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China Girl blog 31st January 2017

In China we say it is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret; how complicated life is. Where you live and what you do makes you what you are.

Some days it seems as if spring is only a heart-beat away, with all the snowdrops coming into glorious flower down the Lime Avenue. What a temptation it is to pick them. I am told that the old wives’ tale forbids this, as gathering snowdrops to bring into the house is unlucky and as Dearest is extremely superstitious, I think this would be unwise, even though I have seen her walk under a ladder!

The Inner Court where the wisteria climbs over the roof of the workshop is a once- yearly pruning nightmare.  All the dead leaves must be blown off the roof with a leaf-blower. The window in the roof was invisible, covered with leaves; although no-one fell through, a certain amount of damage was done and enough to call out Kevin, the roofer. Poor Dearest tripped over a piece of wisteria and is black and blue. Other than all of these mishaps, it was a successful day!

The earth in this ancient garden is submerged in time, evocative of the past.  In early medieval times, the rent for the land surrounding Cothay was a pair of silver-spurs and a rose, payable at Christmas and on the Feast of St John the Baptist; it is a little more now!

As the unwilling wintery sun faded, Dearest Mother and I came in from the garden. A beam of fading sunlight lit up the wingless Angels, high up in the Great Hall. They must have witnessed many sights as they guarded the house over the years, watching and praying for all the departed souls.