Archives for the month of: May, 2014

The rhubarb and willow never go thirsty, slaked as they are with bath-water. Under the elm tree we soak in a cast-iron tub, in a Belfast sink on the veranda we brush our teeth, and at the end of the garden a fine compost toilet looks after itself.

But with washing-up water, the thing is to fling; fling it across the track in a wild shining arc, accompanied by a hearty yell of ‘gardyloo!’

‘Gardyloo!’ they once cried on the filthy streets of Scotland as they hurled slops from the upstairs windows; a corruption of the French Garde a l’eau – Beware of the water indeed.  There is no danger to anyone passing the yellow caravan of being showered in slops, because there is no danger of anyone passing the yellow caravan. For days at a time, the track is gloriously untrod.

GardylooRob thinks that he does not shout Gardyloo when I am not at home. But when he’s not there, I feel uneasy not to – the silence is reproachful. So I shout it with meek apology – because it does feel a little strange – as if you’ve taken a comical tumble and no-one is there to see you, laughing and embarrassed, on the ground.

The blackbirds enjoy the little grains of rice. Track puddles gleam a little longer here, reflecting the bluebells. Nevertheless we have one very flat run-over-by-a-visitor fork, and are missing several teaspoons.


Halfway up the waterfall the stone is hard and it is soft, sculpted and smoothed by water into grooves like human contours and hips. There was no rain for a long time and it was dry enough on Monday, to climb up and sit in a pelvis of rock above the pool.


The pool is just left of the cascade; a stone bowl filled by a trickle of water that leaves it quietly, but today the water level is lower than the trickle-gap and the pool is completely still. Its surface swallows light from the sky and reflects it back through a calligraphy of twigs.

The pool protrudes out above where the water lands. It has a low wall of rock which separates it from the splashy noisy stream-scene, from the moss and spray and leaves and ferns and trembling wood sorrel, from the white bubbles and white noise – the water sounds like applause in which individual hearty claps and gurgles can be heard. Pebbles have collected in finger-joins of rock and made little beaches in the bank.

There is a freshness of ozone and a waterfall kiss on the skin.