Staying put

4 February 2018
Ben Pentreath

I suppose when you’ve been a very long way, the best thing of all is not to go very far at all. I’ve had a fortnight to get used to being home after NZ; Charlie’s been back for less than a week, and putting it finely – on a day like yesterday, with relentless rain sweeping through Dorset all day long – well, who wouldn’t rather be in Melbourne or New Zealand in the middle of a heatwave?  For a minute, in the sunshine, it can feel as if spring is around the corner – but cruel, sharp winds and grey sleeting rain remind us that winter is still here.

Friday evening was nonetheless beautiful.  We’d got down to Dorset that day… I’d come early, on the train, for meetings. Charlie and Mavis followed down later in the car.  It was a beautiful sunset that evening.

By the fire with Henry And Mavis.

Saturday was a wash-out. Bridport was deserted, and the market empty, that morning. We had breakfast at Soulshine and scuttled out of town as quickly as we had arrived.  We thought we all needed cheering up so took Mum & Dad out for lunch at the pub in Cattistock. A bright fire burned and a couple of pints of Guinness later, the world didn’t seem quite so grim.  I had a long sleep that afternoon.  We had drinks with our neighbours Ed & Christine (Christine’s new book, flour, is published very soon which is exciting).  Then Caddy came over for supper, and we had a nice quiet evening, and rolled in to bed glad that the day was over.

Today was bright and clear. We popped into Bridport and decided we’d head to the sea at Swyre.  I love the farmhouse there so much.  Amazing buildings.

Complete with an original shepherds hut in the farmyard.

I am fond of the holiday village in its way. Although it is a terrible scar on the landscape. 

A rather different day from July a couple of years ago when we first came down here with Mavis, then a puppy. 

The landscape was saturated, drenched.  The sea gleamed silver, like walking into a delicate Ravilious watercolour. 

Beautiful tones of lichen on hawthorn.

On Chesil Beach.

When Mavis first came near the sea, she couldn’t bear it. Now it’s impossible to keep her out of the water. 

If you come here in high summer, beautiful sea cabbages grow all across the beach.  Now, all that is left is dried out leaves. 


Exploring the churchyard.

Back home – washing off the salty water from Mavis in the lake. The water has never looked clearer than it is at the moment.

Snowdrops by the beech tree. 

Tulips and garlic coming up in the veg garden.

Sunday lunch table.

The wind was bitterly cold, but the sunshine streamed in the house all afternoon. Magical.

Sunset fell. 

Have you noticed the days getting longer?  Sunset is now an hour later than on the shortest day. Hope springs eternal.

18 comments on this post


here in NEW England, I always visit (and enjoy) your lovely posts; so THANK YOU for sharing. LOVING all the gentle passions you share with your readers – your home, your garden, your specific spot in Dorset, and now, your pup passion ! Already, adored Mavis – now there is a new kid on the block: Sybil ! Loving that, too. So here, I share with YOU: a poem about a dog named “Percy” by Mary Oliver.

“I ask Percy How I Should Live My Life”

Love, love love, says Percy
And run as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.
Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.

Craig Carrsays:

Believe me, a NZ heatwave is no fun when it goes on month after sweltering month. But I can understand the change is invigorating, we felt the same way in reverse when we visited the UK last year, I loved being able to go out in the sun without almost instantly getting burnt.
Love your blog, it reminds me of the trip.


Dear Ben & Charlie
Thank you for your very beautiful photos from a home and a landscape you can be very proud to live there !
Mavis looks very lucky, heaven on earth for she ……. 🙂
Yes the days are a little bit longer now, the first snowdrops are here …….. it is february , a new time begins soon !
Thank you from here in Germany, it is sunny and cold .
Have a nice week,
Yours Birgit 🙂

Susan Toye Fergusonsays:

Good morning, Gentlemen & Mavis! Here on Cape Cod there isn’t a single sign of spring yet! I envy you. Love the shots of Mavis just running wild in the water – she looks like a seal!

I so look forward to your posts. Don’t forget us! And thank you, too!


Janie Meadowssays:

Swop a heat wave in Melbourne any day for lovely driving rain !!!!! Stunning garden lit by beautiful soft evening light.


Great to accompany you and Mavis on your walk. It’s lovely where you are.

Very happy to see you love black pets too! Not something Greeks do where I am unfortunately.

Summers coming xx

Diane Keanesays:

We had Groundhog Day here, 6 more weeks of winter, according to the rodent. But, I have started hearing birdsong in the mornings, hurrah!! This was such a lovely post, Ben, all the things that make life worthwhile. I sighed with wistfulness so many times I almost hyper-ventilated. I think my favorite photo is Mavis and Henry in front of the fire, a scene just as timeless, I hope, as the fields and the sea. Thanks as always and bless you and Charlie for sharing.

Hugs from Diane

Natalie Canningsays:

Beautiful pictures Ben, thank you.


Mavis seems to win comment award today and yes, so lovely to see her romping about with happiness. I am sure a bit of it is just having you two home and be out and about.
Bitterly cold in Chicago too, but we have no subtle signs of spring yet. The days are recognizably longer (Yay…5:00 PM is still light!). Have a great week and “well come home.”

Rebecca Smithsays:

How delighted Mavis looks with her stick in the waves, like her, Enzo wouldn’t go near them to start but he now loves the sea. Yesterday was gorgeous but best seen from indoors by the fire.


Your house and where you live and your life and your appreciation of your life are wonderful. I think you are lucky and this is not a criticism because I too am lucky like you in some of the things I list above. It was just that today, seeing your words and pictures made me think of all the people who don’t have a fraction of this kind of luck and how I should try harder not to quibble about the smaller struggles in life which come my way. Thanks for showing me those photos.

Zoe Murphysays:

Thanks you for your posts Ben. I know it takes time to put these things together. Time which could perhaps be spent more comfortably lying in front of the fire !

I’m an interior designer and while my own style couldn’t be more different from yours I do take much inspiration from your blog. It’s like the slow food movement of design: cherish small changes and respect spaces and seasons. It’s what I repeat like a mantra for my clients, good design can’t be achieved in a day. It’s a evolving collaborative process.

Thanks. Just thanks.

Allison Holmessays:

Gorgeous post Ben. I smiled my head off at the photos of Mavis on the beach with that massive “stick” and in front of the fire with Henry. When I met Charlie at your shop he told me that your tabby died after being hit by a car, poor thing 🙁

Anne B-Asays:

I think there is nothing quite as joyous as taking a young energetic dog for a walk on a beach. So uplifting.

Patricia Taylorsays:

Beautiful posting and as always you inspire me to follow up on something I’ve seen. Today it’s to remember that I’m out of matches and to get up to Berry and Rudd for a bottle of Ordinary Claret. Oh and to get down to the bottom of the garden to see if the snowdrops are showing themselves under the apple tree. Thank you.


it is good to see that mavis girl, she looks happy beyond, bet she is dog happy her folks are at her side! home is a good place to be and a good thing to have. exquisite on your dorset rain, have not had but an inch of snow all winter, last winter was an inch of snow every five minutes, for months. interesting to see the change(s) in your dorset nest, sofa in the kitchen, divine! a good english week to you, dear ben and charlie!


Lovely photos Ben wonderful to see Mavis enjoying herself. Chesil beach looks breathtaking and your home is so cosy and welcoming.Thank you for sharing so uplifting.

David Sanderssays:

I have noticed the days getting shorter, downunder in Kiwiland recently, Ben – winter looms like a black cloud. Still, one must put such thoughts aside, as we have a good couple of months + of glorious sunshine to enjoy.

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