Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters – Plenitude

On Thursday morning this week, that word ‘plenitude’ suddenly appeared in my mind. I thought about it. One thing that occurred to me was that there was certainly a plenitude of things I could do.  I could write to all the friends who have sent cards or emails to me to wish me well through this current ‘cancer journey’. And I note that that’s what people are calling it these days: cancer journey. It’s a description that certainly does begin to cover all the toings and froings to the Cancer Centre at the hospital as well as the emotional journey through the ups and downs of what is happening (in my case for the fifth time, each time a different cancer).

Or, I thought, I could make some Welsh cakes. These deliciousnesses are things I’ve enjoyed since childhood and they certainly give me that feeling of plenitude. My mother kept the ones she made in a particular tin in a drawer in the kitchen which would be frequently raided by us children and, I must add, by our father. They’ve continued to feature in my life. Recently, Welsh cakes have gone down well with a neighbour across the road who, much younger than me, is also being treated for cancer right now. Then again, one afternoon earlier this week, Welsh cakes felt like the ideal ‘something’ to take to a gentleman friend who’d invited Paul and me to tea. But quite apart from taking Welsh cakes elsewhere, they’re immensely popular with Paul. And with me too. The making is easy. The eating is forever satisfying.

Or, instead of making Welsh cakes,  I thought, I could start making phone calls to thank all the various friends who have kindly sent me lovely cards and letters over the last few weeks. Some have done the same kind of thing – sending cheering cards or phoning me up – on my previous ‘cancer journeys’. And it’s always been greatly appreciated. For one of the problems about having cancer is that life can get a bit boring. OK, there are the hospital journeys to make and during these, something or other that’s interesting often comes up. However, tiredness becomes a real issue. I’d love to be going out to the shops or the library or wherever. And I do try to get in a walk each day. But the daily walk is currently a lot shorter than it ever used to be. For the moment, venturing further is just not on.

But to go back to that word, plenitude. When it came into my mind, I felt it was a very good word for all the fullness of life I feel I’ve been lucky enough to experience. Many people feel trapped and are trapped. There can be so many causes. Poverty, the illness of relatives who need to be looked after all of the time, a difficult marriage or difficult children: such things are the plight for so many. In my life, apart from all the other things that have been good, my storytelling work has provided endless interest. By contrast, being a bit stuck at home is not easy. And yet, what with garden and books and writing and friends, a feeling of plenitude is often there. It’s a feeling I’ll be trying to hold on to.

PS:  I thought some plenitude pictures might be good. So here in my top pictures:  roses from the wonderful array in Brockwell Park walled garden and one of our peonies; and below: a sumptuous foxglove and our cabbage palm busy blooming.

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