At the end of the month, British Summer time comes to an end and the clocks will go back; so technically until 29th of October this year, we are in the last throws of enjoying our extra daylight hours.

Just before this happens I’m off on a cruise around the Mediterranean, which is something I’ve never experienced before; yet something, I’m very much looking forward to!

My Consett friends all tell me how amazing cruising is, and have consistently entertained me with their stories; yet, I feel my own perceptions of what to expect have been somewhat ‘technicoloured’ by my captivation with old Hollywood films. As, included in all my favourites, are films to do with the sea and boats.

‘Now Voyager’, starring Bette Davies is one of these, along with ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, featuring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe.

While still stuck in the Hollywood vibe, I’m a great fan of ‘Anything Goes’, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. I started this film fascination at a young age, watching Errol Flynn in ‘Captain Blood’ and ‘The Sea Hawk’ on a Sunday afternoon with my Mam, moving on to ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Peter Pan’. And for a while now I’ve been a great fan of ‘The Pirates of The Caribbean’.

On reflection, I see a pattern emerging – musicals, pirates and the sea! Which might also explain why I’ve spent a large portion of my life listening to the shipping forecast on Radio 4. For those of you who didn’t realise there were two 5:30’s in one day, you will have missed the joy of listening to the dulcet early morning tones describing the weather around our coastline. I’m not sure I fully understand all of it, yet it has comforted me throughout the years and most of all recently, when I’ve been awake in the early hours, with the sleeplessness and middle of the night trips to the bathroom; that come with age, and an ever changing body clock.

However, just last month by complete accident, I discovered a brand new listening sensation especially suited to my needs. BBC sounds have produced ‘The Sleeping Forecast’, specifically prepared with delicate, soft instrumental music to help promote slumber, interspersed with the words from the shipping forecast. It’s an absolute delight and right up my street, try it and see! I’m wondering if on my cruise I’ll be able to listen to it, or will I be too busy eating, drinking, dancing and walking round the deck imitating the ghosts of my favourite Hollywood stars!

From singing ‘A Little Girl From Little Rock’ in the karaoke bar, to humming the tune to ‘Drink Up Me Hearties Yo Ho’, or tap dancing to ‘Anything Goes’?

I’ll tell you about my adventures when I get back! Still, for now, as the nights draw in, I’m perfectly happy with my nightly hot water bottle in its knitted cover, a good book, and my latest addiction, the sleeping forecast.

Just last night, I listened to ‘Sail away on the tides of sleep’ and before I knew it, I was out like a light!

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Lorraine Weightman
Lorraine Weightman who regularly writes a monthly memoir telling of her days growing up in Consett has just published 2 books in conjunction with Firefly New Media Uk, which share 24 stories that were originally seen in Consett Magazine over the past few years.


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