I grew up in Cardiff and now, as I sit here listening to ‘All I Want’ by Kodaline I am telling myself that I will be leaving in less than twelve hours. I will put the boxes in the car and set off to Coventry where I am going to study Creative Writing as a Post-grad.
I’ve been talking about his for over a year – my poor roommates Sam and Dom are probably sick of the word ‘Masters’ right now. But here, in Cardiff, is where I met them, where we would take trips to Sainsburys and moan about our lives or the characters we were writing, where we sat in what some people thought was a silent house but we heard that faint buzz of creativity. As my glorious, funny, eccentric, beautiful friend Hannah Barry wrote: "There was a house of men. They lived as a trio of poets, writers and creatures of crude love and romance. They lived like creations of fantasy in their own enchanted castle, waiting for beauty to come and break the spell of the beasts.”
This is the place I went to school, where I met my oldest friends: where Anthony threw a rock at my head and confessed years later, where Suller and Tom and I climbed trees and jumped out of them for kicks, where we spent our afternoons going to the factories and exploring.
(Drunk Anthony, scared me.)
(Camping - 2011)
(Tom and Me - 2010)
(Tom and Me - 2013)
This is the place I went to college and my circle of friends was extended for the better. The extension allowed me and Tom to sit on the benches at the Quarry and talk about his would-be girlfriend, Brogan. The extension allowed me to meet Hannah and forever hear the words “you fucking dickhead” with a laugh.
(College - Film Class)
(New Year's Eve)
(Hannah and Me)
This is the place I went to University and met fellow nerds and book lovers. The place I met people I will care about forever – Dom, Sam, Hannah, Sarah, Abi and more.
(Sam and Me)
(Hannah and Me on the Vodka)
(84 Coburn Street)
(Dom at Jungle Night)
This is the place I met two true, wonderful, strong blonde women. First, Vicky, who gave me sound advice and introduced me to Roath Park at night. And, to Elly, who allowed me to lament, who drank with me was everything and more.
(Elly, Vicky and Me)
(104 Rhymney Street)
(Elly's beautiful flat)
(Gentlemen of the Road)
(Jungle party drunkness)
(Mad Men Party)
(The Lake District)
This is the place I had my first job and hated it and then finally found one that I loved and felt at home, a place where those I worked with treated me right.
This is the place I met Sophie. Where only she knows the meaning of the big bag of ten ps, only she knows who Betty is, she misses Joan, only she is as weird as me.
(Mad Men Party)
This is the place I fell in love. Had my heart broken. The place I put myself back together and stumbled on. The place I wrote my first story and got published. The place where my family are – my parents, my sister, my wonderfully intelligent and weird niece. The place I met some people that changed and will remain with me forever. The place where I had all of my firsts.
And now, as ‘All I Want’ comes to an end and all of my boxes and bags are packed it’s goodbye to Cardiff. I know I will be back but it’s onto new things. A new chapter as they say, time to move on.
To those I haven’t named, I apologise. Cardiff has been my life for twenty-one years – it’s my home – and to those that matter, you matter.
Goodbye Cardiff. See you soon.