Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ In threes or in bucketfuls?

Troubles arrive in threes: that was certainly the belief of us children when I was growing up in the far west of Wales. My father always disagreed. ‘No,’ he’d say, ‘troubles come in bucketfuls.’ I must say that by now I think he was right. Whether it’s bucketfuls or bunches, troubles do appear  to like travelling in company.

So yesterday was the day for the laying of new lino in our shower-room. Trouble number one quickly arrived,  though not for Paul and me, when the head workman arrived reporting that he’d had a puncture on the way – and that in a brand new tyre.

Trouble number two came about when one of the workmen drilled into a water pipe. Much scurrying around followed as buckets got located under various drips including the major drip-fest through the hall ceiling just inside the front door.

Trouble number three was when we couldn’t make a cup of tea for ourselves or the workmen because there was no water to be had due to the fact that the water had had to be turned off because of the pipe-drilling incident. However, this trouble turned into a pleasure when, in aid of filling our kettle, I went next door to our neighbour and we ended up having the first proper chat we’d had for ages.

So that was yesterday. Beforehand, I have to admit, the week had brought some positives of which the biggest for me was on Wednesday when the sun was shining in its best autumnal way and Paul and I decided to go to the London Wetlands for a walk. A walk? With my new hip? Yes, I did it. All the way round and without any pain. And the pleasure of the walk made me remember that, as Wetlands members, we’d be entitled to visit for free any of the eight other Wetlands areas. One of these is near Llanelli. Maybe, I thought, we could make a trip to see it when we next visit my Pembrokeshire home.

But when will that be? Lockdown rules have yet again knocked on the head any particular plans. Instead, as for us all, we’ll just have to draw on whatever remnants of positive spirit there are to be found within us.

Before we set out for our Wetlands walk we called on our other side neighbours with a little gift for their brand new baby daughter. And we took a picture story book for her little brother. He’s just coming into the age when I think he might enjoy a good story. My thoughts about which story might be good to do with him are already revving up. Mrs Wiggle and Mrs Waggle perhaps?  You know the one? But here, of course, it may have to be Mr Wiggle and Mr Waggle.

So if and when there’s a chance, Mr Wiggle will go out of his house, shut his door and  set  off to Mr Waggle’s house. Up the hill and down the hill and up the hill and down the hill and up the hill and down the hill until he’s knocking on Mr Waggle’s  door. But, oh dear me, there won’t be an answer, will  there, as Mr Waggle isn’t going to be in. So Mr Wiggle will just have to go home and the story will have to continue.

And so on and on until – oh, happy day – Mr Wiggle and Mr Waggle will each set out from their houses and bump into each other on the top of the hill that each has to climb in the middle of their journey. For an appropriate age-group, this is a very satisfying story.

And it has always been my strong belief that it’s part of the workaday storyteller’s art (and workaday is certainly me) to have to hand – or to mouth – a story that is suitable for pretty much any occasion and any age of listener. If my young next-door neighbour is receptive, we could have some stories together. And that would be a really fun Unlockdown. 

PS:  The photos are scenes we saw in the course of our Wetlands walk.

One Response to “Storytelling Starters ~ In threes or in bucketfuls?”

  1. Jean Edmiston Says:

    Much love Mary and Paul — so glad to hear the new hip is working well Mary — and hopefully the buckets of troubles have been safely recycled into armfuls of good things and new vinyl — Jean XX

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