Sea Thrift

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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 🙂

Now that the sky had cleared, the woodland was full of quiet, dark shadows and lovely bright clearings that were buzzing with colour and life. The rosebay willowherb was starting to flower, creating a dazzling patch of magenta among all the green. Algy found himself a perch on a young willow sapling and leaned back happily, watching the bees as they hummed busily around him. He was fascinated by the way the startling magenta flowers seemed to climb patiently up each stem until they eventually reached the top, and wondered whether – if he sat there long enough – he would actually see the flowers move… But the sun was comfortably warm, and the constant hum of the bees was soporific so, before very long, Algy was fast asleep.

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy a soothing rest this Sunday xo

The weather was feeling somewhat kinder at last, and although there was a decidedly brisk wind as always, the day was undoubtedly fine. Algy leaned back on the rocks at the edge of his garden and admired the view. On such a day it was not difficult to believe that this was the most beautiful spot in the world, and the equal of any tropical paradise in every respect except climate 🙂

Algy has his own secret garden 🙂 And many of the plants are flowering late this year, with more varieties flowering together than usual, because it has been so very cold and wet, and everything is out of sync. It certainly has been an exceptionally odd spring and summer in the West Highlands of Scotland, but the result is undeniably pretty, and Algy loves to sit among the flowers and watch the meadow butterflies and other insects flitting about.

On the west coasts of the Scottish Highlands and Western Isles, there is a very special environment which bursts into flower once a year, in late spring and early summer. It’s known locally as the machair.

Although Algy’s area does not have the best example of machair (he would have to visit the Outer Hebrides to see that), he is always thrilled when the masses of tiny flowers appear, and he loves to see how many different ones he can find. Many of the flowers are minute, and grow very low to the ground to escape the worst of the wind, so it’s necessary to get right down among them to see each one. (If you are looking at this on the Tumblr dash, please click to see the flowers in more detail.)

Algy hopes that you will all have a happy weekend, with a sprinkling of pretty flowers xoxo

[Visit Algy’s own web site.]

(Machair occurs where grassy areas immediately inland from – or among – the coastal sand dunes are improved by the fine shell sand blown off the beach, providing lime and other nutrients to the otherwise very acid soil of these peaty and infertile areas. It’s said that the machair environment is unique to the west coast of Scotland and the Western Isles.)

In the first half of the summer, the normally drab sand dunes of the West Highlands and Western Isles are full of wonderful surprises 🙂 Algy went exploring, and discovered an amazing patchwork of colour among the spiky grasses. He was interested to see that in this exceptionally dismal and very wet year, in which the sun has rarely deigned to put in any kind of an appearance, there were even more flowers than usual!

This unedited photo is a tribute to the PWS photosworthseeing “no edit Friday”. Algy sends all his friends at PWS a big fluffy hug and a huge wingful of wild thyme xoxo

This post is also dedicated to Algy’s friend mdeanstrauss who may find this and Algy’s next post of interest 🙂

[Visit Algy’s own web site.]

Day after day, the Scotch mist smothered the land, and the world became darker and greyer and wetter. Not a day passed without rain, and the precipiation very rarely stopped. Drizzly rain, dripping rain, splashing rain, torrential rain… the endless clouds tried every trick they could think of. When the rain did stop, it was only for a breathing space, and before long it started again.

As it was supposed to be midsummer, Algy was beginning to feel a wee bit discouraged, but he was happy to see that at least the wild irises at the edge of the sand dunes were doing their best to provide a few bursts of sunshine. As he leaned back on the tall, sturdy leaves, he remembered some lines from a poem:

Weed, moss-weed,
root tangled in sand,
sea-iris, brittle flower,
one petal like a shell
is broken,
and you print a shadow
like a thin twig.

Fortunate one,
scented and stinging,
rigid myrrh-bud,
camphor-flower,
sweet and salt—you are wind
in our nostrils.

[Algy is quoting part I of the poem Sea Iris by the 20th century American poet H. D.]

Algy was happy to see the buttercups and daisies springing up wherever there was close-cropped grass among the sand dunes. The flowers kept themselves very low to the ground, so in order to see them properly, Algy had to do the same. He was especially pleased by the colour combination which the flowers made together… there was something reassuringly familiar about it 🙂

Algy hopes that you will all have a happy weekend and see some pretty flowers, even if the weather is cold, wet and gloomy, as it is in the West Highlands today xoxo

The mist blew away again, and the sun was shining once more. Algy took his wee friend from Germany, the little black teddy, to admire a fine patch of cowslips, and they settled down beside the flowers to enjoy the sunshine. Algy opened his battered book of verse by Longfellow, and started to read to his wee friend:

    When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
‘Tis sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
    The first flower of the plain.

    I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
    The coming-on of storms.

    From the earth’s loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,
    The drooping tree revives.

    The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
    The forest openings.

[Algy is reading the opening stanzas of An April Day, a very early poem by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

A fluffy spring tribute to photosworthseeing’ “No Edit Friday” 🙂

This morning, a wee bird told Algy that PWS photosworthseeing are celebrating their 1st Tumblr birthday today! So Algy posed in the wet grass beside the last of the summer wildflowers, to create this special birthday card for everyone at PWS – his favourite photo blog and the home of some of his sweetest Tumblr friends.

CONGRATULATIONS and HAPPY BIRTHDAY PWS!!

May your second year on Tumblr be even better than your first, with plenty of Sunday Selfies, No Edit Fridays, and of course many wonderful photos on every day of the week. You do an amazing job, and Algy loves you :-)) He sends lots of especially fluffy birthday hugs to you all xoxoxo