Hello from New Zealand. I can’t say it is the warmest summer I’ve known here, but can you imagine how wonderful it is to be transported into long days and green landscapes and total relaxation… for a minute? We were here for a family wedding – Charlie’s cousin, which suffice to say was the most brilliant New Zealand farmer wedding… a day and night which, with the tiniest (I mean, the tiniest) tweaks to people’s hair or clothes, could have happened at any time in the last forty years – 1978, 1988, 1998, 2008, 2018. Timeless and unchanging; the very definition of a classic. And then, really, reason number one for the journey – to greet our tiny, perfect new niece, Charlotte McCormick… six weeks old. We’re here for the week spending time with her Mum and Dad, doing nothing at all. That is my idea of complete heaven.
Anyway, other than travelling to the other side of the world, what’s news? Well, only, the biggest story of our year I suppose. Last week, two days before I left, we took delivery of a project that Bridie and I have been working on for the whole year – more and more intensively as we got closer and closer to the print deadline…. WOOP WOOP!
The shop is ten years old this month. In fact, we were ten years old on my birthday, but for a million reasons that was a night that Charlie and I quietly popped up to the pub up the road and were in bed by 9.30 (that is the real definition of heaven). So the giant shop party didn’t happen… let’s save that for another day.
But to celebrate the moment, Bridie and I felt that something needed to be done – ten years for a little shop shouldn’t go without a celebration. And that’s why back in the spring we decided to pull together a book, which we’d call the Pentreath & Hall Alphabet – a mad, magical mix of everything we love.
Our friend Ruth Guilding, of the Bible of British Taste, (the link takes you to Ruths’ photos of the Old Parsonage, incidentally, if you haven’t spied them already) wrote the foreword, in her inimitable dry, witty tone… thank you Ruth. Who knew about bat-squeaks of desire until now?
Here’s our introduction, and a slightly old photo of Bridie and me, not too embarrassingly old, I hope?
We each wrote an essay telling our tales….
And then the Alphabet. You know my love of typography…. announcing each letter. Beautiful papers by Payhembury , or our own patterned papers, are on each opposing page.
I’m not going to tell you what everything is (A is for Alphabets and Ashcombe….)
I did enjoy taking some of the photos…. here’s my cookbook collection at home….
The kitchen at the Old Parsonage! yellow heaven. Photo by me (with a bit of highly sophisticated help from my friend Peter).
Piranesi and Poodles…
One of my favourite pages – Queen Anne Houses, and the Queen…
The book ends with Z is for Zoos. The Penguin enclosure at London Zoo.
Finally, I couldn’t end without ONE photo from New Zealand, although I’ll be honest – genuinely, we’re just on the quietest trip and I haven’t been pulling my camera out every two seconds.
Here is the rose garden at Christchurch Botanical Gardens… 1950s heaven.
I’m happy to say, the Alphabet Book is selling very fast. Slightly cautiously, we printed a limited edition of 1000 individually numbered, signed copies, but in all honesty I think we’re about to press the button on the second edition – which (and this is why you need to get yours now) will not be numbered and signed (do you have any idea how long it takes to sign and number one thousand books?!?!!). You can buy yours here. Ten years passes so fast when you’re having fun…. it’s nice to celebrate with so many customers and friends. Thank you, thank you, for all the support, over such a very long time.
Nothing would happen without you, and that’s the honest truth!