The Finchley Society AGM

Finchley Society Chairman urges members to take action.

The Finchley Society held its 39th AGM at Avenue House last Thursday attended by 33 members. After the main business of the evening when David Smith was re-elected as Chair and the Treasurer reported that the Society’s finances were in a healthy state there was a lively discussion about local issues in an Open Forum. Topics covered were opposition to the Brent Cross enlargement, the problem of Traders taking over the pavements in Ballards Lane, the sad demise of local shops, and the battle to prevent suburban houses being turned into flats either by conversion or redevelopment.

Many of these issues, and others, had been taken up during the year by the various committees who had been active in planning, transport & environment & public relations. Some notable activities included the following: the unveiling of the information board at St Mary-at Finchley church; the forthcoming refurbishment of the panels at Finchley Central and East Finchley stations; Mari IAnson’s successful publishing of the ‘Finchley Sketchbook’; involvement in the planning applications for the FurnitureLand and Police Depot sites in High Road North Finchley; monitoring of plans for the new Finchley Memorial Hospital; commenting on the North Finchley & Church End Development Plans; improvement of Dollis Valley Green Walk; recycling; monitoring the brightness of street lights, air quality and bus routes The Spike Milligan Statue Fund had continued to fund raise including an ‘Evening with Maureen Lipman & Friends’ in April. They had now submitted an application for a grant from the Arts Council in the hope of being able to realise the sculpture in 2011.

Although the above list demonstrates that the Finchley Society is active, David Smith urged members to get more involved in local campaigns. In his Chairman’s Annual Report he suggested some additional campaigns members could get involved in, for instance: the use of ‘Church End’ instead of ‘Finchley Central’; the menace of ivy killing trees; unlawful advertising by trailers and vehicles parked in various places such as by La Deliverance statue in Regents Park Road & opposite the Vue Cinema complex; banner advertising at the junction of High Road & Summers Lane. We should be working with the London Borough of Barnet to improve the environment and retain the appearance of the leafy suburb we all care about.

He reminded members that those who started the Finchley Society nearly 40 years ago did so because they wanted to celebrate their cultural heritage and cared deeply about both the natural and man-made environment. He argued that we need to get back the passion in our Society. He urged all members to get passionate about something – to go out into Finchley & Friern Barnet and talk to neighbours and to people in the street and get people involved in the issues they care about. By doing this we, together, could really make a difference.

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Event on 14th July

This came in after the newspaper was finalised but better here than nowhere…

14 July
Fostering drop in session between 6.30pm – 8pm
Finchley Manor Tennis Squash and Health Club Lyndhurst Gardens London N3 1TD

Being a foster carer means giving children and young people a safe, comfortable, home environment in which they can stay for as long as they need to. Foster carers play many different roles within a child’s life but above all you’ll be someone they can rely on. We are always looking for foster carers from all walks of life, so, if you’re thinking seriously about becoming a foster carer for Barnet why not come along to our drop in session and find out more.

Call 020 8359 6274 or email for details.

Andrew Taylor – Editor.

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Ladies in Kensington

This press release arrived recently but as the event was in Kensington we thought not appropriate for the newspaper. However, as it was organised by a local N3 firm of accountants, we thought it perfect for the blog.

Marjorie and Linda serve up another successful ladies’ event

Solicitors, barristers, accountants, HR professionals and senior ladies from the world of business gathered for the second Ladies’ Afternoon Tea in the Orangery at Kensington Palace Gardens.

The event, which took place on Friday 11th June 2010, was hosted by Marjorie Bremner, HR partner at London-based chartered accountancy firm Berg Kaprow Lewis (BKL) LLP, in conjunction with Linda Goldman, an employment judge and barrister from Henderson Chambers.

The informal gathering was designed to allow guests to relax and meet like-minded ladies in beautiful surroundings without any pressure to network or sell. One solicitor commented that it was so refreshing not to have to talk about divorce law!

The event commenced with champagne and a light-hearted quiz.

Guests had been asked to submit an interesting fact about themselves or their family that they were happy to divulge. These included: “I know how to breathe fire”, “I am related to Walt Disney”, “My great-grandfather built the building nearest to Nelson’s Column in the early 1930s” and “I once took part in a Spencer Tunick naked art installation with over 500 people in Selfridges”.

Afternoon tea and cakes were served and, at the end of the afternoon, guests received BKL Casemir chocolates and goodie bags donated by skincare and make-up brand Trish McEvoy.

Commenting on the event, Marjorie said: “The location and food were superb and the company delightful. As one guest wrote: ‘So many interesting people – it makes me think what a wonderful place London is to work’.”

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Scoring at work


By David Lewis

The Beautiful Mind Game

by Renato Fantoni, £15.00, pp. 183

ISBN 9781905430727

This book, by Finchley businessman Renato Fantoni, approaches the self-improvement market from the unique angle of the football aficionado. You may be currently absorbed by the twists and turns of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but pay attention: Fantoni’s ambitious aim is to show you how you can use football to improve your life and your work.

Italian by origin, Renato Fantoni is in every sense a Renaissance Man. There’s Fantoni the Finchleyite, raised in East Finchley and educated at Finchley County Grammar School. In the 1970s he was a member of a rock band called The Funky 5 from Finchley. He’s run both his businesses – HPS World of Hotels and Fantoni Coaching Assessing and Training – from offices in North Finchley since 1990.

Fantoni the Finchleyite is also Fantoni the footballer. He once took – and failed – a football trial for the Finchley Azzurri. His greatest football moment was winning a friendly match in Victoria Park.

Then there’s Fantoni the fan. He doesn’t say in his book which club team he supports, perhaps not wishing to alienate potential customers who might be rival fans. So I shall not reveal this secret, except to say that he supports the same team I do.

I happen to know all this about Renato because he’s part of my business network. What I didn’t know until I happened to spot his book in the North Finchley Waterstone’s is that all this time Fantoni the footballer, fan and business coach has been thinking deeply about the nature of the game and trying to figure out how its lessons can be applied in life and the workplace.

We must all have noticed the close relationship between life and games. It seems that games develop in imitation of some aspect of life: often war, as with chess, draughts, and team sports such as football and rugby.

This is interesting, but then an even more interesting thing happens. The game, which developed in simulation of life, now returns the compliment and provides lessons on how to succeed in life. I believe this happens because the game is a simplification of life, with stricter rules, which creates a discipline in which principles of success become more readily apparent.

Fantoni recognises the dangers of taking such analogies too far, writing: “Sport is like war; it is based on winners and losers, but the world of work and business can be different because win-win situations are always possible.”

Early in his book, Fantoni sets the scene for later chapters by outlining the ten laws on teamwork of Marcello Lippi, who coached the Italy football team which won the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Together these laws form a theoretical and practical basis for promoting successful teamwork in the workplace.

The book goes on to cover other topics which unite the world of football and the world of work (and life): the role of emotion and passion; the individual and the group; the comfort zone. Fantoni proposes a simple, football-influenced decision-making model, called Top Team, for the running of one-to-one coaching sessions and other meetings. Other themes include winning from behind, contentment and dissatisfaction at work, time management, and competitive rivalry. He shares various philosophical reflections with readers. He approaches each idea rigorously by reference to the football experience, but rarely allows the analogy to override reality.

Do you need to be a football fan to get the best out of this book? Fantoni implies you don’t; I’m not so sure. I think you will get more from The Beautiful Mind Game if you understand something about football. I also think you will get more from it if you are in the market for training in management, coaching and self-improvement.

I would even suggest that if your knowledge of football – like mine – is less than encyclopaedic, you could learn quite a lot from the glossary of football expressions which concludes the book, and which Fantoni (perhaps having over-exposed himself to punning headlines on the back pages of the tabloids) titles “VocaBALLary”.

Renato Fantoni has produced an interesting and at times amusing work which successfully marries football lore and culture to the demands of modern business managers and coaches. Va bene.

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Get out – and about

Some of the train companies in and around London & South East area in association with Oyster have come up with a great promotion for the forthcoming summer months. The offer starts on Saturday 26th June 2010.

Participating train companies in the Oyster card holders *Get Out of London* Adult Return promotional ticket offers are: c2c, Chiltern Railways, First Capital Connect, First Great Western, London Midland, National Express East Anglia, Southern, and South West Trains.

The Oyster card Adult Return promotional fares are valid for travel in Standard accommodation from London Terminal stations and are based on £5, £10, £15 and £20 price bands.

The Oyster card promotion will run between Saturday 26 June 2010 and Sunday 25 July 2010.

Oyster card holders must visit to get a detailed overview showing where and when they can travel and to download a voucher.

The promotional rail travel voucher from will act as the customers entitlement to buy their ticket at the special Adult Return promotional rail fare.

For a list of the destinations covered by the Oyster card/Freedom pass promotion, please visit

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Great website

I discovered this website through an interesting “app” I found for my smartphone. You don’t, however, need a smartphone to look at it as it is available for any Internet user.

They are a world-wide site where visitors write about the shops, restaurants, pubs and everything else they visit.

For instance, they have lots of places in Finchley and I am busy cleaning up the area for them, such as deleting companies no longer in business, and changing names of business with a name change. Fortunately, if there is a change of ownership, the old write-ups disappear.

I have written up places in Paris, Brussels, Antwerpen, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Simon’s Town, San Jose and soon when the restaurant re-opens, in San Diego.

They also have events – the latest is a picnic this Saturday in Regents Park.

This is a fine example of where ordinary people can make a difference and create a window for their own location.

A little about the app which is available for Android, the iPhone and the Blackberry. You can’t use it to work on the write-ups but you can view them, and it works on the location where you are at the moment and shows places for that area. For example, now it shows Finchley places, but when I was in Croydon and looked for a restaurant, it showed only those local to where I was.

Andrew Taylor – editor.

Beware – pickpockets in the borough

The following came from Paul Hammond, of Barnet’s Neighbourhood Watch group, we thought we should put this up immediately.

There has been five separate incidents already this month of pickpocketing in the borough.

All the victims were elderly. One was on a bus, one whilst shopping and the others were walking along a street.

Only one group of suspects were actually seen but escaped before they could be apprehended. These were women, thought to be of Eastern European origin.

It’s vital that handbags are kept to your front and should be zipped up or difficult to get into. If you have a shoulder bag with a front flap, wear it back to front so the flap is on the inside next to your body.

The pickpocket will distract you by asking a question or pushing into you, whilst another will do the thieving! Beware of anyone invading your personal space, particularly on buses, shops or near cash machines.

A good tip for the ladies is to tie a small cat bell on the handbag, these are cheap and are available at pet shops etc. If you get6 a pickpocket dipping in, you might well hear the bell and then can take evading action. If in doubt about any suspicious persons call 999.


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