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