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Interlude



Ben

Do you ever have one of those days where you get out of the wrong side of the bed… and nothing goes according to plan? That was this weekend. I had planned to be in Dorset, but painting work was running on (note: I now have a scary purple dining room. Watch this space). So I stayed in London and woke up on Saturday morning a bit too late and a bit too hungover (as a friend of a friend used to say at this point: “no details”).

My plan was to head out to Dreweatts auction house, near Newbury. A few things I wanted to see before their sale on Wednesday. But just that, and coming back, would have felt like too much of a work trip. So, beginning to recover, I spent a while searching on google to find out interesting things or places. I began to develop a perfect itinerary… Ashdown House, that perfect 17th century box now owned by the National Trust; the Great Coxwell Barn; and finally, a house that I have longed to see for ever, Kelmscott, William Morris’s Oxfordshire house… each just happened to be not so far from the next, and all open on a Saturday afternoon.

What happened? Well by the time I was finally out of the house, camera charged, after breakfast, and some strong coffee, and in the car, and realising that I had no petrol, and that the traffic was dreadful… well, by then, I realised that there was no way on planet earth I was going to get to Dreweatts before they closed. I called just to check, and a polite lady confirmed that they close at 12.30 on the dot. The petrol was the real clincher. Never, ever leave your car with no petrol will be my new rule: who knows when you need to make an emergency road trip to the Cotswolds.

I could have pressed on, of course, but somehow a two hour drive to Kelmscott and back felt just as strange as a going to the auction house and returning. I like trips with multiple agendas. And somehow… once if it was off on the wrong foot… well, you know what I mean.

So, no beautiful photographs I am afraid. Can’t you imagine what we would have been looking at right now? My friends Maria and Will came to the rescue of my cabin fever, but I spent the better part of the rest of the weekend grappling with one of the trickier articles I’ve written in a while – a long piece on Poundbury for the FT.  Talk about being too close to your subject to write. Then last night went to a fabulous supper given by my friends David & Chris, who’s house I’ve been working on around the corner in Gordon Square. It was great fun, but a Sunday? (reader, there was actually a good reason). Monday mornings can be pretty grim at the best of times (I am never quite sure why, because I like going to work)… but this takes the biscuit.

In the interests of the blog, therefore, I want to declare this week: INTERLUDE.

Do you remember those BBC films of a potter making a pot?  That they stuck on when one programme had ended a bit early and before they were ready to go with the next?  To be honest, I am not sure if I can actually remember them: I think they were already wrapped in irony and inverted commas by the mid 1970s. But for readers wanting a fun way to waste a few minutes, watch this interesting little film which explains the history of the interludes; have a look at the potter’s wheel, London to Brighton in Four Minutes, and my favourite, by far: Roadworks, as re-broadcast on Friday 3rd September 1982. Insane on a number of levels. You will see why.

What would we do without youtube?

Incidentally, I am sorry that I don’t seem to be able to embed the videos directly into the blog. Something is up.  I would bother Colin, but he’s got, how can I say, a bit on his plate at the moment (the new Pentreath & Hall website is launching very soon…).

Finally, at the end of an otherwise bizarre post, let us extend a cordial welcome to all who do not yet know about our fabulous opening night on Wednesday for the Cabinet of Curiosities: L O N D O N, curated by our very own Bride Hall and The Bible of British Taste. I’ve been spying some incredible things happening. Well, maybe it’s still going to be pretty bizarre. Here, for instance, is one of the lettertrays that Bride and I have designed.

That woke you up! See you from 6.30 until 9… and in the meantime, I hope your week gets off to a better start than my weekend.

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