Scotland’s Serengeti?

This morning we were waiting again for rain. We could see rain clouds forming over the hills, but would it reach us down here in the Machars? At 1.00pm I was taking photographs of the parched grass where only the weeds were surviving.


The cattle in the field behind us were lying on dry, bleached pastureland instead of lush green grass.



The grass on the lawn was brittle and crunched under my feet. We could brush it and small bristles would break off and blow away in the breeze. It was like coconut matting not a lawn. Even the clover was dying back.


Then, at 2.00 it started to rain heavily – we had the welcome sound of rain drumming on the roof and windows. An hour later it was still raining although much lighter and the sky was beginning to brighten. How much longer before we return to our more normal summer climate?



Sea Salad

This summer has been especially hot and ideal for walks on the beach. Over the years since we moved to Galloway, many such walks have led to poetry. An earlier version of this poem was posted in one of the shop windows in Gatehouse during the Big Lit festival.

Hunting Words and PicturesDSC00542 (1)

Shingle crunches beneath our feet,

gigantic helpings of crispy noodles

dried seaweed lies in desiccated heaps.

There’s side salad of sea spinach, or

if you prefer, scurvy grass. Both tossed

alongside the helpings of lasagne-like kelp.

You crouch hunting for images

to compose a good photo, while I search

for words, scribble notes to recall the scene.

The evening tide gently swishes in,

a tiny bird’s solo fills the air until swamped

by a rock dove’s persistent curr, coo, coo.

The beach is empty, but a single line of foot-prints –

man Friday with boots – tells of another, somewhere.