Tag Archives: Stories

Tall Tree Town & George the Magic Maker…

Recently I had the chance to go to one of our local parks to look at development in the gardens. I was asked by my pal H with whom I used to work with. He has an infectious enthusiasm and knack for getting people round a table to collaborate. We were taken on a wander through Pollok park to Tall Tree Town. This was the genius creation of one of the gardeners. It was a tiny wee village of fairy houses and magic. H was so taken with this he wants to get more exposure for to and look at how more people could enjoy this from all over the city.
As a mum, I just marvelled at the prospect of getting on my fairy wings and taking the wee lady to find magical things.
Each fairy house had a backdrop to a fairytale or a nursery rhyme and immediately all the educational lights started to go on for me. As George took us round the houses we spoke of how he loved to hear “weans tell you what they can see or why they think something is like that”
A natural-born story-teller with his teddy boy hair cut and wellies, I couldn’t help but be quite taken with him. I asked him if he had kids or grandkids and he said no,but he had brought up his sisters and there were lots of stories.
Having been surrounded by books and stories as a child, I have developed a love of reading. The wee lady is the same.
We wandered round the fairy houses then we met the dragon -all hand carved from wood and covered in sparkles. The labour of love that has gone into this coupled with the imagination from George was quite simply stunning.
The assembled group met back for tea and then we started to create some of our own magic.
I talked about potential from a literacy point of view both in English and in different languages, John Muir award and contributions to Eco awareness in the local community. I was struck when George said to me. ” I couldn’t have told you that hen,I am just a gardener and you in education know much more”
How wrong he was.
All I did was change he language and look at how it could address some different areas in education -which was right at the heart of what he was doing.
Just a gardener? I think not.
H had us all galvanised and within a few days I was invited back with the wee lady and there were some TV cameras.
This resulted in quite simply the most magical wee clip with George taking the wee people round, him telling stories and the wee people asking questions ” are blacksmiths bad guys?” ” where is the back door?”
George told them about the Tall Tree and the history of it in Native American Tribes, he told them about flowers growing, where to look for horse shoes and to keep their eyes peeled for fairies. In the clip he made me laugh when he said that he wanted wee people to know that gardening wasn’t just about gardening…….
I have to say, we need more people like George. Magic makers. Story tellers.
And people like H. Who bring it all together.
If you get a chance, Tall Tree Town in Pollok Park…..a joy.



Once upon a time, ….my little lady loves a story and she will often ask me to repeat a daft story several times. The latest is about an escapade for a sandwich! Talking and listening are such huge parts of the teaching and learning of a language coupled with that intercultural knowledge.
Stories have always been a big part of my teaching and quite often I find myself uttering the famous, “did I tell you about the time…..” And there was indeed the classic where pupils would see how long they would keep me chatting for to avoid learning the subjunctive.
(fair enough)
The tradition of story telling is so important to a culture and a major part of the heritage of a language and of course it has to be a key element of teaching and learning.
I think the experiences of living in different countries and in different cultures is a great way to engage with learners.
I was staying chez les parents at the weekend and we were celebrating with the wee lady. We’ve always celebrated her Santo in Spanish style and we had such a lovely day. The nephews appeared later and asked what was going on , when I explained they told me they had not got to that bit on the course.
Both studying Spanish and yet they had no stories. They couldn’t tell me about the festivals, food, music, ……no stories. No knowledge of culture. Not even a stereotype to be had.
The little lady pipes up that they wouldn’t have a Santo as they didn’t speak Spanish ( aye hen, you are 6) and I have to say I love the way she identifies with. The Spanish-speaking element of our lives.
Today was a gorgeous day and we found ourselves out near water. It was not a Tuesday but it was indeed “taps AFF” I still had the scarf on and was fully covered. The wee lady piped up that I still had my scarf on as that’s what I would do in Spain. She’s no daft, but I also didn’t want to be mistaken for a beached whale or get sunburn.
You can’t imagine how proud I am of her at her intercultural knowledge but also at her recognition of things that are very important to me.
Stories……huge part of being a teacher. In any capacity. I think……
And then Han Solo rescued me and we lived happily ever after. In Spain.
The End.

What is the story?



I had the joy of spending yesterday with one of my most beautiful friends for her 40th. This astonishing woman I met over a bottle of sambuca.
I had just returned from New York with the then man ( tool) and had to go and meet a whole load of the crowd he was part of at a garden party. No other way to cope with those people than to get tore in about the drink. Was a very long time ago.😘
Anyhoo, I was all sunglasses and jet lag and there was N. Looking as interested as me in the shenanigans so we bonded over our shared need to cope and the rest as they say is histoire……
We love nothing better than a get together over tea or fizz to chew the fat laugh and generally cause trouble.
Like the time we went to Edinburgh to go Christmas shopping,when we came home we were met with partners asking what we had bought. Cocktails was the answer. Oh well.
Or when I had just returned from China and was barely coping with breathing never mind the world and she just quietly looked after me and threw blankets over me on her chair as I went in to royal meltdown ( albeit helped by gin)
We rocked up to a lovely hotel for afternoon tea and I didn’t really know a soul there. There was no way I was unleashing the crazy as I didn’t know anyone else save for my two girlfriends. I started to look round at the others on the table and wondering what their story was. One of my friend always does this – so how do you know her then? – but this wasn’t the time or place for it. Catching snippets of conversations helped fill in some gaps but I still only had half an idea of where people were from or their connection to my friend.
Later we were a smaller group and that chat was verging on the outrageous but it was a Saturday and it was a lovely atmosphere. We started to play the what’s the story, selecting people in the bar and making up a story based purely on what we saw. Laugh? We could have been a walking advert for tena ladies.
We chatted about motherhood, reading books, whether we preferred werewolves or vampires and was it appropriate for your auld mammy to watch 50 shades?
And of course, it made me think about the children that often we don’t know the stories for so we try to fill them in. Not always helping in the process.
I remember all to well writing to a guidance teacher that I was a wee bit concerned about a wee girl who had become quite aggressive and wasn’t doing anything or engaging and looked like she had been out all night.
I had assumed she was probably discovering the joys of teenage carry outs and doing a bit of damage to herself on the drink.
Turns out this wee girl – well let’s just say it was a miracle she was even getting to school. Abuse going on right left and centre.
I had filled in her story without even knowing. No happy ending.

Yesterday was a laugher filled joyous day. The days that you put the romance back into your friendship and we certainly did.
Even wore my heels. Glittery ones. All day.
Cannae walk or feel my legs below the knees right enough. It was worth it and I’d do it again.
Happy Birthday N x