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China Girl blog 14th December 2017

When Dearest came home after a month in India, she said it was as if the old house wrapped its arms joyfully around her, welcoming her home. Ma has been home for ten days and she still hasn’t finished unpacking, she says she is exhausted and needs another holiday to recover from her travels in India.

After months of preparation, we held our Christmas Fair. I was not allowed into the main house as there were so many people that Ma thought I could be crushed underfoot. We used all of the ground floor and the solar; all the furniture was stored in the Winter Parlour, the preparation took three days, the heavy furniture moved on a special trolley designed by Steve. All the books and endless treasures collected over 50 years had to be carefully carried to safety. On Saturday the Tearoom stove was lit, whilst all the rolls were filled and lovely home-mad soup heated, along with delicious mulled wine. All was ready with super-human effort by 10.30. The forty stands looked amazing, crammed into every nook & cranny. Christmas decorations, jewellery, antiques, sheepskin throws, books & pictures, fudge and many other stands. Ma said her favourite was Mary Davies with her collection of hand-knitted cardigans. The whole Team Cothay worked until they dropped to make the day a success.

In the garden, composting has begun; a back-breaking exercise, with the herbaceous border covered in six inches of muck and compost. Ma said “thank goodness that’s finished” but Rose replied “we have hardly begun, we need to cover the rest of the garden, it needs feeding”. Ma nearly passed out!

Marcus, who lives in the North Wing attic, has been roped in to clear leaves; another hard job, with a leaf blower strapped to his back. Nick has beaten his last year’s hours by finishing the clipping of the yew hedges. What a busy time of year advent is!

Simon from Dunkeswell came to view the site for the new shop which he is building in cedar. It will be ready next spring, now we have to find lovely desirables to fill it, which will include all the objects Dearest bought in India.

The cold weather has come early with a vengeance; Ma has five layers on and is still cold, but I am warm wrapped in my black & white fur.

The wind snakes down the lane to Cothay, freezing the pool in front of the house and whispering through cracks in the house. A comforting thought, spring is only four months away!