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China Girl blog 19th November 2019

As we looked out this morning as dawn broke through, the early pearly mists hung low across the fields, almost as if the clouds had fallen from above. Autumn magic at its best.

Mother and I went Christmas shopping with Mother’s daughter-in-law Jo. Each year we go to the Mary Howard Christmas Fair near Malmesbury. Mother always starts her shopping by buying herself a present! Christmas shopping is always a mammoth task; children, grandchildren and all who work at Cothay. This year Ma plans to give her eldest son Jamie ever-green trees, which she has suggested for at least twenty years.

This reminded Mother of her visit to China and Tibet with the botanist Martyn Rix, where they looked at primeval forests. It was like stepping back into another world, the trees so tall their tips seemed to reach nearly to the sky. In Tibet, she stayed in a guest house with few amenities; the electric generator was somewhat temperamental and soon after supper, was switched off. This was the time for the huge rats to come out to play, running up the walls and over the beds. Should you wish to visit the loos, there was no indoor sanitation, and the trek to the hut across the frozen yard was a hazard. By the light of a torch, one had to climb a ladder into a shed with slotted planks, under which lived pigs and yet more rodents. Ma said she won’t go back!

This week we planted twelve hundred tulip bulbs in the meadow; a mix of colours, their lily-flowered petals make the meadow look like fairyland in spring time.

The garden is full of golden colour, the beech trees are still holding their leaves, despite the rain and wind and the beautiful peeling bark of Acer griseum is lovely in late autumn and winter. Here and there the much-loved Rosa moyesii’s hips add a splash of colour.

Three days of no rain, we’ve put away our webbed feet!

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