RIP Ben’s Blog

I was terrified to read a comment posted by Jess last week that said “RIP Ben Pentreath’s Blog, thanks for the good times, you’ll be missed”. You realise what happens when you fail to post for a weekend. I know that things have been a bit erratic recently. I’ll explain why in a little while. But I had supper with a friend on Thursday who told me (if you’re into such things) that the moon and stars are completely crazy at the moment. So perhaps that’s what it’s all about?

This blog is a week late. Charlie and I were staying with my great friends (and my old boss) Charles and Rachel, up on the Suffolk coast. It was a perfect weekend, all except for one thing, which I’ll tell you about soon. We had a glorious visit to Southwold. Let’s face it, Southwold ‘in season’ is probably as close to hell-on-earth is you can get; Southwold out of season is probably as close to heaven as possible.

I found this beautiful engraved brick on a little side street, and wondered if after all I should save this blog for the 1st February?


The Swan Hotel is one of my favourite buildings in town:

We meandered down to the seafront, which is perfect.P1040897 P1040898 P1040899 P1040903 P1040906

I love the lighthouse, peeping over the rooftops.P1040911 P1040919 P1040920 P1040922 P1040924

Much speculation was had about what colour you would paint your hut?  Perhaps this one with scraped paint is the perfect answer.

The huts go for a fortune these days, which says everything you need to know about high season Southwold.

Hello lighthouse again.
P1040927 P1040930 P1040932

And again. Charles’s daughter Daisy and her husband Nathan are moving into the little house right under the lighthouse. I love their house and its remarkable setting.P1040934

Charlie and I went for a beautiful walk along the Blythe Estuary in the quiet late afternoon autumn light.P1040944 P1040945 P1040946 P1040948 P1040952 P1040953 P1040957 P1040958

I love the views all the way back to Southwold and to the lighthouse again.

Charles and Rachel have made the most magical garden in the six years that they have been here. All of this was a giant patch of lawn when they arrived.P1040968

It’s a beautiful view looking back to the little arts and crafts house which nestles underneath the remarkable spire of Blythburgh church (which I remember I wrote about a long time ago here, in the days when blogs were very short and very intermittent).P1040970 P1040969

So, what was the problem? I bet you’re wondering. Have you ever had complete insomnia? From time to time I don’t sleep very well, to be sure – I am sure we are all like that. But last week, for some extraordinary reason, which I can’t quite put my finger on, I didn’t really sleep for eight nights in a row. Perhaps an hour or two; some nights, no sleep at all. It’s amazing how long and how well you can last without sleep.   There were a few work things which probably set the thing off; but they were quickly passed and dealt with. Sleep did not return. Each night I would be very tired but when bedtime came… nothing. Charlie could not have been kinder; but sympathy, or even worry, didn’t seem to make a difference. I wonder if a few people reading this blog will be looking in the small hours when the rest of the world is completely silent? I’m sure I’ve mentioned this once of twice before, but what I had last week was a whole different order of sleeplessness. I had hoped and prayed that when we went to Suffolk the quiet country air and a change of scene would be all I needed… but no. So now, I really really understand when someone tells me they’ve got insomnia.

We got back to London last Sunday night and I slept like a baby. I cannot tell you how relived I was. And I’ve been catching up ever since. I’m beginning to wonder if I can blame the lunar activity after all?

It’s been a quiet week, but an exciting one – I popped out to see a lovely potential job on Friday and on the way back called in to see our project at Fawley House. The scaffold, after what feels like years, is down. Here is our new building, nearing completion, and looking at one with its autumnal[2]

And here is the new stair window; nearing completion. There is about to be a beautiful plaster ceiling made by my friends Geoff and Jenny Preston, which is almost too exciting for[1]

Today, we’ve been in the shop. It was time for one of my periodic tidy ups. I’ll try and post some photos later in the week; but here, in the meantime, is the new wall of Peter Hone plasters looking amazing as dusk

So do call in to the shop soon. It’s looking beautiful, and full to bursting. But if you can’t, don’t worry at all… I promise, the blog is back. I might not post every Sunday evening, these days; please may you get used to the odd Monday or Tuesday? I’m sure you won’t mind if I say that sometimes, just sometimes, I’d rather be having a completely quiet evening at home with Charlie on Sunday nights. Because that’s the nicest thing of all.

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