The Shipping Forecast

Ship in a bottle at Maritime Museum, Greenwich London

The shipping forecast: great bastion of the BBC, firm rock in the ever-changing storm of radio content. I love Radio 4 for its variety, but I love the shipping forecast for its consistency. No matter if the seas are peaceful or raging, you can always rely on the stoic voice of the forecast reader. With steady rhythm, this poem of the everyday gives hints of distant unknown waters. Most of the places sound exotic and unknown (Cromarty, Lundy, Shannon). But I get a ridiculous pleasure from the thought that our island is a moniker worthy of a region in the forecast: Wight.

British Isles Sea Regions map framed next to a mug and book

I couldn’t resist this print from the V&A and, after a year of sitting in its wrapper, finally had it framed by the lovely Shorelines in town. Tom brought this mug back for me from a summer trip to Wales. It is my firm favourite; perfectly proportioned and beautifully glazed. And of all 31 forecast regions to choose from, I was especially pleased to see that Wight made it on to the mug.

The shipping forecast has an audience of hundreds of thousands, well beyond the seafarers who rely on its information, its reaches to bedside radios across the land as people drift off on distant waves. (And for those of you who prefer to drift off to music, this is the perfect shipping tune from the talented King Creosote).

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