Beautiful Britain November 1984

18 November 2012
Ben Pentreath

“OH GOD BEN” said my friend Ruth, this morning, at breakfast, “YOU’VE GONE AND TAKEN A CALENDAR PHOTO”.

It’s true. It was a ridiculously beautiful morning in Dorset and I woke up early to find a deep frost had gripped the still, autumnal valley. An hour or so later, we wandered down to the lake where a gentle mist was rising in front of the glowing copper golden trees.

JOKING. Okay, I admit, a little while ago I read a comment somewhere out there on the ‘nit which wondered if my blog was a spoof.  I liked that comment.  In fact, no, I loved it. Because, from time to time, um, yes.  Raspberry picking?  Dahlias?  Tulips?  Eugh.  Too much.   Hehehe.   Get over it, that’s just my fabulous life, dear reader…

So, we went for an early morning walk. Oh crikey. The mist was rising from the still water, and what the hell was that white blob? It was a lone, romantic swan. Yes, needless to say, here was a beautiful swan, in the mist, in benblogland.

You see what Ruth means by calendar shot?  You do.  Beautiful Britain Calendar, Autumn 1984. 

Well, we can of course mock ourselves from time to time, but it was pretty extraordinary.

I am kind of in love with mornings like this, even if they are a bit much.

Even, Ruth, if you’re right:

(Our new runaway bestseller in the Christmas shop…)


Meanwhile, for those of you who might have been amused by the most-commented-upon-ever-blog, from last week: I am a man of my word.

Good  bye, cluster. Hello, serious Piranesi engravings.

Randomly, I’ve got a few more Piranesis being framed by my friend Paul. They’ve been sitting in a drawer in the office for about two years now. A day before I read that now infamous website, Paul had come over to collect them all to frame in simple black frames. I’m not quite sure when they are going to be ready, but that is going to be the new vibe for the sitting room.  This is the future, and you saw it here first.  Secretly, I suspect, both David Hicks and David Milinaric would approve, and that is about as fuck-your-noguchi-coffee-table-proof as you can get.

Oh, and, goodbye, vintage postcard in empty frame. The vintage postcard can live here for a little while.  But probably not for very long.

25 comments on this post

You have a FORNISETTI chest and PIRANESI prints???? I…am…swooooning….!

I wish you WOUL print calendars of all of your pictures. i would buy them all.. or i forgot , you have a book out now , don’t you?

I liked your style. As did most, I suspect. Please don’t get rid of the Fornasetti! F–k the Fornasetti detractors.

You know, I’d be very interested to see the homes of the F–k Off People… I suspect they have their own unframed vintage postcards lurking about their bill piles. Bet they still have oversized letters on their mantle too. Probably say F–K OFF.

Also, the problem with that lovely lake photo is… the swan is alone. Most swans have partners they keep until they die. (Although I’m not Attenborough so don’t lynch me with Fornasetti if I’m wrong.) So, where is the other swan…? Dead? Should it be ‘The Dead Swan Calendar Autumn 1984’? Or it could be like Where’s Wally? Spot the missing (dead) swan?


OH NO!! now I am worried about the swan.

I can put it with great authority, The Fornasetti is staying!!

I have just discovered this blog and am enjoying it.
I am wondering if a baroque-looking frame around a stone carving equals potential cluster. If it does then we may be on the road for guilty as charged!

Your pictures are truly amazing, I love the red, green and blue colors to start with.
The swan is very graceful and beautiful on the still water
The idea of a calendar with one’s pictures is a wonderful and thoughtful gift for this holiday season.
Thank you fr sharing.

Are you going ‘retro’ now with the 1984 Calender! After all, isn’t anything older than 2000 ‘retro’ ? Please don’t change too much, I love your ‘Fuck you style’ !

Dobbin Taboesays:

got any calenders left?


Dear Gideon, I hear what you say – I think it’s just too many engravings and maps make it feel like a stately home.
Hey! It’s not my house tho so go crazy with what makes you happy!

Dixie Nicholssays:

No you can’t get out of Fuck Your’s range. Not ever. As its always going to attack the trend. All you have achieved is a dowdy Hampstead intellectual unloved room where you listen to the Four Last Songs and reheat your coffee and fill the ashtray. Fuck Your Obedience I say. Goodbye to antlers coral and decals and any thing with a hare on it ( did Fuck Your include that cos he should have done for sure) then go and do something else. This will be remembered as the moment the style guru TETTERED ON HIS PLINTH.

Antinuous? You can never have too many of those around, even in postcard form. I suppose you could change it out for 19th cen. plaster of same, if we’re going whole hog neoclassical.


Dear Mr Pentreath
Don’t you DARE change a single thing about your blog – the most perfect, the most gorgeous, the most English blog of them all. Wit, whimsy, wonder and intellect with liberal doses of be-swanned Dorset loveliness makes this Angophile reader in sunbleached and burnt Australia very happy indeed. xxx (ps – all that’s missing is Mr Darcy striding out of said lake in wet shirt circa 1805)


How long will it be before you paint your sitting room walls a lovely warm terracotta or Chinese yellow (Claydon House)?, the Piranesi would look even better!


Ash you are bang on trend 🙂

Gideon Watsonsays:

John, what about younger gay gentleman ? have you checked out Pentreath’s prized possession – Fornasetti Palladiana, fuck your flamboyant furniture…….


So very beautiful. Sublime Britain.


Dear Ben, just a tongue in cheek comment re ‘serious Piranesi engravings’ – I do find a room with too many an architectural engraving reads older gay gentleman! Don’t loose the whimsy and fun in your styling, from what I see in your blog you have a great humour. You are certainly the gentleman but I don’t see the older just yet! ps nothing wrong with older gay gentleman styling in fact rather like it – just don’t feel you are ready!!!


Another excellent blog, Mr. Pentreath. Nature is always beautiful and never ridiculous, unlike the offerings of so-called stylists, which are copied in magazines, shops, and homes across the land. The swan had the last laugh. It knows authenticity is difficult for human beings.


Wow, beautiful pics. I can feel the quiet, Autumn chill in the air. I always look forward to your romantic nature posts!!


Ah, but you know what’s going to happen now, don’t you? A post on ‘that’ site with ‘Fuck your serious Piranesi engravings in simple black frames’. This could run and run….


Love, love November 1984, in the beautiful B. Valley.

Well I’m sure that everybody will agree with me when I say that the start of the week would not be the same without all of the dahlias and dappled sunlight. As much as I love our fair metropolis, being firmly stuck in central London seven days a week, these little glimpses of your idyll have become almost medicinal.
P.S. The Piranesi engravings are stunning.

Tina Lavellesays:

Mr Pentreath, you have a charmed life. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos with us – a gentle escape from a hot Queensland day.


Do admit, the vintage postcard in empty frame was not very ‘you’ anyway,and by the way long live you sharing your fabulous life with us all …….especially the raspberry picking.

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