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China Girl blog 28th June 2017

Where you live casts its influence over you. Ma feels there is something about Somerset that evokes a hidden word, a world long since past, shrouded in time. Set within its high-banked lanes, deep valleys and old woodlands surrounding the ancient farmhouses, where you feel the evanescent spirits of long ago. The rest of the world  hurries on, Somerset remains timeless, our world.

Last week the temperature in the greenhouse topped over 100o Fahrenheit, and outside wasn’t much better. Despite this, Chris and Rose trimmed the standard Elaeagnus ebbingei, whilst Mother raked up after them. The trimming of the standards, which are 12 feet tall, even with our mini hedge cutter, took a day up a rickety step ladder – a good thing the health & safety police were not in the garden! Ma remembers a few years ago when being inspected, one of the undercover gowlighters said Wesley should have a minder when mowing by the lake in case he drove in!

For a few days in high summer, the garden is like an old master painting, breathtakingly beautiful, as if lit by candlelight.

As Dearest and I walked down the Walk of the Unicorn, the cat mint brushing against us, the scent intoxicating. With the hot summer air, every flower holds its head up as if reaching for heaven. Our favourite is still the African hair bell, the tantalising Diorama.

Ma took me to have my coat trimmed; she felt they had overdone the trimming, especially on my pride and joy, my beautiful tail, which Ma calls my War Plume.

The silver thread that holds together life in Somerset is a source of enchantment, so fragile and so ethereal. Dearest Mother says that the first poem she learned was about remembering – “The fir trees dark and high, I used to think their slender tops were close against the sky” as they still are here at Cothay, in our beloved county.