Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Nadia Ali

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from writer, blogger and storyteller, Nadia Ali. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown.

I’ve always thought of you
As a quiet city,
One that is quiet enough
For a quiet person
Like me.

It’s exactly what I need.

But, now, in the quiet of lockdown
I realise that
You aren’t so quiet at all.

And I miss the noise of it all.

Of the crowd chanting cheering roaring
Singing the anthem with pride,
Representing the flag
Through the good times
And the bad.

A sweet symphony of music;
Sounds being plucked on multiple strings
Footsteps and raindrops
Seagulls swarming for food scraps
From the bins.

The familiar smell of fish and chips down chippy lane
Or alley? Doesn’t matter really
What you call it
Because the chips still taste the same:

A market filled with wafts of fragrances
You can’t decipher
Because they’re all merged together,
And winding arcades full of vibrant shops
And vacant windows to check out your reflection
A change in direction and shortcut towards
Your next destination.


It beats at the heart of the city
Pulsating with tourists
Burning holes in their pockets.

A snapshot of our history
Reduced down to a photo and hashtag
On Instagram.

You keep scrolling.

The buses line up on Westgate Street
Busy buses over
Crowded trains
Rumbling screeching whistling to a stop.
It’s always the same.

The next stop is

But I call it home.

I’ve always thought of home
As a quiet place,
One that is quiet enough
For a quiet person
Like me.

But it’s not quiet,
And it never has been.

Even though the streets are much
Quieter now than they were
They still remain full of colour
Full of community and
Full of life.

And that’s exactly what I need.

Nadia is a Cardiff-based writer, blogger and storyteller. Having lived in the same district of Cardiff her entire life, she practically lives and breathes this city. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2018 and now works full-time at Cowshed, an integrated communications agency based in the city centre. Follow Nadia on Twitter @scorpioreads.

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