Cerys Matthews: My memories of Whitchurch and Rhiwbina

cerys matthews

“I’ve just lit my fire and I’m getting cosy. What’s it like in Cardiff?”

Cerys Matthews is at home in Pembrokeshire. For the ex-Catatonia front woman and Radio6 DJ, it’s a rare time to relax at home.

“It’s lovely here. The sun’s shining but it is cold.”

The picture she paints is very different to the grey mist that has swallowed up Cardiff on a cold winter morning. The Welsh capital is of course, where Cerys was brought up and lived when she first shot to fame during the 1990s.

“We used to live in Whitchurch. We had an Uncle Gwyn who lived at the top of Rhiwbina. We’d often go to visit him, and then head out into the woods to pick blackberries. The M4 was being built at the time and we’d sit and watch the workers. The thing I remember about it most was the soil. It was red, all of it red. They also created this monster mound with the waste soil and we’d play on it. I think it’s still there at the top of Rhiwbina.”

For a moment, Cerys goes blank as she struggles to remember the name of the school she attended as a youngster.

“Nan!” She shouts. “NAN! Which school did I go to in Llandaff?! There’s a muffled conversation in Welsh before Cerys comes back on the phone and announces the word ‘Bryntaf’ very proudly.

“I love anything mid-winter. I love Christmas. I want to be a bear and hibernate for the winter when I think about the weather turning cold.

“I wouldn’t want to go back to the days of Catatonia. Life’s too short. It was enjoyable at the time but what I’m doing now is even more enjoyable. You grow up, and as you do, you open your eyes to the magic of the world around you. You have to keep learning, keep reading.”

You can join Cerys every Sunday at 10am on Radio6.

Twitter: @cerysmatthews


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