‘Freedom is using compassion and empathy in its true form’

Walking and writing are both my favourite past times and both have been my saving grace too. If something is upsetting or worrying me I take it on a walk. While out walking I think a lot more clearly and with every step my surroundings be it the sky, plants, trees, sea, river, wild life all seem clearer.

I write every day, a daily diary, poetry or short stories.

I do not live in the material world I do not have many needs. Following the crowd being like everyone else is not for me, a lone wolf I will always be.

While out walking yesterday I thought on the word freedom and the Janis Joplin song ‘Me & Bobby McGee’ and the line ‘Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose’ goes round and round in my head. I think freedom is having positive thoughts, having a kind heart and empathy and compassion should be held close. Just simply be true to yourself and accept others for what they are. However, stay away from people who are quick to spite, judge others and seek revenge. To me people who live this way are prisoners to fear. There is no room for the above if you lead a life of compassion, empathy, peace and love.

My mother Valerie Rosa, was born 2 months premature 20th January 1941 she died July 30th 2020, at 4 10pm. She left this world holding my hand and hearing my voice. “Let go Mama of the hurt and pain and let your spiritual wings take flight. Fly around the world creating kind thoughts as you fly by. That evening Thursday 30th July, John and I sat in the garden raising a glass to Mama, a meteorite flew over us. John and I were astounded and both said ‘Mama’ My mother lived in fear most of her life, she could not let go of the pain, disappointments, grief and shame. She locked it all in. Yet, now and again the anger flew out and would bite and deeply hurt. I, her eldest daughter and her second child accepted my mother’s mental illness and her many times being sectioned. Yet, even I would run and hide because her distorted words and thoughts deeply wounded me and I needed time to heal. The last years of Mama’s life she surrounded herself with people who were negative, bitter, egocentric and judgemental. I stayed outside looking in, there was no room for me among her circle.

On a positive note from my mother’s death, I have grown close with her remaining sibling Jimmy. Uncle Jimmy, married to his wife Hazel for 60 years have three daughters, many grandchildren and great grandchildren. I phone them on a Sunday (I often phoned mama on a Sunday) Jimmy is a quiet man, a good man. A retired HGV driver a gardener and carpenter. I speak with Auntie Hazel we discuss books, life and often walk down memory lane. Hazel and Jimmy never knew I wrote poetry and that I am a published poet too. I gave them a copy of ‘Butterfly Kisses and A Bee Sting Mind’ and ‘Healing Garden’

My Uncle John was Mama and Jimmy’s eldest brother. John was born 1936 he died April 1961 aged 25. A month after I was born. John died of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy the inherited disease in my family on my mother’s side. My great Uncle Melvin was 18 and my younger brother Sean died aged 19 both had the disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

I recently found out that Uncle John wrote poetry and short stories. He kept them in book form but sadly the books were never kept. This deeply moved me and I wept. Then I took myself on a 10 mile walk. Thinking on Uncle John what did he write about? How did he feel when the muscles wasted away and he could no longer write? Questions, too many questions. Then my mind went back to 2006 after being tested and told many times I was a carrier of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and from this I decided not to have children. I found out the professors were wrong I was not a carrier and there is ONLY ONE carrier. From this devastating news, poetry found me. I had never written poetry in my life. I attended St Francis school, Ely Cardiff. In 1968 before we broke up for the Christmas break. I wrote a short story and I came top of the class but that day I knocked my two front teeth out and through fear this accident held me back. It took me nearly thirty years to write again. In 2006 poetry and stories found me and I would like to think Uncle John’s creative genes are in me.

As I write this blog, the novel I have written titled ‘Forbidden Love’ is in the process of being edited and proof read and will be out this year. Wonderful story teller Cath Little is working with Windsor Clive School, Ely, Cardiff. The same school Uncle John, Mama and Uncle Jimmy attended. She is telling stories on old Ely. Cath invited me to take part and I have videoed my Ely memories for the children of Windsor Clive School.

I went to St Francis school during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, our school did not have a canteen so we would walk over to the ‘proddy’ school Windsor Clive where they called us Catholics ‘Rock Cakes’ To their school canteen and where the school meals were plentiful and tasted delicious.

Kindness matters and people will always remember kind gestures and words.

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Reviews and quotes. ‘Between Aurora and Twilight’ ‘Spirit Cracked not Broken’ ‘Healing Garden’ and ‘Butterfly Kisses and a Bee Sting Mind’

I am the author of three poetry books “Butterfly Kisses and a Bee Sting Mind” 2014, “Healing Garden” 2016 and “Spirit Cracked not Broken” 2017 and Between Aurora and Twilight 2020.

Between Aurora and Twilight is prose not poetry and this collection is about my lone walks, my childhood walks and my thoughts all wrapped in nature, sun rises and sun sets.


Quotes on ‘Between Aurora and Twilight’

From my Cousin Bev Winn

“Julie my lovely lady, I am reading your book and your words and descriptions are bringing me such joy and comfort. I suffer with anxiety and depression and reading your book has been a light. I would love to walk the Camino but my knees and hips are not good. I feel I am with you with every word on this literature journey, seeing the ponies and the birds in flight, the frost and the sunshine and the stars in the night sky. Thank you Julie I think you were a woodland healer in a previous life”

Review from Author of “No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish” Ruby Lord

“As I read the book it struck me what a beautiful world we live in. If we can walk outside, listen to the birds and watch the season’s change we get nearer to nature. With UK lockdown, we have the time to get to know our streets, lanes, roads, the areas we’ve taken for granted. Read this and touch nature’s images. Julie’s words stress the miracles around us in an almost religious way. When I read about walking Hadrian’s Wall in five days, I was so jealous; I had to go for a (short) walk. A lovely book interspersed with difficult lessons in her life. Reading, writing and walking takes us to the places no one else can reach. I had a great trip.”

A review “Between Aurora and Twilight by Alys Parry author of “Call of the Mountain”

“Between Aurora and Twilight I liked very much made me happy and sad. Your images and the descriptive writing of your walks and your knowledge of nature, brought it alive for me and you are so brave and honest about your feelings.”

A review on “Between Aurora and Twilight” from writer and publisher Debbie Price.

“The Healing Power of Nature
A beautiful and descriptive account of walking with nature and fully appreciating every
moment. Although written in prose her poetic words capture the beauty of the countryside
she walks and the wildlife and characters she meets along the way. Injected within the text
are snippets of past traumas that impress upon the reader how being at one with nature
has helped her to heal. Her honesty is admirable, it is not easy to share bad things but
when you do, as she does, the burden lightens and allows the person to become less
vulnerable. In writing this the author is encouraging others to also use the natural world to

Quote from author Alan Roderick.

“This charming and delightful book could just as easily have been entitled A Year In The Life, spanning as it does the months between December and November, or Walks With Julie. And what walks! We accompany the author as she braves Hadrian’s Wall and travels part of The Pilgrims’ Way in Spain; we get to know the people she encounters and feel for her as she loses her way in Spanish towns or gets sucked into a quagmire not far from her Bargoed home. The narrative is peppered with fascinating references to nature lore and flowers, birds, plants and butterflies. She tells of cuckoos fighting and vultures flying high but underpinning the book is an underlying sadness as she recalls memories of her, sometimes, less than idyllic childhood. Julie Pritchard is a poet who writes from the heart and this is a book to savour, again and again, for walkers and non-walkers alike.”

NEW SCNB Front cover

‘Spirit Cracked not Broken’ Is about abuse and how writing on abuse can help erase the memory and lay the emotion surrounding the memory to rest.


Poet and Playwright Patrick Jones “Spirit Cracked not Broken is pretty amazing Julie. I felt your voice so strong in the images and words. So powerful, raw, honest, brutally honest. It is true poetry you took me on a journey, into a life into darkness, into glittering smiles and breaking hearts”

Wonderful quote from Socialist and poet Ian Thomas who was at my reading on Monday 7th August

A big thank you to Julie Pritchard who launched her new collection of poetry ‘ spirit cracked not broken’ in the capel in Bargoed tonight. Extremely powerful and moving , if art is meant to move you emotionally this succeeds big time, as a compliment the last time I felt similar feelings was after watching ken loaches film ‘ the wind shakes the barley’ in the cinema, Julie’s poetry is as Patrick Jones writes ‘so powerful. Raw. Honest’ thank you Julie.

1961 Cocooned inside your womb

Immobilised, defenceless,

alarmed by the churning of your belly

thump, thump of your heart beat.

Your nervous system crashed into me

I fell into the light and cried for the safety

of your womb.

Put into the arms of despair

shared the breast with my elder brother.

Healing Garden is a collection on self healing. We all have a deep well inside us all to dip into and heal.

Front cover trial (1)

Playwright and poet Patrick Jones

“Enjoy your reading you are an accomplished performer of your words and I admire how you showed yourself in your life’s journey with us. Enjoying “Healing Garden”

Spanish academic Inaki Sanchez.

The poems in “Healing Garden” reflect the soul and I like the way you move from describing nature scenes to spiritual”

Poet and Writer Jeremy Hooker

“Julie’s second collection of poetry is an emotional journey inspired by nature and people. It is beautifully written and full of imagery. I enjoy Healing’s freshness of your heart-felt poems. You honour the place where you live. Which I believe is an essential thing for poetry”

Poet Chris O’Neill. “I bought “Healing Garden” for my father, he has Dementia and he reads “Healing Garden” several times a week”

Jim Davies Red Poets reviewer gave me a wonderful review on my latest collection Healing Garden.

“Healing Garden” by Julie Ann Pritchard (BBTS.2016)“Julie is a great favourite at the Imp Merthyr. We love her singing her graceful movements and her passionate words I welcome this chance to comment on her new book”

Now why would one walk year upon year in all seasons and all weathers around the Common above  your valley’s village? Julie does that; not to walk the dog or keep fit or names the mosses. Nor is it to worship God; never mentioned even on Christmas day tramp.

But he/she (some deity) does seep into her Bargoed hinterland of green pastures, purple headed hills….. and a Celtic Cross.

Around 1750 in a valley or so to the north William Williams (wrote in Welsh) of the “crystal fountain” and its “healing streams”

In this collection  Julie writes of the therapeutic qualities of her own moorland that relieve her stress and make her whole: the soft turf, the unruffled sheep, the windblown wildlife and the lashing rain. And this is her healing place, she acknowledges the great calm of isolation whilst also enjoying brief exchanges with the occasional local person.

I walk on your

soft grasses

you move me

to a serene place

(Extract taken from poem “Return”)

Red Kite floats on high

below a murder of crows

Screeching squawking warning the

red, rouged beauty.

(Verse taken from poem “Ancient Pagan”) 

Now the Healing Garden is ten miles by 2, so what Julie’s inner garden? Her heart and soul? Her neural seat of memory and emotions, her Hippocampus less than a thimble in size which receives new daily assaults and trauma from her past.

“Broken shards of trust splinter my thoughts

I miss my inner being my true core”

(A line from Humanity)

“Ache of abandonment

deep sense of loss I have no closure”

(Line from Forgotten)

“She goes to the pinny and breathes in her grandmother”

(Poem Pinny)

If you neglect your inner garden

and rake over the past

seeds of doubt will grow.

(Extract taken from poem Healing Garden)

Author and Poet Mike Jenkins.” Julie’s poetry is full of energy and compassion, and is a wonderful performer of her own work” 

“Julie’s second collection of poetry is an emotional journey inspired by nature and people. It is beautifully written and full of imagery” Poet and publisher Deborah Price


Butterfly Kisses and a Bee Sting Mind

unnamed me murenger March 2015

“Butterfly Kisses and Bee Sting Mind” the title came to me in a dream. This collection is about  manipulation of the mind and not allowing anyone with their dirty feet to walk through your mind. Also nature poems.

Reviews “Butterfly Kisses and a Bee Sting Mind” A beautiful uplifting collection of poetry thought-provoking descriptive and full of innuendos, Julie paints a picture of a world full of enchanting charismatic characters, both mythological and real. Her love of nature shines through”  D M Price

Photos and reviews of my performance poetry.

Performing at Dempsey’s Cardiff “A passionate reader of her own work”


Performing at Murengher Newport

Jemma Beggs 2014 “Julie Pritchard a passionate performer whose poems are full of strong visuals and raw emotions”

Chris Hall “Julie shows wonderful dancing delivery”

me performing at murrengher

Interviewed by Martin Locock from Spoken Word Wales in Victoria Park, Neath,  spring evening in April 2016. The interview is below.


TWO POEMS IN MEMORY OF TUAM MOTHER’S, BABIES AND CHILDREN. Making history from a disturbed past.

Making history from a disturbed past!

I recently read the book ‘My Name is Bridget’ by Anna Corrigan and Alison O’Reilly. It ripped my heart out and threw it back. All my schooling and part of my upbringing was Catholic. The catholic faith came from the Irish side of my family. From the Irish blood that flows in my veins, I have a love for Ireland. Culture, history, literature. I have read many books on Irish history. The memoir I have written titled ‘Forbidden Love’ about my Irish grandmother falling in love with my grandfather against the back drop of Ireland’s war for independence. Is no longer a memoir but a novel and will be published this year 2021. While writing this novel I had to do research into Irish history and my own Irish family and from this I learnt many things. Ireland was traumatised from the famine, later failed uprisings, then 1916 and ‘Ireland War for independence’ The Catholic church dominated Irish life. Manipulated an already traumatised nation with shame and guilt. Some of these women were raped. No man was questioned or arrested. Only women and children were badly abused and imprisoned and some were damaged for the rest of their lives. They were the vulnerable in Irish society back then! After thought, Eamon de Valera was born what was deemed back then when no father was around, a bastard. Why did he not step in when he was in power. I think this horrid very disturbed man, should be held responsible as much as the Catholic church. The poem I wrote titled ‘Golden Ring’ came from anger, ‘Feathered Wings’ came from softness of my heart, I wrote the 2 poems in one hour.

Golden Ring

(In memory of Tuam mother’s like Bridget)

Outside the home of judgment

belly swollen, legs heavy

abandoned by all.

The loss pain and shame,

fornicated outside the golden ring.

A rape, a married man, or an hour of passion.

You, who wear the ring of gold married to Christ

so that gives you the right.

To call me a whore and my child a sin

because of no golden ring.

Shamed to silence I can never tell,

guilt is stuck in my throat,

memories rise and I swallow the hard truth,

that remains stuck beneath my broken heart.

Brainwashed by the cloth and the habit

to leave what was mine behind,

Yet, they will always be with me

underneath a blanket of guilt and shame.

A warning to you, who wore the golden ring married to Christ.

The future WILL find the cess pits and other humanitarian crimes.

Feathered Wings

(In memory of the children and babies)

Lay broken in a home with no care

the only warmth you feel are the sunrays on your skin,

the silence and no children’s laughter is deafening.

Lack of empathy no compassion is shown

cold comfort is dished out by the bucket load.

Lullaby to lay you down on feathered wings,

softly, gently send you to sleep.

To another time and place

a future where your pain will be released,

into the arms of the truth sayers in words and songs.

Never to be forgotten and your 796 names

will live on.

By Julie Pritchard, 4th June 2020


All poems on Ely memories are written by me.

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When I grew up in Ely I often went carolling. To the posh houses on Cowbridge road and sometimes I ventured down Birdies Lane to Fairwater and onto Bwlch Road to even more posh houses. From the money I earned I would buy presents for my parents. Mama a brass ornament from The Bon March. Then next door to Crocker’s newsagent and a tin of Tom Thumb cigars for Dada. One memory that always stayed with me was Christmas Eve 1969 and the memory is in the poem below

What a Disguise.

The smell of turkey lingers in the air as we took our time walking up the stairs

Eldest brother a box bedroom of his own I snuggled up to little brother

two little sister’s top and tail.

Minds empty of sleep our bellies full with excitement of what he will bring.

Breathing softly and deep we fell asleep.

Suddenly I am woken by the slither of light from the landing

door creaked and the bare floorboards groaned liken to an old ship.

Black leaded fire place gaping only a whistling wind for company.

My eyes adjusted to the shape that hooked my Grampy’s old army socks

on the bed post full of nuts and four tangerines.

Then placed presents at the foot of our bed but I am puzzled and

surprised and cannot belief my eyes as to the disguise.

In wonderment I think why, why is Santa wearing my mothers pink

flannelette dressing gown and red curlers?

Julie Pritchard nee Griffin

I was always scabby kneed and tied mark necked and loved playing out doors. Birdies Lane, Plymouth woods, the Drope, sometime we ventured far a field to Victoria Park and Llandaff Field with its outdoor Lido. My favourite place was the green in front of our house. This green became our football pitch, cricket ground and I loved it! The poem “Sunday evening Ritual” says it all.

Sunday Evening Ritual.

‘In’! We hear her voice from up the street.

‘In now!’

As the Sunday evening sun is slowly going down

I drag my feet along the ground.

The geezer as been glowing

while we were out playing.

The bosh waits while we undress.

Ow! I cry has my back hits the hot tap.

The clean smelling carbolic oblong soap is in my hair,

up my nose and everywhere.

All clean and lobster pink now we don’t stink.

I see the metal object glinting through the downing sunrays.

Sat on the floor while Mam checks for chickens she says.

The weapon is in her hand,

the sharp prongs grate through my hair.

The ‘derbac’ comb hacks my scalp.

All clear, Mam shakes the talc.

The Sunday evening ritual is forgotten

as I lay sleepy and dreaming.

Sometimes I have nightmare of the St Francis school

nit nurse with the dyed black hair.

Poem by Julie Pritchard.

I wrote the poem ‘Pinny’ 2013 and is in my 2nd collection titled “Healing Garden” I normally perform this poem from memory. Playwright and poet Patrick Jones used the poem for an Alzheimer work shop and this was very touching. The character is my Irish grandmother, when at home Nanna Griffin always wore a wrap around tie up the back pinny. I thought in these uncertain times I would put this out to make people smile and reflect on their grandparents.


I see the pinny on the hook on the back kitchen door

paisley patterned blues and greens.

I breathe in the pinny it smells of carbolic soap and lavender

this reminds me of my grandmother.

I remember the pinny tied round the short, stout, sturdy body

that swayed from side to side like the maid

in ‘Tom and Jerry’

The pinny that gathered coal, became a peg bag

and a veg bowl.

The pinny that wiped many teary eyes, dirty ears and snotty noses.

You never caught anything from this pinny only LOVE.

Poem written by Julie Pritchard 2013

Mrs Sayer and the Blue Birds!

Cardiff City midfielder Peter Sayer’s Mam Mrs Sayer was our pools lady when I lived in Charteris Road, Ely. I would wait for her and ask after Peter I was only 14 at the time. I was a tom boy all my childhood I was always scabby kneed and tied mark necked and could climb any tree. We often played football and cricket on the green that was in front of our house. My brother Malcolm known as Macca had trials for Cardiff alas it did not materialise, my father Francis Griffin had trials for Preston North End but sadly he broke is leg. Macca’s youngest daughter Nadine, played for Man City Girls but did not want a footballing career she chose University instead.

Aged 15 we left Charteris road moved to new Ely that we called Caerau, to Bromley Drive. I became friends with Michelle Fish, Lynda Lewis and Louise Fleming and others. We were all big City fans sometimes we nicked, only sometimes.😉 I recall the time after we watched City play. We waited outside Ninian Park, where the staff saw us and asked us what were we doing. We replied waiting for Peter Sayer and David Giles. We were invited in. We were not giggling girls, we were serious football fans. The smell of Brute and Old Spice greeted us then the team came and we talked football. A great memory. I still support City go to a game now and again. My grandfather Jim Scantlebury would go to every home game until he died in 1963. He always dressed in a suite, cufflinks, tie and tie pin and his trilby hat.

I always perform the poem “Wanting to be one of the Boys” from memory. I once performed this poem in Neath (Poet and writer Mike Jenkins can you tell you the story) of how Swansea fans were in audience and started heckling me. I replied “Come over here if you think you hard enough!” They did and bought my 2nd collection titled “Healing garden” instead. The Swansea fans were pussy cats really.

Wanting to be one of the Boys

At cricket they always picked me for wicket keeper

even when I got my first black eye I never realised why?

Goalie too wearing my brothers Cardiff city socks and stay-press

trouser. Peter Sayer was on my bedroom wall no popstars for me.

My football album was as good as theirs.

I was always popular on a Wednesday

my five friends all boys which I inspired to be like, fit in and belong.

Would come round my house and wait for Mrs Sayer our pools lady.

She was ONLY Peter Sayers Mam. I always asked after him

my friends will really impressed.

I only saw him play the week before down the Grange-end

“Come over here if you think you are hard enough”

Was our battle cry.

No one picked on me I was one of the boys.

I knew it was coming to an end when we just got back from nobbing apples,

we scaled the pre war concrete bus shelter, the roof was flat and we were on

top of the world. Laying on our backs, scabby knees and tied mark necked,

well I was.

Crunching my knocked off apple,

when he started looking at me in a strange way

like the soppy films my Mam watched and cried over.

I stared blankly and wiped my nose in my sleeve,

then he says to me “Give me a kiss and you can be my girlfriend

I jumped up in horror shimmied down the drain pipe and blind side of the ref,

walked away, away from my childhood and me wanting to be one of the boys

because they WANTED ME TO BE A GIRL!

Poem written by Julie Pritchard

Autumn has arrived and out of all the seasons autumn is my favourite. I like the way autumn shuts the door on summer and turned slightly to the north wind, the fresh cool mornings clouds that add colour to sunrises and sunsets and foraging for fruit. I wrote the poem “Blackberries” for my mother in 2006 and I read the poem out at Mama’s funeral Thursday 13th August 2020.


I see the empty jar where the blackberries were

Idle, on its own, redundant till next time.

Mam is in the kitchen singing while she bakes.

I know this is Mam’s favourite room

for she is aways happy here.

Her floury hands make clouds of dust.

her nails are encrusted with dough.

Five hungry faces moan

“How much longer must we wait?”

as we sit at the table in Mam’s favourite room.

The oven is opened, the heat flushes

our faces to bright red as we wait to be fed.

The plumb purple blackberries smell so sweat

encased in their coat of pastry, good enough to eat.

The juices leak out from the tart

as she cuts six slices and pours ‘Ideal milk’

from a tin onto our plates which are now licked clean

We giggle and make fun of each others purple tongues.

Sat in Mam’s favourite room surrounded in warmth but most of all love.

Poem written by Julie Pritchard 2006