Keep it, change it

If there is one thing that exercises the bureaucratic brain cells of Town Planners it is ‘change of use’. After all, it might just disrupt the delicate equilibrium that only they can divine from a mountain of procedures and committee-based decision-making.

Spoiler alert for all planners… when places first emerge, anywhere on the planet, they tended to aggregate around a few houses, a church, a pub and a some commerce-based building. What they never thought they needed to get the whole affair up and running was an office full of planners and councillors to pontificate on and guide the great new adventure. If they did I would offer a suggestion for its shape, size and sense of relative importance (with a clear and present indication deep down in Cardiff Docks)…

What's left of the docks?

Which brings me to a lovely example of ‘change of use’ a mere few steps away from the above luxury office space. Way back in 1868 a Norwegian Church was constructed between the old Bute East and West Docks, as a place of cultural and spiritual solace initially for sailors of the Norwegian Fleet that frequently used Cardiff as a port of call.

It was originally clad in iron, being known as the Norwegian Iron Church, with a forward-thinking design that would allow it to be dismantled and moved as needed. For obvious reasons when viewed today, it later became known as the Little White Church, and now occupies pride of place overlooking Cardiff Bay, some half a mile from its original location.

Norwegian Church

So, the original design came to be tested in order that it could find a new berth. However,  the demise of a religious need over time also resulted in the very same building undergoing a successful transformation (or ‘change of use’ as the bureaucrats would have it). Who said there are too many coffee shops in the world these days?

Norwegian Church [3]

The old building has a strong link with a great son of Llandaff, and descendant of Norwegian stock, as Roald Dahl was baptised in the very building back in its original location, worshipped there as a child, and returned to sponsor its preservation in the newly emerging Cardiff Bay world of pleasure.

Norwegian Church [2]

Until we speak again, spare a thought for the Little White Church, and how the world has transformed from fire and brimstone to latte and cappuccino!

Anyone for Coffi?

Now that the sunshine has arrived, fancy a seasonal Turkish meal at Bosphorus down Cardiff Bay? Tough… it’s gone! And, just when Cardiff is beginning to drown under the tide of coffee shops, it’s been replaced by… you guessed it…

Outside [1]

Outside sign [1]

At least it is a local confection, not just another national chain (though I still pledge my allegiance to Coffee#1). Stepping inside, this does happen to capitalise on its location, with a light and airy feel, as well as seats outside…

Inside [1]

And, if you are prepared to part with something approaching London style prices, there are some interesting twists on the coffee menu…

Menu sign [2]

The Gingerbread Cappuccino and Hazelnut Bueno Latte were certainly two temptations worthy of taking out a mortgage on…

With occasional live music (currently only on Bank Holidays) for those needing to be entertained, and the offer of giant pasties for the peckish, this looks like a worthy addition to the Mermaid Quay pleasure emporium.

Inside looking out

Or, if you are a bit strapped for cash, there is always a timely reminder of other ways to satisfy some of your needs…

Inside wall mural

Until we speak again, any clue as to where I am going to get a proper Turkish Kofte Kebab these days?

 

And the Oscar goes to…

Cardiff, for the Shape of Water! Starring:

  1. Roath Park Lake

Roath park lake [3]

2. The River Taff

Millenium Stadium 3

3. The Dock Feeder Canals

Roxby by water

4. The Bute East Dock

Bute East Dock [2]

5. Cardiff Bay

Penarth Head

6. The Mud Flats out into the channel…

Flatholme and Steepholme [3]

Until we speak again, if asked, a non-plused Bella would probably say the shape of water is rather ‘fluid’!

Water [2]

 

 

 

Quite white!

Cardiff doesn’t do snow… does it? Quite white… it’s better known as the rain capital of the UK (Seattle with history!). So, I must be safe from all the news-based armageddon messages. Quite white too

Roxby and Bridge

It’s a Friday lunch time, when the city is at its busiest, so lunch might be a stressed event, where bottle-neck traffic needs to be negotiated…

City Centre rail bridge

Where blinkered, single-minded, aggressively determined shoppers will obliviously cross your path, engaged only in the modern day irritation of walking with eyes glued to mobile screens…

John Lewis

Where the tourist masses flock to see a historic castle…

Castle

And office workers escape the 9-5 drudgery, by flooding to the central restaurants and bars, in order to start the weekend a few hours early…

Library frontage

Alas, I might just have to wait my turn, just in case all those in the know have reserved their tables in advance…

Coffee#1

As John Batchelor once said: “It looks like snow… unless that damned Cardiff seagull has had a curry induced mega dump!”

Hayes statue

Until we speak again, just once in a decade Cardiff can be Quite White!

Messing about in boats

News reports of Bank Holiday traffic chaos are simply music to my ears. No, I really don’t care. There are too many cars clogging up and polluting our planet, with most car drivers firmly of the belief that they own the road and have exclusive rights to travel and park wherever they want whenever they want. Audacity reigns as a response to the merest slight against their pre-eminence.

Combust all thee engines; and may your occupants become gasket-challenged! I personally have my own advantage in this scramble for serene holiday bliss. A whole 15 minutes of walking brings me to a place of tranquility…

2017 [2]

As the Cardiff leg of the International Extreme Sailing Championship takes place right on my doorstep on the August Bank Holiday…

2017 [1]

2017 [3]

So, for those of you recovering from the experience of boiling over with the raging curses of the tarmac, here is a peaceful few minutes to contemplate the rush of the breeze, the chop of the water, and an elegance of movement…

Until we speak again, chill out people!