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The weather had been very confused lately. There had been an enormous amount of rain, sometimes with ice or slushy sleet mixed in with it, hurtling down out of black skies and covering everything with grey sheets of water – or snow on the higher peaks. But there had also been some beautifully bright, sunny intervals. At times the sky had been totally overcast and forbidding, but at other times it cleared, and an orderly line of white and pale grey clouds scurried hastily across a sea of blue in a neat procession from the north-west.

Algy knew that, in the West Highlands, the best autumn colours were always seen when the sun came out soon after it had rained, so, when the paler clouds came scurrying again, he flew up to a spot where he could admire the effect. On a dry day, the fading moorland grasses looked lifeless and dull, even when the autumn sun was bright, but if they were thoroughly wet when the sun came out, they lit up in a wonderful range of colours which covered the landscape in glowing carpet of orange and red and golden-brown.

The weather had been very confused lately. There had been an enormous amount of rain, sometimes with ice or slushy sleet mixed in with it, hurtling down out of black skies and covering everything with grey sheets of water – or snow on the higher peaks. But there had also been some beautifully bright, sunny intervals. At times the sky had been totally overcast and forbidding, but at other times it cleared, and an orderly line of white and pale grey clouds scurried hastily across a sea of blue in a neat procession from the north-west.

Algy knew that, in the West Highlands, the best autumn colours were always seen when the sun came out soon after it had rained, so, when the paler clouds came scurrying again, he flew up to a spot where he could admire the effect. On a dry day, the fading moorland grasses looked lifeless and dull, even when the autumn sun was bright, but if they were thoroughly wet when the sun came out, they lit up in a wonderful range of colours which covered the landscape in a glowing carpet of orange and red and golden-brown.

Algy was fascinated by the many colours he could see around the wee moorland burn in the autumn sunshine. There was still a fair amount of green showing in the the lower parts of the grasses, but their tops were a beautiful blend of beige and russet and gold. The burn itself was like a tiny, narrow ribbon of sky winding its way across the moor: a beautiful cobalt blue in the calmer areas, but crisp, sparkling white where the water moved more rapidly. It made a lovely contrast with the stones that had been tumbled into the path of the stream when the burn was in flood, and Algy especially admired the rich, deep oranges and reds which emerged when the rocks got wet. On a day like this it was almost impossible to remember that when the Scotch mist came back down, the colours would immediately vanish and everything would revert to grey and black…

Just a wee bit further up the burn, the water flowed quietly across the moor, trickling calmly around the red stones which lined its banks. On a fine day, it looked bluer than the sky it was reflecting, creating a beautiful contrast to the russet and beige colours of the moorland in early autumn. As the burns always cut deep channels through the peaty soil, their banks tend to be relatively sheltered and warm, so Algy tucked himself down happily on the edge of the grass near the water, to soak up some of the welcome sunshine while it lasted…

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy some sunshine this weekend xo

The season was changing very quickly now: the days were cool and misty and the nights were rapidly drawing in, but when the sun managed to shine it still felt pleasantly warm in a sheltered spot.

So Algy lay back among the long waving grasses, high on the hill,  and admired the way the seedheads caught the light, and the vast expanse of landscape and sky all around him. He was thinking about his new children’s book, which was now in preparation: part of the story took place very near this spot, but in the chilly depths of winter. Reclining in the golden sunshine of an early autumn afternoon, it was difficult to remember the harsh winter conditions on the moor, but he had a nasty feeling that it wouldn’t be very long before his memory would be refreshed…

Although the sun was no longer able to rise very high in the sky, Algy found that it felt comfortably warm, providing he stayed away from the huge, dark shadows. But the days were growing very much shorter now, and the shadows moved fast, trying to chase him across the hill, so he found that he could not remain in one spot for very long without them catching hold of him with their long, chilly fingers.

The next morning, Algy ventured back out onto the moor to see what was happening. Intermittent blizzard conditions persisted, but the snow was soft and wet and mixed with sleet, so it tended to melt partially before the next wave swept in. The wind, on the other hand, was fierce and bitter. Algy tried to keep as close to the ground as possible, with his back to the icy blasts. But even in such shelter as he could find, he noticed that all his feathers became aligned in one direction… never a good sign!

As the piercing wind stung his face, Algy remembered a rather unusual poem by Keats:

          O thou whose face hath felt the Winter’s wind,
          Whose eye has seen the snow-clouds hung in mist,
          And the black elm-tops ‘mong the freezing stars,
          To thee the Spring will be a harvest-time.
          O thou, whose only book has been the light
          Of supreme darkness which thou feddest on
          Night after night when Phoebus was away,
          To thee the Spring shall be a triple morn.
          O fret not after knowledge – I have none,
          And yet my song comes native with the warmth.
          O fret not after knowledge – I have none,
          And yet the Evening listens. He who saddens
          At thought of idleness cannot be idle,
          And he’s awake who thinks himself asleep.

[ Algy is quoting the poem The Winter’s Wind by the early 19th century English poet John Keats. ]

The weather was changing again, and Algy knew that soon the snow and ice would turn to rain and mush, so he decided to explore some of the higher ground before all the snow melted. He flew for a few miles, up to the moor, and surveyed the scene in each direction. It certainly looked bleak, and he was very glad that he had followed his friends’ advice and kept his hat on his head, as that wind whistling through the moorland grasses was bitingly cold.

Algy flew out of the forest, and into the golden sunshine of an unusually fine November day. Although the shadows were long and cold there was scarcely a breath of wind, so it felt pleasantly warm in the sun. Many burns ran across the large expanse of moorland which surrounded the forest, and Algy loved to rest beside them and listen to the wonderful sounds of the running water. So he alighted on a wee rock in the first burn he found, and perched there happily, soaking up the late autumn sunshine and listening to the water gurgling around him.

Listen to the sounds of Algy’s moorland burn…

Algy hopes you have all been enjoying such a pleasant Sunday afternoon xoxo

https://www.tumblr.com/audio_file/adventuresofalgy/102206429836/tumblr_nesexewtvz1rruorh?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

This is the sound which Algy heard as he perched on a wee rock in a moorland burn on a beautiful November Sunday afternoon.