Monthly Archives: November 2013

Space, Time, Machine and Monster returns

Following a hugely successful first outing in Pontypridd in 2008, the Space, Time, Machine & Monster literary festival returned for two days packed full of science-fiction, fantasy and horror. Attendees enjoyed talks, workshops, film screenings, panel events and competitions for adults and teens.

Event highlights included a talk with Rhianna Pratchett on the world of narrative gaming; and Page to Screen: Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror with Catherine Bray who is currently editor of and a regular guest presenter on BBC1′s Film 2013 With Claudia Winkleman. Plus, Mark Brake and Jon Chase disclosed the real science behind Doctor Who, Catherine Fisher and Gwilym Games explored the work of Arthur Machen and Dimitra Fimi gave a presentation on J.R.R. Tolkien.

There was also the chance to explore the world of Warhammer and take part in a series of battles waging throughout the day, or you could create your own animated alien universe, zombie comic and even your own origami Star Wars character. The programme featured a top line-up of speakers, authors and illustrators including, Huw Aaron, Ben Aaronovitch, Horatio Clare, Jasper Fforde, Catherine Fisher, Gwyneth Lewis, Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Volk and many more.

Bestselling fantasy author Jasper Fforde commented: “There are clearly not enough zombies or Time Travel in South Wales, and I am delighted to see Literature Wales addressing that imbalance”

Penarth Poetry

In September 2013 young people from the Vale Of Glamorgan enjoyed a morning of poetry and exploration with celebrated author Phil Carradice.

Young members of the Penarth library Art Blast sessions which aim to encourage and support creativity in young people and engagement with the community library and other young people of Penarth explored the local Penarth pier and park as inspiration for a variety of poems and short stories.

The pieces were shared at a celebratory event in Penarth library in October 2013 as part of the second Penarth Book Festival.


Standing on the sea front

What do I see?

Many clouds

Sailing through the sky

Waves lapping

On the shore

Like pet owners

Stroking their animals

And Yachts


Across the Channel

While speed boats Zooming

Across the beach

Fishermen throwing

And pulling

At their rods

Trying to get a catch

I stand on the sea front

That is what I see.




Stand on the seafront,

What do you see,

Sparkling waves,

Smiling up at me.

Stand in Penarth,

What do I see,

a bustling town,

not waiting for me,

Standing here,

Stating all,

That I can see,

I think I’m starting,

To need a wee.





I went to the pier

What did I see

Fishermens sticks

as long as pencils

People sitting down

Relaxing while licking ice cream.


I went to the pier

What do I see

Steepholm and Flatholm

Ships setting sail

Waiting to attack

to find treasure

Under the earth


I Went to the pier

that’s what I see.




Stand on the pier

See the strange railings

See the howling sea

See Flatholm

and a pirate ship

way out at sea.





Stand on the seafront

What do you see

I see blue waves

swooshing like

clouds up in the

sky and boats

bobbing along

on Bristol Channel.



Stand on the seafront

what do you see?

The waves crashing

onto the rocks

as hard as a storm.

Step on the pier

as pretty as a rose,

like a towering building

bigger than me,

look at the trees.

Swaying leaves

pretty colours

of auburn and green.

Take a trip out

to an island

on a boat

as long as a tree

look at the pier

in the distance

what do you see?

Water glimmering

beneath the wooden planks.


Stand on the seafront

what do you see?

Birds chirping

Flying over the sea

Blue sky

and white fluffy clouds

looking like candy floss.

Stand on the pier

walk the way down

see people fishing

and having fun.

look at the railings

detailed like flowers

beautiful and sweet.

Glance out into the

sparkling ocean

fish leaping

in the air.

Stand on the seafront

what do you see?

I see everything

what do you see?



Stand on the Sea front

What do you see?

I see the pier

over the big blue waves,

standing there


standing strong,


in the breeze,

from the big blue Sea.


Standing on the Sea Front

What do you see?

I see the ships


on the waves


and rocks

cliffs and ships,

that’s what I see

when I stand on the Sea Front.



Vampire Flame

A dance is being held in the Pavilion on the Pier.

The girls are there on their own, everyone loves them.

Only I can see the strain in their smiles, the sinister

glitter in their eyes. I leave and walk to the top of the Pier.

Leaving the Pavilion, the girl’s teeth are sharp, and they

talk like they have been alive for years.

All of a sudden when I feel like walking back the place

erupts into flame. The girls walk out of the blaze, not a

scratch on their skin, their eyes on fire, their hair rippling

out like an inferno. They smile, pointed teeth sticking out.

They start towards me. I pray for the sleeping town of

Penarth. Their is no hope left for me.



Stand in Penarth


If I stand in Penarth

This is what I see

the sparkling blue sea


from the bright sky

Flat Holm

and Steep Holm

lying like big rocks

in the vast Channel.


If I stand on the pier


I see

flying high

bridges and massive blackberries

growing in the summer heat

prickly holly

like needles

fern leaves

and pine cones

growing in the narrow ding

full of nature.

Sailing boats

sailing with full sails

zooming around.

This is what I see



Stand on the Seafront, what do you see?


I stand on the Seafront, And what do I see?

I see a pier,

A picture,

It looks like a boat,

Floating on the waves.

The plaques

Were made of brass.

I saw Lavernock Point,

Steep Holm,

Flat Holm.

On the way back,

Past Alexandra Park,

I smelt real,

Fresh Garlic,

Fresh as the air,

That’s what I Saw!



Full Moon on the Pier.


Look I have secret to tell…

Me and my best friend Amy are wolfbloods.

Please tell me what they are!

I’m Rhydian (yes I’m a girl) and this is my

Story about the great fire on the pier!

It’s time for the great dance ( a ball if you’re posh).

Amy and I head over to the Pier. Amy’s family

is traditional. I feel so sorry for her. I mean

she made Amy wear frilly knickers!

We went inside and we danced till we dropped

forgetting that tonight was full moon.

We went outside at 12:30 p.m. to get fresh air.

When I felt a tingling feeling, my body hunched

up. “Amy can you feel that too?!!

“Uh, Rhydian, it’s full moon!”

A blue swirl began to form around us, then

everything stopped!

I looked at Amy, her eyes golden.

You see, I’m the only one with odd eyes,

Green and blue. We ran together off the pier

as we did, behind us we saw it go up in flames.



I went hunting for treasure,

then I saw I was standing by a door.

I knocked twice but no-one answered,

so I went inside. There was treasure and gold,

but then I heard.  Someone was coming, who

was it, I don’t know.



At Penarth on the Great, Great Sea


Stand on the Sea Front

what do you see?


The Sparkling Sea,

looking up at me,


seagulls bellowing

as loud as they can,

stealing chips

from a dear old man,


Once boys jumped

at the ladies

Climbing the girders

below the Pier

Made them scream

fainting fits!


Wild garlic

here and there

across the old bridge

I think its sturdy enough

even for me!

I thank after those chips

I gained

a pound or two!


The glistening Sea

is staring up

at me.


The Pier tall

and strong

Like a boat

that would

Catch the spotlight

of the lighthouse

across the waves.


That’s what I see

on the great

great Sea

at Penarth.



Penarth Seafront


Stand on the Sea front,

What do you see,

the long majestic pier,

Staring at the Sea,

like Mr. Wonka

Staring at a lake

of chocolate,

Crowds of people

eating crispy fish

and chips,

like children licking

a Cadwalladers

chocolate ice cream,

thousands of rocks staring at me,

My sister collecting

hundreds of shells,

collecting books

in W. H. Smith,

the waves rippling

like sailing boats

creating waves,

seagulls plummeting down

in to the sea

trying to rest

but its becoming more crowded

it flies away

and eats leftover chips

that’s all that I see

that’s all I see

on the Seafront

All Seen by me!





Stand on the seafront

what do you see.

I see the pier

bobbing on the water

like a boat.

I see ivy

tangled in the railings

like snakes.

I see the steep cliffs

and the pebbly beach below

like scattered bird food.

I see trees

like giants

and bushes like tennis balls.

I smell fresh sea air

and a sweet smell

like cake.

I hear the rushing

of the sea,

when the sun shines

on the sea front,

this is what I see.



Penarth Pier


Stand on the seafront

What do you see?

Imagination take over,

The grand pier

In my eyesight,

Lights flash

before my eyes,

The nightime dance,

Women in long frilly dresses,

Outside down the boardwalk

What is now a chippy

and public toilets

Sitting on the bench

Where the couples

Had their moment

The house lights

and streetlamps

brighten up the picture

It hasn’t changed one bit

I stare at the seafront

That’s what I see.

Iman .

Tonyrefail Literature Festival



Following the successful Hands on project in Tonyrefail in February and March 2012, Literature Wales supported the second equally successful Literature Festival in Tonyrefail Leisure Centre sponsored by Tonyrefail Communities First partnership.

Two hundred and forty six pupils from seven local schools enjoyed a day of interactive and sports workshops with Phil Carradice, Francesca Kay, Huw Aaron, Mike Church, Francis Maxey and Cardiff City Football Community Foundation.

Each of the schools involved also enjoyed two creative writing workshops of either circus poetry, creative writing, sports writing or environmental writing delivered by Mike Church, Francesca Kay or Ric Hool funded by the schools via their pupil deprivation grant.

Author profiles:

Mike Church
Performance poet and writer. Ex-Deputy Gead of Headlands, Penarth has worked extensively with children, adolescents and adults .

Francesca Kay
Francesca is experienced in writing poetry for children. She works in schools, libraries, museums , even outdoors. She unbdertakes day visits to schools as well as longer projects

Phil Carradice
Phil is a poet, novelist, editor and historian.  Born at Pembroke Dock, educated at Cardiff College of Education and University College, Cardiff. Phil has been a teacher, social worker and head teacher of Headlands Special School in Penarth. Hi s latest books for children are The Black Chair and  Saving SS Ryan.

Huw Aaron
Huw Aaron is a Cardiff-based cartoonist, comic artist and illustrator. Author of welsh children’s comic collection ‘Llyfr Hwyl y Lolfa’, and has cartoons regularly published in Private Eye, Spectator, Reader’s Digest and other publications. He is currently working on a graphic novel based on the Old Welsh war poem Y Gododdin

Francis Maxey
Storyteller. Teacher. Moved to Cardiff in 1982 and has been performing for 25 years as a clown and actor. He has been storytelling using traditional stories and running related projects in schools throughout Wales. The shows are a mixture of stories, riddles and music.He tells Welsh and European tales, with some international material.

Ty Hapus

Throughout August and September, people accessing Ty Hapus in Barry enjoyed a series of creative sessions with poet Patrick Jones.

A partnership project with the Vale of Glamorgan libraries, this project linked with the new ‘Picture the Vale’ project. This project aims to digitise local historic photograph collections held by Vale libraries, local history groups and photographs of historic value from members of the public and upload them to the People’s Collection Wales website. This will involve the scanning, saving and indexing of photographs.

Tŷ Hapus is an innovative centre designed to relieve and promote the relief and treatment of people with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and to provide respite support for sufferers, their families and carers


Comment from Ty Hapus:

I just wanted to say a huge thank you on behalf of the Ty Hapus guests for your superb interaction and involvement with them over the past weeks. Given the nature of memory loss in dementia it is heartwarming to hear guests talk about you, remember your name, and look forward to the next session many days after you have been. I think a lot of that is due to your engaging personality and non-patronising approach as well as the fun you brought into people’s lives.  I do hope we see you again. There is always a welcome for you at Ty Hapus.




I remember scrumping apples

the tingly taste of gooseberries

My grandmother in the garden in Solva

I remember picking raspberries

used to take a plastic bag

I can see it now late 1940’s

early morning

going mushrooming with my dad

sharing time with my dad

I remember the fruit garden

and my mother would always say

‘dont pick them all, leave something for the birds’

and she’d make a lovely pie

from fruit ‘growing half an hour ago’

the taste of memories

these memories of taste


My mother’s hard pastries

covered with evaporated milk

strawberries and ice cream always reminds me of summer

I remember being in digs in college

boiled eggs for breakfast

and the white was always too runny

oooh sausage sandwiches with brown sauce

how I loved trifle

My mum used to make it as a special treat

and make us wait for it to be ready


At my nan’s we’d have pick n mix

and she’d sneak me extra ones

a mixed grill

with chips and garlic mushrooms

chocolate – any chocolate


Fresh bread just out of the over

with butter and cheese yesss

I remember christmas cake and my father would have a little drink of what he called nelson’s blood, which was rum

to warm the heart

sunday st david’s church

to this day I love lychees and their delicate taste

and the memory of chip scrapings

with salted gravy remains forever

and ever emblazoned upon my tongue

my memory


Denise, Annie,Adrian, Mike, Pam, Brian, Elaine






I am an aeroplane

(my son works for British Airways)


I am very happy at the moment

with lots of friends,


I am a window,looking out of my window

still with me


I am a field of golden daffodils


I am a voice

singing in Rhiwbina


I am not the person I used to be

I want to go back in time,

I am the singer loving what I do,


I am a rock

for anybody I know

sometime I feel people ignore me

But I am always there

if people need me,


I am a walking disaster

I am the reporter on the bbc news

with news that Wales have won the 2014 world cup

I am

We are……………….


Denise, Annie,Adrian, Mike, Pam, Brian, Elaine






Ringland Youth


Young people in Ringland, Newport enjoyed a series of creative workshops as part of a communities First and library partnership to promote creative engagement with reading and writing.

Young people enjoyed two circus poetry workshops with Mike Church and two rap workshops with Rufus Mufasa between September and November 2013.

Ringland Raps

Hard Hands Heavy

Hypnotising Hollow Drum

Rough Rhythms of Ritual

Hypnotising Hollow Drum.

Solid Singing Strings

Beats Banging Beats

Loud Quiet Hard Rough

Soft Smooth Sweet.

Wooden Music Beating

Tempo Tattoo

Fun Music Singing

Vibrant Volume.

I love Keith Lemon

I dig Joey Essex

I love GTA5

# Proper Creepy Sick

Time out of school

I should be King

I love BMXin’

Stop bullying

Bring me some C.O.D

And buckets full of bling.

No school uniforms-


This is the sound

Of the Underground Celts!

Get Up Stand Up

Welcome to Jam Rock!

Put on your best shades

We represent Welsh Hip Hop!

Bob Marley represents Peace and Freedom

Not forgetting his chilling Reggae

3 Little Birds sang “Don’t worry be happy!”

Grow your hair, chill out, play some beats from Bob Marley.

Sun and freedom- Waaagwwaaarrnn Sanca Man

I shot the Sheriff, so this is my Redemption Song

Get Up Stand Up, Yeah Man, Peace Man

In the darkness of the cold, channel your inner Rasta Man!

Boxing, Bikes, Bad Junkies

Hate surprises, hate suspense, want more money

Piercings, weed, tropical fish

My teapot Chihuahua will destroy your Bull Mastiff.

GTA5 will suck you in

My Nan doesn’t understand and she slammed it in the bin

What a sin, I’ll wipe that grin

Off your cheeky chin chin!

Your mums got a big bum chin

I’ll wipe her smile and her bling.

Beatbox, Gaming, Bad Man Swag

I’d mess on the streets but not with my dad.

Facebook, Twitter, Skype to mates

Social Networking, set up dates.

Surfing curbs, flip tricks, forever fab

Sometimes good, sometimes bad.

Personalities are not always what they seem

Where you’re born, how you talk, different accents, different scenes.

Music, hobbies, your identity tag themes

Showing love and respect, friends and families.



Talygarn Hospital

For six weeks in September and October 2013, people on the acute mental health ward at Talygarn hospital, Pontypool enjoyed a series of creative writing workshops with Patrick Jones exploring memories, smells and sounds.

The project was run in partnership with Gwent Arts in Health (GARTH)  and the Occupational Health team at the unit. GARTH aims to develop a permanently funded programme of arts experiences for patients, their families, healthcare staff and local communities that will support improvements to the health and well being of the communities served by the Aneurin Bevam Health Board and enhance their experiences of healthcare services and the physical environment of the Trust’s buildings and estates.

Talygarn provides mental health services for residents of the Torfaen borough. The service comprises of an inpatient ward, which provides 22 beds for adults aged 16 to 65 who are suffering from an acute mental illness, and a Day Hospital which provides a service for 25 adults. The Day Hospital offers a range therapies and interventions for people suffering from an acute mental illness, provided by both nurses and occupational therapists.

National Poetry Day


Dŵr Cymru and Literature Wales celebrate National Poetry Day with watery words and revolting rhymes.

  •  ‘Water, Water everywhere’ the theme for UK-wide National Poetry Day on 3 October
  • Dŵr Cymru hosts special day of poetry for school pupils
  • Aims to combine interest in poetry with learning about water and the environment

School pupils from Ysgol Pontshonnorton, Cilfynydd and Cwmffrwdoer Primary School near Pontypool will get the opportunity to create their own watery words and revolting rhymes as Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water helps celebrate this year’s National Poetry Day. ‘Water, Water everywhere’ is the theme for 2013 and the company has teamed up with Literature Wales to deliver a day of creative poetry workshops with Mab Jones and Rufus Mufasa.

The annual event, which started in 1994, aims to get millions of people across the UK involved with live events, classroom activities, conversations, broadcasts and tweets. Other events taking place across the UK will include poets writing in the London Underground and the incarceration of four Welsh poets overnight, with pen, paper, coffee and orders to create 100 new poems.

The Welsh Water event aims to encourage interest in poetry at the same time as pupils learn about water and the environment.  One of the company’s major education campaigns for 2013 is Let’s Stop the Block which shows how flushing the wrong things can cause blockages and pollution. Pupils will therefore get a special chance to create their very own revolting rhymes about sewage and pollution for National Poetry Day.

The poems created by the pupils will then be published as a poster given to schools taking part in Welsh Water activities as well as being shared on Twitter and Facebook.

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s Education Manager Claire Roberts said:  “We’re really excited to be marking National Poetry Day in such a fun way. With water as the theme for this year, these activities will be a fantastic way for children to learn about water and how they can help protect their own environment by reducing the risk of flooding and pollution.

“Dŵr Cymru Welsh Welsh Water invests heavily in our education services in order to ensure that the next generation can help play a part in protecting their local environment from pollution and flooding, as well as learning how to reduce the amount of water wasted. Our education activities help children become fantastic ambassadors, who then return home and often pass these messages on to their parents and grandparents.

“During the last academic year over 38,000 pupils visited one of our 4 Education centres or received one of our themed workshops as part of our schools outreach programme.”

Chief Executive of Literature Wales, Lleucu Siencyn, said: “Poetry and water are two subjects that Wales has long been familiar with, so we’re delighted to be joining forces with Dŵr Cymru to inspire young people to explore and celebrate both this National Poetry Day.”

Merthyr Valley Homes Capturing Memories

Through August and September 2013, inhabitants of three residential homes in Merthyr: St Tydfil’s Court, Haven Close and Cae’r Wern enjoyed two visits per home from performance poet Mike Church.

The Capturing Memories project in Merthyr Valleys Homes Sheltered scheme looked at the problems of social isolation as well as health and wellbeing – mental and physical. Poor mental health is linked to suicide and in Merthyr Tydfil the suicide rate is 13.7 per 100,000 people compared with the average of 12.1 per 100,000 across Wales. This project was a good stimulus for particiapants – keeping the brain active, allowing them to share and capture their memories, thoughts and dreams in poetic form.

The project will culminate in the production of a booklet of poems and a celebratory sharing event.

The Saturday Matinee

We remember the Saturday matinee

At the Castle Cinema

Riding along on the crest of a wave

You’d go on the stage for your birthday

And if it was a Western

You’d gallop up the hill all the way home

With Roy Rodgers and Zorro

We were miners of the ABC

Lining up for the Saturday films

Queuing right up the High Street

And on the back row seats

There was a record for who had the most kisses

We remember the Saturday matinee

We had five cinemas in Merthyr then

Although a couple were fleapits

No backs to the seats in the Cosy in Penydarren

And they’d throw apple stumps to the front

Never the apple always the stump!

You’d go home with popcorn stuck to your back

And nobody used the toilets in the Cosy

You’d need willies in the front row

And go splashing on the way out

But nobody wanted to miss the film

We’d see Charlie Chaplin on a first date

And the manager at the Palace

In his black suit, dicky bow and pencil moustache

Usherette torches would shine in your face

With cries of, ‘What you doing there?’

Stampeding with swords on the way out

Whatever happened to the Saturday matinee?

Those good old days

Simple days, happy days

Where are they now?

We’ll have to wait till next Saturday to find out!




Those happy schooldays

When we had respect for teachers

It was ‘Mr’ this or ‘Miss’ that

There was a time when women who married gave up work

We had teachers that kept their eyes on you

Inside and outside school We had boys’ schools

And girls schools

One day we bunked off to go sunbathing in the park

Until a teacher appeared with his class on a trip

We had to hide quick in the rhododendron bushes!

There were coal fires and ringing school bells

And using the mantelpiece clock to time the lessons

Until the day Thelma Powell wound the clock on

If you were in Thelma’s gang you were ok

We had a teacher called ‘Froggy’

Because every time he caned you he jumped up and down

We had those third of a pint silver top milks with straws in

Melting by the fire on cold winter mornings

And we had a little sleep on campbeds

One nameless girl always made sure her bed was next to John Evans

We had a teacher who looked like a witch

We even looked for the broomstick

There was Peggy Longdrawers with the loose elastic

And second hand Rose

Who got her clothes from her sister

We’d wear our Tams on our heads

And have our daps in our dap bag

In those happy old schooldays


When We Went A Courting

Courting was always nicer in the dark nights

It was like that in Georgetown

The suspender belts and dark discreet nights

We’d go in the garage if it was wet

And then the roof leaked

Monkey parading up and down the High Street on a Sunday

If you didn’t pull by 9pm you might as well go home

Boys one side girls the other

That was the very early days of Facebook

When we used to eyeball them instead

‘Are you serious?’

‘Are you spoken for?’

‘What’s your house like?’

My eyesight was better then

In winter we had hot vimto together in the café

Raspberry and ice in the summertime

My sister in law said ‘It wont last you know’

But 60 years later it’s still going strong

We had commitment then

The posh china would come out

Even the cakestand and the tablecloth

Youngsters today don’t make love

They have sex

Do they respect their bodies?

We do wonder sometimes

We feared pregnancy

And built friendship first

Like Cinderella we had to keep an eye on time for home

They wouldn’t call it courting now

But back then

It was proper commitment



When We Were Children

When we were children

If you ate the pips

A tree would grow out of your head

We played marbles and hopscotch

A crowd of us would play on the mountain

And wait for the two o’clock hooter

We’d play five stones

And my father would warn us

Not to go to Dai Cabbages

When we were children

Birthdays were basic

You might get a book

Maybe a Beano Annual at Christmas

With an orange and a bag of monkey nuts

When we were children

We’d have whipping tops and hook and wheel

Sent down the park all day

With water and sandwiches

Last on the bottle would get the floating crumbs

We’d all get dirty

With muddy knees, mud pies and roly polys

We had immunity to germs back then

When we were children

We didn’t eat apples in the dark

Just in case of maggots

We had pantries and larders

And bread and dripping with salt n pepper

We had water from the well

And milk in aluminium cans from the house down the road

We had crackling and proper home cured ham

And there was the day the donkey ate the napkins

When we were children

They were good old days

And we were allowed to just be a child


Back In The Day

Back in the day community

Was leaving your door open

Trusting people

Helping people

Children would be left to play

Always given a helping hand

People knew their neighbours

Back in the day

Families were bigger ,everyone belonged

People didn’t move away

There were lines of prams outside Woolworths

Communication by chatting not texting

A bit of gossip worked wonders

There was neighbourliness

No retail parks the corner shop had it all

People would look out for children

Look out for Alzheimer’s sufferers

Look out for each other

No cars outside schools everybody walked

Sheep roamed the roads

Back in the day

You didn’t hear foul language

People held doors more often

And the policeman seemed six feet tall

And knew everyone

Sorting out things on the spot

They’d drag children caught smoking back home

Teachers had respect

Back in the day

Community was different

Was it better?

You decide…..



No More Work In Merthyr

There’s no work in Merthyr now

Part time only if you can get it

In time gone by

You could go from one job to another in a day

Finish at Luptons one day

And straight to the Button Factory the next

Now it’s all Call Centres and different accents

There’s no work in Merthyr now

And if it’s a Glasgow accent it’s even worse

No chance of knowing what’s said

Everyone has to leave Merthyr to find work

Some even get by painting and decorating in London

We had the Labour Exchange

And jobs in factories and shops

People in Woolworths were looked down on

By those who worked in Boots

There was always a job

Now all the factories have gone

There’s no work in Merthyr

Kayser Bonder gone

Triang Toys gone

Teddingtons gone

Thorns gone

BSA gone

Hoovers gone

Button factory gone

And of course the mines gone

But we remember those days of work

First wages of £3 or 10 shillings a week

Bringing home £10 from Triang and thinking you’d won the Lottery

Then the days out with the Labour Club

The trains so long to go to Barry

The back end would be in Merthyr

The front would be in Pentrebach

Factory fortnight when everything shut down

Heading to the Costa Brava of Trecco Bay

Sitting in the sun in black coats and black hats S

weating on the beach

Then the knotted handkerchiefs

In those carefree, safe days

We didn’t know we were poor

As everyone was the same

Working in the bakers and put in to the ovens

On a piece of sacking

When children never said ‘I’m bored’

We remember the days of work

The days of nothing

The days of plenty

But there’s no work in Merthyr now



Let Me Tell Let me tell you about courting

The war meant a lack of men

Meeting men at Chapel ‘

That boy over there fancies you’

‘I’m not going out with him

Look at the size of his nose’

We’ve been married 46 years now!

Gangs of boys and gangs of girls

Went monkey parading

Pairing off in dance halls

A terrible disgrace if you were left on a chair

For the last dance.

Saving for shoes then sinking in mud

Gallantry and good old days

Three boys and three dances

And at the end of the night

All three waiting at the bus stop

Wanting their kiss

So sneaking home alone

Needing a father’s permission

Then meeting over the bacon slicer

And other romantic places

Let me tell you about courting


Our Days Out

We loved our days out

Charabang trips not coaches

And only once a year

The Sunday school outings

Never had a holiday

Maybe a picnic at Pontsarn

Looking forward to Barry Island all year

Then it rained

Barry Island, Porthcawl or Bristol Zoo if you were posh

We loved our days out

And on that one day a year

We’d have sandwiches on trestle tables in a church hall

Then down the beach

Being polite passing cakes down the line

Never to see them again

It doesn’t always pay to be polite

Nan in her coat on the beach and thick stockings

Sweat breaking out under that hot beret

Booing the Prisoner of War camp at Bridgend

On the way to Porthcawl

We loved our days out

Girls club, girl guides and brownies

And a father who made wooden swords for street fights

Crawling through the old mine workings

Scrumping apples from the teacher’s garden

And when teacher appeared I’m stuffing apples in my knickers

And waddling away as fast as possible

By the time I get home the knickers

Are two sizes too big

We loved our days out

Playing kiss chase in the street

Running backwards to get caught

We loved our days out

Wind berry picking up the mountain

And up to Snob Hill for the watercress

The open air Lido

With ice cold water

And sliding down the hills

With a green bottom to show for it

Scared to put your knickers in the wash

With holes in them

And still two sizes too big

The ferns on the hillside could tell many a story

We loved our days out



Remembering The Old Schooldays

Ah schooldays…

In the old days we had the cane

And then a good hiding at home

The cane for being in a train carriage with boys

The cane for sitting at the front

Teacher said we’d have talked if we were at the back

You could hear the ticking of the clock

Detention and lines ‘I must not speak in class’

Nora the nit nurse

Nitty Nora the boogie explorer

Who’d give a nod to the teacher

And everyone knew who had them

Ah schooldays…

In the old days we had

Slaps on the head and facing the wall

Today teachers are afraid to touch a child

It’s the pupils telling the teachers what to do

Children wanting school to be Disneyland

And we had the Cogi Bach

The Traunt Officer

And a Truant School in Treharris

You simply had to go to school

Or the Cogi Bach would get you

Nobody would talk to you if the Cogi Bach went to your home

Ah schooldays….

In the old days there was no computers or cookery

We had short hand typing, needlework,

Cork work and patchwork quilts

Making the sign of the cross to get your sums right

A coal fire in every class and warming quart bottles of milk

That froze in winter

Ah schooldays

In the old days we had semolina, tapioca, porridge and cardboard flan

‘And if you don’t eat your semolina I’ll tell your mother when I get home’

Stews with pearl barley, suet dumplings and carrots

For afters an apple, maybe an exotic orange or  banana

But on Mondays Jam Roly Poly or Spotted Dick

(You can’t say that in schools now!)

I cried when someone ate my brown parcel of bread and jam

And slept on camp beds in the afternoon

Times tales and proper conversation

Ah schooldays…

Those really were the days



Children Of Today

Children of today get too much

We were more responsible and carefree

We used to play hopscotch in the street

And take pop bottles back for cash

Go to Saturday matinees with my brother

And roller skates were a luxury

Sometimes you’d get to wear just the one for 50 yards

Children of today get too much

We got evacuated from Birmingham to Aberdare

We were swinging from ropes round lampposts

21 coaches to Barry Island once a year

Skipping in the street

There were no cars then

Children of today get too much

We were courting up the mountain

Picking wind berries and spinning whipping tops

Throwing jacks

And lighting papers and shoving them up drain pipes

The rag and bone man would give you a goldfish for buttons

Even if you’d taken them off your father’s best funeral shirt

And had the hiding of your life!

It was charabangs not buses then

And waiting for the horse to deliver instant manure

Children today get too much

My knitted orange swimming costume came off in the sea

And we nearly drowned in the Lido spring water

Proper cold water not heated

The teachers in coats as the children turned blue

Scrumping apples

We’d never seen a banana

Ate my first one peel and all

In the old days when everyone shared

We were one big family

But the children of today get too much




I didn’t like myself as a teenager

I was the ugliest one around

And found to have rickets

So bow legs

That needed pegs

To sort them out Cod liver oil too

A spoonful good for you

I didn’t like myself as a teenager

I wanted to change the world

Don’t we all

You could call

Us aging hippies

Down the chippies

Idealistic with peace and love

That went hand in glove

With a cup of cocoa on the barges

It wasn’t courting cos it was missing

All that kissing

We were innocent then

Going to church and chapel

Giving teacher an apple

Then day trips in a charabang

And how we sang

All you need is love

But I’ll wager I didn’t like myself as a teenager

But then does anyone?

Thank god those days are gone….

Dorothy Perkins and Karen Moore


A Sweets and Spangles Childhood

Sweets and spangles

Jingles and jangles

Five boys chocolate

And sherbet with yellow fingers

Lick them while it lingers

Black Jack and Fruit Salad

Sour Salt that cuts your tongue

Lumps of crystal

A pennorth of this

And a pennorth of that

Pink and white sweets

All shelved and neat in the Sweet Shop

The top shelf for happorth specials

And gobstoppers that was proper danger

And no sweets from a stranger

But it’s not the same today

We had Dolly Mixtures and Jelly Babies

Childhood back in the day

Playing hopscotch and a Diablo made of wood

Catching it on the string

And bring back

Stuck in the mud

And rat a tat ginger

They don’t have that childhood now

They’ll shut the door in your face

The human race has moved fast

But back in the past

It was simple and plain

And it’s not the same

Bring back sweets and spangles J

ingles and jangles

And with all that she has seen

Make Dorothy Perkins our Queen!

Karen Moore and Dorothy Perkins


Life’s Too Short To Clean The Cooker

As I contemplate the swiftness of the clock on the wall I wonder, should I perhaps make a will? There’s not much time left for us all Life’s too short to clean the grill

And as I lie here watching the birds flying by, Oh how I love to hear them sing A philosophical thought catches my eye Life’s too short to clean the oven rings

We waste so much time cleaning, trying to stay ahead All you get in the end is ‘dish pan hands’ Better by far we should enjoy ourselves instead Life’s too short to clean pots and pans

I enjoyed myself when I was young Yes back then I was a real looker But I’m still not too old to have some fun Life’s too short to clean the cooker Karen Moore


The Suitcase

Go and open the suitcase

Maybe inside you’ll find

A knitted swimming costume

Or a ventriloquist’s dummy

Maybe you’ll find some wet grey trousers

Or some much needed dried milk

Go on open the suitcase

Maybe inside will be

A ticking grenade

Or a ration book and identity card

Maybe inside will be

Some French knickers made from parachute silk

Or a person in pieces

Go on open the suitcase

Maybe inside will be

Old books, a Bible and magazines

Or some Spanish Root

Go on open the suitcase

Maybe inside will be

Nothing at all

Or some well off parents

Maybe they’ll be a feather duster

And a ten shilling note

Go on open the suitcase

Maybe inside will be

An old inkwell and pen

A winning Lottery ticket

Or a cupful of sympathy

Go on open the suitcase

Let’s see what’s in there

No on second thoughts leave it be

It might be Pandora’s Box



The Suitcase

If you looked in the suitcase

You might find

A change of clothes

Or a pressed flower

Or a lot of unpaid taxes

If you looked in the suitcase

You might find

A Spy Kit with two spies and invisible ink

There might be a dictionary of poems

Or a bible black bible

You might find a toothbrush and toothpaste

Or a dead body and a hacksaw

Go on look in the suitcase

You know you want to

You might find

A photograph of family

A radio transmitter

And hard core drugs

Go on look in the suitcase

You might find

A piece of string for repairs or to hang yourself in emergencies

You might find much needed whisky

And a strong piece of cheese

There might be a cushion you should never be without

Or the innocence of a child

There might be the barking of a dog

Or there might be nothing at all

Unless you open it you’ll never know

But then again

It might be a bomb!


RCT Summer Reading Challenge

In late August 2013 young people from Perthcelyn enjoyed two days of creative scary workshops linking to the library Summer Reading Challenge.

Arranged in partnership with Communities First and RCT libraries, young people explored scary, creepy ideas to create a series of poems and short stories.

Children’s reading can ‘dip’ during the long summer holidays. The annual Summer Reading Challenge helps gets three quarters of a million children into libraries to keep up their reading skills and confidence. Because everything changes when we read.

The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read six books during the long summer holiday.

There is a different theme each year. Children can read whatever they like – fact books, joke books, picture books, audio books – just as long as they are borrowed from the library.

Every time children finish a book they get stickers and rewards and there’s a certificate for everyone who finishes.

The Summer Reading Challenge is open to all school children and is designed for all reading abilities.  Schools work with local libraries and give out information to encourage children to take part, and most libraries run Summer Reading Challenge linked early years activity for pre-schoolers.

The theme for the 2013 Summer Reading Challenge was  Creepy House.

Healing Words Newport


From August to November 2013 Literature Wales worked in partnership working in partnership with Gwent Arts in Health and Newport Library Services, to commission literature projects in Newport following the successful ‘Healing Words’ project in Blaenau Gwent in 2009.

The aims of the project were to run creative participatory poetry workshops and related arts activities that facilitated shared writing, with adults and young people accessing Mental Health Services from the communities of Newport.

Project activities involved writers and artists, working with groups in local libraries and other locations.. A visual artist was attached to the project and worked alongside the writer with the selected groups to produce visual imagery that reflects their work.  Related activities were also participatory, drawing on and enabling creative expression in a range of artistic media by the individuals involved in the project.

The outcomes of the project will be a series of poster poems, that will form local exhibitions in libraries, Newport healthcare settings and any other appropriate local venues.

The project enjoyed two celebratory events in October 2013, one on National Poetry Day (Thursday 3 October 2013)  in the Royal Gwent, another as part of  events around World Mental Health Day on October 10th, which the Library Service will be promoting as part of their ‘Get Libraries’ campaign. One of the Newport Library Service’s aims is to improve the physical and mental health and well-being of residents through opportunities to engage in learning and social activities and preventing ill-health. An event for all participants, poets and artists took place on  Wednesday 9th October as part of the Newport Comedy Festival.

The Baby


It’s crying time again

The hope for a new future

Three becoming four

Another knock at the door

Changing the nappy

To keep her happy

Other people’s children go back

But not this one

This one needs the confidence to learn to fly

So she will try

To leave the nest

And do her best

With red gums and 100 decibel screams

The nightmares in your dreams

Sleep a thing of the past

Make the one blink last

A smile that’s priceless

But you can’t cash it in

First few years they begin

Learning to walk and talk

Then the teacher’s shouts and chalk

Telling them to sit down

And what name do you choose?

Elvis for the Blues?

Then the news that it’s female

Tells a different tale

Lullabies and nursery rhymes

And those agonising times

When you step on toys

And the constant noise!

So we wish you luck for the next few years

And more smiles than tears…….


When I Leave Here


When I leave here

I don’t know where I’m going

But I’ll get there in the end

When I leave here

I want good news

The hope that I’m going somewhere else

Maybe home to cook

Or I’d like to walk barefoot through a stream

Walking and walking to be free

And those views I will see

When I leave here

I want to enjoy a strong cup of coffee

And hold someone’s hand

When I leave here

I don’t know what will happen

I’ll feed the imaginary dog or cat

Catch the mole in my lawn

And listen to perfect mood music

Finding the rhythm that’s in my feet

I’ll watch the belly

And tickle my tele

When I leave here

I want to leave something behind

Put on a cheery tee shirt

And watch Mexican wrestlers

I want to write the perfect poem

And, above all,

I want to be remembered


My Thoughts


In my thoughts are a family of panda’s

There’s starving people waiting for lunch

And the whole of London Zoo.

There’s Goldilocks the villain of the story,

Pinocchio and the oncoming football season.

In my thoughts is Milton Keynes

With the ups and downs of school

There’s a chick out of its nest

And a Frenchwoman wandering in a forest.

A snake is always falling

With a question of who put the Mc in Mcdonalds

There’s a poet

Who does know it

But won’t show it

There is life as a river

Flowing to the sea

And all who travel on her

Are vessels in the breeze

There’s an emptiness.

It’s great to have thoughts

And escape from reality

Thumbs Up For Becky

Becky sorry about your thumb

We heard it went numb

We hope it’s getting better

And this is our letter

You’re having no fun

And probably can’t run

To collect a sum (from National Accident Helpline)

Maybe a tot of rum

Will ease the pain

Don’t break it again

Cos we want you back

You won’t have the sack

Just a poem from us

So hop on the bus

And come back to number 47

For our lunchtime heaven!


Summertime…those lazy, crazy days

When you know the wasps will bother you

And follow you forever round beer gardens

A time of ice creams and 99’s with chocolate flakes off the van

Waiting for the tune of Mr Whippy, Mr Creemy or Mr Summer Delight


Those holidays and mosquitoes

In the car with the windows up

And the rain teeming down

To put the washing out or not to put it out

That is the question

Waiting three hours for a plane

Waiting six weeks with the kids

Lost luggage and lost youth

With the fragrance of fresh flowers


The Dawn Chorus

And the odd kitten or nine

Long days and long nights

Falling asleep when it’s still light

Shedding clothes and shredding salad

Shorts and sandals

Lettuce upon lettuce

Sunbathing and sunburn

Peeling skin and calamine

Seeking shade and aftersun

Skinny dipping and summer showers

Not waving but drowning

To the sounds of cricket willow


It comes, it goes

Like the rest of us


There’s the laughter and friendship

The name that means equal as we are

What’s in a name maybe it should be an Egyptian Princess

Maybe it is

There’s strength and vulnerability

Famous faces on walls

The ones who’ve been there and done it all

But still need support like the rest of us

It’s good to be in groups

With baked potatoes and cheese

And some change please

Makes me weak at the knees

We wanted to keep the pool table

They said we weren’t able

Now there’s no more cue

Where it is we’ve no clue

But there’s women knitting blankets

For a baby

And maybe

A bit of pampering with biscuits or nails

The Women’s Group never fails

I love coming to Hafal

Lots of cake to snaffle

Plus the biscuit tub

Aye there’s the rub

Getting together for a meal

It makes us feel

Positive and taking our time

Out of the house to relax

No more St Cadoc’s

There’s the day trips

The poetry, the art

So many activities

With staff on hand

The mutual support

Hafal’s not boring

No time for snoring

Never yawning

This is our morning

And remember

The cup is always half full!

The Search For Happiness


It’s doing what you want to do

It’s winning the Pools

Or taking up lion taming and surviving

I don’t like caving

You go there if you’re misbehaving

It’s getting your dole money on your Post Office card

It’s filling up three skips

And doing things with someone else

It’s that time with no stress in your day

And nothing goes wrong

Something new to do

Somewhere new to go

It’s a good film

Or a smile in your direction

Last time I was happy

I was in a nappy

Pushed in a pram

With sandwiches of jam

Now it’s smoking marijuana

And a bit of how’s your father

But too much grass

And you could fall on your…..and end up with arthritis


 Brief Thoughts On Early Mornings


In the early mornings

I sometimes think about two little lovebirds

Or about food and drink

I question whether I’ve taken my medication or not

In the mornings

I think about riding my mountain bike

And about inner tubes that will never puncture

I wonder how the day will turn out

Sometimes I try and recall my dreams

In the mornings

I think about whether my nephew will behave himself

I think about my children and moving house

And why are those dogs still barking

I think about all the things I have to do

All the things I want to get done

Sometimes in the mornings

I wonder if people believe in God

I try to keep stress at bay

And let the radio play

In the mornings

I do a lot of thinking

And then ease myself into the day….


Brief Thoughts On Newport

Welcome to Newport

Come on down and see

Tramps and people begging for money

See the neglected Newport Castle

The tiny remains that were once a proud brewery

And is now just a stumpy bit

It’s not Caerphilly or Caernarvon this is Newport

Come on down and see

The Red Wave, the Maritime Sculpture,

The Riverfront, the Leisure Centre

The empty shops and charity shops

The demise of the City Centre

A reminder of prosperity gone south and west and east

It’s out of town shopping that thrives

It’s liquidation or the promise of life to come

Welcome to Newport

Come on down and see

Where people swam off the transporter bridge

Now it’s just abseiling in the wind for charity

There’s Tredegar House and Park

There’s history sunk by reconstructed boats

Space age station alongside the old

Two era’s as uncomfortable neighbours

And hanging baskets as little gardens of hope

Welcome to Newport

Come on down and see

The chewing gum and cigarette butts carpet the floor

And more funny characters, cliquey characters in cultural isolation

Not always a ‘Hello’

There’s ignorance and confusion

Is Newport really Welsh?

Is it really a City?

Welcome to Newport

Come on down and see

The artist’s projections for the future

They keep on promising

But it will probably stay the same

Does anything really change?



Childhood Memories

Childhood the best days of your life

Bottles of milk in the infants sometimes warm in the sun

Conkers and marbles

Pressing the bell on the bus

Pretending it’s your stop

Parents struggling for money for day trips

Family outings in the countryside

Deckchairs in a field with a flask of tea

Barry Island, the beach, the Fair

Once even Blackpool

It was like Las Vegas with candyfloss

Steam trains and scrapped old engines

Donkey rides and falling off

Childhood the best days of your life

Playing rounders waiting for your turn to bat

Some days too tough to remember

Coming home from school and TV till tea

Excited by school trips and outings

Bullies and beatings

Burglaries and bracelets

Childhood the best days of your life

Then the summer holidays and out all day

Not wanted back till night time

And at home pocket money used to feed the meter

When black and white became colour

Turning knobs at the back of the set

Jumping off the walls at Dense Hill

Dens and parks, places to hide like Tarzan and Jane

The good old days of younger times

Childhood the best days of your life

Tadpoles in nets, catfish and newts

Marvel comics and pop delivered on Fridays

Going with dad to work

Plastic prams and teasets

Christmas searching the house for your presents

Opening selection boxes, eating chocolates

Then sealing them back up under the tree

Peas in the allotments, multicoloured pens leak into school uniforms

Using tights as stockings with tangerines, apple, orange and sweets

And chocolate, always chocolate

Dragged round to relatives you didn’t usually see

Aunts and uncles you never really knew

Creeping out of the woodwork

And telling you what to do

Childhood the best days of your life

I’ll let you decide