The wind howled across the sea, driving battering waves of dense Scotch mist and drenching rain onto the already sodden land. Algy retreated to the shelter of a wee cave which had formed beneath the rocks at the edge of the beach and tried to make himself comfortable. It was pleasantly dry in there, although hard on the tail feathers, but there was little to do by way of amusement except to watch the weather hurtling past outside and listen to the roaring of the wind. As he gazed at his toes, Algy remembered the first verse of a famous poem:

Bolt and bar the shutter,
For the foul winds blow:
Our minds are at their best this night,
And I seem to know
That everything outside us is
Mad as the mist and snow.

[Algy is quoting the first verse of the poem Mad as the Mist and Snow by the late 19th/early 20th century Irish poet William Butler Yeats.]

Beyond the Blue Horizon…

It was a typical West Highland winter day: the cloud lay leaden on the hills like an enormous wet blanket, and rain mixed with icy sleet had been falling continuously since the night before. Around about noon, Algy perched in a sleeping cherry tree and gazed at the dull grey sky. Despite the dismal weather, the days were getting noticeably longer and the smaller birds were starting to sing from time to time. So Algy lifted up his own dripping head, took a deep, damp breath, and started to sing too…

…On, on from darkness into dawn,
From rain into the rainbow, fly with me.
Gone, gone all my grief and woe,
What matter where I go if I am free?

Beyond the blue horizon
Waits a beautiful day,
Goodbye to things that bore me,
Joy is waiting for me!
I see a new horizon,
My life has only begun,
Beyond the blue horizon
Lies a rising sun.

Algy hopes that whatever the conditions in your part of the world, you will have a happy and peaceful weekend, and will lift up your head and sing 🙂

[Algy is singing a very old song, Beyond the Blue Horizon, from the film Monte Carlo made almost 90 years ago, starring Jeanette MacDonald. Sadly, Algy was not able to find a video clip on YouTube (no doubt owing to copyright restrictions), but he found this audio recording from 1930.]

The bitter northerly gale just blew and blew and blew, and although he was tucked well into the evergreen cypress hedge, Algy was battered and buffeted until he was completely dizzy. He held on to the branches as tightly as he could, rocking and swaying and shivering and shaking, but eventually he could hold on no longer, and as he lost his grip the entire world spun round and round.

Algy hopes that you will all have a calm and peaceful weekend 🙂

On the fourth day the mist finally lifted, and gave way to a squally succession of huge black clouds and brief bright intervals, moving rapidly across the land from the west. There were frequent showers of rain mixed with icy hail, and in one such outburst Algy decided to take cover under a large fir tree. Perching comfortably on a convenient log, he looked out at the weather passing by. The forecasters were saying that another big Atlantic storm would blast the West Highlands in the middle of the week, and then it would get much colder.

As Algy sheltered under the tree, he thought of Robert Burns’ famous poem about the winter, and of all his friends in Europe and beyond who were experiencing unusually harsh winter weather at the moment.

Algy hopes that you will all be able to find shelter and keep warm in these severe conditions – and will take care of his little feathered friends too! He sends you all lots of extra fluffy hugs, just in case! xoxo

When biting Boreas, fell and doure,
Sharp shivers thro’ the leafless bow’r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv’d glow’r,
        Far south the lift,
Dim-dark’ning thro’ the flaky show’r,
        Or whirling drift:

Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi’ snawy wreeths upchoked,
        Wild-eddying swirl,
Or thro’ the mining outlet bocked,
        Down headlong hurl.

List’ning, the doors an’ winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
        O’ winter war,
And thro’ the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle,
        Beneath a scar.

Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o’ spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
        What comes o’ thee?
Whare wilt thou cow’r thy chittering wing
        An’ close thy e’e?

[Algy is quoting some of the verses of the poem A Winter Night by the 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns… who wrote in the Scots language 🙂 ]