From Out of the Deep!

This summer is filling up quickly with Glastonbury, Strumpshaw, Belladrum and other wonderful places to tell stories!
I’ll be fleein back up the road to Aberdeen for the 24th July where Aberdeen Ranger Service and the Grampian Association of Storytellers will be telling tales “From Out of the Deep” – another Coasts and Waters event

From out of the deep storytelling balmedie July 2020

Sea Monsters and Science at Powis Community Centre

A fab time yesterday at Powis Community Centre telling stories of Science and the Sea for the University of Aberdeen!
Why the Sea is Salty, Kitty and the Blue Men and of course, Assipattle and the Mester StoorWurm – some of my favourite maritime tales. And of course, there’s usually a scientific explanation for most sea monsters.

Afterwards the children made sea life masks and joined Robogals Aberdeen to make helicopters and rockets!
One wee boy wasn’t there when the masks were being made, so I got out the clay and we made some sea monsters – I’m not sure I fancy meeting these two on Aberdeen beach!

Sea Monsters Powis Feb 2020

Some Photos from Spectra 2020

Spectra 2020

Well that’s Spectra 2020 over for another year!
Thanks to everyone who came and heard Professor Jigget and myself telling tales of mysterious beasts of the maritime!
Photos to follow, but for now, here’s what you missed.
(Much arm waving from the professor and myself about 10 seconds in!)

Spectra 2020 – Storytelling change of location

If you’re heading to Spectra this weekend (Thursday to Sunday), please note Professor Jigget and myself have been moved oot frae the cauld to the nice warmth of Marischal College foyer!
Join us for Monsters From The Deep and Stories From The Sea at 6.30, 7.30, 8.30 and 9.30pm each evening  


Storytelling at Insch Primary School

Whit a grand day I hid yesterday at Insch Primary! 
I told stories to two assemblies – what great kids! They were all so enthusiastic 

The P1 – P3 children heard about a wee boy who became king even though he thought he had failed – one of my favourite stories that promotes resilience, bravery, honesty and hard work.
Then the P4 – P7s got my current favourite story, Tatterhood! She’s very much my hero at the moment. Anything with trolls is good though 


Tatterhood – my current favourite!  by

Later on in the afternoon the school emailed me a list of questions from the children which I’m looking forward to answering today

How do you memorise the stories?
What inspired you to be a storyteller?
When did you start storytelling?
How many stories can you remember?
Which story is your favourite?
Why did you want to be a story teller?
Why do you like telling stories?
Why did you choose those particular stories?
How old were you when you started storytelling?
Who is your favourite character in the 1st story you told?


I’m chuffed and excited to be currently working on some new stories for SPECTRA 2020!
Professor Jigget and myself will be telling our tales of “Monsters from the Deep and Stories from the Sea– creating a world of intrigue and wonder through words and performance. ”

SPECTRA exhibits will be throughout the city centre, but we’ll be performing at Marischal Square at 6.30, 7.30, 8.30 and 9.30pm.


More details here:

Family HiSTORIES – Grampian Association of Storytellers

The Grampian Association of Storytellers met last night with a theme of “Family HiSTORIES” – so this could be any family stories that have been passed down or perhaps anything that you’ve discovered whilst researching your family tree.   We had some great stories and good attendance.

I started researching my family tree ohhhh I don’t know – way back!  Probably around the same time I started showing interest in being a storyteller.  Luckily my grandfather, Andrew Middleton, and father, George Cordiner, both lived into their 90s so I was able to ask them lots of questions – and both were nae bad at tellin a tale!

However, I went for something I’d uncovered in the British Newspaper Archives.
I found out that my great-great grandmother, Isabella Jemima Smith, of Aberdeen had been married before – to a local celebrity “The well known pedestrian Joseph “Joe” Leith.”

This had me confused. Famous for walking?  Well, yes.  It was a well attended sport in the Victorian times. In 1879 Joe came second in a 48 hour walking match held in the Music Hall.  There were 4000 spectators over the course of the match, with 2000 there at the grand finish!

We then followed Joe’s various mentions in the local press. Some were humorous (giving evidence in court that the Blind Society Band had played “Affa Coorse”) but ultimately they followed his decline in the public eye from being a good sport and well liked to making yet another appearance in court for drunken and violent behaviour.  Ultimately his story ended in murder.  No, not someone else’s but his own at the hands of a slaughterman, William Erskine who had suffered 2 hours of haranguing from a drunken Joseph.

His widow married Adam Rettie, a drover.  Joseph had also been a drover and I wonder if they had been friends.  Adam was my great-great-grandfather and I’m lucky enough to have recently found a photo of him and Isabella online.