So, you think Venice has water…

You talking to me?Juno didn’t care that much for Birmingham. But then again, many people from outside of Birmingham don’t either… and a friend of 40 years hails from Birmingham, and says they will never set foot in the place again.

So when I reminded her of the phrase that only someone from Birmingham could endlessly repeat… ‘Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice‘, Juno’s response was a steely glare that inferred if it’s water you’re looking for try Cardiff! True, the meteorological statistics of the last 30 years make it the wettest city in the UK, but that’s not what she was implying. You can’t stroll very far in Cardiff before you are challenged to circumnavigate some body of water or another. And that steely glare did little to hide the fact that any self respecting cat does not take a fancy to water!

Juno was an indoor cat, and a stroll around the city offers some possible reasons why she was so contented in this demeanour. No less than 50 yards outside of the building and the proud fur is already under threat of aquatic disturbance…

Roxby by water

Being a site of docklands redevelopment it comes as no surprise that certain expanses of the ‘two parts hydrogen one part oxygen’ prove too much of a challenge for the municipal predilection for paving things over and constructing multi-storey car parks. The grand old Bute East Dock still stands in the heart of the city awaiting some constructive utility, as it’s levels of toxicity now drop to permissible levels for some juvenile ignoramus or another to consider jumping in. Note to Planners: it could be a perfectly good parking space… for things that prefer to float!

Bute East Dock [2]

Meanwhile, only a quarter of a mile away lies another man-made threat to the curious nature of the cat. Cardiff Bay is frequently host to water-bourne ‘events’, even though it offers many a moment for tranquil reflection. As the original gateway to what had been 5 busy docks, the construction of the barrage now renders it a more peaceful lagoon attracting both the water-obsessed thrill seeker and the pleasure boat tourist.

Cardiff Bay view

I guess it should feel quite natural to expect a former industrial dockland to display remnants of its aquatic history, but venture inland into the heartbeat of the city and you will find that there is much more to the Cardiffians’ need to produce man-made antidotes to the incessant drizzle tap-tapping on any hard surface you happen to be in close proximity to. This scene deep in Roath might even appeal to the salmon in you, as you are drawn in your quest to battle upstream…

Roath lake exit [1]

Then, suddenly the horizon gives way to yet another large body of the wet stuff, as you gaze across Roath Park Lake

Roath  park lake [3]

Roath park lake [12]This acreage of liquid comes with a Juno seal of approval, otherwise know as a Michelin Star for gastronomic interest (though I think the numbers would have made it no contest!).

So next time you’re in the fine city of Cardiff, and you need something to remind you that all that’s wet is not rain, you will not have to travel far with your umbrella and wellies. And all of this without a single mention of the River Taff… oops!

Until we speak again I’m forever in pursuit of something a little more dry… Sauvignon Blanc anybody!?

Altruistic Juno

Roxby by water

 

Take a quiet stroll along the dock feeder through Atlantic Wharf and you come upon the still water course that once was the bustling Bute East Dock

Bute East Dock [2]

Who would guess today, from a cursory glance at the tranquil scene, that a century ago this was part of one of the busiest docks in the world?

Juno would occasionally hold some respect for history, but that quickly took second priority when matters of local wildlife care and protection arose. Take for example, the imminent impact of a mid-air collision (or is it a suicide attempt?). Juno had a sixth sense for these dangers, and would be the first to put herself in a position to provide that soft landing safety net…

Headache looming

How was she to know that birds are confident creatures around water? Or even that wings were designed to help them land and take-off from these precarious water-bound islands? For Juno there was only ever one thought… to be on hand to rescue any of God’s creatures should they experience distress.

Altruistic catch

Even at pub closing time down at The Wharf, she would be there to supervise the queue for the night bus; knowing all too well what birds in Cardiff can get up to after a night out!

Creeping up

My feast!

 

Or was I and the local wildlife just being lulled into a false sense of security? After all, Juno was never one for the vegetables!

Until we speak again enjoy your time with your furry friend, but don’t fall into a trap of ascribing any altruistic motives to their interests in fellow members of the big wide animal kingdom.