Botanica Fabula - Amanda Edmiston, Storyteller: 'Herbs, Movement and Grand Drama'
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'A Sylvan Yule' A magical blend of live music, original and traditional tales, folklore and festive sparkle


The Green Man's grove at the beautiful Secret Herb Garden near EdinburghJust before I explore the tree stories, land legends and folklore that inspired it...

I'm going to shamelessly plug next weeks lovely new session!

Join us at 4pm on the 21st of December 2015 at the Secret Herb Garden near Edinburgh for a festive storytelling session with Amanda Edmiston and musician Louise Cairns entitled 'A Sylvan Yule' A magical blend of live music, original and traditional tales, folklore and festive sparkle with writer and Storyteller Amanda Edmiston

Revisting the Elder Grove

I'm currently on tree stories, I'm back toThe Secret Herb Gardenin Lothianburn on longest night to tell a new piece I'm creating with lovely musician Louise Cairns'A Sylvan Yule'. I chose trees because as part of the Yule and Christmas celebrations, the stunning greenhouse with its maze of paths is home to the Green Man and he unlike Santa gifts trees to children when they go to visit.

Elder Trees have always been one of my favourites, I love the fragrant flowers though many find the smell disturbing and sickly.

St Andrews Day

It started with me imagining it was stir up Sunday...it wasn't, I was a week late, not the last Sunday of November but the last Sunday before advent...I was a week late...I'd also not soaked the fruit long enough.

I dug out Marian McNeills "The Scot's Kitchen' it held no clues...hmmm...

I went off to research stir up Sunday further and found it had no links to early nutritional info as I'd hoped. No fanciful hedge lore, no poetic rhymes ... it was in fact most likely a tradition of the church brought about by a combo of needing fruit puddings to mature and the Bible words for the day that state:

Mending and Mermaids

The River Clyde...doesn't immediately conjure up images of mermaids.
But, according to fragments of lore, it was once home to merfolk, are at least there's a scale or two of evidence of at least one.


But it seems to be very hard to find more than those few scales of the story of the mermaid of the Clyde, all there seems to be are the famous words she uttered, there is no back story, no explanation.
She is reputed to have said‘If they wad drink Nettles in March and eat Muggins in May sae many braw maidens wadna gang to clay

26 Postcodes Aberdeen to Land's End

2015 was a funny Summer, I was wonderfully busy with some really gorgeous storytelling gigs, Atropa Nights my poison stories for grown ups with original live music by Louise Cairns sold out at the stunningSecret Herb Garden, the audience were terrifically enthusiastic and we started planning new work to take back there over the next year. There were brilliant gigs for The Forestry Commission Scotland, Woodend Barn Arts Centre in Banchory on Deeside and I spent quite a few days delivering Living Voices sessions in Aberdeen with the charming and funny groups in Care homes and sheltered housing I'd been working with.

Heather, lucky holder of tears

Heather

We all associate Heather, the hardy native that coats our moorland with the tactile soft fluid purple mist, the heather the Gypsy woman pressed into your palms in the High street in my youth. Now in a gesture to traditional use it flavours our small brewery's beer, and graces our gardens, but it's folklore and it's good luck blessing can be traced back to this beautiful story of love lost.
As the Heather still flowers as the storm cascades through my garden and the children get caught up in the weathers emotions I thought I'd post a short blog tonight and tell you the tale.

Gin Berry...THE SPELL BREAKER!

My mother, she killed me,
My father, he ate me,
My sister Marlene,
Gathered all my bones,
Tied them in a silken scarf,
Laid them beneath the juniper tree,
Tweet, tweet, what a beautiful bird am I.

The Grimm brother's classic 'The Juniper Tree'http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm047.htmlis a story that makes even the least sentimental of souls shudder and look as if they have a nasty taste in their mouth. It centres around a gruesome dark tale of infanticide, cannibalism and jealousy...but I have told it, I've shared it albeit to a very carefully chosen, adult group, with added conversation about the role the more horrific stories have in giving us a safe place to look at our most hidden fears and the magnified maybe skewed symbolism which bloats the piece.

Cailleach Bheur, the blue crone, Queen of Winter

   
'She was needed, Carlin now she became and midwife too, loved and needed by the people in her new home, learning to tend the goats and heal with herbs, many stories can be heard, I hear versions that she held Spring back and brought it forth...that eventually she became one with the hills, known as the Cailleach, but those are stories for you to discover.'
(taken from 'Enchanted' (c) Amanda Edmiston  2015)



In 'Scotland's Future History'  Stuart McHardy suggests the 'westray wifie' or Orkney Venus as she's also known,  ( a small stone figure found in the excavation of a farmhouse midden in Westray in 2009) may have links with the dual goddess of ancient Scotland (I'd argue for a third.

WITCHCRAFT!

WITCHCRAFT!
Is the new storytelling show for grown-ups I've been working on...again collaborating with my talented songwriter and musician friendLouise Cairns.
We had such a fantastic night at TheSecret Herb Gardenback in August withAtropa Nights. The stunning greenhouse was sold out, the audience were just one of the best I've ever had, they laughed and chatted in the interval, really enjoyed the evening and made us feel hugely appreciated and welcome. Libby and Hamish the lovely couple who have created the beautiful Secret Herb Garden are just charming and they really know how to host a fantastic event, there was cheese, wine, laughter and in the midst of this brilliant evening I heard myself say.

Part 3 #OutToLunch for The Soil Association: Pizza Express

Finally our #OutToLunchUK journey took us to Pizza Express...I’ll be honest I’m in my comfort zone immediately in a Pizza Express, there is pizza, life’s least challenging foodstuff, my family all eat pizza and if there isn’t a nice friendly independent restaurant or cafe to hand (for instance amidst retail hell) ...then Pizza Express is my first choice.

They didn’t let me down...we were greeted at the Perth branch by a friendly girl, she not only also said hello to the children as well as me but immediately asked if we’d like to be in a window or further back, then moved chairs and tables so I could get the pram in next to the table and offered a (clean) high chair.
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