Story-telling aka "The grandpa thread"

Hi guys, I thought it might be fun to have a place where we can share random stories whenever we feel like it. No rules, they can be fictitional or real experiences, if one pops to your mind and you want to share it you can do it here.

I’ll start with a tale my religion professor in high school once told us. It’s a koan, that is a zen tale supposed to help with meditation.

A master and his disciple were walking by the side of a river. They saw from afar a group of ducks bathing. They kept on walking, but when they came too close the ducks suddenly flew away. The two men stopped to observe the birds disappear in the distance, until the master turned to his disciple and squeezed his nose. When the disciple screamed out of pain, the master said: “There’s a duck singing”.


Nice :-). Learned a new word today. A koan is a paradoxical anecdote or riddle without a solution, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and provoke enlightenment.


Do you have to be a grandpa to participate in this, or do you just have to have “grandpa” stories?


The rules never specifically state that you must be a grandpa. If we must be a grandpa to post in here, then I am breaking the rules right now :no_mouth:


You don’t have to, you automatically become a grandpa the moment you tell your story :older_man:t2:


How does it feel to be a grandpa everyone?

I never knew either of my blood grandfathers. One died when I was 5. I waited in the car with an older cousin, on a very rainy day, because they did not let kids into a funeral home in those days. The other one died before I was born, but my grandmother remarried to a Peruvian Indian from the high country. When he was 17 he got swept off the street in Lima during the Apriesta revolution and thrown in jail. The next morning they began taking the prisoners out and shooting them against the wall. Just before they took him out, the other side won the revolution and his captors gave up.When I was about 20, I met his very aged mother and took her and my grandmother on a car tour of Washington, ending up at the Arboretum during a gorgeous flower show. It was quite a day.


Many years ago, in a lecture at university - that was before everybody did lectures on Zoom and the other new stuff. Back in my days we would have used Skype.
As I was saying, that lecture was about Hellenistic poetry, of which Latin poetry is actually an offspring. You see, by the time the Latins started to do literature, the Greeks were already in that post-modern phase we call Hellenistic. It was a small lecture room with about 12 listeners, maybe fewer.

This might seem unrelated now, but there’s a wide river in northern Italy flowing pas cities like Milan and Mantova (Virgil’s birthplace; you’ve heard of Virgil, the poet?), called Po. “Po” is also the German word for “butt.”

So my professor started to tell a story of Virgil, sitting comfortably outside next to his little house, one foot in the Po…

And some of us listeners lookd in each others eyes, saw us getting redder an redder. I started to stifle a laughter. “Mr. G., do you want to share a joke with us?” The professor asked me, starting to get angry. I bursted out laughing and so did my friends. The professor stated he’s going to leave the room for five minutes until we get ourself together, went out, came back after a while and proceeded to lecture without any half-time break as he usually does.

Later, we went to his office and apologised, but never explained the joke.


I have a childhood memory that just came to me.

I must have been around 4 or 5 years old at the time, and I was at my grandparents’ home with my parents, grandparents and uncles. I ate an apple and asked my father if we could plant the seeds, so he took a vase and we planted them.
Problem is, I was so impatient that I wanted the apple tree to grow immediately and I spent hours looking at the vase and waiting for the sprout to show :roll_eyes:. After some time my parents called me inside for dinner and while we were eating my father disappeared mysteriously for a moment with some excuse. He came back and we all had dinner together.
After dinner my dad looked out the window and told me enthusiastically to look outside.
I felt rather upset to find out that the apple tree had decided to grow just when I wasn’t looking. But it already had an apple attached to one of its branches, and that made my day.


Hmm. I don’t think I have any stories really. I’ve never done or experienced anything very exciting or interesting in life.

Mundane events… finding a bottle of Eiffel Tower fruit juice powder… getting pissed alone at beer festivals and micropubs… putting antiseptic on my cat’s paws… “almost killing everyone” by turning an offroad vehicle on a hill at a children’s holiday camp…

Tell you what, I used to work a part-time job cleaning the interior of aeroplanes. The company had piss-poor management, no-one ever knew what was going on, and I eventually quit because I couldn’t deal with anxiety and workplace politics. Anyway, a year or two ago there was the “hottest ever day in Britain” which was officially measured at 38 degrees celsius. On that day I was working on the runway, there was no wind, and I’m sure it was more than 40 degrees. So there was me, and this hyper-energetic sub-boss type, and a laid-back heavy-set black guy with vitiligo, and we were portioned off to clean a big double-aisle plane for the Emirates airline.

There was no air conditioning on this plane, and hell, I think they were actually heating it. We were sweating our arses off giving every seat a fresh headrest, blanket, pillow, and set of headphones; as I said before, no-one knew what was going on and we were running about in a state of perpetual semi-confusion. Well, we eventually got off the damn thing, I got back into the staff room doing a very convincing impression of a personal swimming pool, bath and steam room and drained several pints of water that barely touched the sides. To this day that was the only job I ever worked, and I only did it for two or three months, part-time for low pay. The bus station, a subway sandwich shop, and the pub I’d get hammered at were all next to each other, and I used to meet a handsome girl there who worked at the airport; of course I never saw her again. Little page from my life.


Once upon a time I volunteered for a local museum. The other volunteers were a surreal mix of attractive young women and respectable, middle-class citizens. There was an exhibition on about the witch trials, and it was my job to educate these poor tired parents chasing after their sugar-fuelled holiday-high kids about things that were of no practical consequence or interest to their lives: I was in a position as to recommend which herbal remedies were most effective against gout; and to explain the intricacies of Tudor plates and pots. They didn’t care. I didn’t expect them to.

Anyway, this museum apparently had a very large taxidermy collection. They’d put on a few good pieces: a hedgehog, an owl, a wildcat which they’d dressed with a witch’s hat (it was a Halloween exhibition, you see). It was quite odd when the school groups came in. I don’t really know how to talk to children. But I had a bit of fun recounting the Roman belief that hedgehogs rolled in fallen apples and carried them off on their spines, and other such things.

After I left my work at that exhibition I missed their general meeting due to a holiday I didn’t enjoy and never should have gone on, and thereafter they ignored all my attempts to volunteer for them again. Perhaps I looked too fat in their yellow t-shirts, I don’t know. I used to like that museum but I never returned there again.


The first time I was ever paid was as an “IT apprentice” and I was given half of minimum wage. I worked at a small business on an industrial estate; it was more or less impossible to get to via walking or public transport so I had to get a lift in. The owners were a married couple. The wife was a blonde woman who was alright but somewhat tiresome, a bit of a “Karen” if you will. The husband was a very abrasive man and rather a miser. He would berate me for arriving two minutes late for work; he was very eager to get the maximum amount of profit for the minimum expenditure. I worked forty hours / week, 9-5pm, and it would take me a good time more to get home since the estate was poorly planned and clogged with the day-end traffic.

I had a fellow-apprentice there; he was an upbeat, cheery guy with better social skills than me and he did rather better for himself at that place than I did. We used to print off all the orders onto A2 sheets and mark them with ink stamps first thing every morning, and that was actually pretty fun. My failing was that I couldn’t understand the labyrinthine Excel sheets that their company used to communicate with Amazon and Ebay, which is what they eventually fired me for.

It wasn’t all bad, though, There used to be a ten-pin bowling place next door, which has since relocated. After work, when I was waiting to be picked up, I would go down there alone and order a double gin & tonic; then I’d put twenty-pences into the sweet-dispensers. It was a relaxing place. Anyway, I’m done telling my banal anecdotes.


I love these non-stories! Let me do one. It turned out longer than I anticipated, but oh well.

Several years back, I decided that I like hiking, but having hiked only once before with a high school friend in central Sweden, I didn’t really know what I was doing, yet. I also was very curious how it would be to go on holiday on your own, so I got a boat ticket to England and took a train to Scotland.

I had brought everything I needed, a tent, raincoat, portable gas range, a single pot, 1kg of rice, rye bread, some nuts, cheese, dried sausage and a 2L bottle of water. My plan was to walk from Dalwhinnie (I later tried their whisky, which instantly became my favourite) to Fort William, so I got out and started walking. Already within one hour I got bored by following the gravel path, so I decided to take a “shortcut” up a mountain and set up camp somewhere above a patch of trees. It looked very flat from that distance. Oh boy, how wrong was I: this is where I learned that climbing hills is a totally different thing with a backpack than without, and that mountains generally aren’t flat at all. So, after taking way too long to work myself up to the place I had chosen to camp, I put up my tent, at an angle, not knowing how horrible that would be during the night. I then discovered the hole in my pocket, through which both of my only lighters had managed to escape. So I found myself with 1kg of uncooked rice, and only 2L of water, with no way to heat it. But you know, I’m optimistic, so I just rationed the other food a bit more strictly and figured that the streams up here were probably clean enough to drink. Oh yeah, had I mentioned that I stepped in a puddle on my way up the mountain, and that I somehow had forgotten to bring any spare socks?

Still, it didn’t spoil the fun for me, the next day I climbed over the mountain, and through some very dense fog I managed to find my way back to the road. It certainly wasn’t a shortcut, but it was definitely adventurous. During the rest of the day I kept walking, and towards the evening I set up camp while far away thunder started rolling in. I sent an SMS (oh the times) to my mom, telling about the thunder, and joked that I hoped it wouldn’t hit my tent, then I went to bed. There was a metal fence a short distance (but not too short) from where I had pitched my tent, and it was one of the areas with some trees scattered about, so I thought it would probably be safe, but still, being alone in a tent during a thunderstorm is absolutely horrible. After the thunder had passed, I tried sending another message to my mom, but there was no reception.

The next day, I once again strayed from the path and had a terrific time wading through mud and stumbling over clumps of grass, still no phone signal. When I reached the halfway point, Corrour station (you know, from the Geoguessr thread), I pitched my tent and decided to try my luck of finding a working phone at the station house (which is also a pub). Unfortunately, the lady at the bar told me their phone didn’t work either, because the thunderstorm had caused some kind of power outage. This was the moment I chose that it was probably unwise for my failed hike to continue. She offered me a pint, but since their card reader also didn’t work, I couldn’t pay, so that wasn’t going to fly either. The worst thing is that I only discovered the next day that I actually had another £20 in cash hidden in my wallet.

So the next day, I took the train back to Glasgow, called my mom to tell everything was alright, and then went back home three days early.

The best thing is, I actually loved it, and am still planning on finishing the hike sometime in the future. I was hoping I could do it this year, but with the coronavirus it doesn’t look like I can enter the UK…


I haven’t heard the term, but from the context and your description, “clods of grass” or “sod” (if the grass is still attached to clumps of dirt) seem appropriate.


I think simply “clump” may be the best word?


Those sodding sods of sod.


When I was younger I spent a lot of my leisure time hanging out with a friend who was short and working-class, and a pleasant, homely girl: the three of us would gather in front of an apartment building that was voted the ugliest in the whole of England, a big cuboid of asbestos-enriched concrete, abandoned with long rows of smashed windows. She went to university to study archeology and classics and I saw her a couple of times… first was when she corrected my pronunciation of “Herodotus” at a village event, and secondly I bumped into her selling shoes as a summer job. Since I’d been rejected from that very same job the week before, it was quite galling.

Another girl I knew was the friend of my school crush, who I’d utterly failed to achieve anything with. The two of them were quite similar: she a little more boyish, perhaps. I encountered her at one point; turned out that she was working for the Highways Commission, and her friend had gone off to university somewhere. Some time after that incident I enrolled in a university course about wind farms. I don’t care about wind farms. Let’s not dwell on that. It turned out that she was on this course, which was rather a surprise. Anyway, I quit that course; it felt quite uncomfortable to be on it. I still remember strolling around the strange campus in heavy rain, singing folk songs as I got soaked.

And I never saw any of them again.


A title

Perhaps this thread should be called “The grandpa (story-telling) thread” or “Creating Writing Thread”?

Just a suggestion, and since this entire thread is all about creative expression, I don’t want to impose my will by changing the thread title unilaterally.

A story

I wrote a little story about the characters in a riddle here:

It’s a form a constrained writing where I tried to deviate unexpectedly from the prompt. It also spoils the riddle (in case you care about that).

A suggestion

A bunch of us have been playing werewolf games in this forum over the past few months. It seems that there is a lot of interest in the role play and collaborative story telling aspects of that game, and this thread further shows that there is a lot of interest in general creative writing.

I was thinking that it would be interesting if we played a sort of role playing game that was all just about collaborative story telling. Instead of being limited by the rigid mechanics of something like werewolf, we could just focus on the improvisational and role playing aspects of the game. Further, instead of just free form creative writing, this new game would be about telling a cohesive story with each player helping to develop and choose the actions of a character (and possibly of some supporting characters as well).

This game could kind of be like Dungeons and Dragons (DnD), and led by a game master (which could also possibly rotate among multiple people) to help set the scene, manage a supporting cast, and prompt the story development. However, diverging from DnD, we could abandon all of the formal mechanics (dice rolling, rulebooks, character sheets, numbers, etc.) and play in a more free-form, improvisational manner. Of course, it would not have to be set within a fantasy setting either.

What do you all think?


I think I’ve already started executing this idea a few days ago with @Leira in the private discussion room I set up to kibitz the Werewolf game :stuck_out_tongue:


Welcome back @bugcat!

Yes, maybe the current title lacks informative content. I’ll change it, and let me know if it’s better now.

I think it’s a great idea, if you create the thread I’ll join the game. If I got it right, every player would impersonate a character, am I right?