The endless weeks of summer

10 July 2018
Ben Pentreath

I can’t quite remember anything like it, and I’m not talking about our mad politics. In the ten years since I’ve lived at the Parsonage, there have been some wonderful summers, and some lousy summers, but I can’t recall these endless weeks of unbroken weather, warm evening air, warmer mornings as the sun rises, swimming in the sea morning and evening. 

The garden is blowsy and bursting, but is painfully dry as well.

Our normal swimming spot is at Hive Beach (or Swyre if we want a bit of a walk).

Back at home, walking the dogs has to happen early or we all get too hot.

Last weekend, I made a visit to Suffolk staying with Bridie’s friends Glen and Edgar in their amazing house.  This was the view from my bedroom.

Summery Southwold for fish and chips on the beach:

Early morning:

Supper on Sunday at the Crown at Westleton.

The office this week has been hot; thank god for the air conditioning.  Current mood: Back down to Dorset this weekend, dreamy days and the air is heavy with the scent of lilies.

We watched the football in the pub, 

with Lucy and Anne Lambton.

A festival atmosphere reigned under the heat, pints of cool lager flowing. 

Supper on the terrace that evening:

An early trip to the beach on Sunday morning, where the Morris Minor found a suitable neighbour in the car park.

The water is crystal clear and almost warm.

Breakfast on the terrace.

And then to lunch at Bettiscombe for Jasper & Oisin’s summer party.  Here are the Hursts, antique dealers extraordinaire, talking under the trees. Tom Hurst has just left school and is going into full time dealing (you can see his website here). 

The party tent provided much needed shade, and the trestle tables were generously laden with delicious food and drink.

As the afternoon shadows lengthened…

A swimming party grew at the pond.

Charlie going in…

The water was warm and deliciously muddy, as dragonflies darted around.

And the sun drifted over the long dry grass in the meadow, and it felt as if this eternal summer can never end.

15 comments on this post


You can feel the heat emanating from these pictures. English summers like this one are so rare. 1976 still lingers in the memory and 2018 will do likewise. Let’s enjoy every outdoor moment. Dog days indeed.

Sally Leonardsays:

Ben, love these pics of your wonderful summer. You and Charlie must be the most fun people on earth. Never known of a couple with so many friends! A side note to Charlie.. please ask him not to dive into dark waters.. scares me on his behalf. Have a great summer!!


Wonderful photos of a very hot summer l really enjoyed them all.I have three favourites Sybil and Mavis flaked out in the heat (l know the feeling) Fish and chip supper on the beach in Suffolk so very english.My favourite has to be breakfast on the terrace at the parsonage pure bliss in the most idyllic place l have ever visited.Thank you Ben and Charlie for sharing a little of utopia.


Delightful photos as always. On this side of the pond, Maine has had similar weather: hot and dry. The ocean water is still pretty cold though.


Dear Ben. Thank you for the lovely photos of your exceptional English summer and your adorable hot dogs. It’s raining here in Trieste, Italy. The coolest end of June and beginning of July for a quite a few years. I haven’t had to water the garden for about six days. Incredible! I’m so happy because I can’t stand hot weather but I never tell that to anyone here because they look at me in amazement.


Halcyon, one of my favorite words because of all the great memories attached to it, indeed. Hive Beach was our go to beach when we were kids, I always loved the sound of the pebbles as they dragged backwards and forwards. Had a return visit there on a very windy day 2/3 years ago and the love of the place and surrounding countryside was still strong. Your photos, especially the summer ones, always give me a slightly sad wistful ache for Wessex.

And obviously Sybille (sp?) knows, what all small furries know, that when it’s hot, you have to put your paws in the air and not have a care for maximum cooling.

Diane Keanesays:

What a splendid idyll of English summertime! The photo of the Hursts looks as if it could be taking place in Rodmell, or a Merchant-Ivory film. Well, except for the soft-drink can. Thank you for sharing!


Tasty trug of veg and two tired young ladies.

Dee Bowkersays:

PS Forgot to mention the Queen! Love it!

Dee Bowkersays:

Does Princess Ann often lurk in your border! Every good garden should have a visit. Great photographs Ben telling the lovely story of your summer frolics in the sunshine.

Weston L. Thomassays:



“Live in the Sunshine. Swim the Sea. Drink the Wild Air. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) May the long days continue to be lovely, and may a bit of rain help Charlie’s Garden and the farmers.
All good in Chicago and gorgeous Great Lakes. Thanks for taking time to share the beauty of of rural England.

Richard Atkinsonsays:


Can’t believe you were in Suffolk and didn’t make it to Framlingham! It’s a small market town with three interesting antique shops including ours,, run by Rob Yates and Richard Atkinson. Rob remembers Ben from Sandroyd.


David Sanderssays:

Ben, this post has put me in mind of the glorious summer of 1976, when as a youngster I spent a year living on a farm on the Isle of Wight. Even down to the photo of the MGB, as most evenings a friend took us to a nearby beach – with the dogs – in her MGBGT for a swim – halcyon days.

Limerstone, Nr. Brighstone, Isle of Wight, if I remember correctly.

A bit chilly in NZ presently; still we’ve passed our shortest day, so here comes summer – eventually.


Dear Ben & Charlie
Thanks so much for every photo from you, high summer of it`s best …….. photos like Italy or south France ! The sea is so clear and the sky deep blue ….. heaven !
Every photo shows a little bit from your wonderful english life and I enjoy it so much ! Love the summer party, it has to be a great pleasure such a typical english party. The dogs are not very happy about the heat , Sybil looks so funny 🙂
Congratulations to the football game, wish all the best for the next one !
Dear Ben, thank you for your blog. Wish you a nice summer week,
Yours Birgit from Germany 🙂

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