Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Keeping busy

‘Raining here,’ said a Pembrokeshire friend on the phone two mornings ago. ‘Lovely sunshine in London,’ I replied and the day went on just so. Early on, there were two foxes in the garden. Then, as the light began to fade in the early evening, our local blackbird was there, singing its heart out. Such was the strength of its singing, it brought to my mind that very well-known line from my much-loved poem by Dylan Thomas: Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

But the bird wasn’t raging. It was singing so sweetly, it almost brought tears to my eyes. Tears wouldn’t have helped at that stage, however. I was sitting at the table in the Conservatory-end of our kitchen working at our current jigsaw puzzle. As I learned from an article in the Guardian that very day or soon before, doing jigsaws has proved a favoured occupation during Lockdown. Certainly it has for Paul and me and of course, what doing jigsaws requires is focused eyesight and concentration – and patience.

Our current jigsaw is that painting of The Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). Unfortunately, I think we’ve just about finished the easy bits. Next must come the sky and a very large area of rather uniformly coloured sea. Ah well!

Other Lockdown occupations have included – and still will for who knows how long! – a moderate amount of house-cleaning, the cooking of favourite cakes (Cherry and Almond cake is current top favourite but Welsh cakes also still go down well), phoning friends as a poor substitute for seeing them as well as quite a bit of singing in Paul’s case and quite a bit of writing in mine. There’s also been more television than I’ve ever watched before and rather to my surprise, I’ve greatly enjoyed it, particularly anything with David Tennant in it. Him with Michael Sheen in Staged has been a joy.

That’s it except for writing the occasional card. The most recent of these has been to the writer, poet and folkorist, Kevin Crossley-Holland to mark and celebrate his 80th birthday which will be tomorrow.  Kevin was a great support to the Society for Storytelling in its early days. In 1997, he came and gave a talk on the telling of folk tales, Different, But Oh Like, at an SfS conference that took place in Wandsworth. He also granted permission for that talk to be put into print as one of the early SfS publications.  Then in 2006, Kevin gave another paper to the SfS at its Annual Gathering. That too went into print as Journey to the Heart.

I think that many, many people will be saying Happy Birthday, Kevin on February 7th. If blogs could speak, which in a way they can, this one is hereby adding its voice to that celebratory cry.

And now it’s on with the motley. The minute Lockdown ends, I shall be getting in the car and going to Pembrokeshire to say sorry to the beaches as well as the friends that I’ve had to be away for so long. Also, both in Pembrokeshire and London, I shall be starting to invite people round for supper. Amazing how, even more than you knew before, you learn how much you value the company of friends when you can’t be seeing them. And of course, if you’re reading this blog, I do count you as a friend even if I don’t know you yet.


Top photo today is the fox on a visit. I say ‘the fox’ but he’s  just one of the number who have been our frequent visitors, going to sleep on the roof  of our back-neighbours’ shed, then waking and stretching just like a human being. Bottom photo is of our current loveliest pleasure, namely the orchid that lives in our kitchen in full flower. I count these things as special blessings, very much needed in this Lockdown time.

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One Response to “Storytelling Starters ~ Keeping busy”

  1. Julie Sperring Says:

    Hi Mary – still love reading your posts every Sunday morning (our time!) We feel so very blessed to be in NZ and can only imagine how hard it must be for you all over there in your intermindable lockdown in winter. The orchid is beautiful in the sunlight and we remember seeing foxes in your garden. We also remember your Welsh cakes with huge fondness – the time when you brought some in a tin to Chelmsford!! Take care and I hope the day soon comes when you and Paul can hare off down the motorway to Pembrokeshire! Julie and Don xxxx

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