Pigs ear of a meal

Juno and Bella both demonstrated a special fondness for a pig. Particularly one that came in morsels! As for a pigs ear, that was more likely a description they would attribute to me, or anything I attempted to do. But they sure would be salivating if they had an opportunity to share a recent experience of The Potted Pig

2. Outside sign

Following the financial crash a few years ago, there are many things that people can think of using an old bank vault for… not the least being a dungeon for locking away greedy bankers! Here in Cardiff we have more creative ideas, like a space where local people (and even a few visitors) can sample a range of pig-based fayre, with a drop of the falling down juice on the side…

3. Bar4. Bank vault

You might even be lucky enough to be placed where the eponymous pig can shun you, in favour of a little rest…

5. The Potted Pig

As for the food, I am pleased to say that this restaurant comes with that special characteristic of a small but perfectly formed menu. No unnecessary elaboration here, this is a place for serious quality at reasonable prices. Though the pursuit of pig clearly features as the centrepiece of our gastronomic quest, your choice of animal will be far from limited. However, I could not resist a starter that offers crispy pigs ears, particularly when it came with succulent black pudding, the smokiest of bacon, topped off with a delightfully poached egg. The pigs ears were pork scratchings of the highest order. My compardre chose a belly pork starter (but that was to be my main course)…

 

6. Starters

This was a breakfast like I had never tasted (particularly at 8.30pm). So now, after a delicate tasting of Rioja, it was onward, dinner beckoned. With ducks, lambs, fish, and even a vegetarian dish on offer, my friend succumbed to the sound of a quack, while I could not avoid the continuation of the snort. Slow cooked free range pork belly had to be the order of the day; even if it did come with something requiring the gastronome’s dictionary… choucroute. Me neither! It turned out to be something akin to sauerkraut, and perfectly adorned the sacrificial pig. They even do great chips here!

9. Both mains

All I can say is, that next time you find yourself on St Mary Street in Cardiff, with that knot of hunger and a desire to assuage the temptation of more vegetables, get your timing right. This is a place that has limited opening hours, and you may need to book, but it is worth it.

Sleeping catAs for Bella, had she been on this particular escaped, it would surely have ended in a cat-like impression of the potted pig itself.

Until we speak again, may your pigs ears be crispy.

Labour Party travails

They say “you have to be in it to win it”, well I wasn’t and they did, but not very convincingly. As I was surgically waylaid, it seems my team managed their first win of the season [Cardiff City 2 Blackburn Rovers 1]. However, it also transpires they won courtesy of two own goals by the same Blackburn player; so we still haven’t actually scored a goal all season!

That got me thinking of a political analogy… a team that doesn’t have to score because they can rely on the opposition scoring own goals for them. Sounds just like the luck currently enjoyed by the Conservative Party making up the British Government. Who needs to exert themselves when we have a Labour Party determined to shoot themselves up the proverbial?

Not supposed to happen

Until we speak again, would somebody please remove the blunderbuss from the possession of Her Majesty’s farcical opposition?

Brexit explained

Be very wary of those welcoming messages, they might just be hiding something more sinister for unsuspecting visitors…

Welcome to Cardiff City Stadium

“It’s those immigrants, coming here and taking our overpaid prima donna roles.” [With only five Welsh players in the whole squad, three of whom you never hear about!]

“How is our local economy going to survive?” [Our home grown talent has to make do with only a few grand a week!]

“It’s those foreigners, coming here and taking all off our points!” [Cardiff City 0 Queens Park Rangers 2.]

“What is happening to our sovereign status as an independent sporting power?” [Oh yes, we are in hock to a Malaysian owner!]

Until we speak again, keep the welcome in a language designed to keep all of those interlopers baffled…

Welcome in Welsh

 

Making craft lager

[Set up a mobile brewing facility] Take a group of men, any ordinary men, say a group like this…

Scary scrum

[Source desired ingredients] Direct them towards a pub with some good beer; we’re talking proper ale here. A good hoppy pale ale like this normally brings then back for more…

Tastes like it looks

[Processing and storage] Good ale is converted into lager by a natural rapid fermentation method, encased within a human frame. But, it needs close proximity storage, before the onward distribution to preferred lager outlets (i.e. other places not frequented by those who like good beer). The Hopbunker in Cardiff has perfected the storage solution…

Making lager

Water [2]

 

 

[Distribution] Until we speak again, just don’t ask where the above storage units are subsequently distributed to! I think I’m going to be a little more cautious about what I drink.

A night on the Toon

When you’ve seen a bunch of bridges by day, the next question is “what has Newcastle got for visiting cats to fill the evening?” It seems that it has a bunch of bridges by night!

Tyne Bridge at night

Underside of Tyne Bridge at night

Thirsty work, all of this bridge watching, so I’m unreliably told. But, in Newcastle, who needs an umbrella when even the pub comes with its own shelter?

Bridge Tavern and Bridge at night

So, the so-called business trip turns out to be something else altogether! The aptly named Bridge Tavern (formerly Newcastle Arms) provides an excellent watering hole, if you can’t bear to be too far from your precious bridges. With brewing at the back end of the bar, and a great range of regionally sourced beers, this could be a pub crawl without needing to move from your bar stool!

Bridge Tavern [1]

Bridge Tavern [2]

Bridge Tavern [3]

All tastes catered for, so an Allensdale Cardinal pale ale was swiftly followed by a sample of a Cloudwater stout:

Pint of Allendale Cardinal A pint in Bridge Tavern

 

 

 

 

Newcastle isn’t all about beer. If you’re looking for some culture the Theatre Royal is sure to satisfy…

Theatre Royal at night

But, I should have known, if I send my old soak on tour, resistance to a Rolling Stones reference will soon turn things back to beer…

Pleased to Meet You at night [1]

A pint in Pleased to Meet You [2]

And it seems wherever you are in this city reference to the bridges will always be close by…

A pint in Pleased to Meet You [1]

Sleeping cat

 

Until we speak again it’s enough to give a cat a headache.

Newcastle: City of Bridges

Cardiff doesn’t do spectacular bridges, perhaps the most interesting stroll over water is at the Cardiff Bay barrage

Barrage [4]

Rear viewBut, as a cat of broader vision, I was led to believe that if you want to see some interesting footage of river crossings you could do worse than pay a visit to Newcastle.

As a cool cat, I neither have interest in this watery stuff or in travelling for hours in enclosed cans at speed. After all, this bum was designed more for climbing on horses than trains! “Excuse me, what is that camera doing there?”

So I despatched my unqualified civil engineer on an example of one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s moving things, in order to take a look at examples of his non-moving things. The initial view from the moving thing seems to be of a whole group of non-moving things…

View from train

But, what has a visit to this old industrial city got to offer for the discerning bridge spotter? The train station looks like it is in need of an upgrade! Can’t see what all the fuss was about regarding the success of putting the East Coast Mainline back into public ownership…

Wall mural

However, it doesn’t take much shoe leather before you find a cathedral, parish church and a range of old sandstone buildings to get yourself into architectural historian mode on your personal dial…

St Nicholas Cathedral [2]

Church near station

Sandstone buildings

So, where are these mythical bridges hinted at from the train view? It doesn’t take much detective work around here; just as well, as I didn’t exactly send a full Sherlock on the mission! It seems this is the kind of place where buildings and bridges are competing for space…

Buildings and Bridges [2]

Buildings and Bridges [3]

With a feline sixth sense of telepathy I let my tepid intrepid know that maybe locating the river will provide a guide to where the bridges might be. Somehow against all limits of logic they stumble in the direction of trickling water, and lo and behold, whether you happen to be on foot, on a train, or in self-drive mode, a crossing is available for you.

Millenium Bridge [2]

Bridges on Tyne [4]

Bridges on Tyne [2]

 

Bridges on Tyne [3]

If I’m not mistaken it looks like that Sydney Harbour Bridge has been shrunk and moved across the world. Until we speak again this Bella is going to rest up after all of this tiring travelogue.

Olympic Mission Impossible

For Juno and Bella this would certainly have represented dreams of ‘fast food’; much too fast for either cat, who took a simple view of olympic feats… usually taking the form of lengthy snoozes on a sun-soaked window cill. But, for other members of the animal kingdom, the olympics are drawing close, so practice is essential.

[Note to UK readers… a particular Mission Impossible soundtrack ad may help you to seriously appreciate the following event… though hopefully not the urine of the gnat product!].

Right, on your marks, get set…

Squirrell [1]

Go…

Squirrell [2]

C’mon Usain Bolt, keep up!

Squirrell [3]

Hey, where is my medal?

Squirrell [4]

WHO ARE YOU LOOKING AT?

Squirrell [5]

Seagull on binstore

I knew there was a reason why I run so fast…

 

 

Until we speak again, keep practicing!