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China Girl blog 11th October 2016


Some say there is an air of magic surrounding Cothay, the past is ever-present.  Capturing the essence of the medieval mind is a delicate process; so often their fragile lives were fraught with hardship and the battle to survive.

Dearest Mother’s number one son Jamie, his wife Jo and family Emily, Daisy and Freddy have just moved to Cothay’s North Wing to help run the business.  They have two bumptious dogs, who I hope will not upset my routine!  Meanwhile, they all went off to Athens for the weekend for the christening of Mother’s number two son’s baby, leaving Moses and I in charge.  Mother said she enjoyed the Greek food, but didn’t understand a word of the service.  The Priest, who had a huge black beard, dunked the baby, whom he christened Aeneas, into a vast font of oily Holy Water; of course Aeneas screamed, whether in fear of the bearded priest or because the devil left him, is hard to tell! At all events, Mother said it was a jolly party and she reckoned that eighty people kissed her, which she did to them in return!  They are an effusive lot!

Lovely October, still warm and sunny. To our amazement, after twenty years, a Yucca gloriosa variegta flowered, sending up an amazing white flower spike a metre tall.  Yuccas come from North America, where they grow on sand- dunes by the sea.  Mother said if she had looked it up before planting the Yucca, she would have dug a hole, filling it with sand in a south facing aspect instead of the unsuitable situation she chose years ago!  It shows how important it is to suit your plant to its situation, thus emulating where it grows in the wild.  Yuccas are mostly pollinated by the Yucca Moth. If seed is required in non-American gardens, they should be hand-pollinated. The fruit is often dried by the indigenous Americans for food in the winter. How sad is it that the plant is flowering when the garden is closed, with only the dogs and I to admire it.  Talking of dogs, number-one’s wife Jo has a mongrel who looks to my eyes rather strange, he told me this is because only his mother kows who his father was and that on reflection, she’s not sure!

The days fly by, we have already cut back the blue and white herbaceous garden, ready to compost it in November. As long as the garden is put to bed by December, Dearest is happy, or relatively so! Nicholas, who comes twice a week, is three quarters of the way through cutting the yew edges which he started in August, so dare I say, we are up to schedule

Mother Dearest says that sometimes a gardener’s life is full of woe, but I tell her it is better than working driving trains. What nature gives she can take away, but who would change our world, for I can hear the joyful peeling of distant Sunday church bells across the meadows. Our joys surpass our sorrows.