After his adventure with the magic toadstool, Algy felt in need of a nice long drink of fresh water, so he flew to a wee woodland pool that he knew, at the foot of a waterfall that tumbled down the hillside through the trees. It was very peaceful perching on a rock by the water, and he rested there for some time, just listening to the water and watching the flickering patches of light that filtered through the trees.


For the benefit of Anonymous who asked about Scottish beaches – and for anyone else who is interested – Algy agreed to model a fine example of the shell sand typically found on the beaches of the west coast of Scotland, in this case on Algy’s own beach. Of course the sand is not exactly dry – and therefore it might be more accurately described as so hard that it is painful to the tail feathers, rather than soft – but you can’t have everything 🙂

On a beach like Algy’s – and bearing in mind the Scottish weather – it’s not so much the sand that is the main attraction as the wonderful view of the Hebridean islands dotted about the ocean, and the surrounding environment…

Algy had decided that it would be best to leave the final stage of production work on his book to his assistants. He reckoned that he had played his part, and now he deserved a rest 🙂 So he perched on a rock by the water, and made plans for a wee spring adventure. He wanted to see the woodlands and flowers, the hills and the lochs, and all the colours of spring.

As he sat there gazing at the clear water, he thought about the extraordinary process of writing books, and remembered a poem, which he dedicates to all his friends who have ever engaged in the strange business of writing:

Cervantes was asleep when he wrote Don Quixote.
Joyce slept during the Wandering Rocks section of Ulysses.
Homer nodded and occasionally slept during the greater part of the Iliad; he was awake however when he wrote the Odyssey.
Proust snored his way through The Captive, as have legions of his readers after him.
Melville was asleep at the wheel for much of Moby-Dick.
Fitzgerald slept through Tender Is the Night, which is perhaps not so surprising,
but the fact that Mann slumbered on the very slopes of The Magic Mountain is quite extraordinary—that he wrote it, even more so.  
Kafka, of course, never slept, even while not writing or on bank holidays.
No one knows too much about George Eliot’s writing habits—my guess is she would sleep a few minutes, wake up and write something, then pop back to sleep again.
Lew Wallace’s forty winks came, incredibly, during the chariot race in Ben-Hur.
Emily Dickinson slept on her cold, narrow bed in Amherst.
When she awoke there would be a new poem inscribed by Jack Frost on the windowpane; outside, glass foliage chimed.
Good old Walt snored as he wrote and, like so many of us, insisted he didn’t.
Maugham snored on the Riviera.
Agatha Christie slept daintily, as a woman sleeps, which is why her novels are like tea sandwiches—artistic, for the most part.
I sleep when I cannot avoid it; my writing and sleeping are constantly improving.

I have other things to say, but shall not detain you much.
Never go out in a boat with an author—they cannot tell when they are over water.
Birds make poor role models.
A philosopher should be shown the door, but don’t, under any circumstances, try it.
Slaves make good servants.
Brushing the teeth may not always improve the appearance.
Store clean rags in old pillow cases.
Feed a dog only when he barks.
Flush tea leaves down the toilet, coffee grounds down the sink.
Beware of anonymous letters—you may have written them, in a wordless implosion of sleep.

Algy was particularly tickled by the line “Birds make poor role models.” 🙂

[Algy is quoting the poem Sleepers Awake by the contemporary American poet John Ashbery.]

Although there was a little watery sunshine in the early morning, the massive clouds rapidly descended, and Algy knew that the rest of the day would be wet again. He leaned back on the damp seaweed as the soft drizzle started, watching the ebb and flow of the water around the rocks and singing to the rain. He was singing his own setting of a poem by Shelley, and wishing that at least some of the rain clouds would blow around the world to visit his friends in those places where the rain was so badly needed:

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
        From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
        In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
        The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
        As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
        And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
        And laugh as I pass in thunder.

  I sift the snow on the mountains below,
        And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night ‘tis my pillow white,
        While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
        Lightning my pilot sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
        It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
        This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
        In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
        Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
        The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven’s blue smile,
        Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

Algy hopes that you all have a wonderful Sunday, and that those who need rain will receive some of his! xoxo

[Algy is singing the first two verses of The Cloud by the early 19th century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. ]

By Wednesday morning the snow on the ground by Algy’s home had melted… but then the clouds grew heavier and heavier as the morning progressed, and soon a combination of wet snow and icy sleet began to fall, providing Algy with an ideal opportunity to test his friends’ theories about the best hairstyle for such conditions.

He discovered that his own hairstyle seemed to be fine for as long as the icy drops were content to remain on his hair, but once they melted and trickled down his face and soaked all his feathers, it was not quite so satisfactory…

Algy thinks that perhaps he should persuade his assistant to knit him a hat…

Algy thanks you all very much for your interesting, kind and helpful replies to his recent posts, including your fascinating reports about the weather in your part of the world 🙂

Keep warm, everybody xoxo