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China Girl blog 21st May 2020

With the arrival of the swallows swooping about the garden, the year has suddenly taken a step forward; the glorious May days slip by with little change as we wait to be permitted to open the garden. How mother misses the garden visitors. Life is seemingly on hold, the only sound the bird song, the buzz of the busy bees, the mower and Ma moaning about the heat as she and Chris dig in to the hard-baked earth. Oh for a drop of rain to help us plant the cosmos in the gaps in the border! The stunning Cosmos dipinamnatus cupcake, looking like a frilly white button in the catalogue – Ma hope it lives up to its picture.

Thanks to Mathew, who argued with BT for an hour over our crackly phone line; he managed to wear down the supervisor, who in the end agreed to send out an engineer yet again to do a full line test, despite it testing OK from their end. The first thing he did was to ask the engineer to make a call from our phone, which highlighted the issues they were unwilling to acknowledge from the exchange. Now mother can at least hear properly after twenty years of fruitless cajoling BT! It goes to show that perseverance pays off – perhaps I should be trying harder when I beg for some meagre scraps at the table 😊

How lucky we are not to live in a town or high-rise apartment. The peace and quiet of Cothay is all enveloping. Our two refugees, mother’s number two son Mathew and his friend Saskia, who emigrated from London just minutes before the lockdown was announced are a great joy to have here, sharing the isolation. Saskia is amongst other things a Yoga instructor, who spent five years learning her art with a guru in India. She has managed, despite the terrible internet, to keep many of her students by running on-line courses.

Today Chris and Ma demonstrated how to make a pot-wigwam from hazel, which they collected in the woods. Once they had planted the pot with black-eyed Suzy – Thumbergia  – they make sure the hazel sticks are nice and supple, and these are then stuck in the outer edge of the pot, the whippy tops then get woven together, the side tendrils entwining to create a loose basket effect for the Thumbergia to attach to. Mathew filmed it and is learning to stitch them together and post on Instagram – this is all beyond mother!

As these enforced stay-at-home days slip by, we all work in the garden and in the evening Mathew cooks dinner – a very modern man! Then we watch movies or play Scrabble. How long will these halcyon days in this dream-like time last? We are the lucky ones to live in the country with this glorious summer sunshine.