The shipping bones

Saturday morning – Foe remarked on my Pavlovian response to the opening bars of “Sailing By”, the music that introduces the late-night shipping forecast on BBC Radio 4.

Usually I am asleep by the end of it, or well on my way. Sometimes I can last until around South Utsire before I’m snoring like a taser’d walrus.

We have a DAB digital radio by the side of the bed, and Foe’s idea was to have the latest shipping forecast spooled on there for on-demand consumption, whenever you needed a nap.

I went one further, suggesting it gets spooled to your mobile, in order to take it where you want – a nap in the park, or if you’re been travelling to other timezones – a digital, portable melatonin replacement to get you to sleep wherever, whenever. The audio could be transmitted by bone-conduction under your pillow, as not to disturb others.

Foe then trumped this suggestion by taking the bone-conduction theme to its natural conclusion – the shipping forecast implanted, resonant in one’s bones; the offshore outlook of your sceptred isle sending you a-slumber whenever your head rested on your shoulder…

0 comments
  1. nick said:

    I’d love the BBC, at very least, to keep the midnight-45 shipping forecast online all day. The five-hour time difference means that it’s replaced by the 5am one by my bedtime.

    The late-night forecast is like checking the doors and windows, then tucking yourself up in bed. The early one throws off the sheets and opens the curtains.

  2. Hugo said:

    Ah, the shipping forecast’s great for getting to sleep. First the relaxing music followed by the forecast itself.

    When I was a nipper, I used to think it was a choice: “Finisterre. South or southwest veering veering northwest 5 or 6. Moderate or good”. Well, I’ll have ‘good’ then!

    You can listen to the latest forecast at any time online.

    Oh, and I also recommend Overseer’s take on the shipping forecast on ‘Heligoland’. Also great for when you’re falling asleep :)

  3. geraldine said:

    I remember hearing on radio 4 about 10 yrs ago, a story using the names of all the shipping areas as characters in a story. I particularly remember Malin as being an evil character. Do you remember it – if so, do you know where I can “read” the story again.

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