Soft late November

23 November 2014
Ben Pentreath

From time to time you stop on the roller-coaster of day-to-day life and think to yourself: how can time be spinning so fast? I suppose, really, there are only 52 weeks in a year, and a week seems to go pretty quickly, which is perhaps why 50 instant moments don’t take so long to pass;  but I’m suddenly feeling the turn of the seasons faster than ever before.

We had Monica staying in Dorset. Charlie and Mo came down early. For various reasons I missed the Annual General Meeting of the Village Social Club on Friday night.  I was still on the train coming down from Norfolk when the vote for next year’s committee took place. Never miss Village committee meetings. In absentia, I’ve been voted in as Chairman of the social club all over again. There is a moral in this tale – always turn up.

Saturday was a drizzly wet day as we pottered around Bridport, but in the afternoon the clouds cleared and we we went for a beautiful walk in the softest late November afternoon; damp, incredibly mild. Everything is still growing in the garden, and I’m noticing spring bulbs coming up already (periwinkles in flower on the bank already).


The hills were a lucid grey-green.P1060832 P1060841 P1060843

A great burst of late afternoon sunshine turned the fields vivid green.P1060849 P1060852 P1060853 P1060855 P1060865 P1060867 P1060869

I love these hills and woods.

Saturday evening was quiet, but we somehow managed to wake up feeling nicely hungover. Charlie got up very early to bake a cake for the tea & coffee in the village hall, after church this morning. Ginger loaf. Crazy. You see what I mean?
P1060880 P1060881

It went down very well.

We caught up with some great neighbours and then it was time to head to Hive Beach Café to meet Jane and Johnny, and my godson Gabriel and his new baby sister Flo.  Here is Flo and Mo:

and here is Flo, and Charlie, equally fascinated with one another. I don’t blame either of them, of course.P1060896

Gabriel in a rare moment of quietly getting on with a bit of writing in his notebook:P1060909

We had a brilliant, delicious lunch. It’s really once of the best places on the coast.  And then we had a lovely walk on the beach in the late afternoon. The sky was an extraordinary colour.P1060917


I love Hive Beach.P1060920

Gabriel may have been contemplating what would happen if he pushed Florence all the way into the sea.P1060925 P1060929

But then abandoned the idea.P1060930

And at this point the sun suddenly broke through the clouds,P1060934

Not until Gabriel and I got completely soaked.P1060935 P1060937

The honey coloured cliffs were the most beautiful golden colour.P1060944

Not everyone approves of the blog.
P1060948 But everyone loves Hive Beach.

Back to the Parsonage for tea and cake by the fire, and to dry off.

Monica’s on the train back to London; we’re having the quietest evening ever down in Dorset, and I’m quietly wondering where the year has gone already. Goodbye, November.  It’s strange to think that in a week or few, we’ll be galloping in to Christmas. I know that we all ought to be thinking about it already, but can we have a little while longer to think about that?  It’s been a roller coaster year, and I want to savour every moment.

For American readers of the blog, have a very very Happy Thanksgiving on Thursday.   And can I make one of my intermittent apologies, that I don’t seem to have time very often at the moment to reply to comments on the blog. But I love reading them, and I think so do a lot of people. Thank you again for those who take part.

23 comments on this post


Burton Bradstock!! This was our go to beach when I was a kid. Memories of speeding cross country from Somerset and through lovely places like Beaminster and Bridport, staying in a relative’s caravan, wrestling with windbreaks, huddling under oversized beach towels,and swimming hard to battle the drag of the undertow.

It must be well fixed in my psyche as I still dream about it.

Ben, what a lovely post. It has just started snowing outside my windows. I’m listening to Mozart and sipping a cuppa, and feel like I’m really in your domain–mentally, at least.

Your photography is gorgeous, as always. Those evocative landscapes, lush and green even in the dying time of the year. Contrasted with fresh babies, flowery cakes, sopping little boys on the beach, and–Charlie! Thank you for sharing and can’t wait to see what the two of you get up to for Christmas!




Ben takes startling photographs. Lovely, lovely photographs of buildings, fields, trees, sky, thoughtfully laid tables, zany goings on, glorious gardens (of course), but I have to say, Ben’s pictures of light-shifting clouds sailing the ocean are some of my favorites, no matter what ocean he’s sharing. Thank you, Ben.

Confession: I was visiting my daughter on Howard St. in SoHo the morning your cast iron building pics popped up on my Instagram feed. Not wanting to comment giddily, I just smiled to know Ben P. was taking in the same sights as me! June

Those must be my favourite cliffs, the craggy ochre forms always put me in mind of Baroque churches, particularly Theatinerkirche in Munich


I’m looking at this soft golden day with such envy. I live in buffalo and we’ve had a little snow (only 8 inches at my home but more than 7 feet in much of the area). today it’s 60 degrees but we know winter is here, just hiding for a few hours. I so enjoy how you revel in seasonal joys and inspire me to do the same. thank you


Follow on Instagram people – Charlie was there a while ago! A really lovely pic if I remember.


This post made me laugh. Village hall election, baby fascination, Gabriel’s ruminations. Charlie’s a dapper dresser! More yummy cake photos in our future hopefully. Thank you for sharing your wonderful weekend with us.


Very nice nature. And cake as well. You do spoil us! Great to air another British beach too. I’m glad other people think the year has zipped past and that it’s not just a function of getting older. Nicola

Sharon Chansays:

How wonderful! It is so refreshing to read your posts. You remind us all how to live in the moment and enjoy each day – that pleasure can be derived from interacting with other humans and nature. A very hard thing to do in these times. You are able to communicate in your words and photos exactly what it is I miss from my trips to the UK. So thank you!

Leila Klaissays:

I look so much forward to reading your blog , you are so inspiring Ben , keep them rolling !!
your comments , your photos , your cake ….. I connect so much to what you do and what you write and say!


What a lovely description of an utterly perfect day. It’s a real blessing to appreciate the simply pleasure of a walk and all the artistic beauty it has to offer.


Oooo Charlie Farley is a bit of a dish….well done Ben 🙂 lovely post, as per x


So soothing today. I could almost, but not quite smell the fragrance of the ginger loaf.


I’ll wager Charlie was, up until now, blissfully unaware how curious some of Ben’s readers have become about him. Thank you, Charlie, for braving the camera. Best wishes to you both! Oh, and I laughed with regard to PP’s comments about the (possibly?) upside down cake. I just assumed there might have been a troubling split on top but thought little more about it. I figured that’s why the cake gods invented icing, kin to spackle for walls.


How much I love reading your blog! It evokes such a sigh of beauty and goodness. Your photos are magic. Thank you.


After my cup of English Breakfast your blog sets me off
for the week ahead – I shall now belatedly plant the daffodil
bulbs, paint my kitchen chair Caroline’s Locks (F. and B.)
bake a lemon drizzle cake, book the car in, make salmon
fishcakes, collect grandaughter from school at 5 pm.
well, perhaps some muesli and a cup of coffee before I


I always think the “never fail chocolate cake” is a winner ask Charlie to whip that one up Ben it is delicious. I am looking out over the lovely Lake Hood as the sun goes down – gorgeous I love New Zealand x

Yes, the year does seem to be hurtling along at rocket speed. Since moving to California, I no longer allow myself time to think of Christmas before the Thanksgiving holiday (which is this Thursday).

The huge tree in the sixth and seventh photograph in your post is magnificent, as are the honey colored cliffs.

Thank you for continuing to share your beautiful images with us.

its the quiet posts that have the best surprise – charlie!

may one enquire for the recipe of the cake? looks too delicious not to make!

Hive Beach now goes on the list of #mustvisitinengland

Thanksgiving is here too soon and yes, egads Christmas to close behind.


Mystery solved. The cake looks upside down to me because I’m looking at it from Australia. Phew.


Oh! How brave of Charlie to appear. And how lovely to see who you’re talking about with such apparent fondness. Thank you for that. I do love his jumper! It seems so completely right.

The cake looks fantastic and the flowers even fantasticker. It’s left me wondering, though, whether there are variations in cake presentation I hadn’t previously known about. I wonder this because to me it looks…how can I say this…slightly upside down! And now I’m thinking that maybe I’ve been upside all this time without knowing.

Beaches, trees, watercolour skies – the usual gut-wrench of homesickness (especially since we had 43 degrees here yesterday, with choppers churning up the heat to suck out dams and spray them all over a nearby bushfire). But actually not too badly, because I shall be back for two months later in the Winter and so all seems more or less bearable. So bring on your Winter shots, Mr Pentreath. Have at it, I say!

Lovely looking cake – lucky neighbours. I was in Norfolk last week as well when the bf and I took a short holiday between the Broads and the North Sea – gosh, was it cold and wet! We did however go to the wonderful Blickling Hall, which made all the general dampness worth while.

Yippeee!Beach (good), cake (better), pic of Charlie (best)

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