Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
Dec. 24, 2020

Christmas Eve

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A chance to say to you Merry Christmas.

This episode celebrates a Christmas Eve that is different and yet, in a number of important ways very similar to those our ancestors experienced.

 Journal entry:

“Christmas Eve 24th December, Thursday.

Last night’s storms have swept the sky clear. The on-coming tide of sunlight washes the eastern horizon the colour of blood oranges.
 This morning was the first morning this winter I have really needed gloves. The boat is a haven of warmth when we return.
 A mug of tea waits, steaming, on the side as I watch a cormorant spread its wings in the sun.”

Episode Information

In this episode I read an extract from the early 17th century English printed volume by Nicholas Breton of the 15th century The Kalendar of Shepherds: Being devices for the twelve months.

You can read a digitised reproduction of this book, with its wonderful woodcut engravings, in the Welcome Library: The Kalendar of Shepherds: Being devices for the twelve months.

I also read a short extract from John Clare’s (1793-1864) poem DecemberIt is part of his epic poem The Shepherd's Calendar.


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. 

With special thanks to Father Christmas for the sleigh bells!

Piano interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site. 

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