Adrian Spendlow – A selection of stories to see and hear – Revisited

Adrian Spendlow – A selection of stories to see and hear

 Beevis and the Dragon – (Pretty sure I’ve spelt it wrong)

 The Folklore of Fossils by Hobb the Ploughboy

Veikko’s Quest – A Finnish folktale

Red

I was inspired to remodel this old tale and soon as I thought of it I got it down, it might be a bit scary so listen to it without kids first).

Old Land – Modelled on a ninth century Irish Ode

Georg and the Dragon – a rework of an old tale with my chiftain’s name replacing the original character, (I dreamed this).

Brynhildr (and Swan Love)

Sigurd and Fafnir

Norse Creation Tale

 Idunn’s apples

Why Americans Speak English

The Walls of Asgard

When the Gods Ran Out of Beer

 

Rail interview

 Link to Alvis and the Troll

 Prose Poems of the Gods

Storytelling is… – A series of blogs to empower you to tell stories

Link to the read aloud version of Hobb the Ploughboy

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Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

For sale on Bandcamp my amusing yet informative history of the Itchin bridge.

https://adrianspendlow.bandcamp.com/releases

For sale on Amazon my very first book, The Cakes and Tea Collection – a mix of short stories and poetry.

On the US Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FP5NLLK

On the UK Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FP5NLLK

Supporters Club; Dwayne, Adam, Sharon, Sigrun, Holly, Carol, Spee 69, Oyvind, Ginny, Maureen, Margaret, Pam, Lucy, Michelle, Obie, and Heather.

Living in America Five – Now here is a challenge for you.

Living in America Five – Now here is a challenge for you. It is your turn to send pictures. You all know I have been doing a series of picture blogs of my time in America; unusual things I have spotted that sort of thing. Well, I want you to shape the next blog.

For those who haven’t seen the blogs there are links below, (and the rest of you might enjoy another look too), I seem to make fun of everything, but mainly I make fun of my own exaggerated ignorance and funny way of seeing the world.

Send me interesting pictures from throughout the Americas. Let me know what you think about them, and the blog series will go wide open.

This time it is you!

Private message me on Facebook or email me adrianspendlow@gmail.com

(Keep it family friendly and quirky.)

Captions and stories make the thing.

Click a link…

Living in America

Living in American two

Living in America three

Living in Americas Four

Editor has the final word (Professor H Sherman please note).

Do follow the Adrian Spendlow blog, and browse the offerings below

Just a simple blog can take me a few days to put together, please do encourage me by clicking the donation button.

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

For sale on Bandcamp my amusing yet informative history of the Itchin bridge.

https://adrianspendlow.bandcamp.com/releases

For sale on Amazon my very first book, The Cakes and Tea Collection – a mix of short stories and poetry.

On the US Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FP5NLLK

On the UK Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FP5NLLK

Supporters Club; Dwayne, Adam, Sharon, Sigrun, Holly, Carol, Spee 69, Oyvind, Ginny, Maureen, Margaret, Pam, Lucy, Michelle, Obie, and Heather.

A Special Feature for the Friends of UW Green Bay Viking House

You all are welcome to enjoy this blog which I hope will bring many of you to go and click to be a friend of our wonderful project.

Click and like – https://www.facebook.com/UWGBVikingHouse

Keep scrolling down here for all the fun movies.

Those of you who are already ‘following’ and may have been to events in the past will be pleased to see here a gathering of films and photos of our progress at the house.

Things are Happening at the Viking House.

This beautiful place has been awaiting us for so long. Many have asked and are interested in being actively involved. Of course the world has been in lock-down and the house is a very small part of that.

It is the time to start looking at what we can do to re-celebrate the place; to tidy and renovate and to decorate. We wish also to be able have things happen there.

What is the Viking house? There is a whole series of films and photos here in this blog about our house and our plans. Let us tell you now though that it is a rebuild of a house from that age and is in the grounds of UWGB. The university in Green Bay, Wisconsin is the home of this great feature. The ‘Jarldress’ or perhaps keeper of the house is Professor Heidi Sherman who is head of history for UWGB.

When I say that she is responsible we are talking about a budget-free situation. So anything that happens here is down to our Jarldress to make possible. For us to appreciate.

Who am I? And who are the others in the films below? There are lots of groups and individuals who are willing to take part and to arrange events. The three of us in the films below are volunteers.

I missed the house being open over the summer, for as well as wanting to help out, I miss being the storyteller for the house. Here now I can say I am just a volunteer though acting out of good will. I do happen also to be Professor Sherman’s husband which could be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage. We turn to her for guidance, permission and often for funding.

Trodin Hegn (Dwayne) and Di An are two other active participants with exciting hopes for the future.

Dwayne and I

Our Affiliations

Celebrating the Viking house will be timed nicely with the making of shields. Trodin is making shields for decoration.

Sigourney has designed a UWGB Shield image and we hope to be taking her two of Dwayne’s shields for painting. One with her design, and one with Dwayne’s (Trodin’s) own personal image (Sigourney will this be OK and fit in with your plans? – I would also love to see your other Viking design idea and see if we can use them in some way).

Dwayne and I have plans to invite gifts of shields and flags etc to show affiliations.

Njardarheimr Viking Town, Gudvangen, Norway

A Presentation Day will invite people to visit and make a gift as they walk through. This could be a decoration for the Hall made specially for the day or a ‘blessing token’ selected on the day.

We will have selection of tokens to pick from; simple things such as stones, beads and feathers and we would be glad to hear from people who wish to make or offer decorations suitable for the Viking ages such as tablet weavings or utensils. While arranged outside folks can talk about the donations and the work of others.

There are of course severe restrictions and we will plan within these. IE masks must be worn, people must gather with six feet apart in the area of the Viking house and then parade through the hall slowly with a maximum of ten people in there at any one time. This will include the presenters and hopefully a small film crew.

Six feet apart

(Dress for the weather.)

Example of inappropriate attire

This event is planned to take place on Saturday October 3rd A provisional date. from one o’clock onwards. We will publicise once it is confirmed but for now please ‘pencil’ it in and start thinking ahead. Exciting times.

Let us know that you are interested.

As for those affiliations, this will be groups or festivals which we have connections with. We will be glad to hear from you about connections we have with you. To date we are approaching five different groups we have affiliations with.

As Skald to the Chieftain of Njardarheimr Viking Town in Gudvangen, Norway I will be approaching my chieftain (my blood brother) for a flag of the Njardarheimr symbol. No, I will ask now – Dear Georg is it possible that you could arrange us a flag of the town or a banner for the town for our display? I will be glad to pay if needs be.

Da Boss

I am also a member of The British association The Vikings through their group at York University; Vanaheimr. I am a member of this dynamic group from the university and will be asking them for a flag or banner for us to display. I will ask them now too. Dear Jarl please could you arrange a symbol of our affiliations?

I serve Vanaheimr

I say hi to Tim Jorgenson of Viking Connections, the coordinator of Viking events for The Historical and Cultural Society for Clay County.

Tim I am pleased you are ‘cogitating’ upon the idea of sending us an affiliation item. We will be displaying our pride in connection with River Ravens upon our hall walls in the near future I hope.

I interviewed Tim for a project I was involved in prior to the Covid catastrophe. Here is the interview. Although almost everything was cancelled for all of us in 2020 I am hoping that most of the things mentioned will reappear in a new guise in 2021.

Stop Press – I’ve chatted to Tim and we are saving a space for a shield and he will be making us one especially later in the year.

Hello Adrian,

My present title is “Director of Viking Connection,” although I’m also known as a general coordinator of various Viking events in our region, as well as a hobbyist blacksmith and woodworker. Viking Connection (www.vikingconnection.org) is an outreach program run by the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, Minnesota (HCSCC).  We are housed in the Hjemkomst Center, in Moorhead, home of the Gokstad Viking ship replica Hjemkomst, that sailed to Norway in 1982. HCSCC also interprets a Hopperstad Stave Church replica, a reconstruction of the Viking-Age stavkirke still standing in Vik, Norway. Viking Connection is a natural extension of HCSCC’s on-going work to preserve and present Viking-Age folk art in the Midwest.

We invite artists specializing in the Viking Age crafts of Scandinavia to teach and tour in the states of ND, SD, MN, IA, WI, and the UP of MI. We also offer an apprenticeship program to send dedicated students from the Midwest to study their chosen craft with a master artist in Scandinavia. Lastly, we offer a database of international artists interested in networking with each other.

Together with fellow Minnesotan, Kyle Jameson, we started a Viking living history group called, “River Ravens” (www.riverravens.org), largely as a way to have a name for our group when we are hired to provide an encampment, crafts, or entertainment for events in our area. We joined up with UK-based, Regia Anglorum because we really enjoy the authenticity policy they have in place, their research, and their continuous efforts to stay up-to-date with recent archaeological findings. In all, we participate in between 5-10 events annually, the largest being North America’s largest Scandinavian festival, Norsk Høstfest, in Minot, North Dakota.

[Sadly the next paragraph covered plans which were cancelled due to the Covid thing, so I have cut the details, but I am sure there will be another exciting program in 2021 with a Viking skill being brought back to share around festivals and events here. – Ade.]

One of the exciting things to look forward to in 2020, is the Viking Connection apprenticeship. Each year we send a student to Scandinavia to learn from selected artists with the goal of learning new skills or advancing pre-existing skills with a Viking Age craft.

I’m continually being contacted by different organizations interested in creating Viking Age events, or adding a Viking presence to a broader-themed event, so keep an eye on the River Raven’s and VC websites for 2020 opportunities.

Tim

Thank you Tim.

Visit the site for The Historical and Cultural Society for Clay County…

https://www.hcscconline.org/

Here is the River Ravens site…

https://riverravens.org/

We had a wonderful visit to Balagard the Viking age Finland festival in Hancock, Michigan. A great town and a great festival. This is a bi-annual festival so the Covid epidemic probably wont be an effect and then this exciting event will be back in 2021 as planned.

Toby of Balagard was saying to me about the idea of links between groups and how it would be good to have a story linking each shield or item to the group it was from.

I ask now, ‘Hi Toby, can I ask if it is possible to have a shield or item representing your group for our house in Green Bay?’

Here is their FB page – https://www.facebook.com/Balagard-Viking-age-Finland-304102503794434/

The Viking House, University Wisconsin, Green Bay. New era feature.

So yes, my wife Professor Heidi Sherman, as well as being head of history for UWGB, is also the Jarldress for the Viking house. I have never thought of this before, but, wait for it, what does that make me!

Answers on a postcard please.

She has created many events and developments around the house but of course it has all been on hold this year. We are just starting to get the place going again.

There are many who volunteer to help keep the place going and I have been along with a couple of good pals recently to make a start. So here is a feature on the place.

Welcome.

Dwayne is making a shield with his own design on for the display with our collection. We are hoping for donations from other groups and other individuals (you) of samples of their craft.

My groups shield from York University’s Viking group Vanaheimr.

A group planted Hops and I wanted to capture them flourishing so they could see what a good job they had done. Each year they will get more and more prolific.

Raised beds were in lock down.

You can tell the fire pit hasn’t been used in a while.

We need a clear out or a hiding place.

Ideally there shouldn’t be anything modern on view if someone comes to take a photo. The oven needs its cover though to protect all Dwayne’s hard work and we remove it as soon as an activity is preparing.

I can’t wait to get that oven going again and get some cooking done. We are still limited on events of course. Let us look ahead though.

The current wood pile is mainly stuff which was too long for our stove at home, so I guess we will soon get through it and be looking for more.

This is the John

I am thinking we could cut some of the buckthorn to make our little fence out of.

Ah apparently the hawthorn is an invasive so we can cut as much of that as we like.

The box fence is our next project. We are hoping for a bit of help, and to have it finished before the decorations day.

Just down the slope from us is the Frisbee-Golf

The grounds are beautiful

Owen and Elspeth are the lovely couple who made all of this possible.

I haven’t met Harry, but we are all very grateful that he found a way to make a difference to our Viking heritage here at UWGB.

(I would like to know a little more about the cookhouse too)

Maintaining a Viking House can be a Hornet’s nest

We came back again and had a bit of an inspection;

Sorting.

The full team inspection

The Parking situation

UWGB wildlife

After we left today we passed a few Heron, they were standing close to picnickers by the river and I was surprised at how tall they were. I guess at nearly five foot, Dwayne tells me they can reach six foot. The Heron not the Turkeys, or we would be having a good Thanksgiving.

Flax drying will make an interesting addition to the decor.

Then we could process it ready to spin into linen thread.

We have plans for wool too. Insulation.

The return and this time we are equipped.

We needed refreshing.

Refreshments were created by team host Jarldress Sherman

I will catch that frog

Gorrit

Let us be-strim

This is why we were here.

And we got the job done, well Dwayne did.

What’s next boss?

Do follow the Adrian Spendlow blog, and browse the offerings below.

Just a simple blog like this takes me a few days to put together, please do encourage me by clicking the donation button

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

For sale on Bandcamp my amusing yet informative history of the Itchin bridge.

https://adrianspendlow.bandcamp.com/releases

For sale on Amazon my very first book, The Cakes and Tea Collection – a mix of short stories and poetry.

On the US Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FP5NLLK

On the UK Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FP5NLLK

Supporters Club; Dwayne, Adam, Sharon, Sigrun, Carol, Spee 69, Oyvind, Maureen, Pam, and Heather.

Click and like – https://www.facebook.com/UWGBVikingHouse

https://www.facebook.com/oralstories

Facts & Fiction is a quarterly magazine devoted to the art of oral storytelling. On this page you can find and update events and news between issues.

My blog; some Viking shields – https://adrianspendlowblog.com/2020/03/11/some-viking-shields/

Living in America I

The Chanters Stool – Part 2 of the Spendlow Lectures on How to be a Storyteller

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

with snake

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Right, I am going to get strict now.

Storytellers must always tell traditional stories which they have learnt by listening to another storyteller. They must sit and not move and they must never ever utilise items – the sinful prop! Sit still and tell old things rigidly.

Well there we have a whole set of rules to be broken. I certainly break them all. It is a school of thought though, an old school of thought.

There is a vision of the teller in a big chair and everyone hushed and still looking up in awe. It does happen. These are moments to cherish.

My first thought would be, where to put that chair.

Space.

Put yourself in your space. Find the place where you feel right.

I like to get there early. I step into that school hall and I guess I am getting the vibe, I most usually walk straight to a spot, “I would like to stand here”. It isn’t always where they expect you to go.

It is the same on a ship, in cave or on a stage. Put yourself where you need to be.

“Can you put my chair here please?”

“And my table here if you are using ‘the dreaded prop’.

The inner translucent layer of a mammoth skin has been draped across near the rear of this cave, with a small fire behind, you step out of a hidden side alcove when they are distracted and you beat a hollow log with your talking staff; you are suddenly there, a misty figure in front of them.

And you have your place.

Your place in history.

Step around into the open and stamp your white staff to the ground. Stay silent for a moment while they take in the carvings and the natural twist leading to the gleaming crystal.

Play a little on your cave harp.

Or say but three words then lift up your bone flute.

If you are more modern than this you may be wishing to commune with Odin. Your fur-covered Chanter’s Stool is brought out for you and you flick your cloak as you sit.

The large seat.

The shamanic drum.

The soft toy – well, that is me.

Rocky the Dragon gets very sad because he never gets any kisses.

I might be better getting a white wood staff.

And so to sit.

Or stand.

Or both. I tend to be out of my chair most of the time but starting things off sitting seems to work for me. I am a bit all action and cannot keep still.

Silliness seems to happen. In among the gripping and the scary a bit of silliness too.

‘I have lived in the land of fairy – and I have never been the same since.’

Being trapped in a fairy ring causes one to have to dance and for all people laugh they are intrigued. For all the silliness of stories of meeting and even marrying beings from the realm of the Fey I tend to attract people who hang around to tell me of their real-life experiences of meeting or seeing creatures from the mystical lands.

You have to remember who is out there. I will look at the idea of being a ‘Skald’ in a little while, let it be said there is always a sense of ceremony. The way we conduct ourselves, be it at a ritual or on the content of our set lists should always seek to be inclusive. In your audience is someone who happens to have come along, a tourist who wants to see how we do things, a historian, an Odinist or Asatru who follows the ways of the old gods, a person of another religion.

Respect. Respect mixed with entertainment.

Art is always a compromise. There is the viewer the one experiencing the art. They are to be considered. And yet one must maintain their own integrity.

Yet you must always do what it says on the tin. If it says chocolate milk we don’t want root beer coming out into the glass.

Many circles are spontaneous of course. Chiefly though, you have been invited. The audience have come along because of what the publicity said.

The publicity has been written by the inviter, they wrote it after talking to you, but they also put their own needs into it.

You must try and fit with this description.

You might always try and describe yourself slightly differently from the last time.

What does it say on your tin?

We have talked a little of the oral tradition; that the content and possibly style of our ‘show’ come from the past.

If we talk to a ballad singer, someone from the folk world or perhaps a shanty singer, we will come across the school of thought; traditional means that nobody wrote it. An old song has gone through so many singings, been passed from one singer to another, that the version we hear now is no longer anything like the first song which somebody actually wrote.

The shanties or other work songs have been created by the group to fit a rhythm or a need so have really evolved and developed.

We do live in a modern world where information is available to all. So it is possible to go back to the root or at least dig deep.

We are also freed up a little by this information availability. We can ‘tell’ in our own way. As long as we are respectful to the story.

Some of the records of folklore etc are a little clumsy, they are a record for posterity, not a classic novel.

This is where that second storyteller by the universal fire comes into things. Making the story better, more fun, gripping, relevant to the original concept, getting it all across is a skill. A developed skill. This is just as much a tradition as passing along the accuracy of the tale. We are all somewhere in the middle of this quandary, this long drawn out ‘story’. That innovative storyteller is a tradition.

Take the responsibilities with you but bring that tale alive. It deserves you. It deserves you to be your very best.

Embrace the past in your own way.

Where are we in the timelessness of storytelling and can we become our self back then as if we are there.

There are old stories. They were not always written down, as they are now, yet they survived. The enjoyment of them survived. So, although we can be glad of those who recorded them and of those who share them today, it was never meant for such a rigid thing as text. Never let it be so.

Tens of thousands of people may have told of that dugout canoe the first people survived in before and spider taught written signs to any tribe.

(I am not too sure how the canoe got to every single nation in the world – but I have heard of it wherever I go!)

I cannot tell you what to do. I don’t know how your mind works. I do know one thing; every individual’s mind works in a different way.

Go with your failings.

Mine is names. So I allow myself to forget. I think of ways. His brother. The tall giantess. With a flick of her hair. You know; avoidance, distraction.

You might want to force yourself to digress. Or to get back onto topic quicker.

I’ve talked of being a collector. Here is an aspect which can make the whole audience die of groaning or can fill hearts with soaring fire, (not to be sexist, but I think I am talking blokes); details.

Factual information. I struggle here in the same way as I do with names to be honest. I did, however, experience a split of reactions recently.

My father drove steam engines. You can already see where this is going. I have told great stories from his experiences for many years. Before a recent performance I thought I should have a refreshing look through his book. There was all that information; fourteen-foot fireboxes, that sort of thing.

Then here among it all was, 40302.

Engines always had a number like this. To me it is just a number. Then I read in my own father’s book that there is a reason behind this number; a sense to it. It refers to the wheels; 40302. There are four axles, a space, three axles, a space, two axles.

I look quickly now at my (currently virtual) audience and half of them are raising their eyes at an obtuse angle and half are achingly keen to hear more of such things which will fill them with inner bliss.

Where do you sit in this factual quandary?

How are you going to challenge yourself!

(Or cope with yourself.)

To be fair to myself I managed to play on that division within my audience and they laughed as they re-enacted their reactions.

I actually challenged an audience member, (it was in a chatty circle event were sharing was encouraged – and there was beer.), “How can you be so sure?”

“Oh,” he replied, “I file all my memories in date order”.

We are all different.

Shout out a date, another friend of mine can tell you not only what day of the week it was but every little thing about what happened. I gave her a date from the seventies and she described the embroidered flowers on my yellow large-lapelled suit jacket.

Another friend cannot pick and choose she has to scroll. She can recall every single thing which happened to her from the age of three, every feeling, every sound, smells, the works.

Will your mind allow you to be spontaneous?

Find a way.

The Skalds did poetry. Bards too. Many say poetry is a means of remembering something. I say do not memorise poetry. It will rattle along like a maraca in a samba band.

Poetic works need the meaning emphasising not the rhythm, beats or rhymes.

For me, I have written thousands of poems, I have two I can do from memory.

Set me on with storytelling though.

I have worked a full week of six hour days and finished the story just in time to clock off.

(It was a queue constantly streaming into a museum so I had to be sure and make every element work alone.)

I am quirky.

Not being believed is another failing of mine. The whimsical way I portray tales makes people think I have made it all up, I think it is my cheekiness. The fact that I have spent hours on research and finding new ways to think are lost in the gag.

“You have made that up.”

We are quirky.

You are and you need to deal with it alright.

Reinterpret, research, reconsider, posit, discover.

Hours of research go into one snippet; a gag from hours.

This is a concept I have real difficulty explaining. There must be a word for it. There must.

Like there is for what Jung did. To posit. He explains how he was asked how the brain worked and he didn’t know. So he said there were two parts; the conscious and the unconscious. Now there is. There really is. He posited.

Say how something is and therefore it is forever so.

Edward De Bono reckoned that we posit all the time; especially politicians.

It is one aspect of what I mean.

I’ve described this idea in detail to someone whom was writing a thesis for academics to assess and she said what I meant was historical research.

That doesn’t seem quite right to someone plodding along in their own way hoping for the best.

If you talked to anyone going to a museum they would describe it as ‘the point’ because every single person who goes in an old place has a point to make. It is more important than looking to see what is in there. They have researched. They have thought. Here is the thought!

I am full of such thoughts.

(I try to address my stories with such things.)

I slip them in. I am the only person in history of Vikings to give the Gods surnames. Well, Patronyms. It took me ages to think about it and then I do a story and say Odin Borrsson and nobody notices. ‘Ah yes, that is his name.’

This is an inspirational talk so you can go away and not be motived either.

Yet…

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Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald