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China Girl blog 11th July 2018

In times past, Aspen trees were said to bring messages from the gods. As you stand near to the trees at Cothay, the wind whispers in the leaves; it is easy to imagine that the bare leaves are whispering messages as they rustle in the breeze. The botanical name for an Aspen is Populus, the ancient latin name for a Poplar. Poplars are easily grown unequalled amongst native deciduous trees, especially useful for heavy, cold, damp soil.

On Tuesday we had a group of forty to visit the house and garden. All went well until lunch time. As the group were eating their Ploughman’s lunch, who should appear but Environmental Health. We were working flat out, with many other visitors wanting sandwiches and cake. The last visit had been four years previously and nothing in the tearoom had changed except for a hole in the lino. When Mother said she had never poisoned anyone in thirty years, her reply was “that’s what they all say!” That evening, we had a doctor to stay. After Ma had told him of the visit from Health & Safety, he remarked that health & safety had gone too far and they were a bunch of ……   I won’t repeat how he described them!

Still not a break in the heat wave; we are all suffering, especially the plants. Ma bought a hedge trimmer on an extension pole, so life will be much easier, especially when trimming all the tall standard trees.

The finial acorn that was missing from the top of the roof-end has at last arrived, hand carved by Richard Smith, the stonemason from Wellington. There are four more missing in various places; Ma hopes she might get a grant to replace them.

But for Dr Dolittle, Ma would not have been able to do all the repairs this summer. A big “Thank you” to Dr Dolittle for all your help in keeping lovely old Cothay in good order.

The hot days drift on, no rain in sight. Mother says us gardeners are never happy – I agree, as I while away the hours, taking my ease in the cool shade!