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Nighttime on Still Waters

Richard Goode

1 Creator

A narrowboat-based audio journal on canal life, living aboard, the elements, and the night. Perfect late-night listening for dreamers, insomniacs, night owls, nocturnalists, drifters, and nomads. For lovers Fagen's 'Nightfly', Auden's 'Night Mail', Hopper's 'Nighthawks' and the 'drifting sea-dark streets' of Dylan Thomas. For all those who used to listen to the transistor under your pillow, love the sound of distant trains and rain against the windowpanes, canals and drover's tracks, lost music, splashed puddles, fireflies and bats, hares by moonlight, windsong among pines, owl-light, the shipping forecast, and all the wonderful, terrifying, grand and tawdry avenues of the night. Cosy listening for bedtimes.
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This week we have been joined by a solitary stranger from the north. Probably blown south-west on last week’s northerly storm winds a wigeon has arrived. The appearance of this diminutive figure prompts us to find out a little more about this little duck and we discover his place in the legend of the Seven Whistlers and its association with the end of the world (but, perhaps, not as we know it).

Journal entry:

“4h February, Friday.
The thermometer falls with the waking sun
and the spirit seems to shrivel with the cold.
Then the Bearley rooks take flight from their inky roost;
assured blue-black wings beat the blood-red raging dawn.
The body feels smaller;
the spirit larger.”

Episode Information:

In this episode I refer to the following books:

Edward A Armstrong's (1958) The Folklore of Birds (Collins New Naturalist Library 39) published by Collins.

BB (2008) The Naturalist’s Bedside Book published by Merlin Unwin Books.

Stefan Buczacki’s (2002) Fauna Britannica published by Hamlyn

Walter Černy’s (2000) Field Guide in Colour to British Birds published by Silverdale Books.

Rob Hume (2007) RSPB Complete Birds of Britain and Europe (revised edn.) published by Dorling Kindersley.

Recording of Wigeon calls by Stanislas Wroza on 01.01.2022 at Radonvilliers, Aube, Grand Est, France and downloaded from the xeno-canto site. Full recording details and credits:
Stanislas Wroza, XC695711. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/695711.

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts go to:

Or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com or drop me a line by going to the nowspod website and using either the contact form or, if you prefer, record your message using the voicemail facility by clicking on the microphone icon.

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Living on a boat has meant that we have had to make some difficult decisions about which books come with us onboard. Tonight, I introduce to you one of my most favourite friends on our bookshelf – the collected poems of Dylan Thomas – and explore why he holds such an important place in my life.

Journal entry:

“26h January, Wednesday.

A magpie on the top most branch rattles its greetings to the blurred dawn.
A blackbird calls.
The day begins with a bruised sky and bird song.”

Episode Information

If you are on Twitter, you can follow and watch ‘A Minutes Peace’ by clicking on https://twitter.com/minutes_peace. You can also watch them on Colin’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/colsey2003ify/videos

In this episode I read extracts from:

Matt Gaw’s informative and touchingly evocative exploration of darkness and the night in his (2020) Under the Stars: A journey into light published by Elliott and Thompson.

The following poems by Dylan Thomas:

The force that through green fuse drives the flower
Lament
Fern Hill
Poem in October

The episode concludes with a complete reading of his ‘In my craft or sullen art’.

More information about Nighttime on Still Waters

You can find more information and photographs about the podcasts and life aboard the Erica on our website at noswpod.com. It will also allow you to become more a part of the podcast and you can leave comments, offer suggestions, and reviews. You can even, if you want, leave me a voice mail by clicking on the microphone icon.

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com or drop me a line by going to the nowspod website and using either the contact form or, if you prefer, record your message using the voicemail facility by clicking on the microphone icon.

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As we begin to enter the depths of winter, this episode celebrates with a soundscape of winter at the moorings that tries to capture the life and energy of this season.

Journal entry:

“18h January, Tuesday.

A rich winter moon hangs between the branches of the ash.
Beneath a sky veiled in ice, sheep
The colour of worn lead face the first glow of dawn.

Penny picks up the scent of rabbits
We walk together on crystals and silence."

Episode Information

All audio used for this soundscape was recorded on site.

More information about Nighttime on Still Waters

You can find more information and photographs about the podcasts and life aboard the Erica on our website at noswpod.com. It will also allow you to become more a part of the podcast and you can leave comments, offer suggestions, and reviews. You can even, if you want, leave me a voice mail by clicking on the microphone icon.

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com or drop me a line by going to the nowspod website and using either the contact form or, if you prefer, record your message using the voicemail facility by clicking on the microphone icon.

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The remnants of two days of murk still cling to the hedgerows and trees as you join us tonight on the narrowboat Erica. A very slow thaw is polishing the dulled surface of the water making reflected lights once again dance with life. Curl up and let’s enjoy those little shards of distant memories that still colour out present and fill us with such powerful emotions.

Journal entry:

“12th January, Wednesday.

This morning the canal looks sluggish and dark.
Two rooks throw calls against the marble sky.
Beyond the horizon a pheasant startles a distant wood.
Penny stands and waits for her friends.
My fingers and toes burn."

Episode Information

In this episode I refer to Dru Marland’s ‘Canal Ice Scale’ chart. You can buy it as a postcard at her etsy ‘shop’ here: Canal Ice Scale Chart. More of her terrific work (including her wonderful 2022 calendar – which is selling very fast!) can be seen here: Dru Marland.

More information about Nighttime on Still Waters

You can find more information and photographs about the podcasts and life aboard the Erica on our website at noswpod.com. It will also allow you to become more a part of the podcast and you can leave comments, offer suggestions, and reviews. You can even, if you want, leave me a voice mail by clicking on the microphone icon.

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com or drop me a line by going to the nowspod website and using either the contact form or, if you prefer, record your message using the voicemail facility by clicking on the microphone icon.

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Join us on NB Erica on a blustery January night. The cold Wolf Moon is nearing its first quarter and the stars glitter like ice. After an unexpected delayed start to the New Year, we are back on air and with some exciting(-ish) news to tell you.

Journal entry:

“2nd January, Sunday.

Hello New Year - this is me. You seem so big and dark and unknown, but I have known your brothers and sisters and I have learnt to revel in the days of their sunshine and find their special beauties under skies of steel and water. I have some very special friends - so please treat them gently. As for me, I stand here, as I always do, with my pockets full of fear, but also that flutter of hope and excitement which must be your special gift to me. It is raining now, but your sun will soon come, and larks will sweep the skies. Welcome."

Episode Information

You can go to the brand new Nighttime on Still Waters website by going to: noswpod.com. Here you will find photographs and information relating to the podcast and individual episodes. Among other things, you can read and see photographs of our early life on the canal as well as see behind the scenes of the podcasts and an explanation of the terms used in the Weather Log.

I finish with the poem ‘Invitation’ by Mary Oliver (2013) from her book A Thousand Mornings published by Penguin.

More information about Nighttime on Still Waters

You can find more information and photographs about the podcasts and life aboard the Erica on our website at noswpod.com. It will also allow you to become more a part of the podcast and you can leave comments, offer suggestions, and reviews. You can even, if you want, leave me a voice mail by clicking on the microphone icon.

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com or drop me a line by going to the nowspod website and using either the contact form or, if you prefer, record your message using the voicemail facility by clicking on the microphone icon.

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Curl up with us for this very special Christmas Eve edition of the podcast. Whether you are feeling on your own or just in need of a bit of a breathing space, why not join me tonight for this special Jólabókaflóð inspired edition of Nighttime on Still Water’s? Although the weather may be closer to Greg Lake’s “veil of tears for the virgin birth”, there will always the possibility for “eyes filled with tinsel and fire.”

Journal entry:

“24th December, Friday. Christmas Eve

Yesterday
Four cormorants swung low out of the mist.
Unlike ducks, geese and swans
Or the parrying cries of the corvids
They were silent.
Dark shapes swimming through the dripping air.

All the haws were encased in perfect globes of water.

Days wrapped in mist hold their own special beauty.”

Episode Information

In this episode I read excerpts from:

Dylan Thomas (1954) ‘Memories of Christmas’ from Quite Early One Morning published by J.M. Dent. Everyman’s Library.

Laurie Lee (2015) ‘Village Christmas’ from his Village Christmas and Other Notes on the English Year, published by Penguin. Modern Classics.

Lucy M. Boston (2000) The Children of Green Knowe published by Faber.

Susan Cooper (2019) The Dark is Rising published by Penguin. Puffin Books

For the episode featuring Lucy M. Boston’s River at Green Knowe where you can find more information about her books and the actual house of Green Knowe (well worth a visit) – Episode 39: Summer Readings 3.

For more information about the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð – Jolabokaflod: Founding Story

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com

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share episode

As tonight’s full moon is shrouded by the fog that rolls down the hill and curls and drifts upon the water join us aboard the NB Erica as we fall once more in love with the commonplace and overlooked things. The hill may not be named, or even be awarded a contour of its own, but it nevertheless is the place of gentle and unremarkable miracles.

Journal entry:

“17th December, Friday

It didn’t take long
For those three years of growth
To lie cut upon the ground.

Penny sniffs the torn and broken stems.
I step over teasel heads
Trodden into the mud. “

Episode Information

In this episode I read:

Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem ‘Pied Beauty’ from Poems and Prose published by Penguin Classics (1985).

Tim Hennen’s (2013) ‘What the Plants Say’ from his Darkness Sticks to Everything published by Copper Canyon Press.

I also read a quotation from Arthur Machen’s (1924) The London Adventure: Or the art of wandering. Republished by Tartrus Press.

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com

bookmark
share episode

Following the epic weather of the past few weeks, we go back in time to a period that best celebrated this type of weather. In this episode we explore why the enigmatic appeal of Anglo-Saxon poetry and its fascination (or even obsession) with winter casts such an enduring influence on our culture. It is the perfect type of literature for cold winter nights, but there are also other deeper traits that remain deeply rooted in our shared cultural memories that inform our attitudes to winter.

Journal entry:

“8th December, Wednesday

Storm Barra is barrelling around the boat
Harrying and jostling us,
So that the roaring world tips and sways.

The darkness is flecked silver with rain
As Penny and I walk into a howling dawn. “

Episode Information

In this episode I mention the following books:

Michael Alexander’s (2006) The Earliest English Poems Penguin Classics series, published by Penguin Books.

Alexandra Harris’ (2015) Weatherland: Writers and artists under English skies published by Thames and Hudson.

I read excerpts from the following poems (Michael Alexander’s translations):

The Ruin (alternative translation)

The Seafarer

Exeter riddle 73 (other texts count it as 74)

For those wanting to explore the world of Anglo Saxon and Old English literature, you might find this website, created by Dr Aaron Hostetter from Rutgers University, very helpful: An Old English Poetry Project.

A digital version of the Exeter Book produced c.970 (in which the above are featured) can be viewed here: Exeter Book

I also mentioned Andy Grifee’s narrowboat-based crime series featuring Johnson and Wilde which are published by Orphans Publishing.

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com

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share episode

You join us on (another)stormy night, but this one is moonless and black as tar. It is the night of the new moon – the Cold Moon or the Long Night Moon. The phases of the moon give us an opportunity to contemplate the intricate play of cycles all around us and how the mirror, challenge and provide direction for our lives.

Journal entry:

“3rd December, Friday

The tops of the trees is Shakespeare’s wood have disappeared in cloud.

A defrosted world, smothered in mist and pearled with beads of water.

The canal looks opaque.
A soup of leaf and silt.
Unfathomable and still.

A jackdaw hides in plain sight amongst the wind-left leaves of an oak
As a rabbit sits up and watches us pass.“

Episode Information

For more information about the phases of the moon and the names given to the moon each month, the Royal Museums Greenwich, have an excellent website: Why do we have special names for full moons?

In this episode I read the following poems:

RS Thomas ‘The Moon in Lleyn’ from his (1984) RS Thomas Later Poems: 1972-1982 published by Papermac.

David Whyte ‘Faith’ from his (1990) Where Many Rivers Meet published by Many Rivers Press.

Walter de la Mare (1922) ‘Silver’ multiple publishing.

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com

bookmark
share episode

You join us tonight at the end of a rather windy day. There seems to be a fairly common feeling that we have been encountering a lot of blustery winds recently, both meteorologically and metaphorically. Tonight, we stoke the fire and reflect on the place of the wind in our lives, history and culture.

Journal entry:

“11th February, Friday.
There’s a wrapping chill to the air
And the scent of wet earth.
Penny unsuccessfully tries to jump a large puddle.

One some late winter days
The way the sun slants through the trees
And glances of my face and shoulders

Make the grey world fold open into a summer’s evening
Of long shadows stretching across pub garden lawns
And the air is filled with the sigh of collared doves
And time not yet spent.”

Episode Information:

In this episode I read short extracts from;

John Marzluff and Tony Angell’s (2005) In the Company of Crows published by Yale University Press.

Anonymous (c.1365) The Chronicle of Anonymous of Canterbury 1346-1365. A recent scholarly edition has been published by Oxford University Press (2008/2019).

I also refer to:

Storm Dunlop’s (2021) Weather Almanac 2022 published by Harper Collins.

For more information about Nighttime on Still Waters

You can find more information and photographs about the podcasts and life aboard the Erica on our website at noswpod.com. It will also allow you to become more a part of the podcast and you can leave comments, offer suggestions, and reviews. You can even, if you want, leave me a voice mail by clicking on the microphone icon.

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 archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.

Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site.

Contact
For pictures of Erica and images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at nighttimeonstillwaters@gmail.com or drop me a line by going to the nowspod website and using either the contact form or, if you prefer, record your message using the voicemail facility by clicking on the microphone icon.

bookmark
share episode