Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
April 11, 2021

Boat Blacking

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Boat blacking is when the hull of a boat is painted or sprayed with a protective – usually bitumen-based – paint to help minimise corrosion of the steel hull. For painted blacking, it is a process that occurs every 2 to 3 years. This week it was NB Erica’s turn for blacking, a time of convergence between ‘canal time’ and ‘land time.’  

Journal entry:

“10th April, Saturday.

I’ll show you something wonderful.
 - Go through the little swing gate in front of you. 
 Keep straight on. Go through the next gate into the field over which the ravens call. 
 Keep walking with the canal on your right.
 Mind your footing, the ground is a bit lumpy and can be boggy when wet. 
 The sun should be rising in front of you, a little to your left.
 There you will see a tangled old blackthorn tree,
       Fallen in last year’s storms,
           Crushing the barbed wire fence beneath it. 
 Today it is wreathed in the aura of delicate white petals, that smell of honey jars.

Even fallen trees can blossom.” 

Episode Details

You can see pictures of the Erica being craned in and out of the canal and the blacking on the Nighttime on Still Waters Facebook page, and on Instagram and Twitter (links below).
 General Details

In the intro and the outro, Saint-Saen's The Swan is performed by Karr and Bernstein (1961) and available on CC at

Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence. 

Piano interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site. 

For pictures of Ericaand images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

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