Stories of Stories

Thanks to The University of Lincoln who made this nice short film summary of the Telling Our Stories community projects who worked together last year. It includes some snippets of My Ancestors were French, as well as the other project teams we met at the workshops in Lincoln. Good to see how everyone’s ideas came to fruition.

Visit our website: Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard

Adam, Rob and Lou
Adam, Rob & Lou making the film

Marlene and Shirley Identical Twin Sisters

Marlene and Shirley, identical twin sisters, wrote their poems together..

Marlene & Shirley, Identical Twins
Marlene & Shirley, Identical Twins

Bird – Robin
Noisy twitterer – Crow
Flying in the sky – A Dove
Wish I was there – Holiday
Free as a bird, free as an angel

Walking by the sea – standing at Jesus’ feet
Waves call me back to my home –
Feet dig in the sand – footsteps
leaving the depths
Of water
The Cat
Sleeping in the sunshine – Thinking of our life and stars
Walking and stretching – Out into the world
Rub against legs – For warmth and comfort
‘Where’s my dinner?’ So we don’t get thinner

By Marlene Patricia Rutherford and Shirley Elizabeth Rutherford
Identical Twin Sisters

Kings and Weavers

A huguenot
A Huguenot by John Everett Millais

Kings and Weavers is the next song in The Auricula Suite. It introduces the history of the flower, the Primula auricula, whose origins are in the Alps. Imagine how it will have been trampled underfoot by the Roman Legions travelling across the continent two thousand years ago. By the 16th century the auricula became a symbol of wealth and was grown in what is now France and Belgium by the first people to be known as ‘florists’ – The Huguenot people. They were also craftsmen and women, weavers and silk workers. In our tale the Huguenot people made auricula growing popular in England when they came here as refugees in the 16th century.

‘Kings and Weavers’ introduces the young couple in our story, Valentina and Raoul. Although Valentina and Raoul are fictional, they represent many people fleeing persecution and making a new life in a new and strange land, even here, today. I imagine Valentina and Raoul are similar to the couple standing in the walled garden in Huguenot Victorian artist, John Everett Millais’ painting, A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day.

Flower of kings and of weavers
Crushed underfoot on the mountainsides of Gaul
Leaves of green for a queen and a thousand different colours
Comfort of the soldier on the wall
I will come for you
I will find you…
Your flower theatre will remind me
Of the gardener and the skillful artisan
Of Reformation time, and the people
On a journey to find a new homeland
I will come for you
I will find you…
The flower of kings will live forever
The flower of weavers will go on
Spell or cure on a starry night
The moon in the middle of the flower shines bright
I can see it too babe
I will come for you
I will find you…
Flower of kings
Flower of weavers
Green leaves for a queen
And colours for all
From high in the mountains
To the Huguenot gardens…
I’m thinking of you…standing by the wall

Valentina and Raoul, in the Huguenot garden,

Valentina and Raoul, by the wall…

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard

Would you like to come to a workshop?

Would you like to come to a free, fun and engaging workshop as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History’

 Explore the significance of your ancestry using storytelling, music, art and poetry.

 Draw on the influences of the first refugees to come to England in the 16th Century – the Huguenot people.

Willerby Methodist Church Hall – East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
Sunday March 3rd 2013 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm


U3A – St Barnabas’ Church Hall Swanland, East Riding of Yorkshire UK
Sunday March 10th 2013 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm

All welcome. Light refreshments will be provided.

Places are limited so please email to book your place as soon as possible.

Work produced at these workshops, and Wolfreton School and illustration workshops will be displayed at a local event on May 4th 2013 which will celebrate the stories uncovered and work created for the ‘My Ancestors were French’ project.

Elements of the workshop will be filmed and will contribute to a digital archive of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s All Our Stories project, in support of the BBC’s The Great British Story – A People’s History.

Primula auricula Athene


My Ancestors were French… a tale inspired by the lovely little alpine flower, the Primula auricula and the story of how it came to be grown and displayed on Auricula Theatres here in England.