So, you think Venice has water…

You talking to me?Juno didn’t care that much for Birmingham. But then again, many people from outside of Birmingham don’t either… and a friend of 40 years hails from Birmingham, and says they will never set foot in the place again.

So when I reminded her of the phrase that only someone from Birmingham could endlessly repeat… ‘Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice‘, Juno’s response was a steely glare that inferred if it’s water you’re looking for try Cardiff! True, the meteorological statistics of the last 30 years make it the wettest city in the UK, but that’s not what she was implying. You can’t stroll very far in Cardiff before you are challenged to circumnavigate some body of water or another. And that steely glare did little to hide the fact that any self respecting cat does not take a fancy to water!

Juno was an indoor cat, and a stroll around the city offers some possible reasons why she was so contented in this demeanour. No less than 50 yards outside of the building and the proud fur is already under threat of aquatic disturbance…

Roxby by water

Being a site of docklands redevelopment it comes as no surprise that certain expanses of the ‘two parts hydrogen one part oxygen’ prove too much of a challenge for the municipal predilection for paving things over and constructing multi-storey car parks. The grand old Bute East Dock still stands in the heart of the city awaiting some constructive utility, as it’s levels of toxicity now drop to permissible levels for some juvenile ignoramus or another to consider jumping in. Note to Planners: it could be a perfectly good parking space… for things that prefer to float!

Bute East Dock [2]

Meanwhile, only a quarter of a mile away lies another man-made threat to the curious nature of the cat. Cardiff Bay is frequently host to water-bourne ‘events’, even though it offers many a moment for tranquil reflection. As the original gateway to what had been 5 busy docks, the construction of the barrage now renders it a more peaceful lagoon attracting both the water-obsessed thrill seeker and the pleasure boat tourist.

Cardiff Bay view

I guess it should feel quite natural to expect a former industrial dockland to display remnants of its aquatic history, but venture inland into the heartbeat of the city and you will find that there is much more to the Cardiffians’ need to produce man-made antidotes to the incessant drizzle tap-tapping on any hard surface you happen to be in close proximity to. This scene deep in Roath might even appeal to the salmon in you, as you are drawn in your quest to battle upstream…

Roath lake exit [1]

Then, suddenly the horizon gives way to yet another large body of the wet stuff, as you gaze across Roath Park Lake

Roath  park lake [3]

Roath park lake [12]This acreage of liquid comes with a Juno seal of approval, otherwise know as a Michelin Star for gastronomic interest (though I think the numbers would have made it no contest!).

So next time you’re in the fine city of Cardiff, and you need something to remind you that all that’s wet is not rain, you will not have to travel far with your umbrella and wellies. And all of this without a single mention of the River Taff… oops!

Until we speak again I’m forever in pursuit of something a little more dry… Sauvignon Blanc anybody!?

Key to a kiss

This adopted home of mine has a seemingly insatiable capacity to draw out the most unexpected of emotions from time to time. Take the other day, there I was minding my own business, gently sashaying along the boulevard… a cool cat in shades with a gentle breeze through the whiskers, when I am arrested by a heart fluttering vision. Being in the heart of the renovated old industrial docklands my first thought was of a site of romantic antiquity, a monument for the demarcation of a long forgotten industrial love story… thoughts drifting to the romantic melting pot that was Tiger Bay, a mere palpitation away across the railway tracks.

Key to a kiss [2]Curvy, groovy, and altogether suggestive of tender moments spent with the cat you love. A reminder that us cats may spend time in territorial seclusion, but thrive most when we are lost in thoughts of others… particularly those with the special quality of occupying almost every waking moment. Step aside Paris, take a break Venice, the capital of romance has found a new candle-lit table to gaze across. As the warm sun bathes my coat I am left to ponder whether this is a clue as to why my ‘in-house failed romantic‘ decided on a return to their spiritual home of Cardiff  was it a search following love lost for the potential to be re-ignited by some unexpected magical tryst. Nope, I guess it was just the pure romance of economics, and a pint of Brains SA!

The Blade My A

 

So, my message from the heart of Cardiff to all you cats who decide your lives from the head, is to occasionally listen from the heart… you may just be surprised by what could change and transform your bowl into a banquet.

Then again, if you can’t spare a kiss for the one you love, I can offer you the alternative of my furry rump, along with a cut-throat razor for re-shaping some of your thinking!

Until we speak again this has been Romancer Juno, and sick bags will be provided on request.