Out of the fog comes hope

Our walk this morning somehow felt appropriate.

It was a beautiful morning, but a thick fog filled the valley. The air was still, silent, muffled. No one was about.

Trees appeared like ghosts in the landscape. 

We climbed the hill, as always, at just the moment the sun was rising. 

And, coming up above the clouds, we entered the most beautiful winter landscape…

Everyone was happy… the dogs were happy.  Some of you have kindly been asking about Mavis’s absence. She’d had a cut, we’re not sure how, and hadn’t wanted to go on every morning walk recently. All good now – that is the Mavis roll of happiness, when she hurtles down the hillside on her back. 

I’ve got to admit, I can’t really remember a morning like it…

Friendly cows in the lower paddocks…

Later this morning, the garden was bathed in warm, spring-like sunshine. 

Charlie’s new growing bed is full of promise… and soon to be full of composted manure. 

The structure of the winter garden is almost more beautiful than thinking about how this will all look in a few weeks, a few months’ time. 

The gardener in his new happy place… And, on the bank above the house, I suddenly noticed dozens of tiny early primroses – perhaps a bit too early for their own good, if we carry on getting hard frosts like these. 

But what a beacon of hope and promise they provide – of spring, and of Easter, not too far around the corner now.

America, the country I love so much, has been through a bitter week.  Britain – indeed the whole of Europe – is going through our own bitter weeks too, as severe lockdown strangles the ebb and flow of normal life once more.

But do you mind my saying that I’m optimistic about 2021? It just feels to me that the turbulent seas of politics are calming a little; and it feels also that we can see a clear – albeit still distant – end to the pandemic.  Closer to home – back to my mantra, of worrying about the things that you can deal with yourself… the design practice is busy – and I know many others are too. We’re not working side by side as I’d like, but that will come. The shops of Lambs Conduit Street somehow are surviving – Bridie, Emily and I have been quite overwhelmed, if I could just say, by the support that so many customers have given the shop over these past few months. Spring is just around the corner, and the days are perceptibly longer – and that always puts a bounce in my step!  But today, just somehow, I really felt it all the more.

I hope you have too.


Dear Ben, your photos, as always, are beautiful and I loved seeing all of the fog blankets! The gardens will be spectacular this year and if all goes as it should, we will again be sitting around a table with our friends, happy to be together. I’m starting seeds now — some outside in a new to me process called “winter seed starting” and others inside on a heat mat. It always makes me confident regarding the future. Yes, let’s remain optimistic and patient. I’m scheduled for the first vaccine shot on March 1 — hope you will get them soon too. My best to you, Charlie and the girls!

Alicia Whitaker

Happy belated New Year to you from Nelson, New Zealand.
Good to catch up with what has been happening in your beautiful part of the world and see that you just keep on keeping on despite the setbacks from Covid….all the best for a fabulous 2021…Jennifer

Jennifer Phillipps

I love your optimism that shows through many of your posts as it is so dreary and draining hearing people complain endlessly. Charlie’s garden is looking fabulous and I note is creeping closer and closer to the house! I still have not planted all the bulbs I bought… I love Mavis’ roll of happiness, legs akimbo in the air, down the hill!


You write like a poet Ben, so beautifully.
Your bothy in magical Scotland, glorious Dorset, the dogs of course!
You and Charlie are indeed blessed.


Such exquisite photos. They are absolutely beautiful. Thank you


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