Two weekends in High Summer

24 June 2018
Ben Pentreath

The heat has been amazing. The earth is dry. It feels as if we are hurtling into late summer already. Walking this morning felt like being in Italy in the height of August.  Apart from gardens and farmers desperately needing the rain, I’d sort of say – this is total bliss. Dreamy England.

Last weekend we had Frances Palmer staying with us. Such fun, having just seen her the week before in Connecticut, but ages ago, she’d fixed up to see the factory in Stoke that is making her new (and I should add) beautiful range of plates – prototypes of which were coming out of the kiln. So, we had two days together in Dorset. Bridport Market, early (there’s a surprise?), followed by a walk with the dogs and then a delicious lunch at Brassica. Tea afterwards at Jasper and Oisin’s.

The sun came and went that first weekend; Saturday evening was gorgeous; the air hot.

On Sunday morning we woke early and took the dogs to Chesil beach.

The sea kale and sea poppies are in full flower.

Coffee with Caddy and Chris, down the valley.  I love their house so much. 

Caddy’s vegetable garden is beyond perfection.

And then we headed back up to London early – back in time for a birthday supper with our friend Maggie.  Such a fun night.

The week flew by. On Friday afternoon we were back. Drinks with Jim and Nic – heaven. 

Which turned in to supper, so I popped home for a bit more wine. The magical hour in the garden. The borders are overflowing. So strange to think that just three years ago this was a lawn…

…And that this terrace wasn’t here.  Mavis and Sibyl always happy to see us.

One of those nights:

Back up to Jim & Nic’s, with supplies. 

Hay making is happening everywhere, so early this year. There hasn’t been rain for 6 weeks.

On Saturday, Mum and Dad came over; that afternoon, after we all went to sleep, I went for a walk. The country feels like August.
The meadow below the house has gone mad. We float above it. 

This morning, Charlie went to the Bridport Antique Market.  Sibyl, Mavis and I went for a walk. 

Blackberries will be coming one of these days.

Hot dog:

Lunch with the Goodwins:

A lazy game of cricket being played on the field.

And an early supper with new friends down the valley, and home, to this:

Charlie pulled his garlic this weekend.

Moon rising:Sun setting:

Here we are, two weekends, straddling the longest day. Dorset at this time of long evenings and the earliest mornings is so soft and calming. I sometimes wonder what our state of mind would be without this weekly reconnection with the land, with time and with a place? There is something about this particular week of the year, when the days begin imperceptibly to shorten, that always feels so lovely, knowing that holidays and freedom are just around the corner; exams finished, schools about to break; lives heading off to new adventures. And in the heat of late June 2018, that sense accelerates; the inky dark green of trees against dusty brown fields reminding us of weeks to follow.

17 comments on this post

Deborah Wagnersays:

Glorious. My life looks nothing like that. After I pick up the dog’s special treats (kangaroo!) on steaming hot Newbury Street, Boston, I’ll pour myself a big glass of whiskey and dream of your garden. It’s good to see Charlie killing it, just killing it, with his farmer chic Carhartts. My husband buys his out in Ohio when he goes there to see his family. Hugs!

Diane Keanesays:

Such beauty, Ben! You and Charlie have made a paradise. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Hugs from Diane


That Sibyl, that look. I bet she has you wrapped around her little paw at all times.


Good morning from Princeton New Jersey…The photos are so beautiful and a wonderful way to start the day. I am much belated in writing that you provide constant inspiration with your photos and words, thank you.

I meant to comment in your NY visit post re: the Frick Russell Page garden. There has been much to-do over expansion plans at the Frick, which in the initial version would have destroyed the garden. (I even wrote my MA thesis on this issue.) New plans to expand acknowledge the garden’s importance to the Frick experience and are under review by the Landmarks Commission. It’s an interesting question of museum expansion in the new realm of “enough is enough.” For admirers of the Frick and the Page garden, here’s a website link to the latest news:


Thank you for all the gorgeous pictures of wonderful England. Sybil’s expression on her face seems to say, you human, you. So funny.


Dorset is total heaven on earth. (Cannot get used to blonde Charlie!) Best wishes, Nicola

Lesley Coopersays:

We used to live in Dorset – in Beaminster – and so I can smell the air in your photographs! Thank you so much for reminding me of the bucolic bliss and the peace (and not the winter mud)!


Will be happy to help your farmers and share some our weeks of rain in Chicago (3rd rainiest June in our recorded weather history). It looks so flowerly lovely and soothing there so your Instagram posts have been a balm in during our cool rainy times here. Happy Midsummer and as always, thanks for taking time to share the beauty of your bits of England.

David Sanderssays:

Love the blousy borders; they look half-drunk on the summer heat. I agree with Tom; this post has a decidedly Merchant Ivory feel about it – straight out of Howard’s End. I can almost see Vannesa Redgrave floating about in her usual slightly confused manner.

Tom Wolfsays:



You live in an Ivory Merchant world! Thank you for the calm beauty and dogs.


Total bliss indeed. Thank you for another collection of bucolic heaven photographs.


Pure bliss!


Simply magical


England when the sun shines is just an unbeatable place to be. Having had the run the weather we’ve having is even better. Being near the coast in Dorset is just the best! Lovely pictures – thanks for sharing such a beautiful location….


Oh what a dream of Summer ……. I love all your photos dear Ben. Can smell and feel the Summer air with all the beautiful flowers and grasses and and and ….. 6 weeks no rain, that`s amazing ! Love all the houses that you show us, wish I could be there ! This is always my personal dream of Summer, heaven on earth. Just seen the pic from the ” Goodwins`s ” corner and dog on the instagram page from Bible of British Taste 🙂 love it …..
Wish you a wonderful Summer week again, with all my best wishes,
Yours Birgit from Germany 🙂


Gorgeous images Ben l feel has if l have been transported to a beautiful dream state.Your blog truly is food for the soul.I love the pics of Mavis and Sybil and your friends irish wolfhound so cosy on the sofa.We are enjoying a glorious summer thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *