Newcastle: City of Bridges

Cardiff doesn’t do spectacular bridges, perhaps the most interesting stroll over water is at the Cardiff Bay barrage

Barrage [4]

Rear viewBut, as a cat of broader vision, I was led to believe that if you want to see some interesting footage of river crossings you could do worse than pay a visit to Newcastle.

As a cool cat, I neither have interest in this watery stuff or in travelling for hours in enclosed cans at speed. After all, this bum was designed more for climbing on horses than trains! “Excuse me, what is that camera doing there?”

So I despatched my unqualified civil engineer on an example of one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s moving things, in order to take a look at examples of his non-moving things. The initial view from the moving thing seems to be of a whole group of non-moving things…

View from train

But, what has a visit to this old industrial city got to offer for the discerning bridge spotter? The train station looks like it is in need of an upgrade! Can’t see what all the fuss was about regarding the success of putting the East Coast Mainline back into public ownership…

Wall mural

However, it doesn’t take much shoe leather before you find a cathedral, parish church and a range of old sandstone buildings to get yourself into architectural historian mode on your personal dial…

St Nicholas Cathedral [2]

Church near station

Sandstone buildings

So, where are these mythical bridges hinted at from the train view? It doesn’t take much detective work around here; just as well, as I didn’t exactly send a full Sherlock on the mission! It seems this is the kind of place where buildings and bridges are competing for space…

Buildings and Bridges [2]

Buildings and Bridges [3]

With a feline sixth sense of telepathy I let my tepid intrepid know that maybe locating the river will provide a guide to where the bridges might be. Somehow against all limits of logic they stumble in the direction of trickling water, and lo and behold, whether you happen to be on foot, on a train, or in self-drive mode, a crossing is available for you.

Millenium Bridge [2]

Bridges on Tyne [4]

Bridges on Tyne [2]

 

Bridges on Tyne [3]

If I’m not mistaken it looks like that Sydney Harbour Bridge has been shrunk and moved across the world. Until we speak again this Bella is going to rest up after all of this tiring travelogue.

Olympic Mission Impossible

For Juno and Bella this would certainly have represented dreams of ‘fast food’; much too fast for either cat, who took a simple view of olympic feats… usually taking the form of lengthy snoozes on a sun-soaked window cill. But, for other members of the animal kingdom, the olympics are drawing close, so practice is essential.

[Note to UK readers… a particular Mission Impossible soundtrack ad may help you to seriously appreciate the following event… though hopefully not the urine of the gnat product!].

Right, on your marks, get set…

Squirrell [1]

Go…

Squirrell [2]

C’mon Usain Bolt, keep up!

Squirrell [3]

Hey, where is my medal?

Squirrell [4]

WHO ARE YOU LOOKING AT?

Squirrell [5]

Seagull on binstore

I knew there was a reason why I run so fast…

 

 

Until we speak again, keep practicing!

 

The Good Burghers of Cardiff

Here I am just getting ready for the most important function of my waking hours… it’s time to eat!

Ready to eat

But then comes the big decision… what to eat today? If you’re in the centre of Cardiff and facing a similar dilemma, no worries, as I occasionally send my ‘Culinary Novice’ out to collect some useful intel. Though when I suggested they get out there quick, to find me good cuisine, I wasn’t indicating they come back with information on fast food!

Grazing Shed [1]

Having already established themselves in a quieter corner of the city centre, it seems that  of The Grazing Shed’s brand of Super Tidy Burgers are doing well enough to take up an additional position in the busy south end of St Mary’s Street. But did the good Burghers of Cardiff realise that they were giving permission for a ‘shed recycling business’ when they agreed to the advancement of high quality burgers in their midst?

Grazing Shed [7]

I’m reliably told (if reliable is something I can apply to my ‘in-house infarct’) that this place is all about locally sourced, i.e. Welsh, products and produce. I’ve always been the type of cat who likes my cow to be within visiting distance, and preferably with an individual name!

Grazing Shed [6]Water [1]

“But let’s see the produce!” you impatient burger jockeys are saying. My ‘resident imbiber’ decided that a can of beer was the first priority; but then how can a self-respecting water slurper like myself impose any discipline on the easily tempted, particularly when they are out of my sight?

The Waen Brewery have cleverly tempted my resident ‘willpower deficit’ with an advertising slogan of ‘Hellish Good Beer’!

Grazing Shed [3]

 

Once the initial thirst is quenched it’s time to see what Ermentrude and Daisy have to offer for satisfying both taste and hunger. My ‘culinary chancer’ goes for a Spicy Uncle Pedro, and I demand a quick pictorial explanation to assuage my worst fears of what might have been going on out the back of the dining area! Meanwhile ‘gastronome junior’ apparently went for a more conservative bite of chicken in a bun.

Grazing Shed [4]

The reviews are both very complimentary of burgers and the associated accoutrement. Meanwhile the good Burghers of Cardiff can satisfy themselves that they are contributing to demand for the paper and the food basket industries, wherever they happen to be dominating the Welsh economy.

Until we speak again this Bella hopes that all of your burgers are chain-free!

[Football explained, or not!] S is for…

SISYPHEAN… as the locals adopt a STOIC attitude to their team’s SOMNAMBULANT SHIFTING between 7th and 10th positions in the league, but never quite SURGING into the all-important Top SIX.

With all one's strength

SERENDIPITOUS… as fans SALIVATE over the SHOCK of back-to-back SEISMIC home wins.

City v Preston [1]

 

City v Preston [2]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCINTILLA… as SUBTLETY SUCCUMBS to SPECULATION (yet again!) of what might be over the remaining 12 games.

yes-238381_1280

For me, the SEQUESTERED SHIBBOLETH only SERVES  to SATIRISE SOUPCON of SOPHISTRY! 

Contemplating from my chairUntil we speak again this Bella will largely SASHAY in SUBLIME SERENITY as I offer you nothing less than SANCTIMONIOUS SALUTATIONS. For the record it was Cardiff City 2 Preston North End 1, with the locals having played 34, won 13, drawn 13, and lost 8, which puts them currently 7th in the league (temporarily at least).

Durham Cathedral

I must say I have never been a cat of any particular religious persuasion, but I do find the buildings fascinating. So, in the interests of architectural splendour and site-specific grandiosity, I sent my ‘frustrated architect’ on a trek to record a day in the life of Durham Cathedral, a World Heritage site along with its neighbouring castle. This is true history, with the current cathedral dating back to 1093, and widely regarded as one of the finest of all examples of Norman architecture. The ‘mercenary missionary’ was on some other work-related junket anyway, and happily informed me there was more than enough external magnificence without incurring the wrath of any gods by sullying the inside.

The view from Prebends Bridge early in the morning provides an outline of a building that dominates the city skyline as the light of the day blinks into action…

[1]

The bridge itself affords an insight into how historic this renowned city is. The current stone arched incumbent dates back to 1778, replacing the previous structure dating back to 1574 but destroyed in a flood in 1771. This is one of three stone bridges across the River Wear in the centre of Durham, located on the bend in the river that circles the cathedral and castle…

Prebend Bridge [1]

Prebend Bridge [2]

Meanwhile cats like to meander, and this riverside offers tranquil opportunities to stroll with views up at the majesty of the building…

[5]

[4]

“It’s only in the detail that you will find the devil”, if it’s okay for me to be evoking Beelzebub in a missive regarding a house of religious practice. As afternoon beckons a walk in the woods below the cathedral offers views of the architectural detail…

[6]

[9]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[7]

[8]

But, as night descends the cathedral takes on a completely different form of illumination, with views from the city centre and the railway station respectively…

[11]

[10]

Crossed legsGod knows when my ‘eye on the world’ gets time to do the work that the trip was supposed to be about. Looking at all of this walking about has taken its toll, so until we speak again this Bella is taking a well earned rest!

Men in Skirts

It’s Six Nations Rugby Internationals time again, and unlike my predecessor, the English Juno, I have no confusion over my loyalties…

Rugby cat

It’s Wales v Scotland for another of those atmospheric weekends in Cardiff

Wales v Scotland [1]

But it is a strange old game with some very odd sights to behold, none less than the quintessential Scottish characteristic of Men in Skirts!

Men in skirts

Local accommodations and hostelries can’t help themselves in an effort to engage with the event:

Hotel entranceRugby pub

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile people congregate at the stadium waiting for the arrival of the gladiators to the arena…

Stadium

And never has the back end of a bus been so celebrated…

Back end of team busMeanwhile it is the action on the pitch that counts most, and at the end of another hard fought game a brave Scotland succumb to the passion of the Welsh with a final score of…

Final score

Some of the national flowers show their excitement at the result…

Winning daffodils

And it is the home colours that flutter over St Mary’s Street in the heart of Cardiff…

Wales v Scotland [2] Until we speak again may all of your balls be egg-shaped!

[Football explained, or not!] O & P is for…

ONTOLOGICAL OBJECTIVISM… otherwise known as OVERWHELMED by a need to stay dry. OPPUGN the passion if you will, but OODLES of the wet stuff from PREDICTED PERSISTENT PRECIPITATION turns out to be a recipe for OBFUSCATION. News of a PITCH inspection PRODUCES PALPITATIONS, after all, who PAYS to see PLAYERS PADDLING?

City v Blackburn [2]

Water [1]Us cats are nothing but PERSPICACIOUS in our OUTLOOK on all things to do with water. The PORTENTOUS PREDICTIONS of my OPAQUE PRAGMATIST are for the game to be POSTPONED.

But, it’s no OVATIONS for my resident OBDURATE PAGAN, as the rain-soaked game goes ahead with at least one PUTATIVE PHENOMENON missing.

Until we speak again this Bella will remain OMNIPRESENT. For the record it was Cardiff City 0 MK Dons 0, with the locals having played 30, won 11, drawn 12, and lost 7, which puts them currently 9th in the league.