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China Girl blog

The month has slipped away and Michaelmas Day, which falls on September 29th has passed; this is the Feat of the Archangel St Michael, who is represented slaying a dragon.

Ma and I have been blackberrrying. There is an old country belief that you should not pick the fruit after Michaelmas night, as this is when the devil spits on the blackberries. Brambles were once planted on graves to keep the dead in and the Devil out.

The enigmatic beauty of October is ever-present. The leaves start to fall, like golden snowflakes covering the garden. We do not rake them up until the frosts have brought them all to earth. The first tree to lose its leaves is the Kentucky Coffee Tree, the Gymnocladus dioicus. Soon the tree will be leafless, the bare gnarled branches like the bones of a skeleton.

Mother has turned the heating on and the weather has warmed up, but she cannot remember which button to press to turn it off!  We have a biomass boiler which is fed by woodchip, which means we are able to keep the house warm and snug, except when the icy fingers of January seem to find their way into the old house.

Today we had our last group of the season, who were from Sherborne Castle; all of them work in the castle and this was their annual staff outing. They told me that the Digby family who own the castle have lived there for four hundred years.

This is the end of the season; Mother misses the hustle and bustle of visitors coming and going, but still life goes on with putting the garden to bed and doing all the winter repairs. Whether you live in a tent or a castle, there is always work to be done.

How life runs on; the juxtaposition of old and new is ever-present, the very essence of all our lives.