13 November 2011
Ben Pentreath

Just in case you were wondering what the kitchen looked like this morning… after a great great night for my 40th birthday party yesterday evening.

It’s been a slightly mad few days, with a fantastic, grand evening at the Courtauld Gallery on Thursday (if I get organised photos may follow at some stage). But then what was billed as a very small quiet party down here at the Old Parsonage which still managed to go zany.  An incredible supper for 14 cooked by my friends Will, and Roy, and which began with civilisation (is this not what you call a happy glow?):

and only later descended into perfect chaos. Manic dancing and goodness knows what sort of unprintable activities ensued.






Extraordinarily, I woke bright and early this morning feeling completely fine. I went for a run down the valley, cleared up the kitchen, put away the food, did all the washing up, made a cup of tea, cooked a fry up for everyone, all the while feeling quite chirpy….. and then my hangover kicked in.  I think I had still been drunk for the first few hours that I was awake.

The crash when it came was all the more spectacular and we were moving at the pace of, well, slow ocean-floor-grazing creatures all day. I spent a long time unwrapping some of the most beautiful presents I have ever seen. I’m not normally a great present unwrapper, but I don’t think I’ve felt so excited and happy for quite a little while.

This afternoon, trying to blow away the cobwebs, we went for a long walk to Hardy’s Monument and to see the sea. Going through one valley we were chased by a herd of bullocks. We all nonchalantly pretended to be completely unflustered and only later admitting to one another concern almost but not quite verging on terror.

A beautiful, soft day, a perfect reflection of the mood.  I had remembered to grab my camera and took a shot or two of things that interested me. I think we can blame my altered mental state for the myopic interest in a tiny piece of vivid yellow lichen growing in the road – but strangely it might be one of the most inspirational things I’ve seen in a while. Who knew that tiny chips of stone in a tarmac road could be so, well—monumental? Shades, perhaps, of Robinson in Ruins.

And a while ago, I dropped Mo at the station while William and Maria drove back home to London in their extremely stylish slightly battered borrowed 80s Porsche (sadly not Kelly Green), while I stay down alone tonight before my site meeting in Hampshire in the morning. It’s complete bliss.  It’s been a perfect end to a perfect few days, during which one realises that the important things in your life are your friends and your family, and that generosity is unfailingly the friend of happiness.



8 comments on this post

just catching up on a rare day off – happy belated birthday fellow scorpio!

Happy Birthday Ben! Beautiful photographs! Sounds like a wonderful weekend full of laughter and fun.


So, I had been reading so much about the shop and your abodes in various interior mags/books that I finally had a look round the website and stumbled across the Inspirations page. What started with a few pages ended up with me reading the full archive in one day (a few stolen moments at work and the rest with a cup of tea at home). Love, love, love! Now of course I desperately want a country house with a big garden. Simply gorgeous and bags of inspiration for my cherished flat in Hackney. Thank you. A visit to the shop is next on the list…


Dear Anna thank you! see you soon in the shop, all best, Ben

Happy Birthday! I enjoyed the piece in the FT magazine last weekend.

oh! Ben! after a decade living in the USA, those gorgeous pictures of England were agony to a soul that thought it wasn’t homesick (apart from when reading Persephone Books and that’s more for a post-war “I Vow To Thee My Country” sort of experience, long gone, we assume)……..dreamy.

what a gorgeous blog.

we shall – in the correct interweb vernacular – “follow you” (do you Tweet?)

sending much love from a gloomy day in midtown manhattan


Happy Birthday. What an beautiful post. I will remember “that generosity is unfailingly the friend of happiness.” That is a truly lovely and honest sentence.

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