Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
May 9, 2021

May Rains

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This week the rains swept in pushed by great fronts of ocean air – moisture from places with magical names that I hear on the shipping forecast and can only imagine. Life around progressed without a murmur and the ground drank heavily. 

In this episode we listen to the rain and to Thomas Merton. We also thinking about casting clouts and what that might mean.  

Journal entry:

“7th May, Friday

It was -1⁰ when I got up this morning.
 The sky was lightening in the east
 and the trees and hedgerows, 
 beside the night-edged cut, sang. 

Buttery waves of golden light 
 wash over the retreating frost.
 The sky is blue as Penny and I 
 Walk on starfields of ice. 

They glitter and sparkle, 
 But not as brightly as the notes
 Of the blackbird’s song, that pour 
 From that tree, over there, 
 In the corner.”                            

Episode Information

The Mindful Narrowboat vlog
You can enjoy Vanessa’s (and Zephyr, her dog) mindful narrowboat adventures cruising on NB Alice Grace by following The Mindful Narrowboatvlog. 


In this episode I read a passage from Thomas Merton’s (2003) When the Trees say Nothing. Notre Dame: Sorin Books.

I also read ‘Sheep in the Rain’ by Tom Hennen which can be found in his (2013) Darkness Sticks to Everything. Washington: Copper Canyon Press. 

I also refer to:

Ruth Binney (2010) Weather Lore. Country Words and Country Ways series. Cincinnati: David and Charles.

Charles Dack (1911) Weather and Folklore of Peterborough and District. Peterborough: Peterborough Natural history, Scientific, and Archaeological Society. 

Miles Hadfield (1950) An English Almanac. London: JM Dent and Sons.

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. 

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