A New Perch…

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Turning his back very firmly on the ghost ship, Algy sought a new perch in a safer spot. The combination of the strange floating platform which the humans walked upon and their small, sea-going vessels, which were tied up neatly to the structure here and there, made an unusual and fascinating environment for a fluffy bird, and Algy was happy just to perch in the sun for a while, looking at the boats and admiring his own shadow. One kind human who happened to pass by invited Algy to join him on his boat, but Algy shyly declined, as he had not been formally introduced to the stranger and was not at all sure what to say to him…

Distracted…

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While Algy was waiting patiently on the slipway, watching the transport contraption approach slowly but steadily across the sea, he heard the sound of excited human voices carrying across the water from the other side of the bay. Looking round, he noticed an unusual vessel, apparently motionless beside the strange structures which he had seen in that area of the harbour some time before. Forgetting all about the ferry boat for the moment, he decided to fly over to investigate. As he approached, Algy could see that there were several humans clustered round the vessel, and more of them actually upon it, so he thought it might be prudent to observe from a safe distance, just in case fluffy birds were not welcome. Landing on the end of one of the odd platforms which projected out into the bay, he perched on the flat, colourful surface. Although the wind bit him viciously as it whistled through his feathers, the surface itself felt comfortingly warm in the spring sunshine, but he was surprised to find that it seemed to bob up and down with the motion of the sea, which was a wee bit disconcerting, although not too seriously alarming as the weather was more or less calm, and the water seemed to stay firmly in its place…

Becalmed

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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…

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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

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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

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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

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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…