Becalmed

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Algy was surprised to find a lone, flowering gorse bush growing out of the hard ground beside the strange man-made structures which stretched out across the still water, but it provided a comfortingly familiar perch in strange surroundings, so he settled upon it happily, ignoring the usual prickles to his tail feathers. The wind had dropped entirely for a moment and the harbour was completely still; the surface of the sea glimmered like a mirror, reflecting not only the brightly-painted buildings and the boats, but even the clouds, so that they floated serenely across the water as well as the sky. Such a calm was unusual on the wild west coast of Scotland, and Algy gazed in wonder at the translucent water and the clear reflections, thinking of a poem in his collected works of Longfellow, and wondering when the wind would start to blow again:

Becalmed upon the sea of Thought,
Still unattained the land it sought,
My mind, with loosely-hanging sails,
Lies waiting the auspicious gales.

On either side, behind, before,
The ocean stretches like a floor,–
A level floor of amethyst,
Crowned by a golden dome of mist.

Blow, breath of inspiration, blow!
Shake and uplift this golden glow!
And fill the canvas of the mind
With wafts of thy celestial wind.

Blow, breath of song! until I feel
The straining sail, the lifting keel,
The life of the awakening sea,
Its motion and its mystery!

[Algy is quoting the poem Becalmed by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

Like a Mirror…

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As he continued to explore the harbour around the fishermen’s pier, Algy suddenly noticed a patch of what looked like spring flowers on the far side of the bay, where many smaller boats were floating in deeper water beside a strange, man-made structure. Flying across to investigate, Algy discovered something very odd. One of the boats, which had been washed up high onto the shore, was full of small daffodils. They were even crowding up through a wee hole at the end. Algy perched beside the flowers for a while, puzzling over this strange phenomenon. Was it possible that soil got thrown into stranded boats during the winter storms, and daffodils seeded themselves there? It hardly seemed likely…

But it was such a beautiful day that Algy decided not to worry his fluffy head too much about things he could not understand… The sun was shining, the sea was exceptionally calm, and the bay looked just like a deep blue mirror. So he leaned back among the flowers and gazed contentedly at the pretty scene, relaxing in the welcome spring sunshine…

Algy wishes you all a very happy Sunday, and hopes that you all have a chance to relax in beautiful surroundings today 😀

What Says the Clock?

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Algy hopped back down onto the beach, keen to try as many different kinds of perch as he could find in this exciting new environment. He noticed that the local birds seemed to be masters of all perches, but when he tested some of the more unusual options he discovered that some were a wee bit more challenging for a fluffy bird than others, requiring a high degree of acrobatic skill and an advanced sense of balance which he had not had a chance to develop adequately…

As he wobbled from side to side, trying not to look foolish – and above all, not to fall off – in full view of the cackling sea birds who were watching him from the water, a loud sound tolled out from behind him, with a deep, clear note. The repeated tone was mesmerizing, and with the tide crawling slowly out further beyond the beached boats, he was inevitably reminded of some verses by one of his favourite poets, which he had noted especially because he had feathers instead of hair…

Saddle and ride, I heard a man say,
Out of Ben Bulben and Knocknarea,
What says the Clock in the Great Clock Tower?
All those tragic characters ride
But turn from Rosses’ crawling tide,
The meet’s upon the mountain-side.
A slow low note and an iron bell.

What brought them there so far from their home.
Cuchulain that fought night long with the foam,
What says the Clock in the Great Clock Tower?
Niamh that rode on it; lad and lass
That sat so still and played at the chess?
What but heroic wantonness?
A slow low note and an iron bell.

Aleel, his Countess; Hanrahan
That seemed but a wild wenching man;
What says the Clock in the Great Clock Tower?
And all alone comes riding there
The King that could make his people stare,
Because he had feathers instead of hair.
A slow low note and an iron bell.

[Algy is quoting the Song for the Severed Head from the play The King of the Great Clock Tower by the 20th century Irish poet William Butler Yeats.]

Messing About in Boats…

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Algy was enchanted by the world he found at the foot of the harbour wall; at high tide this world simply did not exist. Of course elements of it were there at all times, glimpsed beneath the surface of the water when the tide was in, but when the tide ran out, strange things began to happen. Objects which had been floating became grounded on the shingle beach, and those which had been partly submerged were fully revealed, in many cases turning out to be very much larger than Algy had imagined. And, as the water receded, it left behind a miniature landscape of seaweed, coloured pebbles and sea shells, with many other things to discover besides, which the harbour birds swooped upon joyfully, shouting with pleasure.

Close to the wall, a stranded boat was reclining in an inviting manner, and Algy decided to recline for a while too. Tucking himself into one corner, on what seemed to be a perch specially provided for the purpose, he studied the jumble of bits and pieces in front of him. The scene reminded him of something in a story he had read:

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,” he went on dreamily: “messing—about—in—boats; messing—”

Someone had certainly been messing about in this one…

Algy lent back lazily, and dreamed of messing about in a boat of his own, bobbing across the water without a care in the world – happy in the knowledge that in reality the boat was firmly grounded on the beach 😀

If you are on holiday today, Algy hopes you are having a safe and happy time, messing about in boats, or doing something equally relaxing…

[Algy is of course quoting a passage from Chapter 1 of The Wind in the Willowsby the early 20th century English author Kenneth Grahame.]

Reflections…

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Algy hopped up onto the massive stone wall which ran along one edge of the pier, and leaned back against another cold, hard thing, which had been placed there for some reason which remained obscure. Gazing out across the bay, he was astonished by the brilliant rainbow effect in the water, created by the reflections of the humans’ painted buildings. Algy had never seen such colours in the sea before; in fact, he had never seen such colours anywhere before. Even the strange objects which the humans used to transport themselves about the place seemed to have been coloured in order to blend in with the rest of the scene…

Algy hopes that you will all have a brightly coloured and happy weekend 😀

Indecision…

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Algy leaned back against the cold, hard bollard, and wondered what he ought to do next. It was almost Easter, and he could not decide whether to return home for Easter Day, or whether to stay in this strange environment for the holiday weekend. It was certainly a fascinating place, and quite unlike his usual surroundings… There would undoubtedly be many more interesting things to discover if he explored a wee bit further… Algy pondered, and wondered, and thought, and considered, and hummed and hawed, debating the matter this way and that with himself until he was totally confused, but still he couldn’t make up his mind…

Algy hopes that whatever you are doing this Easter you will have a joyful, peaceful and relaxing time – and if you have not yet made up your mind how to spend the weekend, he hopes you will be able to reach a decision soon 😀

Fishermen’s Pier

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Algy selected a spot conveniently close to a life-saving device, just in case he should experience a mishap while studying what was going on in the water below, and leaned back on the hard stone wharf in the sunshine. Looking around he thought that he had never seen such a jumble of odd-looking stuff of uncertain purpose; it was piled up higgledy-piggledy all over the place, and Algy reflected that humans were undoubtedly a great deal untidier than Nature…

[Algy says that if you were unable to spot him in yesterday’s post, this one should help you locate him 😀 ]

Tobermory

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When Algy had rested sufficiently to recover from the after-effects of his unnatural mode of transport across the sea, he hopped back into the air and flew across to the far side of the small bay. Finding a supportive if not entirely comfortable perch in an odd bush, he studied the scene in front of him. Although it was not far from his own home, as the seabird flies, it bore little resemblance to the environment he was used to. Algy was accustomed to seeing the hard, block-like structures in which the humans lived, but the ones he knew were either a naturally dirty white, like himself, or built out of plain stone, and they were dotted about the landscape more or less at random. Here, however, the humans had clustered their structures densely together for some reason, and had decorated them with all the colours of the rainbow. The result was most striking. Not only did it brighten up the dull, early spring landscape considerably, but the colours were reflected in the water too, creating a very pretty effect.

At the extreme end of the far side of the bay, Algy noticed the odd contraption which had conveyed him to the island. It was motionless now, and he wondered whether it was waiting to take him home again. But if that was the case, it would just have to wait! He wasn’t ready to leave this strange new place yet – not by any means…

Algy wishes you all a wonderfully bright and colourful Sunday, and if you should happen to be travelling by ferry boat, Algy hopes that it will wait for you…😁

Have a Peaceful, Safe and Happy Week

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Algy moved close to the water and gazed at the waves as they rolled up against the rocks. In a world of constant trouble and strife, the perpetual motion of the sea provided a perfect antidote – even though Algy knew that the ocean itself held plenty of dangers for creatures not adapted to living in it…

But despite the perils of the deep, perching on a rock on a fine day, just watching the ever-changing pattern of motion and listening to all the wonderful sounds that the sea made, was profoundly soothing. In Algy’s opinion, this was a perfect way to spend an afternoon… a fluffy bird’s idea of peace and contentment 🙂

Algy wishes you all a peaceful, safe and happy week ahead xoxo

The Beautiful Deep Blue Sea

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Algy flew back down the lighthouse keepers’ path to the rocks where wee boats used to moor in days gone by… Stretching himself out on the warm stone in the sunshine, he surveyed the wide expanse of beautiful deep blue sea. This was perhaps his favourite spot of all, and Algy spent many happy hours here, just watching the tide come and go, and listening to the neverending sounds of the sea on the rocks. He was fascinated by the line of creel floats that seemed to lead out to the islands, and idly wondered whether he should follow them out across the ocean to the mysterious lands beyond…