In a NOLA state of mind

When you come to New Orleans you can take for granted they will give you great music and fabulous food. However, you can also expect to be educated in statements of the obvious…

Every step you take will be teeming with life…

They will occasionally greet you with renditions of music hall favourites played on a steam-driven piano…

And, especially for the invading Brits, here is where you’ll find the dogs bollocks (with added shades of cool)…

They will even showcase ubiquitous American violence in an historic fashion…

So, until we speak again, remember that New Orleanians will always have time for you, except when they can’t quite make it!

Cat not home

So, there I was at BB King’s place. What else do you do for your 60th? He wasn’t there, but that was my fault, I didn’t tell him I was coming! However, some cool blues cats were present…

Thirst needed to be quenched, so do what the locals do… An ‘Urban South Holy Roller IPA’ might do the trick… 

But fabulous blues also seem to drive an  appetite. It looks like a hot beef ‘po boy’ is also called for…

So who needed the appetite interruption act? It seems that some cats just get preferential treatment, eating or not. 

Maybe I’m just being an over sensitive old git! Clearly some bluesmen have different priorities (if you catch my drift).

Anyway, the whole point of this ramble is just to remind my follower that a visit to Newawrlings is going to provide fabulous experiences, if you are ok about expecting unusual stuff!

Until we speak again, worry more about yourself. I’m just taking in ‘The Big Easy. 

Icon revival

As much as I would like this heading to be applied to Juno and Bella, thus reversing two tragic demises of recent years, in reality it is an update for my loyal follower. The Coal Exchange building, deep in the heart of Mount Stuart Square, has been apparently left to rot and collapse through gross negligence by local and national Welsh administrations. How nice it is to refer to an ‘iconic’ status on perimeter hoardings, while the subject of said reference basks in a catastrophic state of neglect behind.

Coal Exchange board sign

Coal Exchange exterior decay [3]

Coal Exchange [6]

Coal Exchange approach

Rumour had it that developers of a boutique hotel would be the saviour of the building where the very first £1 million cheque was handed over. No, that’s a historical fact not an inflated cost of a suite in the proposed new hotel!

Well, in March 2017 there were distinctly positive signs, for those who hold a candle (rather than an incendiary device) to the preservation of Cardiff’s architectural heritage! Coal Exchange Mar 17

Then, just as Spring in May should bring a promise of new beginnings, so the revival of a favourite old building seems truly under way…

Coal Exchange May 17 [2]

Coal Exchange May 17 [3]

Coal exchange May 17 [4]

With extensive work still to be completed across most of the site, the ultimate sign of intent is captured… as bona fide hotel residents arrive to occupy some of the small number of rooms early opened.

Coal Exchange May 17 [6]

It seems that Signature Living have sympathetic plans for the regeneration of the building, that will recapture its historic past as well as provide a sustainable basis for looking forward. And while there will be the inevitable carping about handing a community resource over to a commercial venture, the photographs at the top of this post are evidence enough of the only other real alternative!

Until we speak again, Juno’s View promises to bring documented evidence of the interior in the near future. [However, in the interim period, behold views of Chicago and New Orleans coming here very soon!]

 

 

Feline fortitude

So, what did we learn from watching more than 124,000 seconds of Championship football home matches at the Cardiff City Stadium across 2016/7? The main message to take into the summer:

Football is… a bunch of fat blokes sitting down, telling a bunch of fit blokes running around, what to do.

Pinterest and 9Gag

And, for those cats who prefer the scintillating excitement of watching on TV from the comfort of their sofa…

Zak Show dot Com

Until we speak again, choose your refreshment to get into shape, and build your ridiculously high expectations for your team, in time for the new season in August!

[For the record the Mighty Bluebirds have risen from 24th in October 2016 to finish 12th at the end of this season. Project that rise forward, and… no, I’d better not go there, at least until too much sun has fried my brain.]

[With acknowledgements to Zak Show.com & 9GAG for the original images used to illustrate this post.]

 

Mugwump logic

I thought a mugwump was somebody independent of politics, or if you look at US literature it’s a Native American reference to a leader. So, thanks to the peroxide poser in the Foreign Office, the fashion for political soundbites leaves us with more heat than light.

White cat blue eyes

Careful who you’re calling a peroxide poser! I’ve got your bluebirds in my sight.

The current reference is prefaced with ‘mutton-headed’ and directed at the so-called leadership of the Labour Party. And, on the back of such confidence, the leader of the expected all-conquering English Tories heads into the Labour heartlands of Wales, gunning to take a Tory victory for the first time in 100 years or more. Political skies are looking grey wherever Labour supporters look…

Gloomy skies

But, surely the king mugwump isn’t going to lose one of his few remaining heartlands? This is Wales we are talking about. They don’t play Men of Harlech before each home match at the Cardiff City Stadium for nothing… with it’s line of ‘Welshmen never yield’ there is a strong message to any English insurgents.

Which brings me to the last home match of the season, as the marauding Geordies of Newcastle bring the largest away contingent… Magpies nesting at the home of the Bluebirds! Talking of peroxide posers… Newcastle United playing in anything other than their famous black and white stripes is unbelievable; but surely any mugwumps in blue are ready to repel the English confidence…

City v Newcastle

They might have already been promoted to the Premier League, but a Newcastle contingent in a mood to party were hardly going to obey the script of defiance writ large in the Welsh heartlands, were they? Well if you’re Jeremy Corbyn, or any of the faceless Labour wonders in Cardiff Bay, don’t look at the final score [Cardiff City 0 Newcastle United 2].

Until we speak again, if this match was prescient, then Juno exemplifies what the Welsh Labour stronghold has to offer in the coming General Election.

Playing dead

Culinario gatti

Calling all you culinary cats… Giovanni’s has been established on The Hayes in the centre of Cardiff since 1983; but in 2013 a second branch opened on Park Place, conveniently opposite the New Theatre. But, don’t expect any Godfather III operatic grandstanding here… for a start, you may be greeted by a less than appetising facade of scaffolding, as painting is in progress.

Front [1]

It is worth getting past your penchant for deciding the quality of a restaurant based on the external appearance (particularly as this will change sometime soon). After all, you should be in food critic, not architectural critic mode, if your aim is to satisfy gastronomic urges. I know, I’m a hypocrite, as I am often critical of sloppy architecture, including that of modern restaurants.

On a recent post rugby match visit, there were plenty of persone che mangiano di ristoranti, with everyone engrossed in the menu under the expert tutelage of the resident maestro…

Giovanni's [1]

It is worth lingering over the menu, as this is no run-of-the-mill Italian chain. We are talking a family-run restaurant with plenty of amore put into the whole experience as well as the culinary produce. For the visiting young one it was Scallops Al Limone for a starter, which received glowing praise from someone who knows his scallops. I opted for the Gamberoni all Marchesa (roasted king prawns in garlic, white wine and parsley)…

Giovanni's [2]

Yes, I know it should be white wine with any seafood; but my inner Lecter couldn’t resist a nice Chianti! As for main courses, the visiting ‘Son of Cool’ went for the traditional option of a good home cooked Lasagne Emiliana Fatta in Casa, and yours truly was in the mood for a main that would live up to the red wine accompaniment. So, what better than a Penne Spezzatino (fillet steak in garlic, wine and tomato sauce)…

Giovanni's [3]

Some of you might be licking your lips with anticipation of what quintessential Italian desserts are about to be laid out before you. Well, tough… this is early evening, and space needs to be left for a few beers elsewhere (you can only have so much of a good Italian thing before reverting to what the British do better!). But, before I leave you, and in the continuing spirit of hydration, I did indulge in a double espresso and Sambucca on the side. There are some liquids that only the Italians really know how to make!

Giovanni's [4]

We both left full of culinario contentezza, as we transitioned from Italian delicato to the bustle of a Saturday night in a British pub. Until we speak again, may all of your cornetto’s be less than vanilla. And Bella says ciao.

Farewell