Hidden Garden

Taken in Arbroath Scotland

We were on our first caravan holiday in Arbroath, me, Helen and Kimber (we didn’t have Millie at that point). It had been a hell of a week, Kimber was stung by a jelly fish, then a bee the following day, but was treated to her first ice cream cone by the harbour while we tucked into some greasy chips.

It was our first time on Arbroath. The seaside town looked tired, ramshackled in parts, but with pockets of charm dotted around and we fell on love with the place. The beach was long, and at one end flies buzzed around slimy seaweed, rotten and stinking. But in the opposite direction, it was wide, flat and when the tide slipped away into the distance it left silver mirrors in the golden sand.

Famous for its Arbroath smokies (smoked fish), we expected the harbour to reek, but instead, we were greeted with the smell of the salty sea spray that lashed the rocks and soaked our faces. The smell of garlic from a nearby restaurant hung in the air, and as we passed fishing boats tied to metal cleats, a waft of engine oil. I was struck by how much colour was to be found on the coast, from the lobster crates stacked in piles, to rows of washing flapping in the wind above a small cove, to the pretty white lighthouse, stark against a blue sky. One night, we even saw a supermoon.

There was one place that stood out above the rest though. It was close to the end of our holiday and we were wandering. We’d climbed a hill above the harbour and had a picnic while looking down at the orange roof tops and the grey sea, then we strolled by the abbey, and shortly after, into a hidden garden. It was tucked away, between Arbroath’s high street, a park and a rural area. We wandered through an archway into a beautiful walled garden. The garden was in bloom with red roses, white roses, trees, a manicured lawn and a variety of shrubs. There was a wooden bench where we sat for a while. All around us, birds sung in bushes and trees, butterflies fluttered and insects buzzed, hovered and jumped. It was a lovely day and the garden offered shade and a pocket of quiet and stillness, a rest from the world outside.

I have such fond memories of this trip, and I never intended to write such a big post.

But perhaps a prompt?

Okay. Write of place of tranquility, somewhere hidden amongst the hustle and bustle of busy life. Was it found by surprise, why was it there, what did it look like, smell like, sound like, feel like? Was it surprising and did anything happen that changed you or your character? Now hide something, bury it, hide it in a wall or a tree or amongst shrubbery? What was it and who will find it?

Happy writing and thanks for reading my post.

South Street Arbroath

17903538_1751493388475903_1624686325677448521_n

Artist Laura Walker kindly allowed me to use this painting along side my poem. You can visit her site by clicking on the link if you want to see more of her work.

South Street Arbroath 

Every day is laundry day on South Street.

White cotton flat sheets, stone-washed jeans; yesterday’s pink and yellow striped knickers

Dip and duck like multi-coloured bunting.

 

Children climb up from the beach

Where the sand hems the grassy slope.  Plastic sandcastles filled with shells; razors

And limpets, purple mussels speckled with shingle, and a wee deid crab,

Protected inside a bleached Hula Hoop bag, Crumpled.

 

The children’s laughter rips through the flapping blankets as they zigzag,

dodging Mrs Campbell’s frilly knickers that joyride on the briny wind.

The postman waves.

He’s sinking useless junk mail through the rusty red letterboxes of

the fisherman’s cottages. Unashamed.

 

A peg pings and a denim leg  kicks the sky, snapping the wind as it buckles around a

red rope.

Heaven rests like burning oil on the ocean.

 

A wrinkled man with leather lugs sits outside number twenty-five,

His eyes a hazy mist of blue sea, and cataracts.

He picks up his thick wooden board, red with blood and guts,

A deid head of a deid haddock with deid

Eyes.  He wipes his knife clean on a Pizza Hut flyer.

©Eilidh G Clark

This poem was first published by Artist Moira Buchanan in her art exhibition ‘All Washed up’. You can follow Moira Buchanan on Facebook by clicking this link  or visit her website.