The rains of winter sweep across the West Country, leaving brush strokes of colour on the bare brown earth. Now the garden begins to wake from its long winter rest, but the February air is still cold and damp; we should not be lured into believing that the worst has passed.
Ma and I feel that lately never a week goes by without a problem bouncing up and hitting us hard. We are not on mains water; instead we have a bore-hole going down deep into the ground which pumps up water and feeds it to the house, cottages and cattle troughs. The engineer who services the machinery in the pump house discovered we had a leak, losing approximately a gallon of water every 5 minutes. Ma of course had a wobbly and went into a major panic. After a day the engineers with specialist equipment, had failed to trace the leak. The garden is full of pipes criss-crossing the lawns and fields. We await with trepidation the next stage, which means bringing in heavy equipment. We are assured that the leak will be found. But at what cost!
The very good news is that the American film company International are using Cothay for a film in the spring. They will not begin until the leaves are on the trees. Ma is sworn to secrecy regarding the name of the actor playing the lead role. What a huge piece of unexpected luck! It will help enormously with the house economy. Many American films are made in England, as the government gives large tax encouragement. Last week the American director, producer, cameramen and other crew came for yet another recce and yet again changed their minds over this and that. The weather was freezing, so Ma took the Director into the kitchen and opened the plate-warming oven of the Aga. He lay on his back on the floor and stuck his feet into the oven. The location manager says he feels at home here! The following week, fifty heads of various departments arrived in a coach to make yet more plans. Dearest Mother is on tenterhooks worrying they will pull out if she doesn’t allow them to do whatever they like!
What a turn of events. Such is life, which for most people is an epic struggle which makes up the web of life.