We will be holding an event as part of the Penarth Book Festival this weekend at the new Waterloo Tea Rooms in the Washington Gallery building. Stories start at 7:30, drinks and cakes available before hand.

Betty , Jane, Phil and Andrew are each ready to tell you a story and are well aware that they must be true, told without notes and last no more than 15 minutes.

Sorry about the short notice, hope some of you can make it




Hello everyone, apparently tomorrows event at Chapter is now fully booked. There may be a handful of spaces but I’m afraid you would have to turn up (7pm)  and take your chances.

cheers Steve



The DS8 festival will be at the Chapter  in Cardiff on June 14. Our friend storyteller David Ambrose is putting together an evening of varied stories and has included three true stories on the bill. If you can get along it should be interesting to see how they sit alongside more traditional tales. I believe the event will run in an upstairs room from 7pm – see the chapter website for more details.

Sorry to say our break continues a while longer …

all the best Steve


If you would like to tell a story in the future please let us know. We will confirm the next date a fortnight in advance. so watch this space.



We started the evening with Betty’s story. Several decades ago Betty, a lifelong artist, saw a mid-life crisis looming. She was running a small badge shop had a young son and for the first time lacked the urge to create anything. On cue a student wandered into the shop and placed a pile of psychology books on the counter. As he looked at badges Betty looked at the books. He had just dropped out of his degree and as Betty seemed interested in the subject he gave her the books and headed off to the pub. Taking it as an omen she contacted Cardiff university and in no time found herself interviewed and accepted onto a degree in Social Psychology. Betty never looked back and the crisis never got a look in.

As a young woman in the 60s Jill was unsure of what direction to take into work. All advice pointed to secretarial college so off she went. Armed with shorthand and typing she headed to London where she encountered the best and the worst of the swinging sixties and became increasingly bored and frustrated in her work. Eventually she ended up at a law firm where someone recognised her potential and encouraged her to study law. Liberated from the drudgery of office work she excelled at her subject and a successful career followed.

Tom told us of his experiences as a silent clown. His story included trips around the globe, much charity work, involvement with a church based group called the Holy Fools and a memorable encounter with Jeremy Beadle which saw the TV star riding an imaginary motorbike whilst sporting ridiculous headgear and jumping over a no doubt awe struck member of the public.

After the break Jordi explained how several years back he had found himself working with the elderly and had taken the opportunity to try to discover the meaning of life. After all, he reasoned, who would know the meaning better than those who have lived it longest? The answers he received formed the basis of his story. For some it seems God was the meaning, others claimed to have no better idea than Jordi, some found meaning in other people and in love. His favourite answer though was Zen like. The meaning of life, he was told, was simply to live it.

Spencer brought the evening to a close with a song about a trip to Dublin with his dad to watch a rugby international. No fan of sports Spencer had agreed to the outing without realising that he would be imprisoned for hours on a coach full of boozed up fans. Rather than watch the match in a pub (no one had actual tickets for the game) Spencer underlined his outsider status by going shopping. The lowlight of the trip was a sightseeing tour of Dublin narrated by a guide who hated the city. A nightmare weekend for Spencer resulted in a highly amusing song for us. You can find more of his music here http://www.myspace.com/spencermcgarry

Once again thanks to all our story tellers and the audience at Kemis.
No date has been set yet for our next night but we will let you know in good time

Steve, Andrew & Maria

Jane began the evening with fond memories of her faithful old Mini Cooper. Although it survived repeated theft, the hot summer of 1976 (even with a boot full of chocolate) and the Cardiff floods of ‘79 it ultimately ended its days in police custody. A fate it probably deserved!

Glynnis told us about her last minute trip to Romania on a charity mission in 1989. The horrors of the suffering and deprivation she witnessed could only be glimpsed. Perhaps the most striking image was of the plane full of passengers on the flight back to the UK acting together to protect a Romanian man and his child who the authorities were trying to arrest before take off.

Nick took us to the break with a story of how his dad and mum got together and his dads’ chivalrous attempts to impress his date by clearing the beach of a rogue pair of underpants, only to discover later that the offensive garments were his own! Nick also encouraged us to think of the romantic opportunities afforded by the beaches in South Wales in the form of his song about Trecco Bay (inspired, he explained, by his dad historic struts along the beaches of South Wales).

After the break, Neil took us on a road trip he took aged 17 with his friend, Colin from Portsmouth to Dover to Calais to Paris and back . The audience were entertained by his stories of hitchhiking, a stay in a converted air raid bunker in Calais, kilos of cheap plums and the ensuing swift visits to the Salon de Convenience, and the return homeward bound to Dover for a late night sweary welcome at the Friendship Hostel.

Griff rounded the night off with his tale of a trip to the South Sea Islands. He told of his discoveries of different culture, different political system, different ways of being and communicating giving us a taste of the unfamiliar yet familiar language along the way. We were eventually taken to a starry, moonlit moment when Griff described how he came to understand what the moon promised that night as well as many years later when he went back to visit his love.

Thanks as always to all the storytellers, to Kemi and her staff and to our audience looking forward to meeting again in 2013.

Andrew and Maria

August is normally a month off for True stories Cardiff but we had a special request from Roxy (Kemi’s right hand woman for many years) who is leaving Cardiff soon to take up a post as a teaching assistant back in her home town. Roxy usually misses all the stories because she is downstairs serving but for once she wanted to experience the show as an audience member. Hope you enjoyed it Roxy and good luck!

We began the evening searching for enough chairs to accommodate the 60 or so people who had decided to kick start their week with some live truth. We failed, so with some audience members perched on ledges Fran told us about the chaotic funeral of her ex-husband Bonga. Bonga it seems was a bit of a lad. A Grangetown legend for his hard partying and boystrous behaviour he had won Fran’s heart after ,or perhaps during, a blood soaked rumble with a Barry gang at the Penarth Sea Scout’s hut back in the 60s. Bonga’s send off included a pedantic priest who kept referring to Paul (Bonga’s real name) until the heckling forced him to relent, a friend throwing himself onto the coffin; children dangling their legs as beer was poured onto the casket, a graveside spliff and a dog running away with the sheet of astroturf used to tidy the mud pile at the graveside. It sounded like the kind of party Bonga would have loved.

Next up Lisa gave a lovely account of the heartache involved in coming to university in Cardiff from a small village in the north. The thought she was leaving home had never occurred to her and when the degree finished she went straight back. The painful realisation that going back is never really an option slowly dawned as she sat by her computer waiting for news from the big city. She was getting to know her parents as friends and spending time with her grandmother but a large part of her heart was now somewhere else. Her description of packing up and leaving home for real brought a tear to the eye of more than one audience member.

Cai brough the first half of the evening to a close with a welsh language song about cat with very definite ideas about what constituted suitable accommodation. Luckily for those non-Welsh speakers in the audience he preceded the song with a charming and funny account of the cat’s house swapping exploits.

After the break we began with Jill telling of her time in Tanzania. Her husband was stationed with the army there in the 1960s and they were unfortunate enough to be caught up in an attempted coup. Her story mixed humour with a genuine sense of peril and some images, notably the three senior officers hiding together in a tiny bathroom had the audience cracked up.

Erin took us back to the early 60s when as a fifth former she developed a crush on tall handsome Howard. He was into Maths, Physics and to her amazement (for three months at least) Erin. The end came on a cold rainy night in Bridgend when, waiting alone on a corner, she realised that Howard had shifted his attention elsewhere, but why? No explanation was sought or offered but awkward encounters in the school corridor confirmed her fears. Life progressed for all concerned and over the years Howard Marks developed an international profile which kept Erin’s question alive. Decades later, his drug millions gone and seven years of hard time under his belt, Howard was promoting a book in Cardiff and Erin got to ask her question. It turned out that he couldn’t remember why he had left her standing in the rain but one thing was for sure he twinkled, he wouldn’t do it again.

Gilly brought the evening to a close with an account of her experiences walking the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St James). As an agnostic embarking on a 500 mile pilgrimage it seemed at times to Gilly that her primary quest wasn’t for God but for an effective treatment for sore feet. She described her alter ego and constant companion as the moaning, muttering Mrs Blister whose mantra was “heat and feet don’t mix” The pain and discomfort Gilly suffered provoked much self doubt but this was alleviated by encounters with people too exhausted for small talk who shared their own true stories along the way. Nearing the end of her journey Gilly experienced what she described as a “moment of grace” in a beautifully unadorned church. It was a moment that made perfect sense of her 40 day adventure and on Monday night it felt like we were all there with her.

(by the way for anyone wondering, the verse Gilly recognised on the hostel wall was from Little Gidding by T.S.Eliot

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

Thanks to Gilly, Erin, Jill, Cai, Lisa and Fran for their true stories. Thanks to Kemi and her staff for the great venue and great food and thanks to our audience from listening so carefully and responding with such warmth to the performers.

We are looking at October for the next event but if we have enough people offering to tell stories then September is a possibility. We will let you know in good time. Spread the word and if you would like to tell a story either give steve a ring on 07976 312 055 or email us via the site


Steve, Andrew and Maria.


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