Snatching the sound of Manannán's song on the bite of a northwesterly wind

WORDS once SPOKEN now CAPTURED

History (General) Night Time

A train in the distance ('Night Mail')

Jan. 29, 2023

Canals and railways are often very close near neighbours and so trains can be a frequent part of the canal soundscapes. This week we explore why the sound of a train in the distance (thanks to Paul Simon) can be so evocative…

Soundscapes, Natural World (General)

One day last summer

Jan. 22, 2023

Join us around the warmth of a glowing stove tonight as ice once more grips the boat and freezing fog thickly mantles the winter-naked trees. On nights like these, it is good to remember summer days and so, tonight’s episode…

Boat Life Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective

Tuesday Morning, 5.30am (The Voyage of Bran)

Jan. 15, 2023

Rain and mud are all around us at the moment, but there is wonder there too. The ancient myth of ‘The Voyage of Bran’ helps us to find the extraordinary within the ordinary and (with apologies to Simon and Garfunkel) the bea…

Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective

When darkness falls (Skating on 'un-time')

Jan. 8, 2023

Happy New Year! New Years can be exciting times, marking new beginnings, a clean page, awakening dormant dreams and ambitions. However, sometimes it is not always like that. This year, in particular, many face the new year w…

Christmas

The Christmas Heron

Dec. 24, 2022

It’s Christmas Eve and the perfect time for a canal-side story. Have you ever heard of the Christmas Heron? No? Well, there’s probably a very good reason for that, but I will tell it to you anyway. So, curl up in your specia…

Boat Life Natural World (General) History (General)

'Earth stood hard as iron...'

Dec. 18, 2022

Join us around the stove tonight, on a very cosy NB Erica that is currently ice-locked into a frozen landscape, as we think about the Fimbulwinter of old, and why Midwinter might be mid-winter after all! Journal entry : 14th…

Boat Life Philosophy/reflective History (Personal)

Those eyes of old (look out at me)

Dec. 11, 2022

“Those eyes of old look at me and, through the haze of your futures, I look back at you…” On this freezing December night, snuggle closer to the stove as I reflect on the strangeness of coming across an old photograph of me …

Soundscapes, Boat Life Natural World (General) Night Time

Nightwalk 2 (Moon shadows across the water)

Dec. 4, 2022

The night is chill and crisp, a bright moon rides the racing clouds and stars shimmer on the surface of the canal. It’s a perfect night for a night walk. Snuggle down and wrap up warm as you join me on a canal walk washed by…

Soundscapes,

Rainy town (as darkness falls)

Nov. 27, 2022

Tonight, we enjoy the special beauties of a rainy town in central England as darkness begins to fall, listen to Thomas Merton on city rain, and spend awhile at a window seat in a small café and create for while our own versi…

Boat Life History (Canals)

Stories are for listening: Blisworth Tunnel (Ian Douglas)

Nov. 20, 2022

As the nights draw in and the cosy glow of a fire gets evermore inviting, it is the perfect time to share stories. It is not surprising that ghost stories have an enduring appeal. Many stories of the canal feature them. Ghos…

Philosophy/reflective Natural World (Birds)

Of cormorants and graduands

Nov. 13, 2022

This week saw the return of the cormorant which prompts a visit to Ernest Ingersoll to find out why they have no voice. A fairly severe reaction to the Covid jab meant that I missed attending this year’s graduation ceremony …

Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective History (Personal)

Today I held back time

Oct. 30, 2022

This weekend the clocks change (in the UK). These small markers in our calendars can touch us in deep ways. Join me tonight as we stop the clock, step out of time, and savour together the unspent, untouched hour as the world…

Soundscapes, History (Personal)

'By badger light and lantern's sigh' (Magickry)

Oct. 22, 2022

Tonight, as the evenings draw in and autumn takes a firmer hold of towpath and fields, let's gather close beside a woodland campfire for some unabashed romanticism. For life teaches us two things: 1. Romance does the heart g…

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

Autumn colours the tattered garments of summer

Oct. 16, 2022

The colours of autumn this year promise to be spectacular and the towpaths are being transformed by the brush of autumn’s artistry. Join us tonight as we drink in some of the sights and ponder why this season can evoke such …

Philosophy/reflective History (General)

Living in Rehoboam's land

Oct. 9, 2022

For many, these are not easy days in which to live and our futures can appear so uncertain. How do we live through such times? Join us tonight as we listen to some deeper wisdom offered by a magpie and an alder tree. Journal…

Boat Life

Rory's episode (Red gumboots and a yellow summer dress)

Oct. 2, 2022

This episode is especially for our youngest regular listener to the podcast, Rory, who had her 6th birthday a couple of weeks ago. So tonight, we explore the narrowboat Erica and what it is like to live on a boat, and then, …

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…