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China Girl blog 20th February 2020

The wheel of the year turns slowly; despite the lengthening days, these February days are bleak and wet. There is little to appreciate about this time of year.

Storm Dennis lived up to the weather man’s predictions, lashing our island, causing misery to many. Even Billy, our own black labrador remained in the house. Ma says she feels as though she has lived here forever, but she never experienced such awful weather. She remembers her first glimpse of Cothay on a lovely summer’s day, hidden and protected for five hundred years, in past times from the ravages and pillaging of Henry VIII and Cromwell. Cothay, still lost in the maze of high-banked winding lanes, lying at the end of an avenue of lime trees, a sheet of water separating you from the ancient Gatehouse, guarding the old house. Ma still gets the same thrill looking down the avenue, which at this time of year is carpeted with snowdrops.

On Thursday we were visited by Radio Somerset. Mother took Andy Bennet around the house and Chris showed him the garden. The programme is being broadcast this week, and many people have telephoned us to say how fascinating Cothay sounds. It seems that many locals had no idea that Cothay is on their doorstep, so they really must visit us!

The ducks have already paired up. Despite the drifting rain and wind, the garden is full of birdsong; the bird table a constant feasting place for Great tits, Blue tits, Cole tits and our favourite bevy of the tiny Long-tail tits. Eight of them swoop down, then off they all go, only to return again a few hours later. The Nut hatches come and go, along with the Greater spotted Woodpeckers, robins, sparrows and chaffinches.

The single pink-flowered camilia has just started into flower; a woodlander, it grows under a tree, brightening the dark area. The white and purple crocus, under the tulip tree are all in full bloom, a spectacular sight. Clive Boursnell the photographer, is coming tomorrow to photograph them for his new book – The Secret Gardens of Somerset.

Despite the cold and wet, a haze of softness fills the air, as we all wait for spring to arrive.