Algy was on his way home, and the weather was deteriorating fast. Dense Scotch mist was sweeping across the moors, and nothing escaped the drenching of its persistent wetness. Algy sought temporary shelter under a rocky bluff, and thought of a haiku by the Japanese master Basho:

          I’m a wanderer
          so let that be my name –
          the first winter rain

[Algy is quoting Sam Hamill’s translation of a classic haiku by Basho.]

Deep in the woods, the hillsides were surprisingly steep. A massive Atlantic Oak tree had lost its footing in an ancient storm, and its great trunk now made a wonderful horizontal perch for a fluffy bird, or for any other creature who happened to come along. It was covered in soft, deep mosses and lichens, and young ferns were springing up along the old branches, turning them green once again.

Algy’s Calendars for Destinations Outside Europe

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Algy is very pleased to have discovered a cheaper way to ship his European range of calendars direct to destinations outside Europe, which means that he can offer the full DeLuxe range to his friends in faraway places 🙂

So if you are outside Europe and would like to buy a calendar, please buy from Algy’s Folksy shop. This also means that Algy can offer a substantial discount on shipping costs for multiples of the same calendar.

You can preview all the calendars at Algy’s Folksy shop. The shipping prices are cleared displayed on the detail pages.

Algy sends a big fluffy hug and special thanks to those people who have already bought a calendar – thank you very much xx

The West Highlands woodlands are full of trickling burns and, as the hillsides are quite steep, this means that there are many wee waterfalls to discover, especially when it has been raining … which is most of the time 😉 Algy loves to sit beside a waterfall, listening to its constant sound, and watching the water tumbling down in a never-ending cascade.

Listen to the sound of this waterfall, just as Algy heard it.

Where the woods were more mixed there were fewer leaves left on the trees, as most of the silver birches were almost bare now. The sun streamed through the maze of branches, lighting up the shy mosses and ferns on the woodland floor. Algy discovered a lovely soft bed at the foot of a hollow tree trunk, and dozed happily in the gentle autumn sun for a while.

Algy was exploring the woodlands of Atlantic Oak trees which bordered the quiet loch. The leaves were much sparser now, and the reflections from the surface of the loch below were quite dazzling as they sparkled through every gap in the canopy of gold and fading green. It was a beautiful sight, and reminded Algy of some verses from a poem by William Cullen Bryant:

          Ere, in the northern gale,
          The summer tresses of the trees are gone,
          The woods of Autumn, all around our vale,
          Have put their glory on.
          …

          Let in through all the trees
          Come the strange rays; the forest depths are bright;
          Their sunny-color’d foliage, in the breeze,
          Twinkles, like beams of light.

          The rivulet, late unseen,
          Where bickering through the shrubs its waters run,
          Shines with the image of its golden screen,
          And glimmerings of the sun.
          …

          Oh, Autumn! why so soon
          Depart the hues that make thy forests glad;
          Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon,
          And leave thee wild and sad!

          Ah! ’t were a lot too blest
          For ever in thy color’d shades to stray
          Amid the kisses of the soft south-west
          To rove and dream for aye;

          And leave the vain low strife
          That makes men mad – the tug for wealth and power,
          The passions and the cares that wither life,
          And waste its little hour.

[Algy is quoting his own selection of verses from the poem Autumn Woods by the 19th century American poet William Cullen Bryant.]

It was a mild, bright sort of day for November, so Algy set out in search of new adventures while the sun was still warm. There were strange patterns on the sea at the Horseshoe Bay, whipped up by the wind that was whistling sharply through Algy’s hair, and so he tucked himself tightly into a patch of dead bracken leaves for shelter. Algy was still thinking of the terrible tragedy on the other side of the world, and of how lucky he was to be sitting safely in such a beautiful place on a lovely day. There was very little that a small fluffy bird could do for the devastated people of the Philippines except send them a message of hope, and so he thought of a poem by Emily Dickinson:

          “Hope” is the thing with feathers –
          That perches in the soul –
          And sings the tune without the words –
          And never stops – at all –

          And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
          And sore must be the storm –
          That could abash the little Bird
          That kept so many warm –

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope” is the thing with feathers.]

On this Remembrance Sunday, when traditionally it is those who have died in war who are remembered, Algy sat in sorrow beside his corner of the mighty ocean – that ocean which is capable of such terrible destruction. And he thought above all of the people of the Philippines – those thousands of men, women and children whose lives had been lost for no reason – and of all those who remained behind to grieve and to try to recover from the shattering devastation of the storm. He remembered a poem by William Blake:

          Can I see another’s woe,
          And not be in sorrow too?
          Can I see another’s grief,
          And not seek for kind relief?

          Can I see a falling tear,
          And not feel my sorrow’s share?
          Can a father see his child
          Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of On Another’s Sorrow by the great English poet of the late 18th/early 19th century, William Blake.]

Algy found a comfortable perch in the old oak tree, and looked down into the peat bog below. He thought he could see a frog making its way through the sodden grasses of the bog, and he remembered a haiku by Issa:

          while croaking he jumps –
          frog in the rainy
          grass