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China Girl blog 4th April 2019

Life at Cothay is defined by the seasons. The cycle of winter is past, the year moves on; the magic of spring has arrived.

Mother’s daughter Arabella and Johnnie came to stay, which was spent at a literature weekend nearby. It started on Friday afternoon with a talk by Joanna Trollope on her new book, updating Jane Austin, followed by the explorer Alistair Carr on life as a travel writer, artist and explorer. Arabella and Ma went to all ten talks, whilst Johnnie went hunting on the moor on Saturday, joining them on Sunday. Ma said out of the ten talks, she enjoyed Peter Wilson on T S Elliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ the most. He recited the quartets for an hour without a break or a note. Time present and time past are both perhaps, present in time future.

On Friday, Julia Brisbane, an antique dealer, came to see Ma. We are going to start up our Antiques Fairs again next year, which Julia will organise in a huge marquee on the lawn; so much easier than having the fair in the house.

Although exhausting, Mother had as usual, a lovely day at Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair, where she bought a cold-painted, life-size bronze bumble bee for her collection. These were made in Austria, just outside Vienna, where there were about thirty foundries in the late nineteenth century. The insects Mother collects are now hard to find.

Sadly, Cloey who lives above the office in a small flat, is leaving to be with her boyfriend. Luckily we have found another tenant to take her place, who will move in May.

Looking spectacular are the extraordinary yellow-flowered Lysichiton americana, known as skunk cabbages. The tall spathe appear before the huge leaves, which can reach 150cm. Here they grow in the Oxbow in shallow muddy water. Native to NW California in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and north to Alaska in bogs and wet woods.

Shaking off winter comes and goes. Some days as bright as jewels, and others cold and wet. The land in which we live shapes our lives as we go about our daily tasks.