Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
Nov. 8, 2020

Narrowboat Lockdown

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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 also more on the language and terms used by the original working boatmen and why to call a boatman ‘a sailor’ was the highest insult. 

Journal entry:

“7th November, Saturday.

A quick silver moon ghosting through a glistening night, caught in the branches of the old elm tree where the jackdaws call.”

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. 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.

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 Episode Information
Extract read from ‘November’ in The Kalendar of Shepherds.

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.