Residential Home workshops

Throughout June and July 2013, Patrick Jones visited Ty Clyd, Bargoed and Pentre House, Ton Pentre as part of one of the newly identified key projects with residential homes for the South Wales Literature Project.

Ty Clyd, owned by Caerphilly County Borough Council is a 30 bedded residential home, providing accommodation for long and short stays. It is a single storey building set on the outskirts of Bargoed, overlooking the Rhymney Valley from an elevated position.  Pentre House, owned by Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council is a 29 bedded residential home providing accommodation for longer stay. It is purpose built, has a landscaped garden and is situated in Ton Pentre

Residents enjoyed relaxed poetry workshops and conversations during a two hour session. The poems have been compiled as a booklet and distributed as a celebration of the work produced.



In my pocket

nothing in my pocket

couldn’t afford it

half a penny for a cigarette

not much in my pocket

a picnic

beetroot sandwiches down the park

Saturday 12 noon

down the pictures

used to sneak in

my mother with me

on the tram


we’d bring our sandwiches

I remember my mother cooking

no swearing mind you

I’m still with my mother now

in my pocket

baked potatoes

no butter mind you

still lovely

in my pocket

where everyone looked out for each other

families friends communities

helping each other

in times of need


A girl I knew married a fella

they went to london

he sang a song

‘my wild Irish rose’

he was a singer

I can remember it now

I used to walk across the Rhigos

with my mother

to see family

lovely walk in the sun

I worked in Bridgend Mental Hospital

for years


managed to get a job up the valley

in the factory

it was closer

a lot of the girls did the same

My mother died when I was 4 months old

my dad worked

so my sister brought me and my 10 brothers and sisters up

must have been hard work but as long as I could go out

I was ok, I was happy

‘fresh air didn’t kill anybody’

an uncle would give us a penny when he was bothered like

we would go up the mountains 3 am

and pinch potatoes from the farmer’s field!

And swedes and greens

I remember 1926

the strike

and we had to go to the chapel for food

everyone would be there

I would go and deliver bread for the baker


when I had finished

he’d give me a piece of hot bread and jam

ooh it was bloody lovely

We would go to Malvern

to visit my grandmother


for our holiday

I loved it there

I never wanted to come back home

never had a holiday

I remember going to Barry Island

with a trip organised by the Bethany Chapel

They would give each child 6 pence

and we would go on the bus

it was very exciting

sandcastles/wooden bucket no spade

and fish n chips

it was done by word of mouth

everyone went

lovely days


You have to work to get on

no work no roof

no food on the table

Know how to be have

control yourself

If you can’t do good

don’t do bad

Don’t let people stand on you

work hard

get rid of all the government’s expenses

be constant

be firm

don’t line your own pockets

consider us as good as you

knowledge is power

be careful with money

help out at home

self-sacrifice is important

help others

enjoy life


Soap was always important to us

Couldn’t afford coal tar soap

we would use the same soap for washing as for bathing

We had to have what we had

We would cut the bar of soap in half

half for bath

half for wash

We would have a bath once a week

all share it

boil the water on the fire

carbolic soap

lifebuoy soap

I can still smell it now

I loved washing and cleaning

and soap reminds me of that

I love the smell of perfume


it was a special treat to have

loved it

The smell of dinner cooking a hearty stew aaarrrrhhhh

my mother’s cooking- a rabbit stew- delicious

waste not want now

I used to love wash day

it was a routine of life

and held things together

hands scrubbing – dolly tub

washing board

school days

happy days

times table

my brother was late coming home from school

we went to find him

couldn’t see him

heard a knocking in the classroom

and he was in the cupboard the teacher had put him in the cupboard

as he had fought back after the other kids had

called him welsh rarebit

and he had pee’d all over them!!!

I remember a teacher 6ft 2” huge fella- Tom Harry- you wouldn’t mess with him

He’d give you a slap with his hands across the head

some teachers were cruel

What we did for entertainment


hide and seek

Drs and nurses

play shop

play house

skipping handball

hook and reel



football in the street



created by Ada Mary Dennis Phyllis Mary Megan Rene




A Washing line

sails in the breeze

dolly pegs

clean and freeze

‘my mother doesn’t think you’re washing the clothes clean’

I was 9 or 10

when it rained my mother would hang the clothes in side

I loved cleaning and polishing

loved cleaning the house

scrubbing brushes

in soapy warm water

scrubbing the front step

I also used to love doing the washing

on the washing board

with ‘lifebuoy’ soap

still use it now my granddaughter brings it up to me

I loved to have everything spic and span

had a tiled front

lovely posh Victorian tiles

I enjoyed sweeping it

and cooking a big Sunday roast dinner

can smell it now!!


peppermint drifts through the air

it’s nice

I smell toffees

it reminds me of the Emporium

the mannequin parade

we would save our money

treat ourselves to a new dress

A smell I like

is that of

a school

on a rainy day

all in school


rain on coats

the smell of fire

rainy macs

used to like that –

I remember my mother making stew

a huge pot cooking on the stove

with veg from the allotment

it was lovely

I love the smell of cut grass

reminds me


our mountain at home

we used to have picnics on the grass

up the mountain

when the strike was on

people stood together helped one another

we would go up the ‘tump’

and have a picnic

sandwiches pop homemade cakes lovely food and company

Trishan Lap

a fruit cake. Beautiful

and of course Bara Brith

I remember

my mother cooking

corned beef stew

we didn’t have much


none of us starved

though we were poor

our mother always made sure we would be fed


no uniforms

used to use the cane

slap upon cold hands

I remember having a haircut

nearly bald

the school would cut our hair

I remember my teacher catching me chewing gum

and she made me walk to the back of the classroom

and put it into the roaring fire

I was embarrassed

lights the fire of memory

My father worked as an undertaker

I remember polishing the brass edges of the coffins

and the smell always stays with me to this day

Reminded of the trees over the fence where we would

go and dig for coal to light our fire

we would use bits of stick to rummage in the soil

I had a lovely laurel hedge

and in my garden pansies and hydrangeas

we used to climb anything

and have fun out playing


Is my father’s pipe and tobacco

that smell in the house was comforting

as I knew they would be there,

liquorice paper for rollies

A clay pipe toffee apples toffee dabs

a bus trip to Barry Island

In my pocket

is my father’s book ‘of nails’

a workman’s book but

I used to love to flick through the pages

we didn’t have many books

and I used to spend hours looking at it

How I loved ‘little women’ I got it from the library

Oh I loved that book

Meg was my favourite

such a lovely person

sort of sister to everyone you could confide in

In my pocket

are sticky toffees in chapel

lemon sherbets

things that shouldn’t be

pinched swedes and carrots

dinner money about 4 pennies

Spanish root

In my pocket is Llandudno, Punch and Judy, a pebbled beach,

Benidorm, Torquay, Australia, the church hall dance, the fields

a hole in my pocket

a skipping rope

a mystery trip on the bus

walking by the sea

a newly bought racket playing against the wall

early in the morning

skipping hopscotch marbles

and a sweet coupon

In my pocket

my mind is alive

my heart survives

by Doris, Muriel, Catherine, June, Sally, Bessie, Margaret, Peter, Delma