Picture Postcard

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Algy reclined on a sunny rock beneath his cliff-side nest and listened to the sounds of the sea, seething and swirling all around him. He could think of no better way to spend a bright summer’s afternoon, and he hoped that the tide would not rise too soon…

Algy sends you all lots of fluffy seaside hugs, and this picture postcard from his stay-at-home vacation on the wild west coast of Scotland. He hopes you are enjoying a happy and peaceful Sunday xoxo

Algy’s Staycation…

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It was summer holiday time in the wild West Highlands of Scotland, and while his assistants continued to work, Algy had been enjoying that most fashionable of all types of holiday – a “staycation”…

Of course, it is well known that those who take their holidays on the west coast of Scotland must expect uncertain weather, and this year had been no exception to that rule. But between the cold, grey, wet and misty days there had been some days of glorious sunshine, and on these Algy delighted in reclining on a rock in his own personal garden by the sea, watching the other holidaymakers making merry on the beach or messing about in boats…

If you are enjoying your summer holidays just now – whether at home or away – Algy hopes that you are having a wonderful time 🙂

And the next day…

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And the next day… the sun came out! Algy was so astonished that at first he didn’t know what to do. The mist had returned to wherever it came from, at least for the moment, and the landscape was entirely transformed: all the fuzzy greyness had vanished, and the world was crisp and sharp, and full of light and colour again. As he flew over his assistants’ garden, Algy noticed something especially colourful, hiding among a tangle of very thorny stems… Like many of his feathered friends, Algy loves berries of all kinds, so before flying back to the sea, he settled down to enjoy a summery feast of juicy tayberries 🙂

[For those who may not know: tayberries are a hybrid of raspberries and blackberries, bred in Scotland, and well suited to our… climate here. They are large and juicy and very tasty, if you don’t require your fruit too sweet.]

The Mist

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As the glorious West Highland summer continued, Algy reclined on the dripping leaves of a garden hedge, wondering how long it would take for the tiny droplets of dense mist to soak right through his feathers. There was no point looking out to sea, as the sea had not been visible for quite some time. And there was no point watching the sky, as the sky had long since vanished. So Algy struck up a conversation with a song thrush who, despite the weather, had been yodelling vigorously in a tree nearby. The thrush was not a particularly well-read bird, so for his benefit Algy recited an appropriate poem, in the hope that the thrush would add it to his repertoire:

I am the mist, the impalpable mist,
Back of the thing you seek.
My arms are long,
Long as the reach of time and space.

Some toil and toil, believing,
Looking now and again on my face,
Catching a vital, olden glory.

But no one passes me,
I tangle and snare them all.
I am the cause of the Sphinx,
The voiceless, baffled, patient Sphinx.

I was at the first of things,
I will be at the last.
I am the primal mist
And no man passes me;
My long impalpable arms
Bar them all.

[Algy is reciting the poem The Mist by the 20th century American poet Carl Sandburg.]

And the mist came down again…

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It was the 1st July, and the West Highland summer continued in all its glory… There had scarcely been a single fine day since the middle of May, and as the temperature soared to a high of 14 degrees celsius (before wind chill), Algy clung on desperately to a tangle of honeysuckle in the driving Scotch mist, and wondered whether this “summer” would ever come to an end…

Algy sends you all lots of very damp fluffy hugs, and if you are one of his friends who suffer from excess heat in the summer months, he sends you an abundance of very cool, damp air xoxo

For the PWS @photosworthseeing New Year Special “That One Moment” – with lots of very fluffy hugs to all Algy’s friends at PWS, and his fluffiest thanks to the PWS team for organising yet another wonderful event xoxo

Algy’s special moment of 2016 was back in July, on an unusually summery day. Algy made his way through a lovely patch of woodland to a beautiful lochan fringed with wild water lilies, where everything was peaceful, calm and sunny – a rare treat in the West Highlands of Scotland! And…

Algy hopped down to the water’s edge and perched on a clump of lush green grass. Leaning forward, he peered down deep into the blue water, trying to see whether he could spot a frog among the water lilies, but although he looked as hard as he could, there was no sign of his amphibian friends. Then suddenly he noticed a wee movement on the soggy ground beside him. Several tiny froglets were making their way clumsily towards the shelter of the grasses, their spindly legs stumbling over the matted roots. Algy wished them well, and hoped they would have a safe journey…

[Originally posted on 31st July 2016]

Algy hopped down to the water’s edge and perched on a clump of lush green grass. Leaning forward, he peered down deep into the blue water, trying to see whether he could spot a frog among the water lilies, but although he looked as hard as he could, there was no sign of his amphibian friends. Then suddenly he noticed a wee movement on the soggy ground beside him. Several tiny froglets were making their way clumsily towards the shelter of the grasses, their spindly legs stumbling over the matted roots. Algy wished them well, and hoped they would have a safe journey…

Algy felt as though he were floating in a sea of green… He leaned back upon the soft, straggly heather bush and listened to the gentle sounds of the woodland all around him. From time to time the quiet was disturbed by the harsh call of some invisible bird in the tall trees high above, or by the splash of a leaping fish in the lochan, but for the most part everything was hushed and still in the calm of the sleepy summer afternoon…

Algy flew into the woodland, to a spot where the trees enclosed a beautiful lochan which formed a perfect mirror. Concealing himself in a straggly heather bush near a bed of water lilies, Algy gazed out at the water and the reflections of the trees, thinking of all his human friends in these deeply troubled times, and especially of his friends in France and Germany. In the peace and calm of the West Highland woodlands, he whispered these verses by the poet John Keats, for all his friends whose souls are wrapped in gloom just now:

When by my solitary hearth I sit,
And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom;
When no fair dreams before my “mind’s eye” flit,
And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;
Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head.

Whene’er I wander, at the fall of night,
Where woven boughs shut out the moon’s bright ray,
Should sad Despondency my musings fright,
And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away,
Peep with the moon-beams through the leafy roof,
And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof

And as, in sparkling majesty, a star
Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud;
Brightening the half veil’d face of heaven afar:
So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud,
Sweet Hope, celestial influence round me shed,
Waving thy silver pinions o’er my head.

[Algy is quoting the first two verses and the last verse from the poem To Hope by the early 19th century English poet John Keats.]

Now that the sky had cleared, the woodland was full of quiet, dark shadows and lovely bright clearings that were buzzing with colour and life. The rosebay willowherb was starting to flower, creating a dazzling patch of magenta among all the green. Algy found himself a perch on a young willow sapling and leaned back happily, watching the bees as they hummed busily around him. He was fascinated by the way the startling magenta flowers seemed to climb patiently up each stem until they eventually reached the top, and wondered whether – if he sat there long enough – he would actually see the flowers move… But the sun was comfortably warm, and the constant hum of the bees was soporific so, before very long, Algy was fast asleep.

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy a soothing rest this Sunday xo