Spring turning


As if by magic, we’re on the eve of the 1st of March, St. David’s Day, and spring felt like it had sprung in the valley. 

I’ve actually been in London for most of the week – and it’s been a busy week of site visits and meetings. I’m longing for the day when the office will all be back together – something tells me that won’t be for months, yet. Time will tell.  For now, it was a weary me that caught the train back to Dorset on Friday night, arriving home after dark.

But Saturday morning was clear and bright – Charlie and I woke early, at dawn, and went for our usual round over the hills with the dogs. 

However many times we do this walk (which we take in different directions, with a few variations from time to time) there is something strange that you can never get bored of something so familiar – when each day the precise effects of light and atmosphere and the moment of the season means that it is always completely different.

One thing that’s never different is the dogs’ desire to chase a ball.

Cattle grazing in the valley – a very peaceful thought…

Mist rising on the lake next door to our landlord’s beautiful Gothick house….

And, frosty that morning, Charlie’s incredible vegetable garden which is looking as neat as a pin after months of hard work.  His daffodil bed is about to break!

We had lunch in the garden and I slept in the sunshine both today and yesterday – which always feels good, but such a rare and special treat at this particular time of year. Another turn around the hills in the afternoon….

Long shadows slanting, but the sunshine was warm. The cottage borders are about to burst too…

Primroses spill down the bank, Charlie’s laid the hedge and the lilac trees are budding nicely. 

That evening, completely still, and the little light from our neighbour Ed & Christine’s kitchen window matching the golden sky beyond. 

We went out before bed so Charlie could close up the greenhouse – the moon was high and astonishingly bright, and with the weird effect of the new i-phone you can take strange moonlight photographs which almost look as bright as day….

This morning broke even more beautiful – clear and bright. 

The catkins on the hazels that I planted when I first got to the Parsonage, in 2008…. 13 years ago now. It’s amazing how quickly trees grow.  They were tiny single twigs in the ground.

Daffodils are coming out everywhere, right on cue. 

Happy dogs!

And this afternoon, we went for a walk in the balmy sunshine and an entire hedge bank had come out in primroses. 

There is nothing more beautiful and delicate than the scent of wild primroses.   I knelt down and inhaled deeply – all the promise of spring in one moment.

I have no doubt, as we always know, that March will have some cruel, cold days – it always does. But today, just for a moment, we’re allowed to dream of hot summer days.  The mornings are so much lighter now – I suddenly realised that we’re just 3 weeks away from the Spring Equinox, which always feels like a very good moment.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve always preferred the change seasons to the heights of summer or the depths of winter (funny, thinking about it for the first time ever, that one is high and the other is low). Every day seems so precious when the changes are so pronounced and yet so fleeting.  This week, the snowdrops are over – but we noticed the first blackthorn in the hedgerows.

I suppose that the enforced lockdown has again taught us the pleasure of small things, and that small really is beautiful. Before the world picks up again, and the hustle and bustle, the heater skelter starts all over again…. it’s good to remember this moment.

16 comments on this post

  • Southern Gal

    i always wondered who lived in that house… does that family own most of the land upon which you take your walks?
    such an idyllic place you live

  • Sally Margaret Woodward

    We also live in Dorset (West Dorset) and every day I revel in the beauty of the countryside around here and appreciate how lucky we are to be able to access this. It is beautiful at all times of year but I do so agree with you that there’s something special about the turn of the seasons. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing photos.

  • Drew Handlon

    Your blog with it’s beautiful photos and inspirational words always leave me with a sense of peace.

  • Deb Miller

    Those primroses instantly reminded me of my Gran and being a little girl out in the fields with her picking and winding the stems together with a ball of wool and putting them in a little basket to take home. Whenever I’m back in England my girlfriend and I take their dogs and walk thru those same old fields, ancient woods and bridle paths and there is something so timeless, beautiful and calming . . . the quiet joys of the Wessex countryside.

  • Malcolm Pym

    Beautiful photos and your words are so calming. Thanks Ben.

  • Patricia

    Thank you, as always for sharing the beautiful light, the green rolling hills and Charlie’s fantastic garden. Can you share where he finds all the fabulous cloches and mini greenhouses. I am in the US (the very flat Eastern Shore of Maryland-think East Anglia) but perhaps I could source them here.

  • Annelies Veronica

    ……and after a night when it’s like Hitchcock came by, the clear morning looks as if nothing happend at all with the dogs playing in the field and the plants in Charlie’s garden are doing their best to bring forward their beautiful flowers in summer..
    Thank you Ben for your glance into your peaceful world
    Annelies from Alkmaar, Holland

  • jo

    As they say, Ben, “God is in the details”… important thing to remember when we begin our “new normal”. Blessings to you and Charlie.
    Jo from across the pond

  • Diane Keane

    Ben, the obvious quiet joy that you experience and express so well in your blog is a reminder, necessary more now than ever, that the peace to be found in the natural world is bigger than turmoil within us. We just have to open our eyes to it. Thank you for being our faithful guide. XO

  • Rebecca P Ellis

    There is nothing more joyful on a Monday morning than finding a blog from Ben, with amazingly charming photographs, my favorite being your second one with the interesting convergence of roads.
    The day is already lovely, thanks to you.

  • Herman Prager III

    The dogs are so damn cute. :-)

  • Frances E

    Your reminders to enjoy the small things are good for all of us. We are all looking forward to a return to life as we once knew it, but carefully. Your pictures are so comforting, and your dogs are so obviously happy. Your blog is a lovely way to start the day. Thanks.

  • James

    As always, beautiful photos in wonderful light… I will never tire of the view down the road at the back of the church towards the old dairy, and the bottom of White Hill – memories come flooding back of so many happy years in the village

  • Stephen Buston

    Utterly amazing, the most beautiful family photographs ever to be seen!! Please do add my name to your mailing list for future images and lifestyle. Many thanks indeed, Stephen Buston

  • Celia Slack

    Wonderful! As always. Thank you Ben.

  • Joanne Robinson

    Absorbed in everyday life. Thanks for reminding me that my daffodils and tulips will be here soon! That gave me a sense of calm.

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