All poems on Ely memories are written by me.

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

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