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China Girl blog 1st March 2017

Drawing joy out of February with the ups and downs of the weather, not to mention last week’s Storm Doris which caused havoc in the midlands; luckily only minor upsets in our own sheltered garden. All reminds me that life is like a game of snakes and ladders. The simple pleasure of the purple and white crocuses, which spread like a necklace of light under the tulip tree by the river, all help to remind us that spring will soon be with us. Until then, the glorious structure of the old yew hedges remind Dearest that yew was used to make bows for warfare in past times. The old yew tree in the near-by village of Ashbrittle is hundreds of years old and said to be the oldest yew tree in England. 

Poor Mother hurt her back whilst carrying a knapsack sprayer. Wesley said that when his father had a back ache, he always rubbed oil which he used on sheep udders onto his back, which did him a power of good; Dearest wasn’t too keen on this idea!

The fishing on our stretch of the River Tone which runs through the fields and garden, is let to the Fly Fishing Club. On Wednesday, ten of the O.G.B. volunteers arrived to clear fallen branches from the river, which winter gales had brought down; we were all mightily  impressed with their hard work. O.G.B. stands for “Old Gentlemans’ Brigade”

The light and shade cast by the scudding February clouds reflected in the flowing water reminded Dearest of the tales of Mole and Rat and their friend Toad of Toad Hall, who lived by the river.  The charming snow-drops which clothe the banks of the river were often known as Candlemas Bells and were said to purify the house. According to folklore, an angel helped the candlemas bells to bloom and pointed them as a sign of hope to Eve, who wept in repentance and despair over the cold and death that entered the world.

There is always beauty somewhere, even in February, if you close your eyes and open your soul.