The City of Arcades

If there is one defining thing about us dames… it is that we do like to shop! Back in the wilds of East London I had to make do with scraps from street markets, and the bins of corner shops and local stores. I am not complaining, at times I had the choice of delicacies from many different parts of the world. It often felt like the United Nations emerged from the diversity of those very streets; and that got me excited about the idea of being near to Tiger Bay… the original United Nations-by-sea. But, that is not to be; I am near it, but the Tiger Bay I heard other cats talking about has long since gone.

It seems my local corner shop is now a great big John Lewis store, a bit more upmarket than I have been used to, but something I can easily adjust to as long as my personal banker keeps the taps running.

John Lewis 1

But wait… it seems this Cardiff place has something else to interest us discerning shoppers. It seems like the Victorians in this part of the world had an idea for building shopping ‘arcades’, and from the Royal Arcade in 1858 to the Dominions Arcade in 1921 Cardiff has become famous as ‘the’ city of arcades. As I slink along the shop fronts it can get quite confusing with all these different arcades with their fancy shops, and some not so fancy shops. High this and Morgan that, the odd Castle, and even a Duke, not to say a Wyndham (whatever that is).

Castle Arcade 1

High St Arcade 2

Duke St Arcade 1Dominions Arcade 1

Morgan Arcade 1

Wyndham Arcade 1

Then I hear there was a Queen Street Arcade, a Dickens Arcade, an Andrews Arcade, and an Oxford Arcade… all gone. It is enough to make your head spin, but at least there is one great industry thriving in all of these arcades… coffee! How much coffee do you think there is in Brazil… well most of it seems to have found its way to Cardiff from what I see as I mooch along these mini glass-rooved shopping cathedrals.

After a smooth cappuccino in the Morgan Arcade I am looking like this:

A few macchiato’s in the Castle Arcade and the world is beginning to look at bit like this [go see loads of brilliant images by my friend Fat-Freddies-Cat at http://www.panoramio.com/user/5357514]:

castle arcade cardiff - balcony panorama

Then an espresso in the┬áRoyal Arcade and I’m shimmying across the glass roof looking something like this:

Thank heavens for the dimly lit recesses of The Old Arcade… the more familiar territory of the alley cat, with its stretch of beer-soaked, cigarette-butt littered cobbles leading me directly into the culinary palace that is… the Central Market.

I will have many more tales to tell about my sojourns around these arcades (and the market), but in the meantime if I have sparked your interest in this unique feature of my city I suggest you go to http://cardiffarcadesproject.com/ for loads of stuff and things about each of the arcades. See you again soon. Juno

Dealing in fractions

I often like to do some silly impressions just to pass the time of day, and as a means of expressing my considerable talents. Here is one of me in a ‘Half Cat Half Rabbit’ moment:

Half cat half rabbit

It got me thinking that there is plenty about what I see around Cardiff that falls into various halves and quarters, and here are just a few reflections to share with you. Firstly, I was somewhat dismissive when my personal claw clipper came back from a Council meeting telling me that we live in an area of the city that has a below average crime rate. After all this is the edge of the city centre, in the south of the city that was the old docklands. I remember living in the old docklands in East London, and I wouldn’t say that these areas are noted for domestic open-door policies, if you know what I mean. But I can see how crime rates are so low in Cardiff, largely because the criminals are so obvious to spot… here we see ‘Half Swan Half Burglar’ going about their trade:

Swan burglary

Doing things by halves isn’t necessarily going to get you anywhere, particularly if you are a dumb animal. Why not at least try under the cover of darkness?

Then as I stroll around the neighbourhood I feel sorry for some of the buildings… here is ‘Half Building Half Dream’, as I imagine this shabby excuse for a pile of glass and concrete thinking ‘when I grow up I want to be like that picture’. You didn’t know buildings have feelings?

Buildings dream [1]

Now, the Shard in London, that’s a dream…

The Shard June 2012

Enough of these halves, it turns out that Cardiff is really a city of quarters… from the previous dreaming building I can see there might one day be a Capital Quarter, to go alongside the Brewery Quarter, Castle Quarter and Morgan Quarter:

Buildings dream [3]

Brewery Quarter

Castle QuarterMorgan Quarter

 

 

 

 

Just to mess with your mind a little, I thought I would throw in a fifth quarter… the Blue Sky Quarter (complete with Welsh flags at the entrance) just to stimulate your own thinking, put in any quarter you like (that probably means something different to our American readers):

Blue sky quarter

Anyway, all this strolling around the city and thinking in numbers eventually gets to a cat, so I am off back to my own quarters. See you again soon. Juno