What we all missed was Maddy, who was sadly too ill to do her Baltic Tales headline spot.
But we had music: Gill Redmond on cello accompanied Jill Barr in a couple of songs, and Ron Hancock with voice and guitar even persuaded the audience to join the choruses of his maritime offerings, and the melodies were spread through the evening, like fruit in the better class of fruit-cake.
Raphael started off the storytelling with King Thrushbeard from Grimm, an account of how a spoilt young princess, who scorns and insults all her suitors, is brought to reason and to love by one of them, whom she had mockingly dubbed 'King Thrushbeard'.
Jill filled the rest of the first half with a tale of sex and violence in which Bill, the British sailor who had made his home in Italy, rescued the kidnapped Princess from the Supernatural Octopus who had abducted her - and then very nearly lost out on his reward, being made drunk and thrown overboard by the Unscrupulous Captain, whose dastardly scheme to claim the Princess's hand himself was thwarted by Bill's Timely Return, encrusted with seaweed, from the watery depths. You can't keep a good man down! [But you can kill a Supernatural Octopus by stabbing it with a harpoon and then hitting it repeatedly with an oar.]
Laura opened the second half with an account of the life of Anne Bonny, the female pirate, her arrival in Nassau, the Pirate Paradise, her break with her snivelling stool-pigeon of a husband, her liaison with Captain Jack "Calico" Rackham [she objected to being sold by her first husband to her second, as if she were cattle - but seems to have accepted being married by her second husband to her husband - ship's captains can do that kind of thing]. She and her cross-dressing friend Mary Read were the only two sober enough to resist the Governor's boarding-party, which justified her parting speech to Jack Rackham in his condemned cell: "If you had fought like a man, you would not be hanged like a dog." She herself, being pregnant again, escaped the noose, and disappeared from history... but not from Laura's story, which gave her a happy ending.
Mike took us to the icy waters of the North, and a tale by Jonas Lie, Isaac and the Parson of Brönö ,in which it takes supernatural intervention to persuade the Parson to give Christian burial to those dribs and drabs of his brother's body which Isaac the Fisherman has found drifting to and fro between the skerries and the islands - a happy ending to an otherwise grim tale - and also to a vastly varied evening.