Cool cats in Cardiff

Was that the ghost of Juno I saw looming over the Cardiff skyline the other day?

St Johns Church [3]

It’s funny how a distorted photograph can spark strange connections in the imagination. So, no, it turns out it was one of those rare ‘old’ buildings in the city. A recent TV programme called ‘Hidden Cardiff‘ set out the premise that the city cares little for its past, with the exception of Cardiff Castle and St. John’s Church. And the Juno vision turned out to be St. John’s Church

Night [1]

The original church was thought to have been built in 1180. But there is a certain irony in the above photograph, as it was ransacked by a rebellion led by Owain Glyndwr in 1404, and rebuilt later in the 15th century in the form it now takes… looking down on the Owain Glyndwr pub (as any ‘good’ beer lover would!).

It also seems to be a particularly ideal location for a somewhat pastoral ignoring of any fireworks across the pond in celebration of the American Declaration of Independence!

Old Cardiff pic [2]

Talking of distorted photographs and strange connections in the imagination… my New Orleans sojourns of 2017 have heightened my sensibilities to the presence of cool cats; and I recently noticed an example of the genre providing a different type of congregation at the site of St. John’s Church

Jazz band and St John's [1]

Until we speak again, listen out for Bass Twelve if you happen to be around Cardiff; or, if not, simply enjoy imaginary meanderings of your own!

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God Bless America

It seems like the soothing sounds of philarmonia have seen better days in Cardiff. More recently home to tumbleweed rather than orchestral delights. Once known as Morella’s Palace of Varieties, seating up to 1100 people in a grand old Victorian music hall style, with three sided balconies, the grand old dame has experienced a long and undignified fall.

philarmonic-2

philarmonic-1

While the centre of Cardiff has much to be admired, the neglect of several old gems leaves discerning cats with a sense of an unattended litter tray! So, it is with mixed blessings that we might be heard quietly muttering “God Bless America”.

 

The tantalising question is “whether any commercial use that saves an old building is worth having?” Coyote Ugly arrives in this historic area of St Mary Street, at once restoring an old frontage to a modicum of former glory…

philarmonic-3

What Texas has brought to a former Victorian auditorium on the inside is anyone’s guess. Well, you don’t expect me to have used the place do you? Can bawdy Victoriana be replicated by tits in hats (that refers as much to the men, for any feminist critic)?

wine-stocksUntil we speak again, follow Juno’s lead and be a little more discerning regarding your tipple.

Gothic cats

It was late one night… ‘after pub closing’ late at night; which might just help to explain the odd personal reflections on the stagger home! There looming like a gothic image, in the light of the full moon, was St Johns Church in the centre of Cardiff.

night-2

This place has some history when it comes to looming over weary travellers, whether on their way to the pub or on their way home…

old-cardiff-pic-2

It stands majestic, flanked by foliage with a brilliant crown piercing an inky black sky. A bit like me when the beer has given way to Jameson’s, which in turn gives way to instability of gait, and flight of thought…

night-6

x-ray-eyes

 

 

Talking of inky black and piercing… Until we speak again, I remember that Juno had her way of seeing right through my alcohol driven ramblings!

Lessons from Dubrovnik

Cats just have that way about them that exudes majesty, as they survey all below them, by day or by night. Here is the Queen of Dubrovnik eyeing a late night inebriate on their way home after a particularly pleasant evening of wining and dining…

Going back to apartment [5] cat

Dubrovnik isn’t twinned with Cardiff… unfortunately. But if it was, we would have some very important lessons of history and culture to learn. As you are my one and only regular reader you will know I’ve recently had an issue about how the good burghers of Cardiff are lacking in their sense of civic pride and vision regarding some gems of historical architecture. Juno and Bella used to occasionally make reference to the ‘old git’, but history matters; it defines a place, it bestows a sense of uniqueness, it says something about the values of the people who live and work in a place.

Even by Juno and Bella’s standards of personal ridicule I was not around to capture historic Cardiff quite in the following way…

Old Cardiff pic [1]Old Cardiff pic [2]

But we do have our moments; take St John’s Church late on a summers evening…

St John's at night

Then take a look at the Old City of Dubrovnik, and we really can see why Game of Thrones executives identified it as the perfect location for King’s Landing. A breath-taking view awaits those who venture upward on the cable car to Mount Srd:

Old City from Mt Srd [1]

And a tour of the city walls takes in the complete circumference of the Old City, with stunning views at every turn:

City Walls [4]

Though rumour has it, possibly passed down by cats across time, that back in the 7th & 8th centuries the quirky meandering of the wall was determined by a need to accommodate the dominance of the car:

City Walls [3]

By day (Place Gate) or by night (Stradun), there is no doubting the beauty of the preservation of historical artifice, and the restoration of pride following the fierce bombardment of the city in the war of 1991-5:

Ploce Gate [7]Stradun at night [1]

But still those damn cars get in on the act!

Bell Tower at night

Whether it is the views from the city walls, the narrow streets, or the major civic buildings, Dubrovnik speaks loud and clear about valuing your heritage…

From City Wall [8]

Prijeko [5]

St Blaise Church [2]

And even a quiet walk back to the apartment at night manages to intrigue the imagination, on a stroll back in history:

Going back to apartment [1]Going back to apartment [2]

Rumour has it that cats don’t like water, so next time I will look at how Cardiff Bay and Dubrovnik Old Port stack up. Until we speak again, may all of your horizons be broad.