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


Boat Life

Boat Blacking

April 11, 2021

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 ye…

History (Canals) History (Personal)

Canalscapes of Childhood

March 28, 2021

A listener has asked, "After we left the boat and went to live in a house, did canals continue to play much of a part in my life?" After the boat, we moved to Kings Langley, Hertfordshire. It was there I grew up and found my…

Natural World (General) Philosophy/reflective

Man on the Bicycle

March 21, 2021

The journey from winter into spring is often messy and ill-defined. Sometimes it feels as if we are making progress and at others the cold and damp of winter days returns. As we are also contemplating moving from lockdown it…

Boat Life

Moving On

March 14, 2021

These are the days of swan nests and duck eggs, but the call of a lone swan circling overhead, perhaps captures more precisely the tensions we feel moving through the seasons. The seasonal shifts in the activity of the swans…

History (Canals)

'Boots as thick as a moderate slice of bread and butter'

March 7, 2021

The fascination of boots and canals. Boots have always been one of the most essential pieces of equipment for canals and canal-life. In this episode we re-join impresario, journalist and social reformer, James Hollingshead o…


A Whispered Spring

Feb. 28, 2021

Everywhere the world is filled with the whispered spring. The first of this year’s lambs scamper and nuzzle in the field above us and skylarks sing high from under a bowl of Wedgewood blue. A softer, warmer wind blows, and t…

History (Canals)

Haunted Canals

Feb. 21, 2021

Stormy nights like this, when then wind howls among the reeds under a hunted moon, are perfect for curling up with a ghost story or two. In this episode we hear about two ghost stories set in locations close to where NB 5068…

Soundscapes, Boat Life Natural World (General) History (General) Weather

When Ice Sings

Feb. 14, 2021

Tonight, the NB Erica is locked in ice. There’s a wolfish southeaster blowing and the night is filled with rasping creaks and groans. There are times when the ice sings. Acoustic lightning flashes that dart across the frozen…

Boat Life Philosophy/reflective History (Canals)

Canal Time

Feb. 7, 2021

One of the first things you will experience when you cast off onto the waterways is, what is sometimes referred to as, ‘canal time.’ What is canal time and how is it different to land time? Canal time functions not so much a…

Boat Life History (General) Seasonal

Snow on Water

Jan. 31, 2021

This week the first proper snow of the winter fell. For a while, our world was transformed. If you love snow, a boat is the perfect place to enjoy it. If you hate snow, a boat is the perfect place to escape it! Journal entry…

Boat Life History (Canals)

Deep and Wide

Jan. 24, 2021

Another January storm has passed over us. But, tonight we have a stock of gingernut biscuits and the knowledge that each day the daylight gets longer and the spring is coming. In this episode, with its usual sprinkling weath…


Morning Sun: Living the dark days of January

Jan. 17, 2021

January 18th (2021) is 'Blue Monday'. The third Monday in January is considered by many to be the most depressing day in the calendar. As we enter the dark days of January, this episode considers the importance of the hope o…

Boat Life

Keeping Warm

Jan. 10, 2021

What is it like to be on a narrowboat in the grip of a winter’s cold spell? How do you keep warm on a boat? Living and working on the canal systems in winter has been notoriously difficult and hard. In this episode we reflec…

Boat Life Seasonal

Greet the New Year

Jan. 1, 2021

For most people, 2020 has been a stressful year of frustration, disappointment, fear and anxiety. It is not surprising that we look forward to welcoming in 2021. Join me on Narrowboat 506812 as we reflect on the significance…


Christmas Eve

Dec. 24, 2020

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 De…

Boat Life History (Personal)

Winter of 1962/3

Dec. 19, 2020

A first-hand account remembering life aboard a small boat with a small family during the harsh winter of 1962/3. The time we lived on the Kathy were always very precious to Mum and she later wrote about them. Her writings ev…

Natural World (Birds)


Dec. 13, 2020

Why is the swan an oxymoron and if it is so unlucky to kill a swan why are there so many recipes for them? In this episode we reflect on the place of the swan within its natural and cultural environments. Lockdown and being …

Soundscapes, Night Time


Dec. 6, 2020

The temperature is just above freezing and the ground is slick with mud. Join me tonight for a night-walk to Bearley (Odd) lock to see what sounds we can hear and feel the quiet stillness of the canal in the depths of winter…

Boat Life


Nov. 28, 2020

As the weather gets increasingly wintery and frosts burn the air, we look at the waterways and the practicalities of boating. How do you turn a 58ft boat in a narrow canal? Can you boat through the night? What happens to the…

Boat Life History (Canals)

Down the Cut

Nov. 15, 2020

‘The cut’ is one of the old vernacular names given to the canal. It was the one most of us used during my childhood. The name reminds us of its history and construction. This episode explores the strange and sometimes ambiva…

Boat Life

Narrowboat Lockdown

Nov. 8, 2020

The UK enters its second lockdown. Movement on the waterways is once again restricted to 'essential needs only.' It's the same, but different. This episode reflects on this and what it can teach us about ourselves. There is…

Boat Life


Oct. 30, 2020

In this episode we walk through NB Erica and answer some of your questions about life aboard a narrowboat. We touch on the vexed question of whether it is 'port and starboard' or 'left and right', and we learn about tumbleho…

Boat Life History (Personal)

The Erica behind the Erica

Oct. 18, 2020

In this episode we explore the history of NB 506812 before she became our home and meet the Erica behind the Erica. Journal entry: “16th October, Friday. The canal continues to thread its silent way through autumn. There’s a…

Boat Life

Duck calls in the Night

Oct. 4, 2020

Join me on the first Nighttime on Still Waters podcast. It is really a getting to know you podcast where I introduce you to the Erica 58ft narrowboat and this is the beginning of our audio journal about our life aboard and t…