Nighttime on Still Waters

Nighttime on Still Waters

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.


April 14, 2024 19 mins

For us the river of the year has, so far, been roaring and fierce. It is difficult, at times, to see the bank or to even know whether we are floating or sinking. However, that is only one small part of the picture. What follows is a rather incoherent attempt to find coherence amid the noise.   

Journal entry:

10th April, Wednesday

“This morning dawned in chilled silver
 I wore my coat up to my chin.
 Now the sun is out

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As the slow march of Spring travels along the canal and towpaths, tonight I answer two more questions: How do we keep the boat from freezing when we have to leave it unattended, and how long does it normally take to buy a narrowboat?

Journal entry:

7th March, Thursday.

“A grey wind blows
 From a grey sky
 Troubling the surface
 Of the canal.

Damson blossom
 Torn from branch
 Spun snow-like
 With each gust.

Sweet ...

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March 3, 2024 34 mins

As a family, we gained a reputation for the way our 'short  walks' often turned into marathon hikes which invariably meant staggering home long after dark (usually without a torch). In this week’s episode I reminisce on the lessons learnt, their prescient significance, and living in a culture that does growing old and dying so astonishingly badly.

Journal entry:

24th February, Saturday.

“Cloud cliffs, grey and climbing

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February 18, 2024 34 mins

Welcome aboard the NB Erica on a wet winter’s night. It is a perfect night to snuggle down and listen to JM Synge’s turn of the 20th century accounts of his travels to the Aran Islands in a small currach on stormy seas. 

Journal entry:

14th February, Wednesday (St. Valentine’s Day)

 No coat,
 On the hill that runs down to the cut.

Warm sun, fleeting,
 Cloud chasing with the gulls
 And the circle of two buzzard...

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January 17, 2024 26 mins

It has been a rather tempestuous year so far! Currently, I am many miles from the boat and have not been able to record any podcasts. I have rather rushed this episode out to update you on the reasons why I have been so quiet of late and to bring you up to date with what has been happening.  

Apologies for the sound quality of this episode. I do not have my recording gear with me at the moment. 

Episode Information:

In this ...

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December 23, 2023 30 mins

You are invited to join us for a very special episode  as we celebrate Christmas Eve onboard the Erica and remember the Christmas Eves of our childhood. 

Journal entry:

 21st December, Thursday, Winter Solstice

“The year’s turning
 And the longest night.

There’s a rough wind
 And angry skies.

The polestar oak
 Finally felled.

The ducks don’t seem
 To notice."


Episode Information:

Can I take this opportunity to wish yo...

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You have seen the Instagram photographs/videos of happy boat-dogs gambolling along summer towpaths, dense with colour and sunshine, or happily curled up in front of cosy fires, but what is the reality of sharing a boat with a dog really like, especially in the winter?  

Journal entry:

 15th December, Friday.

“All night,
 The owls echoed
 Along the valley
 In the long tunnel
 Of the night.

This morning,
 A magpie scr...

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Join us on a stormy December night to listen to the next part of ‘How Mum met Dad’ in celebration of Dad’s 95th birthday. This week, we hear about their crack of dawn wedding and their honeymoon on the Norfolk Broads in the Whippet

Journal entry:

 7th December, Thursday

“Untidy smoke trail of jackdaws
 Stream across an iron sky
 Of scalding wind and rain flail.

Maggie and I pick our way
 Across the sheep field,

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December 3, 2023 43 mins

This week is a very special episode as we celebrate Dad’s 95th birthday and we go back in time to hear about how a 1938 Hilman Minx was instrumental in how Mum met Dad.

Journal entry:

1st December, Friday

“Short sections of the canal
 Are covered in a frosted skim of ice.
 Wafer thin
 But firm enough to bear a moorhen’s weight.

She walks parallel to the offside bank
 Left foot raised in a high arc
 Then place it fla...

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November 19, 2023 42 mins

Autumn is a good time for contemplation and a place by the fireside encourages reflection. Recently I have been revisiting the journals of Thomas Merton and, with the help of John Moriarty, I have found myself relearning some valuable lessons. The Edens of our flourishing are sometimes not quite what we dream them to be. 

Journal entry:

15th November, Wednesday

"Across the fields, 
 A train clatters it's way to Birmingha...

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November 12, 2023 27 mins

I've always felt that there is something rather singular about the month of November. Tonight I try to find out what it is and end up recounting the time when Guy Fawkes wore my old dressing gown (which might or might not have anything to do with it!). 

Journal entry:

8th November, Wednesday.

“Look down for the healing.
 A reluctant dawn this morning,
 South wind plays with stray raindrops
 And birch leaves.

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November 5, 2023 39 mins

It’s a foul November night, so why not come and join me aboard the Erica by the warm glow of fire light. I have with me a lovely book that I found last year in a second-hand bookshop and think that it's perfect for a night like this.   

Journal entry:

 1st November, Wednesday.

“November is born brave
 This morning.

The dark water is alive
 With movement
 And a scatter
 Of light.

The walk from the boat
 To car

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October 29, 2023 35 mins

I am not sure if it is just me, but so far autumn doesn’t feel quite so ‘autumny’ as it usually does. Therefore, I think that it is a perfect time to savour a reading from one of my most favourite childhood books, Brendon Chase by BB.  

Journal entry:

 26th October, Thursday.

 Mizzle transforms the water
 Into star-fields of pinpricks of light.

Like walking
 Through the tangle
 Of watery

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It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the global events of the last couple of weeks. Following the battering of Storm Babet, this week’s episode offers a space for us to reflect on a world that can be often violent and far from perfect. 

Journal entry:

13th October, Friday

“Battered by the winds of the world
 I stop to watch the free-flight of rooks
 Diving from an oak into the full force
 Of a westerly gale.

Gothic wings outsp...

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October 15, 2023 32 mins

The temperature outside is dipping down towards zero, so join us for a cosy night by the glow of a hot stove, as we chat about two subjects close to my heart and the surprising way that living on a boat has altered my attitude to them. 

Journal entry:

13th October, Friday

“Battered by the winds of the world
 I stop to watch the free-flight of rooks
 Diving from an oak into the full force
 Of a westerly gale.

Gothic wings ou...

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There's an old and trustworthy adage on the canals: when two or more boaters meet up it is only a matter of time before the conversation will turn to the subject of toilets. So guess what the topic of this week's episode is?! 

Journal entry:

 3rd October, Tuesday

“Light fades.
 Dew Falls.
 Maggie follows a rabbit’s scent-trail
 Through the long, wet grass.
 Two rooks head east into darkness.

I struggle in the ...

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October 1, 2023 19 mins

A week of serious problems with our internet has meant that I have been unable to record the episode answering listeners’ questions. However, join us tonight to enjoy a special meeting under the ‘ghost’ of a harvest moon. 

Journal entry:

 29th September, Friday

“Early this morning,
 We met the swan slipping
 Light upon the night-time mists.

Behind us,
 Cows stood knee deep
 in milk- white meadows.

This is the stillness t...

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September 23, 2023 41 mins

There’s a chill in the air tonight and there will be mist on the water in the morning. Join me tonight as I answer some hard questions about how viability is a long term in the Erica on the canals? 

Journal entry:

21st September, Thursday

“For a short while this evening
 The crescent moon and the setting sun
 Shared the same length of skyline.
 A fiery bronze heart and the ghost of bone.

Then a robin sings as rain drops fal...

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September 17, 2023 40 mins

On a dark night that is damp with an autumnal chill, join us as tonight I answer some of the questions posed by the listeners of this podcast which range from the decisions and motivations behind our choice to live afloat to canal etiquette. 

Journal entry:

 14th September, Thursday

“Thin drizzle.
 The jackdaws sound like
 Monosyllabic gulls this evening.
 Woundwort heals the breach between
 The canal and me.
 Red ...

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September 10, 2023 32 mins

It's a hot sultry night in the late eve of summer. Join us tonight as we spend time with the gentle words and wisdom of a friend of mine.  

Journal entry:

 6th September, Wednesday

“This evening
 The wool of traveller’s joy has caught afire
 With the westward
 Apricot sun.
 And look at how the nettles glow
 Translucent with the touch
 Of unspeakable wonder.”


Episode Information:

In this episode I read...

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