An eerily fabulous Sunday

If it’s something on the dark side that you are looking for, then try Plymouth in Cardiff! On a cool winter’s afternoon. What? Or, why, even?

Moon through trees

Take in a stroll around St. Fagan’s National Museum, but then, just up the hill a delight awaits the weary unsuspecting traveller… the Plymouth Arms

Glass pub name

Well, at least it saves you the gruesome prospect of having to plumb the sordid depths of Devon. With fire blazing, there is just one thing on our minds (no, that’s for later!)… a traditional Sunday Roast, with a hearty glass of something smooth and richly dark all the way from California, in the guise of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon.

Roast sirloin of beef

Crunchy vegetables perfectly complementing the juicy roast beef and thick piping hot gravy…….. only one thing for it… another glass of the American falling over juice (though a few other varieties look tempting)…

Wine list

Until we speak again, Juno would surely have summoned up her English origins and ask us to suspend the surprise that something briefly so wonderful derives its name from English dockyards… or perhaps not!

Outside view

 

Mounty bites the dust

Sleeping catMy ‘resident inebriate‘ does bang on about how traditional pubs are disappearing, only to be replaced by swanky bars, and craft this, brew that and hop the other! Why should I care, after all, any self-indulgent cat worth their whiskers would always go for swanky whatever’s.

However, as I was prowling around the Adamsdown-Splott-Roath who-knows-whats-where boundary in downtown Cardiff, I couldn’t help but notice that the local maple leaf had hit the turf, as the Dead Pubs Crawl gets a little longer…

The CanadianUntil we speak again I will continue to be Bella, but I guess that’s the end of any potential twinning of Cardiff and Ottawa!

Be my guest

Talking of arse-end surveillance, as I was just recently… I have just found a new way of consuming news:

Newspaper

Anyway, I digress… a particular problem when, like me, you have a passion for writing loads of stuff and your concentration tends to wander. So, the opportunity has arisen for me to take a break, step back, and take pleasure in welcoming another cool cat from Cardiff to share an experience with you. My good friend Fat-Freddies-Cat accompanied me on a trip to Newport in a much earlier post on this site, but also happens to wander into many a pub in many a town for the odd beer or two. In fact, he continues to produce a photographic series ‘Time for a pint’ which now has over a million views on Flickr. Why not check it out by clicking the following link:

a pint in the minerva, plymouth

As a taster, so to speak, Fat-Freddies-Cat has a tail (or is that tale?) to tell about one such adventure in the local area. This is a brief story about a visit to Kitty Flynn’s in Cardiff, and a personal reflection on the changing fortunes of the SA drinker over the years…

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“There’s gonna be trouble in here later” said the lady determined to shake my hand.

It’s a quiet Monday night, hardly looks like there is trouble brewing. My first visit here this century. This used to be The Cambrian, on the corner of Cardiff’s most notorious street, wall to wall with the brewery that owns it. Hookers and hustlers used to fill the room, Brains SA was known as ‘skull attack’ and a thick fog of cigarette smoke hung about waist height. Today, The Cambrian is Kitty Flynn’s – an Irish bar, the smoke has now moved outside, the brewery has moved to what was then the wrong side of the tracks. Caroline Street is now mere ‘chip shop alley’ – people even live there. Brains SA has not attacked any skulls in many a long year.

I didn’t stay for the trouble, it only occurring to me after I had left, that I was wearing an orange t-shirt which was probably not a good idea in an Irish pub.

 

Until we speak again I aim to continue being Juno, 4. Brains journey [1]but with a degree of caution about the colours I wear in distinct hostelries about town. The search for the long-lost SA tradition will continue (though it can look and taste pretty good at times); and I do believe that Fat-Freddie-Cat is consuming what remains of the pint next to it! Cheers.

A dead pubs crawl

The recent fact that around 20,000 pubs have been closed down in the UK during the last couple of decades hardly caused me a ruffle of the whiskers. After all, us cool cats are much more sophisticated in our tastes… I am more concerned with preserving my premium wine stocks.

Wine stocks

As far as I am concerned pubs are uncouth places where dogs are more likely to be found. However, my ‘resident old git’ seems somewhat more perplexed than I about this dilapidated state of affairs in the ‘world the beer guide forgot‘. It being the beginning of the season to be jolly, I thought I would send the thirsty one on a tour of modern day temperance; and there is no shortage of places in Cardiff you can no longer get a drink!

Whoever said that the pubs of today are being taken over by food has certainly been to The Neville recently. Unfortunately, it seems that this former favourite of fans of the local team has gone the whole hog, its become a local supermarket… so the only grog available here will be the discounted stuff better drunk out of a brown paper bag!

The Neville [2]

An even worse fate for The Splotlands, as the chances of even getting in the inn are now completely blocked. I hope the last customer at last orders managed to get out in time!

The Splotlands

Black Friday and even Cyber Monday have now past us by, but anyone still in search of a bargain need look no further than downtown Butetown. The White Hart either finished off on a sale of its remaining stocks, or more likely has now become the subject of a sale.

The White HartBut not all pubs are allowed to finally give up the ghost and die; take an amble along Constellation Street and you come across a fine residence that probably shouldn’t be… all hail local activism down at The Tredegar as people exert squatters rights as a means of keeping a grand old landmark in occupation other than by rats and mice.

The Tredegar, Tin Street

Talking of rats and mice… just look what happens to a prestigious city centre site when you neglect history. The York Hotel might well have long since given up its final incarnation as an Indian restaurant, but it still serves as a grim reminder of former halcyon days.

York Hotel

My in-house beer monkey returned stoically sober after this particular pub crawl. Until we speak again I hope your pre-christmas crawling is to your satisfaction. Meanwhile I shall continue my duties as Wine Merchant Juno.

[With special thanks to my original guide and mentor into the world of blogging The Gentle Author for the original idea of the ‘Dead Pubs Crawl’].

Crunch time

Rugby ball

Don’t listen to any talk of expecting a home win, the locals were fearing the worst as the Autumn Internationals against the best of the southern hemisphere were about to draw to a close for another year. A display of inflatable rugby balls should not be taken as a sign of inflated expectations. The venue was still the same old Heartbreak Hotel

Millenium Stadium 2

… where the script remained stubbornly unedited. Wales just love to be in the lead against the three most successful teams in the world, only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the last minutes of each match. Today was crunch time, as this would be the last of the big three arriving in Cardiff before next year’s Rugby Union World Cup, with leads already surrendered against Australia and New Zealand earlier in the month.

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It was also crunch time as matches against the South African Springboks are always prefaced with terms such as physicality, brutality, and heavy crunching tackles.

 

Two hours to kick-off and the stats were far less significant than the all-important preparation before the match… where clearly there was no room in the inn…

The match gets under way, and in the stadium everything was going to script, as the game remained evenly balanced as the first half progressed…

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But, for some spectators there was a clear preference for a sunny disposition, even if the result went the way of other visits by South African teams at the final whistle…

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But, just once in a while the pain of history can be soothed by that rare experience of a win! When the final whistle came… well, it was always expected according to my ‘in-house prophet’!

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It also clearly seemed to mean something to the perennial bottlers, as the final whistle provides a cue for public man-on-man kissing and cuddling. At least it makes a change from all that sniffing of arses vibe going on during the match!

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Strange how this sport gives you some winners silverware when you achieve only the second win against your opponents in a lengthy history of this fixture. There must be a world surplus of silver I guess…

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Wales flags

 

 

WALES 12 SOUTH AFRICA 6

South Africa flags

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, until we speak again I have been Baffled Juno, subjected to a month of observing something resembling egg-chasing. I am sure us cats would never demean ourselves by indulging in such strange pastimes…

1907_cats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the locals, my guess is they will be oblivious to the result when they have finally dragged themselves home from the pubs and clubs of a raucous and victorious Cardiff!

[With thanks to wesclark.com for the image of cats playing rugby].