Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Still a few available!

March 19th, 2018

 

I’ve still got a few copies left of my collection of short fiction The Uses of ‘a’ – and other stories. Also of A Long Run in Short Shorts , a collection of my own personal tales.

If you’ve already read them, you might like to consider giving them as lock-down stocking fillers to family or friends.  If they’re new to you, here’s an opportunity to enjoy for yourself books which drew some lovely comments and reviews.

On The Uses of ‘a’ – and other stories:

‘The whole collection has kaleidoscopic variety and tremendous energy.’ John Pole, singer-songwriter, in Facts and Fiction magazine.

‘Your stories are so beautifully written and so deliciously enigmatic and so wise too.’ Margaret Jull Costa, translator of Javier Marías and José Saramago.

On A Long Run in Short Shorts:

‘A delight. It reflects a mind that’s observant, inquisitive and alert to new discoveries, and a vivid, warm personality grateful for those small, simple pleasures that brighten our — if we know how to appreciate them.” ~ Valerie Grove, journalist and author.

‘I’m savouring each story – just like unwrapping another Christmas chocolate – I’ll just have one more’. Hilary Minns, University of Warwick.

Each book now costs  £6 (down from £9.50 and £8.50 respectively) or you can get both for £11. If you would like copies, please go to www.paypal.me/StoryworksPress and add £1.80 p&p for the UK – it’s the same for one or both books.

Just email memary.medlicott@storyworks.org.uk , to tell me if you’d like dedications.

Crisis , the charity for homeless people, will receive £1.00 for every copy sold.

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Storytelling Starters : Taking a walk

December 4th, 2021

Beginning of December and the mind turns to Christmas. Christmas plans, Christmas cards, Christmas presents, Christmas candles,  it’s potentially a lot to think about. And this year, for some reason or other, I just don’t want to get to do it.

Ah, but what do I want to do instead? Open the back door and walk out into the garden? That’s one thing. All kinds of things are hiding there including plants just beginning to come back to evident life, perhaps in celebration of the colder weather.

Another thing I want to do is snug up and read. I’ve recently got into the mood for it, now I want to do it lots. Already I’ve got a good way with Desperate Remedies, a Thomas Hardy novel I’ve not read before. In fact, it was his first published novel. Now I’m reading it – and enjoying it – as the current choice of my book group. So, there’s an opportunity for me. Not bothering about Christmas presents and what to give to whom. Just snugging up and reading without reference to time or jobs to be done in the house or what to cook for supper.

Or just going for a walk: that’s another available choice. My walking is certainly improving after that horrid fall a few weeks ago. I need to celebrate its return. For not walking is debilitating for someone that normally loves doing it and who does it a lot. Not walking, there are so many things you miss. Fresh air. Changes to the places you pass. Holes in the road. People leaning against pillars chatting. Trees. The feeling of exercising yourself. Noticing things that you pass. And so on and on and on …

Brockwell Park is one of my frequent walks. Hello, Brockwell Park, how are you doing? I do miss you. Maybe I can pay you a short visit this very day. The sky is blue, the weather is good. It would be brilliant to see you again. Mind you, I’ll have to wait for Paul to return from his choir practice prior to the concert they’re giving this evening. For even though it’s not very far, I certainly couldn’t walk all the way over to Brockwell Park just now in order to get started on my walk in the park.  And even as I think about this, I feel a new level of sympathy for people who are housebound for one reason or another, people who are not, as it were, under their own steam.

At least I love to read. And I realise that, when unable to walk very much, reading a good book is another form of walking. It alerts you to the world around you and to people. It takes you on a journey. Hurrah for walking, hurrah for reading. I’m lucky I enjoy both.

PS: One photo – of candles – is my one picture offering for today. It sends you the wish that your candles keep burning  bright!

Post #550 and it’s our 44th Anniversary

November 27th, 2021

Yesterday marked what Paul and I noted as our 44th wedding anniversary. Neither of us are devoted celebrators of anniversaries, but when Paul remembered it, we both thought that this was one worth noticing. 44 sounds even-handed (which I think we are) and also rather a lot (which it obviously is).

So there we are. In an old fogey sort of way, we were thinking of going for a bit of a walk together in the afternoon. (Walking has long been one of our favourite joint activities.) But then it started raining. So we gave up on that idea. Never mind, sometime over the weekend will do.

If I had to give some reasons why I think our marriage has worked over so long (and it took us ages before we actually got married), I think I’d specify the following. A shared love of walking. A shared love of Wales. A shared love of singing and a shared enjoyment of eating nice things. Also, very importantly, a shared love of friends, especially old ones but also new ones. We’re both quite sentimental but are prepared to laugh at ourselves. We both like books and reading (not necessarily the same thing) and I think we both enjoy sitting by the fire on a wintry evening and probably watching television.

Well, we can also disagree and get over it – and I think this is also very important. When we first met, it was at Cambridge and Paul was an invited guest at a birthday tea-party given by my friend Valerie (then Smith) Grove. Paul said ‘Come out for dinner.’ As I recall I responded, ‘No sorry, I’m doing something else.’ Obviously we got over that one. But I can’t think that either of us thought we’d keep on meeting afterwards and stay together for so long. But, hey presto, we did. Perhaps lack of particular expectations has helped, also discovering how many things we enjoyed in common. Certainly life has been full of ups and downs. But we’ve enjoyed so much together that I can’t now imagine what life would have been like without each other’s company. By now, we’ve a world of experiences in common and many, many shared friends. Besides, Paul seems to like the cakes I make and I certainly love it when he brings me a cup of tea.

PS: So to the pictures. First the Group shot in the garden of the Worple Court Hotel, St David’s. Next down me and Paul with my brother Richard and Paul’s brother Andrew. Next, Paul and me with Aunty Mali; and finally with my sister Ann and her husband John.

Do your blog, Girl!!

November 20th, 2021

Perhaps most of us have found ourselves there at some time or other. ‘There’ is where you begin to feel utterly stuck. You can’t get out of it. You can’t move on from it. It’s just where you were when you woke up and where you still find yourself hours later though you probably didn’t have any original attention of languishing in your bed until 11.30 a.m.  Now you just have to determine to somehow find a way to escape your bed or you’ll just wither away.

So this is me hoping to feel I’m moving on after a good part of a Saturday morning lying flat on my back listening to the radio and hoping Paul will bring me a cup of coffee soon. One decision did at least get made at 11.30– ‘DO YOUR BLOG, GIRL!  (Girl is what my mother would call me when she was really irritated with me.) Then when I said that, it did at least manage to get Paul to bring me my computer here in bed where I’m still sitting or lying. Lazy girl! Or is it wilful girl? I know the signs –  complete lassitude, total lack of interest in being upright – and I’ve already spent a couple of hours allowing them to inhabit me. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Bliss

November 13th, 2021

The house in Corfu was owned by the daughter of Mama Katerina. The daughter lived and worked in Athens and Mama Katerina looked after the house on her behalf. She’d come wandering along with Vasilio her husband; they’d try out the figs growing on the trees in the garden. But if a particular fruit was not up to scratch in Mama Katerina’s opinion, she’d chuck it into the sea without a moment’s hesitation. Then offer us some she approved of.

Needless to say, the place was bliss, near enough to the little town of Benitses for us to be able easily to get there on our rented scooter to purchase food, far enough away to make us feel like we were lucky castaways.

The sea gurgled away at the bottom of the garden. There was a small stretch of sand where we could sunbathe listening to the soft movements of what you could hardly call waves. Altogether it really was bliss.

Bliss was increased by the visitations of a handsome dog who appeared to be a stray and whom we took under our wing insofar as he didn’t take us under his. We called him Filoskoulos and when we went into town on our rented scooter, we’d ask the butcher for some good bones for him. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Stepping Out!

November 6th, 2021

A week ago, after watching Strictly Come Dancing, I did a different kind of dance. I fell down the stairs. Aagh!

When we went to the hospital to get me checked out on the advice of our excellent GP and with the help of a wonderful ambulance crew, thank goodness, no bones broken. But oh my goodness, what a way to learn to appreciate being able to move – and, especially, what it’s like to move without pain.

So a week later, impressive bruises, but I’m getting there.  The week has really given me a sense of how hard it must be for so many people whose movements are restricted. And especially for people who are completely bed-bound. By today, I’m feeling I might actually be able to walk out into the garden this afternoon – with stick and wonderful help-meet, of course. It would be very nice. To breathe the Autumn air direct. To spot new things that have grown out there. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Furry friends

October 30th, 2021

So Her Majesty likes budgerigars. Or that’s what my Guardian tells me this morning. Chacun à son goût – as the saying goes. I’ve never much gone for budgerigars, though a friend of mine has some very pretty ones. On the other hand, it’s no guarded secret that I do love cats.

Paul and I have hosted a most majestic succession of them. Hannah-Jane came with us to Brixton many years ago. Since we have quite a big garden that backs onto other gardens, we do get visited from time to time. First, and only from next door, came two kittens. I think our attraction was that, unlike their owner, we didn’t exclude them from our house. We’d let them in. In the end, I remember our neighbour saying, ‘You’d better have them now.’ We named them Coke and Pepsi.

Then came Fanta who, as cats can do,  chose to  settle in with us from some other home after several visits. He had a wonderful fluffy tail. Once he left us for a while and we supposed he’d gone back to his previous home. Then he turned up again and intrigued us as his fluffy tail was beautifully perfumed.  Read the rest of this entry »

Wow – a Storyteller turns 75!

October 23rd, 2021

 

Yes, it’s my birthday and I hope dear readers you will permit me the indulgence of a simple heartfelt celebration.

There shall be tea and cake(s) and even prosecco.

See you next week! Read the rest of this entry »

Sisters and Aunties

October 16th, 2021

This week on Thursday my sister Ann and her husband John came down to London to visit. They came on the train – all the way from Leeds – and it was an enormous pleasure to see them here. They brought armfuls of flowers as well as pots of marmalade and jam that Ann had made and we spent lots of time talking and eating and some of the time looking through the album of family photos that I brought downstairs from my study.

What is it that’s such fun about looking at those old photos? Partly, of course, it’s that so many of the situations they show were shared. As you remember them, they seem to come to life again. Another part of the fun is noticing the changes. Do you remember when you cut your hair that time? And so on.

So much is brought to mind that you carry on remembering when your visitors have left to catch the train home. It makes you wonder what people did before there were cameras. Well, I feel sure – indeed I am sure – that memories were just as much remembered and shared. I used to love it when, as a child, I’d listen to my grandparents or my aunties recalling incidents which had involved me. And of course I’d love it even more if they got onto the subject of what life was like when they were children. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ New experience

October 9th, 2021

After a very long Lockdown, Paul has started singing again – and not only with the choirs he sings in. He’s also singing again with David Poole, our very good friend who accompanies him on the piano in practice sessions and, occasionally, in performances with our WiPs (Works in Progress) group.

But Paul singing again will also mean me getting back to playing the piano again to accompany him when he practises. I shall confess at once. I am not a very good pianist. I thoroughly enjoyed the longish period when our friend, the well-known New Zealand pianist Richard Mapp, was living in London, indeed in South London. I’d go for weekly lessons with him. With his kindness and guidance and understanding of the music, I flourished. But now and for a number of past years, I have lapsed.

And yet I enjoy it. Earlier today, I spent a while thinking about how that enjoyment got built into me.  The answer, undoubtedly, was Miss Harries. Miss Harries was our elderly neighbour when I was growing up in Fishguard. She herself had grown up on the Pencaer peninsula, walking miles to school every day. She’d become a very reliable piano teacher, getting her pupils successfully through their grades, and she was a great friend of my redoubtable Aunty Mali who lived up the road. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Home and Away

October 2nd, 2021

So far as subject is concerned, today’s blog has arisen purely because, in bed this morning (and we’re still in Pembrokeshire), Paul showed me a couple of photos on his phone of the lifebuoy down at Whitesands beach. Had I been thinking about lifebuoys as something to write about today? Well not lifebuoys, not at all. Yet, come to think of it, it’s not an unproductive subject.

For instance, I think of the friends who are and have been lifebuoys in the past. I remember how one of the best pronounced that, the minute I’d finished the treatment for the cancer I had at the time, I must go and stay in her home and for as long as I wanted. I would have nothing to do, I could just rest. What a lifebuoy that proved to be!Another lifebuoy over the course of the years has been Pembrokeshire itself. What did Samuel Johnson say? The man who is tired of London is tired of life. Well, though I speak as a woman and a London-lover,  I think I can also say that it’s nice to have a break from it from time to time. It’s probably the hustle and bustle of it, the number of people, the fact that although one may live in a quiet area, there is always that bit of a hum that arises from traffic, talk, people, machinery. Read the rest of this entry »