Posts Tagged caerphilly

My 4am project: Tommy Cooper in Caerphilly

Caerphilly to Cardiff Tommy Cooper style

I spent the Easter weekend in South Wales visiting my family, which meant I was at my Dad’s house in Caerphilly for the 4am project on Sunday 4th April.  Now on recent visits to Caerphilly I’ve noticed an increasing amount of Tom Cooper’s dotted around the town, where he was born.  It seems we have the Caerphilly-based Tommy Cooper Society to thank for this – they are capitalising on the connection despite the fact that his family moved to Exeter when he was three.

Scary Tommy Cooper

The Tommy Coper Society raised the funds for a Tommy Cooper statue in the town centre, which is what I made a beeline for at 4am.  His big, beaming face grinning down at me looked downright sinister in the darkness of night.  It was kind of scary.

Tommy Cooper's bunny

But it wasn’t as scary as the bunny that stands at the foot of the sculpture, which was trying to crush The Courthouse pub down the road with its giant paw.

Cat on doorstep

Tommy’s bunny wasn’t the only animal I came across. I met this very cold-looking cat sitting on a front doorstep.

No 108

The other beasts I saw were on bins.  There seems to be a trend in Caerphilly of people decorating their wheelie bins with squirrels and the like, it’s very odd.

Bin squirrels

Those that didn’t pimp up their bins indicated the house number in the normal way with paint, but even that could look quite funky in a distressed sort of way.

No 74

This is what I love about the 4am project, it really makes you notice things in your surroundings that you just don’t tend to see in the hustle and bustle of daytime life.

74 Van Rd

The big 4am project date is barely over, but organiser Karen Strunks isn’t resting on her laurels.  She’s just announced an extra special 4am outing to the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre this Saturday, an Aladdin’s cave of historical treasures in Nechells.  Who knows what you might notice there in the dark and quiet of night?

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This used to be my playground

Because I’ve been so busy, I haven’t taken a full-on summer holiday this year, just had a few nice long weekends away.  One of them was spent with my Dad in Caerphilly, where I grew up.  Me and my older brother were pretty feral as children – we used to spend all our time playing outside in a big pack, coming home like cats when we were hungry.  Our favorite haunting ground was Twyn School Field, which has scrubland around the playing field that felt like a dense forest as a child.

Whilst I was back in Caerphilly I literally took a trip down memory lane (which is no longer littered with white dog poo) – past the railings I used to somersault over, down the path along The Brook into The Field.  It was great having my memory jolted by a tree where I once disturbed a wasps’ nest, a shed where we all found a stash of illicit porn mags and the bushes where I had a rather clumsy first kiss.

Even better was seeing that a new generation of players are using the space for much the same thing.  They weren’t there but telltale signs of them were – a tree used as a bridge over a ditch, graffiti tags on a garage door, an empty bottle of cheap white cider and the throne of the new King of the Castle – a sopping wet blue playchair on top of a tree stump.

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