Monday, September 28, 2009

Wordsworth, Gingerbread and Taffy Thomas

Here in the Lakes District at the invitation of Taffy Thomas and the Northern centre for Storytelling for their annual get together. It’s been fantastic. Taffy is the artistic director of Tales in Trust at the centre and involved with the preservation of stories as well as the telling. He was awarded an MBE in 2000 New Years Honour List for his services to Storytelling and Charity.

Many of his teachers have been collectors of tales, such as Scot’s Traveller Duncan Williamson and Ruth Tongue (who inspired Katherine Briggs with her collection of English Folktales). A wealth of Information and connections and a great role model for a possible centre in Australia.
Taffy had me telling in local schools, at a pub story share, in his famous storytelling Garden and at the village hall alongside, legendary performers Jan Blake and Peter Chand.
To read more about Taffy and his work, go to

Appropriately, it seems his centre and garden are right across the road from Grasmere’s famous Gingerbread shop, It was once the parish school and William Wordworth and his wife Mary taught here because of their belief that universal education was the way for children to escape poverty and ignorance.
The countryside is spectacular and it is understandable how poems like below were penned

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

It is interesting when you here how much he was assisted by the women in his life, for example the above poem was written from the notes in her journal ket by his sister Dorothy, compare
When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. We fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot and a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity and unity and life of that one busy highway

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