Legend has it that the red and the white Rose of York & Lancaster, which climb the west wall of the house, were planted to celebrate the end of the Wars of the Roses, five hundred years ago when Cothay was built, in the late 15th century. They have subsequently always been replanted; simple, peaceful and eternal, but as we all know, legends cannot always be relied upon.
In the summer, Mother advertised a holiday job. Two boys arrived and have been here ever since and it is already early December. This week they have been painting the kitchen, the centre of the house, where we all gather. The warmth of the Aga, which in reality, is almost a living person, draws everyone to its warmth; even me with my warm silky coat, lie with my back to its gentle heat. Many years ago, before I was even a twinkle in my Father’s eye, Mother’s daughter Arabella had a tame pig which lay in cold weather with its back against the Aga, allowing no interference from those dogs who tried to muscle in. Grunting and snapping its disapproval, especially when poor Dearest was cooking. Poor Porky got so large that in the end she disappeared. Dearest has never eaten bacon since!
Poor Sally is away with Tennis Elbow, a very painful condition. Mother said when she had it years ago she couldn’t even lift a glass of whisky!
On Saturday we have our annual Christmas Fair. This week is geared to emptying the ground floor of the house, so all the furniture is put into one room; an unenviable task, moving heavy chairs and sofas.
Dearest says we Pekingese are notoriously wilful and to train them you need to be exceptionally patient. It is said that inside every Peke is a sheepdog! The greatest sport is to chase the sheep and Mother’s favourite ducks, who only get away from me when they fly into the pool. Years ago, Mother’s much-loved Peke Dar-lin-boy once rounded up a herd of sheep, separating ten of them, whom he drove into a bog. But sadly I have never managed this amazing feat. Oh dear, a Peke’s life is often hard!