St. Andrew’s Day 2012

On St. Andrew’s Day, Algy woke at dawn and flew up into a patch of early morning sun at the top of his tree, to wave his saltire and sing his rendition of Scotland’s unofficial national anthem to the other West Highland birds:

                  O flower of Scotland
                  When will we see your like again
                  That fought and died for
                  Your wee bit hill and glen
                  And stood against him
                  Proud Edward’s army
                  And sent him homeward
                  Tae think again

                  The hills are bare now
                  And autumn leaves lie thick and still
                  O’er land that is lost now
                  Which those so dearly held
                  And stood against him
                  Proud Edward’s army
                  And sent him homeward
                  Tae think again

                  Those days are passed now
                  And in the past they must remain
                  But we can still rise now
                  And be the nation again
                  That stood against him
                  Proud Edward’s army
                  And sent him homeward
                  Tae think again

Flower of Scotland was written in the 1960s by Roy Williamson of The Corries. Listen to this original recording of the song performed by The Corries themselves back in 1968. The video quality is poor, but the sound is fine. The Corries first met and started performing while they were students at Edinburgh College of Art 🙂

For those people who like to know more about the person behind the blog, Algy has created a new page Meet Jenny, where you can learn random facts about his assistant and read some of her thoughts about her work on Tumblr.

As a bird, Algy has certain reservations about the American tradition of Thanksgiving. However, he decided to enter into the spirit of the festival, and sent overseas for a genuine pumpkin pie.

When it arrived he took it down to the jetty in front of the post office, and settled himself comfortably on the fishing nets. But he thought that maybe pies didn’t care to leave their native land, as his seemed awful hard to bite …

Algy wishes all his American friends a Happy Holiday!

Algy Tries Pumpkin Pie on Thanksgiving Day

Algy wasn’t sure that he entirely understood the American festival of Thanksgiving, as his pie didn’t seem to have quite the intended effect when eaten on a jetty in the West Highlands of Scotland. But he tried his best to appreciate it, and hoped that his friends in America would enjoy their own pies in the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

          Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
          From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
          When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
          The old broken links of affection restored,
          When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
          And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
          What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
          What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

[From the poem The Pumpkin by John Greenleaf Whittier.]

These Hearts Were Woven of Human Joys

The sun came out for a while, but the wild west wind raged without pause. Algy clung on to a sturdy branch of his favourite silver birch tree and prayed for a ceasefire in the Middle East. He thought:

          These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
                  Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
          The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
                  And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
          These had seen movement, and heard music; known
                  Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
          Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
                  Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

[From the poem The Dead by the WWI poet Rupert Brooke.]

Remembrance Day 2012


On Remembrance Day, Algy perched on a low stone wall by the loch and thought sadly of the terrible damage done to the world and its creatures by war.

He quietly hummed An Eala Bhàn – The White Swan – a haunting Gaelic song with lyrics written by a poet from the island of North Uist while in the trenches of WWI during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Listen to this lovely version of An Eala Bhàn sung by North Uist’s own Julie Fowlis.