

Ealing Half Marathon 2012

The first Ealing Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 30th September at 9.15 am.  The PCA will be manning a water station at the three-mile mark but we are looking for other volunteers to act as marshals along the course where it passes through the Pitshanger area.  If you can spare a few hours on the morning of the race (and fancy a free breakfast) please register your details here. We have also been given two free places in the race to offer to anyone who is willing to raise money for the official race charity, Epilepsy Action.  Email [email protected] for details.