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China Girl blog 13th September 2018

Here at Cothay, the scent of the past lingers in the air, for as Margaret Wood says, “The charm of medieval architecture lies not in its intrinsic beauty alone, it is a link with our ancestors.” The essence of the past still lingers, like notes of distant music.

Ma, who lives alone, often thinks she should up-sticks and move to a fairy-tale cottage in a wood, but the next day she ponders on what she would do. Living at Cothay, there is always a reason to get up in the morning. Ma’s number one son says she could play bridge, but as she cannot even remember her car number, I feel that would be unwise. Of course, there are many disadvantages to Cothay, not least the fact that Ma doesn’t like the dark. Only last night, a spider must have crawled across the burglar alarm at two in the morning. The alarm sounded in the security office, who telephoned; poor Ma was told to go and check for intruders; clutching her pepper spray and a heavy candlestick, she crept downstairs. Making such life-changing decisions is hard enough when we can’t even decide what to have for lunch.

We are overrun by squirrels; Ma bought two traps, but so far no luck as the cunning creatures take the nuts, managing to get out of the trap. The only thing caught was a very cross moorhen. I don’t think we have mastered the settings. Grey squirrels do great damage, barking trees to mark their territory, eventually killing the tree. We read in the Telegraph newspaper that it is every Englishman’s duty to do away with them; after all, they are only tree rats. Ma asked Marcus, our tenant who lives in the converted attic if he would like to shoot some, to which he replied “I am a vegetarian!” In desperation, Ma has taken up her gun again, and this evening managed to despatch one.

Flowering now are some beautiful autumn salvias. The spectacular Salvia involucrata, known as the Rose leaf Salvia, from parts of Mexico, flowering at over five feet tall. In the wild, it grows on the edge of woods. The charming rich deep-pink flowers flower until the frosts; a must for early autumn gardens.

How blessed we are to live and work in this lovely Somerset land. As dreamy autumn days take their hold, there is still much to be glad about.