Seaside jaunt

14 July 2014
Ben Pentreath

I’m always highly conscious when it’s 9am on a Monday morning and I haven’t yet posted a blog. The fact is I’m a whole 24 hours off, this weekend. Yesterday felt like Saturday all day; Saturday felt like a Friday. Why? Because I was working all day. Will & I were in London for the public exhibition of our buildings at Chelsea Barracks which will be going in for planning soon. All well and good. We scooped up Maggie and jumped on the 4.35 to Dorchester and got down to Dorset on Saturday evening.

Do you get my problem? Well, anyway, I’m very sorry if I have spoilt your Monday morning cup of coffee, but better late than never, as they say.

We all woke up on Sunday feeling lazy and not quite sure what to do with ourselves. For a fleeting moment I wondered if it was time to give up the Parsonage and move somewhere entirely new, for those Sunday mornings when you’re in the mood to make new discoveries not revisit old haunts. Luckily my friend Jason came to the rescue. “ARE YOU AT THE PARSONAGE THIS WEEKEND” he texted, at the moment that I was about to start packing. “yes”. “GREAT WE NEED A WITNESS TO THE LEASE”. Jason & Kate are moving from down the valley to the village for a few years which is very exciting indeed.

We went over to the house, which is the farm at the other end of the village. It’s a lovely walk.

P1040042 P1040043

I’m sure the farm was designed by the same architect, John Lougar, as the Old Parsonage.  It shares many features including a very badly designed staircase. But like the O.P., it’s a beautiful house. P1040046


We had a good look around. Jason & Kate might have a bit of gardening to do. P1040049P1040055 P1040056

The Goodwins hurtle about Dorset in a cool blue van.  A photo of their current farmhouse forms the frontispiece of my book – the one with 100s of chickens, ducks and geese running in front of a beautiful old stone farm. It’s going to be great having them just down the road for a bit.

On the way back we caught the start of a cricket match at the cricket ground, looking for the world like David Inshaw’s famous painting of the same name (that I once wrote about here).P1040058

So we had decided to set off on a trip to Weymouth.  I hadn’t been for ages, not since Ed Kluz & Simon Martin had been to stay back in February in the middle of a storm. Where else is there to go in the height of summer on a July Sunday afternoon when you don’t know quite what else to do?

I love Weymouth. The combination of perfect, incredibly grand Georgian and Regency architecture and brash seaside town. (Which reminds me I must plan my trip to Brighton soon to go and see Ed & Simon). P1040060 P1040062 P1040066 P1040070 P1040069 P1040071 P1040073 P1040076 P1040080

In the middle of town is the statue to George III which is beautifully painted in gaudy colours, and also displays King George’s bathing hut. It provides a suitable place for kids and skaters and ne’er-do-wells to hang out.
P1040081 P1040084 P1040087

I especially love the railings at the base of the plinth.P1040088 P1040090 P1040082

The view from the first floor of Coral betting must be pretty spectacular.P1040083 P1040086 P1040091 P1040099 P1040100 P1040101 P1040107 P1040110 P1040111 P1040112

Weymouth is famous for its sand sculptures.P1040114

I adore this photo of the Queen visiting the sand sculptor in 2012.P1040113

This little guy was about to dig himself in to a very deep hole.P1040116 P1040117 P1040124 P1040126 P1040138 P1040140 P1040144

Nearly every street is named after a Royal or a Duke.P1040145 P1040147 P1040148 P1040149

Our day ended with fish and chips and tea on the seafront, opposite the Jubilee clock. Perfection on a plate.




I dropped Will and Maggie on the train back to London.

Slightly in contrast to the joys of Weymouth seafront, it was a perfect, still evening at the Parsonage. P1040177

The veg garden has gone into hyper-productive mode.P1040187

After a plate of fish and chips, it was beans and courgettes for supper.P1040176

There was a beautiful soft sunset across the valley.P1040206 P1040210 P1040222 P1040225

…And it’s at moments like this that I realise I never want to leave. This morning I woke incredibly bright and early and spent an hour in the veg garden. Its a bright sunny day, the wood pigeons are calling, London feels a million miles away and it’s a new week to come. I hope yours is good.


19 comments on this post

Your vegetable garden is my all time favorite, at least in blog land. I wish I could have a plate of those beans and zucchini!

Margaret Powlingsays:

Love your pix as always, Ben. But how did you manage to snap all those elderly folk without them realizing that you were snapping them? Perhaps you are using the camera facility on your mobile? I use a regular compact camera or my full-size Nikon, but it looks pretty obvious when I’m taking pix of people and sometimes you just want to take them, as you have the old folk here, without them realizing it. Yes, as Helen-on-the-hill says, your pix remind me of Martin Parr’s photography.
Love these seaside shots, even more sea-sidey than Torquay/Paignton where I live. Love old George III on his plinth, Brixham, near here, has William of Orange similarly on a plinth.
Margaret P


I’m reading this on the other side of the Atlantic. Actually about 50 yards from the water in Ocean City, Maryland. The umbrellas are up, the chairs are out and the gulls are flying. In a few hours we’ll haed south to catch the boardwalk and decide on dinner, probably crab cakes with cole slaw and corn on the cob. Really, not all that different.


All together now: “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside… “!

Wow, what a beautiful house! And your pictures from Weymouth are great, such typical British seaside scenes! I’m craving fish and chips now!

So in short you had a blissful day off 🙂 Whoa, even I want a similar day off at least thrice in a week to keep myself fresh and active! Weymouth sounds like love at first sight especially for the freshness and greenery around. What a lovely place it is… Thanks for sharing those mesmerizing pictures.

I’ve never visited Weymouth but I’m sure glad to see the best of British at these seaside towns is still alike and kicking. Your pictures capture my memories of visiting Hastings as a child (I have relatives that own a fish and chip shop to this day). Now all I can think of is I need to eat some candy floss and rock, and spend a few pennies at the arcade.

yes great shots! what a lovely weekend – blue skies and fish and chips!

Julianna Vaughansays:

So happy to have discovered the store and your blog. I always wanted to live in England and now I experience the country via your images and musings. It’s quite a contrast to Santa Fe, NM. Gosh if I could just beam myself over for a day in Dorset or for a meal of fish and chips. We’ll switch and you may have the desert and enchiladas. Thanks Ben.

Southern Galsays:

Bluebird Coaches in Weymouth – weren’t they featured in a Miss Marple SLEEPING MURDER?

somehow it seems like it. will have to research.
oh a seaside town.

oh to be in England in the summer!


How could you even THINK of leaving the heaven that is the old Parsonage?? And with AWESOME Weymouth so close at hand. Oh my, those old dudes on the yellow bike!

Rebecca Hivelysays:

PP says it all ~ “lovely eye”! Your pictures are always such a delight! Always look forward to your blog!


Thank you once again for a lovely blog.

Steph Woodhousesays:

Thank you for such evocative images of Weymouth. I spent many happy family holidays there as a kid 30 years ago and was relieved on a return visit with my own kids to find it utterly unchanged. I could spend forever around the harbour. Your pictures brought a joyful feeling to my dreary Monday! Thank you.

Dear Ben, poor old George III looks a bit overwhelmed by his plinth! Hopefully at this time next week (family crisis permitting) I shall be on my way to Swansea, where the bf and I will be staying with his mother for a few days. We’re planning to visit Llandeilo Fawr(plenty of brightly painted houses)and also Coed Darcy to check out what’s going on. It’ll be the first time I’ve actually seen any of your work in the flesh – is the house you also furnished open to the public?


Dear Ben As always a delight. Your shots are wonderful and very amusing, especially the seaside shots. The English enjoying the seaside is rather funny to an Australian that lives near Bondi Beach. Just love your blog and look forward to it. Thank you!


Ermagawd bro. You just walked into my childhood on the IoW eleventy hundred years ago, and snapped a few shots there. I feel quite disturbed! I’ll never, ever miss small-town seaside England, but all it took was a few shots of Dorset and the world calmed itself, slotted back in its diurnal round. Phew.

All that notwithstanding, there are some wonderful pictures – the galleon hat, the lady with the determined chin riding pillion. But my money’s on the lavender gent, toning so beautifully with the municipal plantings that the effort of it all sent him to sleep. Lovely eye, Ben P.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *