Days from Heaven

24 November 2013
Ben Pentreath

“I just love this time of year”.

It’s an expression I’ve heard time and time again recently. I suspect there is something of the autumn in all of us; that turning point of the year (like spring) which is somehow always more full of the optimism of hope and change than the reality of the dead of winter, or the burned out heat of summer.

It’s been a rather beautiful November all round, one of the loveliest that I can remember for years. Until, that is, I checked out last November’s blog here, which was very tongue-in-cheek indeed, but reminds me that ultimately: plus ça change, plus c’est le même chose (one for Colin there).  I can’t quite believe that a year ago to the day I was writing about the veg garden and sunshine on the lake, and Piranesi. But there were are. I was. (In the interests of being repetitive, I told you normal service was resuming this week).

Yesterday dawned incredibly bright, and still, and clear. As you know, I hadn’t been down to Dorset for a little while, so it was a treat to be greeted by such a morning.

Just like last year, on a morning like this, I went for a walk to the lake.

Days from Heaven are made of this. The sharp-eyed reader may notice a new addition in the bay window: a regency ‘bamboo’ bench which I’d bought a few weeks ago (sight unseen) in a local auction up in Essex. It’s very at home in that window now.

And this is where Piranesi steps in. In the same auction (also unseen) I had put very low bids on several job lots of Piransi engravings – batches of twenty or thirty at a time.  I’d ended up, by the end, with several hundred prints – the ones, I guess, that no-one else had wanted. I had a good afternoon spending time with them. Bonkers.  I’m not quite sure what happens next… I suspect a massive framing bill. Yikes.

For now, can we enjoy a table full of beautiful engravings in the late autumn sunshine?


The sun began to set in the south west, and the house glowed in the late afternoon light. It’s one of those weeks when, really, the pictures can do the talking.  Which is a good thing, because I’m not sure I’ve been quite so happy to have the quietest weekend ever in a long time. Could anyone explain what has happened to the year already?

21 comments on this post

Sara Moraissays:

Your blog is a celebration to life. Beautiful.

Some highly evocative shots and lovely observations here, Ben. We particularly like the engravings and architectural stonework. If you’re ever passing us, do pop in for a chat about uses of natural stone. We’re at Lapicida 533 Kings Road (on Lots Rd), Chelsea.

Nice blog and beautiful pictures! I hope you get well soon to write new articles and publish new pictures.



Loved the cloches tipping their jaunty caps at the new day. Is the bench a safe seat or just for admiration?

Ben, I enjoyed contemplating the quiet beauty of autumn in your blessed corner of Dorset…then I came upon the Piranesis! I am green, green I tell you, with envy!! Oh what a wonderful coup! Surely these must be from the son’s workshop, a later printing? One can almost touch the delicate impasto of the letterpress on that title page. Ah…will you offer any for sale in H&P? Too marvelous! Thank you for sharing these, and I hope to see several more posts devoted to your Piranesi collection!




Thank you Diane!! I’m getting my head around them and will certainly let you know if we can sell on some through the shop!

Ben, I really enjoy your blog. As I am a vicar’s wife and live (with a vicar) in a vicarage built in the 70s, I enjoy yours vicariously (knowing we’d never be able to heat it, especially as ours has become a guinea pig for the diocese with a air source heat pump – which is fantastic). Trying not to sound too pedant like, it is ‘la chose’.
If you can bear it, please have a look at my blog (and correct my errors).

What a magical place.!. Dorset area looks like a landscape taken from the Lord of the Rings. You’re lucky to be able to go and see it occasionally. One could get lost in those green land fall.


Soothed again. Thank you. The bamboo bench is a corker!


Absolutely lovely!


Beautiful pictures Ben. So peaceful and quiet. Those Piranesi drawings are very inspiring.


Wonderful! Soul soothing. Thank you. Ben, exactly what do you keep in the little greenhouses? Garden curiousity….

Roger Lindlandsays:

I see the world in a more perfect way since finding your offerings. Beauty and a touch of fine English humor. Thank you and now to simply look upon a sunny day in California that doesn’t quite rival Dorset this Sunday.
Roger Rancho Santa Fe


i think perhaps you live in the most beautiful place on earth.
that bamboo bench could not be more perfect for that little spot by the window.
all the best, jo.


I think the leaves are staying on the trees longer. Certainly this year and I think also a bit last year. I even seem to remember something on the radio about it. We must be having more sunshine. From your photos down in Dorset you seem to be having mixed results. I am team Dorset and sunshine!

Elizabeth Cornwellsays:

I do love architectural drawings! I also love Wiltshire,I lived there for 10 very happy years & still miss it ( sometimes!

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