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China Girl blog 14th November 2018

The cold wet November days drift by relentlessly. Everywhere are poppies reminding us of the end of the First World War one hundred years ago; but as we all know, freedom does not mean free.

Last Wednesday, Team Cothay planted over a thousand lily-flowered tulip bulbs in the North Meadow, to flower next year in April and May. Tulips should be planted six inches deep in early November which helps to avoid Tulip fire, a fungal disease Botrytis tulipae, which shows first as specks on the foliage and flowers.

It is probable that the introduction of the garden tulip into Europe is due to Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, Ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire to Suleiman the Magnificent. He first saw them at Adrianople when on his way to Constantinople in 1554 and introduced them to Europe in 1572.  Ma says she would like to have many more of these lovely bulbs, if the tulip budget allows!

Ma has started her Christmas shopping, always begun by buying herself a small present! It’s quite a task as she has twelve grandchildren and countless others to buy for. To begin the mammoth operation, Dearest Mother went with Robert and Vivien to the Antiques Fair at Shepton Mallet. As usual, there were lots of mouth-watering objects, a few of which ended up at Cothay for Christmas gifts.

Peter, who lives in the Coach House, has a grey squirrel in his loft. Despite repeated attempts to poison the tree rat, all has failed. Wesley has boarded up the entrance hole by which the squirrel enters, however he must have been inside; goodness knows what he is eating, we hope not the electric wiring and the roof lagging. Tim is coming this evening with his pop gun to get rid of the intruder, who thumps about at night disturbing poor Peter’s sleep.

Dearest Mother says there are always problems, she sometimes thinks that living at Cothay is like pushing boulders uphill! But where else would she and I live? And of course, there are many bright memories in amongst the damp November days.