Tales of the river bank

ducks-at-14-1Some of us are nature loving cats who need to live in a rural setting to feel alive; and some of us are urban cats, but who like to see a little bit of the natural world within our city centres. Juno and Bella were glad I was an aficionado of the latter camp. They would not be short of triggers for the imagination, particularly for dreaming of exotic meals.

Who said this year of Olympic dreams was already over? The Quack Olympics are thriving down at Atlantic Wharf, as the contestants line up on the edge of the water ready for the 10 yard free-style race. For Juno and Bella it is an opportunity for dreaming of being aquatic cats, reclining on their backs just beneath the water, mouths wide open (I know it doesn’t make any sense, who said this blog was about reality?), waiting for tasty morsels to just drop in…


But, sometimes the opportunity might just be a little too big to manage!


Cautious cats know, that sometimes there is the danger of the hunter becoming the hunted!





Until we speak again, Bella might well look ready for dinner, but the local wildlife can rest assured she will only be getting the veterinary formulated science plan (aka ‘rocks’).

Kitten heels

sleeping-catIt was a Wednesday, so it must be PMQ’s, which usually means Prime Minister’s Questions in good old UK parliamentary speak. With Theresa May installed as our Prime Minister the commentators have a habit of trivialising events, just as I am doing right now,  by referring to her passion for shoes, and an infamous pair of kitten heels she occasionally wears. This weekly event is billed as a gladiatorial battle where the PM takes on the bitter foe in a verbal joust about the issues of the day; and it usually ends up as some kind of a draw.

Strange that! Because this Wednesday saw the turn of a Wednesday to grace the local hallowed turf. We would see what steel our Sheffield born new manager was made of, as we take on his least favoured home city team, Sheffield Wednesday. This was billed as a gladiatorial battle with the home team taking on the challenge of bitter foe in a physical joust, and you guessed it, it ended up in a draw! Cardiff City 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1.

Until we speak again the unanimous verdict has been declared on the effectiveness of bitter jousts in general, and the the current mightiness of the local Bluebirds specifically…


Cats for a new dawn

thinking-catBella was often to be found in deep  contemplation. Could it have been a fretfulness for so-called hard Brexit’s yet to be? Maybe it was a fear of any game that involved a Trump card! Or, was she simply playing over in her mind a favourite feline chase, involving the exposing of claws to greedy bankers scurrying about the floor before her.

Whatever the source, it always seemed like she was in a mood for change. As a deaf bag of tumours, she had the full on experience of being one of life’s strugglers, for whom the promised bounty had found its way into the pockets of others… the chosen few.

A very same mass desire for change has equally gripped the deluded followers of a certain local football team. When you find yourselves bouncing along the bottom of your league, you quickly resort to emotional affectation underpinned by a complete lack of evidence or sound judgement. Collectively, you become a herd of cats in search of a new dawn. The banners are dusted off, and the gladiators take to the field before an inflated audience, many drawn to a one-off experience of the bogof (buy one get one free) variety.


Until we speak again, a new manager and new players arrive, and the tale of unexpected cauldrons produces a Cardiff City 2 Bristol City 1 scoreline, enough to bring tears of joy to the emotionally impoverished Bluebirds witnessing the first goals scored at home by someone in blue this season. Just don’t start believing in a new dawn just yet, with Brexiteers’ and Corbynistas’ already laying claim to the realisation of the activists dream, some things come in three’s… so the 8th November in a certain gun-toting nation could yet make The Exorcist look like Mary Poppins! As for Warnock’s wonders…?


Dreaming cats

It’s that time of year when a glimpse of sunshine, blue skies, and slightly elevated temperatures, cause most discerning cats to seek a prime location for soaking up the Vitamin D.

Here in Cardiff it is also the ideal time to gaze across the bay over shimmering waters towards Penarth Head, and dream of lazy days past as we try to hold back the creeping chill in the old bones.




Until we speak again, take a leaf out of Juno’s book, and supplement your stores of of the diminishing rays while you still can.

Clever cats



October arrives, and with it the influx into Cardiff of clever cats from far and wide. Apparently these days it’s all about the academic value for money, as opposed to the Old Git’s days when it was the price of a pint! So, perhaps an apt question to be asking is where are all those £9000 fees going to?

Well, locally it would seem that blue skies will soon fade into the memory, as the University of South Wales have been busy investing in shiny expansion…


For students of architecture, the last year has been a visual progression of modernist form and style. Whilst the Lloyds Bank building in the City of London pioneered the placement of internal organs on the outside of the body, we could have been forgiven for thinking the lifts here were an intellectual after thought, so why not tack them on the outside?


IKEA may have pioneered the flat pack way of constructing things, but there was an early hint that building costs could be managed if a large order was put in for colourfully packaged prefab slabs. Just peel and reveal seems to be the new construction technique.



Back in the day, the two-legged possession of Juno & Bella harboured the usual dreams of being a train driver or some kind of construction engineer. Blame could easily be laid on the gift of meccano for temporarily providing a distraction from the explosive attractions of a chemistry set. Yet, hindsight suggests that budding architects of the age were equally influenced by toys of apparently limited appeal…


Until we speak again, it appears that the University of South Wales is putting those fees to funding buildings that at least offer some visual interest.  20160911_095847



The Atrium is spreading it wings. Now, what is the price of a pint?


A coming together of protagonists for a staged event lasting 90 minutes, whereby the two opposing forces seem loved by the few and disliked by the many. Blows are traded, almost like handbags at five paces, until one or other side lands a decisive strike (or two). But ‘decisive’ is meaningless, as the competition on show is but a small part of the overall contest, to be decided at a date already determined for the conclusion of the campaign.

Immigration is not an issue for the two sides that have nothing but open arms (though limited economies) for the influx of outside talent; and there certainly were no walls being built by the home defence! I don’t know how many Hilary’s or Donald’s were on show, but there was a grim consistency in the message for the home believers, as Derby County just edged the bottom of the table duel at Cardiff City 0-2.

A poignant message could be viewed on the big screen… a lament for the cancellation of the home team’s Goal of the Month Competition; owing to the fact that the home team didn’t score any goals at their home venue throughout the month of September!




Until we speak again Juno would have had no gender bias I’m sure, but her wishes for Hilary would be ‘deliver a knock out blow’!

Coffee Industry


Something’s happening in a strange space outside of the city centre of Cardiff, known as the Capital Quarter.

For many locals the sight of a blue sky takes on a mythic status. But with the help of an over-sized set of chopsticks, there seem to be some complex metal jig-saw puzzles rising where once there was mud and the dereliction of industry from a bygone age…





What this emerging conglomeration of metal and glass structures are meant to offer is anyone’s guess. The well-being of indigenous Cardiffians, and the post-Brexit still welcomed immigrants of the world, is duly promoted by the purveyors of dubious post-industrial dreams. But surely, the only real industry of any note in the developed world of the 21st century is coffee shops. You don’t have to look too far (about 5 yards buys it) for the nearest coffee shop, as Kin + Ilk promise a future marriage of coffee and industry, in the form of a ‘small business’ promoting venture.


In modern parlance, we now have an artisan coffee shop, whatever that is! A quick glance at the menu offers the first hint…


If you prefer your avocado + chilli + lime on toasted sourdough to be sampled in a minimalist setting, this is your place…



The cappuccino just about holds its own against the masses of competition occupying the city centre.


But clearly it is early days, and these premises look perfectly located for the hundreds of anonymous captains of industry who will no doubt descend on the business edifices (or is that edify?) sprouting out of fertile former docklands grit. Located on Smart Way, it is yet to be determined if it is a smart move, but they are at least extending a daily welcome to anyone passing by (or is that lost?)…




Though she is sadly long passed, Juno was always one for a contemporary coffee shop pose, as no self-respecting cat has a cup without an accompanying screen.

Until we speak again, don’t forget that those cups of coffee are not only your pleasure, they are also contributing to the next industrial revolution (or should a ‘not’ be inserted somewhere in that sentence?).