Lifting Fog

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When the morning sun filtered through the soft white curtain of fog, the beautiful, warm colours of a Highland moorland in autumn started to emerge in patches here and there. Algy leaned back comfortably against a wee ledge on one of the numerous rock outcrops, and watched the colours increase in intensity and begin to glow as the sun gradually lifted the fog from the hillsides.

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The gorse was altogether too prickly for his tail feathers, so Algy hopped down to a more comfortable perch on a clump of heather which overhung the burn, and gazed at all the water rushing away to the sea. The local landscape almost always had a plentiful supply of fresh water, as there were only a few days in the year in which it did not fall out of the sky. But it was a different matter for many of the local human residents, whose water supply systems were dependent upon very basic collection facilities which routinely became blocked by storm-swept vegetation, some unfortunate frog, or even, on one occasion, an eel… In fact, it was very often the case that the more water that fell – whether as rain, sleet, or snow – the more likely it was that the humans’ homes would be without a water supply!

Have a happy weekend, everyone, with a plentiful supply of fresh water 🙂

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The weather had been very confused lately. There had been an enormous amount of rain, sometimes with ice or slushy sleet mixed in with it, hurtling down out of black skies and covering everything with grey sheets of water – or snow on the higher peaks. But there had also been some beautifully bright, sunny intervals. At times the sky had been totally overcast and forbidding, but at other times it cleared, and an orderly line of white and pale grey clouds scurried hastily across a sea of blue in a neat procession from the north-west.

Algy knew that, in the West Highlands, the best autumn colours were always seen when the sun came out soon after it had rained, so, when the paler clouds came scurrying again, he flew up to a spot where he could admire the effect. On a dry day, the fading moorland grasses looked lifeless and dull, even when the autumn sun was bright, but if they were thoroughly wet when the sun came out, they lit up in a wonderful range of colours which covered the landscape in glowing carpet of orange and red and golden-brown.

The weather had been very confused lately. There had been an enormous amount of rain, sometimes with ice or slushy sleet mixed in with it, hurtling down out of black skies and covering everything with grey sheets of water – or snow on the higher peaks. But there had also been some beautifully bright, sunny intervals. At times the sky had been totally overcast and forbidding, but at other times it cleared, and an orderly line of white and pale grey clouds scurried hastily across a sea of blue in a neat procession from the north-west.

Algy knew that, in the West Highlands, the best autumn colours were always seen when the sun came out soon after it had rained, so, when the paler clouds came scurrying again, he flew up to a spot where he could admire the effect. On a dry day, the fading moorland grasses looked lifeless and dull, even when the autumn sun was bright, but if they were thoroughly wet when the sun came out, they lit up in a wonderful range of colours which covered the landscape in a glowing carpet of orange and red and golden-brown.

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As the weather forecast for the week ahead was grim, Algy decided to make the most of a brief spell of sunshine, and go for a wee ride in the birch tree while it was still relatively calm and comfortably dry. As he looked at the colours of the leaves around him, he felt that for once he had almost achieved a state of satisfactory camouflage, but unfortunately it could only last for as long as the leaves still clung to the tree, which would not be very long at all if the forecast was correct…

As the weather forecast for the week ahead was grim, Algy decided to make the most of a brief spell of sunshine, and go for a wee ride in the birch tree while it was still relatively calm and comfortably dry. As he looked at the colours of the leaves around him, he felt that for once he had almost achieved a state of satisfactory camouflage, but unfortunately it could only last for as long as the leaves still clung to the tree, which would not be very long at all if the forecast was correct…

Algy left the forest and flew back towards his home by the wild ocean, fighting against the roaring north-east wind all the way. In the distance he could see the dual peaks of the Isle of Rum, dusted white with the first snow of the coming winter. It felt bitterly cold, and he wondered whether it wouldn’t have been wiser to have stayed beneath the cover of the great forest. He dropped down to the ground to rest by one of his favourite birch trees, amid a shower of falling leaves that were whirling round and round in the wind. Fascinated, Algy watched as he quickly acquired a pretty coverlet of russet, red and yellow, which glowed like pure gold in the autumn sunlight…

Algy wishes you all a very happy Sunday, and hopes that if you too live in these northern lands, you will manage to stay cosy and warm 🙂

Algy flew into the beech woods which lined one side of the river bank, and found a rather less comfortable perch than the one he had just left…

Although he loved his wild and windy home by the ocean shore, and the constant, soothing sounds of the sea, he had to admit that it made a pleasant change to be sheltered by these stately trees, and to be able to observe the autumn colours in the peaceful woodland without being blown around…

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy a peaceful weekend in a pleasant spot 🙂

Algy looked more closely at the river and the stones and the autumn leaves, and soon discovered that he was surrounded by a range of wonderful colours. Even the shadows on the water were really a deep indigo blue, not a dreary black after all, and the carpet of fallen leaves had a range of hues from green to gold to red and orangy-brown. When he realised that what had seemed at first like a depressingly dismal scene actually contained all the colours of the rainbow, Algy smiled a surprisingly fluffy smile and felt a lot happier.

But he had heard that one of his friends who was travelling had caught a nasty virus and was feeling very poorly, so to cheer her up – and anyone else feeling sick today – Algy recited this wee poem. He hopes that you will all be going out to play again very soon 🙂

“I cannot go to school today,“
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more – that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut – my eyes are blue –
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke –
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is – what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is… Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

[Algy is quoting the children’s poem “Sick” by the 20th century American writer Shel Silverstein.]

Algy was fascinated by the many colours he could see around the wee moorland burn in the autumn sunshine. There was still a fair amount of green showing in the the lower parts of the grasses, but their tops were a beautiful blend of beige and russet and gold. The burn itself was like a tiny, narrow ribbon of sky winding its way across the moor: a beautiful cobalt blue in the calmer areas, but crisp, sparkling white where the water moved more rapidly. It made a lovely contrast with the stones that had been tumbled into the path of the stream when the burn was in flood, and Algy especially admired the rich, deep oranges and reds which emerged when the rocks got wet. On a day like this it was almost impossible to remember that when the Scotch mist came back down, the colours would immediately vanish and everything would revert to grey and black…