The year is on the brink of turning….


Is it the second lockdown, or was it just that we had a weird technical glitch that prevented me from writing (or at least, from posting a blog) for weeks? Whatever the reason this time, a month has passed.  Whereas in early November there were leaves on the trees, they have all gone. And dust is settling too in all sorts of other ways.

And it feels to me as if the year really is on the turn, as we hurtle now towards the shortest day.

Although I didn’t write, I was still looking, and taking photographs, so this is a long and mainly visual diary of nothing happening at all!


W E E K   1

The walks were cold and bright and breezy…. extraordinary vivid colours, as if David Hockney had woken up and rendered the Dorset hills, normally so soft, in bright technicolour.

This week it was my birthday.  Charlie and I celebrated by getting take-out fish & chips and downing a magnum of champagne. 

The Crown came out and we watched the whole lot in one go.  Oh, yes, maybe that’s another reason the blog didn’t get written one week?

We popped out for a breather, to get some air, and give the dogs a run around, down by the lake, looking beautiful in late autumn colours. 

The following week, bright and clear again. 

Then I was up in London for a few days of work, site visits, meetings (socially distanced – but there are some decisions that cannot be made, some conversations that cannot be had, over a screen).  Digital v. reality.


W E E K S   2   &  3

The following weekend, a heavy mist hung in the air for days.

Charlie is digging a new huge patch in the garden for his show bench entries 2021.  The meadow has made way for production. Watch this space!

Mavis had cut herself somehow, and needed stitches, hence her wearing a pair of my old boxer shorts – kinder than the cone of shame.  All is well now. Enid has taken to spending quite a bit of time with the Sunday papers these days. 

Eventually the mists cleared…

We went for a late afternoon walk….

It was utterly magical and dreamlike up top on the high hills…

Home for sunset…


W E E K  4

And then this week, I’ve been in Cornwall for 2 days visiting our sites there.   Here was Mousehole, icy cold, blue grey, on Friday morning as the sun came up – the village of my 18th and 19th century ancestors. We are working down beyond St. Buryan.

An early morning visit to Newlyn, to inspect a newly laid roof, which we will be doing something similar to…. views over the fishing harbour…. The most beautiful little artist’s studio, being perfectly restored by our builders.  And such a beautiful roof too!

Lanes of Newlyn – it is so good to be in Cornwall in the depths of winter.

On the way back from the project I called in to Truro, to the Crescent that I designed many years ago now, but which is finally nearing completion – it is thrilling to see.  It did all work out.  The square in the middle of these houses will be allotments for the development. This is incredibly exciting to me! Each patch waiting to go now.

And home after a long few days. 

Scaffolding nearly down and windows looking resplendent and repaired, with their fresh coat of paint. The colour changed from pale grey to sand, it’s a nice one, very old-fashioned feeling.

Sibyl inspecting things. 

Charlie’s been putting the Christmas decorations up! Tinsel this year!!

Camelias picked in Cornwall.

This morning, we went for a beautiful walk…

It was such a lovely morning we decided to make it a bit longer, and to head over toward the coast, on to the Ridgeway. 

Dreamlike landscapes and cloud and light, as if we were floating. 

Ancient standing stones and a distant view of St. Catherine’s chapel at Abbotsbury, on the horizon. The high places of Dorset. 

The road down to Portesham.

We continued over to the ancient burial barrow called the Hell Stone – believed to have been built 4500-6000 years ago, although restored in the 19th century. 

Old barns, at the bottom of the valley, nearly gone.

Imagine how this must have been once.  

And back up to Hardy’s monument, and then home over the high hills, the village in the distance, tucked into the folds of the valley. 

A holly bush was alight with berries.  The hills were alight with magic.  A view full of possibilities.

And so the year turns. I’m back up in London now, and we’ve got two busy weeks in the office as you can imagine.

I wanted to end by thanking everyone for their incredible support of the shop over the last few weeks. Emily, Kinga, Ben (not me) and now Roland and Jemima have been packing away – the Christmas elf department is in overdrive.  It’s really been one of the most amazing things for Bridie and I this year to see how kindly people have supported the shop through what has been one hell of a year. This Christmas will, I think, be making all the difference.

Last week, I put up our new poster on Rugby Street….

It bears a message from all the little shops of Lambs Conduit and Rugby Streets – and a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has continued to support us, and who’ll be shopping locally this month.  We’re all incredibly grateful:

With Seasons Greetings and best wishes for a Peaceful New Year – with love from your Traders’ Association!

I don’t think we can wish for more than that!!


42 comments on this post

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  • Sally Leonard

    I am late in reading this as I like to wait to read your blog for a time I can truly savior each description of your and Charlie’s life.
    I’m presently staying in the hospital with my husband so this has been the perfect time to enjoy your beautiful pictures and equally lovely words. Thank you!

  • Clay McCleery

    Thank you for your blog. It’s always exciting to see Ben Pentreath show up on my phone!

  • Tracy Gooding

    Dear Ben,
    Your posts are always such a breath of fresh air! Thank you for sharing your beautiful area with us. Happy Christmas to both you and Charlie and all the girls.

  • Swanee Schuba

    So lovely, Ben. I am obsessed with the simple metal fencing, gates in many of your photos. Hoping to find someone in Southwest Michigan who could copy it. Do you know what it is called and what metal is used to make it? Happy Christmas.

  • Christine

    Merry Christmas from West Melton and Lincoln New Zealand where we have spent the last ten months away from the United States.Christmas is warm and peaceful.I have loved your blogs for years and they give me hope for the coming year.Thank you for sharing your lives.

  • Herman

    The photographs and newsletters are so beautiful. Thank you.

  • Jennifer

    Just adore reading your posts…your pictures are so beautiful!…love the house and garden and cannot wait to see the freshly dug patch planted up and coming to life in 2021…keep writing and posting scenery-(only of course if you have the time) and hope Mavis gets better soon…keep safe 🙏🏻

  • Timothy Van Dam

    Thanks, Ben, for helping us get through a trying year, with vicarious travels in your world. We send warmest Christmas greetings to you and Charlie, and best wishes for the year ahead. I love the feeling of energy and hope returning, with the clean slate of a new year, and for us, a new president. Congratulations, also, on the beautiful Truro Crescent (and to Charlie on those nice legs!).

  • Jennifer

    Just adore reading your posts…your pictures are so beautiful!…love the house and garden and cannot wait to see the freshly dug patch planted up and coming to life in 2021…keep writing and posting scenery-(only of course if you have the time) and hope Mavis gets better soon…keep safe 🙏🏻

  • Joyce Morris

    The colours in the first photographs, so fresh, so sharp, so fabulous.

  • Darlene Chandler

    Thank you for the wonderful photos, the scenery so beautiful, can’t wait to see Charlie’s garden when it is flourishing in the spring and summer. Happy Birthday to you. That was a beautiful cake, love the idea of fish and chips and champagne. Those pictures of Cornwall were so lovely and that artist’s studio also was so lovely. That development you did in Cornwall was beautiful. I so miss not getting to your shop this Christmas to the shopping evening Christmas event. It is so magical and I have not missed it for years flying from Canada, just one thing I never miss, until this year and restrictions and your wonderful staff so helpful and pleasant. Love the poster. I have a few in my flat from your shop that I brought home and framed. I loved Charlie’s Christmas decorations in your home and beautiful flowers. All the best for you and Charlie during this Holiday Season and a Peaceful New Year. I so look forward to next blog on your holiday and photos. Again, Happy Birthday, just loved the cake.

  • Kim

    Thanks Ben, for your generosity in sharing. A hell of a year, or more, is right. Here’s wishing Happy Holidays , to where people find themselves this year. We all have things to be thankful for; here’s to a better one, next year!❤️

  • Deb Miller

    Fish ‘n’ chips and a magnum of champagne, I’ll drink to that! Could be a great lunch on a rainy, uninspiring Monday morning in Vancouver. Happy Christmas to you all,

  • Jennifer

    Your blog posts have been such a treat during this stressful year. Thank you for taking the time to share your lovely home and life with us. And a belated Happy Birthday to you! xo

  • Susan

    I love how you photograph ordinary things and make them extraordinary. The mist is almost magical. Many holiday blessings from Ohio.


    How will all that stucco fare in the sea air?

  • Victoria

    Everything is so very beautiful. The allotments in the square at Truro are an exhilarating idea.

  • Diane Keane

    So good that you are back, Ben. These days, virtual visits are the rule, as my State (Pennsylvania) and county have some of the worst Covid statistics in the U.S. I have yet to start any Christmas decorating -all that work when no one will see it but me?-so I am enjoying the holiday decor that you and others are posting. 2021 will be better! Especially with vaccines and having a real President again! And with your blog, dear Ben. I send warm wishes for a happy Christmas to you and Charlie and the fur ladies 💕

  • Celia Slack

    Please correct my surname! Slack

  • Celia SLack

    Beautiful photographs as always. Such wonderful landscapes around your property. I often puzzle over the extraordinary shapes and contours of the hills and valleys and tracks in your lovely photographs. Has the land always been like that or has man had a hand in shaping some or all of it? Thank you Ben, it is a great reminder
    of how beautiful this country is. With best wishes Celia

  • jean clapp

    Ben – such magical and beautiful pictures. It is bitter in Vermont, I am looking out on a snow covered field and a glaze of ice on the pond – bleakness. I would like to be transported to your Dorset hills and walk on that old road….

  • Ann Collins

    Such lovely photographs to start off the week, thank you so much.

  • Clarisse Venekamp

    Thank you for your blog, I always look forward to it. Love the photos.
    We live in the Dutch countryside, which is also beautiful but we miss the rolling hills.

  • Deborah Wagner

    Good morning, Ben. Such a joy to see these photos.

    I told my (artist) husband about the Newlyn studio under renovation, and it was met with a definite spark of enthusiasm. We both love that area (and are increasingly weary of America).

    Charlie brings so much decoration to life. Love the socks. Nice that he’s a good digger as well.

    Happy Christmas to you both and your wonderful menagerie.

  • Margaret Sutton

    What an absolute treat for the eyes. I never tire of your views of Dorset and I also,follow James Loveridge who takes the most amazingly beautiful photos of your area, so I guess you are familiar with his work.

  • Jagnan

    Lovely blog! Thank you. Merry Christmas!

  • Frances E

    Such lovely pictures. They remind me so much of my young childhood in north Arkansas. There was a lot more timber back then, but the topography is very similar. Now the timber has been cut, and the hills are nearly the same as yours. There were no big houses, but there were quite a few rock houses (they are dwindling now), but you can still find them. It was and still is a very poor area, but it is so rich in pastoral beauty. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Lisa Dunn

    Thank you for sharing! Always look forward to your beautiful photos.

  • Dee Bowker

    Such beautiful and calming photographs Ben. Thank you 😊 Wishing you a belated Happy Birthday and also wishing Enid a speedy recovery. Perhaps Mavis can teach her to read whilst convalescing.

  • Jaci Isaacs

    Simply lovely, always inspirational, many thanks for sharing Ben

  • Patricia Childs

    Velvet hills, shimmering lake and mystical photos. Thank you Ben for sharing. Best wishes for the festive season to you & Charlie.

  • Tom

    Peaceful and lovely photos Ben. Thank you and Happy Belated Birthday.

  • Laura Harrison

    Once again, stunning photos! The development you designed in Truro is beautiful. Just sad that once again, a development and …..not a TREE in sight! Hope they get planting!!

  • Anna

    Such beautiful photographs – as always. And always a treat. Thank you. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the tea cup by your birthday cake. We used to have that set and have never seen them elsewhere. I’ve got 2 plates left and treasure them.

  • Jan Belcher

    lovely photos Ben cheers me along looking at Dorset and I love Charlie’s cakes and decorations
    He comes across as a warm and loving person especially with the dogs, and of course you too

  • Patricia Taylor

    So worth the wait! Your Crescent in Truro is wonderful – I wish you could put your influence on some of
    the London developments blighting our wonderful city – latest Bishopsgate Goods Yard which last week
    was given the go a-head. Fish and chips and a magnum – now that’s style!!

  • Karen

    So happy to see you had blogged again this morning! Beautiful photos of glorious Dorset. Thank you for sharing your idyllic life there.

  • Sandra

    Your countryside is sooo green very different from the snow covered, high rock peaks that surround me; beautiful in their fierce way but not walking country. I could smell that autumn/winter landscape, must be from my childhood in Wales. Like Charlie’s Christmas decorations, inspiring… Best wishes

  • Sally Stacey

    Dearest Ben
    Beautiful scenery and heartwarming words that compliment them so well.

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