Once again Rhyme and Real Ale Returned to the Mackintosh Sports Club to fill the air with poetic syllables of spoken word and song. As usual, the eclectic nature of the performances and words brought the funny, the sad, the moving, the thoughtful, the daring and the delightful but it was an extra special night because of…this….


Three years ago Christina Thatcher formed Roath Writers to offer a creative and contemplative space for writers of all levels of experience to meet and inspire each other. Many R.A.R.A regulars have been sparked in new creative directions by Roath Writers and some even feature in the third anniversary anthology, To the Pub and Back Again, edited by Christina (supported in this process by Rebecca Roy and Renn Hubbuck). Cover image by the multi-skilled performer and artist Simon L. Read.

The September R.A.R.A ended up being both what it always is (a night where anybody can share their words with a welcoming audience) and a night to celebrate creativity itself! In book form!

Thanks to the photographic skills of Paula Hughes, here is a pictorial record of the night!

Co-hosting with Christina Thatcher, Dave Daggers gets the ball rolling and the smiles smiling

The effervescent co-host Dave Daggers setting the ball (and smiles) rolling as the humble as ever Christina Thatcher looks on…


Author of Ssh! John Eliot, immune to the common fear of being first up, being first up!


Seemingly slightly overwhelmed by the goodwill in the room, Christina thanks everybody for coming, both those in the anthology and those not, who have come to share their words, before she and Daggers share the duties of introducing…


The ever growing confidence behind the mic of Vincent Thomas, delivering his contributions to To The Pub and Back Again…


Angela Lester, offering a striking extract from a short story…


Bryan Marshall, always softly spoken but keen observations and biting words…


Bridget Leggy Tanner, ever alive to the fun to be found in rhyme…


Sean Wolfendale, unfazed by being photographed from both sides at once, giving the night a piece of his mind from the anthology…


Jill Berrett, genteel strength in her words so often needed in her life…Not reading directly from the book being launched, but most definitely to be found between its pages…


During the first break, punters and poets shoot the breeze. Luckily it doesn’t shoot back…



Christina Thatcher and Simon L. Read plot world domination, cpatured by Paula Hughes (they may not have been plotting world domination, it may have been just a nice chat, but who can tell from a photograph, eh?)


After the break, the night resumes with a lovely new song from The Talented Bel Blue, always a ray of heartfelt sunshine at R.A.R.A


Mark Curtis, once again going places both deeply personal and highly playful…


Fran Murphy, who despite feeling some nerves at the start of the night burst forth with a flawlessly delivered acapella version of one of her songs included in the anthology. She is not new to the mic by any means but was very pleased to declare herself no longer a R.A.R.A virgin!


David Hanlon, adding his presence and performance to an already pretty pleasing promenade of penmanship put before the public…


Not only new to R.A.R.A but also to Cardiff, via Manchester, Jaquee Rob recited and sang powerfully during her slot, making a great impression on the evening…


Christian Searle, returning once again to R.A.R.A with playful wit and intellectual gymnastics for the Mackintosh Bar clientele…


Poet and podcaster Patrick Widdess warmly serving up his contribution to the anthology being launched. If you have the chance, Google Headstand Radio to find his series of poetry and music themed podcasts…

Simon L. Read, anthology cover artist, slightly more serious than usual in his performance with his word based contribution to To the Pub and Back Again…a unique and unusual collection of talents in the head above those shoulders…


Post second break, Dave Daggers was another being slightly more serious than normal in performance, delivering a poetic plea for a future in which the refugee crisis (currently so spoken of, often unkindly) will be history…


Will Ford (me) opting not to read Slushy The Snowman from the anthology (too long, too Christmassy) and instead introducing T.O.B.E.V.O.L (Technology Offering Bliss, Every Viable Option Loaded) and being very pleased with how it went down…


Johnny Giles, a heart on the sleeve of poetry, prolific and powerful…


Gordon Anderson, taking a moment to promote a National Poetry Day event he is organising at Cardiff Central Library…


Before sharing words including a sad and haunting piece quite unlike what might be expected if you only happened to know Gordon’s writing from overtly humorous pieces like BananaGuard


The legend that is Mab Jones, teasing her way around, then taking a firm grip on the hard topic of her poem…


The more photogenic than he seems to believe Steven Kenward slightly (but unjustifiably) bashfully shares his To The Pub and Back Again words…


Frank Thomas, finishing off the readings with a sigh of a poem, slightly lamenting the lapsing of youthful dreams of bigger things in life but certainly not lamenting the finding of love and contentment that for so many, is the biggest dream of all…


Who’s that with Christian? T’is Paula Hughes, kind supplier of pics for this blog, and massive Back To the Future Fan!!! Someone tell her that’s not Doc Brown! (Kidding, Paula!)

This next pic is by co-host for the night Dave Daggers, thanks to him for his efforts to keep all things R.A.R.A on the road and rolling along nicely…Words from Dave and from many others so far unmentioned can be found in To the Pub and Back Again…


Thanks Christina, Dave, Simon, everybody else who came, saw and (I hope) concurred it was a lovely and warm atmosphere for all who gave their time and creativity. More R.A.R.A next month. Thank you for reading this, and before you go…a reprise of the opening pic (by me) with some added words!


To the Pub and Back Again will be available soon on KINDLE



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