Storytelling at the Udny Historical Society

That’s me just returned home from the Udny Historical Society!

I was made to feel very welcome indeed by the group and managed to fit in a good few stories and ballads such as The Unquiet Grave, Mary Elphinstone, Bogie’s Bonnie Belle, Donald’s Holiday, Auld Craobhie and Maggie McQueen Frae Aiberdeen.

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A photo of Inverurie Graveyard as taken from the top of the Bass.  Perhaps Mary Eerie Ory Elphinstone still wanders round here at night!

 

Thanks everyone for having me along and for pointing me in the direction of so many new topics to explore!  I’ll be looking in to the Udny Morthouse soon!

 

2015 Events

Pauline in one of her fairy costumes and another two mischevious imps, all set for storytelling

2015 Events:

My first storytelling session of the year was at the Pitscurry Project . The Pitscurry Project provides training and day services for adults with learning disabilities and are hoping to do a project on local myths and legends for either Halloween or Beltane in 2016.  Watch this space!  (P.S.  Wonderful cafe and gardens – do make a visit!)

At the end of May, the Banff Coast Festival  invited me back for a second year – this year the theme was “Light” and I learned a few new stories which are sure to become some of my favourites.

On the first of June I was telling stories about gardens, flowers, plants and trees at Drum Castle’s Chelsea Fringe Event.  I had been scheduled to tell stories in their beautiful formal gardens, but unfortunately the heavens opened – luckily there was a very cosy place indeed inside the castle which we made comfortable with blankets and cushions.  There were a lot of adults tempted in by the stories as well, so it was a wonderful session!

Before heading off to Glastonbury, I told stories at the Robertson Road Centre, Fraserburghm which provides day service opportunities to adults who have a disability.  I have to say it was the best banter I’ve had all year and that “Jack, Jack – yer sic a tattieheid!  Fit a neep! will forever be included in my telling of “Lazy Jack.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know it sounds a bit repetitive but I’m sure THIS year at Glastonbury has been the best ever!  This year I had some company in the form of Fizzy the Fairy who is the perfect compliment to my Thistle The Fairy character.  Let me tell you – she’s really cheeky!  But clearly she has some star potential as we made it on to the front of the BBC Music at Glastonbury web page (see photo above)
She’d like me to assure all her fans that she’ll be making a lot more appearances in the future!

No sooner were we back from our Glastonbury journey than I was telling nature and environment stories at the Burn O Vat.  Once again I’m covered in lumps from the midgies – perhaps if I had told that story I wouldn’t have been stung so often?

The Rhynie Wifies were at Castle Fraser again on the weekends of the 18th/19th July for the Rumbling Romans and Wicked Warriors event next weekend, 18th and 18th July 2015. Visitors took part in Warrior School, Iron Age Crafts, Cooking and Dyeing/  We were as wicked as we Wifies (and one Tiny Rhynie Quinie) could fit into a weekend.

Perth Prehistory Festival 2015 will be held the weekend of 22nd and 23rd August 2015.  I had the chance to tell all of my iron age tales in full kit and enjoyed seeing all the other crafts stalls and chatting to other folks from prehistory!

 

 

In Summer, I organised a meeting of the Grampian Association of Storytellers who have been having some time off since 2012.  I’m proud to say we have a new committee now and that we will be organising monthly storytelling sessions from now on – please see the GAS Facebook Page for details.

I was asked to tell some ghost and horror stories at the Bottlecap Brewery in Aberdeen on Halloween.  It was a great night with a couple of other performers telling stories and reading some classical Edwardian ghost stories.  As it was an adult audience and there were some amazing acoustics, I sang a couple of ballads too (The Unquiet Grave and Wullie’s Ghost)

Fizzy the Fairy and I headed to Charles Michies for a couple of weekends in December – we had a great spot in their cafe (nice cakes there folks!) and enjoyed telling Christmas stories to those who came to hear us.  I also told stories at a special event at Woodend barn December called “Tales From The Christmas Tree” in which (as Thistle) I told a different Christmas story for each tree decoration and asked children out from the audience to place the decorations on the tree.

 

After that, Fizzy and I (and all of our other puppet friends) were able to let our hair down and enjoy Christmas and New Year.  We’re now looking forward to 2016 and all it will bring!  As of the 4th January, I will be doing Children’s Parties as “Fizzy’s Fairy Parties” and my Rhynie Wifie friend, Karen and I will be aiming to bring prehistory to life for school aged children across the North East.  Something which has been missing for a few years since Archaeolink closed down.

See you in 2016! 😀

2014 Events

The Rhynie Wifies and friends save Santa at the Ironworks in December 2013

Events 2014:

In January 2014, I made a trip up to Peterhead harbour and undaintily clambered aboard the Amity II, the fishing boat belonging toTrawlermen‘s Jimmy Buchan.  There a new signature dish, the Blue Toon Bree was cooked up by chef David Littlewood of the Kildrummy Inn inspired by local folklore, the Blue Toon’s fishing history and images of Peterhead. The resulting show, “The Town Is The Menu” was played on BBC Radio 4 later on in the year and you can find out more by following this link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b040hhnr

In March I was a guest at the Banchory Heritage Group.  I brought along some of my Iron Age kit and told a mixture of stories – some local, some with an Iron Age setting and some that are just my favourite.  A most enjoyable evening!

In May, I told local stories at Aden Country Park’s “Our Story” event.  I also led a group singing Bothy Ballads – which went very well considering I only knew 3 of them off by heart and had to depend on the words!  Visitors also had the chance to write down their own stories from their farming past.

I was also involved in the Banff Coast Festival at the end of May – their theme was the Sea – so I did a few sea shanties too!

 

I was back telling stories at the Banchory River Festival at the start of June – one of my favourite locations! The museum and library always put so much effort in to their events and decorate the building to suit.  This year the theme was “The Muckle Spate of 1829” – so stories of stories of floods, fish, selkies and salty old seadogs were the order of the day!

Before I left to go to Glastonbury, I did an evening session at Midstocket Mews sheltered housing.  What an amazing time I had!  It was nice to get requested to sing a couple of Bothies too.  I love an audience that join in!

Glastonbury 2014 was amazing as ever!  I think it was the best one yet – I had a wonderful time in the Kidz Field telling stories with John Row, Donald Nelson, Christine Willison, Cath Little and others – and I was at the opening of the Kidz Field for the first time. Wow! Never has a fairy been high-fived so often in a one hour period.
Storytelling in the Green Futures field was also wonderful – and it was also a chance to sit back and listen to Christine and Cath’s stories. A perfect festival – looking forward to the next one!

Straight after Glastonbury, I was back to one of my favourite places for the Burn o Vat Open Day.  I told my favourite nature and environment stories and it was one of the hottest days of the year! As the sun was out, I think it was only appropriate that I told “How The Raven Brought The Sun” – you can see Roxy the Raven helping me out in the photo.

 

Throughout the summer, Crathes Castle had been host to a number of storytellers.  On the 10th July it was my turn.  It was fantastic weather again and I had a great spot within the walled garden to tell a grand collection of Scottish Tales!

 

Another weekend, another Castle !  This time it was for the Rhynie Wifies – we joined The Devil’s Horsemen, Comitatus and others at Castle Fraser for their Chariot event.  Usually at this time of year we’re a little out of the time period as Castle Fraser put on their Medieval Jousting Tournament… but to be back in amongst the Romans ?  We felt right at home!
In September I was fair chuffed to win the TMSA Kirriemuir Folk Festival Storytelling Cup with my version of an Estonian tale called “All Three!”  All cup winners are asked to take part in the Cupwinners Concert in the evening and I also got the runners-up cup for being the most entertaining at the concert.  (Well, it is one of my favourite stories and I do enjoy telling it!)

On the 4th October I was invited to do a turn at the TMSA Cookney Meal and Ale – another richt enjoyable evening!

I ended the year by visiting Arduthie Primary School in Stonehaven – Miss Philips class had been doing a project on Scotland so I was all to happy to bring some traditional Scottish stories to them.

2013 Events

Pauline and her daughter Molly in their Iron Age outfits at Fort George in August 2012.

After a bit of a year off in 2012, I was really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things in 2013.  It turned out to be a very busy year!

My first event  of 2013 was totally out of this world! From 11am – 3pm on Saturday 26th January, I told space themed stories at Peterhead’s Arbuthnot Museum who had some special exhibitions from Astro-Gnome.
It was a perfect chance to brush up on my constellation myths as well as lots of stories about the sun, moon, and stars from different cultures all around the world.  There were stories for all ages and I even got to throw in a couple of songs for the very little ones!  Click here for a photo from the event!

Storytelling is my favourite hobby, so it fitted in nicely that I could be found telling stories at Banchory Museum and Library’s Hobby Happening event on Saturday 16th February from 10.30 to 12.40.
This was part of World Community Arts Day.  Aberdeenshire Celebrates aims to paint a picture of the rich arts and crafts scene in Aberdeenshire by profiling the many drama, dance, singing, musical, visual art and craft groups that work in the area.

On the 13th March – (despite heavy snowfall!)  I headed out to the reopening of the Burn O Vat Visitors Centre at Dinnet.  It was such a beautiful day for it – with my Iron Age kit on and the sun beaming down on us, it didn’t feel cold at all!  Well, I do admit my historically accurate bog shoes didn’t stand up to the snow as well as a pair of wellies – but there was so much jumping around with the Scottish Wildlife stories that I was telling to the children of Logie Coldstone Primary School that my feet soon forgot the cold.  It was a wonderful day that I won’t forget for a very long time! Click on the photo to the left if you’re interested in seeing those shoes!

On the 16th March I was glad my voice had returned after the Burn O Vat reopening!  I took part in some of the Aberdeen TMSA (Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland) competitions.  I came second in the work song/sea shanty category, joint first in the songwriting competition and first in the ladies traditional singing!  But best of all was when my little one, Molly and some friends of ours came third in the Freestyle singing.  We sang “Three Craws” with able percussion from Molly!

My amazing storytelling friend, Anna Fancett of www.uponmyword.co.uk/, asked me along to the Aberdeen Choral Ensemble (or ACE!) to tell stories and sing songs to their members at Airyhall Community Centre on the 23rd March.  I’m pleased to say my new banjolele made its first appearance at a storytelling session and it was wonderful to be telling stories with Anna again.

On Easter Sunday I had a brilliant time telling stories at Brechin Castle Centre where I told stories about Easter, Spring and bees to some really enthusiastic families who were there for egg hunts, train rides, easter egg and bonnet decorating competitions and lots of other entertainment.  I was there in full Spring Fairy mode in the hope that I’d encourage Spring to come out of hiding!

In April I was telling some local stories and old favourites at The Gaitherin in Inverurie over the Easter holidays.  Click on the link to find out what a fantastic opportunity The Gaitherin is for children.

 

And… at the end of April The Rhynie Wifies were booked to do their first wedding!  We leapt at the chance to dress as the fairies of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and sang and told stories to entertain the wonderful bride, groom and guests.

The Rhynie Wifies have also been busy at Castle Fraser and BA Stores and featured at the Breemie Midsummer Festival.On Tuesday 7th May, I told stories and sang some Scottish songs, ballads and bothy ballads to some of the residence at Nazareth Care Home reminiscence group.  I really enjoyed myself – and it was just lovely that my Granda was there to listen!  He was aye good for a story or bothy ballad was Granda!

On Friday 17th May, I took part in the Strichen Festival competitions and was delighted to win the Doric Story Writing competition!

During May and June I have been spending some time working with the ladies of Skirts and Tales and some of the children from Gilcolmstoun Primary School in Aberdeen. We worked on the story of the Fisherman and the Flounder and wrote our own sea shanty based on the story! The children’s drawings and prints from the story will decorate the train of a huge wicker skirt which will be the centerpiece of the group’s contribution to the Aberdeen International Youth Festival parade at the end of July!

On the 8th of June, Thistle the Fairy told Tales From The Riverbank at Banchory Museum and Library.  Frogs were croaking, boats were rowed, mice got married, raven was up to his usual cunning and Mother Nature was finally allowed a nice cup of tea and a cake after all the animals were created.  What a wonderful bunch of families as always!  I love telling stories there!

Despite a bit of laryngitis, I spent the last week of June storytelling in the Green Fields and the Kidz Field at Glastonbury.  For the (mostly adult) audience in the Green Futures Field I got to tell some of my favourite folk tales that I don’t often get to tell!  Thistle The Fairy made her first appearance in the Kidz Field where I was singing songs and telling stories to babies and toddlers, children and teenagers, mums, dads, grannies, grandas, aunties, uncles and whoever else fancied popping in!  (I was also be accompanied by wee fairy, Molly!)

On the 7th July I was back at the Burn O Vat visitors centre for their yearly open day.  It’s always a great day with lots of outdoor activities, fantastic walks round the nature reserve and the visitors centre was just re-opened a few months ago after a nice spruce up!  The weather was just stunning and I’m pretty sure the midgies came to listen to a few stories as well – going by my lumps and bumps anyway!

On Friday 19th July, I was back Arbuthnot Museum in Peterhead.  Actually… I should have said “Ahoy me hearties!  Tales of scurvy laden rapscallions, swashbuckling buccaneers and pillaging privateers!” (or thereabouts) as the museum  hosted a pirate themed fun-day where visitors could learn about pirate history and invasions of Peterhead.  There was a lot more except the storytelling – balloon modelling, crafts, games, facepainting and pirate makeovers! Friday 19th July, 11am – 3pm

On Friday the 26th July, I was singing Scottish songs and telling stories at Pitmurchie Care Home in Torphins.  (The banjolele made an appearance for a few of the songs!)

And on Friday 2nd August, I returned to Arbuthnot Museum for another of their summer events.  This time the theme was “Under The Sea” – so mermaids, selkies, fishies, sea goddesses, sirens and Morag the Sea Serpent was be the order of the day!

 

The weekend after that, baby Molly and I headed up to Fort George with the Rhynie Wifies for the Celebration of The Centuries weekend which is always a wonderful show!  See the top photo from this post to see our costumes!

And on the 17th August I was on SHMU FM’s Literature Show.  Please click here to listen to the show on Mixcloud – http://www.mixcloud.com/LiteratureShow/pauline-cordiner/

For the weekend of the 7th September, Molly and I toddled down to the Kirriemuir TMSA festival where I tried my hand at diddling for the first time!  For some reason I won the trophy – which means I’m really going to have to practice my diddling for 2014!

I went to visit my storyteller friend, Anna Fancett, for a week in Northumberland in October.  She told stories and I sang a couple of songs at a care home and we visited Bede’s World where she volunteers and tells stories – it made me yearn for my Roundhouse days at Archaeolink!  (The roundhouse is still there but the attraction remains sadly closed.)

On the 22nd October, I had the pleasure of telling stories to some of the children at Clinterty Travelling People’s site.  Organised by Aberdeen Play Forum, we had a tarpaulin shelter, a wee camp fire, hot chocolate, marshmallows and ghost stories round the fire!  Some of the kids were just as eager to tell their ghost stories as I was – and let me tell you, I was right hooked in!

The Rhynie Wifies and I headed up to Banff Castle on Saturday 26th October for some Halloween fun!  I was telling stories in my own Fairy Grotto for most of the afternoon and in the evening the Wifies led a ghost tour of haunted Banff round the old town and graveyard.  But the Halloween Weekend wasn’t over for me yet!  I was telling stories on the 27th in the Library of Castle Fraser.  A most haunted place!  Luckily I was placed in the Library and had the dashing Charles Fraser watching over me, so I felt perfectly safe.  (Click on the image for a closer look)

At the end of November and start of December, I was telling Christmas Stories in Charles Michies the Chemist’s tea rooms!  The storytelling was sponsored by Aberdeen Inspired who had organised Santa’s grotto in Union Terrace Gardens, a skating rink at the Castlegate and much more.

Finally, the Rhynie Wifies and I headed up to Inverness and the Ironworks where our friends from The Time Travellers Tavern had asked for our help in saving Santa Claus from the bad fairies!  With the help of Mrs Claus, we managed to get him out of the castle dungeons in time for Christmas.  I got to tell stories in a Rocking Chair in front of a Christmas Tree with the help of some Elves!  I was SO excited ;

2012 Events

Pauline storytelling in the Wee Wizards tent at Wizard Festival 2011 (Thanks to Bill Irvine for the photo)

Events Archive 2012:

Well 2012 was a quieter year for me, but by no means a year off!  My partner and I were proud to announce the birth of our first child, Molly Ivy Cordiner Cole on the 30th June 2012.
This meant much excitement to have a little one of my own to tell stories to, but it did also mean that, regretfully, I had to give up my roles as treasurer and committee member of the Grampian Assocation of Storytellers, but with any luck I will  still be able to attend and help out with many of their events and workshops.

Here’s a few events I told stories at in 2012!

Anna Fancett and I performed on the evening of Friday 2nd March at 2012’s Intervarsity Folk Dance Festival  which was held this year in Aberdeen. We then did a beginners storytelling workshop the next morning at 9am.  Despite all the dance workshops available, we still had a packed room full of those wanting to try out storytelling for the first time.

What started off as a simple request for a couple of storytelling sessions at Banff Castle’s Beltane Bash turned in to a little more after I announced I would be 8 months pregnant the weekend of the event!
Along with my younger sister The Maiden (Catriona of our living history group, the Rhynie Wifies) and my older sister, The Crone (Lesley of The Historic Saltire Society) I did a serious bit of character acting as the heavily pregnant Mother and then settled down for some seasonal Beltane Stories in the newly opened Kelpie Cafe which is part of the Arts and Folklore Centre. (Click on the thumbnail for a photo of us all.  Thanks to Ben Haslam for the photo!)

I was definitely supposed to be having a rest by this point but figured that one last storytelling session before the birth wouldn’t cause any harm!  This year’s Banchory St Ternan fair had a bit of a royal theme going with the Queen’s jubilee being just around the corner, so The Rhynie Wifies and I fitted in some themed crafts and stories at the Banchory Library and Museum.

In September, The Rhynie Wifies and their newest member (Tiny Rhynie, Molly – aged 11 weeks) made the trip to Skara Brae in Orkney for a weekend of living history.  We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend in the Neolithic and would like to thank the staff and visitors to the Skara Brae visitors centre for making us feel so welcome. The Rhynie Wifies offer a living history experience from the stone, bronze and iron ages as well as various crafts, cooking and, of course storytelling to different themes.  See contact page for details.

We also took over Castle Fraser on the evening of Saturday 27th October for three sold out adult-only ghost tours of the Castle.  I had the privilege of being one of the two tour guides, telling some of the castle’s ghost stories and meeting some pretty sinister characters along the way!
On the Sunday, I told ghost stories to children of all ages and adults in the library from 12 – 4.

On Sunday 25th November I told stories at Busy Beasties Christmas Shopping Event which was held at the old Dobbies Garden Centre, Hazledene Road, Aberdeen.  The event raised money for Kayleighs Wee Stars, a charity which aims to support families with a terminally ill child.

 

2011 Events

Possibly a new career as a Disney Princess in 2011?

Events 2011:

 
Following the closure of Archaeolink Prehistory Park, where I told my first story way back in 2003, four ex staff/volunteers decided that it would leave too big a gap in our lives.  We became the Rhynie Wifies – named after the Rhynie Man, a pictish carved stone who we always thought looked a bit hen pecked!  And together with a couple of Rhynettes (a couple of younger members) we have had a great summer appearing at Castle Fraser, Fort George and also Banchory Museum as part of Scottish Archaeology Month.  We demonstrate iron age textiles, cooking, firelighting and survival skills as well as providing a lot for the kids to do – warrior school, crafts and we’ll even paint them up as celtic warriors! And there’s always the potential for a story round our fire.  Click here to go to the Rhynie Wifies on Facebook. (Web page to follow).

We have also been busy at the Grampian Association of Storytellers with guest storytellers, DIY sessions and workshops planned throughout the year.  See our web page for details.

Along with renowned storyteller, Frances Logan, I told stories and sang songs at the 2011 Girvan Folk Festival.  The festival runs between Friday 29th April and Sunday 1st May 2011.
In addition to our evening concert slots and family ceilidh slot (where we had a great time telling the tale of Lazy Jack), we enjoyed judging the storytelling and verse recitation competitions.

On the 15th May 2011 I told stories at March4TheMarines, a Sponsored Walk and Family Fun Day at  Milton of Crathes, Banchory.  The day raised funds for the Woodlands Garden for the 45 Commando Marines, based in Arbroath.

 

On Saturday 21st May, I went to the Strichen Folk Festival ran by the Buchan Heritage Society. As I have been learning Scottish songs and ballads for a few years now, I had been told it was about time I went along to a Folk Festival – and storytelling at Girvan encouraged me to go along.  I was much surprised (and flattered!) to win the Ladies Bothy Ballad singing “Bogie’s Bonnie Belle” – but the best bit was showing the cup to my Granda who has always loved the bothy ballads since he was a wee loon visiting his Uncle Jim’s fairm at Gourdieburn.

On Saturday, 11th June, I was at Banchory Museum and Library telling updated folk and fairy stories with Anna Fancett as part of 2011’s Banchory St Ternan’s Fair.  The Museum had a1950s to 1960s feel with music, song, dance and visual arts of the day, The swinging ’60s psychedelic stairs took visitors up to the Library and on into the 1970s with examples of materials culture from the era.  With my hair and favourite tartan boots, I could only go as an early punk  – but the stories were much more gentle on the ears than my outfit was on the eyes, including Terry Jones’ Fairy One Step, some traditional Scottish folk tales transported into post-war Aberdeenshire and some of my Grandfather’s stories from when he was a baker in wartime Aberdeen.

 This year my friend Fairy Flick and I dressed up as Scottish fairies to tell stories in the Kidz Field and Green Futures Field at the Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts.
We made quick work of warning our listeners that Scottish fairies aren’t quite as pink and glittery as fairies are portrayed nowadays and I distracted them with a few stories while Fairy Flick stole the sunshine to take back up north with us!  Christine Willison and John Rowe made us give the sun back though, so the mud all dried up in the end.Stories we told in the Kidz Field included animal tales, folk tales from all around the world, some traditional Scottish fairy tales and we even had time for a couple of childrens songs thrown in at the end.

The stories up at the Green Futures Field were a lot more varied and included Scottish tales and ballads such as the Laird of Morphie, Four Blue Bonnets,  and The College Boy. We didn’t stick to Scottish tales, however, and told a few folk tales from far flung places as well as stories from the Arabian Nights.  Can’t wait for the 2013 festival!  (Thanks to Cath Little for the photo)
On the 3rd July I told stories at the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve Open day – it was sunny again despite it being the coldest summer I can remember (probably punishment for trying to steal the Glastonbury sunshine!)
2011 being the International Year of Forests, I focused on tree, animal and environmental stories such as Auld Craobhie, The Green Man and Tidalick The Frog.

The 24th July 2011 was the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Harlaw – one of the bloodiest battles to take place in medieval Scotland.  I entered a song competition ran by Scottish Culture and Traditions and was delighted to receive a “special mention.”Since the anniversary, a group called “The Freens O Reid Harlaw” has been set up which aims to keep alive the memory of the bloodiest battle on Scotland’s soil.  Click here to go to their web page.

I was back for the second year at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival on the first weekend in August.  This time I was delighted to be storytelling with Kelpie Creative team who kept kids entertained in the Tir Na Nog (kids) area with space themed crafts, gaelic action songs, lullabies and a space hopper course.  All the stories I told were space themed -something I thought would be really difficult, but once I got started I couldn’t believe how many wonderful stories I found – some of them will definitely make their way into my permanent repertoire!

I was back for my third year at Wizard Festival where the Wee Wizards tent was better than ever (even if the weather wasn’t!)  It’s really nice to do a music festival on my home turf because, well, if the Jester turns out to sound like he’s a fairmer’s loon fae Buchan then fowk ken fit he’s on aboot!

Thanks to Bill Irvine for the photo.
I was a guest storyteller with the Glasgow Story Tellers on Friday 16th September 2011.  This was a week after their own Frances Logan visited the Grampian Association of Storytellers and was a lovely way to strengthen bonds between the storytelling clubs and societies in Scotland.

On the 21st September, I helped out the Aberdeen University Storytelling Society with their Annual Fresher’s Week Ghost Tour and then on the 24th October, Anna Fancett and I did a further three ghost tours for the Aberdeen University International Society.  (Thankfully the rain stayed off for both evenings, but raising our voices above the wind down the High Street was a bit tricky!)  I was also a guest storyteller for the University Storytelling Society on the 19th October.

Finally, the Rhynie Wifies and some of our ghostly friends provided some outdoor challenges to visitors to Castle Fraser.  Those brave enough encountered Black Jess and her band of smugglers (we had a pretty healthy smuggling trade going on up here you know!) who met their deaths at the hands of crooked excise man Malcolm Gillespie on the Wild Skene Run.  I spent a particularly entertaining couple of days weeping at the death of my beloved Gilderoy McGregor and getting small children to search his corpse for valuables.  (The younger the braver, I tell you!)
Follow this link to see some photos from the day.

2010 Events

Pauline at the final Wickerman event, 31st October 2010.

As their resident storyteller, I was storytelling throughout the year at Archaeolink Prehistory Park.  With differently themed weekends between easter and Hallowe’en, Archaeolink had something for everyone and I set myself the difficult challenge of fitting my stories to their themes!

See their web page for details of upcoming events and themed weekends.

I was made very welcome again at  the Aberdeen University Storytelling Societywhen I told stories there on the 17th March. They are such a welcoming and relaxed group that it feels so natural to be telling stories amongst them – I wish the society had existed when I studied there!

On the 12th June 2010, I was telling Celtic and Pictish tales at St Ternan’s Heritage Fair at Banchory, along with Anna Fancett (GAS Chair) and Lee Ramsay from the Aberdeen University Storytelling Society. We were suitably dressed (and painted for the occasion) and I brough some prehistoric crafts with me and my hunters horn with which everyone was welcome to try calling the Taexali tribe to battle!
2010’s theme of Celts and Picts will see Banchory Museum and Library converted into a Pictish fort and an Iron Age Hill Fort, and there were be many other activities for kids and adults to enjoy. For all the other events that took place at the Fair, see their webpage for more details.

The best thing about the Glastonbury Festival is that there is so much more to discover than the music – leave the main drag heading up towards the Stone Circle and you’ll find poetry, art, crafts, wonderful cafes and stalls and many spontaneous, frivolous, crazy goings-on 🙂  Not forgetting the storytelling of course!  From the 24th to the 27th June, I once again joined Christine Willison in the Earth Lodge at the Green Futures Field.  I also told stories at the Kidz field, organised by John Row – and I’m already looking forward to Glastonbury 2011!

To make sure the children (and a few mums dads, grannies and grandas!) were kept entertained, I joined a number of family history societies, archivists and local interest groups at Crathes Castle’s Family History Fair on the 10th July – a wonderful historic setting to inspire some traditional scottish folk and fairy tales!

Scottish Natural Heritage had a wonderful sunny summers day for their Open Day at the Burn O Vat visitors centre on the 11th July where  I told some of my favourite stories there as part of the International Year of Biodiversity.  How did the Caledonian Forest survive?  Who was the mysterious Green Man?  Who caused the scourge of Scotland? Many other activities and crafts were available including a treasure hunt and the chance to make your own bee box.

On the 25th July, I joined poets, musicians and other storytellers performing from The Performance Shack, one of a group of shacks made from recycled materials which popped up in Union Terrace Gardens, on Schoolhill and on St Nicholas Square.  This was a Peackock Visual Arts Project called the “Mobile Creative Village”  – one of a number of events taking place to publicise the London 2012 Olympics in 2 years time.   Read more on the North East Writers web page

I told stories at the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival for the first time on the 6th and 7th August in the Tweedledum Tent – Everything I’ve heard about Belladrum was true – it’s such a friendly festival!  Fellow storyteller Anna Fancett and I dressed up as the White Queen and Red Queen respectively and she helped me out with a couple of stories.  Belladrum Festival Web Page  Click here to see the two queens battle it out on the croquet pitch!

I was also excited to be going back to the Wee Wizards Tent at 2010’s Wizard Festival.  The kids were great, telling stories with a mic was easier than I thought and I discovered a previously unknown talent for making balloon dogs!.  Wizard Festival Web Page.  … And a photo of the storytelling here. (Very much a high-tech fairy!)

On Saturday the 4th September, I represented GAS at Bodgefest 2010. The day was organised by Dunnottar Bodgers Group and was a fantastic family day of crafts, arts and music in the quarry area of Dunnottar Woods.

I was one of the organisers of Gadiefest 2010 – a celebration of storytelling, arts, crafts and music in the North East of Scotland which took place on Friday the 10th and Saturday 11th September 2010. The festival was organised by GAS and Archaeolink and we enjoyed a great weekend of tales round the fire in the round house. There were events in town (Aberdeen) too though, so have a look at the Gadiefest 2010 web page to see how it went.

I always feel that Hallowe’en is best spent exploring a spooky castle… So it was with great delight that Anna Fancett and I took on the role of storytelling witches at Castle Fraser this Hallowe’en.  We told our favourite ghost stories to fellow witches, devils, ghosts and werewolves in the library which had been wonderfully decorated for the occasion.

 

Sadly it looks like this years Wickerman at Archaeolink was the last.  The round house at Archaeolink was where I told my very first story and I and many others will deeply miss the atmosphere, the fun, the excitement, the singing at the roundhouse parties, the midnight stargazing, the spear-fighting, the fire walking, the friendship, the laughter and the good times we all had there.  I’m proud to have been one asked to light the Wicker Man for the final time along with other Archaeolink staff as well as members of Historic Saltire and Medieval Realm.  Click here to see staff and volunteers enjoy this spectacular event.

Finally, to round off the year, I told local stories and Scottish Folk Tales at Stonehaven’s Hogmanay Event, Open Air In The Square. I went to see the fireballs afterwards of course!

 

2009 Events

Pauline telling stories at Darwin, Dinosaurs and Dodos at Aberdeen’s David Welch Winter Gardens.

On Sunday the 5th April between 1 and 4pm, Anna Fancett and I ran a Family Storytelling workshop at Archaeolink. Based on an environmental theme, the workshop targeted children between primaries 4 and 7 but everyone was be made welcome! The workshop attracted a number of families and used seasonal items gathered outside, instruments and puppets to tell stories about the environment we live in! We had some great stories and are looking forward to doing it again some time soon!

Along with the rest of the nation, storytellers have been celebrating Homecoming. One special event on the 16th May in the Lemon Tree saw Word, SC&T and GAS joining together for a ceilidh of stories and song. The event was lead by Stanley Robertson and Grace Banks and was a great success!

Stanley and Pauline performing at the Lemon Tree event in May. Sadly, this was the last time I was to sing together with Stanley who passed away in August. I had been in Stanley’s SC&T Ballad Class for many months and enjoyed every minute learning from him. It is a memory I will treasure.

Also on the 16th May (which was a very busy day for me!) I was puppeteering at Aberdeen University’s Zoology Dept’s “Night At The Museum” event along with members of the department and the Aberdeen Street Entertainers. I’m very please to say that the shadow and black light puppetry show was a complete success! It was a very different type of storytelling from the norm! – Have a look at the “Museum’s At Night” web page here – http://www.culture24.org.uk/places+to+go/museums+at+night+2009/art67629
The 20 minute show of evolution from Man to Molecules, is available for your event. Contact the creators through my details on the contact page.

The Macaulay Institute held an Open Doors event on the 6th June and GAS storytellers, including myself, were there. Have a look at their Open Doors web page for more details. Here is one of the photos from the event – http://www.macaulay.ac.uk/OpenDoors2009/photos.php

 

I had a HUGE amount of fun telling stories at the Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts. The Glastonbury Festival 2009 was held from Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th June and I was telling stories in the Earth Lodge in the Green Futures Field on Thurdsay, Friday, Saturday and Sunday along with Christine Willison who has been a regular at Glastonbury for many years, and other storytellers from the British Isles, Anne Lister and Cath Little. I was also telling daily to the kids of Glastonbury in the Kidz field Storytelling tent, ran by Storyteller John Row. Great fun!

The Darwin/Evolution theme continued with a series of events in the David Welch Winter Gardens at the   Duthie Park this summer organized by the Natural History Centre entitled “Darwin:  Discovery, Dinosaurs and Dodos” All events were free and took place weekdays from Monday 13th July to Friday 31st July between 10am and 4pm. On Wednesday 15th, I told stories from Darwin’s various ports of call on his journey on the Beagle, and on Wednesday 22nd, to coincide with the week of Dinosaur events, I told stories about Scotland’s Monsters and Mythological Creatures!

On the 2nd August, I was invited back to the Burn O Vat. Along the route to the Vat from the visitors centre, I told stories inspired by and related to some of the plants and wildlife found along the way. We covered the folklore of buttercups and daisies, heard how a girl saved her village from invaders, heard a good warning about faries and heard about some of the people from Dinnet’s history.  We spent some time in the Vat itself hearing about Gilderoy McGregor and finished off with one of my favourite stories – that of the origin of the most terrible scourge of Scotland – the Midgie!

At the end of August, I was delighted to be telling stories at 2009’s Wizard Festival.  Wizard Festival is now in its third year and (as well as one of my favourite bands!) will host the “Wee Wizards” arena for the second year – with HEAPS of things for kids to do.  Although the weather delayed the festival for a couple of house (and we ended up pitching our tent in the tale end of a hurricane!), the tent was packed with kids and the storytelling was great fun.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s festival!

The next big event was Gadiefest 2009, a weekend of of Storytelling, Drama, Music, Ballads, Arts, Crafts and Poetry – I was very excited to be one of the organisers! The Grampian Association of Storytellers and Archaeolink Prehistory Park, both of which I have been involved with for many years, joined forces to present “Gadiefest 2009 – A Festival of Storytelling and Traditional Arts in the North East of Scotland.”   We hope this will become an annual event and look forward to 2010. Click Here to visit the Gadiefest Web page! 

Although the weather wasn’t on our side this year, Wickerman at Archaeolink on the 25th October was very enjoyable! Members of the Grampian Association of Storytellers and Aberdeen University Storytelling Society were telling spooky tales in the round house and I was once again hosting the Haunted Caverns with help from members of Historic Saltire.  This year we covered Sawney Bean, The Horseman’s Word, a ghost story from Blairs and the Plague in Aberdeen.

I was back at Archaeolink on the 15th November to tell stories in the roundhouse for the 4th Experimental Archaeology Conference.  And finally,  I was invited to be guest storyteller at  the Aberdeen University Storytelling Society on the 18th November – it’s always great to be invited along as I always have so much fun telling stories there!

2008 Events

Pauline meets “Auld Craobhie,” the ancient oak from Stanley Robertson’s story
The Grampian Association of Storytellers held their first Satellite Meeting of 2008 on the 23rd February at Archaeolink Prehistory Park. It was a great success and further Satellite Storytelling sessions in Aberdeenshire will be held for children in the future. For further details, see the GAS website or please feel free to contact me. (See “contacts” page). In the photo, Anna gets everyone dancing to the Frog Song!

In June, Stanley Robertson took a group of us out to the Old Road at Lumphanan to meet Auld Craobhie, the ancient oak tree from the story in his book “Exodus to Alford.” We heard a lot of the history of the area, with special relevance to the Scottish Traveller folk who regularly used to camp up the old road. We had a right fine picnic in the shade of Auld Craobhie and sang some of the ancient scots ballads we have been learning from Stanley.

Whilst visiting relatives across the pond in August, I was very pleased to meet up with some members of the Montreal Storyteller’s Guild. We swapped a few stories and it was lovely to see the similarities between the Montreal Guild and our own group of storytellers, GAS. I really enjoyed myself and look forward to hopefully meeting up again some time in the future!

In September, Maggie and I told stories at “Bodgefest” in Dunnottar Quarry. What an amazing setting for storytelling. Hopefully they’ll do it again next year – if so, I’m camping over!

Aberdeen University Storytelling Society which was great fun as always! They’re going to be guest starting at March 2009’s GAS FFF!

 

 

My second last event of the year was a Hallowe’en storytelling session at the Burn O’Vat Visitors Centre. Hallowe’en really is my favourite time of year for storytelling – and dressing up! There are so many ghost stories associated with the North East of Scotland. Here’s a link to the event – snh.org.uk and also to the poem I wrote after a childhood experience at the Vat! – Witches At The Burn O Vat

The year’s grand finale was, once again, Wickerman at Archaeolink and the storytelling challenge that is the Haunted Caves! This year we covered the tale of an Aberdeenshire graverobber, The Big Gray Man of Ben MacDhui, Osbarn the Smith and the Aberdeen witch trials – noting specifically the wicked deeds of one Jonet Wishart who was eventually burned for her sins on heading hill. I’ve already got a few plans for 2009, but I’m keeping them to myself for now!

These were just a few of my favourite events from 2008. Throughout the year, I was busy with GAS events (see the GAS web page, link below) and various events at Archaeolink.

2007 Events

Pauline Storytelling in the Green Futures Earth Lodge at 2007’s Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts
2007s Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts was my first time in the Green Futures Earth House – it was a wonderful experience, despite all the rain and that mud! Link to the Green Futures storytelling tent at Glastonbury – I was also asked to join John Rowe’s merry band of storytellers in the Kidz field and was convinced that this possibly the most fun pastime in the world!

Then more stories were to be had on the 30th June up on the Kincorth Hill (aka the Gramps!) as part of Aberdeen’s Treefest. Thankfully the sun came out and we had a good audience (both human and canine!) for our tree stories.

On Sunday 12th August 2007 GAS Storytellers coudl be found telling stories at the MRI 2007 Harbour Festival in Stonehaven. http://www.maritime-rescue-institute.org/

 

My next event was on the 16th October where I told fireside tales out on the shores of Loch Kinord at the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve. An audience of adults and children were made comfortable on waterproof beanbags and were warmed by a campfire while they heard tales of Battles, Beasts, Myths and Legends of the area. See the Scottish Natural Heritage web page for details! Or see the press release.

On Wednesday 17th October, I was guest storyteller at the Aberdeen University Storytelling Society. I was made very welcome by the members, judged the ABOC storytelling competition and was very impressed with the stories told!

On the 28th October, I could be found guiding a terrified public through the haunted caves at Archaeolink’s Wickerman event while other GAS storytellers were performing up at the round house.

 

Other Archaeolink events in 2007’s included the Medieval Craft Fair on the 1st April, Cooking Without Gas on the 22nd April, Prehistoric Fashion on the 3rd June, Metal Mayhem on the 16th June, Myths and Legends on the 7th October See Archaeolink’s Web Page for upcoming events. The centre is closed to the public from the end of October (re-opening 1st April 2008) but will be open to schools and corporate events over the winter.