The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lament…


Suddenly, Algy caught sight of a bright, white lighthouse, built on a small, low spit of land projecting from the coast of the island. Being used to a very much larger lighthouse, which dominated a mass of highly exposed and very dangerous rocks, Algy was amused by this tame and modest version, though he guessed that the humans must have had some reason he could not perceive for putting it there. As he gazed at the neat little lighthouse while the ferry boat chugged on towards the land, Algy chuckled to himself, remembering a poem he had once read:

Oh what is the bane of a lightkeeper’s life
That causes him worry, struggle and strife,
That makes him use cuss words, and beat his wife?
It’s Brasswork.

What makes him look ghastly consumptive and thin,
What robs him of health, of vigor and vim,
And causes despair and drives him to sin?
It’s Brasswork.

The devil himself could never invent,
A material causing more world wide lament,
And in Uncle Sam’s service about ninety percent
Is Brasswork.

The lamp in the tower, reflector and shade,
The tools and accessories pass in parade,
As a matter of fact the whole outfit is made
Of Brasswork…

[Algy is quoting the first four verses of the poem It’s Brasswork: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lament written by Frederick W. Morong, an American lighthouse keeper in the early 20th century.]


Algy was so excited by his appearance in the local newspaper that he decided his assistant ought to do one more book signing event at the local lighthouse before the summer (such as it was…) was finally over and the visitors had all gone home. So he flew back to the lighthouse to make the necessary arrangements and check that everything was in order. It was a wee bit windy on the rocks, to say the least, but the sun was shining and the sea was blue, and Algy was in high spirits, even though he knew that the fine weather would not last.

[The book signing event is on Sunday 30th August – details on Facebook]

Next weekend, Algy’s assistant will be signing copies of Algy’s book A Surprisingly Fluffy Bird at the local lighthouse, which is one of Algy’s favourite haunts. So Algy decided to celebrate by devoting his posts this week to some of his adventures on the lighthouse rocks.

On the more sheltered side of the lighthouse, massive steps carved out of the rock lead down to the sea. There are no railings nor any other means of preventing unwary visitors from tumbling into the sea, so even a fluffy bird has to take care, especially in high winds or when the sea is stormy. On this occasion, however, the sea was relatively calm – just swirling quite gently around the rocks in the treacherous waters. The wind, however, was nearing gale force, so Algy had to maintain a very firm grip on the rock to prevent himself from being hurled into the ocean.

If you are visiting the West Highlands of Scotland (or live in the area) and would like to meet Algy’s assistant, please come along on Sunday 16th August – you can find more details about the book signing event on Facebook 🙂