’What shall we call the project?’ I asked, as I met with half a dozen people at the lunch table in Abbey Road Drop In Centre in Bangor for the first time. ‘Project X’ said one like a bullet. I never saw that person again, but he contributed to the project from the very start.
said Mari Emlyn in her introduction to a booklet of pieces by members of Project X. Project X comprises of clients, with mental health issues from the Abbey Road Centre, Bangor. The group met weekly over a period of six weeks at interesting venues in and around Bangor.
Myself, Mari Emlyn and members of the group first visited Treborth Botanical Gardens, Bangor University and were guided around the hot house by Dr Shaun Russell. We had a look at the orchids, and all varieties of cactus which grew there. Under the guidance of Mari, we wrote a poem using the Latin terms for the plants, it developed into a funny poem. Some members of the group were brave enough to read their poems to the rest of the group, and therefore setting a pattern for the next workshops. Chatting, writing, a cuppa, some cake, more chatting, writing and reading our work to each other. We then visited Brambell Natural History Museum, Bangor University, and there we saw skeletons of animals, and a two headed lamb; there was plenty of inspiration to work with. From there we went to Storiel Museum and Art Gallery Bangor in the company of Megan Cochoran, where she took us to see some wooden chairs, an old oak clothes box which belonged to her grandmother, Bardsey crown and the Welsh Not. A treat to the eyes, and the senses, and to finish our session we had a large piece of cake and a cuppa at the Storiel Café. We then went on to the University Library, where we had a brief history of the main library and the many books held there. The end of the project came far too early, where we came to Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Llanystumdwy for lunch and to read to each other. When the time came to farewell, it wasn’t easy, as a friendship had blossomed between us over the weeks. As we parted, we knew that we had told some stories, a few memories remembered, and some secrets shared. There was building of confidence, self-esteem grew, and a love of words developed, as well as strengthening the sense of belonging to the group.
A booklet of the work produced by the group will be published in the New Year, but in the meantime, here’s a taster:
Astrophytum Myriostigma (Gerddi Botaneg Treborth 12.11.18)
It is rebutis senillis
Inside my Parodia Scopa.
It is cranial
It is caregia gigantean
Inside my Parodia Scopa.
This is the Astrophytum Myriostigma
And I don’t like it.
I don’t like it one bit
Not one jot
I want it out of my Parodia Scopa.
Keep off! Do not touch!
Do not touch
My Mammillaria elongate!
Keep your Ferrocactus robustus
Off my Mammillaria
Team Project X