Stumbling into Chinatown

Anything that involved water orArmadillo pose sport tended to induce the same reaction from Juno…

If you combined them both together you could even induce the audible sound of cat-snoring!

Bute East Dock [2]

 

But much to my surprise, just the other day, not only did both coalesce into the strangest of mixes for a Cardiff location, but they also constituted a welcome disturbance to the usual becalmed nature of the local Bute East Dock. Dragon Boat racing had surreptitiously arrived:

Dragon boats [1]

Bute East Dock warningIt would appear that the longstanding welcome provided at the dockside… that of imminent and painful death if you so much as breathed within a mile cordon of the inviting waters, can now be ignored. Is this a strange triumph for the laws of ‘Health & Safety‘, as historic industrial waterway gives up its toxic defence?

Or, perhaps it is just a UKIP ploy to con overseas visitors into plying their favourite pastimes while unwittingly reducing their numbers through leisure-based poisoning agents!

Either way, my usually quiet stroll past The Wharf (site of Brains Brewery’s sad but gradual neglect) was happily interrupted by more than the usual quota of waterside fun-lovers, thrill-seekers, and barbecue-chompers:

Dragon boats [3]

I was half expecting to hear ‘Hawaii-Five-O‘ theme music to blast out across the dock as the contestants took to the new addition of clean water in the city…

Dragon boats [4]

But I was quickly alerted by the comparative lack of muscle-bound athletes that I had indeed stumbled into a quaint Chinese custom being appropriated by a few Saturday afternoon fun-seekers, not a new cultural takeover of Wales as China’s preparation for world-dominance…

Dragon boats [5]

Nonetheless, this would still be a sight of fierce Welsh competitive spirit. The organisers of the annual University Boat Race had better be prepared to move over, there is clearly a new kid on the block…

Dragon boats [6]

Dragon boats [10]

 

 

With another race over, the victors make their way towards a well-earned pint of Brains SA, and the losers will have to make do with the consolation of a warm pint of flat Euro-fizz (or two pints of Brains SA in the view of Fat-Freddies Cat!).

Until we speak again may all of your toxic algae provide you as much pleasure as that which we nurture ‘down the docks’!

Culinary adornment

Stay out [4]

So, that’s where the ancestors went wrong… a 25 foot high solid wall clearly wasn’t enough to keep the historic hordes of marauding cats out, particularly at banqueting time. Cardiff discovers that every good castle needs the unfathomable wisdom of an ugly Health & Safety intervention. Just add a 10 foot high steel fence, and you too can commune with your local population, delivering a message that something special is happening here, but you’re not invited!

Stay out [5]

Clearly somebody forgot to tell Batman… a fence and a high visibility cone threat will do nothing to deter a super hero with a skateboard. As for the subtle human addition to the high-vis security… just set your egg-timer to suss out the frequency of patrols by plods-on-wheels cycling the whole perimeter of the prolateriat-diner-exclusion-zone…

Stay out [6]

So, what is all the fuss about, you ask? NATO are holding a summit… somewhere else!!! Yes, the summit is in Newport, about 15 miles away. Maybe, my reader, you have been to Newport, in which case you know it doesn’t need anything added in order to be twinned with cold war Berlin, or the present day West Bank or Gazza Strip! Cardiff largely ignores its scruffier little neighbour, and instead casts its ambitions wider by adapting the model of the Green Line in Nicosia, Cyprus, with a contemporary version of their no-man’s land.

Stay out [3]

It seems that dining out just got very expensive for all the residents of Cardiff, even though they will not be invited to the table themselves. The grandest nosh on the planet takes place in the setting of Cardiff Castle, providing the main distraction for world leaders desperate to get together to say nothing of any significance about a whole load of very significant world issues. As an exclusive meal it takes some beating, with a leeked preview (is that the Welsh version of ‘leaked’?) of the indigenous menu of laver bread starter…

    … cawl main, and Welsh cakes for pudding…

 

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… all washed down with a pint of Brains finest SA.

4. Brains journey [1]

The unanswered conundrum is why a meal that lasts no more than a few hours requires a month of security measures? Until we speak again send you answers nailed to the forehead of a peaceful protester to a somewhat disillusioned Juno.

funny cats   [Thanks to http://www.sodahead.com as the source of this image, and gypsy-willow.com for the previous food images].