Story telling


Finlay and Oscar are brothers aged eight and six and their cousins are Archie and Freddie, also eight and six. Finlay and Oscar have a cat called Pickles and Archie and Freddie and Henry their dog.

Their mum and aunt is Emily and one day when she went into town, she saw a secondhand bookshop she hadn’t seen before in St Giles Passage.

Emily went in, looked around and saw a book on a shelf that jumped off the page at her, or so it felt.

It was full of amazing pictures and its title was, ‘The Land You Sometimes See’.

All the boys loved stories and at times got together in each others’ homes to hear them read, or read them themselves. “I think the boys would love this”, she thought to herself so bought it and took it home.

That afternoon as it happened, Oscar and Finlay’s cousins had gone round to play and so Emily gave them the book to read.

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and so Oscar, Pickles, Finlay, Archie, Henry and Freddie sat on the blanket, the boys with a glass of orange each.

Pickles was fast asleep, occasionally stretching out and giving a purr whilst Henry looked around at the boys, this way and that, giving out an occasional “Woof!”

Finlay said, “Would you like Archie and me to read the book. We’ll make sure you see the pictures ?” Oscar and Freddie thought that was a great idea and happily settled back on the blanket.

The pictures in the book were amazing and so realistic. It was hard to believe they were just pictures. Henry looked from side to side and Pickles – just stretched.

Finlay started reading. “This book is called ‘The Land We Sometimes See'”. He cleared his throat and continued, “This is a story of an amazing Land which occasionally readers can travel to. When you really begin to see, that’s when you can travel to Sometime Land”.

Finlay turned to the next page and handed the book to Archie, so that he could carry on from where he’d left off.

There was a vivid picture which spread across both pages from one side to the other. It was remarkable. As the boys looked, they could see more and more things in it. A forest with a whole range of different trees. There were ferns of various heights and greens, plants of extraordinary colours and a small pond in which the boys saw the occasional frog and toad. “Wow! ” the boys said together. With that, Freddie commented, “It looks so real I feel as if we could actually walk in there”. There was a strange “WHOOOSHING” sound and suddenly the boys and Henry were standing on the softness of a forest floor. They could just about still see Pickles fast asleep on the blanket where they’d left him behind.

As they listened, they could hear the wonderful sounds of birdsong, like no other birdsong they’d heard before. The sound of an owl, a few parrots, then other wildlife. Monkeys in trees and the scuffle of an otter by the pond.

Archie had always been an adventurer and said, “Listen, we’re all together so let’s go and explore !” Ahead of them was a large, tall, bark-covered tree and when they got nearer they could see something written in old-fashioned writing pinned to it. The boys got nearer , Henry ran round and round in small circles, racing ahead to take a look.

Once there Archie read, “Feel the bark on the tree, what happens next you will see”.

The boys used their hands to rub the scrubby, rough bark and Henry, always a little crazy, brushed his tail backwards and forwards , then rubbed his nose in the dried leaves on the forest floor.

Suddenly at the side of the tree, a large door began opening outwards. It creaked on its hinges and Henry’s ears stood straight up, his face looked a bit like a startled rabbit !

The boys tiptoed closer and found the door had revealed steps leading down. They were lit by the most wonderful golden light.

“Let’s go down” said Oscar. “I’ll go first”, said Finlay and in a line one behind the other, the boys and of course Henry, made their way down the stone steps to a vast room beneath. Freddie was so excited, he ran and over took them all, almost tripping over Henry on the way. “Wow, wow, wow !!!” he said.

The walls were covered in crystals and fossils and the floor was like glass. The colours of the room changed from red to orange to yellow to green to blue to indigo to violet. Like a rainbow.

It was magical and the boys’ surroundings were extraordinary.

Hanging from the ceiling like long shiny fingers were stalactites and standing up from the floor were stalacmites. Archie explained what they were. “How did you know that?” asked Freddie. “Well”, said Archie, “Stalactites have to hold on tight and stalacmites might fall over”. “That’s cool”, said Oscar.

Then they noticed Henry going crazy in a corner of the room. He was going round and round one way, then going back the other. He jumped up and seemed to be pointing to something. Yes he was ! Pinned to the wall was another notice which read, “Make musical notes of the Star Wars theme, then you’ll find another scene”.

The boys thought for a moment then Oscar said, “We could play notes on the stalactites and stalacmites” . “That’s a great idea !” said Archie.

Henry ran towards them with a straight piece of wood in his mouth. He dropped it in front of the boys and then looked up at the stalactites and down at the stalacmites. “Good boy Henry! We can use it like a drum stick !” Henry scampered off again and again, bringing each boy a piece of wood.

They took it in turns to try out the sound of each dripping finger of rock which either came down or stood up around them. Finlay said excitedly, “I think I’ve got it !”

He’d worked out the notes and each boy took a different finger of rock to play. Together they created the theme of Stars Wars then slowly, over in the corner, another large door gently opened.

Henry was first to make his way through. “Hold on Henry!” said Archie. Henry’s nose was twitching and running; then his face puckered up and he let out an enormous sneeze. Some of the leaves on the ground rose up and flew in the air, Henry’s sneeze was so strong.

“Look”, said Freddie, “There’s some more writing “.

The four of them got closer and together read what it said. “Can you find five different smells then each of you ring the bells”.

The scene in front of them was amazing. In this room there was a floor made out of wooden pine floorboards and long table tops created from rectangles of marble around the walls. On the table tops were fantastic, differently shaped and coloured glass jars topped with crystal lids and right at the far end, five golden bells with shell handles.

Archie was first to lift the lid off the jar. He carefully put his nose over the top and sniffed. “It’s peppermint” he said. The other boys came and smelt the jar too. “Peppermint!” they all agreed. Henry bounded across . “Do you want a sniff too Henry ? ” asked Oscar. Oscar lifted the lid and Henry sniffed – and gave another enormous sneeze.

One by one the boys lifted the lids on the next four jars. There was lavender,rose petals, lemon, vinegar and burnt toast. Then they remembered the last task on the list. “Each of you ring a bell”. The boys held a bell each in their hands and Henry held one in his mouth. “One two three go !” said Finlay.

As they rang the bells, the most incredible sounds echoed around the room and from the opened jars, curling scents soared up to the ceiling.

Over in the corner they now saw another flight of stairs leading upwards but before that, another note.

“I’ll read it this time”, said Freddie. He got closer, they all gathered round and this is what it said, ” At the start of this story it said see and look. Go upstairs, look around, it’s the last page in your book”.

Henry couldn’t wait and hurtled his way up the stairs like a tornado. Freddie like a whirlwind followed after Henry and when they got to the top, they both stopped in their tracks. The other boys followed and stopped in their tracks too.

Before them was the most breath-taking, awesome scene they’d ever seen.

They remembered what the sign had said, “See and really look “.

They were standing at the edge of a small lake, blue water lapping at the edge of the yellowy sand. Small crabs with polished shells scampered this way and that. On the other side of the lake, tall eucalyptus trees with curtain-like leaves, danced together in unison. In the sand were nuggets of gold and silver, fistfuls of diamonds glittering and shining. “Just look at that Oscar !” said Finlay. “”It’s amazing isn’t it ?” said Archie. Henry unusually for him, just stood still taking it all in, wagging his tail.

Then Henry got up, rummaged around in some bushes and came back with a cluster of large, ripe, purple blackberries in his mouth.

Suddenly there came a WHOOOSHING sound again and in a fraction of a second, the boys were back on the blanket. Pickles opened an eye and purred then Emily came out of the backdoor.

“Have you started reading the book yet boys ?” she asked.

The boys looked at each other . They knew the things they’d touched, seen, heard and smelt . They’d used their senses in a way they never had before. If they told Emily, they knew she wouldn’t believe them.

Then they looked at Henry….. Henry !!!!

He was sitting amongst them on the blanket and in his mouth – a cluster of large, lush, juicy blackberries !

Wherever did you get those from Henry ? There aren’t any blackberry bushes around here” , said Emily.

Henry looked at the boys and in his own doggy-toothed way smiled. Pickles opened an eye and purred. The boys looked at one another and said, ” Thanks Mum, thanks Auntie, it’s the coolest, greatest book we’ve ever read and we’ve been to a Land we never thought we’d go !”

“I’m so glad you enjoyed it boys. You’ve found we can travel the world in books and go to places we’ve never been before,” said Emily.

“Yes Mum, yes Auntie, ” said the boys. ” WE KNOW !

We can travel to different places, see, touch, hear, feel and taste things through our imaginations.

We can do all these things with a good Tale !!!!!


Fifteen years ago when I set up my creative arts Company, ‘Freedom Through Fun,’ I was trying to think of a suitable logo.

That night I ‘slept on it’ and had a dream of a seagull; my logo became seagulls flying across the disc of the sun.

Recently  I had the idea of writing a story about Seymour the seagull and his journey through life with all its ups and downs, twists and turns,  joys and sorrows and how his amazing journey through life began and ended with a new beginning…….

My book, ‘Seymour’s Flights of Passage’ is available from Amazon Kindle. By Christopher R. North   £2-99


Our lives are made up of stories from the seemingly trivial and every day,  to the most dramatic and sometimes life changing.

Through books, films, plays and songs we can ‘live’  moments of  humor, danger, intrigue and love.

We can travel back in time, be transported to other worlds and dimensions or live in the moments of the here and now.

They say every picture tells a story and that is very true.

Photos of the London blitz when people were strong together and supported one another with  both practical and emotional help.  The scenes in the underground stations where people sheltered from the bombing. Vera Lynn singing to the troops who were far away from their loved ones. Flanagan and Allen performing in theatres  with songs including Underneath the Arches.

Most of us have photographs which are snapshots of our lives from the typical baby shots of us or family members, to walking barefoot on a beach hand in hand.

Stories from those moments are brought to the fore of our memories, often with the smells of baby talc or the salt sea smell of the tide.

I love telling stories ! When I was a teacher, I really looked forward to reading stories or telling stories to the class. Then the cries of ” Oh no, don’t stop there !” when I came to the end of a chapter or the cliff edge which left them looking forward to “What happened next”.

There were many favourite books but near the top were ‘The Silver Sword’ by Ian Serraillier and ‘The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C.S. Lewis.

In 1979 Ian Serraillier spent a morning with my class at Kingsham Primary School , telling us how he came up with the idea and how the story weaved its way with Jimpy the cockerell and the paper knife which was – the silver sword.

My latest venture which is story telling and making with adult audiences I’m calling ‘Tales Upon A Time’. Bringing stories to life and providing opportunities for participants to bring pictures or objects in from home which have a story to tell.

Have a look around your homes and see if there are any items which have interesting, funny or remarkable stories behind them.

Think about stories going back in the generations of your families which are fascinating and of course part of our histories too.

The Tales Upon A Time.

Thank you !    Chris.






Amongst many other things, I’ve been  privileged to have trained at the University of Chichester in an approach to music called ‘Lifemusic’. The tutor and Director of ‘Lifemusic’ is Doctor Rod Paton who is inspirational ! What a great thing to be able to say about someone !      The principles of ‘Lifemusic’ are :

* we are all musicians,

* there are no wrong notes,

* every sound has a meaning.

I work with all ages and have around 80 instruments ranging from  djembe drums and synthesisers to a ‘Soundbeam’ and including the instruments you see in the photo.

The music begins wherever we want it to begin. Someone playing a rhythm on a djembe, or notes on a finger piano. Participants join in where and when they want to, or drop out when they want to. We then either ‘play around’ with sound perhaps mirroring each other with different instruments or building up a crescendo of sound around the circle. Often we create a ‘sound picture’ by working to a theme chosen by the group. Children often choose the jungle or a  wood, outer space or the North Pole. We use our voices which as you can imagine, if we’re in the jungle includes monkeys and elephants and of course – lions !

Adults have  chosen themes like The National Anthem, or by the sea.

On some occasions I also use fabrics and tissue paper for participants to create their own jungles or seascapes complete with rivers and streams and insects and flowers.

One of the first things that Rod said to us as students of ‘Lifemusic’ was “Music is all around us. Just listen. ”

I went to Worthing beach the next day and listened. The sound of a dog as it crunch crunched along the pebbles. A seagull screeching overhead. A rook in a tree. People laughing.

Yes, music is all around us whether we’re outdoors or indoors; in the open space of nature or in a store.

Just listen.

It’s part of rhythm of life !

Thank you,  Chris.









“Today is new and so are we ! ” is a very good way to begin our day. Not always easy depending on what we’re going through at that moment but  a gentle reminder that after a night’s sleep, we wake to a new day and a new beginning.

My life’s journey has been a varied and interesting one. One filled with amazing experiences, opportunities and events as well as the pain of losses, bereavements and difficult change.

I had a ‘chance’ meeting on Wednesday and having said a little about my latest venture to Sue – writing a Journal with my thoughts, reflections, poetry, artwork and poetry – she said ” You should write a blog”. I said I’d think about it but having thought about it, here I am !

Lexie pointed me in the direction of WordPress ( thank you ! ) and so far so good.

I hope my Blog will provide for visitors something of interest, something of me and a little about what ‘makes me tick’.

So here goes !  A poem which I call ‘The Millstream’.

Life is ever changing , it is never standing still,

Like the water in the millstream as it flows out through the Mill,

The churning and the turning grinds the corn for valued things-

The food on someone’s table and the sustenance it brings.

Life is ever changing, it is never standing still,

Like the water in the millstream as it flows out through the Mill,

The power and the glory the snowstorms and the rain,

Without these opposites in life the loss alongside gain

We’d never ever truly live or develop, change and grow,

Our lives would be like husks of corn our true selves never show.

I’ll leave that with you as my first Blog ! More to follow !


It’s Monday May 22nd 2018 and this is my second posting.

My blog will mainly be thoughts and ideas which occur to me; things ‘on my mind’ and things I’ve written or created.

With the Wedding on Saturday and for me (but paling into insignificance in comparison with that event!)  a new venture in creating my own Blog. I’m thinking about ‘new beginnings’ which links with my first blog of course, ‘Today is new and so are we!’

New beginnings can be exciting, scary, full of opportunities or those stomach churning moments when we think ” Why did I start this !”

I’m learning as I go along with my blogging. I’d love to add photographs but haven’t yet worked out how but with help, I will.

I’ve been a searcher all my life (well not until I was 18 I suppose!) and I’ve read many great thinkers and philosophers – some well known others more remote.

One I remember is Orage. He worked as a journalist but explored many things including Buddhism and self understanding.

One of his quotes which I remember from fifty years ago is “Life is a gymnasium, try yourself out on it!”

What a great quote !

One of Helen Keller’s famous sayings is ” Face the fear and do it anyway!”

However, for both these sayings we have to bear in mind ‘where we’re at’ at that moment in time.

If I’m going through trauma or difficulty, the last thing I want to hear is “face the fear and do it anyway !”

I also need to be ‘gentle’ with myself and as it says on a card on my bookcase ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself’.

New beginnings are also about change – CHANGE   HGCNAN        GNEHCA,   sometimes ‘the pain of change’.

Jay Asher said ” You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret… to press play”.

More the next time with – maybe –  some photographs ! Perhaps my next Blog will be about some of the changes in my life.

Thank you,   Chris.