Friday, 8 June 2018

The annual Bedford Park Festival kicks off at St Michael's this evening - and there's a Sara Grønmark original to be won!

My two favourite bits of the Bedford Park Festival (Tube: Turnham Green) are the open air mass on Acton Green on the second day of the Green Days Fete and Crafts Fair (10.30 on Sunday, 10th June this year). The other is the Summer Exhibition of buyable art... St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park, which is on for two weeks from tonight. There are a lot of talented artists in Chiswick, there's always something on display worth buying, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable (we've bought several pieces in recent years). 

The above poster for the exhibition features a male and female pair of rose-ringed parakeets - fashioned by my wife using paper from magazines - which will be raffled during the festival. It's not that long ago that the distinctive squawks of feral parakeets and flashes of their bright green plumage in the skies above Chiswick seemed dead exotic: nowadays, the green invaders are so common that one barely notices them. It's estimated that there were about 500 in Britain in the mid-'80s. By 2012, there were reckoned to be about 32,000 - God knows how many there are now. My extensive research (i.e. a quick check on Wikipedia) has revealed a number of theories as to how this non-migratory species (which thrives in suburban areas of London and the Home Counties and is regarded as a pest in some countries) was first introduced into Britain: either some of them escaped from Isleworth Studios during filming of The African Queen in 1951; or a number escaped from a pet shop in Sunbury-on-Thames in 1970; or Jimi Hendrix released a pair in Carnaby Street in the '60s, etc. Whatever the explanation, it appears not to have been the result of an excitingly go-ahead government initiative - for a change. 

You can read the details of everything that's on offer - Green Days Fair, art exhibition, photography exhibition, open air mass and a veritable cornucopia of cultural events (talks, music, movies - you name it) during the next fortnight at the festival website. And don't forget to buy a stack of raffle tickets - after all, there's a Sara Grønmark original to be won!

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