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China Girl blog 3rd December 2019

Times present and times past, early Advent. Mother says little has happened lately, save for the rainy days of the passing year. Mother says that as the days shorten, she feels somehow time has been rewound. Sitting together in the Great Hall, lit by the fire, the ancient darkness closing in on us; the winter solstice still a few weeks away. With the company of Monteverdi’s vespers of 1610, time seems to have slipped back five hundred years. Monteverdi’s church music casting its spell conquers time, adding mystery and magic to the lovely old house. Monteverdi made great efforts to impose formal order on his music, much as we in the garden try to do with unruly nature, which she always wins, informality within a formal structure creates a natural look which does not appear contrived, although of course it is.

Leaf raking and more leaf raking, on and on, made as always harder with the endless rain binding the leaves to the wet earth. Chris and Ma spent the whole of Friday raking the Walk of the Unicorn; Chris, Ma observed, must have a jet-propelled engine in her rake! Ma struggled with her side of the path, watching Chris in the distance. At four o’clock Ma gave up, leaving poor Chris to finish in the gloaming.

Mother had her friend Liza to stay for a few days, as Liza was giving a talk on the Amazon and her time in South America. Her slide show was for the Ashbrittle Lunch Club. Ma not being a member, was unable to attend. Liza must have been exhausted at the end of the day, as she put up a sheet in the kitchen and gave the talk again after supper.

Mother spent Saturday finishing her Christmas shopping in Taunton, where she had a lovely time in the art shop buying presents and pastel crayons for her art class. She has now graduated from drawing flowers to pastels; tears of frustration wet the paper as she struggled with her homework!

The unending passage of time has barely changed the ancient landscape for thousands of years. Travellers passing through leave no mark, for the wind brushes away their footprints, and no sign is left of their passage.

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