Diamonds on the Sea…

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The sun had been playing hard to get, and although it was July, most days continued to be cold, dark, dismal, and often very wet. But when the sun did deign to put in an appearance, the world was transformed… and Algy was delighted to see the diamonds return to the surface of the sea once more…

Algy wishes you all a very happy week ahead, sparkling with free diamonds 🙂

Algy Had Been Feeling Lonely…

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Algy leaned back on the sand as the sun dipped lower in the sky and stared at the still blue water. He had been away from the web for a wee while, and was feeling strangely lonely… He missed all his friends, and found that life was less interesting when he didn’t see all their wonderful images, so he resolved to make sure that it didn’t happen again 🙂

Algy sends you all lots of very fluffy hugs, and wishes you all a happy weekend xoxo

It was that time of year again, and a typical equinoctial gale was on its way. Algy decided that he had had enough of being buffeted and thrown about by the wind, so this time he took cover at the foot of a strange cliff near the end of the beach. As he perched on a low ledge, with his back firmly against the sheltering wall of rock, he thought of a poem by Emily Dicikinson:

The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low —
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.

The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father’s house,
Just quartering a tree.

[Algy is quoting a poem by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

Algy tucked himself in between the sharp, spiky clumps of Marram grass and leaned back on the sand, which was still damp in patches from all the rain which had fallen during the gales. He was fascinated by the semicircles that single blades of the pointed grass had drawn in the sand – guided, no doubt, by the wind – and he wondered whether he could use one to make a sand drawing himself, but decided that he was too clumsy.

As he gazed at the beautiful colours of the sky and the sea, Algy reflected that he had almost forgotten what such colours looked like – it had been such an exceptionally grey summer. Although there were no pine trees here, the scene reminded him of a long forgotten poem:

There I know blue, blue water,
 And a waving line of land,
With pines that grow in a wind-swept row
 As set by a dreamer’s hand;
And where the winds will, in hollow or hill,
 Sand and sand and sand.

Sand as soft as a snowfall —
 Drifting, eddying, whirled —
Sweeping into the valleys,
 Over the grasses swirled,
And billowing up to the tree-tops
 That look out on the world.

Sand of romantic patterns
 New for each passer fleet.
Here a flower has lain, there the leaf-like chain
 That was marked by a sea-gull’s feet;
And the pebbled trace as of scalloped lace
 Where the waves and the shore-line meet.

Gleaming sands in the morning
 When the little waves run white,
While gay wings fan the shining span
 And float a song in flight;
And the lupine blue spreads a heaven new
 Where the stars might rest till night.

[Algy is quoting from the poem The Sand Dunes by the 20th century American poet Janet Norris Bangs.]

The gales blew themselves out, the mist slowly lifted, and the air began to clear. By the next day a beautiful wave of dazzling blue had washed all across the sky, and the world was full of colour again. So Algy hurried down to the beach in the sunshine, and found a warm spot at the edge of the sand dunes where he could rest and watch the sea and the shore birds.

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…

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Algy had been looking at many beach photos posted by his friends on Tumblr recently, so when the sun decided to honour the West Highlands with its presence for one day, Algy knew exactly what to do. He hurried down to the beach, and stretched himself out luxuriously on the warm sand. He had to admit that it didn’t look quite like the photos of the Mediterranean and other seaside resorts that he had seen, but it was undoubtedly pleasant, and the unusual ridged patterns that the wind and rain had created in the sand made it more interesting to look at than most pleasure beaches.

Have a happy, relaxing weekend, everyone xoxo

Today Algy received a message. Anonymous said:

Hi, Algy. Are there any soft and sandy beaches in Scotland? Like the ones in the United States?

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for your message 🙂  Here on the west coast of Scotland there are indeed some very beautiful sandy beaches, usually made of pale shell sand. The sand is usually quite soft above the tideline, especially if it gets a chance to dry out on a warm day like the one pictured here, but because they are made of shells, not all of which have broken down yet, the sand is perhaps a wee bit sharp. And because it rains more often than not, the sand is rarely entirely dry…

There are also fine beaches on the Western Isles and on the north coast of Scotland. But Algy guesses that maybe the Scottish beaches are not much like the ones in the USA. He thinks perhaps your beaches are much larger, and your sand may well be softer, and drier – and you probably don’t have sheep and Highland cows roaming on your beaches 🙂 Algy sends you a big fluffy hug xoxo

The wind was relentless, and it was blowing sand everywhere. It wasn’t long before Algy’s eyes and beak and feathers and hair were all full of sand, so he shook himself off and retreated to the relative shelter of a clump of Marram grass growing in the middle of the beach. As he dug himself into a sand pocket, he watched the wind fill in the footprints of the sandpipers and other seabirds. It only took a few moments to erase their tracks across the beach, and it reminded Algy of a poem:

The wind stops, the wind begins.
The wind says stop, begin.

A sea shovel scrapes the sand floor.
The shovel changes, the floor changes.

The sandpipers, maybe they know.
Maybe a three-pointed foot can tell.
Maybe the fog moon they fly to, guesses.

The sandpipers cheep “Here” and get away.
Five of them fly and keep together flying.

Night hair of some sea woman
Curls on the sand when the sea leaves
The salt tide without a good-by.

Boxes on the beach are empty.
Shake ‘em and the nails loosen.
They have been somewhere.

[Algy is quoting the poem Sand Scribblings by the 20th century American poet Carl Sandburg.]

Algy had been looking at many beach photos posted by his friends on Tumblr recently, so when the sun decided to honour the West Highlands with its presence for one day, Algy knew exactly what to do. He hurried down to the beach, and stretched himself out luxuriously on the warm sand. He had to admit that it didn’t look quite like the photos of the Mediterranean and other seaside resorts that he had seen, but it was undoubtedly pleasant, and the unusual ridged patterns that the wind and rain had created in the sand made it more interesting to look at than most pleasure beaches.

Have a happy, relaxing weekend, everyone xoxo

Algy had been larking about in the sand, supposedly posing for the illustrations for his forthcoming book – although to the uninformed observer it looked very much as though he was just having fun playing on the beach…

So when he found that he needed to ask his assistant to help him remove the sticky sand from his feathers, Algy tried to
adopt his best penitent expression, but unfortunately he couldn’t help
giggling at the same time, which rather undermined the effect…

Have
a lovely Sunday, everyone, and if you get yourself into a mess and need help getting out of it, remember not to giggle when you try to look contrite and appealing 🙂

[Tribute to the tradition of Sunday selfies.]