Glimpses of things

20 July 2014
Ben Pentreath

It’s a strange thing, isn’t it, how you sometimes don’t understand the whole picture but merely see, very clearly, glimpses of things. Do you know what I mean?

And if you do, that’s where I am in my mind this evening. It’s a warm, soft, heavy night in London, and I’ve had a fantastic few days. It’s a long story, but this is a blog about glimpses of things not the whole picture, so for once I will neither be starting or ending a tale. It’s been an emotional week too, in parts very happy and very sad, and I hope to be able to write more one day – but do you mind if it’s not tonight?

The backdrop to all this has been intense, too, and that I’m very happy to show glimpses of. On Friday and Saturday I went to two of the most beautiful houses I’ve been in in a long time, one in Northumberland, the other in Oxfordshire.

The first is Eglingham, a brief and delicious visit to which formed part of a wonderful day with new clients; a beautiful, vigorous, stone house of the perfect period of English classicism. Eglingham first made its way on to these pages almost two years ago, in a little blog I wrote about the wonderful world of Mr Walker; Tim Walker, the fashion photographer.

That was Friday – a long but fantastic round trip to Alnwick. The second, where I went last night, is at Wardington in Oxfordshire. Wardington is a mediaeval manor that was twice altered and extended, brilliantly, seamlessly, in the arts and crafts language in the 20s.

Both are in their own way perfect places; so different, so complete of themselves. And just for now, that’s what we’re going to catch sight of.  Perfect summer days and nights are made of these.


P1040351 P1040360 P1040385 P1040393 P1040395 P1040404 P1040408 P1040441 P1040387 P1040448 P1040407It’s at moments like this, and places like these, that I think we sometimes get close to a kind of heaven. Don’t you?



23 comments on this post

I am sure that green will be soothing for your sadness, In fact it is peaceful for all of us. This is the beauty of inspiration, it neither fails nor discourages… and remains an endless source for never ending learning 🙂
Take care!


I seriously hope Heaven looks like these pictures, Ben. Fingers crossed.

Regarding the emotional workout, I recommend a generous G&T, something indulgent on TV and loads of sleep under a soft blankie.

Party on, my friend. Joy is the best antidote we have to the vicissitudes of life, and you bring me a lot of it every time I read your blog. All I can offer in return is a cyber-hug.


Yes–Dorothy said it perfectly. Your words and photographs give us all a lot of solace–thank you, as always.

I also love how many of the photos here are taken from a dark or shady place with a vista onto sunlight–always one of my favorite things to experience in a garden, and maybe particularly apt here.


Dear Ben
Such beauty & such sadness and humility in your voice. You are asking for our blessing and yet it is you who is gifting so much to us all. Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit and the beauty you bestow.

Pierre B.says:

Thank you,Ben, for this beautiful post despite your sadness. You could have skipped this week but you didn’t. Very best wishes.

sorry it was a bittersweet week. but yes, heaven, definitely……

Deby (in Canada)says:

Dear Ben I do hope that all the loveliness you share with your lucky readers- the beauty, the wit, the friendships, the dreams all come right back to you to ease your sadness. Sending hugs…

Dear Ben, I wish you a swift recovery from your sadness. The sunny lawns at Wardington are cheerful and beautiful, but mix of shadeows and reflections in the pond photo are rich with a sort of serene melancholy. Take care of yourself!

The Uses Of Sorrow

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

― Mary Oliver, Thirst

Oh, Ben what an eye you have to have captured such beauty for us, your loyal readers, to enjoy. As you say, the “perfect period of English classicism” is indeed alive and well in the exquisite Eglingham, which I would move into with alacrity given the opportunity.

I hope the sadness slips peacefully away for you, sooner rather than later.

Stunning, perfect summer images. Please be gentle with yourself… feelings are often a process.

On a completely different topic, do you know of this blog? I’m not connected with it, just often find myself thinking while reading, Ben might like this, perhaps without much basis!


“For now we see in mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been known fully. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love”
1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (ESV)


Dorothy has written such a lovely thing and I think many of us can understand the feelings she expressed. In this strangely connected electronic world, we are all concerned hearing sadness in Ben’s voice. And we feel a slight jump of the heart when the mailbox opens to “Ben Pentreath – Inspiration Blog” — oh good, it’s Monday. Here’s to a better week.

Rebecca Hivelysays:

Interestingly, I wasn’t moved by the last photo of the boat in the pond. It was the picture before with the early morning fog above the trees ~ exquisite. As is your blog!


The last photograph of the boat shed in the lake is hauntingly beautiful, and intensely melancholic at the same time; a sort of Pre-Raphaelite dream – not a bad place to be sometimes. Best wishes.


Hello dear Ben, I emailed you a couple of years go, telling you that your blog was more important than you knew… helped me to get through at a devastatingly sad time in my life. I wish I could do the same for you, but I can only tell you that I am thinking of you and about the quiet and resigned sadness you are feeling……and I am sad to know that you are sad, but happy to know that you are able to find solace in the beauty that you have always shared with us.


Thank you for sharing with us these beautiful glimpses; sometimes that’s all there is …. need to hold on tight to them to get through. s


Actually, I think you were talking about the opposite. Oh well, whole worlds contained in fragments and suchlike…I’ll shut up now!


Those moments when everything comes together into a harmonious whole, and you are a part of that whole – mm, yes. I used to have such moments staring into the fishpond! Very underrated thingses, fishponds.

And how could anyone mind when asked in such a way?

Elizabeth Cornwellsays:

I have lived near Eglingham for 40 odd years & only ever caught a glimpse of it from the road,what a beautiful house it is!Northumberland is full of lovely houses if you know where to look.


Exquisite. With all the beautiful places captured on this site, all the glorious photographs, this last one of the green roof with the little boats is the first one I’ve wanted to walk into, get in that canoe and paddle around that pond – I don’t care if the pond is just as big as the photo, I would paddle around it then float for hours. Of this is the best poetry, art, literature born. Thank you for sharing the beauty, it does feel like a paradise.

Nicola Lawrencesays:

By the way – Eglingham looks beautiful – but I think I prefer it draped in balloons. The Kermit green car almost makes up for the lack of balloons… The last pic with boat shed in lagoon is stunningly tranquil and dreamy.

Nicola Lawrencesays:

Dear Ben, I am sorry to read of your sadness. I could hear the sadness in your writing. Your photos are beautiful and yes, some places feel very close to heaven and are soothing to the soul.

Southern Gal (@sogalitno)says:

Sorry you had sadness this past week. thanks for the gorgeous photos of another wonderful house. wishing you a better week.

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