Posted by: blethertaygither | March 20, 2010

Blether Tay-Gither with GAS

Today we had our joint event with GAS (Grampian Association of Storytellers). Like last year, this event was a great success.
We met in a hotel in Edzell, roughly midway between Dundee and Aberdeen. Blether ran the morning session and after fortifying tea and coffee and lardy cake (thanks Anne!) we began. Robbie brought along a ball of wool and we threw it between the circle, each time sharing our name with a descriptive word beforehand.

Mesmerising Maggie untangling the ball of wool

We soon realised that Blether folk were perhaps not to be trusted, Raucous Robbie, Shifty Sheila, Dastardly Debbie, Subversive Senga and Stand-offish Sylvia. The completed circle was quite beautiful, a web of names, reminiscent of stories and their connections.

The finished web of names and stories

This game (which took a little longer than expected thanks to knots in the wool) was followed by story making in groups with story cards, or story sticks, as I had been unable to get hold of the real story cards in time. We split into three groups (4 or 5 folk in each) and spent 5-10 mins making up stories with the cards before sharing them with the rest of the group.

Making a story

We had some wonderful stories, adventurous trespassing boys who turned into deer, a preening chicken with eyelash extensions being terrorised by a fox, and a highrise window cleaner who intervened between a gun wielding man in a chicken suit and a beautiful woman.
Then we had a little time for story sharing. Using our trusty Blether hat, names were dropped in and we heard some great stories, including a tale about the smell of bread and its cost to a poor traveller man from Anne, and a troll story from Sylvia, who were tricked by a white bear they thought was a cat. Zoe told us of a clever Scottish court jester based in England who bested the bishops who claimed that they were far cleverer than any Scots folk. Fiona-Jane sent a shiver round the room with a ghostly tale of Stanley’s about a traveller lad who came across a deathly pale girl with bleeding hands. Pauline told us a heart-warming tale of a little boy who would be king by being truthful, whilst Maggie ended our story round with a fantastical Jack story who succeeded in getting the king to call him a liar.
Our last game (voice exercises) before lunch was led by Sheila, who handed out cards to us all, and we had to read out the phrase using the style suggested on the card (boastful, sad, excited etc).
After lunch (and a quick wander to see the river), GAS took over for the afternoon session. Maggie ran a workshop on Imagination and we all took a meditative journey into a cave of crystals, before embarking on our own imaginative journey. In pairs we told our journey to someone else, swapped pairs and told the story we’d just heard to another, and again, and again. A quick Chinese whispers game of stories!
A quick tea and coffee break and Fiona-Jane led a short workshop on Oral History, explaining how she has used it in reminiscence projects and in her research, and then we swapped favourite childhood memories in pairs and then to the whole group.

Maggie singing 'The Dundee Ghost'

The day rounded off with a couple of songs, Ally Bally and The Dundee Ghost. We had, like last year, run over our advertised finish time, but in the aftermath of clearing up most of us stayed an extra few minutes to sample the ice-creams at the local shop. It was a brilliant day, lovely weather, lovely folk. See you all again next year!


  1. Saturday was GREAT. The two groups seem to gel together and we learned a lot from each other while having good fun. It’s also grand that Anne takes the trouble to come all the way from the west to join us.
    here’s to many maore similar days!

  2. Here’s a YouTube version of the Dundee Ghost if anybody’s wanting to know how the tune goes:


  4. Brilliant blog and writeup of the workshop – and great photos too!

    We all had a great time and can’t wait to meet up with everyone at Blether Tay Gither again soon 🙂

    Pauline (from GAS) 🙂

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