Tag Archives: rain

A Promise

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We buried our friend Mrs O a few days ago. She had a good send-off, the church comfortably full. I was comforted an hour earlier, to see a rainbow, arched over her house as the rain drifted away into the North Sea. A promise that she will not perish! And the thrush and blackbird were singing.

‘Safe’ by Mary Webb.

Under a blossoming tree
Let me lie down,
With one blackbird to sing to me
In the evenings brown.
Safe from the world’s long importunity –
The endless talk, the critical, sly stare,
The trifling social days – and unaware
Of all the bitter thoughts they have of me,
Low in the grass, deep in the daisies,
I shall sleep sound, safe from their blames and praises.

That is one of Mrs Turnstone’s favourite poems.

This particular rainbow over Mrs O’s house occurred a few years ago.

 

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Strange Season III

IMGP5305 (640x374)Rainbow over the Skye Bridge.

We have had rain every day this week, filling the rivers, but giving us many rainbows. A bit of a cheat to show this one which was taken in June in the West of Scotland, where such weather is less remarkable, but I’ve been out without camera or phone. Our rainbows have been as welcome, even with an urban backdrop.

Muddy Hands Delight in Work

It was raining when I visited Miss Turnstone’s class of four and five year olds to talk about trees and plant a couple.

Talking about trees was really enjoyed by the children and by me. I don’t know that, aged 5, I’d have dared put my hand up to say, ‘We’ve got a pear tree at home, Mr Turnstone.’ It showed that the child was making connections, but in my time in primary school it would have been about the right connections, as defined by teacher.

Still, we talked about roots and shoots and nuts and fruit and leaves and soil and plant food (bone meal being porridge for trees) and worms.

Worms fascinate four year olds; I don’t think one of the twenty or so who came out to plant trees in the rain did not pick up a worm and have a good look. We had to be reminded that they live in the ground and help the trees grow!

The children are excellent at taking turns, or we could not have planted the trees safely; three people with hand forks and trowels is enough at any one hole at a time! But the holes were dug, thanks to someone’s ten year old big brother who came to help with the heavy work; the soil at the bottom was loosened and bone meal worked in; the trees, a hazel and a peach, were planted; muddy boots were taken off and muddy hands washed, ready for home time.

And something for everyone to talk about over tea: a lovely afternoon we had, despite the rain!

 

From our Hotel Windows

Mrs Turnstone and I spent a few days in Scotland on the occasion of our son’s graduation. All our hotels were booked in advance from home. I’m sure you’ll be able to work out which ones were part of a nationwide chain and which were independent, if you join me in looking out of the bedroom windows.

You’ll also get an idea of the weather: we did enjoy sunshine each day. But then it did rain every day.  ‘What did you expect?’ said the first Scot I met once we were back home. ‘What did you expect?’ said the second Scot I met when we got back home.’ ‘Terrible bad summer’, said the people of the Highlands and Islands.

Edinburgh Park

Edinburgh Park

West Highland Hotel, Mallaig

West Highland Hotel, Mallaig

King's Arms, Kyleakin

King’s Arms, Kyleakin

Inverness City

Inverness City

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Airport

Channel Weather

lettuce.redlettuce.greenFrom high on the hill I could see the dark curtain of rain butting up the Channel. Would I reach the station in time to avoid a soaking?

I had just been reading in Wood Avenue Library how, in August 1917, an engine driver had ‘sagaciously’ reduced his speed when a formation of Gotha bombers flew over his train. Sagaciously indeed, since the railway was a target of this raid and the unexploded bomb that hit the track might well have been detonated by a passing train.

As for me – I escaped that squall but its sisters raced our train along the South and East Coasts. You can see them here behind the fields of red and green lettuce that have grown visibly in the last week.

I got my soaking a couple of hours later, when thunder and lightning, wind, rain and hail descended on my daughter’s back garden. Mrs Turnstone had hers yesterday, walking the White Cliffs, her breath taken away by the wind. Hold onto your hats!

That word ‘butting’, implying stubborn progress, comes from John Masefield’s Cargoes, verse 3:

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,

Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,

With a cargo of Tyne coal,Road-rails, pig-lead,

Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

Singin’ in the Rain

Leaving a lecture at Christ Church University at dusk, we were treated to one of the most varied song thrush recitals I had heard in a long time.

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom’d pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge—
That ‘s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!

( from Home Thoughts from Abroad, by Robert Browning)

Why the thrush is wise I don’t know, but he still sings each song twice over and in the case of a master like the one singing this evening, adds new raptures to his song rather than having one set piece. And I wish we had one more local to our house!

It was blossoms and raindrops this evening and no need to harken as though the throstle were shy, far from it! So many birds seem to sing in the rain, no wonder Mr Kelly took to it!