Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
Oct. 30, 2020


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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 tumblehome. 

Journal entry 
“28th October, Wednesday.
 Yesterday. More rain. Damp clings to the air. The sky is filled with greys and Prussian blue. The oaks on the skyline still hold on to their full summer shapes even though the ground is a patchwork of sodden leaves. 

Three Shetland ponies, stoic and comic in their friendly solidity, graze. Rain drips off the manes and coats. Their breath rises in clouds of sweet-smelling steam. We stand in a small group, each of us gazing in a different direction.  

Suddenly, the sun, stratus-cataracted, metallic, still wet from the waters of night, breaks through. Everything is transformed; an epiphanal transfiguration. 

The field shivers silver in the steaming air. The three ponies stand haloed in a fiery-white light, platinum bright, mute and solid. 

The air is filled with drifts of pearls that run down our faces. Is this Matthew’s field in which was buried a great treasure? How fitting he chose the Greek word θησαυρός [thesaurus] to describe it. 

Who knew that the treasure of great price was sun… and rain… and dawn’s imagination.” 


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 Episode Information

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 sound recorded on site.