Life cycles

30 July 2017
Ben Pentreath

In amongst the torrential rain, it was a lovely weekend at the end of a busy old week. On Friday, I popped over to see Mum & Dad, on the Isle of Wight, for what maybe the last time that I’ll head there before they move house in the Autumn.  They are coming to Dorchester, to be nearer Charlie and me, and to my brothers. (More on the new place another time, perhaps). That moment in life is never easy – and I’d say it’s been pretty intense for them – making the decision to uproot after twenty years on the Island and return to Dorset – where we’d lived for twenty years before that.  On Friday evening, it was their leaving party for all their friends – an amazing gathering of so many fine people. Rather than feeling sad at their departure, it was a celebration of a great two decades. You start to see life in cycles at moments like this, and, as I said on the evening, the Island’s loss is our gain – really.

And then early on Saturday I set off home because we had a houseful… Charlie’s angels, as I like to call them (famous from the ‘best ever blog‘).  I collected Angie from the station on my way, and we got home as it started to pour, and pour, and pour. All afternoon.  There was nothing else for it but a long trip to the pub for pints and fish and chips.  We rolled home for afternoon sleeps followed by cocktails followed by Prosecco followed by wine followed by a delicious dinner cooked by Charlie followed by games of Articulate and whisky drinking long into the night.  I didn’t feel on such top form this morning, but at least after the storms of the night before the sun was shining. Breakfast cured all ills.

Charlie’s garden has gone completely mad, but so beautiful. I love how it shifts and changes week by week – as new colour combinations, accidental or intentional, present themselves in the borders.

Our huge Jasmine climbing up the wall has blown down. We’ll get it back up this week but it made the porch highly fragrant and rather picturesque. 

Charlie’s dahlia border has gone mad, and it’s not even August. 

Rows of onions finishing up the veg garden.  The Melplash show is beginning to loom on the horizon.

Sweet peas.

We went for a walk, just the circuit up over the hills….

Is it just me, or is there the tiniest shift, a hint, of autumn in the air?

God how I love the high places of West Dorset. Nothing better to clear the mind.

Walking through the barley field;

Like walking through a silvery watercolour by Ravilious.

That last dahlia – the odd white petal in the yellow – is my complete favourite.  Amazing. I’ll get details from C.

Weekends with good friends whizz by all too quickly; we made our way to the pub in Puncknowle, The Crown Inn, which I could not recommend more highly if you’re after completely straightforward but delicious pub food with no crowds. Oh dear, ruined that one.  But, just saying.  Poor old Puncknowle had their village fete in the deluge yesterday afternoon, but I am sure it was in as jolly spirits as last year, when we went with Bridie in scorching sunshine.

Then it was time to say goodbye. The girls left and Angie and I drove up to London, leaving Charlie and Mavis and Henry in Dorset – for a few days of gardening and writing. It feels too quiet in London tonight.

20 comments on this post


Jasmine is only a house plant here; so jealous that you can have Jasmine out-of-doors year round.

Like everyone who leaves a comment, I too love how you word ‘things’.

Please keep going on with this blog – Love It.


thank you for sharing and caring, dear ben, about “things that don’t amount to a hill a’ beans”, that are exquisite and full lives lived. charlie’s garden is amazing and filled with love’s hard work/good medicine. am in wild fire “season” here, smokey skies and no horizon(s), lovely to see that you are not!

God’s hand on yer’ mum and dad, dear ben.



Calamitous weather this week, including a waterspout, though not in my garden thankfully. Yup, think autumn can’t be far off, given the sumptuous dahlias and apples on show in yours. Wonder if your parents are wandering Poundbury way; wherever it is, may they have a successful transition and happy settlement in their new place. With best wishes, Nicola

Charlotte Ksays:

The summer is in full swing here in New England, but the burning bush is already getting a tinge of red–very slight. Some years it doesn’t happen until November.


Dear Ben & Charlie
How beautiful is your garden, how beautiful is Dorset, how beautiful is England …….. which events had you last weekend and how wonderful is it that your parents are will living in the near of you soon ! A big family, friends, a wonderful landscape, this house …… I dream 🙂
Thank you for this blog, so fantastic!
Oh and yes, I can feel the same quiet when my husband is leaving our home every monday morning till friday and suddenly the house is very quiet !
Best wishes to your parents, have a nice week,
Yours Birgit from Germany.

Habe a nice week

Randy Coxsays:

Thanks for the inspiration! Best of luck to your parents. I live close to mine. It’s a big advantage as they are in their 80’s.
The garden is lush and glorious! Dallias off the chart!
Thanks for sharing. Have a great week!

Janey Pughsays:

Pure heaven trailing around in your garden and landscape. This was special!

lissy parkersays:

Ben, Thank you for the beautiful garden inspiration. We too moved my husbands Mother to a new home 3 years ago. It had always been her dream to live on Isle of Hope, Georgia and she made it happen when she was 87. Now at 90 she is having a blast scooting around the island on a golf cart with her dog. Good luck with the move.
xo, lissy

Tessa Pettingellsays:

I live a a few miles further west of you, still in Dorset. This morning’s sunrise was glorious with a sniff of autumn – first handful of blackberries from the hedgerow – bliss!


Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos along with your insightful words. Stunning floral photos, love the waterfall and the artist in me especially loved your description of the barley field as “walking through a silvery watercolor”. Wishing your parents an easy transition.

Andrew Bsays:

Thank you for another visit to arcadia

Laura Harrisonsays:

Ben, another incredibly beautiful post. The photos as always are amazing. Please , please , please, have some of your best (I know, it will be hard to choose), made into greeting cards!!!! All the very best to your parents in their new home!


We are without a car at the moment and so unable to get off the beaten track. It is therefore wonderful to see these pictures of lovely West Dorset. I miss it( although I was there a few weeks ago!)Having no transport is so frustrating because my husband and I go walking in the wilds of Dorset every weekend ( we live near Bournemouth)But hopefully our car will be fixed soon and then I look forward to returning 🙂


So nice to start the week with this post. Happy belated anniversary. It was lovely to go back and see the beautiful pictures and relive the joy that still emanates from them. Blessings sent to your parents who have a big transition ahead. It all will be well, but yes, bittersweet. Looking forward to hearing about the sweet of being near you and Charlie and the pets. Sitting in the our kitchen looking at at our woods on the shore of Lake Michigan and hearing acorns drop on the roof…autumn is doing its timid early knock. Looking forward to your pictures of life in Dorset/London. Thanks so much for taking the time to share. Best to all.


I so look forward to your blog at the start of the week, and am equally happy to have stumbled upon
It a year or so ago.. Your prose and photos are invigorating and restful in equal measures and always make me smile. We here on the U.S. East coast have been sweltering for most of the summer and it is lovely to see the lush, verdant gardens and fields of Dorset. They are the landscape dreams are made of and you capture their essence so perfectly. More, please!


Best of luck to your parents in their new home. I recently moved my mother from our family home of 55 years and it was heartbreaking but we made it through and a new chapter has begun. How lucky you are to have them nearby so you can make more wonderful memories. Lovely garden photos but, as always, I love the photo of Mavis best!

Alison Lewissays:

Absolutely and utterly divine. Thank you for sharing your magic moments and beautiful photographs. I’m planning a visit to Dorset very soon and will certainly check out your pub recommendations – sorry, Puncknowle, but blame Mr P! As for autumn in the air – gasp, no surely not and it’s in your mind! Have a good week and roll on the next blog.

Pam Saunderssays:

Wonderful piece. Particularly love the pictures of the garden. Stumbled across your blog a few nights ago and think it the loveliest I’ve come across – both your writing and pictures.
I wish your parent well with their move….


All I could think of when I read this was “As Time Goes By” – now it’s stuck in my head! Life does go forward in spite of whatever state the world is in and we carry on. One day we’re impossibly young with all the all the world at our feet and then suddenly we’ve settled comfortably into middle age. (Though I don’t feel my age. Perhaps 30? 50 is the new 30,right?) And one day we find ourselves like Ben’s parents in our golden years. I wish them every happiness in their new home.


Wonderful blog Ben my favourite this year to date.The images of West Dorset were beautiful so uplifting. Charlies dahlias look great l have grown some too they look lovely l wasn’t expecting to see them bloom till autumn.Hope you have a good week and thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs.Your blog must be doing wanders for the Dorset tourist board l thought it was getting busier there on my last few visits !!

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