Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘fox’

Storytelling Starters ~ Quandary

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

ParrotWhat do you do when you don’t know what to do? Quandaries come in different sorts. One I’ve experienced as a storyteller is when I simply can’t decide what story or theme to choose.

What to choose?

As I began thinking about this week’s posting, various different possibilities began to swirl through my mind. Yet none of them felt quite right. Whether the choice is for my blog or for some performance, I normally like there to be some reason for the stories I choose, some link to things I’ve been doing or thinking about or to something going on in the world about me.  This week, trying to plan what to write about, nothing would settle.

Parrots, I thought. Currently there are four of them in different houses in our street and when they get taken outside for an airing, they create a whole new soundscape. It’s weird. Sometimes they sound like strange metallic devices. Sometimes it feels like you’re in a tropical forest. Thinking about these parrots this morning reminded me of a story. But what was that story? Wasn’t it entitled something like The Parrot and the Tree of Life? Might I not track it down and retell it?

Or what about foxes? Our neighbourhood is full of them. Our gardens are full of them. Not long ago, six fox-cubs were cavorting on our neighbour’s lawn. Often we see one asleep in the sun on the roof of a nearby shed. Thinking about this strange population, so alien and yet now so normal, reminded me of a powerful song about Mr Fox that was composed by my old storytelling friend, John Pole. It’s a very dramatic piece. I used to sing it. Might I not look that out? (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Cuckoos and Crosswords

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Fox 2 11.14Wildlife is always interesting. Most mornings these days when I draw the curtains, I see a big, handsome fox on the roof of the shed the other side of our back garden wall. Usually he’s still asleep. When he wakes, he stretches and yawns. Sometimes he then moves onto the tree-platform or storage-shed next door. I suppose he feels safe on these vantage points.

As for cuckoos, I learned a lot more about them last Saturday when I went to a fascinating talk on bird migration by a scientist from BTO (British Trust for Ornithology). Since then, thinking about what I learned has made me conceive a new storytelling idea namely, to devise something I could call The Cuckoo’s StoryAs with the Mabinogion story I told in North Wales a couple of weeks ago, there’s a bit of a back story.

The back story:

Cuckoos were part of my childhood. In our living room, we had an elaborately carved cuckoo clock: the cuckoo would pop out each hour on the hour, much to my delight. Besides, all round my grandparents’ smallholding deep in the countryside near Cilgerran, I’d hear that crazy repetition of the cuckoos’ call throughout the  cuckoo season.

Then a couple of years ago, I was re-introduced to cuckoos by a friend (Hilary, a million thanks!), who told me about a cuckoo-tracking project being run by BTO. I signed up to sponsor a cuckoo. Welsh cuckoos were being included among the birds being fitted with tracking devices. There was even an invitation to suggest names by which the tracked birds could be known. I remember suggesting Taliesin, the name of one of the earliest Welsh poets.

So that’s how I started getting some cuckoo knowledge. In this Blog previously, I’ve mentioned the astonishingly long and (to me) heroic journey that our cuckoos make each year. Not that they’re really OUR cuckoos at all. Each year, they spend only about 6 weeks in the UK. Then they’re off –  across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Sahara and, after a sojourn in West Africa, down through Africa to the Congo. Then after their time in the tropical forests, they’re on their way back to the UK to breed.

New knowledge: (more…)