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!

Starting line [1]

Racing boat[2]

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.

Starting line [2]

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?

Racing boat [3]

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…

Racing boat [8]

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

Racing boat [9]

Phew, just missed it…

Racing boat [10]

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?

They're off [1]

Race turn [4]

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

Challenge Wales boat

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…

Mermaid Quay [3]

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!

20160827_160425

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!

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.