Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
Jan. 31, 2021

Snow on Water

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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:

“29th January Friday.

The last couple of mornings have smelt fresh. 
 The trees bordering the canal sharp with bird song,
       not just the aural darts of warning calls
        but flowing rivers of melody
              entwined on the wind.

Below our feet, last summer’s oak leaves swim the flooded field.” 

Episode Information

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: Being devices for the twelve months.

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.

I also read an extract from Josh Billing’s Farmer’s Allminax [sic] (1870-1879) by the American humourist Henry Wheeler Shaw. You can read a digitised copy on the Project Gutenberg website: Josh Billings' Old Farmer's Allminax.

To view Andrew Plummer's photographs go to @andrewphotos on Instagram or@AndrewPPhotos on Twitter.

To follow NB On A Whim on Twitter, go to @OnAWhim_NB.

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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