Once upon a time, Tales of Britain updates used to be weekly, every Folklore Thursday, without fail. (Is Folklore Thursday even a thing now? There seems to be a similar hashtag every day of the week!) Then, the missives from Brother Bernard slowed down to become seasonal… and then… Girls, and indeed boys, this is the first Tales of Britain update in a year and a quarter. 

Perhaps it’s unfair to lay the blame on someone who cannot yet speak, but the chief reason for a pause on folkloric activity here is… well let’s put it this way…

Neddie thinking up some new plots after a week or so of thinking/existing.

Say hello to Brother Bernard’s boy, Nephew Neddie! Siring such undeniably cute issue and the zillion late life lessons this involves naturally took precedence over getting stuck into the folklore of Britain on a weekly basis.

But that doesn’t mean it’s been nothing but nappies and silence over here. The official audio guide to I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue launched on Audible in the spring, to mark Clue‘s 50th birthday, and next year the official audio guide to Blackadder will be available, to mark Edmund’s 40th. 

Between the two projects came the much-awaited latest instalment of Tales of Britain  on Audible – Volume 3! Knowing the baby was on the way, and there being so much to record in advance before the air was filled with the screaming of tiny lungs, I had selected and recorded 20 new stories from the book well in advance, making sure that the fresh volume would be ready to listen to before Xmas rolled around this year, and we even had an autumnal design theme for this third outing…

But sadly, Audible have had other ideas. Their blinkered business model has never been able to accommodate Tales of Britain’s unusual approach – our idea was always that, with 77 tales in the book, and new ones being brought back to life every year, we could spend a few years building up small volumes, at reduced prices, with a view to eventually making all 100+ Tales of Britain available as one big download. The bosses at Audible have simply never got this, and refuse to allow us to sell volumes at lower prices – hence, few folk have afforded to download the first  two volumes, especially given the state of the UK in 2022.

Hence, the audio gods are refusing to provide a home for Volume 3, despite all the loving work we have lavished on it, to get it ready for you before 2023 rolled around. Ultimately, Audible has never been a virtual marketplace, it’s just their own bizarre streaming system which only works their way.

The first two volumes are still available to listen to HERE and HERE.

But it looks like we’re seeking a new sound home for Tales of Britain, a new scheme which allows folk to enjoy these audio tales, in the hope of getting the first three volumes back up for folk to enjoy early in the new year.

It does undeniably make us all rather sad, after such hard work, not to be able to share the latest volume with you right now – it boasts the tales of Molly Whuppie and Prince Bladud, the epic panto of Jack & The Beanstalk, the wintry mystery of Gawain & The Green Knight, King Leir and Robin Hood and so much more! 

The Hedley Kow © Katie http://klangford-art.blogspot.com

Neverthefewer, what we can at least do as a festive offering is to tease just one of the 20 stories from Volume 3 – so here’s THE HEDLEY KOW, a tale of the North-East of England, up towards the Scottish borders, with a timely message about how the very poorest in our society have to make do, and how a positive outlook doesn’t always equate to low intelligence… though sometimes, in this country, you do have to wonder…

We do have one live T.O.B. show booked in already for 2023, back at the lovely Ludlow Fringe in the summer – and nappy-changing duties permitting, we’d be over the moon to hear of any further tale-telling opportunities for the new year!

But otherwise, until we get news on where Tales of Britain audio goes from here, Brother Bernard and Nephew Neddie wish you all a very very jolly and warm Winterval/Mithras/Saturnalia/Yule!

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