A second foray into writing a story in the style of M R James, drawing on some darker history and lore of Suffolk. The village of Colliton is entirely fictional, but could easily be any number of rural locations around the county.
The written version is below, for those who prefer to read their stories whilst an audio version is record (I'm still not sure how to record voice without the visuals, so you'll have to put up with my mug until I work out how to make better use of technology - if anyone can explain how to do so, in words of one syllable or less, bearing in my the severe limitations of my computer-understanding, then please mail the instructions to me. I had been lecturing at the college for nine years before one of the students explained to me, in about 30 seconds, how to use the record facility on the laptop for their presentations - until then I didn't even know the laptop had that capacity).

Sir Richard watched with pleasure as his guest surveyed the con…

The Binding

Just to kick start my brain after too much Christmas cake and gin, I have had a crack at writing a supernatural tale in the style of M. R. James - a favourite writer of mine.

Monty set many of his stories in Suffolk (having spent many holidays in this county), and I have followed suit here not only with the setting but also drawing on an element of local history (the real version of the museum exhibit mentioned can be seen in the Norwich Castle museum). Those of you who also like his works will probably pick up on various elements of his tales woven into the story.

For those who prefer to read, the text is below. For those who like to listen, an audio recording is added.

The Binding
Dr Paxton had planned his trip to Suffolk at the very beginning of term, assiduously organising a room at the Dunning Arms commanding a view of the local church and then arranging in turn access to the parish records, the remains of Dunning Manor itself, and the archives of the local museum. Dr Paxton had n…

Golden tale

I recently celebrated my 50th birthday (with a trip to the Eastern Angles theatre to see their excellent spoof of Enid Blyton, "Four and a Half go Wild in Thetford Forest" - if you have yet to see it, book a ticket... lots of new acting talent performing who will doubtless become much better known in future. Drama schools obviously train their graduates well. Edward Kaye playing the clueless posh boy in snug shorts was worth the price of admission alone. Loved seeing Queen Boudicca trundling around in her battle wagon demanding an exit from the Roman Empire and promising millions of sestertii for the NHS. There was even a visit from an eerily accurate version of Ed Sheeran). The prospect of Thetford ending up half under water in two decades' time might not distress too many people, but we may all have to get used to a lot of changes as the environment alters around us.

I wanted to record a story for my birthday, but other things got in the way - so here is my belated tal…

Old Winter

This Saturday evening from 7.30pm onwards at the Oddfellows Hall on the High Street, December 14th, I'll be dressing up like a loon (an 18th century loon, to be precise) to regale people with Suffolk stories and legends whilst in the persona of the mysterious Old Winter, the cunning man of Ipswich mentioned in a number of historical texts.
Tickets are £5, with profits going to the Dogs Trust. Mike, owner of King of Cups brewery, will be retailing wines, mead, and other beverages for the discerning imbiber. There will be a mince pie or two as well. You can pay on the door or order your tickets in advance. Feel free to circulate the details to anyone you think may enjoy attending.

The Skull

I know a couple of stories about Robin Ddu, a cunning man from North Wales who may either be a wizard or a con man (depending on your point of view). Apologies for the erratic pronunciation of Welsh words - still working that. I'll record other tales in due course but this one recounts how he uses a skull to recover the jewels of the landed gentry. This character has definite echoes to the 18th century Ipswich cunning man, Old Winter, about whom I have written on a number of occasions and the TV characters of the Crowman (from Worzel Gummidge) and Catweazle, both rural magicians brought to life by the late Geoffrey Bayldon back in the 1970s.
Speaking of which, I contributed a short chapter to Tis Magic (an anthology about the Catweazle show). My copy arrived in this morning's post -

Pooka 2019

Pooka's Pageant will be Saturday 16th November, 10am till 4pm at Oddfellows Hall in Ipswich. The Pageant is a celebration of mythology and mysticism through storytelling, poetry, music, and other performing arts.

10.00 Welcome & toast to the Pooka 10.15 The Dagda’s Harp – a talk by Robin Herne
11.00 Fable-ous Fruit – stories by Malcolm Busby

12.00 Poetry share
12.15 Lunch
1.15 Fifth Season – music with Carys
2.00 Poetry share
2.15 Music & Mayhem – music, poems & stories with Sheila & David
3.00 Break
3.15 By Land, Sea & Sky – stories with Robin Herne
4.00 Thanks & farewell toast

Tickets are £5, with profits going to various animal charities. Please spread the word if you know anyone who would like to attend.

Halloween 2019

A ghoulish tale for Halloween - was aiming to record several, but am struggling to string three cohesive thoughts together at the moment (wish it were otherwise). This one draws on Arabic folklore and warns against trusting strange women found in deserts. The folklore of that region is replete with horrors, and I really must learn a few new tales to turn stomachs with.
If I find any time or mental capacity this evening I will add up another story to help get people in the mood for the cavorting of dark forces (and I am managing to avoid a single Brexit joke here).