Diamonds are Algy’s Best Friend

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Algy is a collector of diamonds. Not those brash, unyielding, expensive rocks, once said to be “a girl’s best friend”, which human beings seem to value so highly, and for which some even risk their lives or their fortunes, but those far more precious and ephemeral gems which dance across the water of Scottish seas and lochs when the sun infuses them with life. Of course, Algy cannot collect them literally, as they elude even the most skilful and persistent captor, but he stores them in his mind, so that their brilliance can illuminate even the darkest days which may lie ahead. A creature with a head full of treasures such as these is rich indeed 🙂

The gorse was altogether too prickly for his tail feathers, so Algy hopped down to a more comfortable perch on a clump of heather which overhung the burn, and gazed at all the water rushing away to the sea. The local landscape almost always had a plentiful supply of fresh water, as there were only a few days in the year in which it did not fall out of the sky. But it was a different matter for many of the local human residents, whose water supply systems were dependent upon very basic collection facilities which routinely became blocked by storm-swept vegetation, some unfortunate frog, or even, on one occasion, an eel… In fact, it was very often the case that the more water that fell – whether as rain, sleet, or snow – the more likely it was that the humans’ homes would be without a water supply!

Have a happy weekend, everyone, with a plentiful supply of fresh water 🙂

Algy looked more closely at the river and the stones and the autumn leaves, and soon discovered that he was surrounded by a range of wonderful colours. Even the shadows on the water were really a deep indigo blue, not a dreary black after all, and the carpet of fallen leaves had a range of hues from green to gold to red and orangy-brown. When he realised that what had seemed at first like a depressingly dismal scene actually contained all the colours of the rainbow, Algy smiled a surprisingly fluffy smile and felt a lot happier.

But he had heard that one of his friends who was travelling had caught a nasty virus and was feeling very poorly, so to cheer her up – and anyone else feeling sick today – Algy recited this wee poem. He hopes that you will all be going out to play again very soon 🙂

“I cannot go to school today,“
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more – that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut – my eyes are blue –
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke –
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is – what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is… Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

[Algy is quoting the children’s poem “Sick” by the 20th century American writer Shel Silverstein.]

Algy flew down to the water’s edge and perched on a damp stone, surrounded by a thin carpet of fallen leaves. He had been visiting some dear friends, who were now returning to their home in a warmer, more sheltered land, and for a moment the dark shadows crowded in upon him across the water. But as he gazed at the shimmering surface, he realised that in fact the threatening shadows were surrounded by glistening light and patches of beautiful blue… and then he felt a wee bit better. As he watched some of the red and gold leaves drifting slowly down the river, Algy hoped that his friends would be able to drift back again to see him very soon…

Algy dedicates this post to all his friends who are parted from their own dear friends and family, and he sends you all some very special fluffy hugs xoxo

Feeling thirsty after sitting in the sun for so long, Algy went in search of a nice, cool drink. In some parts of the world it can be difficult to find fresh water, but in the Scottish Highlands there is almost as much water as there is air… So it wasn’t long before Algy found a pretty wee burn running across the moor and tumbling down the hillside. Once he had had enough to drink, Algy perched in a bush over a tiny waterfall and watched the play of light and shadow on the water as it bubbled and gurgled and swirled around before rushing down the hill to meet the sea.

After another dismally grey day, the sun came out once more, and Algy flew down to the sea. Although Algy is certainly not a sea bird, nor indeed a water bird of any kind, there is nothing he enjoys more than perching on a rock by the edge of the ocean, listening to all the sounds it makes, and relaxing as he watches the waves roll in…

Algy hopes you will all have a happy and peaceful weekend, and will be able to perch somewhere pleasant and relax 🙂

It was the warmest day of the year so far, but the sky was overcast and – owing to the unusual absence of wind – the midges were biting. The world was entirely grey and green, and Algy felt tired and indolent. He reclined sleepily on a tumbled tree trunk overlooking the lochan, brushing the midges off from time to time, and looked at the water and the sky. Like all the other flowers, the water lilies were late this year, and so far there were only a few buds showing among the floating leaves. As he gazed up at the leaden sky a large bird circled overhead, and Algy was reminded of a poem he had recently discovered:

Day and night, the lake dreams of sky.
A privacy as old as the mountains
And her up there, stuck among peaks. The whole eye

Fastened on hawk, gatherings of cloud or stars,
So little trespass. An airplane once
Crossed her brow; she searched but could not find

A face. Having lived with such strict beauty
She comes to know how the sun is nothing
But itself and the path it throws; the moon

A riddled stone. If only a hand
Would tremble along her cheek, would disturb. Even the elk
Pass by, drawn to the spill of creeks below—

How she cannot help abundance, even as it leaves
Her, as it sings all the way down the mountain.

[Algy is quoting the poem The Lake by the contemporary American poet Sophie Cabot Black.]

Algy dedicates this post to all his friends overseas who so badly need water. He wishes so much that he could send you some of the abundance he sees here, but alas, he cannot. Every day that it rains here (and that’s most days this year), Algy is thinking of you xoxo

Everything was utterly wet. The sea was wet, of course, but also the rocks were wet, the creatures on the rocks were wet, the seaweed was wet, the sand was wet, and the air was wet. There was nothing in Algy’s world that was not wet. The wind had come and gone (for the moment), and left nothing but wetness behind. It had started to rain again the moment that it stopped blowing, and it was unlikely to stop in a hurry…

But as Algy perched on the the wet, seaweedy rock, he reflected that it was a great deal better to have an abundance of water than to have too little, and he felt desperately sorry for those parts of the world which so urgently needed the water he could not send them. Algy hopes and prays that your parched lands will receive at least some of the wetness which is so plentiful here in the West Highlands of Scotland. xoxo

Algy was feeling very much happier, because at last he was in touch with all his friends again. The weather was calm for the moment, and as he relaxed on the battered bracken in the hazy winter morning, he imagined that the wide path of light across the water was connecting him with all his friends out there in the great, wide world :-))

Algy has missed you all very much, and he is truly delighted to be back xoxoxo