(15th. March 2003)

At the last meeting of The South Lakeland Storytelling Club, Heather Edwards told a story that I very much enjoyed. She said that it was passed on to her by Kate Hibbert, a mutual friend who lives in Edinburgh.

I emailed Kate for information and she in turn said she found it on I immediately accessed the site and found the story. It is called, 'Tale-Teller' and was written by Leslie Slape.

I can recommend both the story and the web-site, which is full of stories and interesting articles written by a variety of informed storytellers.

I shall be a regular visitor to the site from now on!

(26th. Feb. 2003)

Word of Mouth Storytelling Club meet on the first Friday of every month at The Briton’s Protection Hotel, Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester. It is close to Bridgewater Hall.

The next offering, on March 7th. has an intriguing title – “THE ROAD TO HELL….of course you can’t cheat Death, or can you?” The publicity carries on…"Join Storyteller ANDY HARROP on the Road to Hell with nothing but a music box, a pack of cards, an Indian death mask and a few demons thrown in for good measure.

Not for the faint hearted, but just the thing for those who enjoy mystery, suspense and being well and truly spooked! – Spend a relaxed evening in one of Manchester’s best pubs, listening to stories brought to life by vivid imagery, creative invention, warmth and humour and allow your imagination to fly".

I haven’t met Andy Harrop but from the above publicity, he sounds like one of a group of storytelling magicians who perform in a branch of magic known as ‘Bizarre’. There are a number of similar performers in this country, specialising in spooky, scary magic. Many of them very, very good.

Unfortunately I shall be working myself on that evening, otherwise I would be sitting on the front row!

The evening commences at 8.00 pm. And the charge is £4.00 waged…£3.00 unwaged.

Ring Honor Giles (01295 758856) for further details.

If you would like to know more about ‘Bizarre Storytelling Magic’, check out: It is THE most comprehensive web-site on the subject.

(4th. Dec. 2002) South Lakeland Storytelling Club

Last evening , being the first Tuesday of the month, saw me once again at the South Lakeland Storytelling Club for the December Christmas bash. Taffy Thomas and Mike O’Connor presented excerpts from their touring show, ‘Tell Us a Story for Christmas’ and as one would expect from two such stalwarts of the storytelling world, they were very good.

Mike, as most people know, is also an accomplished fiddle and concertina player. He had a couple of original Christmas songs that soon had the assembled audience joining in. Taffy as always, kept us entertained with his selection of tales.

They have produced a C.D. containing stories and songs included in the show and they seemed to be doing a brisk trade at the conclusion. Next Friday (6th.) they are appearing at ‘The Word of Mouth’ Storytelling Club in Manchester, details mentioned elsewhere in the Newsletter. And on Sunday next (8th) the show goes to the Village Hall, Lazonby (Nr Penrith). Contact Peter Dicken on 016974 72256. for more information. But do try to get along to see them. If you are not able to catch the show, then copies of the C.D. with great stories and sing-able songs can be obtained from Taffy – ring him on 015394 35641 and he will be happy to send one to you.

Other contributions on the night came from the usual suspects, George Harrison, briskly hopping from table to table in the early part of the evening with MY STORY AND MAGIC TRICK! He later presented a saucy poem, a Christmas 'Samuel Small’ monologue and was also Father Christmas! (Sorry kids – it was George all the time!) So he had a busy night – Did I mention that he performed MY STORY AND MY MAGIC TRICK!?

Bob Hinton as usual, came up with the goods. This time it was an original take on the Nativity. Peter Dicken performed his monologue about the "Christmas Tree Fairy": See my Christmas Stories page for the full text
Andy Whitfield sang and played his concertina and Panikatak presented their selection of Christmas comical and serious songs. They also have a new C.D. available. Des Charnley gave us a Christmas tale from the Dumfries region of Scotland and young Adam belied his eleven years with a very entertaining ‘politically correct’ version of the ’Three Little Pigs’. Sitting near the front, was a pretty little fair-haired girl named Chloe. She gave me the opportunity to present my magic 'Your Hair Will Be Your Fortune!'
The evening concluded with Taffy and Mike performing the story of 'The Apple Tree Man' followed by the passing round of the 'Wassail Cup'.

Heather Edwards took me to task for not mentioning her contribution at the last meeting – Quite right too! She gave us (at the November 5th. meeting) Duncan Williamson’s charming ‘Apple Story’, where in order to get them from under her feet, a mother tells her children to go out into the garden and find the ‘House that contains a Star’. They spend all afternoon searching unsuccessfully. When their father comes home and asks what they are doing, they tell him. He laughs and plucks an apple from the tree in the garden. He then takes a knife and cuts the apple in half – sideways – and reveals the core, thus cut, in the shape of a star! – Sorry Heather – you are quite right, your story deserved a mention.

Next Lakeland event is ‘Christmas in the Storyteller’s Garden’, on the 18th. December, at Grasmere.

(7th. Nov. 2002) South Lakeland Storytelling Club

We had another entertaining evening at The Watermill Inn, Ings on Tuesday last (5th). The story themes were in three layers, Hallowe’en (just passed), Fireworks & Bonfires (it was Guy Fawkes Night!) and Remembrance (the coming weekend).

A fine variety of each subject was offered by the members present, and it was the stories associated with Remembrance that seemed to strike the strongest chord with the forty or so who attended.

Taffy Thomas told of a village in Suffolk (Hartest, near Bury St.Edmonds), who’s War Memorial took the shape of twenty-four florins (two shilling pieces) and one farthing nailed to a beam in the village pub. The story is quite moving.

A depleted Panikatak sang/played the anti-war ballad, ‘Don’t Despise the Deserter’, George Harrison brought a framed ‘Roll of Honour’ from his church in Kirkby Stephen and told us of his memories of many of the names on it that belonged to people he personally knew. Pointing out to us all that the names that we see on war memorials are of real people who gave their lives, and not just words inscribed in granite.

Andy Whitfield contributed with the American song of the days of the depression, ‘Brother Can You Spare a Dime?’

On another of the evening’s topics, Peter Dicken sang/told ‘The Song of the Witches’ And although I am not sure into which category it fitted, Bob Hinton performed his epic masterpiece, ‘Quentin and Queen Quincella’ which he proudly (and quite rightly so) tells us was written by his son. It really is a fine piece of work. I haven’t asked Bob if it is published, but if it isn’t, then it should be!

Andy Whitfield wound up the evening, accompanying himself beautifully on the concertina with his rendition of ‘The Spaniard That Blighted My Life’. He doesn’t look old enough to know the songs that he sings! - Whatever, he sings them well.

Another enjoyable evening at the Watermill came to an end with Taffy reminding us that the next meeting would be the Christmas event. At which he and Mike O’Connor (who will be up this way to accompany Taffy in a two-handed Christmas tour) will be presenting items from that very programme. If you are in the vicinity (within 100 miles!), you really should make the effort and come! Tuesday, 3rd. December is the date and the fun starts at 7.30pm.