Out on the open moor, Algy discovered a fascinating pool, surrounded by a ring of thin ice which was floating in the air, a little way above the level of the water. He stopped to study this unusual phenomenon, and while he was sitting quietly in the winter sunshine, testing the ice gingerly with his feet, a black-faced sheep happened to wander by. Algy greeted the sheep politely, but he was disappointed to find that the sheep was much more interested in studying its own fine reflection in the pool than in talking to him.

Algy apologises for his absence from Tumblr during the past week. He has been exceptionally busy helping his assistant finish his latest children’s book: he will have some exciting news about that tomorrow 🙂

Algy flew up to the edge of the forest and perched on the chilly ground in the sunshine. It was a beautifully bright day, but the air was cold and the mountain top was decorated with a light coating of snow. Every pocket in the boggy ground was covered with its own thin sheet of ice, which crackled from time to time, and in the shadows the frost still lay thick and crisp and white. But the air was calm and the sun still provided a slight hint of warmth, so Algy rested for a while, absorbing the winter sunshine while he could.

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy a warm and restful weekend 🙂

After a thoroughly dismal weekend, Monday morning dawned bright and cold. It was wonderful to see the sun, but the bitter north-west wind was less welcome, and it felt very chilly. Although it had rarely dropped much below freezing, it had been persistently cold for many, many weeks. The spring flowers were late this year, but Algy could see that the snowdrops in his assistants’ garden had opened at last, and their heads were nodding prettily in the wind. So he crawled in among them, on the damp mossy ground under the dry, coppery leaves of the beech hedge, and stretched himself out happily in the sunshine, hoping that it would last for a wee while…

Algy decided to inspect some of the other burns in the area, so he flew down to a pleasant spot on the Mill Burn, where a pair of old alder trees grew out of the bank, with their toes in the water and their lichen-covered branches sweeping low across the stream to the other side. The water in the burn was quite deep, and at this spot it swirled round and round in circles, in a way that Algy loved to watch.

So long as the winter sunshine lasted it was positively pleasant just perching on the bank, looking at the water, but although the sky was a spring-like blue and white on one side, it was entirely black on the other, and Algy was sure that another battering shower of freezing hail and sleet was approaching rapidly.

After so much rain, Algy found that the ground was a wee bit damp for the tail feathers, so he jumped up into a bush and turned to face the sun. The burn rushed and tumbled over the trailing branches in the water beneath him, then swept round the bend to continue its sinuous path through the peat bog to the sea. Algy knew that the sun was about to disappear again, as there was a large mass of cloud sweeping in from the Atlantic, but for a few wonderful moments, the world was bathed in light and colour and the Blue Burn was truly blue 🙂

Algy hopes you will all get a wee bit of sunshine this weekend, and he sends extra special fluffy hugs to those of his friends facing blizzards in the eastern USA, to help you keep warm xoxo

Something peculiar had happened to the West Highlands… it looked as though somebody had been playing with their paintbox! After 24 hours of rain, the sun came out for a short while, and the landscape was immediately transformed.

Although it was blowing a gale, Algy hurried down to the burn, to watch the water surging through the low, twiggy branches of the bushes that trailed over it. The burn gurgled and foamed as it rushed along past him with enormous energy, evidently eager to return to the sea. Algy marvelled at the amazing capacity of the peat bogs to drain all the water away, and he lay back happily on last year’s bracken, listening to the burn and soaking up the rare winter sunshine while it lasted…

Algy knew that very soon – perhaps within minutes – another battering shower of hail or sleet would sweep in from the ocean, and the world would turn dark grey again. But just for the moment it was dry and wonderfully bright, so Algy slid down the soft bank of sand and tucked himself in by the edge of the burn that ran across the beach to the sea. As he smiled at the golden sunshine, he thought of all his friends around the world who were deep in snow and suffering freezing temperatures, and he remembered a poem which he dedicates especially to his friends in the eastern parts of North America and in Scandinavia:

          The frosty sky, like a furnace burning,
          The keen air, crisp and cold,
          And a sunset that splashes the clouds with gold
          But my heart to summer turning.

          Come back, sweet summer! Come back again!
          I hate the snow,
          And the icy winds that the north lands blow,
          And the fall of the frozen rain.

          I hate the iron ground,
          And the Christmas roses,
          And the sickly day that dies when it closes,
          With never a song or a sound.

          Come back! Come back! with your passionate heat
          And glowing hazes,
          And your sun that shines as a lover gazes,
          And your day with the tired feet.

[ Algy is quoting the poem A Winter Sunset by the 19th century English author Lord Alfred Douglas. ]