CL-UMP

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!

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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

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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…

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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.

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

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

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

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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?)…

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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?).

 

Rotten Boroughs

There was a time in the political history of Britain when cats with an interest in local matters  had little or no say in the election of those who would represent them… merely trapped in personal fiefdoms, you might say. They became known as Rotten Boroughs.

There seems to be more than a passing resemblance in today’s sporting contest with the concept of Rotten Boroughs. Just take a look at the extent of influence that their non-footballing owners have over the football appointments in their own personal fiefdoms!

This is also a clash that takes on a strong sense of being manufactured by media representations; where a ‘rotten‘ core of a rivalry has been projected onto a fixture that only very rarely used to involve ‘significant’ matches. It did however involve teams with a perceived rotten core of supporters, so this might well be portrayed as a derby for the rotten boroughs, at least in some twilight world of imagination. Today’s faux politeness requires that teams present friendly greetings before they play at falling over and getting the opposition players booked or sent off!

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But, this occasion is also spiced by the need for both teams to drag themselves out of perilous league positions in the early weeks of this season. After a mere handful of matches there is already an important question emerging on local lips…

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With a new manager, Paul Trollope, at the start of the season, I chose to name my fantasy football team ‘Pure Trollope’ for this year. As I have said before, this was meant to be ironic commentary, not a documentary! Though we can begin to identify the trollope way of playing emerging as a pattern… create chances, score nothing, then present a relatively poor opposing team a few chances to help themselves to a win. Sounds like the machinations of a rotten borough to me, as one of the dwindling numbers paying for the pain of watching a deja vu experience at each home game.

There again, it could just be that we are the activists who have little need for the power of influence that comes with winning matches and challenging for the big time. Why aspire to such heights, when we can enjoy a permanent state of moaning and disagreement with the way of things?

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If Bella was still listening to the current regular diatribe, she might well be asking if this was really about Cardiff City FC, as it sounds remarkably like the current commentary on an increasingly irrelevant Labour Party… a political party assuming a similar projection to the local team… sleepwalking to oblivion. [For those of you with little or no interest in the outcome the final score was Cardiff City 0 Leeds United 2; and Cardiff finally hit rock bottom of the league!].

History explained

Stonehenge is a world-renowned heritage site, located in Wiltshire in south-west England. But it is Wales that lays claim to be the source of the historic stones. Could it be that Cardiff provides a source of evidence for this longstanding claim?

Combining an artistic frame for historic contemplation, this location deep in Bute Park, offers any cat with an interest in such things an opportunity for peace and serenity.

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Talking of peace and serenity, Bella always had a sixth sense for such things. Until we speak again, remember history is just a thing of the past!

Beyond the barrage

Gazing across Cardiff Bay can easily trigger contemplation, even in the least philosophical of cats. Across the water lies the barrage that gives rise to this expanse of life aquatic. Then there is the majestic Penarth headland, inviting mystery as to what lies beyond…

Cardiff Bay view

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Tantalisingly out of reach are the mythic islands of Flatholm and Steepholm, worthy of exploration if you can still find an intrepid sea dog to convey over the channel. But what is that strange protrusion at the foot of the headland?

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One of Penarth’s many attractions dates back to the late Victorian era; an age when the coastline of Britain (back when it was Great!) needed wood and metal embellishments, so that people could experience walking above water. The pier was a ubiquitous adornment to any self-respecting seaside town; a place to take-in the bracing sea air, or indulge in frivolous amusement in pavilions or arcades. Penarth Pier was no exception, including its later art deco addition in 1930…

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[The image above is included with acknowledgement to Ben Salter on Flickr.]

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But, be wary of the history of this structure before you venture forth in anticipation. 1931 (fire), 1947 (collision), and 1966 (collision) were dramatic years in its perilous existence. When you create a long and narrow appendage don’t be surprised if it occasionally suffers  the occasional catastrophe. As with certain volcanoes, looking at those dates, the next one seems long overdue!

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For readers under the age of 25, the ‘No Fishing’ sign refers to aquatic creatures, not nefarious internet activity! Though judging from the level of occupation below, readers under 25 are far more likely to engage with Penarth Pier on a screen than in reality.

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Until we speak again, I am going to assume a Bella-like state of contemplation, as I reflect on life beyond the barrage.

Messing about on boats

“The owl and the pussy cat went to sea…” someone once said. But, whoever saw a cat taking a liking to water? This recent Bank Holiday weekend saw Cardiff Bay hosting an event that would cause most feline’s to high tail it straight to their favourite hiding place. Yet many cats of an adventurous disposition, into action and speed, were preening their whiskers in the balmy weekend weather. It seems like Cardiff City Council may even have got a grant from the Welsh Assembly Government to paint the water blue specially for the event!

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The architecturally challenged St David’s Hotel (this being about the best angle to wonder at it) has found a new function, as a starting line for the race.

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The Grand Prix of the Seas comes to Cardiff Bay as part of its international tour, but does anyone know which way we are supposed to be going?

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If you don’t quite make it into the competition final, you can always pretend to assume some degree of speedster superiority by racing a pleasure boat…

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But look where you’re going, because those bouncy castles are just like shopping trolleys, they can suddenly appear anywhere…

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Phew, just missed it…

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If the thrill of semi-enclosed speed doesn’t float your boat, why not try standing on something resembling a high-tech plank of wood?

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Then again, if your preference is more of a sedentary dispensation, you don’t get to avoid a challenge… a nation awaits you!

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Or, perhaps if it’s just the promenading that works for you, the terra firma of Mermaid Quay offers cool cats a modern day boardwalk…

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Until we speak again, enjoy your water, however you take it.

Taking your seat

Take a picture of this… it’s a cold Tuesday afternoon in January, and the House of Commons are about to hold a Department of Transport debate on the effectiveness of ‘cats eyes’.

Cats eyesTake a guess as to how many seats are occupied for such a brain numbing encounter? You don’t need to guess any longer, as the latest edition of ‘Pure Trollope’ (Paul Trollope being the new Cardiff City FC Manager) provides the answer for us!

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For the record, the final score was Cardiff City 0 Reading 1, and the home fans left en masse (if such a movement was numerically possible) as the fluorescent ones scored on 89 minutes.

Until we speak again, may your team on the pitch not outnumber the fans in the stands!