Accustomed to the Dark…

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In the deep, dismal depths of the Scottish Highland winter, Algy perched in a wee bush which still held a few decorative leaves and looked out into the darkness. Daylight was severely rationed now: the nights lasted well into the mornings, and started again in the mid-afternoons. But Algy knew that the year would soon be turning, and in the meantime he was growing accustomed to the darkness. He was reminded of a poem by Emily Dickinson, which he shares – with lots of fluffy hugs – with all his friends in the northerly latitudes of the world:

We grow accustomed to the Dark –
When Light is put away –
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye –

A Moment – We Uncertain step
For newness of the night –
Then – fit our Vision to the Dark –
And meet the Road – erect –

And so of larger – Darknesses –
Those Evenings of the Brain –
When not a Moon disclose a sign –
Or Star – come out – within –

The Bravest – grope a little –
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead –
But as they learn to see –

Either the Darkness alters –
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight –
And Life steps almost straight.

[Algy is quoting the poem We grow accustomed to the Dark by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

Christmas Reading…

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It was the first day of December, and the hours of daylight had grown very short indeed. Each new day dawned more slowly and reluctantly than the previous one now, but as soon as there was sufficient light Algy found himself a comfortable perch in a pine tree and settled down to read his very own Christmas-time story The Magical Midwinter Star to his little black teddy. The tiny bear was thrilled to hear the tale of Algy’s adventures through the harsh midwinter landscape of the West Highlands of Scotland, and he wondered whether Algy would indeed succeed in restoring the ancient tradition of a great midwinter celebration for all the creatures of the area, to bright light and joy back to the dismal depths of the dark and gloomy Scottish winter…

This third story in the series Tales from the Adventures of Algy makes perfect reading for the weeks leading up to Christmas – for children aged 7 to 10 and adults still young at heart. You can buy copies of The Magical Midwinter Star signed by Algy himself, direct from Algy’s own web shop, and add personal dedications in your own words. With FREE UK DELIVERY from now until Hogmanay.

Visit Algy’s own online bookshop to buy The Magical Midwinter Star and Algy’s other books – unique gifts and stocking fillers from the wild West Highlands of Scotland 🙂

We’ll Weather the Weather…

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Algy found himself a perch in a tree by the lochside and gazed out across the moody water. The weather was growing wild and stormy again, and very soon there would be more rain. He could scarcely remember a day when it hadn’t rained, although he knew that once upon a time the sun used to shine, at least from time to time, and there had occasionally been whole weeks when one dry day followed another. He wondered whether this year was just an anomaly, or whether it would now rain for evermore in the wild west Highlands of Scotland. He was reminded of an old rhyme, which he started to sing at the top of his voice, in defiance of the weather, and for the benefit of any passer by who might happen to be listening:

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

The Fingers of the Storm

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Algy flew over to a low rock, to escape the incoming tide, and gazed up at the sky. The storm clouds seemed to be reaching down towards him with many dark, wispy fingers, as though they wanted to snatch him up and carry him away. Clutching the rock tightly, he wondered whether it might be safer to retreat inland until the storm had passed…

Algy hopes that if you are threatened by storms this weekend, you will be able to find a safe place to shelter until the skies clear again 🙂

Wild the Clouded Gleam

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Algy perched on a large rock beside the quiet loch and watched the dark clouds scudding fast across the sky. It was clear that he would soon be drenched again, but for the moment a rare burst of sunshine was providing some much needed light and a wee bit of comforting warmth. The autumn was advancing rapidly, and the damp leaves and grasses were glowing with their last bright colours before the fall. Not that leaves often had a chance to fall naturally in the wild west Highlands of Scotland; more likely, they would be all be gone with the wind, when the next Atlantic storm blew in…

Somewhere on the hillside behind him, a robin was quietly warbling its autumn song, and as Algy listened to its sweet notes he was reminded of another song, by Canon Dixon:

The feathers of the willow
Are half of them grown yellow
Above the swelling stream;
And ragged are the bushes,
And rusty now the rushes,
And wild the clouded gleam.

The thistle now is older,
His stalks begin to moulder,
His head is white as snow;
The branches all are barer,
The linnet’s song is rarer,
The robin pipeth low.

[Algy is quoting The Feathers of the Willow by the 19th century English cleric and poet, Canon Richard Watson Dixon.]

Jenny Chapman, Goodreads Author

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Algy is delighted to announce that his assistant has finally got round to creating an official “Goodreads Author” profile. (Note: Goodreads are currently attributing some titles to her which she did not write, but this should be sorted soon).

So if you use Goodreads, please do connect with her there:

https://www.goodreads.com/JennyChapman

And a wee reminder to those friends who downloaded the free Kindle version of “A Surprisingly Fluffy Bird” last weekend… a line or two of review, either on Amazon or on Goodreads, would be very much appreciated.  Reviews help Algy’s books find more readers, and help potential readers understand more about what kind of books they are. Thank you 🙂

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 🙂