steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

The Shipping Forecast

"Who NEEDS the shipping forecast?" asks today's PM newsletter. I do hope this is only because it's a slow news day, and the thing isn't really under threat - because the answer is, of course, "Reason not the need!"

Don't they recognize a liturgy when they hear one? Don't they know that the shipping forecast is Auntie's way of tucking the nation in safely at night, coast by neatly-folded coast? That it's an apotropaic, a nightly beating of the parish bounds? Don't they hear the watchman's cry, "It's 23.00 hours GMT and all's well!", and see his lonely lantern bobbing out upon the deeps?

I believe some sailors listen to it as well, for purposes of their own, but that's hardly the point. You don't need to work on a trawler to derive comfort from a Fisherman's Friend, O Powers that Be.
Tags: maunderings
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