Becalmed

Adventures-of-Algy-110418.jpg

Algy was surprised to find a lone, flowering gorse bush growing out of the hard ground beside the strange man-made structures which stretched out across the still water, but it provided a comfortingly familiar perch in strange surroundings, so he settled upon it happily, ignoring the usual prickles to his tail feathers. The wind had dropped entirely for a moment and the harbour was completely still; the surface of the sea glimmered like a mirror, reflecting not only the brightly-painted buildings and the boats, but even the clouds, so that they floated serenely across the water as well as the sky. Such a calm was unusual on the wild west coast of Scotland, and Algy gazed in wonder at the translucent water and the clear reflections, thinking of a poem in his collected works of Longfellow, and wondering when the wind would start to blow again:

Becalmed upon the sea of Thought,
Still unattained the land it sought,
My mind, with loosely-hanging sails,
Lies waiting the auspicious gales.

On either side, behind, before,
The ocean stretches like a floor,–
A level floor of amethyst,
Crowned by a golden dome of mist.

Blow, breath of inspiration, blow!
Shake and uplift this golden glow!
And fill the canvas of the mind
With wafts of thy celestial wind.

Blow, breath of song! until I feel
The straining sail, the lifting keel,
The life of the awakening sea,
Its motion and its mystery!

[Algy is quoting the poem Becalmed by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

Men at Work…

Adventures-of-Algy-260318.jpg

From the far end of the bay, Algy could see several brightly coloured boats fastened by ropes to a stone pier which jutted out into the water, and he decided to fly over to investigate.

There was a certain amount of leisurely but busy human activity concentrated around the boats, and a couple of men were mending long nets which had been strung out along the wharf. All kinds of odd objects were piled up here and there, or suspended over the sides of things, and the whole scene conveyed an impression of carefully arranged muddle and confusion.

Algy was intrigued, so he perched quietly on the edge of the quay, as unobtrusively as possible, and started to watch what was going on. From time to time the men glanced at him with slightly puzzled expressions on their faces, but without pausing in their activities. However, they seemed to pay no attention at all to the various large, shrieking seabirds which swooped round the boats and landed on the pier from time to time, so Algy guessed that the humans were quite accustomed to avian activity in general, and were simply unsure whether he was a new species which they had not met before…

[Algy says that if you find it difficult to see him in this photo, blow it up and look again 😀 He can assure you that he is definitely there.]

Safety Precautions

Adventures-of-Algy-190318.jpg

As the ferry moved further out to sea, Algy began to feel a wee bit nervous. Fluffy birds cannot swim – not even a few strokes – and he began to wonder what would happen if his new mode of transport were to sink into the briny deep. Of course fluffy birds can fly, perfectly well, and there was nothing except fear to prevent him from flying back across the waves to the safety of terra firma, if the need should arise.

Nevertheless, Algy felt that it was better to be on the safe side. Paying close attention to the many notices scattered about, in accordance with the instructions which had been broadcast so loudly when the boat had sailed away from the slipway, Algy found his way to the most promising of the various types of emergency equipment provided, and tucked himself happily into a comfortable corner of an exceedingly orange contraption, which was provided with an odd assortment of perches…

A Spot in the Sun

Adventures-of-Algy-180318.jpg

After a while, Algy grew more accustomed to the motion of the sea and started to look around again. It was a fascinating boat, full of strange objects whose purpose he could not begin to guess, and many large notices issuing instructions of all kinds in bold lettering. He decided to explore a wee bit further, and flew down to the main deck, which accommodated the vehicles used by humans. There he found a large, stable perch with a splendid view out through a metal structure. Tucked under the overhang of the upper deck it was much more sheltered from the cold spring wind than it had been up above, and when the boat turned in the right direction, Algy felt positively warm 😀

Algy wishes you all a very happy Sunday, and hopes that the rays of the sun will fall on you too, bringing you plenty of light and warmth ☀️

A Strange Perch

Adventures-of-Algy-160318

When the strange contraption had stopped moving, a human in bright clothing beckoned to Algy and pointed to a small upper deck. Algy took this to mean that it was time for him to embark, so he hopped into the air and flew onto the odd boat, which was full of mysterious objects painted in bright colours. The upper deck seemed to be furnished with a row of white perches, presumably for the convenience of passengers, but when Algy perched on the top of one, it collapsed and tried to fold itself up around him. Algy hadn’t had so much fun in a long time… Laughing out loud, he tucked himself into the fold of the strange perch and gazed at the deep blue sea while the boat rumbled and shook and vibrated and issued loud warnings in the human language, until eventually it settled down and set off across the water, swaying from side to side as it moved through the waves…

A New Adventure…

Adventures-of-Algy-150318-A.jpg

It was the beginning of Algy’s 7th year of adventures, and a glorious early spring day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and although one could hardly say that it was warm, there was a feeling of energy and excitement in the air of the kind which makes fluffy birds want to be up and doing and exploring the bright new world.

Algy had often gazed out across the sea towards the many islands which surrounded his home, and wondered what it might be like to visit them. But being a land-based fluffy bird who had had some unfortunate and frightening encounters with the ocean in the past, he did not care to fly far across any kind of water, and especially not across the briny deep. He decided to consult his friends, and was delighted to learn that there was indeed a safe and convenient way for a fluffy bird to visit one of the nearest islands: it was a conveyance which human beings used, but from time to time it also carried other creatures, including birds who did not care to fly or who needed to rest while crossing the water. So, following instructions, Algy made his way to the embarkation point, and waited patiently for the strange contraption to arrive…

Perpetual Motion

Adventures-of-Algy-110817.gif

Most of the time it rained. Such is life in the wild West Highlands of Scotland. But on the few summer days that it didn’t rain, Algy ensured that he made the most of the finer weather, and the best way to do that, in his opinion, was to perch on a handy rock beside the sea and watch the perpetual motion of the waves, forever washing back and forth, without a care in the world.

Algy hopes that you will all be able to take some time to relax this weekend, and spend a few happy hours just watching the waves, or the sky, or the wind in the trees 🙂