Midsummer Madness

A wonderful couple of days for The Story Traveller!  Today was the Wick Court Open Farm Day. I of course was story telling and generally helping out. We had an amazing 712 visitors – last year it just over 400! As always when you are story telling at these sorts of events is you have no idea what your audience is going to be like in terms of age range. I think I managed to compromise with the stories I told especially my second session.

Yesterday was the most delightful of days as a grandparent!. We met our two grandsons Owen and Robin (plus their Dad) at WWT Slimbridge. Well Robin who is 16 months was so animated at seeing all the birds (even the swans were “Quack, quacks” He was loving every minute of it. Owen went on the canoe safari with Pete his dad and I which was great. However, we had a lovely time later with Owen in Welly Boot Land. The best word to describe it was joyful as he whizzed round splashing in the water chatting away to himself. Even as i write this I am smiling at the magical day!

Birds, Bikes, Cricket and Stories

A flurry of activity through this week- might explain a lack of blogs!

Cricket organisation has taken up quite a bit of time and then my team played Worcestershire on Tuesday and sadly came second. Our batting should of got at least another 30 runs and my bowlers were unusually wayward. The captain (yours truly) will have strong words before Tuesday’s game against a powerful Wales team!

Lovely day with the young people from Chesterton Primary School Battersea bird watching at Wick Court. The weather was kind to us! I was there again tonight Story Telling – brought out the old favourite The Sleeping King for the first time in a while.

I have had a couple of enjoyable rides this week even unexpectedly bumping into a friend who rode with me and treated me to coffee and cake!

Fuzzy Picture

Below is a fuzzy picture of me performing at the GL 11 Fun Day- hopefully I might get some non-fuzzy ones in the next couple of days. I do find it challenging performing at these sort of events. Obviously when I am in a School, Village Hall or Arts Centre you have a a static audience. However having made that point it is important to do a few of these charity events. I am doing another one at the Wick Court Open Day on Sunday 23rd- this time I know i will be in the lovely Roundhouse so it easier to perform.

Had an enjoyable ride this morning – no wind and confident about no rain- which makes a change!


No Billy Goat Gruff!!!!


On Friday a couple of us took out Farmer John for lunch he has just retired at Wick Court. He going to help his son with goat business- they are aiming to make cheese next month. It was impressive to see their operation and their plans – the goats were very placid!

I didn’t get that wet cycling to Cam for my gig at GL 11 I hope I might get some photos from yesterday that I might be able to share on the blog. Was lovely to see some old friends helping out at the fun day.

I have had my worst bout of hay fever for many years- it has been a whole week of persistent sneezing! It is certainly tiring!

Out and About


As the title says I have been out and about quite a bit! The pictures above are from Yeo Valley Organic Garden we visited on Thursday- we got quite wet at the end! I took by binoculars and saw about 500+ swifts flying low over Chew Valley Lake.

Thursday evening was storytelling with young people from Clapham at Wick Court. 

I will put yesterday’s visit in a blog tomorrow with pictures!

I am just about to cycle (and it is wet again) to tell stories at the GL11 Community Project in Cam. I may end up there in a dishevelled and damp state!



Yes the figure hunched over his bat is me!!!! I know the stance isn’t great! Yesterday all our four Gloucestershire Over 60s teams won their games! In three of them 100s were scored- I wasn’t one of them!!! However, I managed my troops to what turned out to be a comfortable victory over Warwickshire and was chuffed with my fielding (several diving stops and a catch).

Delighted with the birds in our garden at the moment with so many young birds around. We are getting around 15 different species a week turning up that land somewhere, so I can’t count the swallows and martins over. We are also hearing oystercatcher, tern and cuckoo frequently.

Off to bird watch with young people at Wick Court later and have our Book Club BBQ tonight – we are discussing Small Things Like These – a provocative and beautifully written book.

A couple of contrasting days!!!!

Really been struggling with hay fever over the weekend. I am allergic to long grasses and with everything that has been encouraged by no mow May I can’t get away from grasses! I think it is a good thing environmentally to let grass grow  but not good for me!!! So yesterday was a quiet inside day- struggled to do anything! Today has been all action doing many errands all over the place!

Looking forward to my cricket tomorrow – we are playing Warwickshire here in my village (it makes a change not to travel to a game!!!!


Thoroughly enjoyable day yesterday at Frocester Cricket Club where we put out two teams against Australian tourists. Both games epitomised the spirit of friendship through sport. My team lost narrowly and we won the other game. I even had a bowl and took a wicket and had a dropped catch as well! As captain I was presented a wonderfully garish tour shirt- perhaps I will post a picture at some point.

I am Story Telling at Wick Court tomorrow.

Operation Overlord……..

A poignant day as we mark the anniversary of D-Day and the pictures from Normandy were very moving. I was sent the following poem today.

Queuing for an Ice Cream

although he didn’t smoke grandad never went anywhere without the old tobacco tin in his pocket one day me and my brother asked him what he kept in it                      some sand, grandad said

why do you keep some sand in a tobacco tin, we asked                                              where else would I keep it, he said

but why keep sand at all we asked  it’s special sand, grandad said it’s come all the way from France

we peered into his tin and stared  for a while      French sand didn’t look very special, it looked like ordinary sand to us

why’s it so special, we asked                                                                                             each grain represents an old friend of mine, he said

grandad must of have had a lot of friends, we thought                                                        did you go to the beach with them when you were a boy, we asked

yes, something like that, grandad said, snapping the lit shut,                                             asking the man for three 99s, two with red sauce

by Brian Bilston




I led my intrepid team to Somerset yesterday to play what is usually a keenly contested cricket match- sadly this one wasn’t1 I won the toss and inserted them on a green pitch and then watched them amass over 300 runs- several dropped catches of the highest scoring batsmen didn’t help! We didn’t get anywhere near! Still I have Friday’s game against the Aussies to look forward to.

I returned to Wick Court today to take young people from Southwark bird watching. Nothing out of the ordinary but they were fascinated when I told them about swifts  ( we saw a few) staying in the air for two or three years! I am Story Telling there tomorrow night and again at the open day on Sunday. Wick Court is a Farm for City Children and children spend a week on the farm- poster below and all are welcome!

I am performing at another open day the following Saturday for GL11.