Catch yourself on

Slow, slow, quick, quick…

For a city cat from Cardiff, a visit to the west of Ireland can provide a soporific change of gear. Not least because you have to catch yourself on to a naturally slower local pace of life.

Looking for a quiet indulgence in the national libation? We may not be ready just yet…

And there is a stark reminder that corners here were made for waiting on; even if they are not exactly on the corner! It is what it is, and you just have to catch yourself on

And, just because we are about 25 miles from the west coast doesn’t mean we can’t have a harbour, does it?

If it appears to you that we are ‘a few boats short of a regatta’, well, just catch yourself on

There again, the so-called Marina Point does provide home to further aquatic references, in the form of the Shearwater Hotel

This just maybe the place where the traditional lotion can be found. But, catch yourself on, it will only be served to you after an appropriate settling wait… as the local pace of life is more about quality than speed.

Further indulgence in the life of a snail brings its own rewards, as this is most certainly a cosy home where bovine and porcine companions can be found deliciously co-habiting in a bun…

Those who like their steaks of the lean variety, catch yourself on, and find a healthier part of the world. The juicy offerings here come with a protective layer of fat. But if that is not enough, try a basket of triple cooked chunky chips and a base of caramelised onions. Button mushrooms intrude on the base to showcase what healthy eating could be… if you were somewhere else, that is!

Until we speak again, check out county Galway in the west of Ireland, and Ballinasloe particularly, if you want to catch yourself on to a lifestyle of the slow.

Asylum Seeker

And so it came to pass that mathematical uncertainty disappeared down the same pan that had long since been the final port of disposal of any pretensions to artistic flare and dynamic teamwork. In short, the local team fall through the trap door of Premier League relegation, and go back from whence they came a mere twelve months ago. Gloom descends on those who are clearly unaware of the privilege they experience in sharing the Juno household.Full face

So, my thoughts mischievously turn to matters of detention and incarceration for those who have spent a deluded season of misguided hope and expectation. Don’t mistake my fixed stare for anything more than simply a mask of sympathy for those who frequently desert me; underneath I am rolling around the floor in fits of laughter.

Clarion entrance

I can’t begin to imagine the fear and despair in what passes for the mind of my companion as they are escorted through the foreboding portals of Victorian misery. Surrounded by nothing but haunting desolation suspended beneath threatening slate grey skies where I imagine the colour blue has long since been banished…

Clarion externall view





Above the stone entrance the last thought for the prospective inmate will be the 1848 etched above the cavernous door. 18.48 was to be about the time that celebrations would be easing having achieved  survival on the final day of the season; instead it is merely a portent of when time stopped for the poor lost souls of mental incapacity (aka football supporters).

How challenging it must be to put one foot before the other in a leaden walk into a world devoid of any cheerful welcome, into a place where light has long departed only to be replaced by the grim shadows…

Clarion reception

… pierced only by the incoherent screams of those fated to live out a colourless life of inactivity…

Clarion conference events centre

What dimly candle-lit expanses of cold dormitory await, where eery spectres lie in wait to disturb any inmate suspected of escaping into the soulful respite of slumber?

Clarion room entrance [1]

Clarion room entrance [2]







Clarion bedroom



Single beds with thin mattresses barely separated by space to move, with every inch of premium real estate taken for wharehousing abject misery.

Clarion iving room [2]


But surely the undemarcated darkness of night and day is preferable to the grim vitals that constitute the monotonous fare to be served up in the bland surroundings of a grey refectory…

Clarion barClarion meal






A place where dreams are routinely crushed, and the only source of hope lies in solemn prayers…

St Columbas Church


Then I hear the key in the door of the Juno household, and in walks a smiling beneficence. For all of my tortured worries and concerns for the welfare of the ‘migrant labourer’, it transpires that they were residing at the Saint Columbas lunatic asylum (circa 1848) in Sligo (Republic of Ireland), but now it is the splendid luxury of the Clarion Hotel… the lucky bastard!!

Until we speak again I am going to be a determinedly demanding Juno, particularly after hearing about the enjoyment of all this hospitality and opulence.