Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
Nov. 28, 2020


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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 canals during the winter?

Journal entry:

“27th November, Friday.

It would have been Mum’s birthday today.

And there’s a November moon sailing in November skies.
My breath is silver fire.
    My fingers burn deep in the my pockets.

The rooks are no longer visible among the branches.
So I follow the stars homeward
        Always tracking slightly westward.

Thank God for the sunrise.
          And November buds.”

Episode Information

This episode featured the lovely poem ‘Boatlife in Autumn’ by Julia Pearson onboard NB Omega. You can read her poem on her Instagram account here: 

I also mentioned the wonderful photographs of night-time boating taken by the working coal boat NB Alton. You can see their photographs on Instagram:  

 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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