High Summer

24 July 2016
Ben Pentreath

Time is flying at the moment…. but I suppose the way to calm it down is to stay still, in one place, for more than a minute.  I got down to Dorset on Thursday afternoon and was able to work at home all day on Friday. And somehow, there is a very big difference between three whole days here and two.  We had few plans this weekend, but found ourselves drifting gently into alternate realities.

A beautiful sunset filled the valley skies on Thursday evening…P1010931 P1010933 P1010935

…and on Friday we woke to a mist slowly clearing in the already warm early air. Heavenly beautiful.
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On Friday evening our neighbours Mandy and Glen threw their legendary annual party in the village. Saturday morning was horrifically bright.P1020001 But we bounced into Bridport early and bought piles of books at Bridport Old Books, which literally does rate as my favourite bookshop in the world.

That afternoon we decided to go for a trip to the beach. The sea was sparkling.
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Mavis was in heaven.P1020042

Chesil Beach at this particular spot is covered in beautiful sea-cabbages.
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Back at Swyre we explored the churchyard….P1020066

And peered down a lovely track at this beautiful, ancient stone farmhouse, that felt a little more like a beautiful Cornish or French building than something you’d expect to find in Dorset. I expect the interiors to be cool and grey.P1020069

We had our neighbours round for drinks in the garden, heady with the scent of lilies, and for once I didn’t pull out my camera and annoy everyone, but there was an amazing sunset after everyone had left.P1020082 P1020085 P1020083 P1020101 P1020108

Charlie was doing Church flowers this weekend.P1020116 P1020120

Bonkers, but beautiful.  I forgot to take a photo of the two Victoria sponge cakes and 48 scones he made for coffee in the village hall afterwards.  Church numbers were somewhat swollen from their normal 5 or 6 by the arrival of a band of Boy Scouts in the village for the week, camping down on the Cricket ground.

Gratuitous shot of Henry and Percy who are getting cuter and cuter and crazier and crazier by the minute.P1020123

The air has been full of mist all day – which I almost admit I prefer to a day of blue skies and sunshine at this time of year. The garden looks so beautiful.P1020127 P1020128 P1020130

We went for a walk.P1020146

The scouts have arrived from Dorking in their 1957 double-decker bus, which is the way they travel around everywhere. Complete genius. It was purchased in the 70s by the then vicar of the town, who also helped with the boy scouts – and has been their mode of transport for the last 40 years.  Incredible.  Around the country they travel, the ground floor of the bus filled with all their equipment, the top floor of the bus filled with all the boys.  Doubtless there were groaning drivers in the long queues behind the bus while it staggered its way up the steep West Dorset hills in first gear – but how completely fantastic.  It’s parked up in the woods to keep the bus out of the way.  P1020147Also – did you know that when the scouts go camping for a week they are not allowed to bring their mobile phones?  Now that is something we could all get used to.

The woods were full of mist and mysteriousness.P1020151

Glimpsing down from the high ridge to the scout camp below….P1020156 P1020160 P1020164 P1020165 P1020168

The high ground was completely covered in cloud, trees looming above ripening fields of wheat and barley.P1020172 P1020176

And we returned to find not only the scouts encamped, but a game of cricket from visiting cricketers in progress.  I realise that the guy in the white coat appears to be streaking, but even ignoring that fact, it was a strange moment –  the mist, the bus, the scouts, the cricket match – and we wondered for an instant if we had warped back to 1957 in entirety. P1020184

I hope this is not symptomatic of England as a whole, right now, but it was fun for a just little while!

32 comments on this post


You know what, I’ve been wondering why it is that reading your blog makes me happy. I’ve just discovered it and have read 3 months worth of posts in 3 days. It’s because it makes me want to live my life well, it’s inspiring. It takes the everyday stuff of life and lifts it. I’m watching the cricket and have plans to go and bake a Victoria sponge before drinking wine in the garden. Proper English style bliss!

Karen Donohue Fleersays:

“Bonkers, but beautiful.” Exactly as nature — and flowers — should be.


Magic, as usual!
I stayed at a monastery at Burton Bradstock, 45years ago, where they were self sufficient and ALL waste was put back into the soil. It was very frugal, with no mains water and electricity, just wooden floor boards and a wonderful view along Chessil Beach. I think it was haunted! Wonder if it’s still there…..


Your posts are always such a pleasure, wonderful photograps and words; today you have transported me back to the 1960s to my first Girl Guide camp aged 11 in the woods at Castle Ashby, Northamptonshire. Thank you.

Julie cleeveleysays:

Love this, cats, dog, photos, the scouts’ bus, the woods and the sea, fantastic flowers and the mist everywhere. So english.


Dear Ben,
Thank you once again for this thoughtful and very beautiful weekly email. I never know what will move me most, photos, impressions, or gentle wit, but I know I will be moved.


Such a heavenly long weekend!


The scouts and their bus are just surreal. (Harry and Percy look like little devils, by the way). Swyre church was not open, I’m guessing, or there would have been pictures. Lovel post. Best, Nicola


Beautiful. Thank you for the virtual visit to Dorset from sunny and dry California.

Ashley Levisays:



Its just dawned on me why i love your photos. Its because not only are they beautiful images, I can feel and hear them too. Love the one of Charlie and Mavis tramping along the edge of the cornfield, the sun beating down, the sound of the ocean round the end of the hedge and a lark overhead.


Another wonderful blog. Yes, Mavis is getting bigger and bigger. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and photograph.


Oh dear. Do you realize that you are at serious risk of encouraging mass migration from all the world’s corners to your own small one in Dorset by these posts? Victoria sponges and 48 scones will seem like child’s play when we all arrive ravening at your doorstep! (The hunger!) ; )


Mavis is getting so big, and the kitties are adorable

Gillian Faulhabersays:

Dear Ben,
Wonderful pictures as always. I have had a photo of the Parsonage and garden as a screen background for over three years now and as you know have researched the history of the various vicars and their families who have lived there since 1841. They would be pleased to see how well you are looking after the interior and the glebe. Gillian


Thank you for a lovely post today Ben. We are steaming here in Michigan and it was a balm to my spirit to see misty Dorset. Your description of the boy scout camp, the bus and the cricketeers made me think of Moonrise Kingdom. I hope you and Charlie have a great week, Suzy

elizabeth csays:

I really enjoyed reading this Ben…..thank you !

Pierre B.says:

I forgot the word “photos” after “dreamy anti-world”. Sorry.

Virginia Vidonisays:

I always am thrilled to receive your beautiful photographs and comments. Here in the US,in Pennsylvania, it is hot and steamy. The Democratic convention is one hour a way from our home. It is a hot and steamy political time here in the US. These beautiful pictures are a relief from the stress here in the US.


I would like to thank Mr. Leach for his apology to Ben and express some admiration. Mr. Leach’s original comment did manage to get my dander up first thing on a lovely morning but not because of his position on Brexit to which he’s entitled. It takes dignity and courage to apologize for ill considered words. I wish there was more of that quality online.

Pierre B.says:

Thank you Ben and Charlie for sharing your “dreamy anti-world” with us every week. It seems that I am not the only one to find them comforting.

jane marshallsays:

every mon. evening ( fingers crossed) here in oz I receive a much looked forward to email from my friend ben (as my husband calls you) it is sheer bliss, I am usually in floods by the end of it, in a happy way.
thank you!

Peter Hobbssays:

Greetings Ben and Charlie from Australia. Beautiful images Ben and delightfully narrated. Thank you. Cheers, Peter

Hannah Shawsays:

Dear Ben

I have greatly enjoyed your blog this morning and couldn’t agree more with your thoughts. I myself am working from home on a Monday, I have TMS blurting out from the radio and the warmth of the sun is making an appearance now and again, such a treat!

However, I have to say that a I spotted a couple of Sunflowers in one of your lovely garden photos, those aren’t sunflowers! I wish I could send you a photo of my 6’6″ft sunflowers that my 3 year old niece Olivia, planted from seed, right in the middle of my veggie patch!


My family used to spend lots of holidays down on Portland and Chesil was always a huge draw for us four children, spending hours and hours “boulder bunging” into the sea.
Thank you for reminding me of wonderful times.

Isla Simpsonsays:

Dear Ben,
The mist is wonderful! A touch of the Agatha Christie about it. And those lucky Scouts going off grid in their fabulous bus! Such a great post.

Isla xx

Patricia Taylorsays:

Lovely surprise on Sunday when I was reading August issue of House and Garden to find stunning photos of your parsonage in Dorset and now on
Monday morning I keep the mood going by enjoying my usual Monday morning
sighing with pleasure through your personal images of Dorset. I’m not
an envious person but have to admit to a twinge of it when I look at
your life in Dorset – thank you.

John Hartsays:

A wonderful soothing blog to read on a misty morning in Bavaria. Since Friday we have had 3 terrible attacks on innocent people here in Bavaria alone. Why? Thank you for the lovely pictures and words Ben to keep us all hopeful. Have a good week – soon be your holidays!

Southern Galsays:

i want to move to dorset if i can live as you do… sigh…what gorgeous sunsets and sunrise… i am tempted to use one for my screen background… would that be alright?

such a balm to see these lovely images on this night after another attack in Bavaria… so sad for Germany now. and the DNC starts Monday – so much for the calm weekend (well we had 90+ heat so lots of staying inside and watering in the wee hours and dark of night).

i will return to this page frequently this week methinks

Barry Leachsays:

I wrote a pretty awful comment on your post about Brexit a few weeks ago – accusing you, at the very least, of being patronizing to your readers.

I regret writing as I did, and regret pushing the send button even more – I would thus like to offer you my apologies for abusing your intelligence and denigrating what your heartfelt thoughts about the catastrophe (as I still see it) that had overtaken Britain.

Mr Pentreath, I have read your blog for a long time with great pleasure, if a little shamefacedly recently, and after today’s post I felt I had to apologize to you.

Barry Leach


Dear Barry that’s a really nice comment, I appreciate your writing. All best, Ben

robin wiresays:

Dear Ben
Wonderful. Dreamy. Did you realise that your dreamy anti-world is currently very much on discussion at this blog:
Best, Robin

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