The Loyalty Of Puffins

This card ‘Loyalty’ is from our Friendship range. The two puffins are perching on a rock on the Isle of May. It’s an island that my wife Tamara and I visited in 2012. I went again in 2015 to look at and photograph puffins. 

The Isle Of May is a little sliver of an island, just one-and-a-half kilometres long. It is located in the mouth of the Firth of Forth. The island is much nearer to the north side of the Firth, so it’s quite a journey to get there, setting off from Berwick on the southern shore.

Beyond the mouth of the Firth of Forth you are out into the North Sea. So there’s a real sense of being out with elemental nature when you go out to the island.

As well as thousands of breeding pairs of puffins there are also other sea birds. There are thousands upon thousands of breeding pairs of kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, and greater and lesser black-backed gulls on the island.

So where does loyalty come in? Well, puffins are loyal and breed with the same mate each year. And they will re-use the same nest site each year, too.

But What Shall We Do For A Ring

Tarry Valentine's Day Card with boat and two flowers and quote from Edward Lear's The Owl and The Pussycat 'Oh let us be married, too long we have tarried' - and Be My Valentine' as the name of the boat. All set against an impressionistic blue see with waves.

But What Shall We Do For A Ring

A boat and two flowers and a quote from Edward Lear’s poem The Owl and The Pussycat.

And topped off with ‘Be My Valentine’ as the name of the boat.

With all of it set against an impressionistic blue sea with toy waves.

Edward Lear

In case you don’t know it, the quote ‘Oh let us be married, too long we have tarried’ is from the second verse of the poem. It goes:

Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried,
But what shall we do for a ring?

Too Long We Have Tarried

There is a whole story tucked in those words ‘too long we have tarried’, isn’t there. It is the story of a couple who have been romantically entwined for ages, for forever, but until how have not taken the step into marriage.

This is of course leaving aside that in this particular case we are talking about crossing the species boundary – so children probably aren’t going to be in the picture for the couple’s future life together.

Still – love is love.

My Favourite Line

My favourite line from the poem is the one that goes:

Dear Pig, are you willing
to sell for one shilling
your ring?
Said the Piggy, “I will.

The more prosaic and direct way to have phrased it would have been to ask whether the pig was willing to sell the ring. And then to offer a price, something like:

Will you sell the ring, I can offer you one shilling.

But that is not what the poet does. He makes his character do a little musical sidestep mid sentence by mentioning the price with the words ‘for one shilling’. It is just delightful.


The card at the top of this article is one of the Valentine’s Day cards now available at Flying Twigs.

Flying Twigs Advertisement

I thought I would show the advertisement we put together for a trade magazine, that will appear beginning with the January issue.

“Get your cards delivered to your door. For good products at good prices with speedy delivery, choose gorgeous, high-quality greeting cards with top-notch printing.

With more than 350 cards, you’re sure to find the cards you’re looking for.

Pricing is simple. The cards are £2.75 each, and shipping within the UK is 65p per order with FREE postage when you buy four or more cards.

We are based in the UK, so for details of the countries to which we ship and shipping costs to those countries, please see the FAQs.

Pricing and shipping for posters depends on the size chosen. Check the individual product pages for details.

Ordering is easy and secure. Look for the padlock next to the web address. That tells you everything is encrypted. Plus, we use industry-leading Stripe online payments for secure checkout.

We have all our cards printed in the UK on top-quality, environmentally-friendly card stock with a smudge-free writing surface.

The envelopes are plain white, and they too are easy to write on (because don’t you hate it when the cards or the envelopes are shiny and you can’t write on them!). Score one for Flying Twigs!