There are few things a fluffy bird enjoys more in fine weather than perching on a rock very close to the ocean, just watching the water swirl around and about, and listening to the gurgling, glugging sounds that it makes.

Algy knew that autumn was on its way: the days were growing shorter very noticeably now, and there was a familiar but indescribable feel to the air which told him that the summer visitors would soon be heading south… But for the moment the swallows were still swooping low over the sea, and although the sun was not managing to climb so high in the sky, the colours were still those of late summer. So Algy leaned back on his rock and let the cool wind sweep through his feathers, trying not to think about the long, dark winter ahead…

It was a beautiful late summer’s afternoon, so Algy flew out onto the rocks in the middle of the Bay of the Sand Islands, found himself a rather knobbly perch, and leaned back happily on the warm stone. The chilly north-westerly wind was admittedly brisk – in fact, it made his hair feathers stand on end – but the sunshine was exceedingly welcome, and the air was fresh and invigorating.

As Algy gazed at the gorgeous colours of the sea and listened to the sounds of the water as it swirled around the rocks, he felt exactly as though he was on holiday, like the many summer visitors to the area… and then realised that actually this was his home! He wondered whether the summer visitors had any idea what the Bay was like during the endless cold, wet and windswept days of the dark half of the year – but then decided to think about something else. Just now the Bay was bright and beautiful – and even comfortably warm in the sheltered spots – and although winter was not far off, it was not here just yet!

At long last the sun had decided to shine for a couple of days, and if it had not been for the very brisk wind it would have felt positively warm. But as Algy looked out at the islands surrounding his home, he felt that there was a change in the air, and it was not just the change from perpetual rain to sunshine. The sun was lower in the sky, the air had a new sort of feel to it, the wildflowers were running to seed, the tips of the grasses were turning golden brown… and the patch of heather he was perching on was flowering. Algy knew that in almost no time at all now, it wouid be autumn again…

For three days and three nights it had done nothing but rain… The sky had been washed away, the sea had vanished into the dense Scotch mist, the land had turned into a grey and green saturated sponge, and the hills were slipping down in sheets of horrible, slithery mud and stones, onto the lower ground.

Of course it had rained on most days of the year so far, but not usually with quite so much dogged determination – and this was supposed to be the height of summer, after all… Algy knew that there was no point looking for somewhere dry to perch, as there was not a dry spot left in the world, so far as he could see. So he plonked himself down disconsolately on the sodden grass, and watched as the puddles grew bigger and bigger and bigger…

Algy fluttered down to the rocks on the sheltered side of the lighthouse, and braced himself firmly against a particularly solid ledge, with his back to the wind. The worst of the storm had passed, and colour had been restored to the world, but the wind was still decidedly brisk and the sea was still very lively. Algy knew that the sunshine wouldn’t last long, as an enormous bank of black cloud was building up behind him, on the horizon to the north, but for the moment it was positively pleasant on the rocks, albeit cool, so Algy turned his back to the clouds, and for a wee while he watched the foaming waves as they swirled and crashed against the rocks after their long journey across the Atlantic Ocean…

In some parts of Scotland it was the windiest day on record for the summer months, and although conditions on the west coast were not quite as bad as on the mountain tops inland, it was a very stormy day indeed for August – more like the late autumn or winter than summer holiday time…

But Algy was determined to reach the lighthouse despite the gales, as his assistant was signing copies of his books there today, and so he battled valiantly against the storm. At times, however, he found that he could make little headway against the wind, and by the time he reached the Black Rocks he was utterly exhausted.

Algy and his assistant would like to thank the brave people who also battled today’s gale-force conditions and torrential rain to visit the lighthouse today 🙂 A true Scottish holiday experience!

[Oooops! Accidentally deleted this shortly after posting it, so re-posting.]

Algy flew back towards the end of the peninsula, and reached the Bay of the Sand Islands in the late afternoon. He was glad to see that the diamonds were sparkling on the sea, and as he leaned back on a rock, looking out far into the west, he felt happy to be back home. Although the woodlands and lochs were beautiful, and undeniably calmer and less exposed to the constant winds, there was nothing quite like the mighty ocean, and Algy concluded – as others had observed before him – that there was really no place quite like home 🙂

Algy hopes that if you are returning from your own summer holidays, you too will be pleased to find yourself back home.