Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
Feb. 14, 2021

When Ice Sings

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Tonight, the NB Erica is locked in ice. There’s a wolfish southeaster blowing and the night is filled with rasping creaks and groans. There are times when the ice sings. Acoustic lightning flashes that dart across the frozen water surface. 

Journal entry:

“9th February, Tuesday.

Last night’s snow low uneasily on the ground, like a miser’s blanket, threadbare and uneven.
 But it’s enough to see the lacework of indistinct and broken-formed tracks of night-time life. 
 For once, I can see what Penny sees with her nose - 
 A terrain full of movement and life.
 For a time my temporal world merges with hers, filled with foil and imagined forms.” 

Episode Information

You can see Pete Tuffrey’s evocative paintings of canals and night-time scenes at:

During this episode I read extracts from:

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

Richard Jeffries (1898) Wildlife in a Southern County. London: Smith, Elder and co.

Francis Kilvert (1977) Kilvert’s Diary (1870-1879): A selection edited and introduced by William Plommer. London: Penguin.

Laurie Lee (2016) ‘A Cold Christmas Walk in the Country’ in Village Christmas:And other notes on the English Year. London: Penguin Random House. pp 13-16.

Mary Oliver ‘Starlings in Winter’ published in Oliver, M. (2004) Wild Geese: Selected Poems. Tarset: Bloodaxe Books.
You can read her poem here: Starlings in Winter.

 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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