In a parallel universe

Atlantic Wharf       local weir

 

 

 

 

I was just contemplating the peace and tranquility of my local area when it was rudely interrupted by one of those rival birds. Those at home around me who would benefit by ‘getting a life’ tell me that the Bluebirds are away to their local rivals, Swansea, today.

Nobody passes!So, why are they in my backyard, and trying to recreate the ‘Black Knight’ sketch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail? “Nobody passes by here” was the implication of this creature’s demeanour; and a pretty mean demeanour it struck too.

Being a pacifist cat, I retreated from what would only result in the usual nasty Cardiff – Swansea affair. Personal dignity was my primary concern.

Swan burglary

But these swans do not seem to share my more delicate contemplations and meditations on peace and quiet.

“Where are you, I know where you live” were the threat-like remonstrations from my long-necked tormenter.

I reluctantly became drawn into my inquisitor’s more base conduct… “You and who’s army” I enquired, in my politest of tones. But little did I expect the beaky one to bring the whole family in on the altercation…

Swan family 2012 2

 

I was beginning to get the hang of this Mexican standoff routine… “Bring your family, all the more meals for me next week” I retorted. But, in true poker playing style the feathered-one upped the ante with a call to more troops that would have been better deployed at Swansea’s ‘Liberty Stadium’ for the Premier League grudge match:

Swan armada [2]

You can use threats and intimidation as much as you like, but ultimately for us stylish cats it is the elegance of our demeanour that will always triumph… but just occasionally a flash of the gnashers is regrettably required…

Roath park lake [5]

… and the swans go diving for cover. Synchronised swans arses can mean only one thing… peace is once again restored in the Juno universe.

As for the match taking place in a parallel universe somewhere out west, serenity has clearly been denied, as my domestic ‘religious correspondent‘ is busy praying, begging, searching for any spare miracles that might have been mislaid in my personal conquest of the white renegade hoards. It is so undignified, but what else can you expect from football fans, particularly those on the end of a 3-0 defeat to their bitterest rivals?

Until we speak again I intend to be imperious Juno, and my household will be a place of merciless mirth-taking with regards to all losers!

[The cat pictures have been borrowed from google images, with special thanks to their originators for providing additional material to illustrate this tale].

Cultural lowlights

Looking back on 2013 one of the main events in Cardiff came and went with little or no fanfare in the cultural media. A new outdoor venue opened and closed with the same event…

All girl group +1

 

Some say it was the reformed American rock band from the 1960’s The Byrds, particularly known for their most famous track Tern! Tern! Tern!

         Yet fewer of the locals were attracted by the rumoured reformation of the original Girls Aloud line-up being signed up to officially open the new venue… though it did seem to be good news in Swansea and a crowd excitedly flocked to Cardiff for the event.

Swan armada [2]

 

The missing masses managed to avoid the show’s highlight, as the new girl band attempted to recreate the iconic visuals of the former TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ track, where the band are seen standing on water…   

and subsequently disappear into it…  

Admittedly, it was a hard act to follow and the Cardiff rendition may have needed more work:

All girl group +1Then they were gone

 

 

 

 

 

It is safe to say that the unexpectedly poor attendance should have been seen, built as it was on no publicity:

Nou Camp 1

But the memory of the iconic Fillmore East venue in New York can continue to rest in peace, as there is no clear or present danger of the Bute Dock East entering the cannon of great music venues any time soon.

   v.   Bute Dock Company sign

 

Until we speak again I have been Juno trying to drop a few ideas to the local authorities about using their vast watery space around the corner from my pad.

 

Going nowhere

So there I was gazing out across all I could survey in this idyllic place I call home, when my appointed journey planner suddenly asked if I was going somewhere.  Plotting an escapeWell, I said in contemplative mood, to go somewhere you need to be sure about something and saddle up a means of somehow. Which only served to confuse my poor food fetcher, so I made do with a simple it’s a know-nothing going nowhere kind of day.

Much to my surprise this seemed to produce one of those butterfly-effect moments, and somewhere on the far side of ‘journey planners’ brain a couple of stray cells briefly rubbed together, and out tumbled all sorts of reminiscences about a long-distant past where a nationalised British Rail used to provide entertainment for the masses by organising ‘mystery trips’ by trains out of Cardiff Central station; or ‘Cardiff General’ as it was then, bearing in mind my groomer-in-chief is what I can only refer to as an ‘old git’, who seems to be thriving on my presence and attention.

Cardiff Central stationMystery trips, I thought. Seems to me that with all this privatisation malarkey one constant remains… go to Cardiff Central station these days, and the place is one big mystery trip in its own right!

If you are planning on going ‘somewhere’ just hope that nobody looking for a reason to play a practical joke suggests your train goes from Platform 5. On the other hand, if you are going ‘nowhere’ this is just the right place for you… go straight to Platform 0! Yes, you are right first time, I said zero.

Platform 0 [4]

Research on this computer contraption tells me this rather strange option for non-travel, or possibly even time-travel, is not just the preserve of the good people of Cardiff… the good, and in the interests of equality all other types of people, in Stockport (Cheshire), Preston (Lancashire) and Haymarket (Edinburgh), can all share in the global pursuit of going nowhere.

However, in Cardiff, we are talking about a mystery trip of a journey in the station itself.

Platform 0 [1]You might have been planning on a straight-forward visit to the M&S Food emporium, stocking up for your journey to who-knows-where. But, who can resist the message that blocks your advance… Platform 0 even has a staircase of its own. If this doesn’t convince you of its elevated status (excuse the pun), what will? So, you make the understandable decision… London can wait, Swansea has lost its appeal (if it ever had any), Manchester and the North (wherever that place is) will have to wait. We are off on what might just prove to be the experience that knocks Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross station into a minor footnote in the history of rail travel.

Platform 0 [2]As you overcome your initial trepidation, you climb the stairs. Ever the informative types, the railway company have even expanded your knowledge of Welsh, with what must be one of the most useful signs you are ever likely to come across in the whole Principality. But, at least you know you are on the right track (ok, produce your own puns then!). Then they really excel themselves… remember, you are on a mystery journey going nowhere. For this, the most vital guide should be ‘no information at all’; and wow, do they come through. To top off your mysterious journey they have even provided a customer information kiosk… closed and shuttered!

Platform 0 [3]

Armed with nothing, you are now fully geared up to go nowhere… the train company wish you a relaxing and pleasant journey; if you have any further questions, just don’t ask.

For those readers who use this rail equivalent of a black hole, on your way to all stations to Ebbw Vale, I am Juno you mobile DJ offering you a little bit of Going Nowhere by Oasis, or alternatively for you ‘valleys’ go-getters here is Somewhere by Tom Waits. See you at the end of your journey, where ever that may be.