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China Girl blog 12th February 2020

Spring time has a fragile beginning; the days are still short, and it seems to get colder. Even through spring is the time of the ancient celebration of Impolc, Mother and I planned to go to Snowdrop Valley. The last time she visited the valley was twenty years ago, but with the rain and gales, we decided against the trip. Snowdrop Valley is said to have been planted by monks from a nearby monastery hundreds of years ago. Perhaps we will try again before February is out, to see again what country people called Candlemas Bells, or February fairmaids.

Charlie and Ma went to the Antiques Fair at Westpoint in Exeter on Saturday. Ma said she was very restrained and didn’t purchase anything, but as usual enjoyed looking around.

In the evening Charlie, James, Flora and Ma went to see The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle at the cinema, starring Robert Downey Junior. A small part of which was filmed at Cothay as in the film, this was Doctor Dolittle’s home. It was amusing to see the long Yew Walk, which had been made to look overgrown; this was achieved by tons of yew clippings stuck into the hedge. Because of the heat, the clippings wilted and had to be sprayed with green paint. The tree, which in the story was built as a trap to catch intruders into the garden. was built of goodness knows what and took a week to install. The boy actor stepped into the trap and was hauled up into the tree; this must have cost a fortune as the clip was only shown for a few moments, but such is the making of films! Sadly, the film reviews were not particularly good, however the film was made for children and Ma’s granddaughter absolutely loved it! Which goes to show that film critics cannot always speak for children! Ma was told the film cost six hundred million to make, however we cannot police this.

Chris, Marcus and Ma spend most of the week pruning the climbing roses; Marcus, poor fellow, was designated to use the long roofing ladder, as Chris and Ma don’t care for heights. Chris has also sown a few summer-flowering annuals. After only three days, some had already begun to germinate, perhaps because we gave them bottom heat in the propagator.

Charlie gave Ma a book called “At Home” by Bill Bryson. He feels everyone should read it. It tells of times past, despite what life is now, like we are lucky not to have lived in the nineteenth century.

The great storm Ciara, which swept across the land has happily not battered too badly at our door in Somerset. There is we are told, another gale forecast for next weekend, this will be named Storm Dennis.

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