It was a beautiful afternoon for a change and Algy felt in need of some sunshine, so he left the lush green of the shady woodlands around the lochan, and flew a little way down the quiet loch to a pebble beach that he knew. Reclining on a rock beside the water, he watched the patterns of the ripples and the passage of the clouds, which were reflected beautifully in the calm surface of the sea loch, and created ever-changing shadows on the hillsides. It was a fine, peaceful, summer’s afternoon, and would have been quite perfect if it were not for that curse of the West Highland summer, the tiny creature known as a midge…

Ceci est dédié au génial couple français qu’Algy a rencontré dans ce bel endroit aujourd’hui. Il espère que vous pourrez voir cette photo, et vous vous souviendrez d’Algy et de vos vacances ici, et peut-être allez vous suivre ses aventures ici sur Tumblr ou sur Facebook à l’adresse suivante:

https://www.facebook.com/adventuresofalgy/

A bientôt 🙂

**Edited** Merci à @themazette for the corrections to Algy’s bad French 🙂 

The sun was sinking into the loch and it would soon be dark, so Algy found himself a perch for the night in a spot where he could watch the rippling water. It was a calm and peaceful evening, and Algy was happy to sit quietly there, listening to the other birds singing their bedtime songs in the woodland as the wind rustled through the still-bare branches of the trees.

Algy decided that it was high time he set off on a new adventure. Spring was in the air, strange birds were arriving from overseas, and Algy was beginning to get itchy feet. So he set off for the big oak woods, as he longed to see the trees covered in green leaves again. However, although he travelled through the woods all day, he saw very few trees with anything more than leaf buds and some catkins; it was still too early in the West Highland spring. By the evening he felt weary, so he stopped for a while to rest on the shore of the quiet loch.

As the sun sank slowly into the clouds, Algy gazed at the shimmering water and reflected on the strangeness of life. He had just heard that his assistant had started making sketches of him which she was showing to the world… Algy wasn’t at all sure what he thought about that. It seemed that there was very little privacy for anyone any more, not even for a fluffy bird!

As the sun grew stronger, Algy retreated into the old oak woods by the banks of the quieter loch. Everything was fresh and green and beautiful there in the dappled sunlight. It was very quiet apart from the songs of the other birds, as there are no paths through these woods to bring noisy visitors to disturb the peace. Algy sat on a rock and studied the mosses and ferns, thinking of a verse by Lord Byron:

          There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
          There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
          There is society, where none intrudes,
          By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
          I love not man the less, but Nature more,
          From these our interviews, in which I steal
          From all I may be, or have been before,
          To mingle with the Universe, and feel
          What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

[Algy is quoting verse CLXXVIII from Lord Byron’s extremely long narrative poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.]

Sunny afternoons in late spring are among the very best times of the whole West Highland year, and Algy didn’t want to miss a single moment of them. He knew that they would soon be gone, at least until next year. So he went out to explore the oak woods in their beautiful new spring green. A tall old tree offered a handy perch, and Algy decided to practise sitting like an owl, in case he should happen to meet one. Down below him the loch lay calm and blue, while above the trees there was scarcely a cloud in the sky. It was indeed a fine afternoon.

And so, as evening fell, Algy found himself back again at his favourite way station by the quiet loch. It was not easy to see in the gloaming, but he thought that the grass had grown a wee bit longer, and more of the bluebells were flowering now. In the distance he could hear the cuckoo calling, and he knew that he would very soon be home again. It seemed almost as though he had never been away …

Algy set off on his adventure, but he hadn’t got very far before he felt in need of a wee rest, so he found a grassy patch of bluebells by the loch where he could enjoy one of himmelueberhamburg’s “on the way moments” 🙂 The birds were singing and the sun was almost shining, and Algy felt pleased to be out and about.

Remembrance Day 2012

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On Remembrance Day, Algy perched on a low stone wall by the loch and thought sadly of the terrible damage done to the world and its creatures by war.

He quietly hummed An Eala Bhàn – The White Swan – a haunting Gaelic song with lyrics written by a poet from the island of North Uist while in the trenches of WWI during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Listen to this lovely version of An Eala Bhàn sung by North Uist’s own Julie Fowlis.