One of the particular pleasures of being away from Cothay even for day, is returning home. Noticing with a fresh eye things so ordinary which before had been taken for granted, like the passage of the passing season. As the autumn days linger in the mind like scudding clouds, how lovely is this time of year, when the leaves on the trees look as if they are wrapped in gold. The smell of damp earth mingles in our souls with the wood-smoke in the old hall fireplace, marking inexorably passing time, reminding Mother of the child in Precious Bane, who asks the wizard “Where is the future?” to which he replies “It lies with the past at the back of time.”
This week we have had staying, a young architect Kristian Foster, who is one of this year’s scholars from SPAB, which was founded in 1877 for the protection of ancient buildings by Lord Plunkett. Part of the aim of the scholarship is to gain an appreciation of the allied arts and aspects of the culture and life of country houses, designed to develop their sensitivity and taste and to produce well-rounded, informed and sensitive conservation professionals. Kristian spent his time sketching interesting aspects of Cothay, we all enjoyed his short stay. When he left he gave Ma a huge bunch of flowers, a pot of her favourite ice-cream and a bag of treats. Ma feeling hungry, popped one in her mouth; not enjoying it, she looked at the packet only to see it was meant for me. That will hopefully teach her to read labels!
Slowly, slowly the twenty-five Box balls on the terrace, which Ma took as cuttings thirty years ago, now suffer from the dreaded Box Blight and are being replaced with Ilex crenata.
Luckily Avril reminded us that British Summer Time ended, unlike last year, when we spent two days in glorious ignorance!
Autumn days roll on, Mother Dearest is off to India for her annual holiday. She said best I stay and guard the house. Dogs are not loved on the subcontinent and it would be awful if I were made into curry. Oh, how I will miss her, I am her Darling Girl!