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China Girl blog 26th October 2016

Dearest Mother feels the Renaissance concept of ‘Festina Tarde’ meaning to make haste slowly, follows her throughout life.  No sooner has a project been completed than we leap into another. Each past project is wreathed in memory, time passes and it’s hard to remember the trials of the past.

 With November tumbling through autumn, the chill winds whip us into action.  Already the first frost has arrived.  Despite the cold snap, the old greenhouse kept the young plants snug.

Mid November brings a kaleidoscope of colour, when the leaves turn orange, yellow and red; this is the essence of autum

At this time of year, country folk are like their ancestors, gathering in food to be stored for the long winter. Apples, nuts, blackberries and sloes are easy to forage.  At Cothay we slice the plentiful apples into a bowl of salted water, which stops them from going brown; we then put them in bags in the freezer to make delicious pies and crumbles for Sunday lunches.

 Sloe gin is a favourite. The sloes should not be picked until frosted, as this breaks down the sugar.  Best kept for two years or longer – if you can’t wait for a quick tipple, a good wheeze is to take a jar of Coopers Vintage Oxford marmalade, mix it with a bottle of gin or vodka, give it a good shake daily for three weeks, drain, then try just a drop! Or as Mother’s Polish friends say when there is so much snow that you are unable to open the front door, you have a “Bottle Day”!

 We immortal little dogs say life is like a silver tassel blowing in the wind. We take our colours from the autumn leaves. Oh, how lovely are the Pekingese!

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