Gartholwg Medieval Festival

Michael Harvey

In August 2010 Gartholwg Lifelong Learning Centre, Church Village hosted a two week Medieval Festival.

Visitors were able to take part in a variety of workshops including creative writing and storytelling with Michael Harvey; archery, craft workshops, pyrography and wood carving. Visitors were also able to watch a medieval re-enactment society display battles from the 13-15 Century and falconry displays.

Seven young people from Rhondda Cynon Taf worked with Michael Harvey to create individual stories based on a traditional Valleys tale. These were then displayed in the foyer of the Lifelong Learning Centre over the festival and performed as part of storytelling sessions led byMichael Harvey on Saturday 14 August.


Ahmed Aboukoura

The mountains in the distance are lined with bright light from the setting sun. The air is laden with an earthy aroma and the birds are singing euphorically. The earth beneath me is cold to touch and the plough in my hand bites into my palm, leaving raw streaks of red. Ever since he had left me, I have expected him to arrive. His company was what I really desired, oh – how I missed the touch of his burgundy cloak and the smell of dirt and leaves about him. Even now, as I think so deeply about him – it is as if he is here, as if he has never left me, as if we have spent all of our lives together. I gaze up into the hilltops, squinting until my eyes adjust to the wane light. I can see a figure solemnly, traipsing over the swaying daffodils and tulips. I drop my plough and take a tentative step forwards. Is this figure Maddock, my Maddock. As I delve deeper into the shadows with my gaze – there was nothing there. Was there anything there at all? Sullenly, I bend over – wincing as my back clicks – to pick up my plough. Sometimes, I can hear him, hear his voice, or see him behind me, but as I turn around – I’m gazing at a facade – at thin air.

Aras Aboukoura

The scratching at the door came from an old lady with a sagged face and torn cloak, her curved nose and chin with her hunched back and her single rotten tooth. Her cloak was like it had patchwork designs on it as well. When Madoc was shouting at her and assuming that she was a beggar. And then the whispers made him get scared. She had a brooch tying her scarf that sat beneath her round head. As she continuously said the words “dealathou! And once it ended dark towering clouds built up. Laden with water which was ready to batter down with thunder and lightening. Due to it the party ended and the friends and neighbours left heading home.
Ayah Aboukoura

The old man sat opposite me was crippled but still maintained life in him. The closer I became the more clear his mangled face shined. His scent of coffee was stronger than I’ve ever smelt before and I began feeling quite ashamed – storming in like an angry elephant.
He spoke to me with great sincerity and kindness that I became more keen to listen. I hadn’t understood what had happened and why no one had recognised me. Speaking slowly, his shrivelled mouth moved to the beat of his heart. Calm and at ease, the man enlightened me. And I was no longer perplexed but still didn’t understand how time had passed so quickly.

Georgia O’brien

Looking at the man sitting in the chair when he’s talking feeling like he’s stolen your house and kidnapped your family. And that he was wearing a jacket that you used to wear also feeling sad because that was your favourite jacket. As well that you remember the walking stick he had in his hands. And the pattern of the jacket blue with pictures of cars either side of the arm, how silky it felt and warm last time you wore it. And the stick how the lovely celtic pictures embroidered on there show it was just the right size for your grandma. And how the jacket and the stick brought good memories back. And the house itself.

Laurie Cox

Once upon a time there was a young boy. He worked in the fruit and veg shop in the market. The usual people came every Saturday for several years, buying the same things. But, one day, an old woman came. Her skin was old and wrinkled and she needed a stick to walk. Her eyes the boy paid most attention to. The eyes were green but not just green, very, very deep green. The darkest green the boy had ever seen in someone’s eyes. She was wearing a long black cloak, with Celtic embroideries on the sides. She came up to the counter, curious. “How can I help you?” the boy, Harry asked. The old woman leaned close over the counter and whispered in Harry’s ear. “I’m not here to buy fruit,” she whispered. “I’m here to give you something. Something that you’re only allowed to use if you feel annoyed, unwanted or confused.” She reached into her cloak and gave Harry a box. The box was a red velvet box with green patterns on. Harry thought, this must be a joke! An old woman can’t just come and give me something she doesn’t want! So Harry shouted at her “Why have you just given me this? This is not a jumble sale, this is a veg shop! She didn’t look surprised. “You have insulted me. I have given this to you with the goodness of my heart.” And she scuttled off. The day in the veg shop went by so quickly, Harry was surprised when the day ended. Harry opened the box that the woman gave him. A ring. He chuckled. Yes, of course, a ring which will help with my problems he thought. He put it on. It was quite nice. As Harry walked home, he passed a lot of people who he usually passed. But the scowled, instead of smiled! He didn’t do anything to them, did he? He turned the ring on his finger, it was very tight, so he stopped for a second, he began walking again. Mr Hobbs passed his next door neighbour. He smiled, like he was very excited to see Harry, “Hello!” He smiled. “So you’re not grumpy with me like everyone else?” Harry mumbled. “Nobody’s angry with you.” He said. Harry looked around. Everybody was waving smiling at him.

Martyn David

In days that have left
Hours that have fleeted
He lost our land
He entered it below

Deals are made
Fortune is swapped
Lines coincide
But betrayal is on the cards

For if a being breaks the leaf
If a field is exhausted and weak
If the song in the air is faint
We will sing got their lives

Recite the words of your fathers
And the wisdom to the humans
If they do not heed your words
Let them not say, we did not warn them.

Tia Parfitt

He woke up in the middle of the night with an unusual smell, the smell of fire, hot and hard to breath. Then he saw the smoke out by his window coming in. He shot up from his bed and ran to the window. He could not see any fire in the distance but then he noticed his field by the house full of barley was on fire he ran down to the field and could not do anything. By dawn the fire had stopped and the field was in ash all his barley was gone his eyes filled up with water all of his hard work had been destroyed.