The sunshine lasted only a few hours, and by the next day the Scotch mist had descended again and the world had vanished once more. With such a dense, wet blanket blocking out the sky, and such a pale sun as there was behind the mist barely managing to rise above the horizon, the day was dismal at best… and exceedingly damp. But when Algy wandered around his assistant’s garden, wondering what to do with himself in endlessly miserable weather, he was delighted to see that the first snowdrops of the year were starting to flower, like a few scattered lights emerging cautiously from the darkness. As he gazed at the tiny flowers in the dim, dark depths of winter, Algy was reminded of a poem written many years ago… by a Bishop…

Flower of the Snow!—we hail thy birth,
Though cold and pale may be thy shrine,
A promise from all bounteous earth
To glad our northern clime.
Thou com’st to soothe us, star-like flower!
To check our dark despair;
And in the dim and wintry hour
To whisper God is there.
Sweet gem!—how like a faithful friend
Dost cheer our lonely hearth,
And, mid the world’s unkindness, lend
Thy light around our path.

Algy dedicates this post, and his first snowdrops of the year, to his special friends who understand only too well the need to check that dark despair… 

[Algy is quoting the poem To The Snowdrop by the 19th century English writer and cleric, Edward Henry Bickersteth, Bishop of Exeter, who is mainly remembered for writing the lyrics of some famous Christian hymns, such as Lead, Kindly Light and Nearer, My God, to Thee.]

Algy is posting this illustration from his new book especially for all his dear friends in Berlin and other parts of Germany.

He is so terribly sad that a tiny minority of human beings seem to be such cruel monsters, and they make the world appear such a dark place. But Algy never forgets that the vast majority of humans are really kind – including so many of his dear Tumblr friends – and that there are far, far more people in the world who go out of their way to do good and help others than there are who deliberately do harm.

Algy hopes that even in these times of darkness, you will always see the light that continues to shine. Algy loves you all, and sends you lots of extra special fluffy hugs xoxo

[This illustration by Jenny Chapman is from Chapter 4 of Algy’s new book The Magical Midwinter Star.]

p.s. Algy apologises for using the “photographers on tumblr” tag for an image which is not photographic, but many of his German Tumblr friends follow that tag and he wants to make sure that they see this post 🙂

Algy is thinking of all his friends in France, and especially in Paris, during this dark weekend of shock and mourning.

A candle would blow out in the wind, here in the wild West Highlands of Scotland, so Algy lit a sparkler for you, to bring you light in the darkness. He sends you all lots of very fluffy hugs xoxo

p.s. Algy is running a special exhibition of posts for Paris on his sideblog @lovefromalgy all weekend.