Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

Storytelling Starters ~ Regenerating

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

I’ve never been an assiduous follower of Doctor Who. But down in Wales with a guest who loves it, we did watch the Christmas episode. It contained a wonderful example of regeneration as Peter Capaldi who has been the twelfth doctor spiralled through turning circles of time and space to become the thirteenth, a woman played by Jodie Whittaker.


Regeneration is a good theme for this point of the year. At the end of this particular year, it feels especially apt when so many people I’ve talked with have confessed that, for them too, 2017 has felt like a year we want to see the back of.

So, much like Doctor Who spiralling into a new emanation, images of regeneration have been swishing round in my mind. Wasn’t there a girl sent out into the woods by a cruel stepmother who had demanded to be brought strawberries for supper? What ever was the girl to do? It was the depth of winter, the end of the year, and not the time for strawberries (except in supermarkets!).  Rescue came in the bitter night when she met a man in the woods who brought her to a blazing fire around which sat a ring of men of all ages from very old to very young. And didn’t those men stand and chant the year forwards, regenerating winter into summertime so that the poor girl was then able to gather the strawberries her cruel stepmother required? (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Old Lady’s Delight

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

StrawberriesYesterday, my local supermarket had English strawberries – first time this season. They immediately reminded me of my favourite dessert, even though that recipe calls for a tin of strawberries, not fresh ones. So memory goes. Thinking about the dessert brought back to mind the person who gave me the recipe and then I thought I’d write about her here, partly because she was so striking in herself, partly because she raises an interesting question.

How is it possible that someone you meet can remain a huge influence even when, later, you scarcely remember anything at all about them? I guess we storytellers hope it’s so with our storytelling – that a story we tell or an occasion when we tell it may leave an impression that becomes a lasting influence on some person who receives it.

A woman of influence

Cicely Williams-Ellis was the sister-in-law of Clough Williams-Ellis, creator of Portmeirion, the fantastical Italianate village on a luxuriously wooded hillside on the coast of north-west Wales. She was in her old age when a colleague and I went to visit her. At the time, we were doing research for an investigative piece for The Sunday Times about the country’s National Parks. Meeting Cicely was of interest because she’d played a leading part in the movement to form the National Parks and also the CPRW, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.

But what do I remember of Cicely Williams-Ellis now? (more…)