Sea Thrift


Algy was hopping about here and there beside the sea, engaging in that popular Scottish pastime of trying to find a wee sheltered spot out of the wind, when he suddenly noticed a startling patch of pink among the lichen-covered rocks at the side of the beach.

Flying over to the place excitedly, he was thrilled to discover that the first thrift flowers of the spring were blooming merrily in the sunshine just a storm-wave’s length from the sea. Amazed that the plant could manage to survive in such a harsh and salty environment, Algy thanked it kindly for brightening up the rocks beside his home and bringing a happy smile to his face 🙂


When the tide came in, Algy moved back from the water’s edge, onto an area of soft green grass. He gazed out across the great sea loch towards the other shore, with its hills shrouded in low-lying clouds. Some distance beyond those hills lay his home in the far west, and the irises would be flowering there too now. It was surely time to set off homewards… As Algy reclined among the wildflowers in the low light of the long summer evening, he remembered a poem by Rabindranath Tagore:

The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.

I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of light, and pursued my
voyage through the wildernesses of worlds leaving my track on many a star and planet.

It is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself,
and that training is the most intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune.

The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own,
and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.

My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and said “Here art thou!”

The question and the cry “Oh, where?” melt into tears of a thousand
streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance “I am!”

[Algy is quoting the poem Journey Home by the late 19th/early 20th century Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.]

In celebration of Father’s Day, Algy dedicates this field of Scottish Highland wildflowers to the many men among his followers. Algy is truly delighted that you follow his adventures, and thanks you all very much indeed for your kind attention to a fluffy bird 🙂 He hopes that you will all have a very happy day today.

If you are also a father, as he knows many of you are, Algy wishes you a very Happy Father’s Day!

Lots of fluffy hugs for you all :)))

Not all the wildflowers of the West Highlands are as showy as the Bluebells. In fact, some of them are so tiny that even a fluffy bird has to be quite alert to see them. Algy was out and about – exploring a very damp area of moorland which was interspersed with many wee rocky outcrops – when he spied some tiny pink flowers dotted about among the grass, keeping very low indeed to the ground. He wasn’t at all sure what they were, but they were certainly very pretty. When he consulted her, Algy’s assistant suggested that they were probably Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica), but Algy thought that was much too ugly a name for such a delicate jewel of a flower.

Algy’s American friend mdeanstrauss loves the wildflowers of the Iowa prairie. Many of you will be familiar with his beautiful photographs and the interesting descriptions and histories which accompany them. Recently, Algy and his friend have been discussing bluebells, because it seems that the flowers known as bluebells in the USA are not the same as the British bluebells.

May is the month when the bluebells flower in the West Highlands, and they cover large areas with a beautiful, fragrant blue carpet. The funny thing is, these native wildflowers (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are usually known in Britain as English Bluebells, but nowhere in England do they flower as prolifically as they do on the west coast of Scotland… They are also commonly thought of in England as a woodland flower, but in the West Highlands they revel in sunny open spaces, if they are allowed to spread freely. Later in the summer, some very different bluebells will flower around Algy’s home: known elsewhere as harebells (Campanula rotundifolia), these flowers too are called bluebells in Scotland, which can be a wee bit confusing at times.