Monday, November 17, 2008


Houseplants watered.


Something Understood is a modest radio gem from the BBC.
Gentle, contemplative, conducive to reflection.

The frustration is in the timing, as the 30 minute programme goes out on Sundays at 6.00am or 11.30pm. I’m either half awake or asleep, so I miss the presenter - Mark Tully, always worth hearing - as he introduces words and music, from all faiths and none, on life, hope, despair, prayer. And so on. The big stuff.

The good news is that the Beeb now has an iPlayer facility, so I can sleep in and catch the programme over the first coffee of the day. Just click on the link above.

This week’s subject: Happiness. Contributions from Sophocles, a Tibetan singer, an Islamic scholar, Tracy Chapman. Several modern compositions, including an achingly beautiful setting of the Beatitudes from the Taize Community. An interview with the Abbot of Worth Abbey on the monastic tradition, boredom and the difference between the robustness of the intention to do good and the fragility of feeling good. Readings.

And a musical setting of this:

Xaipe 65

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of allnothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e e cummings

Not sure if the iPlayer works outside the UK or not. I hope it does.


Relatively Retiring said...

I do agree.

The BBC has many of these beautiful 'modest radio gems' tucked away in unlikely time-slots. I enjoy the farming programme, coinciding with early morning milking time, and countryside rambling at lunchtime. The uninitiated might think that walking on radio sounds like juggling on radio - but it's not!
Long live BBC radio!

I love the collage of houseplants.

herhimnbryn said...

I adore this programme and since living in Australia have listened to it via the Radio 4 archive and now iplayer, so fear not it can be heard far across the seas!

Krissie/winterwood said...

thanks so much for posting this link in, I wouldnt have known about it otherwise. I find that womans hour wont play on my computer for some reason and yet this one did! off to listen now! Love the collage too!!

Winterwood said...

after listening to this wonderful prog, I then went and looked at womens hour and ended up listening to another show - about dawn french, it was FABULOUS!!!!!!! so many many thanks for the heads up, and in future if you know of any other gems like it, please let us know on your blog? would really appreciate it.

mm said...

RR: Absolutely. There are other small radio treasures. And let us not forget the wonderful Shipping Forecast ....

HHB: You have reassured me. Thank you.

WW: Thanks for reporting back. Delighted that I have facilitated such an introduction!

herhimnbryn said...

Ah now there's a blog post, The Shipping forecast! Whenever I used to listen to it in the UK, I was reminded that we were just an Island. All those wonderful names for the sees around the coast.

herhimnbryn said...


mm said...

HHB: Oh yes. Rockall, Malin, Forties ....

Dick said...

Absolute agreement about 'Something Understood'. A timely reminder that Ross and Brand are loose cannons within an otherwise pretty much impeccable system.

mm said...

Dick: Yes indeed.

Cat B said...

Will check this out here in Boston as soon as I can. We all need this sustenance and I don't know of anything such as you describe here. Thanks!

mm said...

Hi Cat
Thanks for dropping by. It is a weekly broadcast so the programme on the iPlayer changes each weekend. It is no longer the one I describe in the post.

They are all worth hearing, though, in my experience.