Home and Away

30 October 2016
Ben Pentreath

I think I wrote in my last blog, about Lisbon, how a hidden purpose of travelling to new places is to realise how much you love the familiar.  A couple of weeks have flown by since we were back, and I don’t know if it is just me, or is this one of the most beautiful autumns we have seen in England in rather a while?  The air seems soft and still warm, the trees have held their leaves, which are turning the most incredible colour, and there have been foggy mornings and misty days to die for.

Last weekend we had an unexpected part weekend in London. I was meant to be staying in Suffolk after a project meeting up there, but at the last minute it was cancelled and I found myself carrying my bags back down on the train to London that evening. Charlie, meanwhile, had popped up for one night for a last-minute birthday party. So we both found ourselves unexpectedly at home in London. C was meant to be heading back incredibly early the next morning but I successfully hijacked his plans. We had the nicest time, breakfast in Clerkenwell, then pottering through the Lloyd-Baker Estate to Islington, having a long afternoon in the Duke of Cambridge pub with Bridie, putting the entire world to rights, and generally realising that at this time of year, London is about the most beautiful city in the world.

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This weekend we have been back down in Dorset. We’d had a fun week, and an exciting one, with The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visiting Poundbury… The Queen was opening the main square on Thursday. All went without a hitch, but everyone was a bit tired the next day. Quiet times were called for.

The weather continues to be serene. As I say, I can’t remember a more still and beautiful Autumn. Charlie has been going crazy planting fine yew hedges to enclose the upper garden. The dahlias are still flowering, and the veg garden is still full of salad.

We did virtually nothing; yesterday, an early morning trip to Bridport Market, and then my brother, sister-in-law and niece came over for a long lunch to introduce Mavis to Monty, their new labrador puppy (which featured heavily on instagram but I forgot to pull my camera out, apologies)… and then we had an evening of visiting neighbours in the valley and back to Bridport for a fabulous birthday party for Rose, who owns brilliant Bridport Old Books.  I spent the better part of the whole of this morning recovering, if I’m honest…

Sorry if the photos are a bit fuzzy, like my brain was.  Camera settings went mad.  But hopefully you can get the gist.p1060654

p1060655 p1060657 p1060659 p1060667 p1060669 p1060670 p1060674 p1060675 p1060677 p1060678 p1060679 p1060680 p1060682 p1060683 p1060687 p1060688 p1060689 p1060694 p1060697 p1060701 p1060709 p1060710 p1060713I can’t believe, quite, how the weeks are tumbling towards Christmas – where did October go?  And having been extolling the virtues of home, Charlie and I are off to New York on Friday, which is very exciting, and especially to have a whole few days to catch up properly with Valentina. It will be great to be back in the city I love so much; albeit a strange, somewhat crazy week to be in America. I will report back!

14 comments on this post


Thank you; an island of calm and just in the nick of time.

Diane Keanesays:

Ben, the US election is over and I am comforting myself by visiting your blog. We have elected Joe McCarthy. We will be regressing back to the 1950s here shortly. I think the whole world is going mad.

Big hugs to you and Charlie!


Lady Evesays:

That is the way to grow dahlias! What a fabulous garden: simple, structured, abundant, divine.


Hey Ben,

Lovely post, as always. Your new book was delivered a couple of weeks ago and I’m slowly savoring it. Thank you.

Please, please say that you and Charlie are buying the Old Parsonage…you’ve both made it so beautiful!

Be careful in the USA…anything can happen here in the week of the most embarrassing election season ever! Can’t wait for it to be over!


Every garden should have such a lovely swing!

liz allensays:

My friend Shelly introduced me to these posts and I don’t know which I love more, the gorgeous photos or the description that accompanies them. Have to say thought of Shelly instantly when you mentioned putting the world to rights with your friend whilst sitting at a pub. We have an annual weekend; six women puttering up north in Ontario and Sunday morning always features current book we are reading as well as lively discussion of current events and curiously we also set a high priority of righting the world. Perhaps one day…


Yew is always classy, makes a great backdrop to any plant, and is easy to look after. Fabulous autumn colour. Best, Nicola

Dr louis o learysays:



Autumn mists and loveliness..


Yes, hasn’t it been the most beautiful autumn? I live in Wales and look forward to this time of year when the thinning leaves on the ash trees across the lane allow me to view through the branches the Brecon Beacons and Mount Eppynt from my sitting room window.

Thank you for the glimpses of London. Fleet Street and Chancery Lane were my stamping ground in my youth. How long ago it seems………

Stephanie Berrysays:

Thanks once again for the beautiful photos of your home-I like the soft quality of these. The gardens are lovely. Our Maine fall has also been extra colorful (although gone by now)in spite of a severe drought.

Southern Galsays:

OH MY that TREE! so gorgeous

have always meant to ask – is the church active? are their services on sundays or other days?

yes you picked an amazing week to be in the USA…

David Sanderssays:

Christ Church Cathedral was of course designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott; I always get them mixed up.

By-the-way Ben, Poundbury is coming together quite nicely, I hope you are getting the recognition you deserve.

David Sanderssays:

Thanks for the snap of the red telephone box.I feel quite nostalgic whenever I see them. We used to see them dotted all around the central city in Christchurch NZ; I think there is still one later model left somewhere. At least its designer Sir Giles Gilbert Scott has something of his work left here; I am referring to the earthquake damaged Christ Church Cathedral, whose fate still hangs in the balance; a decision is supposed to be forthcoming before the end of the year – here’s hoping.

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