There is something special about telling stories outdoors, especially during a summer like we’re having this year in Scotland. On Sunday, the sun was beaming down so strongly the seedpods of the gorse bushes were popping like popcorn as I climbed Corstorphine Hill.
When I got to the walled garden, there were a bevy of children running around with nets and jars, catching insects, including honey bees! Fortunately, I had dressed for the day in my red bug shirt, so I was easily identifiable as the storyteller as I came in the gate. The younger children gathered around the central birch tree, with their parents to hear tales while the older ones kept running after butterflies in the background. I began with a riddle: a yellow eye in a green face gazes up at a yellow eye in a blue face. I’ll leave you to think about that one.
As we were all sitting under the boughs of a graceful silver birch, I had to share the German story of the birch girl. The children loved hearing about a talking and dancing tree, while gazing up at the garden’s own white maiden.
When my storytelling session was over, I got the chance to learn a few new stories from an archaeobotanist who was there for the afternoon. True life stories about the walled garden which used to belong to the Drambuie family. To the archaeobotanist, the plants themselves are storytellers, with remnants of plantations of angelica and sweet cicely whispering to him the secrets of Drambuie’s unique flavour.
All in all a fun day of storied exchanges, which could only happen under the open sky.
It’s been my pleasure to tell stories for Friends of Corstorphine Hill in the walled garden, each of these past summers. To find out about activities organised by the Friends, go to their website: Friends of Corstorphine Hill.