Welsh Witterings: Storytelling, Smoky Fires and Mud
This week I togged the girls up in thick jumpers, coats and wellington boots and clutching a torch and a picnic basket we headed off to Tipi Valley in Carmarthenshire. I have wanted to go and take a look around Tipi Valley for a while and the invitation to an evening of storytelling was a perfect opportunity.
Tipi Valley is a village that was set up in 1974 and now extends to two hundred acres. The concept is that those who live in this village form part of nature, living within nature. All the homes at this unique place are low-impact dwellings such as tipis, yurts, domes and thatched or turf-roofed round houses. I must admit I was really looking forward to looking at the round houses, but as I trudged across fields in the dark, my wellies squelching in the mud I couldn’t see much, so it seems that another visit will be necessary.
Wet and somewhat muddy I finally arrived at a large communal TIPI called the ‘Big Lodge’ where people were beginning to gather for the storytelling. I had never been in a Tipi before and I think I was more excited than my girls. Once inside I was presented with a magically cosy space. Rushes on the floor, sheepskin rugs to sit on; an open fire and gothic style candelabra are all added to the ambience and the welcoming effect of this place.
After removing muddy footwear I settled down and concluded that just sitting in the Tipi made the trudge through the wind, rain and mud worth it. The storyteller came in and introduced himself to me as Sam. He was from Brittany and explained that he has toured around the world collecting and telling stories for the past twelve years. He told how he exchanged stories for accommodation and that this was also his first time in a tipi.
The Big Lodge began to fill up as people gathered, excitedly to hear mythical tales from for off lands. A violinist appeared and Sam produced an instrument that resembled a zither or Irish harp, that he called a soul tree. The stories began and with dramatic atmosphere added by instrumental interludes we listened to tales from South America, Brittany, New Zealand, Ireland and India. It was a wonderful evening and as we listened to colloquial tales, I noticed my little ones were transfixed by Sam.
The evening was certainly a most enjoyable and unique one and somehow the walk back to the car across the muddy fields didn’t seem quite as long. I look forward to visiting this place again preferably on a warm, balmy evening.
This week has also seen me attending a children’s Narnia themed party where I wore a great big fake fur coat and enjoyed an afternoon of watching the play of sugar-fuelled children. As night fell it was time to enjoy some fireworks and walk through a wardrobe in the dark; in the hope of finding the lost land of Narnia. Well, I can’t proclaim to have found Mr. Tumnus , from ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, but I did find plenty of mud. After all the excitement it as no surprise to find that little Libby slept all the way home.
Well until next week I bid you a fond farewell from my wonderful corner of West Wales.