Tag Archives: Beatles

The Olympic Studios

It has been some time, thank you for all your concern; some thought we had died .. scone overdose somewhere, others thought we had been kidnapped by over-enthusiastic sconeys. Well, none of the above, we have been in Londonland .. might as well call it that because it is completely detached from the rest of the country. Unlike vast tracts of Scotland where everyone speaks with a home counties accent … here, hardly anyone speaks English and the Range Rovers are almost as big as a £2m house .. mad, but great, all at the same time! Okay, okay, the scones, what about the scones?  Olympic 04The Olympic Studios, complete with it’s statue of Captain Marvel up on the roof, is a very popular haunt for us when we are in the deep south .. either for a meal or to see a film, but this is the first time we have been here in sconey mode .. would we be disappointed? The building itself has had an illustrious past. Byfield House, the residence of the Governor of St Helena and its dependencies of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, stood on this site until 1906 when it was demolished and  replaced by a cinema and theatre … Charles Haughtry and John Gielgud first trod the boards here. In 1908 Christabel Pankhurst, took to the stage and gave a rousing and provocative speech .. not about scones but something to do with votes for women; six days later she was arrested at the House of Commons and imprisoned with more than twenty other suffragettes.  In 1966 it became the Olympic recording studio and was used by the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Led Zepplin, Madonna, Jimi Hendrix and our personal favourites .. Massive Attack!  U2 were the last to record here in 2009. Now it is a cinema again and is appropriately showing the newly released film, Suffragette. More importantly though it has a restaurant and cafe .. selling scones .. and what scones! Olympic 03By far and away the best scones we have had in ages. Very light and fluffy on the inside with a delicate crisp outside .. absolutely fabulous darling .. and at £3 for two scones with plenty jam and clotted cream, the price was not too difficult to swallow either. Another small but lovely touch in the Olympic is that they just give you water and glasses without you having to ask for it .. great! So there you have it, possibly the best scone in Londonland .. unless we find another of course! Olympic 05One hundred years after the suggragette struggle, and after our great Winston Churchill spent a year refusing to speak to the first woman to enter the House of Commons, it seems beyond belief that, in 2015, women are still struggling to get equality. Someone (it must have been a man) said that the best way to make women more comfortable in the workplace was to double glaze the glass ceiling .. well, how would men feel if they were obliged to take the same maternity leave as their partners; would they feel as secure in their careers, would they wonder about reorganisations happening in their absence, new people coming in, others leaving … we don’t think men would handle it at all well. That does not make men different from women because women find it just as difficult. And it is not as if having babies is some sort of peripheral activity, it is fundamental to absolutely everything .. everything. Mind you recent statistics reveal that twelve men commit suicide in the UK every day, far higher than the female equivalent figure, so men don’t have it that easy either. Anyway whoever, woman or man, made these scones, we are sure that Miss Pankhurst would have been proud .. probably even prouder it it was a man!

SW13 9HL      Tel: 020 9812 5161    Olympic Studios

Chiswick House

As the Thames buzzes with preparations for the boat race tomorrow the grounds of Chiswick House thrive with families out enjoying an early April day of 20 degrees .. just lovely. The original Chiswick House dates back to 1610 but the building we see today is early 18th century. It once belonged to the Cavendish and Devonshire families but now it is in public ownership and managed by English Heritage. The house was closed when we visited but the grounds are extensive and very well maintained with lots of statues and gateways leading to temples.

The camellia conservatory
The camellia conservatory

The conservatory was supposedly the scene of the first ever music video when the Beatles, fed up with touring,  recorded Paperback Writer in 1966.

Most importantly, of course, there is a café.

The café area
The café area

It is necessarily big both inside and outside to cope with hundreds of visitors each day and as we stood at the self service counter I guess we harboured preconceived ideas of what the scones would be like. They looked a bit on the solid side and we have experienced many places like this that were disappointing to say the least .. however, such dismal expectations were to be completely confounded. Chiswick scone
Sitting outside in beautiful warm sunshine we discovered they were really most enjoyable and on a par with some of the best. You get a wee jar of Triptree jam and a lidded pot of cream .. eminently sensible for a place like this where lots of people are sitting outside. This is the school holidays so lots of kiddies running around and generally having a great time playing frisbee, climbing trees etc. Fabulous to discover baby changing facilities … in the gents, a long overdue sign of the times! As you wander around London you cannot help but observe the general affluence (no potholes, everything works, public transport is great) and contrast with other parts of the country. In the run up to the election we hear a lot about what Scotland gets (Barnett and all that) compared to ‘England’ however we tend not to hear much about London getting £2.6k per capita more than ‘England’. That’s a lot more than Scotland and considering the population is about twice that of Scotland, that’s a lot of money .. and it shows! Are we witnessing the north south divide … maybe?

Anyway, like its scones, Chiswick House and its gardens are a delight, you will not be disappointed.

www.chgt.org.uk       tel: 020 8995 0508