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China Girl blog 27th February 2020

Waiting for spring is somewhat like waiting for the first swallows to arrive. We think they never will, then one glorious day they are here, swooping through the air with gay abandon, glad to be back home at last.

This past week has been cold and wet, added to which our mini tractor which Wesley uses to collect woodchip in for the biomass boiler, broke down. We had to load woodchip into the trailer by hand, but luckily the breakdown engineer came to fix the problem the next day. Our second-hand mini tractor started life in Japan and at the end of its life it was sent to Vietnam, where it was given a new engine and rebuilt; it was then sent to England, looking as good as new.

Charlie looked in on her way home to show us her new puppy, which she had collected from Manchester. Ma thought driving from Cornwall was somewhat excessive to collect a mongrel. However, the darling little cross between a dachshund and a schnauzer was deemed enchanting; coal black and quite a feisty little fellow.

Life is full of problems which we could do without. Somehow, yet another squirrel got into the roof in the North Wing. David spotted it climbing up a drainpipe and managed to despatch the tree rat with Ma’s gun.

With the aid of the cherry picker, Marcus pruned the three pollarded limes, giving them their annual haircut.

Since the dredging of the river on the Somerset levels, our part of the River Tone has, despite endless rain, not breached its banks; it rushes by depositing flotsam as it passes us by on its way to the sea, and although at the bottom of the valley, despite the endless rain, we have not been flooded.

Poor Chris went to visit her sister in Sussex by train. She nearly gave up as so many trains had been cancelled because of the flooding. She, along with all the other passengers, had to be transferred to endless coaches. “Never mind,” a woman sitting next to her said after two hours’ delay, “We must treat it as an adventure!”

Just starting to flower in the lovely Viburnum opulus, the scent drifting in the cold air. Mother says it must surely smell like this in paradise, what more could you ask for?