Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Storytelling Starters ~ It never rains but it pours!

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

That’s what we used to say: it never rains but it pours. And boy was it raining (literally) as I started thinking about this blog yesterday.

The window-pane disaster:

A week ago as described in last week’s blog, I heard that extraordinary crash of sound which, second time of going round the house, led to me seeing the smashed window pane in our bedroom. No sign of a dead bird inside or out. But it must have been a bird that did it. I don’t imagine that, despite its extraordinary speed of running up and down the drainpipe from ground to roof, our bonkers squirrel could have got there.

Fortunately Paul taped up the window most effectively and by Monday lunchtime that particular trouble was ended. The window had been re-glazed by a lovely young guy from Eastern Europe. (more…)

Checking in

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Greetings from Toronto! More next week when I hope to show some fine photos.

Storytelling Starters ~ Fallen leaves

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

The leaves of the lime tree are falling. They pile up over the back of the garden. They’re a pain. Leaves on the street make lovely patterns of shape and colour. It’s a treat to look down at them as I pass. I’m hoping we’ll see more leaves in Canada. (We’re off there tomorrow.) Or will the Canadian leaves have fallen already, overwhelmed by the onset of winter?

Meantime, Autumn leaves in London have created an earworm in my head. It’s the first couple of lines of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ beautiful poem (see it all at the end of the blog):

Margaret are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving

(more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Journey of a story

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

This week’s blog aims to tell the story of a story. Or should I say, one of the stories of what must be by now a very old story in which it has acquired countless new stories of how it’s travelled through our world. Mine is only one of them.

The story begins:

Innumerable years ago, the Snohomish people of North-West America would tell the story of pushing up the sky. In the beginning, they’d say, the sky was too low. People were unhappy with it. They felt oppressed. They felt there was insufficient space to do things, create things, scarcely enough room to breathe. Besides, sometimes there’d be someone who would go missing by getting lost in the sky – a boy climbing a tree, maybe, or someone exploring a hill. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Remembering

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Storytellers know that our personal stories are part of our bedrock as individuals. Not everyone we encounter may recognise it, but we all have them. One of the times they’re most in evidence is at funerals.  Here is where they are shared – stories of our personal connection with the one who has died, stories about that person one has heard and remembered, stories which that person used to tell and, of course, stories of particular incidents involving that person of which one was part.

A funeral to remember:

Yesterday was a time for listening and for telling. The funeral of our much-loved and hugely admired Kenneth Bowen was held in St David’s Cathedral where one of his sons had been organist for some years. The burial was in Fishguard at the burial ground of Hermon Baptist Chapel where, as he’d always said he wanted, he could be buried next to his mother who had died when he was aged just seven. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ In Passing

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

It could happen anywhere. Somebody is in need of directions. Yesterday it happened when Paul and I were on the top of the 159 bus on our way to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. In our seats at the front, we had good views of the vast crowds on Westminster Bridge, the gaggle of people at the end of Downing Street and, as we approached, the large number of people in Trafalgar Square.

I’d just finished retelling myself a mind-boggling little fact I learned while doing a research job for the Observer Magazine back in my early working life. It’s that before the statue of the man himself was raised to the top of Nelson’s Column, a dinner party was held on the plinth at the top. I’m not sure who the dinner was for,  presumably the architects and other top-noddies. But evidently there were proper chairs and a dining table properly laid with tablecloth, silver cutlery and no doubt crystal glasses. (more…)

Storytelling and Story Reading in Early Years

Monday, March 19th, 2018

My book, Storytelling and Story-Reading in Early Years, published by Jessica Kingsley, has been receiving some good reviews and comment. If you’d like a copy just click on the appropriate button below.

I’ve also done an interview with Kathy Brodie which has had some very nice comments and which you can find on Early Years TV .

To buy your copy in UK/Europe,  simply click the first button below and follow the instructions



If you’re outside Europe (bit more expensive postage), please click the second button.

Storytelling Starters ~ Open the door

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

It’s a new year. I’ve got a new chair. So I started thinking about chairs and how much time we spend sitting in them, the books we read while sitting in them, the talks we share with other people. Then I started to wonder about chairs in stories, thrones and little elfin chairs, and also about the chairs that craftsmen make for storytellers to sit in. But I’ve never liked sitting in a big chair when I’m telling stories. I’d rather a low stool if it’s with children or, if it’s lots of children or adults, I’d rather stand up.

Chairs took me on to doors. I started looking for a story where a chair might figure. Maybe there’d be a figure of a person sitting in the chair. Who would it be? What I came across instead was the poem, The Door,  by the Czech poet, Miroslav Holub. In the version I have in my file-box for poems, his poem is in a translation  by Ian Milner and George Theiner. It seems to me like a jolly good poem for a new year.

The Door

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ What next?

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

Sprouts, turnips, carrots, potatoes – the cooking is all getting mixed up with the cards and the delivering of our last local cards is suffering from a profound desire on my part to go to sleep. Meantime, the merriment of Christmas is mixed with a profound sense of sorrow for all the people in our world who have no home and no food. It almost feels wrong to be sending greetings at all – except that remembering friends and all the joy (and sometimes problems) they bring is also essential. So too is preparing and publishing this Saturday’s blog. It comes with my very best wishes to all readers and with great thanks for being my friends in storytelling.

So here below is the Christmas card Paul and I have been sending out on email under the title, Onwards and Upwards. It’s, a photo of ‘Walls & trumpets’, the sculpture by Ofra Zimbalista near Guy’s Hospital.

And if you’d also like to have a laugh by looking at one of the two little presentations I gave at Paul’s recent fundraiser for CRISIS just click 12 Thank you notes of Christmas

Storytelling Starters ~ Fruit jelly for tea

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

Last week in Wales, I made my usual visit to my friend Ella, now in her 101st year. After tea (which included jelly with fruit in it because she knows I love it), our reminiscences turned to the subject of evacuees, children who’d arrived in the area when evacuated out of London for safety during the Second World War.

What stories came out! Ella remembers so much I sometimes catch myself thinking there’s nothing she’s forgotten. Her mind is like a deep map of the area – and it’s a map that not only has historical depth. It includes what’s going on now.

Evacuees now:

Thinking back over tales Ella remembered, it occurs to me that the theme of evacuation is just as important today. Families of Rohingya Muslims flooding out of Myanmar, people fleeing for their lives from war in Syria, children and adults risking their lives in flimsy boats sailing from African shores to the hoped-for better life in Europe: in so many parts of the world, people are daily being displaced from their homes, sometimes to try and save their lives, sometimes because they choose to go when they feel they have no other choice. (more…)