Meandering pathways slither in abundance through the gardens that surround Chiswick House, a marvel of 18th century architecture. With over 65 acres of sheer splendour to explore, it's not hard to believe that the entirety of your visit there will fly right by, without a second of boredom. I don't think I even managed to cover half the grounds (that means a second visit is very much needed). After a relatively lengthy tube and bus ride through the very packed heart of the city, stepping through the gates of Chiswick felt like entering an oasis, in every metaphorical sense. It was a completely different atmosphere to that of Central London - quiet, calm, classical.
I was listening to Adele on repeat that day, while treading over gravel driveways and admiring the sculptures (as you would have seen on snapchat), but the song that was playing in my head was Sarabande. It was a creepy coincidence because later I found out that Handel himself had put up at the house as a guest of the architect, Lord Burlington.
Who knows, maybe I'm psychic?
The highlight of the day, however, definitely had to be me freaking out over gigantic canines. If you're afraid of dogs (like myself), I guarantee you will be providing free entertainment to your friends. It's great to see families out and about, going for walks with their pets, enjoying the freedom of nature and the warm-hued sights... but every single time a dog came running towards my general direction, terror flashed across my face and I had a mini panic attack. This overreaction looked especially comedic to everyone around me, considering these dogs actually couldn't give two hoots about my presence and totally ignored me. Hell, can they even be classified as dogs when they're the size of a pony? I think not. Note to self: visit in the afternoon when dog numbers are low.
While on the topic of when to visit, a sensible person would probably plan their outting to Chiswick Gardens at it's prime during spring. But alas, I just have to go against the grain, don't I? I blame it on the foliage. The traffic-light gradient of green to amber to vermillion in the trees, the crunch of leaf-litter beneath your feet, the game of musical chairs with your layers of clothes, dictated by the sun and clouds - there's something oh so romantic about it all.
Autumn is a mysterious time, full of pleasant surprises. Well, mostly (looking at you, dark clouds). I hold my breath in anticipation each morning before peeking out the window - the same kind of anxiousness a kid would feel, before munching his way to the toy-core of a Kinder Surprise egg (and by kid, we all know I mean myself). When I draw back my curtains, I never know what's waiting on the other side.
Could it be a crisp, sunny sky and a driveway carpeted with amber leaves? Or could it be a damp and drizzly scene, painted in wish-washy shades of grey, like a Turner painting? Or, if it's anything like the last couple of days, it could even be a Halloween-appropriate situation with eerie blankets of fog casually rolling through the neighbourhood. Regardless of what mask the weather may decide to wear, the beauty of autumn still prevails.
Time and time again I've claimed that winter is my favourite season - I love the cold! But this autumn, I've been doing some semi-serious re-evaluation. Growing up in a concrete island on the equator, I loved any place where the mercury fell below the 25 centigrade mark. The colder, the better. In addition, school holidays were fixed at such times that I only ever got to experience summer or winter if traveling abroad - so it's obvious out of the two seasons which I'd favour more.
Since moving to England, I've been able to experience more of the two transitional seasons - spring and autumn - the blooming and the withering between the heat and the cold. Although let's be real, the entire year just feels cold, am I right? I'm not sure if I dare say it yet that this is my favourite of the four seasons, but these October days and November nights sure know how to charm the pants right off of me. We'll have to wait and see if winter can deliver some snow this year before drawing any conclusions.