When your feathers are matted with sticky salt water, wet sand, and pieces of broken seaweed, there is only one sensible thing to do – take a very thorough bath in fresh, flowing water, at your earliest possible convenience.

Luckily for Algy, several burns run through the sand dunes and across the beach, carrying the rainwater down from the hills to the sea. So he didn’t have to travel very far before he could wash himself clean – and of course getting one’s feathers blown dry is rarely a problem in the perpetually windy West Highlands…

Algy hopes that this will answer most of his friend heterotopian’s questions :))

Have a lovely weekend, everybody, and try not to get caught by a wave! xoxo

And then the wave retreated, depositing Algy on a mound of rotting seaweed, flat on his back. But for Algy this kind of thing was all in a day’s work, so he just laughed at his sodden and bedraggled state, and waited for his assistant to come and give him a helping hand… 🙂

Algy knew very well that the tide could sweep in fast, but he was not paying proper attention to what he was doing. So, before very long, a wave caught him unawares… It was particularly unfortunate for Algy that the beach was covered in huge masses of kelp and other seaweeds, thrown up by the winter storms :{

(This continues the series of images that started with yesterday’s post, in answer to Algy’s friend heterotopian’s question: “How often does Algy really get wet, and how does he get dry?”)

Algy is really a very hard-working fluffy bird, as fluffy birds go…

On a bitterly cold and windy day in February, Algy was down on the beach with his assistant, posing for a series of photographs. Algy’s assistant was working on the illustrations for his first book, A Surprisingly Fluffy Bird, which is due to be published in early April. She needed some reference photos for her art work, so of course Algy had to oblige. But – in addition to being cold and damp and smelling of rotting seaweed – this kind of work carries a number of risks, as Algy was about to find out…

(This post and the ones which follow should help to answer the question which Algy’s friend heterotopian asked him yesterday, to wit: “How often does Algy really get wet, and how does he get dry?”)

Algy knew that the sunshine wouldn’t last, and that very soon those dark clouds over the ocean would sweep in and pelt him with hail and sleet again. The forecast for the week ahead was looking pretty grim, with day after day of gale force winds and stormy weather, but for the moment it was very pleasant to recline against the soft sand bank, and watch the quiet burn trickling past him in its new wide path across the beach while the wind whistled through the Marram grass overhead…

Algy hopes that you will all have a good week, and that the weather won’t be too unkind to you!

Algy knew that very soon – perhaps within minutes – another battering shower of hail or sleet would sweep in from the ocean, and the world would turn dark grey again. But just for the moment it was dry and wonderfully bright, so Algy slid down the soft bank of sand and tucked himself in by the edge of the burn that ran across the beach to the sea. As he smiled at the golden sunshine, he thought of all his friends around the world who were deep in snow and suffering freezing temperatures, and he remembered a poem which he dedicates especially to his friends in the eastern parts of North America and in Scandinavia:

          The frosty sky, like a furnace burning,
          The keen air, crisp and cold,
          And a sunset that splashes the clouds with gold
          But my heart to summer turning.

          Come back, sweet summer! Come back again!
          I hate the snow,
          And the icy winds that the north lands blow,
          And the fall of the frozen rain.

          I hate the iron ground,
          And the Christmas roses,
          And the sickly day that dies when it closes,
          With never a song or a sound.

          Come back! Come back! with your passionate heat
          And glowing hazes,
          And your sun that shines as a lover gazes,
          And your day with the tired feet.

[ Algy is quoting the poem A Winter Sunset by the 19th century English author Lord Alfred Douglas. ]

The wind had swung round to the north-west, bringing a quite different kind of weather. Suddenly all the mist was gone, and in its place came battering showers of hail and sleet, interspersed with brief intervals of bright but chilly sunshine. The clouds shot across the sky at considerable speed, so that one moment it was dark and in the next the land was bathed in light. Algy loved to watch the sea in these conditions, but it was bitterly cold on the beach, so when the sun started to come out for a few minutes he found a soft spot in which to soak up such warmth as he could. The dunes had been lashed all winter by a succession of storms, and their shape had changed considerably. Many of the edges had collapsed… but that provided some nice soft areas of sand for fluffy birds to nestle in 🙂

Algy hopes that you will all have some moments of sunshine this weekend, and find a sheltered place to rest in xoxo

The weather was harsh. Frequent heavy showers of hail and sleet were sweeping across the West Highlands on a strong north-westerly wind, leaving everything feeling exceedingly wet and cold. Algy took cover in a sheltered, mossy spot, well protected by the broken stems of last year’s bracken. As he tucked his head down out of the icy wind, Algy marvelled at the range of shapes and colours in the miniature environment in front of his beak, and was delighted to find tiny, glistening drops of water on delicate webs which spiders had woven between the mosses.

Algy leaned back against the trunk of the tree that hung over the burn, and listened to the different sounds of water all around him. The burn itself made the most noise, but if he listened carefully he could also hear the sounds of the persistent light rain and the dripping bushes all around him. It was cold and wet, but it was pleasant to hear the many sounds of water; they reminded him of a well-known haiku by Issa:

          Winter seclusion;
          listening, that evening,
          to rain in the mountains.

[ Algy is quoting the a haiku by the late 18th/early 19th century Japanese master Kobayashi Issa. ]