The eighteenth-century Riverside House at Twickenham near London, situated by the river Thames and surrounded by a beautiful garden, became Panufnik’s haven. He moved in there after his marriage to Camilla Jessel, and spent the rest of his life there. Here, in the peaceful atmosphere of his home, Panufnik wrote the majority of his most important works. His cantata Thames Pageant was written especially to celebrate his 'little homeland'.
Though only twenty minutes by car from central London, our surroundings were almost rural, with trees and greenery running down to the River Thames. When the moon was full and the tides high, the river would rise above its borders and fill the little lane past our house, surging up our drive, often preventing us from leaving. Gratifying my lifelong passion for trees, I now had as my companions in my own garden towering ancient chestnut, a gigantic plane, and, on our river frontage, three whispering willows which acknowledged the coming of spring before any other plant: in early March they turned golden, soon to become daubed, like an Impressionist painting, with tiny specs of exquisite pale green as the myriad leaves budded along the delicate wind-swung umbrella-like branches.