The Trouble With Fairies…

So yesterday I had a wonderful audience at the Maritime Museum’s lunchtime talk, “The Trouble With Fairies…”
I spoke about telling stories with a puppet – how that came about and its typical pros and cons…
Then we moved on to modern conceptions of fairies versus those our Scottish ancestors would have had, including a few local types such as the Old Washerwoman at Ballater, the Tarans and the Red Caps from the Borders.

One lady asked me how old our modern concept of gnomes were and I couldn’t rightly say… so! a couple of links 🙂

Good old Uncle Wikipedia tells us “A gnome /noʊm/[1] is a diminutive spirit in Renaissance magic and alchemy, first introduced by Paracelsus in the 16th century and later adopted by more recent authors including those of modern fantasy literature. Its characteristics have been reinterpreted to suit the needs of various story tellers, but it is typically said to be a small humanoid that lives underground.” (

It looks like in the latter 19th century we get the wee guy with the beard, colourful tunic and trousers and big boots – much like one of my Scandinavian favourites the Tomte or the Nisse ( and that’s where the Garden Gnome comes from. gives a concise summary of the change from proper fairy to wee friendly guys fishing or mooning at the bottom of your garden 😀

Every day is a school day!


Maritime Museum Lunchtime Talk

Tomorrow at the Maritime Museum… join Fizzy the Fairy and myself for a talk on telling stories with Puppets… “The Trouble With Fairies…”
Expect a couple of tales of the darker side of Scottish fairies and their encounters with humans.
Lunchtime talks are targeted at an adult audience and are held regularly on Wednesday lunchtimes. Organised by Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Performing With Puppets at Aberdeen Maritime Museum

Billy and myself at Aberdeen Maritime Museum for their “Performing with Puppets” event which was part of the 2019 Punch and Judy Through The Years exhibition 

I had 10 fantastic young puppeteers who picked up on the characters used in the story, their personalities, voices and body language; looked at character’s back stories, physical and personality traits to give a puppet a voice; and finally amazed me with the skills they’d learnt in the workshop!

You lot were great! Even Fizzy said so and you know how fussy she can be 😉

Thanks Aberdeen Maritime Museum and Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums for organising such a great workshop!!

Geocaching – Aberdeenshire UK Mega 2019

This week is the Aberdeenshire UK Mega 2019, the biggest annual Geocaching event in the UK. I’ve been caching for years and we’re enjoying the new Adventure Caches at the Duthie Park. Didn’t realise I was the reward for completing one! 

This week I’ve been in charge of the kids club first thing in the morning, a storytelling set between 6 and 7pm each day, tour guiding with a group of 20 round some of the North East’s best castles and on the Tuesday myself and Natalie Chalmers stood in at the last minute for a poorly magician and did an hour of songs and stories on the stage in the big marquee.  Going to need a holiday once this is all over!67698785_1575494945917875_7099972632715460608_o

Kaimhill Storytelling Club

A huge well done to all the girls in the P6/7 Storytelling Club at Kaimhill Primary School!  They have been working very hard to perfect their story and tell it to the Primary 1 classes who were a wonderful audience!

The story is based on The Enormous Turnip – but has Morag the Heilan Coo stuck in a fence – can the other animals rescue her?
I heard this story told by Jackie Ross, and I think she said it came from Sheena Blackhall – the P1s loved it!

It’s a Kraken!

While the P6/7s were creating a ballad about a local character from 100 years ago, the P1 class were creating a wonderful story about Skateraw (as New to hill used to be known).
There were sparkling silver fish, monsters from the deep, a handsome Skateraw loon and a heroic mermaid who saves the day!
Here’s a drawing of the Kraken from our story 👾🧜‍♀️🐙🦀🐟🧜‍♂️♥️🐳kraken