Life, suspended

13 April 2020
Ben Pentreath

A week of more walks, doing the vital daily round; of more long days, with early starts, working harder than I’d somehow imagined possible right now (which makes me feel positive for the other side), breaking for lunch (always delicious), Charlie working in the garden; and then the days end after long, long phone calls and getting on with drawings when I can. Time is curiously not moving and yet flying by.  And then Easter arrived, and everything was suspended.

The morning walks have become all the more incredible.  They have become all about noticing the tiny changes of light and weather and the arrival of spring – which, of course, has been phenomenal this year. 

Here we are the following day:

And the following evening; 

Misty mornings…. the air warming up as the Easter heatwave hit…

Incredible sunsets.

On Easter Saturday, the air was still and warm. 

The horse chestnuts, which had been showing their first buds at the beginning of the week (and which I photographed in last week’s blog) were suddenly bursting into an intense lime green. 

Blossom is out everywhere. 

Lazy, lazy days and evenings. 

We had a barbecue in the garden that evening. 

Henry making a rare appearance: 

Closely watched by Sibyl and Enid…

The Easter table was filled with Charlie’s daffodils, that would, of course, have been gracing the  tables of the Spring Shows this year. 

Life feels on hold.  It’s been the most beautiful spring I can remember in years.  We notice the tiny details, intensely. The church doors are shut, locked, but the primroses – that normally spell out ‘Alleluiah, He is Risen’ on the window sills, in ancient Victorian letters, are more abundant than ever this year. But everything else drifts in a way where time seems to no longer quite make sense as it used to, even a few short weeks ago. I wonder if anyone else is finding this?

And I wonder if you’re also watching a LOT of TikTok videos, and episodes of the Tiger King back to back? Exactly.

18 comments on this post


Since my mid-twenties I have had the misfortune to have a severe disability which means for the last 16 years I’ve been housebound much of every week and bedridden at least half of every week. For me, and people like me, this time s fantastic as finally – now that EVERYONE is in lockdown – so much is available by live streaming, be it church services, Joe Wicks’ morning PE, NT and other theatres streaming plays or Gareth Malone’s wonderful choir practices for the musicians among us who are missing our choirs. And so much more besides. So for me there is more structure, and less sense of isolation than there normally is.

Consequently, I feel much happier than usual, and time is drifting less. I can’t also help feeling a bit bitter at the way so much is suddenly available when fit, well people need it, that was apparently impossible when it was ‘only’ people who are ill or have disabilities who would benefit.

It’d be nice to think that the fit and well majority would remember this time when it is over and think for a moment of what life is like for those of use for whom Lockdown is a permanent state and for those of us who have to deal with this year after year while also being in terrible pain. Unfortunately, though, I think the minute this is over the status quo will be resumed and ill or disabled people will once again be forgotten by the majority.

Darlene Chandlersays:

The blossoms and greenery coming into bloom is just beautiful that you sent. What a lovely way to spend an evening Barbecuing and watching the sun go down. I see your dogs are enjoying their time and I did not know about Henry, a beautiful cat coming out to enjoy the nature. I guess nice for you to be able to do your drawings and no that they are ready for the future. I am enjoying the pictures of Charlie getting the garden ready and so enjoyed his daffodils that he picked for your Easter table. Not watching TikTok or the Tiger program, but spending a lot of time watching decorating Youtube programs taking place in England and in the beautiful landscape of France and the countryside. And beautiful peaceful music to take away from some of this terrible situation the world is in. Through all of this, you have found enjoyment in Easter and also shared a lot of positive thoughts and enjoyment to others. We had snow in Canada last night and early this morning. It had melted by noon today. So sad to me to have all of the hotels in London that I travel to closed and all the sights. I just think positive that when everything opens up – I will be there. Thank you again for your inspiration that you are sending.


The photos (and stories) are so beautiful, and interesting. Thanks very much.

Theo Nelsays:

Bless you Ben Pen


You are so blessed to live in such a beautiful area. Yes, it seems that we do notice the tiny details intensely. Watching the birds go about their business this year is amazing. Thank you for such lovely photos. The garden looks fabulous.


Welcome back Henry! All this dry weather for so long has resulted in premature use of the watering can already. But oh the blossom! Now we’re reaping the benefits of a mild winter. Fantastic daffs Charlie. First prize obvs. Best wishes, Nicola

Isla Simpsonsays:

The best picture is Henry! Charlies exquisite daffodils too, love all the varieties, Bridal Crown being one of my faves. Thank you for taking us all on your blissful walks, it’s a challenge being stuck in urban East London right now. Lots of love to you all xxxx

David Sanderssays:

Henry, making a rare appearance from the balcony, with an audience of Sybil and Enid looking on from a respectful distance.:) Spring has certainly returned with her usual abundance – nice to see that hasn’t changed.


Hello Ben and Charlie .thank you for your wonderful photographs, I love Dorset and your picture are
Just wonderful, I like you are luck to have a garden to walk in and green fields. Your pictures are a wonderful inspiration for all the people who can’t get to the countryside and envelope themselves in nature at this time of year. A time for reflection on life, how we live now and how we will live in the future. One good thing this has bought people together and it’s wonderful to see so much love in the world, but death is a price we pay for love. Let’s all be kind to one another . I loved Charlie’s flowers first prize there. Keep the pictures coming.


Thank you for the beautiful pictures! I am in South Carolina and we too have had a beautiful spring which I appreciate more than ever.


You’ve taught me to SEE, so much, over the years, but never more than with this post.
A belated heartfelt thanks, from Alcinda in Colorado.

Clay McCleerysays:

Love to you and Charlie.
The garden is beautiful!


Dear Ben, Charlie and friends,

Thank you for the lovely photos from your lovely country!
In Holland nature is doing it’s best too. Now we can already think and discuss about our lives when this is over. Shall this change our way of life? Shall we fly less or eat no meat anymore?
Interesting topics to think over when you’re walking in your beautiful landscape.
Keep save


By way of your blogs, you allow your readers vicariously to accompany you, Charlie and the dogs into the countryside. One of the most inspiring, recurring vistas is the far and across, up and beyond presence, at hill’s crest, of the magnificent copse. Stately, quietly evoking the notion of permanence and the enduring. That imagery’s message is palpable.

Kay Langevinsays:

Thank you, Ben, for posting such a wonderful blog. Your photos bring me peace, way over here in Massachusetts. I am paying such close attention to everything now as I do my daily walk. It really helps!

Sharon Marchsays:

I have just retired so home anyway but oh the luxury of spending so much time in the garden every day. But the biggest treat is being able to notice the changes every single time I look. This quiet time is a gift , but then I feel luckier than a lot of people too of course . Very beautiful photos ,thank you. Btw dux I read correctly that there is to be a huge new housing development near Bridport? Will the area be able to sustain such a big influx of people?


Dear Ben & Charlie,
thank you for sending us your wonderful photos of gorgeous Dorset …. amazing sunsets and Charlie’s daffodils are such a beauty! I’m glad to know you both are healthy and had a lovely time.
Spring is such a wonderful time of the year but this year, everything is very different …… I’m very sad !
Enjoy whatever you can dear friend, God bless you both.
Yours Birgit from Germany

Debra Mooresays:

Dear Ben Charlie Mavis Henry Enid and Sybil
Happy Easter to you all it sounds like you have had a peaceful one and enjoyed the abundance of spring.Your photographs are so beautiful and lift the spirit in this much needed time.Three weeks ago we left Long bredy very hastily as the lockdown was announced.We travelled back late evening to the midlands after what can only be described as the most beautiful few days of spring never have l looked at our world and nature with such love and clarity,The trees were springing new life the hedges were full of primroses and daffodils. The birdsong was beautiful and the sheep lambs and other animals were blissfully enjoying life.I must admit to feeling deep anxiety and fear of what was to come with the coronavirus.I needed to get home to self isolate but l wanted more importantly to be near my family.Easter has offered us hope and new beginnings and a time to reflect on the good in life.l have become mindful of everything in life and it has given me clarity of what is important.Like many of us we have witnessed courage love and kindness like no other time l hope this continues.These acts of compassion have restored my faith in society and the world we need to be united.I heard my neighbour had died today of the virus she was a sweet lady who will be sadly missed.I will miss her cheery hello shecwas always tending her garden she loved being outdoors.Her health had deteriorated since christmas she had her 80th birthday this week God Bless rest in peace my dear friend.

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