Hello Everyone, a big thank you to all who joined our “Celebration of Stories” on Friday 2nd July, and, if your new to A Bit Crack storytelling events, welcome, I hope you will be able to join us at an event in the near future. I promise that you will be entertained, intrigued, inspired and comforted, in these rather strange, post-pandemic times, and, as I am writing this, grieving, with the Nation, for the Euro football final result.

Which brings me on to the themes which ran through the stories which were recounted with such skill and wisdom, on a rainy Friday night, from local Storytellers in North East England, although our audience was truly international, thanks to the power of Zoom!

The central theme of the evening was celebration and good things. A timely subject to cheer us all up and to give us faith that life is slowly returning to normal. Local Storytellers included Lara Gow, Richard Birmingham, Una Clay Wallers, Emily Hennessey and Pat Renton, with wonderful traditional folk music from Renata Conors. The evening was ‘compered’ by our very own Chris Bostock, who, with his wit, kindness and immaculate timing, held the evening together, keeping everyone to time, whilst somehow, still managing to give people space to share and discuss reactions to the stories, a great skill indeed. Respect, Chris!

The evening included a story from Emily, who linked our human experience to the spiritual and to nature, a story from Lara, who told us about the washer woman who found a queen’s necklace and used this good luck to bring light and prosperity to seven generations of her family. A story from Una, our youngest storyteller (ever, I think!) who told us a story from Africa, about a little donkey and the importance of being aware of, and close to, the natural world. Richard told us the story of his Father’s travels to New York in 1948, of meeting his Mother in Chicago and their subsequent long and happy marriage. Our final story was from Pat, who closed the evening with a story about a hair taken from the chin of a wolf, and how this act showed us the power of love, courage and faith.

So, the central theme of the stories, you might wonder? I think everyone who sat and listened to these stories, on this rather wild and windy night, would say something similar to me: This past year and a half has brought huge, pivotal changes to our world on a grand scale. It has brought disruption, grief, uncertainty and fear, to individuals, communities, businesses and organisations. But what it has also brought, is time for reflection, time to spend in nature, time to be with our families and to be thankful for what we do have.

What the collective stories told us, is that there is always hope. There is always kindness in the world. That we often have hidden strengths and the power within us to face and deal with change and uncertainly, and, in the process, become better people for it. And as Richard eloquently put it – out of chaos comes all life.