A story of love, loss and taxidermy on a Broadland estuary. Told by a mix of professional actors and a community choir.

 

Following a number of requests, here are all the lyrics from the show, in their full poetic glory.

ON BREYDON WATER

A new tide makes
The wind blows cold
On Breydon Water
The hard-fowl cry
The moon turns old
All Breydon waits

While from the East
A darkening sky
Brings down like falling snow
Watch it fall,
Soft snow, as if to lie
On Breydon Water
On Breydon Water

By Lockgate Mill
The eel-grass grows
By Breydon Water
A midnight chill
A cold wind blows
And Breydon waits

The winter geese
Are waiting still
While here, on Lockgate Drain
Falls the rain
Soft rain, falling still
On Breydon Water
On Breydon Water

In Five Stake Drain
The tide returns
On Breydon Water
The winter dawn
Still looks the same
All Breydon waits

Though curlews call
Yet soon a day
Will bring one final tide
Night will fall
Will fall, for ever fall
On Breydon Water
On Breydon Water

The sky turns dark
The storm clouds creep
On Breydon Water
A cold wind blows
The dark sky weeps
All Breydon waits

And in your dreams
A poison seeps
The tide of hope retreats
As it falls
Dark streams
Invade your sleep
On Breydon Water.
On Breydon Water.

 

THE FORTUNATE ONE

(CROWTHER)

Night might ha' come
To my Breydon skies
But I've walked in the dawn
And seen the snipe rise
And the sun burn a path
In the west as it die
An' the salt tide
Give way to the fresh

I remember it all
That's burned in my brain
The frets and the blows
The mist and the rain
When frost held her hard
And the ice in her drains
Was like iron

Oh, don't pity me none
I am the fortunate one

You walk around blind
Aye, you girl, not I
You never look up
To the life in the sky
I know what they say
But they can't take away
What a man can remember

So don't pity me none
You say you're lucky
But I am the fortunate one

Night might ha' come
To my Breydon skies
But I've walked in the dawn
And seen the snipe rise
An' the sun burn a path
In the west as it die
An' the salt tide 
Give way to the fresh

Don't pity me none
I've lived my life wild
Under Breydon skies
I am the fortunate one.

 

THE CURVE OF HER NECK

 (CROWTHER)

The curve of her neck
The silken sheen of her feathers
Protecting in all weathers
The tiny heart beneath.
The outstretched hand of her wing
That rode the breath of the cold wind
And touched the sharp salt spray
Out at sea
Sailing free
Not knowing as you fly
Below the world was waiting
A world anticipating
The place where you would die.

The arc of her flight
A curving trace of pure pleasure
An eye whose gaze could measure
The world spread out beneath.
The open gape of her bill
That cried the sound of her heart’s song
And rode the sharp salt wind
Out at sea
Sailing free
Not knowing as it cried
Below the world was waiting
A heart anticipating
The place where it would die

The curve of a neck
The fragile bones of a shoulder
The skin that’s growing colder
As the heart’s blood drains away
The icy touch of her lips
The missing beat of a heart that
Dared to dream a new life
Wild and free
Like the sea
Yet even as she dreamed
And spread her wings to fly
Below a room was waiting
The place where she would die

 

CRUEL WORLD

(JACK)

It’s a cruel old world, Mr Crowther
When the night is drawing in
It’s a cruel old world, Mr Crowther
When the pavements they turn cold
And the lamps are growing dim.

         Lucky’s the man
         With a friend he can rely on
         Lucky’s the man
         Who can bolt his door
         Lucky’s the man
         With an angel here to watch him
         A fire to warm him
         A pal to protect him
         Who could ask for more?

The springtime is done, Mr Crowther
You won’t hear the nightingale call
The summer is gone, Mr Crowther
The swallows have all fled
Now the dying leaves must fall.

         Lucky’s the man
         With a friend he can rely on
         Lucky’s the man
         Who can bolt his door
         Lucky’s the man
         With an angel here to watch him
         A fire to warm him
         A pal to protect him
         Who could ask for more?

There are thieves out there in the shadows
Men with a way with a knife
Men who will smile as your eyes close
As the curtain comes down on your life

So what’s to be done, Mr Crowther
When night treads soft in the hall
Oh what’s to be done, Mr Crowther
When the mist turns to fog
And your friends turn their faces to the wall

You need a pal
A friend you can rely on
You need a man
To watch the door
And here I am
A shoulder you can lean on
So let the night come
Let your friends watch the door
You don't need to worry no more

 

THE CUCKOO 

(CROWTHER/DAINTY)

Do I know this child?
Does the sun shine?
Do I know this voice?
Does the wind blow?
Am I losing my mind
Is unravelling time
Taking all that I know?

Will you welcome me home?
Is this child mine?
Will you open the door?
Is she someone I know?
In his faltering mind
Is unravelling time
Taking all that he knows?

A tidy nest for such as I
A welcoming fire to keep me warm
What more could anyone ask under darkening skies?
But shelter from the storm
So sings the cuckoo as she flies
So sings the cuckoo as she flies
To keep my own child warm

Yet still the Robin wakes to sing
Greeting the morning from the thorn
What more could anyone bring to a stranger's child
A child in cukcoo form
So sings the cuckoo as she flies
So sings the cuckoo as she flies
She'll keep my own child warm.

And when the foundling starts to grow
And when the cuckoo feathers set
There is one simple truth that the mother will know
The child is hungry yet
So sings the cuckoo as she flies
So sings the cuckoo as she flies
The child is hungry yet

For nature's ways are always wild
Tell me who would not do the same
And surely everyone here would have to agree
In this there lies no blame
For the Robin loves her cuckoo child
The Robin loves her cuckoo child
And such a child I'll be.

 

EYES ACROSS THE WATER

Eyes across the water
Eyes against the sky
The Watcher on the water
The tide flowing by

You'll see them
When the shadows fall
All along the southern wall

You'll hear them
In the evening
In the Whistlers lonely call

And Breydon rests and Breydon waits
And Breydon's blessed them all

Eyes across the water
Eyes against the sky
The Watchers on the water
The tide flowing by.

 

PURDEY AND SON

(CROWTHER)

We'd all like a gun
By Purdey and Son
Engraved with figures so fine
With a glistening stock
As smooth as a rock
Of walnut oiled till she shine
We'd all like to shoot
In gentlemen's boots
With a gun dog
Bred for its style

A muzzle as thin
As a piece of old tin
A stock that's cracked and repaired
A barrel as true
As a promise that's due
When  beer flows late in the bar

When out on the marsh
With a bird in your sights
There's one thing you must understand
The best gun of all
When all's said and done
Is the gun that you hold in your hand.

 

THE ACCIDENT

He loaded the gun
He shouldered the gun
And shot the light out of the sky
He dropped the old gun
And cursed what he'd done
And the dark rolled in like the tide.

 

ALL THE JACKETED SOLDIERS

(DAINTY)

Fine young men shipped off, off to war
All the jacketed soldiers
To cross the sea to fight the Boer
All the jacketed soldiers
To Ladysmith and Bloemfontein
Never to see their home again
All the jacketed
All the jacketed
All the jacketed
All the jacketed soldiers.

Who wouldn't take his little girl
Down to see the soldiers
Down to watch the marching bands
High up on his shoulders
Who wouldn't cheer the red Dragoons
As empire's sun did sink
Who wouldn't take his little girl?
The man who likes a drink.

One day he walked out, shut the door
Like all the jacketed soldiers
Without a look back, was seen no more
Like all the jacketed soldiers
And tho' the taste of fear remained
He never did come home again
Like all the jacketed
All the jacketed
All the jacketed
All the jacketed soldiers.

These are the things a child much learn
As she is growing older
Life is hard and pain it lasts
An' if your pa's a man who drinks
You'll never see the jacketed soldiers.

 

SITTING PRETTY

(JACK)

The birds might ha' gone
But we're still sittin' pretty
Our luck hasn't walked out the door
You think we're all done
But the race isn't won
We'll suck at Luck's tittie some more

It's in our own hands
Yes we're still sittin' pretty
There's no one can take it away
It's ours for the takin'
Ours for the losin'
So let's suck at Luck's tittie I say

Life's what you make it
We're still sittin' pretty
It's all your own fault if you're poor
If we're strong and we fake it
We'll write it and take it
We'll suck at Luck's tittie some more

Life's just a gamble
A stroll or a shambles
Just a roll of dice
Can make virtue vice
I'm no loser I'm still sittin' pretty...

(DAINTY)

Out of my hands now
Oh why do I help him?
Help him deceive an old man who is dying
Can't raise a hand now
No more prevent him
Than call back the sun when the nightjar is flying

Now the nightmare's come
It's too late to run
Back to the city

Is there another way?
Do I have to stay?
Not fly, quickly fly, back to the city?

No need to wonder
Only to wait
It's too late, far too late, too late to fly
Back to the city
The lovely city

Time will unravel
Who lives and dies
By and by...

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