Swan Hunter

And there was me thinking that was the name of a famous old shipyard in Wallsend, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. But, here we are in our own private lockdown situations, left to observe the animal kingdom going about their ways with little care for human interference. Who would have known that a worldwide pandemic would have such silver linings?

Swan from 14

Swan hunting [1]

Swan hunting [2]

Until we speak again, I’m sure Juno would have been impressed by the shear ambition, if not by the inherent impracticability!

Social distancing

“You humans do like to convolute your language. How are you getting on with your self-isolating, eh? Some things just come natural to those of us who live uncomplicated lives. If you do manage to perfect your walking-on-water technique, you still need to keep your 2 metres distance, okay!”

Lonely swan Mar 2020

Until we speak again, go away!

The sound of silence

Taking the daily exercise walk in my local area I am pleased to report another busy ‘corona day’ down Cardiff Bay

Bay empty on Monday 23-3-20

Until we speak again, congratulations to the masses heeding the dire warnings, and stay safe, keep well! As for the small minority of mindless morons… did you know you’re cultivating careers as serial killers… stay home!

Flight interrupted

So, you think you’re having problems trying to get flying, with all of this pandemic stuff going on? Stay grounded, they said, in the jargon of psychobabble. Well, you try taking off with this thing strapped to your legs!

Bird Anchored [1]

Until we speak again, stay safe and well. The option of flight is a luxury many can return to at a later date. For some, it’s just what we do!

Christmas in Peckham

How do you avoid the repetition of a traditional Christmas meal? Well, we’ve previously done Cardiff in July, Blackheath in June, central London in January… but here we were, planning on having our annual Christmas meal in December of all places! Trouble is, most restaurants seem to want to ditch what they are known for, and produce their version of what everyone is doing.

I have to admit, on this occasion I was doing the travelling, so it seemed only right to delegate the venue choice to the dude living locally. “Peckham…”, he suggested. Well, the first thing to come to mind was the song lyric “Is there life in Peckham?” Turns out, there really is, and amongst other contenders, it is alive and well at…

Artusi sign

On inspecting the online menu possibilities, it seemed like we were attending the first night of a somewhat far more adventurous Christmas menu than I had seen before. But, despite getting up my resolve to go for it, redemption came in the form of having to book it in advance. We hadn’t, so we were left to their very own tradition of setting out their Italian inspired menu of the day on a blackboard near the restaurant entrance…

Chalkboard menu

A Salt Beef starter arrived with just the right blend of soft melt-in-the-mouth tender brisket and tart pickled cucumber…

Salt Beef starter

The main dish of Rigatoni Sausage Ragu came in the form of small pasta tubes with smaller pieces of sausage in a delicate balance. Why get stuffed, when you can just enjoy a satisfying blend of complementary flavours? Though it is very clear to me that had Juno been present that Sea Bream across the table would not last the time it takes for a blog post snap…

Canelloni Sausage Ragu

Until we speak again, it seems there is life in Peckham, and it comes in a very satisfyingly un-Christmas package. Artusi is for any time, not just for Christmas!

Artusi entrance

No Kurds were harmed

Under the cover of darkness St Mary Street had clearly succumbed to a Turkish incursion…

Outside view at night

Lezzet Turkish Kitchen is an interesting addition to Cardiff’s independent restaurants, for those of us who don’t feel the need to prop up the plethora of eat-by-numbers restaurant chains that litter the high streets of our towns and cities.

Oven

The familiar starter of Stuffed vine leaves came with an interesting mildly spiced twist…

Stuffed Vine Leaves

But it was the Seafood Kebab including swordfish, salmon and king prawns that melted away any possible resistance…

Seafood Kebab

Until we speak again, Turkey rightfully gets universal condemnation for its recent assault on Syria-based Kurdish forces; but the actions of megalomaniac dictators should bear no reflection on the many friendly and gastronomically creative Turkish people. But, in the interests of balance, I should really visit a restaurant offering Kurdish cuisine sometime soon.

Syncopation, NOLA Style

Where else can you enjoy a Strawberry Ice Cream Daquiri on a hot afternoon with a live soundtrack of exquisite, blues and soul?

Then there is the taste of a soulful bowl of Chicken & Andouille Gumbo just before being entertained by the melifluous voice of local jazz legend Charmaine Neville.

Or, you can interrupt your picking at side plates of alligator bites, brussels & bacon, and fried green tomatoes with a session by a Kermit (Ruffins, that is)?

Or even sample a brew of Dixie while accompanied by the Dixieland sound of the Steamboat Stompers?

And does all this happen in Cardiff, you ask? Think not, I reply.

Until we speak again, New Orleans is all about off-beat and unexpected variety. A place where true Jazz legends secretively perform in what to all intents and purposes looks like a run-down shack (i.e. the Preservation Hall). And, that my friend, is syncopation!