We’ll Weather the Weather…

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Algy found himself a perch in a tree by the lochside and gazed out across the moody water. The weather was growing wild and stormy again, and very soon there would be more rain. He could scarcely remember a day when it hadn’t rained, although he knew that once upon a time the sun used to shine, at least from time to time, and there had occasionally been whole weeks when one dry day followed another. He wondered whether this year was just an anomaly, or whether it would now rain for evermore in the wild west Highlands of Scotland. He was reminded of an old rhyme, which he started to sing at the top of his voice, in defiance of the weather, and for the benefit of any passer by who might happen to be listening:

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

Algy made a special trip to find some lovely red roses to give you on St. Valentine’s Day, but the bouquet was almost as tall as he was and he had a wee bit of bother trying to carry it in the West Highland wind. Worried that the flowers would get damaged, Algy took shelter under a tall tree and tried to prevent them from being blown about too much. While he was sitting there among the snowdrops, Algy composed this special little Valentine’s ditty for you:

          Algy’s roses are red,
          Algy’s eyes are bright blue,
          It’s Saint Valentine’s Day
          And Algy loves you!

Algy is thinking of you all, and especially of those who are lonely or sad today. He offers you his bouquet of roses and says “Please be my fluffy Valentine” xx

Some parts of the peat bog were considerably wetter than others, and in places it reminded Algy so much of his friend Monica’s Louisiana swamp that he kept a wary eye open for alligators… just in case! Algy had never met an alligator, and he had a feeling that perhaps he would really rather not.

As Algy perched on a low, rotten branch which had tumbled across the marsh, he was thinking especially of his friend Fern in California, thousands of miles away. He wanted to make his friend smile, so – realising that his luminous hair probably stood out like “a fiery spark” against the “vast and gloomy dark” of the peat bog in the same way as the Dong’s nose in the forest – Algy began to recite slowly, in his most ominous voice:

          When awful darkness and silence reign
          Over the great Gromboolian plain,
                Through the long, long wintry nights; —
          When the angry breakers roar
          As they beat on the rocky shore; —
                When Storm-clouds brood on the towering heights
          Of the Hills of the Chankly Bore: —

          Then, through the vast and gloomy dark,
          There moves what seems a fiery spark,
                A lonely spark with silvery rays
                      Piercing the coal-black night, —
                      A Meteor strange and bright: —
                Hither and thither the vision strays,
                      A single lurid light.

          Slowly it wanders, — pauses, — creeps, —
          Anon it sparkles, — flashes and leaps;
          And ever as onward it gleaming goes
          A light on the Bong-tree stems it throws.
          And those who watch at that midnight hour
          From Hall or Terrace, or lofty Tower,
          Cry, as the wild light passes along, —
                      “The Dong! — the Dong!
               "The wandering Dong through the forest goes!
                      "The Dong! the Dong!
               "The Dong with a luminous Nose!”

[Algy is reciting the first three verses of The Dong with a Luminous Nose by Edward Lear.]

Algy was feeling a wee bit under the weather – and recently there had been plenty of weather to be under. Although it was the “height” of summer, it did nothing but rain. Misty, light rain and torrential, heavy rain; vertical, calm rain and horizontal, gale-force rain; cold, drenching rain and mild, showery rain. Algy felt utterly damp. So he perched on a fence post and chanted an old rhyme which he had learned when he was a chick:

          Whether the weather be fine,
          Or whether the weather be not,
          We’ll weather the weather
          Whatever the weather,
          Whether we like it or not!

The mist gradually lifted to reveal a leaden white sky. There was too much cloud for the sun to provide any warmth, and Algy was feeling very cold for the time of year. So he tucked himself in among the sheltering leaves of a purple elder, and dozed through the day, soothed by the delicate scent of the pretty pink flowers.

As Algy rocked himself to sleep, the lines of a little poem by Dorothy Parker kept running through his head. He was amused to think that in reality the thrush was not in the elder bush at all, but hopping about busily on the ground below, hunting for food for its baby. It was Algy himself who was a-flickering in the bush:

          The bird that feeds from off my palm
          Is sleek, affectionate, and calm,
          But double, to me, is worth the thrush
          A-flickering in the elder-bush.

[Algy is thinking of the little rhyme Ornithology For Beginners by the well-known American writer Dorothy Parker.]