As forecast, the sunshine lasted only one day and Sunday was dismally grey, with the clouds drifting low over the hills once again. But at the very last minute before dusk, the setting sun managed to break through a wee gap in the heavy bank of cloud, and illuminated some of the ridges with a faint magenta glow. Algy perched on a cold rock to watch for a moment or two, knowing that in just a few minutes more the light and the colour would be gone…

At long last, there was a full day of sunshine – as full, that is, as was possible at this time of year, when the sun sank down behind the ridge at 3 o’clock. That was a noticeable advance on a few weeks ago, however, and Algy knew that every day now would be longer than the last… even when the sun didn’t shine! He found himself a perch in a young pine tree, and although the wind was bitterly cold, he sang a sunny song, as the other birds were doing, before the sun vanished behind the hill once again. Algy was fascinated to see that the notes of his song were coloured bright green and purple as they drifted away on the wind…

Algy wishes you all a happy weekend, and hopes that you will find a moment or two to sing a sunny song, even if the wind feels bitterly cold 🙂

The sunshine lasted only a few hours, and by the next day the Scotch mist had descended again and the world had vanished once more. With such a dense, wet blanket blocking out the sky, and such a pale sun as there was behind the mist barely managing to rise above the horizon, the day was dismal at best… and exceedingly damp. But when Algy wandered around his assistant’s garden, wondering what to do with himself in endlessly miserable weather, he was delighted to see that the first snowdrops of the year were starting to flower, like a few scattered lights emerging cautiously from the darkness. As he gazed at the tiny flowers in the dim, dark depths of winter, Algy was reminded of a poem written many years ago… by a Bishop…

Flower of the Snow!—we hail thy birth,
Though cold and pale may be thy shrine,
A promise from all bounteous earth
To glad our northern clime.
Thou com’st to soothe us, star-like flower!
To check our dark despair;
And in the dim and wintry hour
To whisper God is there.
Sweet gem!—how like a faithful friend
Dost cheer our lonely hearth,
And, mid the world’s unkindness, lend
Thy light around our path.

Algy dedicates this post, and his first snowdrops of the year, to his special friends who understand only too well the need to check that dark despair… 

[Algy is quoting the poem To The Snowdrop by the 19th century English writer and cleric, Edward Henry Bickersteth, Bishop of Exeter, who is mainly remembered for writing the lyrics of some famous Christian hymns, such as Lead, Kindly Light and Nearer, My God, to Thee.]

When Algy felt sure that the wind was beginning to die down, he picked himself up, brushed himself off, and hopped back up into the hedge. The gale had at least brought some clearer air, and although Algy knew it was unlikely to last, he was greatly relieved to see a wee bit of sunshine and blue sky for a change. In the distance, the largest island was covered in snow, shining white against the mass of dark clouds beyond it, which would no doubt make the island shine even more brightly in due course…

Algy wishes you all a happy Sunday, and hopes that the sun will shine kindly on you today 🙂

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 🙂

The northerly gale continued to roar across the Scottish Higlands, straight out of the arctic, bringing frequent biting showers of hurtling snow and icy hail. Algy took cover in an evergreen cypress hedge, but it only afforded a modicum of protection, and as his assistant took his photograph, Algy’s reproachful gaze reminded her that possibly a fluffy bird would rather be snuggled up with his fluffy friends in a nice warm place on such a day, instead of being obliged to pose for photos in the teeth of the gale…