Zeche Zollern, Dortmund
    A wide open door:
     opportunity and adventure
    vulnerability and exposure?
    A closing door:
    acceptance and relief
    a missed chance and grief?
    A closed door:
     security and protection
     captivity and isolation?
    A half open door:
     invitation and anticipation
    intrusion and trepidation?
    Open the door
     step out with belief and conviction
    close the door
     to apprehension and restriction.
    Each with a sense of freedom
  • Nuts on Tour

    Plymouth, England

    In Spring of 2022 Nuts went on holiday to England. The headteacher of a primary school in Plymouth, Devon had read about Nuts and invited her to meet her pupils to tell them all about the StoryDoors.

    A (not so) Common Red Squirrel

    It is very unusual to see a red squirrel in Great Britain and they are considered to be endangered. The bigger grey squirrel was introduced into the UK from North America in the 1800s and since then the smaller native squirrel has diminished in number. There are still a few places where they still live (e.g. Scotland) and these areas are part of a red squirrel conservation project .

    You can imagine how thrilled the school children were to hear of the visit of our little red squirrel, Nuts.

    For Nuts her trip to England was also very exciting because she had never been abroad, never mind on her own!. A big adventure! There were lots of things to organise before she could travel. Together we made a list of all the things Nuts should take with her.

    Nuts’ rucksack

    • Passport
    • Wordbook
    • Map of Devon and Cornwall
    • Map of Europe
    • Family portrait
    • Favourite books

    Ich packe meinen Koffer und nehme mit……“


    Before Brexit it was so easy to go to England because you only needed your German ID (Personalausweis). When you travel from Europe into the United Kingdom now you must have a valid passport (Reisepass). Fortunately we were able to get one for Nuts relatively quickly.


    Nuts can speak English well but she decided it would be good to have a vocabulary book with her just in case she need to check some words. She also thought that it would be fun to teach the kids some German.


    A map of Devon and Cornwall was essential. Nuts planned to explore whilst staying in Plymouth which is full of nautical history. Dartmoor national park with its wild ponies is not so faraway. The counties of Devon and Cornwall are famous for their wonderful beaches – perfect for building sandcastles.

    To show the English children where Nuts lives, she included a map of Europe. Maybe one day the boys and girls would like to visit Witten!

    Nuts’ Favourite Things:

    Nuts packed a photo of her twins Fluffy and Flustered to look at when she felt a little homesick, and, if she got bored, she could always read her favourite books.

    With love from Witten

    Finally everything was packed into Nuts’ “StoryDoor” suitcase and off she flew to Plymouth.

    Nuts is back again, having had a wonderful time. The teacher said;

    The children absolutely loved (Nuts’) story.

    Their reaction was so cute… they loved the idea that (Nuts) lives in a different county…

    Drake Primary Academy

    Nuts and I are planning a visit to England this year – maybe we’ll get a chance to drop in on her new friends.

  • A Tribute to a Friend


    Recently one of my friends passed away. The last time we spoke was on the phone and it was clear that we would not see each other again. Naturally, this was not an easy conversation but her words still resonate: “Pat, sei nicht traurig, alles ist in Ordnung.” (Don’t be sad, everything’s fine).

    I have come to terms with her death and truly believe that she had accepted her fate and that she had prepared herself for her next “journey”. Her strength came from her belief that there is another life after death.


    My friend and I met about 20 years ago when she joined one of my groups to refresh her English. We became good friends and she introduced me to the fascinating world of crystals. One of the places we visited was a shop in Velbert Langenberg called “Unikate bei Petra”- here my friend bought a moonstone.

    I have read about the symbolism of the moonstone and, as always, there are lots of suggestions. There is an obvious connection with the moon and some even refer to it as the Traveller’s Stone lighting the way.

    Her Story

    My friend was the first person I ever told about my StoryDoors and the very first miniature wooden door I made sat in her kitchen on a window sill. After the news that she had passed away, I wrote a poem called “Who Knows if Jackdaw is a Thief?” to go behind her door. If you’re interested in reading it, try this link: on my website “www.storydoor. info“.

    I hope she would have liked it. I think of her as the owl (she particularly liked birds of prey) in the poem as it glides peacefully off into the dark clutching her moonlit stone.

    This quotation was in the order of service at my friend’s funeral.

    Tot ist überhaupt nichts:
    Ich glitt lediglich über in den nächsten Raum.
    Ich bin ich, und ihr seid ihr.
    Warum sollte ich aus dem Sinn sein,
    nur weil ich aus dem Blick bin?
    Was auch immer wir füreinander waren, sind wir auch jetzt noch.
    Spielt, lächelt denkt an mich.
    Leben bedeutet auch jetzt all das,
    was es auch sonst bedeutet hat.
    Es hat sich nichts verändert,
    ich warte auf euch, irgendwo sehr nah bei euch.
    Alles ist gut.

    Roughly translated into English:

    Dear friend, it would be nice to think that you are just waiting in the next room.

  • Tree Spirits Bite the Dust!

    I can’t believe it! I discover these tree spirits, capture their image and then they are gone. How sad is that?

  • Children’s Books

    My “StoryDoor” is a project I’ve been working on for some years. With the support of a web designer who has been extremely patient, I now have a StoryDoor website ( and a MyStoryDoor instagram.

    A Good Story

    The world of story telling is magical – often captivating our imagination and even explaining things we don’t understand.

    Of course, there are so many children’s books: old and new. As a child we didn’t have many books in our house, but when I became a Mum I soon made up for this. Since the 1990s the market has been flooded with wonderful children’s books.

    Here are a few examples of children’s picture books which combine simple mesmerising text and vivid illustrations. In my opinion they really work!

    • Ketchup On Your Cornflakes by Nick Sharratt
    • The Complete Farmyard Tales: written by Heather Amery and illustrated by Stephen Cartwright (see StoryDoor 2 on
    • Room on the Broom: written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
    • Dirty Bertie by David Roberts
    • Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy

    Books published by the independent publisher Usborne are an absolute must for your bookshelf. The Usborne Book of Bible Stories and Illistrated Grimm’s fairy Tales to name but 2. Pure quality.

    I’ve recently discovered books published by Child’s Play which bring a story alive with their lift-up flap.

    I recommend any books illustrated by Michael Terry (E.g. Little Hotchpotch. See StoryDoor 4 A visual treat!

    Funny Story

    Kids love a giggle. For example take “Dirty Bertie”- he does all the things you’re not supposed to do (according to grown-ups anyway!). I know his horrible habit of picking his nose is not to everyone’s taste but kids adore such naughty talk.

    Books which make children laugh are an excellent way of grabbing their attention. Such a book is an invaluable tool for parenting – use it to help children learn how to behave (or in Bertie’s case – how NOT to behave!) or simply to impart information.

    There are 2 amusing children’s books which prove categorically that Germans do have a sense of humour (contrary to popular British belief!) :

    • Welcher Po passt auf diese Klo? by Nele Moost and Michael Schober
    • Die Kackwurstfabrik by Marja Baseler and Annemarie van den Brink, illistrated by Tjarko van der Pol (all from The Netherlands)

    Unfortunately for those of you who cannot read German these books are, as of yet, not available in English. A real shame.

    A Happy Ending?

    Sometimes when I read a story “out loud” I struggle if it has a sad or gruesome ending. Probably the most difficult to read are those written by Hans Christian Andersen. Remember “The Little Match Girl” or “The Pied Piper of Hamlin”? I realise there is always a moral to be learnt from these fairy tales but I admit to changing the outcome to avoid tears at the end.

    BEWARE! Some traditional Nursery Rhymes which seem so short and sweet, aren’t all that you imagine. The classic “Ring-a-ring a roses” is still sung by young children with enthusiasm – little do they know, that it’s a song about how people died of the plague!

    Why not visit my StoryDoor website to see and hear me read my favourite children’s books.

  • 2. The Gigantic Turnip

    This is based on a Russian fairy tale recorded by Aleksei Tolstoy in the nineteenth century. Illustrated by Niamh Sharkey

    This is a delightful story about an old couple who need help to pull an enormous turnip out of their garden. You can read it out loud with gusto to the delight of listening children. Watch their faces as this tale progresses. More and more animals join the “tug of war” with the stubborn vegetable, but will they succeed?

    A wonderful story of teamwork and collaboration.

    Danger of collapse
    Just checking the post.
    Run along, Nuts

  • 3. Pig Gets Lost

    Pig Gets Lost

    One of the short stories in the series “The Complete Farmyard Tales” by Heather Amery and illustrated by Stephen Cartwright.

    Goodnight Read

    I chose this as one of my favourite books not just because of the charming story and wonderful illustrations, but because it became part of our family life. The evening routine for my sons when they were little was: into bed, a bedtime story, a goodnight kiss and then an audio version of the complete works of The Farmyard Tales.

    If you get chance to read these short stories, look out for the little yellow duck.There is one hiding on each page.It likes to play hide-and-seek just like Nuts the squirrel.

  • High Spirits in the Woods

    Whilst I was coming up with the story behind my StoryDoors, I did some illustrations of local trees which I imagined could be tree spirits.

    Could this fairy be flitting around in the dark woods? Who knows? Perhaps we should go for a night walk (die Nachtwanderung – this sounds so much better) .

  • 1 . Nuts, My Busy Little Squirrel
    Door 1

    Let the Games Begin!

    Once I had decided to hide my StoryDoors in trees, I had to solve the mystery of who it put them there! That’s when Nuts, the Busy Squirrel came alive.

    This is a story of a little red squirrel that scuttles around the winter woods looking for her store of food. Her cache and her favourite bedtime story are hidden behind a little door. I, the storyteller, am amazed how fat my little friend, the busy squirrel, becomes by the end of the book.

    You too can get the inside story by visiting

    Here are a few of my illustrations from my book:

    Are you talking to me?
    Nuts reading a story
    Fast asleep
    Fat Nuts
    Fluffy and Flustered

  • The Story of My StoryDoor

    Once upon a time….

    Unbeknown to most of my acquaintances, I have a strange hobby. I hide miniature doors in trees! They are my “StoryDoors”.

    How did this all start? I think I first developed a fascination for doors when I stayed in York with a group of my language school customers. I noticed how colourful and individual the front doors of the houses were. I began to take photos, much to the embarrassment of my family. My Aunt and Uncle in Hornsea (east Yorkshire) were particularly obliging when I asked them several times to stop the car whilst out and about.

    Initially I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my album of “Door” photos. My collection had meanwhile extended to include German doors, and once you’ve developed an eye for a good door, there is no end to this project! Several years later my “StoryDoor” idea began to take shape.

    Seeing the Wood for the Trees

    People always say that if trees could talk they would have so much to tell us. Just look at the size of some of our trees and imagine what has happened in their lifetime. I remember sitting one day in my car waiting for my running friends. As always I had parked directly in front of the same tree. A hornbeam, I think. I suddenly spotted an old man’s face in the tree. That got me thinking!

    Old Man Tree Spirit on Hohenstein

    My StoryDoor Mystery

    I love a good story. So I thought – why not hide tiny handmade versions of my doors in trees? Perhaps someone would find one and wonder who put it there.

    But what should be behind the door? It soon became clear to me. A children’s story.

    Hence my motto for my StoryDoors: “A story behind every door”

    To be continued……..