Too nice to leave

18 July 2016
Ben Pentreath

It was a lovely weekend. I’m writing a day late – it was that nice.

We had our friends Jamie and Richard staying, who are themselves old friends of one another. All completely relaxing. Many happy times were had showing new visitors old favourites. The main request, not unusually, was to see the sea.

So on Saturday, after Bridport Market, where we hoovered up beautiful bits of china from the £1 lady (everything is a pound, well, nearly everything. some things are £2), and bought some very nice books from Bridport Old Books…. well, we went down to the coast at Abbotsbury, which has to rate as one of the most idyllic village in Dorset, I suppose.  I love the startling moment when you begin to drop down from the hills above into the town, the whole of Chesil beach stretching out in front of one’s eyes.P1010532 P1010540 P1010542 P1010543 P1010548

As with many other friends we walked the gentle walk up to St. Catherine’s chapel where hopeful maidens used to pray for a husband, as old lore has it.
P1010550 P1010558 P1010566 P1010567

The sun was breaking through the cloud and the colour of the sea was spectacular. Could this be Dorset, and could this be the dreadful English summer of 2016? Things were looking up.P1010569 P1010570

Fish and chips in the pub.  I hate those sachets of tomato ketchup and mayonnaise almost more than anything else on earth.P1010573

An old gent of Abbotsbury pottered in his beautiful veg garden on our way back.P1010574 On Sunday, we woke early. Heat was in the air and we decided that as well as just looking at the sea we should go to it. So we mooched over to Hive beach after breakfast. The sun suddenly broke through the clouds again.

A heat wave shimmered on the beach, oh rare event, and life felt very good.P1010583

Charlie and I thought we should try Mavis with the water again, but it’s still not hugely her thing.P1010588 P1010590 P1010591

She was a lot more interested in digging a huge hole around Charlie.

Back home the menagerie was equally mental. The kittens are going crazy.P1010608

but then have long, long sleeps all afternoon (in this case on Richard’s bed).P1010642

Mavis needed a long, long sleep too.  We all did, really, at some stage over the weekend.

It was a perfect afternoon as reluctantly the boys got back into their cars and started on the drive to London. I was meant to catch a train.P1010656

The sun sparkled and I thought to myself, it’s just too nice to leave. P1010659

Trains can wait.P1010664

I don’t mind getting up extremely early in the morning.P1010666

And that was that.P1010667 P1010685

It really was the perfect, perfect summers evening.  All over England, I suspect, good and happy people breathed a sigh of relief, able to eat outside in still, peaceful air, watching the magically settling sun, and still feeling warm after it had gone down.P1010687 P1010688 P1010689 P1010690 P1010693 P1010697 P1010701 P1010703 P1010704 P1010705 P1010709 P1010713 P1010715 P1010716 P1010727 P1010729

A nearly full moon rose behind the church steeple.

And we cleared away the chairs and tables, and made our way eventually to bed.P1010744

It was an early start this morning, to catch the 6.07, but I didn’t mind (I don’t even think Charlie minded). I was in a very very good mood, the good sort of mood that can only come from a moment of real, true relaxation just when you didn’t expect it. Even the fact that 15 minutes out of Dorchester station the train stopped and we all had to disgorge because there were massive signalling problems on the line couldn’t get me out of my good mood.  One or two people went a bit frantic, but I’ve always been of the view that raising your voice at the guard isn’t going to mend the train. Eventually we got to London where it has been a hot old day. But I think that just once, when it first arrives, no one really minds the heat. Time to enjoy rare pleasures just now.

23 comments on this post


Do be careful with lillies and kittens, won’t you? The stamens are horribly poisonous to cats and they’re on an age when they’ll chew on anything. Alliums and anything from the onion family can be a worry too.


Every time I am reading one of your idyllic weekend blogs, a running thought travels through my mind saying, “Oh, I hope he doesn’t get tired of writing these,”. They are a wonderful rest and escape for me, I enjoy them so much. Do hope you continue on.


What a truly blissful weekend!


It is a lovely thing washing a piece of old china that one has just bought and incorporating it into the stock of crockery. And you can’t beat an English summer’s afternoon in a garden or by the sea: the uncertainty of how long the weather will last always concentrates the enjoyment. Personally though my East Devon garden could do with a long drink. Cheers, Nicola


About the only thing worse than those packets of ketchup & mayo are the packets of vinegar! Beyond messy but in light of the state of the world these days, it’s definitely a first world problem.
Lovely are your stacks of books! I often get grief about mine but really, can your imagine a home without them? I can not. All the best to you,Charlie & your delightful ménagerie.

Marjolein Holtessays:

Thank you again for the nice blog, with the lovely pictures! It gave a good image of a very nice Sunday! And your garden look great! Looking forward for your next blog! Kind regards, Marjolein


The gardens are beautiful – so refreshing. Thank you again for a wonderful blog.


What a lovely description of your day. Dorset is far from my home in Sugar Land, Texas but I felt as if I were a friend tagging along for the day. Thanks for sharing!

mlle paradissays:

sunny english summer afternoon – the four most beautiful words in any language. those lilies are magnificent. sunny cheers from l.a.!


Highlight of my week Ben – a blog post from you and I feel that all is right with the world. Thank you

William Evanssays:

Just heaven as life should be.
Will Mavis ever love the water ? Dennis our old boy loves it and cannot keep out, Flossie (Now departed, so very very sad, I still cry) never would venture in any further than when the water touched her tummy (She was such a Lady) however Dolly seems to be following Dennis in his love for it. Funny they are all the same breed (Italian Spinones) but all so very different. Have a good week in London Ben, hope the heat is not to unbearable and looking forward to your next Dorset news.


Good & happy people indeed.


Your words and the pictures really made me miss the English summer. I hope you’ll enjoy more perfect weekends like this!
The best strategy to Unlock Her Inner Mermaid is to get Mavis to become friends with a dog that is more aquatic. Pugs are not supposed to swim, but mine really loves it after coming to the beach with a Lab friend. Well, I live in Puerto Rico so perhaps that helps too.

Ellen Spencersays:

I heartily agree with all the above comments about your idyllic weekend. But I have to add that the pictures of Harry and Percy in all their youthful adorableness were the icing on the cake!


“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language”. Henry James


How beautiful it is in Dorset! Thank you for sharing!


My one year old black Lab wasn’t interested in water at all until he was about 8 months old and all of a sudden what started as a delicate paddle became a huge leap and a swim and now I can’t keep him out. His first swim in the sea was just near you at Cogden which Mavis will love once she gets her sea legs. Can’t blame you for staying an extra night – it would be enormously difficult to drag oneself away from those warm, still English evenings in the country. The thought of the train back to the frantic furnace of London would have me pulling up the drawbridge, pouring another glass of wine and wandering round the garden sighing with relief that I had made the correct decision.

deby (in Canada)says:

Oh Ben What a picture you paint. I can hear the bees and smell the lavender!
Such fun watching the pets. My two are so different with the water- no mater the season
or the temperature Ruby would plunge right in-Hazel the more timid one thinks it great
adventure to get just her toes wet! So happy you stayed until Monday…



Dogs and sea! That brings back memories. My English Pointer, Smike, never went near water until we bought a house on the Isle of Wight, when he was 10. He was fascinated by the seaweed floating on the surface in Monk’s Bay and tiptoed in to pull some out tentatively. Within half an hour he was going in up to his neck, dragging seaweed out piece by piece all afternoon. Strange behaviour for a hydrophobe! He died at Easter and we collected a new Pointer puppy on Sunday (Lola), so I was up at a similarly early time this morning playing with her in the morning sun. Bliss.


Thank you for sharing your sublime weekend. I used to play on Chesil beach as a child and I still remember tipping out my shoes to get the last stone out. I love living in Michigan but I cherish every Monday when I can drift away back home through your blog. I hope you and Charlie have a wonderful week.

Alicia Whitakersays:

You paint a perfect picture of high summer. The garden is almost impossibly lush. Enjoy all of these golden days.

Karen Donohue Fleersays:

Oh, goodness, I loved seeing Charlie and the dog together! So enchanting, and what life should be. There could be no better weekend — including the late leave for London on the delayed train.


I felt inexplicably happy to read that you allowed yourself to stay in Dorset. Maybe because it’s what we would all want for ourselves, that freedom to choose, and you chose it.

I hope you’re right about the good and happy people. I have to confess to being a bit scared of what I’ll find when we return in a couple of months. I suppose that when big changes happen and you’re in that place, life goes on recognisably. When you’re away you carry with you an intricately constructed dream of the place and have no way to check whether that dream remains or is in tatters.

As for dogs and the sea, our Elsie (who died a couple of weeks ago) was never one for for getting her feet wet. When we adopted a Great Dane, who thrusts himself into the water like some giant dogfish, she did learn to paddle up to her very dainty ankles, and that was the extent of it.

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