Thursday 15 February 2024

Go west young man

Last Friday I worked from home. When I was done, I stood up from my desk, walked downstairs, got in the car, and drove to Cardiff. This was not my ideal evening all things considered, but Mrs L had long ago organised a family get-together with her sisters and their families, none of whom live in Cardiff but they all like it. Of course this was not an entirely random destination...

Yes, number one child now lives in Cardiff. For you old-timers out there the little kid that I dragged here there and everywhere birdwatching from around 2009 onwards is now an enormous twenty year old at Cardiff university. How time flies. I mean he is not even a teenager any more! Anyway, we don't see him very often, but we still hear from him all the time. Sorry my mistake, we don't hear from him either, so travelling to Cardiff is a good way to establish contact. It's not a massive undertaking, but neither is it just popping round the corner. So off we went. 

To cut a long story short he was in Bristol...

But he did show up the following morning (having had precisely zero hours of sleep) and spent the day with us and the extended family which was very nice. Despite 36 hours and counting of being awake, once he had a couple of beers down him in a Cardiff pub he perked up a lot, and with an important Rugby match on found the kind of second wind that once upon a time I could summon on request but that these days rather eludes me. 

A partisan crowd. We had to be very quiet at the end...

For the younger children - not that much younger is has to be said - Cardiff on Friday and Saturday nights was rather an eye-opener. If anything Saturday was more exuberant than Friday with people able to kick things off that much earlier. Hen parties seemed to get going shortly after midday, and by mid afternoon they had already reached the drunken barefoot lurching around streets stage, heels in hand. The vomiting presumably started shortly thereafter. We left the city centre and went to Cardiff Bay for the afternoon, but when we returned in the evening things were in full swing. And I mean full swing. I am a very boring person as everyone knows and I barely go out in the evenings. When I do it is to genteel middle-aged things like wine tastings, restaurants and recitals, and so the scenes that greeted us were as much of an eye-opener for me as for the kids. KFC has bouncers on the door, this is the level I am talking about. On a short walk down the main drag that earlier that day had been populated by familes out shopping I narrowly avoided a hug from a drunk, had to sidestep more than a few puddles (liquid and solid) and got flashed by a young lady who had almost no clothes on yet still seemed insistent that everyone see parts of her that were marginally covered. This was with my youngest daughter on one arm and wearing my woolly hat by the way, I was not exactly cart-wheeling down the street pint in hand.

Cardiff has a bit of thing for Arcades.

Cardiff street life c2000 years ago. More or less unchanged judging by the people crawling along the floor.

The next morning this had all been swept away and the main pedestrian area was civilised once more. The street with a thousand kebab shops on had seen heavier use, and despite some remedial action was still rather sludgy... yuck. Despite pubs already being open again we opted for a museum and then Cardiff Castle for lunch, after which we bade goodbye to one and all and headed back for the long drive east.

So that was the weekend, and whilst there were no birds I thought I had better bash something out lest people think I was phasing again. I did add Coot to my Wales list from the pub window, but that was about it - I didn't even have my bins with me which is essentially the story of February. A shame really as I rather had the bit between my teeth from a blogging perspective in January. Anyway, it will be March soon and everyone knows what arrives in March. Don't they?

Do I have to say it's name?


Do I have to say it's name?


Say what?



  1. Replies
    1. I have seen what I'm talking about in the snow! Looking very miserable and contemplating life decisions.

    2. Ha ha! That would be a first for me I think.

  2. 'its' not 'it's', Mr L.... Expecting/hoping to see that flash of bounding white on shoreline boulders by around mid-April, with luck. Bring it :)

  3. Loved this! Great account of student life (and more). I met my husband when we were both students at Bristol...but I've never had a weekend "out" in Cardiff

    1. It was great fun for the most part, but I am too old for a lot of it!