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Peter Jefferson, And Now The Shipping Forecast

Peter Jefferson, And Now The Shipping Forecast

As the sun sets in the west I can’t help thinking of those June and July evening when I was in my early teens helping out on our local farm in Quill Hall Lane in Amersham.

Each year I would look forward to hay bailing, it was the first of the summer activity on the farm that meant I would be out until just after sunset one the hay had had a chance to dry off in the summer sun and I was allowed to ride on the old Massey Ferguson tractor. Sometime I would ride in the flaf bed trailor and auther times I would tuck myself in between Richard and the large red wheel arch. Those were memorable times, growing up and being taught the ways of the country, animal husbandry, welfare and how the seasons worked and what hard work was really about. A farm day was from 3am in the morning till at least 11pm. If I was lucky enough to be able to stay up late with the Sears then it would always be a cup of Ovaltine, a bowl of Wheatabix with added malt and a mug of tea whilst listening to the weather forecast and The Shipping Forecast.

For Peter Jeffersons voice is one that once heard is never forgotten, Viking, Dogger, Bank, Fisher, Forties, Cromarty, Dover,Biscay and German Bight. I never quite understood what he was going on about other than it was what out fishermen and sailors understood before they set sail or were at sea. Somewho listening to it night after night beacme a ritual as if it were the sign for ‘lights out’.

Whilst in our local charity shop, well one of the many that now lines our high street I found an unread and pristine copy of his book, And Now The Shipping Forecast – A Tide Of History Around Our Shores. A book for of interesting facts, anecdotes,verse and maps which now helps the whole thing make sense.

I have on occassion when sea fishing and looking out across the Sussex coastline started to recall forecasts from the past, trying desperately to recite it correctly, Dogger, Fisher, German Blight; precipitation within sight away from land and out to sea with moderate vi9sibility.I heard Shephen Fry once have a go and lets just say it wasn’t the same.

It is funny how memories are made up of so many things.

11 stone record Halibut caught

11 stone record Halibut caught

In the post today my father-in-law mailed two newspaper cuttings to young Tales, one about a record Halibut and the other about three rather large Carp from a lake near their home in Iver in Bucks.
It was good inspiration from Opa but I couldn’t help thinking that he’s set us a challenge.