The Fingers of the Storm


Algy flew over to a low rock, to escape the incoming tide, and gazed up at the sky. The storm clouds seemed to be reaching down towards him with many dark, wispy fingers, as though they wanted to snatch him up and carry him away. Clutching the rock tightly, he wondered whether it might be safer to retreat inland until the storm had passed…

Algy hopes that if you are threatened by storms this weekend, you will be able to find a safe place to shelter until the skies clear again 🙂

Return of the Light


An icy wind had begun to blow from the bitter north-east, but it brought much brighter, clearer, and decidedly fresher weather. Algy could see that the world was tilting rapidly towards the northern spring now, and light was returning to the wild West Highlands of Scotland. The dreaded darkness of winter was receding faster every day, and although it was still very cold, all the birds were rejoicing, including Algy 🙂 He perched happily on the branch of a still-dormant birch tree, and gazed at the sky. Spring was on its way!

Algy hopes that even if you are feeling cold this weekend, your world will be filled with new light 🙂

Once the excitement of his book launch was over, Algy felt surprisingly weary. After all, it was the middle of the Highland winter, and the days were short, dark and cold – a fluffy bird should spend most of his time tucked up asleep in his nest at this time of year.

But there was a touch of colour in the sky in the late afternoon, so Algy nestled down among the long grasses of the dunes, and gazed out across the sea at the wintry scene. He could see an otter swimming and diving in the middle of the bay in front of him, together with several diving birds, and he was glad to know there were other creatures around, just in case he should feel in need of some company…

Sometimes, when Algy gazes up at the sky, he feels as though he is an exceedingly tiny fluffy bird, and the sky (not to mention the universe beyond) is incomprehensibly immense. But the more he looks at the sky, the more he becomes absorbed in all the beautiful patterns and colours of Cloudland, and very soon his heart is at ease, just as the poet suggested – especially if he is sitting by “the voiceful sea”:

          O! It is pleasant, with a heart at ease,   
             Just after sunset, or by moonlight skies,   
          To make the shifting clouds be what you please,   
             Or let the easily persuaded eyes   
          Own each quaint likeness issuing from the mould     
             Of a friend’s fancy; or with head bent low,   
          And cheek aslant, see rivers flow of gold   
             ‘Twixt crimson banks; and then, a traveller, go   
          From mount to mount, through Cloudland, gorgeous land!   
             Or list’ning to the tide, with closéd sight,
          Be that blind bard, who on the Chian strand   
             By those deep sounds possessed, with inward light   
          Beheld the Iliad and the Odyssey  
             Rise to the swelling of the voiceful sea.

[Algy is quoting the poem Fancy In Nubibus Or The Poet In The Clouds by the early 19th century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.]

Algy decided that it was high time he set off on a new adventure. Spring was in the air, strange birds were arriving from overseas, and Algy was beginning to get itchy feet. So he set off for the big oak woods, as he longed to see the trees covered in green leaves again. However, although he travelled through the woods all day, he saw very few trees with anything more than leaf buds and some catkins; it was still too early in the West Highland spring. By the evening he felt weary, so he stopped for a while to rest on the shore of the quiet loch.

As the sun sank slowly into the clouds, Algy gazed at the shimmering water and reflected on the strangeness of life. He had just heard that his assistant had started making sketches of him which she was showing to the world… Algy wasn’t at all sure what he thought about that. It seemed that there was very little privacy for anyone any more, not even for a fluffy bird!

Algy decided to try to find out for himself how many blackberries grow in the sea. He got as close as he could to the ocean without actually immersing himself in it, but there was no sign of any blackberries… Of course the water was very shallow over that part of the beach at low tide, which might explain why nothing was growing there – or perhaps it was simply because it was the middle of winter 🙂

But Algy didn’t really mind; the sun was shining, and the low afternoon light looked so lovely on the water that he just leaned back and enjoyed the beautiful view, for as long as the incoming tide would allow.