Finding ways to create something beautiful in the dark nights of a complex world

WORDS once SPOKEN now CAPTURED

Soundscapes, Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective History (General)

Church bells among crow song

Sept. 25, 2022

This week much of the country fell silent for a while and that stillness was the occasion for a chance encounter and finding within the silence the music of bells among crow song. Join us aboard the Erica tonight as we are t…

History (Canals) Readings

The Longest Trench (Summer readings)

Sept. 18, 2022

The second of our reading this year takes back to the working-boat families of the First World War. Geoffrey Lewis’ beautifully detailed and cleverly structured tribute to the people who worked the boats through this turbule…

Readings

Canal Pushers (Summer readings)

Sept. 11, 2022

The first of our ‘Summer’ readings this year is a litle different from those we looked at last year and features Andy Griffee’s meticulously researched, fast-paced, crime thriller Canal Pushers . Set on the West Midlands can…

Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective

Milky tea and four sugars (Walking with elephants)

Sept. 4, 2022

There’s a warm welcome awaiting you under the heavy night skies of summer’s hinterlands. Tonight we meet a very special person with a lop-sided smile and who might be able to teach us to walk with elephants. Journal entry : …

Soundscapes, Boat Life Natural World (General)

Beside a young willow (in a thunderstorm)

Aug. 28, 2022

Although a little delayed, the long-awaited rain and thunder did eventually arrive. Join us tonight as we hunker down beside a young willow and enjoy, with a field full of crows, the wonder of a thunderstorm as it roars over…

Boat Life Natural World (General)

Hot August Nights (Listening for the thunder)

Aug. 15, 2022

It has been a sweltering hot week with temperatures in the 30s (90F). Join me onboard NB Erica, on a hot August night just as the heatwave is about to break, as we listen for the rolling sound of distant thunder. Journal ent…

Boat Life Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective

The Scent of God

Aug. 7, 2022

Join me this week as we moor on a still August night, under a proud stand of poplars studded with starlight and moonlight. Tonight, we explore the evocative power of scents and smells. Journal entry : 6th August, Saturday. "…

Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective Natural World (Birds)

Down by the Cattle Pond

July 31, 2022

There is a spot of ground that is special to me. Perhaps you have one too. They often are not particularly attractive, but somehow they are places we can go to find quietness. Join me to tonight when we visit one of my speci…

Boat Life Philosophy/reflective Night Time

Let the Stars Sing out your Stories

July 24, 2022

The forecast hot weather has come and gone, but its psychological, as much as physical, effects feel a bit harder to shift. So join with me tonight as we gaze deeply into the mirrored dome of the night sky and its web of sta…

Soundscapes, Boat Life Natural World (General) Natural World (Birds)

The Dog Days of Summer

July 17, 2022

These are the long days. The days of heat and dust. The days of quiet skies and dulled colours. Days of eclipse and renewal. These are the dog days of summer. Journal entry : 23rd July, Saturday [should read 16th July - blam…

Soundscapes, Philosophy/reflective

Unfamiliar Mirrors (... and a herring)

July 10, 2022

Old stories can lift an unfamiliar mirror up to our lives so that we see ourselves anew and as we really are. Tonight, I will tell you an old story. It’s a story about a silvery day of sea fret (mist), rolling ocean waves, e…

Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective Night Time

This one unremarkable dusk

July 3, 2022

With apologies for sounding like an asthmatic badger, tonight we explore the special qualities of an unremarkable dusk and why we can feel so at peace with it and the darkness it can bring. Journal entry : 28th June, Tuesday…

Boat Life History (Personal)

Love Letters (Written in Canal Water)

June 26, 2022

Odd little shards of memory take on new meaning. A young man clinging to the side of a bridge, a walk around a reservoir, a canal-side pub, a bridge crossing the Grand Union. It is funny how, looking back, distinct paths and…

Boat Life

Lessons from the Breadlady

June 19, 2022

The heat of the past few days has broken with sweeping skies filled with rain and lowering clouds. Join me tonight, as we reflect on life on water in the heat of summer, listen to the poetic words of one of our listeners, an…

Boat Life Natural World (General) History (Personal)

'I've Got Her Now' (Love and Hawthorn Blossom)

June 12, 2022

This week has been one of extremes that encompasses the splendour of solitude and an onboard visit by three very enthusiastic police dogs (and a puppy)! Alongside all this, we took time to listen to some bats, watch the cygn…

Boat Life History (Canals) Natural World (Birds) Readings

Caught in a Rhyme

June 5, 2022

On the week that the cygnets of our swan pair hatched, we explore the rather contradictory nature of the canal through the eyes of poets Jo Bell, Nancy Campbell, and Ian MacMillan. We find romance amidst the unromantic and b…

Boat Life History (Personal) Natural World (Birds)

On Drying Days (Like This)

May 29, 2022

May slowly rolls into June, but is summer really here? The towpaths and hedgerows are garlanded in summer colours and the ducks (and swans) are beginning to move into their time of eclipse. Some of the mallard drakes are beg…

Boat Life Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective

The Colour of Water

May 22, 2022

I want to describe to you what I saw today, but I can't. We have so many words to describe and represent the most complex of concepts. Why then is it almost impossible to describe something so simple and ordinary as the colo…

Boat Life

When David Came (Cruising the Cut)

May 15, 2022

The Greek myths tell us that there are times when the gods come down from Olympus to walk amongst mortals. We had a very similar experience when, on a sunny day in late March, David Johns came to visit us and record an episo…

History (Canals)

Banbury Town (Rainy Saturday Afternoon)

May 8, 2022

Banbury has a significant place in the history of canals, most notably for being the location of Tooley’s boatyard and its association with canal restoration campaigner LTC (Tom) Rolt. However, the relationship between town …

Boat Life History (Canals)

'A Gypsy Love of Colour' (Painted Boats)

May 1, 2022

Why are canal boats and traditional canal-ware so colourful? When did the custom of painting working boats in bright colours begin and why? This week we explore our attraction to bright colours and what Tom Rolt describes as…

Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective Natural World (Birds)

Entanglements with the Archdeacon

April 17, 2022

The archdeacon is one of the colourful local characters who live here. Irascible and combative, he is nevertheless an important part of the social life of this small portion of the watery world. He’s a feral domestic duck w…

No Small Gift

April 10, 2022

“It is no small gift” wrote the poet Mary Oliver about the joy a dog brings into our lives. In the week that we had to say goodbye to Penny, we remember the many gifts this timid little whirlwind brought into our lives and m…

Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective History (General) Natural World (Birds) Natural World (Flora)

I have Heard the Roar of Spring (and it is fearful)

April 3, 2022

Just as the wind swung north with its sting of sleet and hail, the first batch of ducklings were hatched this week. It was a far from simple event! However, as winter attempted to reassert itself with some biting winds and s…