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…

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lament…

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Suddenly, Algy caught sight of a bright, white lighthouse, built on a small, low spit of land projecting from the coast of the island. Being used to a very much larger lighthouse, which dominated a mass of highly exposed and very dangerous rocks, Algy was amused by this tame and modest version, though he guessed that the humans must have had some reason he could not perceive for putting it there. As he gazed at the neat little lighthouse while the ferry boat chugged on towards the land, Algy chuckled to himself, remembering a poem he had once read:

Oh what is the bane of a lightkeeper’s life
That causes him worry, struggle and strife,
That makes him use cuss words, and beat his wife?
It’s Brasswork.

What makes him look ghastly consumptive and thin,
What robs him of health, of vigor and vim,
And causes despair and drives him to sin?
It’s Brasswork.

The devil himself could never invent,
A material causing more world wide lament,
And in Uncle Sam’s service about ninety percent
Is Brasswork.

The lamp in the tower, reflector and shade,
The tools and accessories pass in parade,
As a matter of fact the whole outfit is made
Of Brasswork…

[Algy is quoting the first four verses of the poem It’s Brasswork: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lament written by Frederick W. Morong, an American lighthouse keeper in the early 20th century.]

What Lies Ahead?

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Before very long, the boat began to swing round towards the sun, and Algy could see that it was approaching the large island which lay across the water from his home. Leaving the safety of his temporary nest in the ferry’s lifeboat, he perched precariously on the top of one of the collapsing perches provided for the “comfort” of passengers on the upper deck, and gazed at his destination. At first sight it did not seem particularly exciting, but it looked as though a hidden bay might lie ahead…

A Light Exists in Spring…

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Algy relaxed in the safety of the wee corner he had found, and basked in the unaccustomed warmth of the early spring sunlight. The wind was still icy, but in a sheltered spot it felt comfortably pleasant – as is so often the case in the wild west Highlands of Scotland when the sun deigns to shine…

It was the vernal equinox, and as Algy gazed at the bright colours glowing all around him, he rejoiced at the start of the light half of the year – and remembered some lines from a poem he had read, although he felt that its reference to human nature was a wee bit restrictive…

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That silence cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

Algy wishes all his friends in the northern hemisphere a very Happy Spring!

[Algy is quoting the first two stanzas of a A Light Exists in Spring by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

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 ☀️