Illuminating

It’s the time of the year when light triumphs over heat. Well, in the northern hemisphere at least. So, happy new year to my loyal reader, as Cardiff City Hall puts on a magical display to greet in who knows what as a new calendar begins…

For those of a more spiritual disposition, we present something resembling a burning bush…

Meanwhile, for the agnostics, and those who dragged themselves out of the local pubs to briefly illuminate routine drunken philosophising with a display of colour…

Until we speak again, Juno and Bella would undoubtedly have slept through the whole affair, unhindered by the drunken revelry occurring elsewhere; and silently wished you all a 2018 of sorts!

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Pondering cat

I often wondered what Juno was thinking while she gazed out over all she surveyed…

Plotting an escape

Probably too fast…

Squirrell [2]

Definitely too slimy…

Snake Temple 2

Could be too much trouble…

Foxes fighting

Just too late for that quick snack…

Now I'm off

I hear the brains are the tastiest part?

Monkey at Penang Hill

But there is always one defining thought… lunch!

Chicken at Key Lime Inn

Until we speak again, enjoy that loving moment while you share an intense gaze with your cute and cuddly homely psychopath!

You talking to me?

Felicitations from Jose

What better way to celebrate the arrival of Christmas… the Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra tour rolls into Cardiff Motorpoint Arena with special guests Ruby Turner providing soulful power

Jools Holland and Ruby Turner

And Jose Feliciano lighting everyone’s nostalgic fire

Jools Holland and Jose Feliciano

I’m not sure if Jose’s lifelong affliction inspired Jools Holland, Jose Feliciano and Louise Marshall to perform ‘Lets Find Each Other Tonight‘.

Two skydivers in freefall

And what is a Jools Holland Orchestra event without Gilson Lavis providing an amazing drum solo.

Until we speak again, Juno and Bella provide the ghosts of Christmas Past, with greetings from a festive Cardiff

And finally,  Jose Feliciano and Jools Holland Orchestra provide their official version of Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas).

 

 

Hidden in plain sight

Ever wondered “What is in there?” as you glance up at shuttered windows; or you see most lights are on, but one room seems to be bathed in the mystery of darkness.

It would hardly be a thought worth thinking as you gaze over at a city centre Burger King joint, as late night revellers are acoustically invading your alcohol-infused imagination…

Outside at night

But, thanks to a recent ‘Hidden Cardiff‘ TV documentary, by the adventurer/writer Will Millard, the secrets of the 300 year old Green Dragon pub are briefly revealed. The building now largely occupied by a Burger King hides the only remnant of a bygone past… The Mahogany Room.

Inside [1]

Apparently, this ornate delight is obscured from public gaze for health & safety reasons (personally I think that could be more to do with the other current occupier!).

Inside [2]

Here is where the alcohol-infused imaginations of Cardiff’s former great and good discussed the pressing civic matters of the day, and made the decisions that would shape the growth of the would-be capital city of Wales.

Inside [3]

Alas, the premise of the ‘Hidden Cardiff‘ TV programme was that the city, unlike many of its English and Scottish counterparts, has not been very good at valuing its past history and architecture. It prefers to give an outward impression of the new and shiny, either destroying or hiding many of its gems. And The Mahogany Room is a classic example of such a cultural crime…

Inside [4]

Until we speak again, if your gaze is halted by closed shutters or images of darkness surrounded by pools of light, Juno and Bella would have reminded you to summon up your alcohol-infused imaginations!

Cool cats in Cardiff

Was that the ghost of Juno I saw looming over the Cardiff skyline the other day?

St Johns Church [3]

It’s funny how a distorted photograph can spark strange connections in the imagination. So, no, it turns out it was one of those rare ‘old’ buildings in the city. A recent TV programme called ‘Hidden Cardiff‘ set out the premise that the city cares little for its past, with the exception of Cardiff Castle and St. John’s Church. And the Juno vision turned out to be St. John’s Church

Night [1]

The original church was thought to have been built in 1180. But there is a certain irony in the above photograph, as it was ransacked by a rebellion led by Owain Glyndwr in 1404, and rebuilt later in the 15th century in the form it now takes… looking down on the Owain Glyndwr pub (as any ‘good’ beer lover would!).

It also seems to be a particularly ideal location for a somewhat pastoral ignoring of any fireworks across the pond in celebration of the American Declaration of Independence!

Old Cardiff pic [2]

Talking of distorted photographs and strange connections in the imagination… my New Orleans sojourns of 2017 have heightened my sensibilities to the presence of cool cats; and I recently noticed an example of the genre providing a different type of congregation at the site of St. John’s Church

Jazz band and St John's [1]

Until we speak again, listen out for Bass Twelve if you happen to be around Cardiff; or, if not, simply enjoy imaginary meanderings of your own!

Uxbridge English Dictionary

For devotees of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’ here is a new addition to their ‘Uxbridge English Dictionary‘…

Kebabish [1]

“Like a Kebab!”

It’s early Sunday lunchtime, and I spy an unassuming restaurant frontage…

Outside view

And the inside initially seems to be one slide show short of a conference…

Inside view

But the menu entices a challenge far too early in the day for me…

Menu page

For me, it always has to be a taste of spice rather than a challenge of heat; so the sizzling Lamb Seekh Kebabs look like the deal that will seal the dictionary definition…

Lamb Seehk

But, what do we have with it? Naan bread, maybe, rice possibly… but then I spy something on the menu that creates intrigue. Fries have always been a ‘rest of the world’ poor version of good old proper chips; but Keema Chilli Fries (described on their menu as ‘Simply Amazing’), now that sounds worth sampling…

Keema Fries

Cheap, tasty, with something of a wow factor thrown in; a fabulously fresh tasting salad and the non-alcoholic Mojito Mocktail, finished off a memorable lunch. The early timing also ensured a rare experience of having my own personal restaurant!

Until we speak again, sublime might be an under-performing citrus fruit (in the Uxbridge English Dictionary), but it is an experience to be savoured down City Road in Cardiff.

Look behind you!

The problem with a mega cream-based confection is that it might just trigger a stampede! But that’s when a solid brick wall comes in handy…

Until we speak again, next time you happen to be visiting Cardiffs Castle Arcade beware what you order in Coffee Barker!