A-Z of Cardiff – U is for Cardiff University

Katie Hamer continues her A–Z series of Cardiff by taking a walk along the corridors of learning. Here’s what she discovered!

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Mythical beasts emerge from the earth at Bute Park

They say that travel broadens the horizons. What is equally true is that learning a new skill can have a similar effect. This is the discovery I made when I signed up for a creative writing course through the Centre for Lifelong Learning just a few months ago.

What course did I sign up for? Well, it began with ‘Once upon a time’ and finished with ‘they all lived happily ever after’. Is that enough of a clue? I signed up for a ten-week workshop: an ‘Introduction to Writing Traditional and Modern-day Fairy Tales’.

What inspired me to take up such a course? As I am an enthusiastic scribbler of short stories and poems I’m constantly aware that there is more I can learn. And Cardiff is the kind of place to inspire a creative writer with magic and fairy tales.

In fact, while writing this A–Z series, I have had many experiences to fill me with wonder. I’ve experienced a Medieval castle, ghosts at Llandaff, and even time travel in a matter of minutes at St Fagans. All these experiences have filled me with a sense of wonder as well as a curiosity to see what’s around the next corner. It’s this magic that is at the heart of fairy tales and I couldn’t have chosen a better place to study the ancient art.

I met like-minded people who had all been touched by fairy mythology in some way. We all sensed the otherworldliness, the escapism and the feeling that anything could be made possible from these stories.

Each week we wrote a new installment of our own stories before reading them aloud to the class. I loved this part, as I believe stories should be read aloud and not left static on the page. I wish we could just switch of our televisions and computers from time to time in order to share the experiences that previous generations took for granted.

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Will this frog ever be a prince?

Each installment of the stories served a different purpose, for instance to introduce the main characters or send them on a quest, or present them with a different challenge or obstacle. It was a pleasure to hear each story develop towards its conclusion. Although we all chose from the same ‘dressing up box’ of characters and settings, typical to most fairy tales, our destinations couldn’t have been more contrasting.

As a result, I have my first completed fairy tale, although I intend to write more. Thanks to the corroboration of my fellow students, I also have a small anthology of stories to cherish for many years to come.

So, I’d like to thank Cardiff University for providing me with the opportunity to continue expanding my horizons through their prospectus of day and evening classes. I would also like to thank Briony Goffin, the course tutor, who has provided me with the motivation to delve into a deeper exploration of fairy tales and fairy tale writing.

You can find more information about courses available at Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning here:
Their website

Thank you for reading my article. I hope you enjoy looking at my gallery of magical sights from around Cardiff!

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A Celtic Ring in Cardiff Bay

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A Tale of Three Geese in Roath Park

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A Mother Goose Tale

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A boat flying over the lighthouse at Roath Park

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Fire-breathing dragons on Queen Street

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The ghostly image of an owl at the National Museum

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A giant dragonfly at the National Museum

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Llandaff at night – a truly spooky experience on the Ghost Trail

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Even nature is skeletal in Llandaff during the winter

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Snarling creatures bare their fangs on the Animal Wall

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Under the watchful gaze of the Animal Wall

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East meets West

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Back to the 1980’s in St Fagans

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Then even further back in a matter of minutes

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The remains of St Mary’s Church from the Caerau Hill Fort

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An ancient flint at Caerau Hill Fort brings ancient battles to mind

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Time travel from the safety of my sofa!

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An ornate ceiling fills me with wonder at Cardiff Castle

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An archer’s view of Cardiff Castle

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A steep climb to the summit is avoided by some, including me!

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Birds, who are often messengers in fairy tales

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5 responses to “A-Z of Cardiff – U is for Cardiff University

  1. Lovely piece, Katie. Fab photos. I’m sorry I didn’t get to hear the end of your tale. Best wishes, Linda (who sat opposite, on the end)

    Liked by 1 person

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