Perfect weekend, London, in two parts

2 November 2015
Ben Pentreath



It was the last day of Charlie’s pop up shop….

But we were closing early.P1040277

At 1.45 the dresser was being packed up….

But a last minute customer meant we were running late. We jumped in a taxi to rush to Waterloo.  P1040280 P1040281

Why?  I’d received an amazing email from a client, earlier in the week.

Dear Ben
First of all I wondered if you and Charlie would like my two tickets to the Rugby World Cup Final where New Zealand face off the Aussies? I would be very happy to give them to you for the following reasons:
I would like to give Charlie a thank you for putting up with us and all the out of hours communication
I never gave you a wedding present
It is much more fun to be at a game when you have an emotional tie so your tribalism can come out. Charlie clearly has an emotional  tie
New Zealand badly need his support. It is a tiny country. You could barely hear the Kiwi fans at the semis. For Kiwis to fill Twickenham 2% of the nation would have to fly over for the game.
I confidently predict this the last time in the next 50 years that the Kiwis will reach the final because in future England will always knock them out in the semi-finals!
I think the game would make a BP blog with a difference. You can admire the stadium, Charlie can admire the All Black’s strategy
Please let me know. The game is at 4 pm on Saturday.


But we hit gridlock.

We jumped out of the taxi and walked across Waterloo bridge…P1040287

To find that we were so late that Waterloo station was completely deserted.P1040293

This was our train to the match. Spooky.P1040295 P1040296

The blog being the blog, I couldn’t help snapping photographs of idyllic allotments along the journey…P1040298 P1040305

Or of Asgill House, as we sped across the river at Richmond…P1040306

When we arrived at Twickenham we were no longer alone.P1040325 P1040311

I especially approved of front garden pop-up shops. I can’t believe everyone hadn’t set up.P1040315 P1040317 P1040319 P1040320 P1040321 P1040323 P1040324
P1040332 P1040334 P1040336 P1040338 We arrived in the stadium in perfect time, with a suitable stash of beer, to find our amazing seats.
P1040349 P1040342P1040357 P1040360 P1040361

Pre-match excitement was building.P1040366 P1040374

The red arrows made their flyover, perfectly timed.P1040377 P1040384

The cameramen recording the Haka.  I loved the face of the little girl holding the ball!P1040393 P1040397 P1040400

I suppose all you can do is stand and watch…P1040396

(meanwhile, I did admire the stadium…)
P1040411 P1040412

In case you were wondering, I was actually watching the rugby. P1040414

But I loved soaking in the small details in the moments when nothing was happening.

Some people had better cameras than mine. It was very funny watching the photographers running up and down the touchline. P1040423

I became obsessed by the security guard who’s job it was to face the crowd, not the game. P1040425

I think I’d get pretty bored too. The most frustrating seat in the world.P1040429

The following photo proves that Boris Johnson’s head is about twice the size of Prince William’s (in fact, that Boris generally is about twice the size).P1040432 P1040443 P1040444

Half time. For once, the queue for the ladies’ loo…P1040446

Was shorter than the mens.P1040448 Coming back into the stadium….
P1040451 P1040453 P1040454

When Bridie had taken Charlie and me to the first game (NZ v. Argentina… we are old hands now) I’d got slightly obsessed by the guys in suits with garden forks tidying up the pitch at half time.P1040456

Darkness fell. The stadium took on a deeper intensity in the second half. Especially when Australia seemed to recover for a moment.P1040458 P1040459 Still, boring for some.

We were unbelievably close to the action. This was our incredible view.P1040473 P1040474 And then it was over….
P1040494 P1040495

Not everyone was moved:P1040498 P1040499 P1040507 P1040508 P1040510 P1040512

The Webb Ellis cup arrived on pitch:P1040516

Followed by Prince Harry:P1040524 P1040525 P1040530 P1040532

There is of course a reason why you read my blog… You’d just forgotten it ever since I got married.P1040535 The face of defeat:
P1040538 P1040541 P1040544 P1040553 P1040555 P1040556 P1040557

An incredible match, an incredible experience. Thank you Jonathan.

Not everyone was excited:
P1040570 P1040571And then the party was over.P1040561We swept back in to London and a celebratory dinner at Ciao Bella on Lambs Conduit Street and then we had the rather dubious task of dismantling Charlie’s pop up properly… Molly Mahon was moving in on Sunday morning (and opens today… very exciting and a lot of hard work was happening all day).P1040592

It didn’t take too long. That’s the amazing thing about pop-ups.  And, for that matter, Charlie. Think of the magical atmosphere which was in this little room for the last 3 weeks.. and now look at it.  We felt a bit sad, but glad that for the first time in a month he wasn’t getting up at 4am to go to the Flower market and start baking….




It was a perfect, dream morning in London. We woke up early…but rolled over and went to sleep again until it was time to go to a late lazy breakfast with neighbours.  Bloomsbury glowed…

P1040602 P1040615 P1040622 P1040629 P1040632 P1040639

Charlie and I thought we’d go for a walk in the remarkable sunshine. We had no idea where to go, no destination. We just meandered.P1040649 P1040651 P1040657 For the first time ever we popped into the small church, St. Mary le Strand, designed by James Gibbs, opposite Somerset House.
P1040661 P1040664 P1040665 P1040666 P1040667 And then across to Somerset House…P1040676 P1040677

Which was wrapped up like a Christo and Jeanne-Claude.  The skating rink is nearly finished. Christmas is coming but it didn’t quite feel like it today.P1040681 P1040684 P1040687 P1040691 P1040701

The Houses of Parliament were incredible in the misty light.P1040708 P1040709 P1040710 P1040713 P1040714 P1040715 P1040718 P1040723 P1040726 P1040730 P1040731

Hundreds of people at the book stores under Waterloo Bridge…P1040732 P1040733 P1040734 P1040741 P1040756

Westminster Bridge:P1040760 P1040764 P1040765 P1040772 P1040775 P1040776 P1040779 P1040780 P1040784 P1040787 P1040788

We walked through St. James’s Park… making our way to Piccadilly for a very late lunch…P1040811

Buckingham Palace…P1040813

Duck Island Cottage…P1040814 P1040818 P1040821 P1040825

This was not a normal November Sunday…P1040830 P1040832

The back of the Reform Club…P1040842

And the Athanaeum, catching the dying rays of the sun.P1040844

We had a long late lunch and took the bus home in the dark.  A perfect weekend.

20 comments on this post


Your coverage of the non-excited security guard made me laugh out loud. Hilarious. What a terrible job!


I wondered why the chap in the fur suit had a carrot on his head, until I realized that he was a Kiwi! Of course.
Thanks for brining us along – it all looks like great fun.


Gosh Ben, even your clients are clever and witty (not to mention generous). What a great email.

I love that you captured all aspects of the game – the excitement and atmosphere both outside and in, the architecture, toilet queue, bottoms, royals and the new fame of the security guard. Sunday was sublime. Thank you again, Nicola. (PS – Isn’t the Haka wonderful!)


Actually,this post was rammed:from dahlias at the beginning we progressed through the Pentreath iconography, referencing art history, architecture,gardening,typography, books,trees, clouds, and people, to a most satisfying conclusion. Although, unless you count the guy in the fur suit with the yellow trousers, there was no cat. Kiwis look good in their kit and therefore are winners. All black – so slimming, don’t you think?! Best, Nicola


Thanks for taking us along with you! It was lovely.


Hi Ben
Gorgeous photos, especially the Sunday ones. As you know this is a rugby – mad little nation and we are so proud of our boys and will welcome them home with open arms. But how wonderful to actually be there… sigh
Anne from NZ

I must say that for someone not much into sport, I actually enjoyed this closeup of all the many role players and post game celebratory fireworks. You definitely have a good eye for what’s happening. I was grateful though for the leisurely Sunday exploration of architecture to balance all that intense motion on Saturday. A Jupiter conjunct Mars and Venus weekend in earthy Virgo indeed! Thanks.


The idea of a pop-up intrigued my imagination, proceeding on to “What a lovely blue platter,” and on and on through the gift of the tickets, the headlong rush to get there, the stark symmetry of the empty train, the countryside, the Royals, the perfect view and the GAME! (I, who have only the vaguest idea of Rugby’s being “football” with shorts and KNEES and the strong aura of preposterone in the air—I would have given much to have been at that game. I’ve never seen so MUCH of a muchness all in one spot, and the panoply of sights captured by your photos—oh. My.

And then the Sunday with some places I HAVE walked—that is surely St. James, where we novice visitors spent a thirsty, tired afternoon (having been counseled roundly by trip advisor not to sleep after the flight, til bedtime). Our wanderings through the paths and trees to those magical glints of golden gates—unexpected for we had no idea where we were—just awaiting time for Brit friends to join us for tea at F&M, and LO! the gates to the palace appeared like a shimmery mirage.

This has been such a wonderful tour of so many things, so many mouthfuls of delightful colours and scenes, familiar and oh, so unknown.

Thank you both—it was a delightful journey-through-the-weekend, perfect for a Monday’s lunchtime meander as I await the dryer’s buzz over a sandwich and tea.

Simply lovely. A WHAT IF in your lives, and mine, this gift of mere tickets. They were the key to more than a game—what a fabulous adventure!


Mary Diassays:

I love your blog. I look forward to it every week over here in San Francisco. How lovely London looks. You always capture the air and light and trees so beautifully. Thank you.

oh perfect! the men, their legs, the light, the fog. the big head, and the bespectacled future of england. the flowers! another thanks from l.a.!

oh ben!
you’re wonderful.
it’s foggy here this morning in my american prairie town.
very fitting for someone just browsing through beautiful london with ben and charlie!
i loved every moment. photography superb as always.
and i laughed all the way through the game. the security boredom!

Diane Hawleysays:

The best blog ever! So welcomed here in Los Angeles on a Monday morning…..I am forwarding to my daughter, who just found out she will be studying in London this summer. What an amazing way for anyone to enjoy London……many thanks.

Pierre B.says:

Many thanks to the generous client for Part I of this post and thank you for the London tour!

Two of my favourite views; Duck island cottage and rugby player’s bottoms! The week is off to a flying start thanks to you! x


Oh my goodness;what another brilliant post!
We all followed the World Cup on TV but your photos have just been the icing on the cake!

Monsieur with this blog you are really spoiling us! (channel your inner Ferrero Rocher)

Hilarious that you spotted a garden fork at a rugby world cup! You can take a boy out of his garden…


Go on. Make her even more famous. She’s wonderful


Even more of a knockout post than usual. Architecture, people, trees – and sport as well! It’s amazing. Thanks.


Very very proud to be a kiwi at the moment…the security guard was just priceless. I lived in London for 10 years but have been home for a while now I did enjoy the wee tour around in your blog, stirred up some lovely memories.

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