Tag Archives: penylan

“This year my dad is 25-years epilepsy free – and running his first marathon” – Jane

This week, Jane Cook shares the story of her remarkable, epilepsy-defeating, marathon-running dad Bruce. Read on!

Bruce Cook

 

My dad is 58 years old and in November last year, he announced that he wanted to run the London marathon in 2014. We all thought he was talking rubbish and didn’t really listen, until he came down the stairs to announce that he had been offered a place in the Marathon on behalf of a Children’s disability charity. Suddenly we realised he was actually serious.

My dad has lived in Cardiff all of his life. When he was a kid, he was racing homemade go-karts on Roath Court Road with a bunch of other boys his age. Trying to show off to his Grandma, he came shooting down the road at speed when one of the other boys pushed their kart in to his path. The karts collided with such force that my dad flew in to the air, and as he came down, he hit his head on the concrete pavement. Three weeks later, he started having epileptic seizures.

For years, my dad tried different medication to control his epilepsy, but nothing worked. He couldn’t get a driving license because he never knew when an attack might come on. Once, he even ended up having an attack and losing control whilst on his bike, and he crashed through the front door of a corner shop on Treharris Street. He managed to roll all the way up to the counter in the midst of a blackout before crashing a heap on the floor. On another occasion, he fell off a train platform in Cornwall and had to be pulled off the tracks.

When I was about three years old, my dad became one of the first people in the world to have a groundbreaking type of treatment. First, doctors cut a circular hole in his skull. Then they fixed electrodes to his brain that would monitor its activity (I am using layman’s terms). Then everyone waited.

A week later, my dad had another seizure, and as a result, the doctors were able to pinpoint the exact area of his brain that was damaged. They set to work in removing the damaged tissue, which amounted to be the size of a human fist. Afterwards, they replaced the piece of skull, and sewed it all back up. For the next few months and years, it was a waiting game – not only to see whether the operation had been a success, but also to make sure that nothing else had been damaged in the process.

Fast forward 25 years, and the date of the London Marathon is just one day off being the 25th anniversary of my dad’s operation – and marks 25 years of my dad being epilepsy-free. Despite the fact that my dad started his marathon training by going for a jog in a pair of jeans and his work shoes, last weekend he (quite unbelievably) completed his first 20-miler. His route takes him all over Cardiff – usually from our house in Penylan, via Lisvane and over to Cefn Onn Country Park, then back home via a couple of laps of Roath Park Lake.

The money raised by my dad will be donated to a charity called Phab which encourages equality and integration for disabled and able bodied children. If you would like to help him reach his fundraising target of £1,600, you can donate via his fundraising page.

 

 

Jane Cook is the proud daughter of Bruce Cook, who will be running his first London Marathon this year. Help him raise money for his chosen charity Phab by donating to his fundraising page. The family currently live in Penylan.

“Malaysian – Cardiffian – a harmonious fusion between two cultures, two cities and two lifestyles” – Zainah

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I am sat at my cafe having a cuppa and reflecting on the last 10 years living in Cardiff. It has been eventful in many ways, yet calming at the same time.

My husband and I actually met in 1991 when we were both studying at Cardiff University. In 1995 we got married in Kuala Lumpur during his year out for his Architecture degree. We returned to Cardiff a happily married couple and stayed for another 12 months. He could have continued his degree at another university, but opted to stay in Cardiff instead. Looking back I think it was because we felt at home in Cardiff but didn’t quite realise it yet.

We left for Malaysia and lived there for another seven years. In the following years, we had two daughters and several jobs. In April 2003, we felt we needed a big change and my husband wanted to study an MsC in Environmental Design. We had the whole of the UK to choose from, but chose Cardiff again. We felt it was the right place to bring up two very young children. When we arrived in Cardiff on the 18 August 2003, it was like we never left. I even caught up with Eastenders within a week!

Cardiff was wonderful for us and our children. Unfortunately recession hit and my husband was made redundant from an architects firm in Cardiff. I was still working at a solicitors office on a part-time basis.

Unable to find a job after 12 months, we made a huge decision for my husband to go back to Kuala Lumpur to work. The plan was for me to try to sell our house and move to Kuala Lumpur with the children once the sale was completed. When the house was put up for sale I had an uneasy feeling. We were well rooted in our lovely Penylan/Roath community and it seemed a little scary moving back to Kuala Lumpur after eight years in Cardiff.

Well, it’s 2013, and we are still here! We had to find a plan B and decided to open a Malaysian Cafe on Wellfield Road. It ‘s called called KL Canolog, named after KL Sentral – the main train station in Kuala Lumpur.

So, we are now in a perfect place. If I were to think back about what we remembered most about Cardiff is probably Roath Park. We used to imagine having a picnic there whilst our two young daughters ran about appreciating the fresh air, the lovely flowers and the friendly Welsh people. This still holds true to me but in the last few years I have had to face animosity for being foreign, for presumably overstaying, for taking what was not ours, basically negative press everyday. This seemed to be everywhere in the UK and not just Wales. We were able to overcome this as there was that Cardiff part in us and in our three children (oops I forgot to mention we adopted my son in 2006 from Malaysia). So we embraced the bad and good.

The 18 of August marks our 10th year in Cardiff (if you include our student days that’ll be 15 years). This is where we call home. We are supporters of the Welsh Rugby team and Cardiff City FC. We are very happy to share our Malaysian heritage with our community and feel that it is time we gave back to Cardiff what we have been enjoying for example Welsh cakes, barra brith, chips from Chippy Lane, to name a few.

I am also getting involved in several causes like the Depressed Cake Shop which has gone global from London to Cardiff, San Francisco and in Kuala Lumpur (organised by my sister living in Kuala Lumpur). This cause has also been mentioned on CNN and the LA Times. It is personal to me as I suffered a major breakdown before KL Canolog opened and have suffered with depression for most of my adult life. My father suffers from it too and it was difficult growing up with depression being such a taboo in the Far East. My daughters and I will be doing the Memory Walk on the 15 of September to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Sadly my mother-in-law is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. My life has changed from working in an office and being surround by four walls and the law. I am a lot happier and I feel working at KL Canolog has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people who are giving back to society and trying to make it a better place to live.

Made in Roath is also fabulous and I am blessed to have met Wayne Courtney and champion for everything good. I would also like to thank Miss Cakehead who is a genius! She has made it possible for me to be brave about my depression.

With everything we have been through, I have come to realise that you can’t take the Malaysian out of us but at the same time you can’t take the Cardiff out of us too. A harmonious fusion between two cultures, two cities and two lifestyles.

Zainah Ismail first came to Cardiff in 1990 to study Law at Cardiff University. After graduating with an LLB Degree, she worked as a banker in Kuala Lumpur. In 2004, Zainah started working at Geldards LLP before deciding to start a Malaysian cafe-deli called KL Canolog with her husband. Besides being involved with The Depressed Cake Shop Cymru and taking part in The Memory Walk, Zainah has recently involved herself with Free Cakes for Wales which provides cakes for adults and children who are unable to afford a birthday cake. Zainah currently lives with her husband, her two daughters and son in Penylan.

Zainah was photographed at KL Canalog by Jon Pountney

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You are invited to: ‘We Are Cardiff: a Roath state of mind’ exhibition, 29 May – 2 July, Waterloo Teahouse

Friends, Cardiffians – it is our pleasure to invite you to our first localised exhibition, which is taking place in the heartland of Roath.

The boundaries of Roath spread further and run deeper than the thin lines on the map that separate it from surrounding Penylan, Cathays, Adamsdown, or even Splott. Roath is more than a place – it’s a state of mind, and we invite you to celebrate that with our first localised exhibition, featuring stories and photography of local residents who have been featured in the We Are Cardiff project.

You are invited to the launch party, on 1 June 2012. Come have a peek at the exhibition, and learn more about the film that we’re currently making about our fair city of Cardiff.

‘We Are Cardiff: a Roath state of mind’ exhibition
Waterloo Gardens Teahouse
Launch party: Friday 1 June 2012, from 6.15pm-8pm
Exhibition 29 May – 2 July 2012

www.wearecardiff.co.uk
www.waterlootea.com

RAFFLE PRIZES – UPDATE

A four-ball round of golf at St Pierre Golf Club in Chepstow (donated by Acorn Recruitment and Training

A speedboat trip for two around Cardiff Bay (donated by CAVRA)

A meal for two from the set menu at Ffresh (donated by Ffresh)

A luxury haircut (donated by the Constantinou salon)

A pair of trapeze taster session tickets (donated by NoFitState circus)

A meal for two in the Gallery Restaurant at the Grosvenor G Cardiff (donated by the Grosvenor G Casino)

A Fairtrade chocolate hamper (donated by Fairtrade Wales)

A print of Roath Park artwork (donated by Gayle Rogers)

A hand crocheted blanket (donated by Andrew Williams)

A framed print (donated by Jo Whitby)

A screenprinted t shirt (donated by Droneboy Laundry)

A bottle of champagne (donated by EstatesDirect Cardiff)

A screenprinted Shewolf t-shirt (donated by Spike Dennis)

A limited edition We Are Cardiff t-shirt

We’d like to say a very large thank you to ALL the sponsors who have donated prizes for this draw – you’re helping us out with a worthwhile project and we really appreciate your support.

So … more info on our lovely sponsors…

FFRESH. With stunning views of Cardiff Bay, a stylish and contemporary feel, and a wonderful seasonal menu showcasing the best of Welsh produce, ffresh Bar and Restaurant is catered to enhance your culinary dining experience.Excellent quality food and service is led by Executive Chef Kurt Fleming, along with consultancy expertise from Shaun Hill, Executive Chef at The Walnut Tree Inn at Abergavenny. The ffresh team have a great deal of experience to help you choose a menu that suits tastes and budget. All our menus have wonderful vegetarian options, and our Chefs are more than happy to cater for any special dietary requirements…
ffresh Restaurant is open Tuesday-Saturday 12 noon- 2.30pm; 5-9.30pm and Sundays 12 noon – 4pm. Please note that on Mondays, ffresh Restaurant is only open for pre-show dining. Whether you are visiting Cardiff bay for an afternoon, seeing a production at the Centre, or looking for a special evening dining experience book your table at the restaurant on 029 2063 6465 or ffresh@wmc.org.uk.

FAIRTRADE WALES. Did you know Wales is a fair trade country and Cardiff was the world’s first Fairtrade capital city? Fair trade is about creating opportunities for producers in the developing world to receive a fair price for their goods and to work their way out of poverty. Put simply, it is an opportunity for them to improve their lives and the lives of their families, and is as simple as the choices you make on your weekly shop.

ESTATES DIRECT – the 0% Commission Agent. At EstatesDirect we charge a fair fixed fee to sell or let your property.  To see how much you could save and find out more please visit our website. EstatesDirect Cardiff is owned and run by Paul and Helen Walters. We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service throughout your property sale or let, from the initial FREE valuation, through to viewings and finally the sale or let of your property. We are local to Cardiff, and will offer expert advice on marketing your property to its greatest potential and to as many targeted buyers and tenants as possible.

JO WHITBY. Jo Whitby is an all-round creative type who likes to cram her days with as much arty/music/culture stuff as possible. I Know Jojo is where she freelances as an illustrator and artist doing all sorts of works from depicting classic Welsh myths to crowd surfing a Smart Car. You can also find Jo making music as Laurence Made Me Cry and sporadically updating a music and culture blog called Cat On The Wall.

SPIKE DENNIS. Spike is  a maker, an imaginator, a unicorn farmer & a Romanticist with a burning desire to understand that which lies beyond the stars but you can call him an artist for want of a better word. He has lived in Cardiff for five years and recently launched ProjectCardiff with co-conspirator Lann Niziblian. Spike will be exhibiting some collaborative work inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairy tales at St Donats Art Centre in the Vale of Glamorgan throughout June this year (full details available shortly)
More info at: www.spikeworld.co.uk / www.unicorn-porn.com

ANDREW WILLIAMS. Andy is a knitwear designer that has been knitting since 2004 and crocheting since 2009. He has free patterns available on his blog and Ravelry page, and some of his patterns are available to buy from Calon Yarns on Cowbridge Road East. Making blankets is an obsession he has. Blankets of all shapes, sizes and colours. “I’ve loved blankets since I was little. They make me feel safe and warm. A handmade blanket is even better, because not only are you getting a lovely handmade thing, you’re getting someone’s time – that’s a really precious thing to give. The blanket I’m making for We Are Cardiff is a giant granny square, which I will embellish with some appliquéd bits and bobs. It’s super colourful, hope someone colourful wins it!” See also: Ravelry

NOFITSTATE CIRCUS. No Fit State was founded in 1986 by five friends. During a politically charged time, in a recession, and as a creative reaction to the world around them, the circus was born. Twenty-five years later NoFit State still believes that the total outweighs the sum of the parts. The company lives together, works together, eats together, laughs and cries together – travelling in trucks, trailers and caravans and loving and breathing as one community. This is what creates the spirit that is NoFit State and gives the work its heart and soul. Contemporary circus combines live music, dance, stage design, text, and film with traditional circus skills. It is rooted in the travelling community who turn up, pitch a tent, drum up an audience, and then leave with only flattened grass and a memory to show they were ever there. The circus are the strangers who live amongst us – and if we run away to join them we are throwing off our inhibitions, our conventions, the rules of settled society. We are taking to the road knowing that there is no destination – only a journey.
Today, NoFit State is the UK’s leading large-scale contemporary circus company, producing professional touring productions and a wide variety of community, training, and education projects for people of all ages.

“Layers of memories have grown around my life in Cardiff, like rings on a tree trunk” – Katrina

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My Cardiff.

Wet, black and red.

Growing up in London, that’s all I knew of Wales – constant rain, coal-black miners and dismissive comments by adults about red strikers.
And children like me being killed in Aberfan. Altogether a gloomy and dangerous place.

Then 30 years ago I had to come and live here, discovering Cardiff’s bus routes, libraries, supermarkets and DIY stores, its parks and people. Occasionally venturing into the even more threatening ‘valleys’.

The Cardiff NHS saw me through child-birth and the buggy pushed memories into my head as it navigated the streets, parks and shops. And babies brought friendships, but only to a point. My mum wasn’t around to babysit, I couldn’t go shopping with my sister, and my nan did not live round the corner. I shared no school-day memories with the swing-pushers beside me. And keeping up these crucial relationships kept the other mums too busy for an alien like me. We could thrive side by side, but we were different plants, growing from different stock, needing different nutrients.

Zoom past Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, the setting up of the Welsh Assembly and time working as a scientist, housewife, student and artist. Fast forward 30 Christmases, 10,950 days to meet people, four children, 1,560 weekly shops, and one broken marriage and I find Cardiff is my home. It’s the setting for most of my memories, the place I know best, the place I’m always glad to come back to, the place I’d never want to leave. The most constant factor in my life. I’m a fan.

Layers of memories have grown like tree rings. I walk its streets scanning each face, peering beneath the veils of age and discovering people I knew. Where did we meet? Was it…? Or was it….? Or were you…? But I’m sure I know you. And you’re sure that you know me. And one day our blurry memories may release the knowledge that eludes us now.

The streets are like the people – through the connections in my head, I see what my neighbours don’t see – my own good places and bad, my unique portfolio of connections.

But Cardiff doesn’t just hold the ghosts of the past. It constantly surprises me. Each time I walk down the hill, where I live, the light highlights something different. And I wonder how it’s taken me 30 years to see it. It’s familiar, yet unfamiliar. I can walk my local patch a different way each day.

It’s the same with people. Different circles suddenly reveal links I didn’t dream of, yet there are always new circles to explore. An unlimited source of new opportunities, new encounters, new possibilities for re-inventing yourself, new things to do. It’s big enough to vanish in, but small enough for cosiness.

I wouldn’t claim to be Cardiffian though. There are vast tranches of it where I never tread. Territorial, I fear to tiptoe beyond the boundary of my patch into the threatening unknown, as though I wore a label, “Alien, please target”. And after all, I haven’t read the Echo enough to be Cardiffian and I’ve worked in the valleys so much I’ve grown to love them too.

What am I then? Whatever my accent, I’m utterly, totally certain I’m not English. I don’t fit in over there. I’ve had 30 years without England and Wales has rooted in me, opening my mind, challenging my thinking, re-jigging my understanding, giving me a place to grow. I’d gladly be considered Welsh. Wet, black and red? How wrong can people be?

Katrina Kirkwood is now a digital and storytelling artist. She arrived here a very long time ago as a scientist working in medical research, turned into a mother, then an art student and now loves meeting an incredible variety of people throughout South Wales with her story-making work. You can find out more at her website, www.katrinakirkwood.org. Katrina lives in Penylan and makes a game of NOT having her photo taken.

Katrina was photographed in Roath recreation ground by Adam Chard

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