Tempestuous morn in Stobo

More accurately, a tempestuous afternoon, and the rain was relentless and drenching rather than volleying. I'm at a loss this year for where to place Matthew Arnold's 'tempestuous morn in early June'.

So, some tempestuous morn in early June,
When the year's primal burst of bloom is o'er,
Before the roses and the longest day -
When garden-walks and all the grassy floor
With blossoms red and white of fallen May
And chestnut-flowers are strewn -
So have I heard the cuckoo's parting cry,
From the wet field, through the vext garden-trees,
Come with the volleying rain and tossing breeze;
The bloom is gone, and with the bloom go I!

We've had tempest, but a dry one. The May and chestnut flowers have fallen before June came in. The roses - wild dog roses and garden ones - are already in flower. Only the longest day seems a constant. It is all very disconcerting.

So I may as well fix on yesterday's afternoon in the Japanese water garden at Stobo Home Farm. The occasion was a charity opening of the garden in aid of St Columba's hospice in Edinburgh. My daughter's string quartet was providing some of the music for the event. The woodland setting was charming, and on a fine day would have been delightful. As it was their fingers froze (temperature: 8 degrees C), their bows loosened, and their instruments did not like the damp one bit. Heroically, they played their two sets in an open-fronted summer house on a small island.

Access was by slippery stepping stones.

The other musician was a young piper from my daughter's school. The summerhouse would have been deafening for him, even with standard issue earplugs. So he found the driest spot under a tree, and would dismantle the drones and dry them out when he got home.

Below, the car park in the fine Scottish tradition: a soggy, muddy field, with enthusiastic marshalling provided by army cadets.

With all this water, it was inevitable that there would have to be a trip to the 'facilities', down this farm track...

Today I've been cleaning mud off shoes. I've even had to wash my shoelaces. Still, the music was appreciated, and the quartet knows to add wellies to its kit list for any outside engagement in the Scottish summer.


  1. What a beautiful place, too bad it was so wet and cold though! Hopefully the weather will be nicer the next time your daughter's quartet has to play outside.

  2. Despite the rain, that looks like a great time and fun place. I love the photos, they get the wet feeling across perfectly.

  3. beautiful gardens. i am sorry it was so wet for you and the musicians.

  4. Lovely photos! Hope the weather will be a bit drier soon, but it does make nature look green and fresh!

  5. Goodness, what an absolutely beautiful first picture! Monet would be proud!

    This weather is really not funny any more, is it. Hats off to the stoic young musicians and their poor instruments: I hope all make a full recovery.

  6. Golly, they were heroic! I hope the instruments haven't suffered too much, and that everyone's shoes recover as well. The garden does look beautiful though. There are some more of your Paul Nash trees!

  7. Sounds rather damp and chilly, but the scenery is certainly lovely. Your last photo has such an enjoyable perspective, mud and all! I love looking down this road...it makes me want to see what is around the bend.

  8. It looks lovely since you can't see cold. Hope a good time was had by all!

  9. I love a summer rain and music in the garden, but can do without the cold temperatures. You must be having our summer. Yesterday my poor roses came out and today they are squashed by the torrents. I'll pick some for the safety of the table.

  10. I love the photo of the bridge. It remiinds me of Monet's lily pond. It must have been lovely to hear music in that setting. Quite surreal maybe?

  11. Thank you all for the comments. I have a reply to each of them running through my head but no time to do anything about it. Oh for a futuristic computer where thought could be transferred instantly to screen!

  12. What a gorgeous Japanese Garden...I'm in love. Our local Japanese Garden doesn't have an island...I'm so jealous.

  13. I think braving the weather for a performance (both players and audience) makes it all the sweeter :) Still, clean mud off shoe laces is annoying.

  14. I felt I was there Linda! I loved that post, all that green and calm. The music would have made the day. Can't imagine playing in 8 degrees...brave and stoical musicians I think. Is this character building stuff? I think so.
    Many thanks, hope you're both warm and cosy now.

  15. Lovely post! I hope you haven't floated away with the rain. In the first pic, for an instant I thought there was a statue on the bridge, not a person in a raincoat!

  16. Wellies for summer garden music ;~)

    But, when we once drove across Scotland, those days when the sun shafts between clouds are magnificent. Was almost disappointing, for me, on a clear sunny day. The magic was subdued. We have 2 photos of Scottish lochs on our living-room wall.

  17. What a wonderful place to visit. I bet the touch of bag pipes made it special too.


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