Chiswick House: Cue the Music… (Or Why We’ve Been Socially Inept Since 2007)

Chiswick House 674 x 280 (David Barrie)

The weather was still annoyingly indecisive as we wandered along the dual carriageway to the main entrance of Chiswick House grounds. It all seemed a bit of a swizz for Spring, but least it hadn’t rained for a couple of days, and we had been reliably informed that one of the finest shows of the season would soon be underway. Ducking into the grounds by the North Lodge, we made our way past the grand old gatehouse and through the orchard where some of the apple blossoms were just a few weeks away from making themselves known.

It was getting on for 5.00pm as we tiptoed through the Italian gardens. “Where’s the cascade again?” began Nick, looking a tad lost.  The reply, which involved the phrase “past the Ha Ha and behind the house,” did nothing to ease the look of confusion. Dodging through the Roman looking statues, with Kathryn taking the lead, we quickened our pace and made a beeline for the brilliant white house.

Rushing straight past the 18th homage to Renaissance architecture we broke into a rather undignified gallop towards the waterfall where we could hear the distinctive rumblings of wind instruments tuning up.  Hopping over the main wall by the cascade, we scrambled down the rounded wall of its arch and took up positions on the side of the bank.

Across the old canal, we were greeted by a gaggle of rather noisy ducks, geese and water fowl. “That’s not an orchestra…” began Nick, before quickly closing his mouth lest something even more ridiculous escape, “Although it did sound like one,” continued Kathryn, taking over the mantel. Having arrived for a pleasant spot of early evening opera we were a tad confused as to why the only people in attendance were excitable birds and a smattering of families dotted across the rear lawn of the house and up and down the banks of the miniature canal.

“They must have moved it…” proclaimed Nick, with an air of confidence. Scrambling back up over the arch we made for all the obvious spots, the Amphitheatre by the Temple, the Napoleon Summerhouse, and in front of the house itself… we even went and checked out the cricket pavilion – but nothing.

After a quick – extremely belated – Google we determined that, somehow, we had not only managed to get the wrong date, but also the wrong month. An impressive feat even for a pair as seemingly useless as us. So, slinking away – both sheepishly declaring that we weren’t really in the mood for Rossini anyway – we headed back towards the Chiswick High Road, confident that between us (at least) we’d be able to locate a nice pint of beer.

First published in the May 2014 edition of Absolutely Chiswick

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