Telling tales

We’ve had a brief heat-wave: half shock, half pleasant surprise, after a cold May and a damp and quite chilly June. Last Wednesday morning (1st July) I drove to Droylsden Library for my storytelling gig, looking at the sunshine and the thermometer and thinking “Ten o’clock on a Wednesday morning, a day like this? No one will be there.”

I was mistaken. It wasn’t a big audience – just a dozen or so – but I’d reckoned without the assiduous advertising by Tameside’s chief librarian, Vicky Heyes, and also without her enthusiasm. There was no effective air conditioning in the room, but thanks to a cup of tea I didn’t collapse from dehydration – and all the audience stayed awake. At the end of the hour I sold two copies of my book and one CD; not a bad return!

Two days later (Friday), Vicky sent me an e-mail to tell me she’d had very positive feedback from our audience. It seems my selection of Peak District folktales had been well received, notwithstanding the hot and stuffy room. Buoyed by this gratifying news I betook myself to the Matlock Storytelling Cafe that evening and (as promised last month) was invited to do a floor spot. So I told the story of Charles Huntley of Eyam, which I hadn’t included in my Wednesday gig; it takes about ten minutes to recount and it generally elicits merriment. The Matlock audience responded with wholehearted laughter, which was even more gratifying than the feedback from Droylsden, because the Matlock audience is sophisticated and accustomed to top professional storytellers. I sold three more copies of the book before the evening ended!

In between times I’ve been doing work for the creative writing group and the Concert Society and attending playwriting classes, plus an intensive whole-day course on Peak District geology (I enjoy learning things that are even obliquely relevant to my main pursuits). Now I’m about to meet Margaret and Pam to plan our next two “Meet The Authors” sessions (15th and 21st of July). I’m not so worried about audience numbers at these – the heat wave is over and we’re back to the usual British summer weather: cloud, rain, occasional outbreaks of sunshine… No need for much air conditioning.


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