The Juno’s 2015

You can never have too many awards. The arts have their season across the early months of the year, and football and rugby are deep into their trophy and award winning season as Spring progresses towards the summer recess. Juno was no stranger to posing for award status confirmation, usually the ‘I am waiting for more food award’…

But, when not demanding food she also had an eye for the absurd. So here are the posthumous Juno awards for 2015:

Trolley [3]The Award for Having No Shops Anywhere in Your Locality goes to Atlantic Wharf in the old Cardiff docklands. And still the City Council give permission to relentlessly build more residential units.

Trolley [1]

Civic pride?







The Award for Sweeping It Under the Carpet goes to an alleyway next to the University of South Wales. It’s a Sunday morning and the streets are suspiciously clear of litter just a few hours after the late night/early morning weekend celebrations have subsided. Good of the revellers to place all of their detritus in one place (or was it just the wind patterns around the University building?).



Peppermint wrapped


The Award for Gift Wrapping a Building goes to Peppermint Bar & Kitchen on St. Mary Street in the city centre. Located on a prominent junction it can only be the attention-seeking hub for attention-seekers.

Until we speak again I am sure Juno would have wished that all of the absurdities in your life are award-winning!

Cats love coffee

Preening the whiskers and slinkingArrival in Cardiff around the city centre it became very clear to Juno that the great new industry of the 21st century has become drinking coffee. Whilst slurping it from a bowl would more likely have been her choice (and no, for the RSPCA affiliates out there I didn’t feed my cat on coffee!), it would appear that people are becoming more sophisticated and even somewhat nostalgic about how and where they take in their beans. A quick slurp of the hot and wet stuff is so 20th century Britain!

Connoisseurs of the art now have several locations around the city of Cardiff, with Brains Brewery even being the owners of a favourite independent chain of Coffee#1. Then, as you turn into the Castle Arcade you are rewarded not just with a light, airy and fascinating space, but also a great example of the new world of consuming coffee… welcome to Coffee Barker.

Castle Arcade 2


Castle Arcade 5





Coffee Barker [2]




Step back into a world of dimmed lighting, leather chairs and sofas of all shapes and sizes, and celebration of stripped back brickwork and wood. Chaotic displays of bric-a-brac only add to the ambience… unless you happen to be a stickler for the post-modern clear lines and surfaces favoured by the multinational chains, who largely want you to know you are in their place (anywhere in the world), not somewhere distinctly individual!

Coffee Barker [5]


Barker interior






This is a place for cool cats (Note: other cats are also welcome!) to hang out, chat, check out their digital world, or even do some old fashioned pastimes like reading physical copies of print!

Coffee Barker [1]

But, Juno would always have been more intrigued by the goods on offer, and she would have been interested in the early bird offers (for more than one reason)… get there before midday to sample one of the best doorstep bacon sandwiches of any vegetarians nightmare:

Barker bacon

The cappuccino is also made to be savoured in a state of relaxation. So, until we speak again Juno would always wish that your coffee beans are brewed with an artisan’s love.


A glimpse of future past

In the words of Juno, the ‘resident smart arse’ is trying to be too clever with the language again… “Say what you mean and mean what you say, but make sure the culinary treats are directed to a deserving cat.” IMAG1550

With a friend in town the opportunity opens up for a visit to a relatively new city centre eatery. The buzz of excitement of a swanky meal is matched by the buzz of pedestrian traffic through town. But as the destination opens up the memory meanders back to another century, or as Juno used to say “my personal ‘old git’ is busy reminiscing again”. It might look to the newcomer like a fortified bank vault, and to the younger locals it is Habitat. However, to the wise elders of Cardiff this is ‘the leckie’, the old electricity board building from when South Wales Electricity Board (SWEB) shone a ray of light into the grim darkness otherwise known as the 1970’s…


In 2014 it reopened on The Hayes as a branch of theIMAG1552 Miller & Carter’s Steakhouse with big promises for the connoisseur of the cow! ‘For the love of steak’ is their strap-line, with claims to already be one of Cardiff’s best steakhouses, and this cat is arriving with expectations to match.

The decor is an inviting mix of the old and new, giving the place a soupçon of gravitas, but will the food match?

Miller and Carter [2]

Who needs a proper starter when you can share succulent olives with artisan bread, all served up on a piece of Welsh slate? And the wine was tasty too…

Miller and Carter [3]

‘Curiosity killed the cat’, or so one of Juno’s least favourite sayings goes… but the less well known rejoinder ‘satisfaction brought it back’ would surely fulfil the mounting expectations of a vegetarian’s worst nightmare! With a great drum roll the main attraction takes centre stage…

Miller and Carter [4]

… and as for the verdict, it can best be described as not disappointing, but possibly mildly underwhelming. The texture and appearance of the fillet steak was just how I would assume GM beef would come served… an Electric Daisy Edible Plastics production; but it tasted ok. As for the chips, what’s with the attempted competition with McDonalds? Who wants ‘fries with that’ when your meal needs a proper top quality crispy & fluffy combo!

Juno faceUntil we speak again this cat recommends that you keep Miller & Carter’s in mind as a good option if you are focused on price, as for a good fillet steak you are paying nearly a tenner less here than some of the local places that have a better claim to be one of Cardiff’s best steakhouses.

Caution, rams in town

Cardiff City (the Bluebirds) 0 Derby County (the Rams) 2










Until we speak again it is important to remember that Bill Shankly once claimed football was more important than matters of life and death, but Juno’s view on football hyperbole was to respect it primarily for its sedative qualities… what can’t be said about football under 10 words wasn’t worth listening to!!!

On the 10th word Juno would be suitably posed…

Chillout cat



[With special thanks to and photo for the internet images used].

Tragic at the magic

Cardiff City 1 Reading 2

Dropped pins are likely to be heard in the Canton Stand

Canton Stand conundrum: can a dropped pin be heard if no one is there?



The magic of the cup has eluded many of the home fans

The magic of the cup has eluded many of the home fans








Until we speak again it is important to rememberChillout cat that Bill Shankly once claimed football was more important than matters of life and death, but Juno’s view on football hyperbole was to respect it primarily for its sedative qualities… what can’t be said about football under 10 words wasn’t worth listening to!!!

In the moment

Juno may be gone but one of the great things about blogging is that an ex-cool cat still has the opportunity to share cool cat stuff with those that consume such things. She was a cat that always had her eyes on the unexpected…

You looking at me?

… so I know she would have appreciated the opportunity to spike the moment for a former politician and ‘Friend of Freedom’, John Batchelor, as he stands commemorated in The Hayes, Cardiff: “LOOKS LIKE SNOW AGAIN.” 

Is it snowing?

As Juno always used to sign off… ‘Until we speak again I…’ will be relying on my in-house numpty to keep the eyes and ears open on proceedings in Cardiff (and occasionally elsewhere); and in the meantime may all of your snow be as thick as my nom de plume!

Off yer trolley

Just as another year draws to a closePlaying dead I was meandering along the canal side near home, pondering the shear magnitude of life, as many cats do. When I was suddenly accosted by a metaphor, illuminating my very thoughts at that moment… that art truly can imitate life.

Off your trolley [2]


I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard about a shopping trolley being spotted in places where shopping trolleys shouldn’t ought to be. Having said that my favourite was the apocryphal tale of the trolley found half way up the Sydney Harbour Bridge just at the time when the Bridge Walk was opened in 1998 (attributed to a student prank of alarming audacity before the walk was officially opened). Yes, my intrepid litter tray cleaner was one of the first few hundred to make the official climb (though apparently sans shopping trolley), and was dubiously supplied with the aforementioned tale.

So, my particular insight for you to take into the unknown of 2015 is that shopping trolleys have a habit of installing themselves into many places, and now thanks to the arbiters of taste in Cardiff you can add municipal art installations to the list…

Off your trolley [1]

Until we speak again I aim to be Moderation Juno trying not to get off my trolley.

Arse-end surveillance

I know… I said in my introduction to this blog that I wouldn’t lick my bits while addressing you all, but eventually every cat has to do what a cat has to do!

Lick your own

Feel free to lick your own by the way, it can be a great source of inspiration… why, just the other day, while I was abluting I couldn’t help but reflect on the limitations of modern day architecture. “What on earth are you on about?” you ask. Well, it suddenly came to me that all the inspirational creative design goes into the front end of buildings, and the arse-end rarely presents the most attractive of views. A bit like me really!

You talking to me?The Blade My A

So I thought I would put my hypothesis to the test to see what we can learn from the local area in Cardiff. Talk about ‘learning’… where better to check out this observation than the neighbouring University of South Wales? From a distance it looks like a jumble of boxes have just fallen out of an overflowing cupboard…

USW front [2]

Yet get up close and personal and it looks like someone put some creative thinking into producing a striking visual facade, rather than the more usual blandly boring box-like structures…

USW front [3]

Gently strolling towards the side of the building and you see the dramatic change in design principles, as we view the areas less well observed by the masses of the architecturally unconcerned…

USW front [1]

USW side view


Then, the coup de grace of my thesis, as we all recline in our pedestrian supremacy… and those pesky car drivers get their just desserts. The arse-end of the building offers nothing much of any visual delight. A car park is usually home to those who are more consumed in their own self-importance, and expressers of righteous indignation if they can’t travel their door-to-door journeys uninterrupted in their personal motorised cages. So why should they be regaled with visionary architecture?

USW rear [2]

Until we speak again feel free to undertake your own arse-end surveillance, in whatever guise sparks your creative juices. I will continue to be Inspired Juno on my meanderings around my local city.