Our voyage to South Wales – Francoise’s birthday

by | Aug 7, 2023 | Latest Post | 0 comments

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Today is Francoise birthday.  I gave her a funny card.  At the hotel breakfast we noticed how little it takes for someone to say sorry.  For example I move along and someone has to move forward slightly to accommodate me. This is inevitably accompanied by an apology. What is the basis for the apology? Is it the fact that they exist?  In crowded circumstances a bit of shuffling too and fro is all part of the continuous system of adapting to other people and should not be a reason for an apology.

Anyway we are off to navigate the entire length of the promontory that makes Cardiff Bay the unique place it is. It is a lovely 30 minute walk with plenty of friendly strangers to talk to on the way. My pedometer tels me I walked 13,953 steps.

Before that we visited the seasonal ‘fun fair’ which together with a big wheel forms the focus for family fun.

The children were having the most enormous pleasure jumping around inside these inflatable balls. They could do apparently dangerous things or daring things without coming into any difficulty.

The area by the harbour itself is very highly developed but they have put some thought into making the whole area attractive. Even looking at these stones (above) makes me relax and of course people can sit on them for a few moments rest.

Here is the very striking bronze of three of the many distinguished rugby players, very well situated for maximum effect. Rugby is somewhat of a cult Sport in Wales.

 

This is to celebrate the many people who died at sea during the history of ships and I find it very moving and powerful. Look carefully to see the face.

Francoise riding a crocodile. This is one of the many thoughtful features that makes Cardiff so enjoyable particularly for children. If you look around,  there is a lot of art in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales.

We returned from the end of our walk, the barrier, to have a celebratory drink.  We noted that there were half hourly ferries between the barrier gates and our original point of Departure.  The cost for a single journey for two people was £12.40  but that was secondary to the saving of energy of  a half hour walk. We were the two of the few passengers.

I caught this amazing cloud pattern which I found highly unusual. I thought a meteorologist would have a good explanation for the combination of light and dark but to me it was most striking, almost apocalyptic.

Wetherspoons are very good at what they do which is designing their establishments to fit in with their environment. This one is on two floors overlooking the sea. There are bars on both floors. They have erected a two meter high plastic screen to keep the wind off so you can enjoy a drink whatever the weather, except teeming rain of course. They have also strung wires on the roof to keep seagulls off.

I asked the bartender for sparkling wine and he produced this blush pink sparkling wine. Since it did not have a cork top I thought I’d been sold the wrong thing but a customer standing to me said it was bubbly-ish and he was right. It was about 15 pounds.

I did take the trouble to read the label and I thought it was a very good description of the contents. Too much gas can sometimes impede my digestion but this one was perfectly balanced and good value for money.

For style, we had a bowl of chips as one does but a birthday drink it was nevertheless

We followed this by a visit to a most amazing cake shop. It was in fact a combination of cake and ice cream. Each piece was £5.50 and I thought that was a bit much but when I had had some and realized the purity of its ingredients and the sheer deliciousness of it I did not grumble. I know there were good ingredients because I did not have any after effects

A remarkable combination of light and shade. We noticed this near our hotel. These are real birch trees by the way

I do have to speak about Craft in the Bay, the Landmark gallery of the makers Guild in Wales. For work of really good quality it is worth a visit and the details can be found here. The very friendly and dedicated staff were happy to spend time with us and they obviously loved what they represented. We met an artist called Jill Riley who had kept a visual diary of sketches and photographs to document the impact of the weather on the landscape in different parts of Wales. (below). She chatted at length about her techniques.

works by other artists, also of high quality. ‘For the discriminating’ I could say

 

The Wales Millennium Center must be congratulated for an extraordinary extrovert design with beauty and curves. It is an artwork in itself never mind what it does inside. Believe it or not the entire front is made out of slate. It would be imprudent of me to guess at the cost but unquestionably millions. Below you can see some of the slates in close-up.

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