And there it was…

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Algy was sitting quietly on the uncomfortable perch within the peculiar shelter, trying to get comfortable, when all of a sudden he heard a gentle thrumming noise. He listened carefully, and decided that it was definitely growing louder. Could it be the transport vessel coming to collect him at last? In great excitement he jumped up, flew out of the shelter, and down towards the bottom of the slipway… and there it was, approaching slowly from around the bend which hid the coastline of the island from view. Algy sat down on the edge of the slipway and leaned back on the hard and rather knobbly surface, waiting and watching, watching and waiting, as the ferry boat gradually increased in size…

No Entry, Crew Only…

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The ferry was beginning to make the same strange noises that it had made when it set off, with a great deal of beeping and wailing and flashing of lights as well as a much increased rumbling sound which seemed to cause its entire structure to shudder and shake. Algy guessed that this meant it was preparing to come to a halt, but although he tried several different viewpoints, he still could not see around the corner of the headland and into the bay. He wondered whether he would get a better view from the extreme end of the boat, but when he approached it he found a notice which stated NO ENTRY CREW ONLY in no uncertain terms. Algy pondered for a moment, considering whether this would apply to fluffy birds as well as other kinds of passengers, but eventually decided that he had better not take any chances, or he might get into trouble. Resolved to be patient just a wee bit longer, Algy jumped up and down on the edge of one of the collapsing perches until it obligingly collapsed, and then leaped upon it quickly before it changed its mind, pressing his body downwards as firmly as he could to prevent it folding itself up around him again…

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 New Mode of Travel

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As the boat moved further away from the land, it started rocking from side to side in a most disconcerting and irregular manner. Algy was not used to seeing the world move up and down around him, and he began to feel a wee bit odd. He decided that in such an unstable environment it was too difficult to try to maintain his balance on a perch which tried to fold itself up around him, so he hopped unsteadily across the deck to what looked like a much less active and more obedient perch. Leaning back against a hard metal structure, Algy took a deep breath and tried to acclimatize himself to this strange new mode of travel…

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…

On the other side of the loch, Algy found a battered old boat listing against the pebbles of the beach. He perched on the side of the wreck in the sunshine and gazed down the length of the great sea loch, far out towards the ocean, thinking of a poem he had read:

          One road leads to London,
             One road leads to Wales,
          My road leads me seawards
             To the white dipping sails.

          One road leads to the river,
             As it goes singing slow;
          My road leads to shipping,
             Where the bronzed sailors go.

          Leads me, lures me, calls me
             To salt green tossing sea;
          A road without earth’s road-dust
             Is the right road for me.

          A wet road heaving, shining,
             And wild with seagull’s cries,
          A mad salt sea-wind blowing
             The salt spray in my eyes.

          My road calls me, lures me
             West, east, south, and north;
          Most roads lead men homewards,
             My road leads me forth

          To add more miles to the tally
             Of grey miles left behind,
          In quest of that one beauty
             God put me here to find.

[Algy is reciting the poem Roadways from the collection Salt Water Poems and Ballads by John Masefield, first published in 1912.]