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China Girl blog 25th April 2018

St George’s Day, April 23rd the swallows arrived, ducking and swooping over the Reflection Pool. In search of food, Ma who is very superstitious, says it is a good omen and surely means the greening of spring is on its way.

This week has been busy; Monday, Ma gave her annual demonstration of Glorious Pots, planting up containers with half-hardy perennials to last until the autumn frost. We had hoped to sell lots of plants, but gone are the days when we never had enough for sale; selling plants gets harder each year.

Preparation for the forthcoming film, the name of which I am not allowed to mention, is in full swing. A team of people are endlessly busy in the meadows, which are now full of plastic flowers and a giant tree, beside which is a huge crane, which a visitor thought was to be used to cut the tree down. To add to this, my poor Dearest Mother is not allowed to cut the grass for a month. Ma says never mind, the revenue will enable her to do lots of repairs to the house, adding that everyone is so nice. A regular visitor to the garden was heard to say “what has got into Mrs Robb? All these bright plastic flowers, so unlike her!”

The highlight of the week was Ma’s youngest daughter’s wedding, at the most beautiful Norman church in Cornwall. Tiny with a beautiful barrel roof, only seating thirty five people. Ma and Charlie decorated it with wild spring flowers from the hedgerows.

A recipe for a happy marriage, found in a book of church recipes at the turn of the nineteenth century:                                                               

Recipe for a happy marriage

A good wedding cake

1lb butter of youth

4lbs of love

1/4lb of good looks

1lb of sweet temper

3lb of self forgetfulness

1lb of pounded wit

1lb of blindness of faults

1lb of good humour

1 tablespoon of sweet argument

1pint of rippling laughter

1 wine glass of common sense

1oz of modesty


Put the love, good looks and sweet temper into a well furnished house.

Beat the butter of youth to a cream, and mix well together with the blindness of faults.

Stir the pounded wit and good humour into the sweet argument, then add the rippling laughter and common sense.

Work the whole together until everything is well mixed, and bake gently forever.