Remembering the dead

Forty years ago this month a memorial to the dead of Katyn was unveiled, not at a major public location, but in the Council-owned Gunnersbury cemetery.

In 1945, the exhausted Allies had little choice but to accept the absorption of part of pre-war Poland into the Soviet Union and the installation of a puppet Government in Warsaw.  For the surviving remnants of the Polish forces who had taken on Hitler and Stalin and then regrouped in London to continue the fight, it was a shattering blow. Continue reading

Rid your homes of unwanted pests

At the risk of sounding a bit like a mafia don, I’m going to make you an offer that might just help you get rid of a pest.  And before anyone thinks I’ve gone a bit Vito Corleone let me make it clear that I’m not talking about business partners, flatmates or even political opponents, but the sort of uninvited houseguests that come in via broken drains and cracks in walls. Continue reading

Plenty of sporting opportunities

notting dale

Dale Youth Boxing Club

It has been hard not to be impressed with Team GB’s Olympic success. Just about every day over the last couple of weeks we were able to celebrate a new medal across a range of sports.

 

We’ve ended the Games second in the medals table behind only the USA. That is a stunning achievement. It is not just the number of medals that gave me cause to be proud but the sheer breadth of sports that we ended up on the podium for.

Whether it is trap shooting, show jumping, cycling, swimming, gymnastic or athletics and I could go on, it seems that we can hold our own with the best in the world.

I really hope that as a result of watching the greatest sportsmen and women on the planet showing us what elite performance is like that some people feel inspired to get involved in a sport. Whether that is with a desire to become an Olympian or just to get in shape doesn’t matter. Continue reading

Enjoy our parks

park1When you’re the second smallest borough in the country with a densely packed population you really have to do everything you can to make the very best use of the limited green space you have.

Naturally, I tend to think our parks and open spaces are fantastic places and real community assets. They can be beautiful to the eye while at the same time providing a place to exercise, walk your dog, play with the children or just take time to sit and read a book. As well as this they provide a vital habitat for all sorts of insects, reptiles, small mammals and birds. Continue reading

Make the switch to electric

As regular readers will know, I’m not backward in coming forward about the problems caused by noisy supercars. You know the ones: the exotic-looking speed machines which swish and roar around Knightsbridge. Particularly in the summer.

Here at the Council we’re continuing to crack down on inconsiderate drivers and encourage residents to report any issues to us. But, problems aside, I think it’s only fair to say that some of these bling’d-out cars are simply stunning. Beautiful, even. The other day, however, I must admit my head was turned, not by a Lamborghini but by another stylish road machine: the electric Renault Twizy.

Coming a long way from the Sinclair C5s of the 80s, today’s electric vehicles are better looking, more practical and, more importantly, come with top-notch environmental credentials. And here’s the science bit: driving an electric vehicle means reduced air pollution due to no NOx or particulates, plus no CO2 emissions. Continue reading

Why the Council has taken steps to protect the borough’s launderettes

Back in my university days I’d pop into my local launderette when I was down to my last pair of socks and a visit home to Mum’s washing machine skills wasn’t on the horizon for a few weeks.

I’d often while away a Sunday afternoon people-watching, reading the newspapers and enjoying the chance to switch off for an hour and completely relax.

Back in the day there was a launderette on every high street.  It was a phenomenon reflected in the popular culture of the time, when a TV commercial set in one rescued the ailing sales of Levi 501s.  Even Dot Cotton’s fictional launderette in the soap opera EastEnders has been the backdrop for countless dramas and revelations.

In 1980 there were around 50 launderettes in Kensington and Chelsea but today just 18 remain.  Continue reading

Summer fun for children that won’t break the bank

The summer holidays are now upon us and children across the country will be clamouring for something to do. I know that the six long weeks of summer can be a challenge for parents trying to keep their offspring entertained without breaking the bank. Continue reading