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STORYTELLER'S NEWSLETTER

STORYTELLER'S WHO? - WHAT? - WHERE?
STORYTELLING AND FOLK CLUB DIARY...
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS...

This is YOUR page - where YOU can let us know what is going on in YOUR world! We want to know where you are performing. Tell us about festivals, workshops and events with which you are connected and of which others may like to know. Do you run or attend a Storytelling or Folk Club? if so, where and how often does it meet? Stories and Resources want to know your views, likes and dislikes. Have you seen any good storytellers recently? Read any good books or magazine articles?

To send me an email with your NEWS and/or other information:

Click here
Please send any relevant information that you think may be of interest to others - we are here for YOU! We shall also be using this page to keep you informed of our activities. For instance, we are opening a 'Schools Storytelling Exchange', where schools will be encourged to communicate stories on-line. To see what it's all about:

CLICK TO SCHOOLS STORYTELLING EXCHANGE


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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

As promised, we have re-distributed many of the earlier news items, announcements, information etc. Other items that we considered to be out of date and unlikely to be of further interest have been deleted altogether. We now feel that the Newsletter page is more manageable. There will always be one or two current 'newsbits' on this page that you can find by scrolling down. They will remain until such time we feel that they should be moved to their appropriate location or deleted. The Newsletter is now sub-divided into several subject categories and they can be reached by clicking onto the access points below.

Newsletter Archive
Club News
News Stories
Festival News
National Storytelling Week
Answers to Riddles
Reflections on Success!


NEWS


12th. December 2014

Request for a story.

I recently received the following email from Art Oswald. If anyone out there recognizes this tale, perhaps you could let me know:

"I am looking for a story I heard many years ago about neighbors who helped each other out without the other knowing. I can't remember all the details and that is why I am asking if you may know it. The neighbors were both farmers and the story involves each of them taking something to the other in the middle of the night so as not to be found out.

Each of them did not want the other to know from whence came the help. I know its a long shot but I would like to remember the details of the story.

thanks,

Art."


NEWS


14th. August 2012

THREE SONS

I haven't added anything to this page for quite some time. However, yesterday (13th. August) I attended the funeral of my 93 year old aunt. Among her many accomplishments she wrote poetry.

On returning home following the sad event, I looked through a booklet of her poems, many of which had been published in a variety of periodicals and magazines over the last forty-odd years.

I am glad that I did. It reminded me of how talented she had been.

Here is a thought provoking sample:

THREE SONS by Nancy Clare Wynne.

And that woman's son was a hero brave,
As strong as a fine oak tree.
And that woman's son was a murderer
A wicked man was he.
And that woman's son was the hangman,
A fearful thing to be.
They loved their sons as mothers will,
But how were they to know
That one would lie in a pool of blood,
Killed by the other's blow.
And the third would have the saddest fate,
The lot would fall to him
For the vilest task a man could have,
To be the hangman grim.
But the people loved that woman's son,
Who was so brave and fine,
and they called for revenge against the man
Who killed him in his prime.
And they cried aloud that he must hang -
But they didn't really care
To think of the woman who'd reared her son
To be the hangman there.
They loved their sons, their little sons
and wept for them all three.
For one was good and one was bad,
And a hangman the third must be.


I hope you liked that. I may include some others later. In fact I may even dedicate a page to her and print the lot - they are very good!


NEWS


12th. April 2011

EZ-PZ Magic!

My son Adrian and a magical friend have taken a stall in Blackpool's Bonny Street Market, demonstrating and selling pocket magic tricks to passers by!

The business opened its doors (shutters actually!) last Saturday and since both Adrian and Russell were performing shows elsewhere, I was co-opted onto the team to do the 'Grafting' ('Pitching') on both Saturday and Sunday!

I enjoyed myself immensely and it is possible that I might be required again! The market re-opens at Easter and continues throughout the season.

So if YOU happen to be in Blackpool this summer, pop into the market – it is just behind The Golden Mile – and who knows you may see me there – I might even show you a pack of 'Easy Peasy' Magic Cards!

It would be churlish of you not to buy one – wouldn't it?


NEWS


6th. April 2011

FYLDE MYSTICS - Close-up Competition

Last night I attended a magic 'close-up' competition. It was at the monthly meeting of Blackpool's 'Fylde Mystics' – a local association of magical wonder workers! I was the invited guest of member Ian Birket. Ian is a multi-talented musician, retired doctor and friend from another life, who also has an interest in magic.

It was a most entertaining evening, with seven competitors battling it out for magical supremacy.

I have known of The Fylde Mystics for a long time. Back in the 1960's when I was Entertainments Manager at Butlin's Metropole Hotel (the only seaward side hotel on Blackpool's promenade), I was asked to allow them to present their Annual Magic Show in the Ballroom. They would bring along their members and supporters to augment our holidaying guests. It was a good night.

Unfortunately the support of the club declined and they eventually folded in the late 1970's. However, they re-formed in 2003 and now have a flourishing membership, who meet on the first Tuesday of every month in the social centre of Blackpool's South Shore Tennis Club.

The first prize in the competition was won by Paul Joyce with a humorous and skilful performance of miscellaneous magic and mind reading. His ten-year old son Johnathan also gave a pleasing presentation with cards and sponge 'bunnies'.

Harry Moulding – another ten year old who wished to be known for the evening as 'Harini Mouldini' captivated everyone with a beguiling charm and some impressive card magic; sufficiently impressive to win him second prize.

Both of these youngsters displayed a confidence that belied their youth and I look forward to seeing their future development.

It was a truly enjoyable evening. Thank you Ian for the invitation and to all of the members for their friendly welcome and entertainment.

For those interested and in the neighbourhood, The Fylde Mystics are performing “Magic with the Mystics” next Monday 11th. April at the Wellington Park Hotel, Leyland. Ring Carl at 07791 26782 or 07886 038714 for details.


NEWS


6th. February 2011

The Bell Rock Lighthouse Bi-Centennial

February 2011 marks the bi-centennial of the Inchcape Lighthouse (more popularly known as The 'Bell Rock' Lighthouse) in Scotland's Firth of Tay.

This gives me the opportunity to draw your attention to my CD, "The Legend of the Bell Rock - and Other Tales of the Sea."

The legend tells of a time long before the days of the lighthouse and of how Inchcape came to be known as 'The Bell Rock.'

Details of the CD can be found here


NEWS


22nd. January 2011

I visited an exciting new childrens bookshop today! It is in Lytham St.Annes in Lancashire and is called "Storytellers,Inc"

They have been open since early December 2010 and today was the official 'Public Launch and Funday' to which my son Adrian had been engaged to entertain with magic, juggling and balloon sculpture.

In addition, refreshments were readily available with tea and coffee for parents and soft drinks and dainty iced cakes for the children! Free raffle tickets were given to each child - and miraculously, they were all winners!

Workshops and inter-active events are scheduled for the near future and I can't see how the project can fail!

Storytellers,Inc is a family run business (Mother and Daughter) and in my opinion, destined for great success! I wish them well.

If you live in the locality, pay them a visit. You can begin by visiting them here


NEWS


22nd. January 2011

HERE COME THE REDCOATS

Anyone who ever visited a Butlins Holiday Camp in the 1950's '60's '70's or '80's will enjoy reading this book.

If you ever worked there as a Redcoat during that time then YOU MUST BUY IT!

Written jointly by Rocky Mason and Frank McGroarty (One from the earlier years and one from more recent times), "Here Come The Redcoats" tells the true story of how it really was!

With pages and pages of photographs from all of the camps and hotels, plus contributions and reminiscences by many of the Redcoats who were there, this is a most nostalgic reminder of the days when the Great British public really knew how to enjoy itself!

Published by Authorhouse at £11.99 Plus p.&p.
Give yourself a real tonic and buy this book now!



For purchasing details

Click here


NEWS


21st. January 2011

GUMSHIELD TO GREASEPAINT

Another Butlins related book that I have recently enjoyed is "Gumshield to Greasepaint"

It is the autobiography of Rocky Mason who, towards the end of the second world war, as a ten year old living in Bradford, took up boxing.

He was very successful as an amateur, but decided not to turn professional. Instead in the mid 1950's he joined the Entertainments Department at Butlins Holiday Camp, Filey and became a Redcoat Boxing Instructor!

Rocky stayed with the company for 30 years, rising through the ranks to become a senior executive manager!

The book is a warm and nostalgic look back at the early hardships in his life and how he used them in a positive way to lift himself upwards.

The book was particularly enjoyable for me because I too spent a number of years working for the Butlin organisation (although nothing like as many as Rocky!), some of it in the company of the author, who remains a friend to the present day!

If you were ever a holidaymaker at a Butlin Camp between 1954 and the late 1980's, you may have met and even been entertained by Rocky! If so you will want to buy this book and relive those memories.

Even if you were never there, buy the book and see what you missed!

"Gumshield to Greasepaint" is a great read. It costs £10.99 plus shipping. and I personally recommend it to you.

Click here for purchasing details.


NEWS


Terrifying Tales! - of Murderers, Madmen, Vampires and Ghosts!

Following on from my presentations at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool's 'Spookfest' during Hallowe'en (Oct. 30th & 31st.), I am pleased to say that I shall also be performing the show on Sunday, 1st. November at the 'Running Pump' Hotel, Catforth Road, Catforth, Nr. Preston PR4 OHH. Ring 01772 690265. for details

It would be great to see YOU there!

See reference below (News item 21.08.09) for information about the 'Spookfest' performances.


NEWS


21st. August 2009

"Theatre of the Dark!"

I am delighted to tell you that my "Terrifying Tales!" presentation, with Gothic Horror Storyteller - William Warlock has been booked to appear at the Lawrence House Studio of the Blackpool Grand Theatre on Friday and Saturday, 30th. & 31st. October 2009

That's right - Hallowe'en!

The second half of the evening will include a theatrical reconstruction of a Victorian Spirit Seance!

It is the final part of a week long Spookfest produced by Blackpool based Supernatural Events


NEWS


29th. May 2009

HAZEL BLEARS

All the furore regarding politician's expenses claims reminds me of an encounter I had with Hazel Blears a couple of years ago.

I had been engaged to perform storytelling at The Lowry Outlet Mall in Salford Quays; it was a themed session of pirate tales and the centre's management wanted me to read extracts from various well known pirate stories.

Normally, I don't read aloud from books, preferring to tell my stories orally; but the management required me to read aloud and so I visited my local library to borrow a couple of books, one of them being 'Treasure Island' by Robert Louis Stevenson.

There was a special storytelling area where children were encouraged to assemble and listen to the stories. I had a large chair in which to sit and deliver the programme. I should further add that the Mall had provided chocolates etc. to give away and there was also to be a special prize-giving for several children who had previously taken part in an on-going related competition; the prizes consisting of books supplied by the shopping centre's bookshop.

A good sized crowd of children and their parents had assembled and I had already told a couple of tales when amid much excitement, an entourage of managerial V.I.P.'s plus a press photographer arrived accompanying the local M.P. Hazel Blears, who had been invited to present the prizes. She had, it seems either offered or been asked to read a story, and had sportingly agreed. I happily relinquished my seat to Ms. Blears who read, very successfully, a story from one of the books provided.

Following the resultant and enthusiastic applause, the popular M.P. proceeded to hand out the prizes. It was only when she had gone and the afternoon drew to a close that I realised that she had also given away my library copy of 'Treasure Island'!

It cost me a £4.00 fine! Can I put in an expenses claim?


NEWS


9th. April 2009

Personal Rant!

Give us back our Self-Respect!

Where are the writers of inspiring stories? Those who are able to create hope and happiness in the hearts of men, women and children? The creators of a world in which good overcomes evil and honest endeavour is rewarded?

In my opinion, there is a general air of nastiness pervading the social consciousness of British culture.

A culture in which two small boys are able to viciously attack, to the point of attempted murder, two other small boys – and then smirk in court when charged with their offence. The initial reaction nationwide was 'Shocking!' 'Disgraceful!' But forty-eight hours later, the truly horrific actions of these boys are largely forgotten, or at least put into the backs of our minds until their cases come up in court and more lurid headlines about their wickedness will be presented for our salacious enjoyment.

We are told that this behaviour is rare and that most children lead happy, cared for, normal lives and perhaps this is true. Nevertheless, stories of this nature appear more and more in our newspapers and television newscasts.

Bad news sells – it feeds on the unhealthy interest human beings have in depravity. The same sickness that enables the unscrupulous to tap into the minds of adults who should know better, and persuade them to spend money on pornography – also readily available on t.v. channels and home computers.

I believe that the fare supplied by television programme makers is often responsible for the general 'dumbing down' of the nation's aspirations.

And the most guilty, in my view are the writers of 'Soap' story lines.

If you watch a two hour movie or play, it will come to a conclusion with usually (although not always) the villain getting his/her comeuppance and the good prevailing. But the soaps are never ending; story lines go on and on – and on! The villain will get an occasional minor set back, but if the character is thought to be strong, he/she is allowed to continue to manipulate and connive another piece of villainy. The bad go on perpetually being bad and the losers continue to be hurt, vilified and walked all over without respite.

It is generally accepted that the character of Eric Pollard in Emmerdale, murdered his wife at the time of the great air crash disaster. Yet he has never been brought to book – the character is allowed to carry on, sometimes being bad, occasionally presented as a figure of fun and now and then, even given a sympathetic storyline. I believe this bland acceptance of wicked behaviour without punishment is pernicious and inherently dangerous.

Coronation Street has now succumbed to tasteless story lines. It used to pride itself on its slightly anachronistic out of date feel, concentrating on attractive and amusing charactisation. Now nastiness has appeared in Wetherfield. We had a murder there a few months ago and for a while it seemed that the villain was about to be found out – now maybe not, he is currently being portrayed as a nice guy. But we will have to wait and see. In the main however, Soapland suggests that crime is a worthwhile activity and something with which the perpetrator is likely to get away scot-free.

Just recently in Eastenders, Peggy Mitchell the pub landlady has asked her son Phil to kill the husband that she has just married! He has been it seems, manipulating the family to his own ends, causing all sorts of mayhem and obviously deserves to die!

Will he die? Probably not; again we will have to wait and see but the point is that these stories are presented on shows that are watched by children and teenagers who along with their own families, identify with and often live their lives through these never ending and mostly cheerless serials.

The nation is regularly being encouraged to celebrate mediocrity and accept as the norm, bad and even wicked behaviour on a nightly basis. Is it any wonder that the two boys referred to earlier see very little wrong in what they did?

I, as a storyteller will tell tales of misdeeds and wickedness. But invariably the perpetrators are found out and punished one way or another. But I also include other tales of heroism and kindness. I like to think that I have covered many areas of life that uplift the soul and challenge the listener to get 'out there' and be the best that they can be.

Unfortunately the story lines in the most popular of our drama serials are relentlessly depressing, they even use children in their continuous efforts to portray the worst in human behaviour - Dot Brannigan's evil little granddaughter is a case in point. She is regularly shown to be a mean, manipulative and nasty little girl.

The programme producers will argue that “this is what the viewer wants!” I heard this many time in my working men's club days. When I asked comedians why they used filthy material in their acts, they would invariably say, “It's what the audience wants!” I would reply, “Not true! An audience wants to be entertained and if you can entertain them with good wholesome funny comedy, they will laugh just as loudly and respect you even more”. I continue to believe that to be the case.

If audiences want nothing more than dirty and depressing behaviour, how come that “Mama Mia” has turned out to be the most popular musical in show business history? The DVD of the movie is the best selling DVD of all time!

So I ask programme makers and writers to please give us a break. Give us something to feel good about. Give our children heroes. Write strong characters who inspire achievement; and properly punish those with evil in their minds, cruelty in their hearts and wipe the contemptible sneer from their faces.

Please show us some occasional kindness and humanity. Give us back our self-respect.


NEWS


8th. March 2009

"THE BOFFINS OF BUTLINS"

"University offers degrees in the finer arts of being a holiday camp Redcoat"
.

The Daily Mail yesterday carried an article with the above headline and sub-headline. It seems that The University of Chichester are sending student Redcoats to Butlins, Bognor Regis to learn the skills of singing, dancing and performing. Also they will learn stage management and pyrotechnics! Those who succeed will leave with a two year foundation degree in Technical Skills for the Arts and Leisure Industry!

I read this article with much interest. I was a Butlin Redcoat & Entertainments Manager between 1960 and 1964. How times have changed!

The criteria set by The University of Chichester bears no resemblance to that of Billy Butlin, the man who invented the Redcoat.

His definition of a good redcoat was one who who would mix and mingle with the holidaymakers; to perhaps dance with them and give them friendly encouragement to participate in the various activities that were provided (competitions etc.). Most of all a good redcoat made the customer feel valued and important! All of the qualities of a GOOD HOST!

If a redcoat could sing, dance, play a musical instrument or do magic tricks – that was a plus. Many of the best redcoats that I ever worked with could do none of those things!

But they were the ones who in a rare off-duty moment, would as a matter of choice, take their cup of coffee or tea and go and sit at a table in the coffee bar with a family of new arrivals and ask them how they were, what were their names and was this their first visit etc. etc. These were the redcoats the holidaymakers would talk about after the holiday was over, with whom they would often take up correspondence – and whom they would seek out on their return the following year!

They take for granted the talented performers – that is what they are paying for and come to expect. The thing that impresses is the feeling that this 'glamorous' person in a red jacket whom they barely know has noticed them and wants to be their friend!

And whilst tastes in entertainment have obviously changed, Billy Butlin's concept of what makes a good redcoat has not! Holidaymakers are still impressed with the personal touch and that will always be the case! Unfortunately these skills cannot be acquired in a classroom.

You can certainly teach backstage theatrical technical skills and artistic performing techniques. But they would be better learned in a dedicated theatrical school. In any case, having all of those skills at your fingertips will not necessarily make you a good Redcoat!

You really have to be a 'people' person.


NEWS


13th. February 2009

Storytelling colleague and friend Del Reid has sent me a lovely story that he in turn received from a relative living in the U.S. You will find it at the top of the Inspiring Stories page. The tale is called RED MARBLES

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


NEWS


5th. February 2009

“Showzam! '09”


Blackpool's Festival of Circus, Magic and New Variety. (13th. to 22nd February 2009)

I have been invited by Danielle Strickley of The Blackpool Fringe Group to participate in this event, which takes place at a variety of locations in Blackpool!

I shall be performing in 'Showzam Central' in a specially constructed cabaret theatre at The Olympia in Blackpool's Winter Gardens, presenting Magic Shows on three days - Monday 16th, Tuesday 17th. and Wednesday 18th. Between 1.30pm and 3.00pm each day.

This is the second year in which the collectively sponsored town centre spectacular takes place. Also appearing in Showzam Central will be the 'Circus of Wonders', featuring, The Zebra Man, The Headless Lady, The Living Half Lady and The Girl in the Goldfish Bowl! With the added attractions of The Mummy, Carnesky's Ghost Train and an Exhibition of Circus and Sideshow Memorabilia, there will be lots going on to keep the customers happy!

It's all FREE, by the way! - So there is no reason for YOU to stay away! - and when you do come, please stop and say 'Hello!'.

I'll see you there!

To see the full programme of all activities at this exciting event, check out "showzam '09"


NEWS


1st. February 2009

Last week I received my copy of Facts & Fiction. I have mentioned before how much I enjoy this magazine. It describes itself on the front cover as 'The magazine for everyone interested in stories and (oral) storytelling'.

The magazine contains stories(of course!), articles and reviews submitted by a number of performers and other knowledgeable folk connected with this age-old activity of ours – I myself have contributed the odd item.

It is produced, published and edited by Pete Castle, who is himself a storyteller and guitar playing folk-singer. He is out there on the front line, doing his bit and entertaining in clubs, libraries and schools etc. So he knows the business as well as anyone.

The current issue contains an article written by Pete that immediately resonated with me. I have for a long time been concerned about the manner of emphasis in England specifically, on 'multi-culture and integration'. Many of the schools and libraries where I do shows are obsessed with the topic.

'Not a bad thing', you might say. But what they usually mean by 'integration' is that I should be telling stories from cultures alien to my own!

In my opinion, English children are disproportionately presented with stories from other cultures and the children from those cultures are similarly denied the opportunity of learning about the culture into which they are hoping to integrate!

Pete has given me permission to pass on his thoughts to you. I think this is an important article and deserving of a wider public. You can read it

here

Facts & Fiction is published quarterly (1st. Feb. May. Aug. Nov.) and costs only £12.00 for a full year's subscription. (£14 in Europe and £17.00 elsewhere in the world). This issue has 36 pages between its covers. There are pictures, adverts for forthcoming events (mostly in the U.K. it has to be said – but not always!), and plenty of stories and discussion.

If YOU are serious about your storytelling, you really should subscribe!

For more information visit:

http://www.factsandfiction.co.uk

N.B. Pete has not asked me to promote his publication, nor is he paying me anything! This is a personal service from me to you!

If you have a view on this subject that you would like to express, please let us know by clicking here and tell us what you think!

LET'S START THE REVOLUTION RIGHT HERE!


NEWS


31st. January 2009

Interesting nostalgic trivia!

GOODNIGHT CAMPERS!

I was recently reading some biographical data about Al Bowlly, the popular U.K. radio and recording star of the 1930's and came upon some interesting information that throws light on the introduction of this iconic, end of evening Butlin camp song.

“Goodnight Campers” is the song with which ballroom entertainment came to an end, each evening in every Butlin holiday camp (and hotel). The Redcoats would line up in front of the bandstand and the campers, also in lines across the ballroom floor, arms linked and facing the Redcoats, sang along; legs gently kicking from side to side in time to the music. The tradition began to die out in the early 1970's when the style of dance music changed along with the partying tastes of holidaymakers.

The warm sense of camaraderie radiated by the singing of the evocative chorus resulted in the song being adopted by Pontins and other holiday camp organisations. But 'Goodnight Campers' is a Butlin song through and through. I believe its conception (and perhaps even its actual birthplace) was Butlin's at Clacton-on-Sea in 1938.
.

The melody comes from a song written by English composer and song writer, Ray Noble in 1931 entitled 'Goodnight Sweetheart'. This song was first recorded by Al Bowlly, who was singing and recording in the United States with Ray Noble's orchestra. At that time, Al Bowlly was Britain's biggest radio and recording star and could be said to be the U.K.'s very first pop idol.

Ray Noble became successful in America - and in demand. He was offered a contract to play for 'The George Burns & Gracie Allen' hit radio show. However the show already had singers and so Al Bowlly returned to England.

Upon his return, Bowlly continued making records; often with the then popular Lew Stone Orchestra, and in 1938 joined the band for a summer season's engagement in the ballroom of Butlins Holiday Camp in Clacton.

'Goodnight Sweetheart' had by this time become a huge hit with both American and British dance band audiences. Because of its romantic lyric and sentimental feel, it was the 'smoochy' song that was invariably played at the conclusion of an evening's dancing. Although played in 'slow-foxtrot' tempo, it was the the equivalent of a 'last waltz'.

Having been introduced to the world by Al Bowlly during his time with Ray Noble, 'Goodnight Sweetheart' was Al's song and so it was only natural that he would perform it in the ballroom at Butlins with Lew Stone's band.

No one seems to know exactly when or by whom the words were changed to 'Goodnight Campers'. Perhaps by Lew Stone or one of his musicians. Maybe even Al Bowlly, having fun with the holidaymakers, began playing with the words as the season progressed. Or perhaps (as I prefer to think) the new words were written by Billy Butlin himself, on seeing the warm and emotional effect that the song was having on his customers at the end of another wonderful day of entertainment.

It would be just like the man to recognise the value in taking one of the biggest hit songs of the time and changing the words to promote his own company.

There is no doubt that seventy years on, in the subconscious minds of millions of people in Britain, when they hear the evocative tune, even without the words, they are transported back to the happy times of Butlins in their youth.

For our non-u.k. visitors who know nothing of Butlins

Click here

Here is Al Bowlly singing 'Goodnight Sweetheart'

And here are the words to Goodnight Campers:

Goodnight Campers, see you in the morning
Goodnight Campers, I can see you yawning.
You must cheer up for you'll soon be dead
and I've heard it said
that folks die in bed!
So I'll say
Goodnight Campers, don't sleep in your braces (suspenders)
Goodnight Campers, put your teeth in Jeyes's
(a mild disinfectant)
Drown your sorrows
Bring the bottles back tomorrow!
Goodnight Campers, Goodnight.

I hope the above has awakened a few happy memories. I worked for Butlins for five years in the early 1960's and it feels like only last week!

Happy days indeed!


NEWS


9th. January 2009.

Hello and a Happy New Year to you all. I hope the past festive season was all that you hoped for and that 2009 will prove to be not as catastrophic as is being predicted!

I have begun the year with a new page! Click here I hope that those of you interested in Folklore will find it interesting. It introduces a subject (The Green Man) that has fascinated me for a long time.

Let me know how you like it.

Just before Christmas, I was sent the following story. In these times of perpetual gloom and doom(!) it seems an appropriate opportunity to remind ourselves that our perception of reality is entirely up to us.

A WISDOM STORY... THE 3 HAIRS

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "H-M-M," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today." So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "YAY!" she exclaimed. "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything. Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain.

May we all learn to "Dance in the rain!"

once again:


HAPPY NEW YEAR!


NEWS


20th. December 2008.

This is my last post of 2008. Later today, I am heading up to Bonnie Scotland for the festive season and will be back in early January.

Thank you to all those who regularly visit the site - this year has seen thousands of visitors to the 'Christmas Stories' page. I hope you found something to your liking.

As a parting (for the time being) gift, here is a link to a little Christmas tale that I penned in 2004 for private circulation. It is called..

I wish you all a truly wonderful Christmas and Peaceful 2009! See you all next year!


NEWS


15th. December 2008.

My final public performance before heading to Scotland for the Christmas Holiday is on Thursday next 18th. December at The Unitarian Church Hall, Lytham Road, Blackpool.

I am taking part in a “Songs and Stories Around the Christmas Tree” event. There will be a choir and an additional vocal act, plus recorded music. I shall be providing the stories. Refreshments of the seasonal kind will be included.

The evening commences at 7.00 pm. and I look forward to seeing YOU there!


NEWS


11th. December 2008

If you missed me on Wednesday last at The Flying Donkeys in Derby, you can catch my 'Tales of a Travelling Trickster' presentation on Saturday next (13th. December 2008) at The Bluebell Bookshop in Angel Lane, Penrith, Cumbria.

It's a family entertainment of Magic and Storytelling for the Festive Season.
Bring the kids!

I look forward to seeing YOU there!


NEWS


5th. December 2008

FLYING DONKEYS.

I have been engaged to present my show, 'Tales of a Travelling Trickster' at The Flying Donkeys storytelling club in Derby next Wednesday, 10th. December 2008.

It takes place at The Voice Box in Foreman Street, Derby DE1 1JQ commencing at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £6.00 (£4.00 concession)

I shall also be featuring some seasonal Christmas Tales.

You can book in advance by telephoning Roy Dyson on 01773 781007

Roy's billing is shown below:

“A Mystical, Magical Evening of Tales and Prestidigitation by Leslie Melville - An Entertainment Evening not to be Missed!”
I can't argue with that! I look forward to seeing YOU on Wednesday! Do come and say 'Hello'.


NEWS


Ulverston 10th. Dickensian Christmas Festival, 29th. & 30th. November 2008.

Just back from performing in my Percy Piecrust guise at the 10th. Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival, feeling tired but exhilarated!

Ulverston is a small market town in Cumbria, famously known as the birthplace of Stan Laurel. The two day event seems to be getting busier each year! Coaches come from far and wide (one excursion all the way from Bath!). This was my fifth consecutive attendance and although it was cold, it didn't rain!

Market stalls occupied every thoroughfare, selling food, clothing, toys, wood carvings and everything imaginable. There were street performers including jugglers, puppeteers, spring-stilt walkers (dressed as giant rabbits!), four street band organs plus live musicians, solo and in groups including Carolyn Francis with her 'Lean, Green Music Machine'! and the unforgettable Uncle Tim's Parisian Fleas! Also a whole variety of bands, brass, folk, string etc. and choirs.

The thing that really creates and sustains the atmosphere is the way in which the whole town dresses up in period costume – children as well! Literally hundreds of Victorian characters thronging the streets. They parade around the town in families and mixed groups, all enjoying themselves. Many of them taking part in various costume competitions – there is even a contest for the best beard! They have to be real beards of course and on the judging panel is Her Majesty Queen Victoria, who checks the beards for authenticity by rubbing her cheek against every one!

Gerald Dickens, great, great grandson of the famous author Charles, was very much in evidence on both days – he was in the town earlier in the week, visiting local schools and on Saturday evening presented an electrifying one-man performance of 'A Christmas Carol'.

The whole weekend is amazing and a credit to the town and its residents. I can heartily recommend a visit. The event will take place next year on the weekend of 28th. & 29th. November 2009. You can obtain information by ringing 01229 580640 or visiting the website


NEWS


STORY INFORMATION

I recently received the following query, asking for information about a story. If anyone out there knows this tale, please contact me so that I can pass it on. I would like to hear it myself!

My name is Gini and I am a retired teacher. Since I first began using the internet, my quest has been to find a story from my childhood. It is about a little imp (gargoyle) that lived in the eaves of a cathedral. On Christmas the most worthy statue would be able to take part in the Nativity Scene that came alive at Midnight. The gargoyle with low self-esteem helps a wounded bird or bat and is chosen. Please help me find this story. Thanks.

Sound familiar?

click here and do let me know,


YET ANOTHER BOOK!

The success of my book ‘Kismet’, published in manuscript form in 2005, has encouraged me to take up my pen and commence writing some more, details of which may be found by clicking on

'Magictales' The Book!