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!

Look through any window

It may be a famous old Hollies track, but the instruction also offers a taste of nostalgia. Here is a bygone age, when Brains were truly great beers to challenge the best around…

look-through-any-window

But this scene in a Cardiff Coffee#1 shop just got me reflecting back on a recent trip to Llanelli in west Wales. This was once a boom town built on heavy industries with a specialist focus on tinplate, but now it’s a faded shadow of itself. Perhaps it might still look like a big place to someone steeped in the rural ways of life, but to the average urban dweller Llanelli leaves you asking “what’s the fuss?” If you look closely enough you might find something resembling a modern welcome…

thomas-arms-hotel

But then again, as the first image implies, Brains used to be something once, but what’s the fuss? Better to settle for a smooth New Zealand Pinot Noir when the beer offering is the range of modern day corporate Brains!

fire-and-wine

Come to think of it log fires were something once, but now they have succumbed to a strange elevated form of designer chic as a centrepiece of a room…

fireplace

Then again, pork chops were something once, but what’s the fuss? Now they have to be Harissa spiced with a side of creamy slaw!

harissa-pork-chops

It’s good to know that a hearty cooked breakfast still is something, even if beans now have to come in a gravy pot!

Full Welsh breakfast.jpg

If you find yourself in the time warp, aka Llanelli, The Thomas Arms should provide that comfortable reality check that the 21st century is soon to make an appearance. Meanwhile, looking through any window provides me with a nostalgic remembrance that it was a favourite pastime of Juno

sunshine-at-14-3

Until we speak again, remember that nostalgia is a thing of the past. Spare yourself a moment or two, and look through any window

 

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.

contemplation-in-bute-park

chilling-in-the-sun

 

 

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

Barrage [2]

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?

Flatholme and Steepholme [3]

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…

Penarth_Pier Ben Salter Flickr

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

Penarth [1]

Penarth [2]

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!

Penarth [3]

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.

Penarth [4]Reading paper and books

 

 

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

A Brexit Apology

Where is that spider?Bella would no doubt have been looking on with bewilderment at the events of recent days.

Cats are most frequently known for a peaceful nature and openness to form trusting relationships with very different people. They are also known for an occasional sense of indifference to others, wholly wrapped up in the importance of their own world. Here in the UK the 48% of the former were insufficient to counter the will of the 52% of the latter. It would seem that a reflective look back at a sea-faring history has caused some to believe they can conquer the world through an ability to reclaim trading nation status, despite having little or no sea-faring and trading capability left. Welcome to the 19th century, but without the Empire status!

Once there were busy trading ports; but this is the 21st century, and European partners (soon to be ex-partners) share a sense of beauty where once there was busy commerce. The schisms in British society got me thinking more about similarities with European neighbours, and the portside beauty of Dubrovnik and Cardiff is as good an example as any of the importance of sharing. The Old Port of Dubrovnik provides a tranquil setting in which to reflect on a recent message highlighted through the tragic murder of Jo Cox (MP for Batley and Spen) that ‘we have more in common that what divides us’, a thought that has become even more meaningful within the newfound chaos that our nation wants to embrace…

Old Port [1]

But, if you don’t have the cash (in our newly plummeting market economy) or time to visit Dubrovnik, then Cardiff Bay can compete in the tranquility stakes…

Cardiff Bay sweep 6

Each has its own special atmosphere at night:

Old Port at night [2]

Busy day down the docks

Both are outward looking locations extending welcoming arms to travellers from far and wide:

Sea view [2]

Cardiff Bay view

So, as the sun sets on an era, and we embark on the challenge of a roller-coaster that will ultimately only benefit the ruling classes, I am sure if Juno and Bella were still with us they would be apologising to European friends for an outcome of a unnecessary referendum born out of right wing political panicking.

Old Port at night [3]

And a welcome will always be open from Cardiff (even if the majority in Wales wish to become the rump of a right wing England); as some of us search desperately for a place to pray:

Norwegian Church

Until we speak again, enjoy the chaos and keep the welcome genuine and open.

Blue sky thinking

Why cats dont like waterCardiff has a researched reputation for being the wettest city in the UK, but any cats put off by a little water need not worry about visiting the city. For a start, 60% of days in the year don’t experience any rainfall! What’s more, on a few of these Cardiffians have even been known to recognise the sun as some mysterious bright sphere in the sky.

So that got me thinking about all of the wonderful sights around the world that are framed by a deep blue sky. And, you know what, Cardiff can rival each of them on its day.

Take Dubrovnik in Croatia, for example. The old port looks quite stunning when viewed on a sunny day…

Old Port [8]But then, so does the old port in Cardiff, given a chance…

Cardiff Bay sweep 6As for a view of the Sponza Palace framing the blue stuff…

Sponza palace [2] Just try out the Millennium Stadium for size…

Inside Millenium Stadium [1]

Then there is the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, or the Bell Tower in Hydra (Greece); all very perpendicular, or phallic, depending on your outlook…

Koutoubia Mosque [2]Bell Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But any unsuspecting seagull soaring over the Bute East Dock in Cardiff had better maintain supreme surveillance, if a headache is to be avoided…

Sit and spin on that

As for historic finery, the Duomo in Milan has few rivals…

Duomo from bus tour

But don’t underestimate the majesty of Cardiff City Hall either…

City Hall [2]

Raffles City in Singapore and the Lippo Tower in Hong Kong may stake their claims for attracting the awe of passing visitors…

Raffles CityBank of China & Lippo Tower 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, be prepared to be stunned when you meander around Cardiff Bay to see the Pierhead Building

Pierhead Building

Until we speak again, enjoy your travels, but don’t forget to admire the beauty that exists closer to home!

 

Cardiff at night

I can’t ever remember seeing Juno down a coal mine in the middle of the night, but being as she was a black cat, and if the situation had arisen, then I guess it would have been an encounter along the lines of this…

black-cat-eyes-cute-pet-cat-desktop-pictures-cute-1538612781

Cardiff at night on the other hand, has the ability to offer less predictable images. Firstly, for all of you Led Zeppelin fans out there (and I include myself as one of you) there is always the ‘Stairway to who knows where?’

Smart stairs

In this case it leads to one of those surreal Dr Who type of experiences (Cardiff being the home of the Dr Who Experience of course!). Those cunning Daleks seem to have mastered the art of disguise…

Smart Way [2]

If it’s culture that you’re looking for, beware, the writing just could be on the wall…

Millenium Centre night front [1]

While London Underground may have cornered the use of ‘Mind the gapCardiff has an altogether more sophisticated take on warning you of large gaps…

Atrium [4]

Strolling along The Hayes you might just get an indication that this is the wrong time of day to check out a book…

The Hayes [3]

Or anything else come to think of it, as the enticingly colourful welcome only draws you towards closed doors…

The Hayes [1]

But you can rely on the ancient old St John’s Church to give you an eery indication that the day is done…

St John's Church

So, with your car safely parked out of sight, the only message left is to wish you the best form of relaxation to finish off the twilight stroll…The Big Sleep

Until we speak again this has been a meditation on finding the light in the moments of darkness!

[With thanks to fansshare.com for sharing the cats eyes image].