With the start of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry this week, and the one year anniversary today of the Manchester Arena bombing, we are not short of reasons to be reflecting on grief and loss.

Then there are those individual losses closer to home for most of us, as experienced by my own family just 6 weeks ago. Dad was a Steel Moulder for most of his working life, working in a former foundry on East Moors Road ‘down the docks’ in Cardiff. In fact, just behind those chimneys in the picture…

Reflections on Bute Dock East

Until we speak again, never underestimate the importance of giving yourself time for reflection… wherever and whenever!

Lest we forget

Photographs of our favourite pets,Is this my best side? even those who are now former companions, are a great means of keeping connected with all those feelings we share(d).

However, on a stroll about the town centre of the city of Cardiff just the other day, I was accosted by the need for memorial on a much grander scale. The Royal British Legion have erected an installation as part of the centenary remembrance of World War 1 (also incongruously known as ‘The Great War’).

WW1 Memorial [3]

Every so often the fan-assisted installation blows poppies around the statue for added effect…

WW1 Memorial [4]

Just behind the installation you may spot one of our modern day deterrents on the front-line to prevent further warfare, the all-singing-and-dancing soon to outnumber lamp-posts… surveillance camera! ‘They know what we are up to, and very soon there will be a policy of prohibition coming near to you!’

WW1 Memorial [1]So, as Juno would undoubtedly have said, before we speak again try to remember… something, anything, but at least those who gave their lives so that surveillance could help us sleep easier in our beds.

The Strengths Revolution

David Ivor Davies (1893 – 1951) is better known as Ivor Novello, and is one of the famous sons of this once world renowned maritime city of Cardiff, as well as giving his name to some prestigious songwriting awards. Now he sits in quiet contemplation as an important figure in Cardiff Bay. Strolling down his way the other day I happened to notice that our Ivor had become very distracted, so being an inquisitive cat I took it upon myself to check out what it was that so commanded his attention.

Ivor distracted

To my delight I could see that it was the advancement of a revolution that had occupied his attention… a ‘Strengths Revolution’. Wales having for so long been home to a notoriously dour race of introspective people, pre-occupied by the rise and fall of their industrial heritage… with canals overgrown, docks lying derelict and empty, coalmines closed and winding gear dismantled, and the steel industry owned by foreign investors with little sentiment for the old Welsh workhorse. All of this to be replaced by the inevitable late 20th century and early 21st century drive for a love of bureaucracy and shallow entertainment, monolithic edifices to shopping and service industries, with depths plumbed through the cult of celebrity.

To the untrained eye, my daily slumbers and preoccupation with whatever I can eat looks like the usual and expected life of a simple cat.Juno eyes Meanwhile, all along I have been projecting positive vibes through a talent for x-ray vision into the ‘resident scribbler‘, with the added threat of a fury right hook if they deviate from the task of focusing on what is good in life. Now the fruits of my vision are beginning to emerge in the wider world, as my home becomes the studio for one of the latest additions to the world of the podcast. As of 22nd April 2014 The Strengths Revolution weekly podcast show arrived on your world dominating iTunes Store. So now you to can become the recipient of my pearls of wisdom cunningly dispensed through the ‘vacant organism‘ that shares my home. All you need to do is click on:

Of course, it goes without saying you should then subscribe to this wonderous Ivor Novello distraction, and even leave the occasional review of episodes that blew you away with their subtle wit and wisdom. All of this will be like the NHS, free at the point of need! But, for those of you who like to read

Microphone and canswhat you have been listening to, the book will be out on 12th May (‘Working with Strengths’ published by Pavilion Publishing & Media in Brighton)… but there are no current plans for the film just yet.

Until we speak again I am going to purr into my Blue Yeti microphone and don strange cans for the future benefit of you all.



Introducing Fat Freddies Cat

This week I want to introduce you to a true polymath, a cat of infinite talents… the Leonardo da Vinci of Grangetown…

Whether it is beer or photography, travelling or just knowledge of the all-night sounds of downtown radio ‘FM San Francisco’, Fat Freddies Cat is the go-to guy. His knowledge expands across many fields, from the iconic Ninian Park in Cardiff (now only a lifetime of memories) to the Estadio do Maracana in Rio, via the greener parts of Scunthorpe and Walsall. Santiago and Kilimanjaro are no strangers to this world traveller; very much at home at any event in Cardiff; an occasional drifter into Fagins Ale & Chop House in Taffs Well; but never cooler than when he is purring through the old streets of Bath. If you don’t know Bath you just haven’t lived, in this cat’s eyes.

Nothing and nowhere in the animal kingdom or pub environment is a stranger to his inquisitive eye:

Just take a picture of this…           is that a fisheye lens? asked the bull  as many of God’s creatures collide in a cat’s eye perspective of a cow through a fish-eye.

max boyces £1 each  Always an eye for a bargain, with Max Boyce’s apparently available for £1 each.

And when the famous or infamous disrobe, reapers day off   beware, for Fat Freddies Cat just might be there to catch anyone on a day off… even the Grim Reaper (sans cloak and scythe)!

But never is this cat happier than combining interests, such as the unique ongoing series of ‘A pint in…’

The City Arms, Cardiff…       a pint in the city arms II

a pint in the packet  The Packet, Cardiff.

The Couer de Lion, Bath:           a pint in the couer de lion

a pint in the green tree   The Green Tree, Bath.

And when a watering hole is not the priority, you can always rely on this supreme opportunist to be on hand when the special moment happens; such as the relatively unknown ‘Welsh incident’ where an inexplicable giant cake-icer transformed Flatholme island…

from the delightful to the delicious:         welsh incident

And then there is Bath… did I mention Bath?

Any time of day or night, lamplight  any angle or perspective… and most of the city centre pubs… fall prey to this inquisitor.


evening falls on bath

Nowadays our friend the cat focuses his prying eye on people, and a curious bunch they can be (cat’s eye view of people)… check out the ever-growing gallery and you will find a merry band of folk celebrating all kinds of life on the streets of Cardiff… oh, and did I mention Bath? Click on and open the following links for Lindsey the tightrope walking violinist 9695091724; Cardiff LGBT Mardi Gras 2013 9638382836; Ninjah 9431888430; and Jah Scouse 9485654736. And if you’re talking beer and pubs you can’t help but entertain a cameo slot from my old friend Sean… still at home in his world: 9370359347.

So… did I mention Bath? If I didn’t just call in on The City Arms, and look for a cat on a stool at the bar, the one with a fish-eye to hand. Talk to him nicely and Fat Freddies Cat will organise special tours, even with the occasional reference to the history and architecture of the old roman city… between the pubs that is! Little do the tourist information folk in Bath realise, but there is a thriving franchise frequently to be seen boarding the buses and trains out of Grangetown, armed with a camera and more enthusiasm than Julius Caesar himself. As for me, I’ve been Juno, and all I got was a trip to Newport! See you again soon.

Sean’s World

When you spend half the week working at the pub, half the week touring the skate parks, half the week listening to good music, and half the week chilling out with other people, how many more halves of the week are you going to find to become one of Cardiff’s newest fashion entrepreneur’s? In order to find some answers to this conundrum we need to go in search of Sean. He is a member of the Partridge family… let’s say the David Cassidy of South Wales (though he is far too young to realise what an insult that might be).

Despite my credentials in the skating world…

being a cat of sophistication and subtle tastes, I wasn’t sure I would be welcomed at The City Arms, particularly as I would have to sit on the bar to eye-ball my prey. So I sent my own beer-taster along to sample a few pints of the renowned Brains SA and track down this intrepid multi-tasker. I say he is working at the pub, but I’m not sure that is a fair description as Sean seems to be having far too much fun to count it as work, and Chris (the landlord, as well as being Sean’s brother) might also question the accuracy of the description.

An interview seemed out of the question, as Sean is far more interested persuading anyone who comes to the bar to sample the vast array of lotions and potions on sale at any one time… all on personal recommendation of course (nice work if you can get it, so I am told). But he obliged my drinking minion with occasional insights into the mind of a business guru, in between dispensing tankards and goblets of liquid nectar to the baying hoards. So tell us Sean what gave you the idea to branch out into the world of sporting gentleman’s haberdashery?

“Well I just saw this t-shirt with a skating logo on it like, and I thought I can do that! Having fun and making money out of it can’t be that difficult can it.”

So that’s how to break into the impenetrably complex world of big business?

Well, you just need to keep it simple like… it’s about blading so I thought I would call it ‘The Blade’, keep it sharp and edgy like.”

I know you spend a lot of time listening to good music, well all this skating and business stuff got me thinking about Jethro Tull, but I digress. What were the early challenges you had to overcome?

“I had the name, and some ideas about t-shirts and hats… only good quality stuff, you know. Then it all went mental like… buying stock, designing logos, getting a video made for a website and launch. It started taking up loads of time when I should have been out there skating.”

I can understand the pressures of keeping at the top of your game as well as setting up an iconic new brand at the same time. What advice did David Beckham offer you?


What was the inspiration behind the design of the website, The Blade Clothing?

“I wanted to get something out there to promote the merchandise, but I also wanted to show people that skating is edgy like. Some have said the blog is a bit raunchy, but I just put together edgy images I come across that I like.”

It all sounds a bit of a scary venture to get involved in, how scary would you say it has been for you Sean?

Sean's world

And how big do you anticipate this venture is going to get over the next year?

Sean's world




And how much did you say I would get for endorsing this radical new clothing empire?

Sean's world




It is clear to me that you have the enthusiasm and determination to make a really good go of this adventure. I am also told that you have a friendly personality, engaging with everyone who comes into the pub, which can only be a tremendous asset for breaking into the business world. So how has it all progressed over the last 6 months?

“Well, one minute I am talking to a couple of local outlets to just take a few items to see how they will sell, and the next thing you know I have one of the world’s leading skaters wearing one of my t-shirts, and I am getting phone calls from Poland expressing interest. I don’t know how far this thing can go.”

Well, it seems like it can go at least as far as Poland. Sean, I can’t knock your enthusiasm and effort for getting the whole idea off the ground. I recommend your website and blog to my readers, and I will endorse the products, though I am waiting for the four-legged versions to come out before I wear any of them.

The Blade My AThe BladeDoes my bum look too big in this? We ladies have a certain modicum of decorum to maintain, you know.

As the Steve Miller Band once said, fly like an eagle, both in your skating and your business venture. I have been Juno, flirting with the FTSE100 until I see you again.

That nice Mr Mackay

CCFC celebrations

What do I know about football? Well, back in the 1960’s, so I am told, there was a goalkeeper called ‘The Cat’ (Peter Bonetti, for you know-it-alls). Like me, he was known for being graceful, and only exerting himself on the rare occasions when he had to. Also it is back in the early 1960’s, according to my buyer of the food, that the local bunch of so-called football players did any good. So, it seemed like I have arrived in a place of sub-standard football, which is probably why they all seem to go on a bit about that strange egg-shaped ball that they all huddle around.

Not being the cool one to take all the credit, it seems that since my arrival in this pleasant city their football team has been doing rather well. Even jumping around on open top buses without paying any fares. As winners of the Championship it seems to have driven lots of the locals to go around shouting ‘we are Premier League’ as they enter a summer long dream world before reality strikes in mid-August. I think they are playing their first game in the promised land at my old manor… West Ham in the old Borough of Newham. From what I can remember this new lot should beat that old lot, but then… I will listen out for the sounds of mayhem or despair, and hope to still see food in my bowl.

So who do I attribute this new-found air of confidence to? It can’t be the players, as they were struggling most home games since the turn of the year, so I kept hearing. Something must have been going right around the club. It could have been the rich owner guy from Malaysia wearing his shirt inside his high waist-band trousers (bit of a strange look to be inspiring people if you ask me). Then there was this man with a strange way of talking, constantly doing impersonations of people from Glasgow, and waving his arm in a strange fashion. Got many of the fans chanting ‘Doing the Malky’ for some reason or another.

Anyway, I thought he was good as the prison guard in ‘Porridge’, and he seems to know what he is doing along the road at fortress Cardiff City Stadium. All-in-all he seems to be a nice man, that Mr Mackay.