Archive for the Cardiff Category

Champions Road

Posted in Cardiff, Football on May 21, 2017 by telescoper

Signs like this have appeared on Cathedral Road near my home in Cardiff.

From the black and white stripes you can see that it celebrates Newcastle United’s victory in the Championship this season.


You learn something new every day, though. I hadn’t previously realised that the way to say ‘Newcastle United’ in Welsh is ‘Juventus’…

Half and Half in Cardiff

Posted in Cardiff on May 20, 2017 by telescoper

In view of the imminent arrival of two hundred thousand visitors to Cardiff for the UEFA Champions League final, I thought I’d post some helpful information about the city for the benefit of our guests.

One of the special delicacies on offer in Cardiff curry houses is the “half and half”, an example of which is shown above.

This is what you ask for if you can’t decide whether to have rice or chips to provide the carbohydrate element to go with your selected curry. In my experience you don’t really get a half- portion of chips and a half-portion of rice, but a full portion of each. ‘Half and half’ is therefore the best choice if you’re really hungry.

Back to Cardiff

Posted in Cardiff, Cricket, Football on May 19, 2017 by telescoper

Despite torrential rain and flooding (in England) and the failure of the electronic passport readers at Heathrow Terminal 5, I managed to get back to Cardiff (via plane, bus and train) more-or-less when I expected and all in one piece, if a little tired. It was good to get home and have a nice cup of tea. I love lots of things about Italy, but I’ve never found anywhere in that wonderful country to have a decent cuppa.

When I walked home from Cardiff Central last night I noticed that road barriers have started to appear on the streets near the Principality Stadium. This is because the final of the UEFA Champions League between Juventus and Real Madrid will take place there on Saturday 3rd June. This will be easily the biggest sporting event ever held in Cardiff, with up to a quarter of a million people coming into the city, only 80,000 or so of whom will be able to watch the event in the Stadium. There’ll be a lot of disruption to traffic in the City Centre, both for security reasons and because of the sheer number of people packing the place.

Hotels in and around Cardiff sold out months ago, and an enormous campsite is being created on Pontcanna fields to house some of the people who couldn’t find a room. I’m not sure I would pay £195 for 3 nights to sleep in a tent, but some will. I just hope it’s not too noisy around my house! I was thinking of going away and renting my house out for the period, but I want to be in Cardiff for my birthday treat – a performance of Der Rosenkavalier by Welsh National Opera.

Talking of sport, since the weather was pleasant when I got up this morning, I decided to reacclimatise after a few days away by popping into the SSE SWALEC Stadium in Sophia Gardens to watch the first sessions’s play of the County Championship match between Glamorgan and Nottingham.

I’m glad I went because it was an absorbing morning’s cricket, with some excellent bowling and fielding by Glamorgan restricting Nottinghamshire to just 64 for 2 off 31 overs. The second wicket to fall involved a superlative catch in the slips by Aneurin Donald. It’s good to see Glamorgan playing with a spring in their step. After a poor start to the season they finished 4th (out of nine teams) in the Royal London One-Day Cup Southern division, which although they missed out on a semi-final place, is a creditable result and a distinct improvement on last year. Let’s hope they can carry on that progress into the County Championship.

The Immortal Regiment in Cardiff

Posted in Cardiff with tags , , on May 10, 2017 by telescoper

I was walking along Queen Street in Cardiff last night when I encountered a group of people – mainly women and children – singing and marching in front of me with flags, banners and photographs of men in uniform decorated with medals, all escorted by a couple of police officers. I couldn’t figure out who they were from behind so I caught up with them and asked one of their number what it was all about.

It turned out to be a local (Cardiff) version of the Immortal Regiment March, part of Russian celebrations of victory in World War Two (`The Great Patriotic War’) which take place on 10th May, one day later than our own VE Day. This is a huge event in Russia, involving many millions of people. The Cardiff event was, of course, relatively small but many of those marching were direct relatives of people who gave their lives during the Second World War. Those were the photographs they were carrying.

There has been a sizable Russian community in Cardiff for many years, large enough to sustain a Russian Orthodox Church and various community organizations throughout the city. More than a few of the academic staff of Cardiff University are of Russian origin. Yesterday’s march was a timely reminder not only of the horrors endured by so many on the Eastern front but also of the fact that Cardiff is a wonderfully cosmopolitan city.

Cardiff March for Science

Posted in Cardiff on April 22, 2017 by telescoper

Here’s a couple of snaps of today’s Cardiff March for Science. It was a friendly and fun occasion attended by (at a guess) a few hundred people.  

It started with a rally on the steps of the Senedd building:

The assembled throng then walked around Cardiff Bay to Techniquest. 

This one was taken by another participant, Jordan Cuff (a PhD student in Bioscience). I am actually in this picture, but you can only see my back…

It wasn’t a very demonstrative march -there was no chanting or anything like that – but then it wasn’t really intended to be a demonstration, more of a very polite celebration! 

Oh, and nice weather for it!

Cardiff, City of Cycling?

Posted in Bute Park, Cardiff with tags , , , , , , , on February 22, 2017 by telescoper

Two recent news items about Cardiff caught my attention so I thought I’d do a quick post. The first piece was about the terrible state of traffic congestion in the city. This doesn’t affect me directly as I normally work to work and back, but it has definitely got much worse in the last few years. The roads are regularly gridlocked, a situation made worse by the interminable and apparently pointless roadworks going on everywhere as well as absurdly slow and dysfunctional traffic lights. There’s a common view around these parts that this is being allowed to happen – or even engineered – so that Cardiff City Council can justify the introduction of congestion charging. This would be an unpopular move among motorists, but I think a congestion charge would not be a bad idea at all, as what the city really needs is to reduce the number of motor vehicles on its streets, to deal with the growing problem of pollution and long journey times.

One day, about six years ago,  I was almost run over three different times by three different vehicles. The first was near the car park in Sophia Gardens, where there are signs and road marking clearly indicating that there is a speed limit of 5 mph but where the normal speed of cars is probably more like 35; the guy who nearly killed me was doing about 60.

Next, in Bute Park, a heavy lorry belonging to the Council, engaged in some sort of “tree-management” business, thundered along the footpath past me. These paths used to be marked 5mph too, but the Council removed all the signs when it decided to build a huge road into the Park and encourage more vehicles to drive around inside. The lorry wasn’t going as fast as the Boy Racer of Sophia Gardens, but the size of the truck made it just as scary.

Finally, using a green light at the pedestrian crossing at Park Place I was narrowly missed by another car who had clearly jumped a red light to get onto the dual carriageway (Dumfries Place) leading to Newport Road.

I have to say things like this aren’t at all unusual, but that is the only time I’ve had three close encounters in one day! Although most car drivers behave responsibly, there seems to be a strong concentration of idiots in Cardiff whose antics are exacerbated by the hare-brained Highways Department of the local council. There are many things to enjoy about living in Cardiff, and the quality of life here is very good for a wide range of reasons, but of all the cities I’ve lived in it is by a long way the least friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.

Which brings me to the second news item, which is about Cardiff City Council’s ambitious new Cycling Strategy, which aims to double the number of trips made using cyclists over the next ten years. That still wouldn’t reach the level of Cambridge, where 30% of all journeys in the city are done by bicycle.

Cardiff has a long way to go to match Cambridge and further still to be like Copenhagen, one of the loveliest and most livable cities I’ve ever experienced, partly because of its traffic policies.

In the interest of balance I should also point out that I was once actually hit on a pedestrian crossing in Cardiff by a bicycle steered by a maniac who went through a red light. In this case, however, I did manage to push him off his bike as he tried to get away, so he ended up more seriously hurt than I was. I was hoping that a friendly car would run over his bike, which was lying in the road, but sadly that didn’t happen.

I hope in their desire to increase the number of cyclists, the town planners don’t forget those of us who travel on foot!

Women’s March in Cardiff 

Posted in Cardiff, Politics with tags , on January 21, 2017 by telescoper

Lots to do today so I’ll just make a note that this afternoon there was a Women’s March in Cardiff along with many around the world (including a huge one in Washington DC) to protest against misogyny and discrimination.

Here’s the scene near the statue of Nye Bevan on Queen Street (looking toward the Castle)  just before the March started around 1pm:

Love and respect to all who took part!