castle garden of water to beyond

Twelve months in a Japanese garden in Edinburgh

December – Ken’s post

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As the year winds down towards the shortest day. I’m joined by Alice, Grazyna, and Alexander, and their daughter Marcelina; plus the dogs, Ness and Holly.

There are a few cars in the car-park but their drivers must be at whatever’s happening in the house as we have the garden to ourselves. After recent frosts and sleet the weather has calmed down, but it’s cold and occasionally we’re threatened by rain.

I ask Alice about something she was working on when I last saw her back in the spring, and she says it went well, but it’s poignant thinking back to it, as it took place in Glasgow School of Art just before the fire, in the ‘hen run’, the corridor originally used by the female students which was completely destroyed. Alexander recalls we spoke about Bernat Klein earlier in the year, and that he has since died.

Those losses, the brown leaves slowly turning to mush, the weak midwinter light and the fact I’m aware this is the last of these monthly vists all make it feel like an afternoon of endings. But as a counterbalance this is Marcelina’s first visit to the garden, so it’s a beginning too. To warm us against the cold I hand round a small bottle of Croatian plum brandy my older daughter brought back from her summer holidays, a welcome reminder of summer and the south.

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Author: Castle Garden of Water to Beyond 2014

Poet Ken Cockburn decided to visit the Japanese garden at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh once a month during 2014, and to invite a group of friends to join him on these visits. The idea is to get a sense of the garden as it changes over the year, to meet and talk socially in an outdoor setting, and to make of it what we will…

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