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China Girl blog 27th June 2019

The charm of Cothay lies not only in its great age but also in its setting, in the ageless peace and quiet which surrounds the house and garden. Set in the timeless past of long ago, it has, by some miracle survived the traumas of five hundred years. Each past generation guarding and loving the old stone house and its surroundings, as we in our time do today.

Despite all our grumblings about the weather, the drifting rain has benefited the plants. Unlike last year’s drought, now the garden is at its magical best; what more could one wish for, but the sun to shine.

June is our busiest time of year Mother says she feels a little like the TV programme ‘Open all Hours’; she is quite happy as long as she doesn’t have to open up the Tearoom when we are officially shut. She never turns visitors away.

On Wednesday we had two groups booked, one group of thirty-five for lunch and tea. The afternoon group of forty had said they didn’t want any refreshments, but in the middle of clearing away lunch, the second group arrived all wanting tea and cakes. Ma and Fran, who was helping as Shirley was away, were trying to lay up tea for the first group. Chaos followed, Ma did not have forty extra teapots, chairs or enough cake. In the middle of the mayhem, the lights went out and the dishwasher threw a wobbly! At 5.30pm, Fran & Ma, who had been in the tearoom since early morning, gave up! Ma had drunk six bottles of coca cola to keep her sugar levels up. She then drank a large whiskey and got into bed with all her clothes on!

On Saturday evening we had our annual visit from the Festival Players, who put on “Much Ado about Nothing.” Happily, the evening was fine; everyone brought picnics, a happy evening for one and all.

The garden is looking so beautiful. Mother said if the good Lord was looking down, which would be his favourite plant? To help him, Ma chose the lovely pink rose Rosa Raubritter, bred in Germany by Kordes in 1967. Also, the charming deep pink Texensis clematis Koningin Maxima, which climbs through a rose of the same colour.

There is a serenity about these summer days which echoes the past centuries, reminding us of long ago.