BBC Shipping Forecast

When I was a child I would sit in my Grandfather’s garden shed (home to all that is manly in Northern England), drink sugary tea and watch him smoke JPS’s. We would listen to the BBC’s shipping forecast in silence giving into the hypnotic quality of the names: Faeroes, Fair Isle, Viking, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, and Thames to name but a few.

Years later in Alabama I would sit and listen on a small Grundig short wave. The familiar names from the North Sea filling the humidity of a Tuscaloosa row house both comforting and making me long for a place I had left years before.
Winter is nearly upon us and the darkness is closing in at a steady clip.  The children are wound up as we begin the break neck pace towards the holidays.   I find a BBC stream and the names come again. This time working their magic on my 6 & 8 year old. Faeroes, Fair Isle, Viking, Dogger… the names as meaningless, exotic, and as comforting as they were to me in my Grandfather’s shed. They drift off and things just seem to be in the right place- at least for a while.