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China Girl blog 29th January 2020

Some say that the scent of a garden can linger in one’s mind for years. It is as if down through the years comes the sense of permanence; settling on the old house and garden, endowing the place with a spiritual quietness, broken only occasionally by the passing of those who drift by, like the scent of the winter honeysuckle carried in the cold winter air, smelling sweetly like honey.

The week began with pruning the wisteria which grows up the house, covering the wall with its long tendrils; it can grow during the season to about ten feet. In the summer after it has flowered, we constantly trim it back. In January it is hand-pruned to two buds. It took three of us nearly all day, and even then, we were unable to reach the top, as the ground was too wet to bring the cherry picker across the lawn.

Another back-breaking task was clearing the Avenue of the Unicorn full of small wisps of dead leaves from the Robinias, which had been pulled down into the earth by worms. We raked off the earth with great care so as not to damage the emerging tulips; another two days’ work, kneeling on the cold wet ground.

Mother had (much against her will) a birthday tea party on Saturday, organised by Mathew and Charlie. They invited about eighty people. Flora Denise, a local caterer provided half of the food, whilst Mathew made a chocolate birthday cake and Charlie, an ice cream cake and delicious bite-size meringues and cheese straws. Jo made chocolate brownies and Jan came to Ma’s rescue with flapjacks, as Ma’s looked so awful! Al hands were required to make tiny sandwiches. What a day – Ma is still recovering three days later, but she thoroughly enjoyed her party!

Mother says such is life, which dances through the passing years like a golden ribbon.

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