Since my retirement from teaching, I generally sleep fairly well, but last night was one of those 'nuits blanches' when I was still awake to hear one of my favourite pieces of music, Sailing By, written in the 1950s by Ronald Binge. It was chosen as a prelude to the Radio 4 shipping forecast just before 1a.m. apparently because it is a piece that can be started or stopped at any point, which is useful as it can be fitted in to allow the length of time necessary for the subsequent forecast. (Hope I'm making sense to you here, I'm getting a bit confused!) So when the lads out at sea hear this music, they are all set to listen to the forecast.
It also reminds me of my three year old self when part of my daily routine was to sit down at 1.45pm for 'Listen with Mother' which was then followed by the shipping forecast. Those strange names , Dogger, German Byte, Fisher, Forties, Bailey, Rockall, Shannon are still familiar to me and I am not much wiser about them now than I was then, although I have now found this interesting site which gives a very clear explanation of the shipping forecast. I had no idea, for instance, that each bulletin consists of 350 words. Now that makes me wonder why 'Sailing By' needs to be of variable length. Maybe I can think about that if I am awake and listening to it again tonight.