blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Another day in Cardiff

The Novotel website says that my "credentials are still valid", so that's good. I can therefore post another blogpost. I have just been swimming in the blue-lit hotel pool downstairs, 30 lengths. Chris ran on the treadmill in the adjoining room, but didn't like the mirror. It was horrible to watch his muscles going up and down, he said; why would anybody want to do that?

Today gave us plenty of exercise apart from our use of the Fitness Centre. We walked to breakfast in the city, then across the road for a lap of Bute Park by the river and flower beds, before walking through the university campus past the Department of Music which now houses all of my dad's old music books and musical scores. I hope someone is looking at them. We were to meet Mum with Faith, Mel and Rhiannon at the National Museum, where the entrance to all exhibitions is free of charge. I think this sets a marvellous example to all the world. Access to art and education ought to be free of charge, everywhere, IMHO. Mel dropped Mum, Faith and Rhiannon at the bottom of the front steps and went to park his car while she was climbing them. Once we were all together, we made a beeline for the special exhibition, special both for Faith (botanist) and me (student of all things Chinese): the display of Chinese Bird and Flower Paintings from the 16th century to the present day, and very delightful it was, too, with descriptions of the paintings and their execution and origins in the Chinese language itself, with English and Welsh subtitles.

There were real flowers in the grass outside the museum as well, snowdrops and crocuses.

We lunched not at the downstairs cafeteria (my suggestion, in Mel's opinion too much like a railway station) but at a nearby pub, the Pen and Wig on Park Grove, which has a painting of a judge's wig lying on a desk with a feather pen alongside on one of its walls and Latin sayings over the arches between the dining areas, viz.:
  • Neminem oportet legibus esse sapientiorem, which means No man should be wiser than (i.e. above) the law! A very apt saying as regards the present state of affairs in the USA. 
  • Abundans cautela non nocet, meaning Plenty of caution can do no harm. Also apt, if only people would only take notice of such advice.
The pub too is in the university area, so afterwards, when Mel had left to drive Faith and Mel home, Chris and I took Mum in her wheelchair into the students' union building, where all three of us were remarkable for our age, and found the university bookshop, Dillons ... containing a plethora of set texts for the English Literature courses but, to Chris' annoyance, not one single book about Maths. Books are obviously no substitute for the Internet, these days. Mum found it all quite an adventure, her eyesight not good enough to take in many details, but she was enjoying these explorations in our company and even her "claustrophobic" rides in the university lifts, so it seemed. We eventually found the right platform at Cathays station from which we could catch a train to Llandaff, next stop along the line. Big steps to take from platform to train and train to platform. Mind the gaps!

Out of the train at Llandaff, we walked with / pushed Mum to the centre of Whitchurch, about 2km away. She managed to walk a good deal of the way along Bishop's Road (she had been a Miss Bishop once), to be rewarded with a shared pot of tea and toasted teacake at the Co-op café, which used to be her favourite snack and snacking place before she moved into her care home. The last part of her outing was another walk and ride in the chair up Church Road to Heol Don, by which time it was raining, but no harm done.

If she remembered any of the above, Mum had plenty to talk about with the other old ladies at the supper table. Chris and I left her there and caught a train from Llandaff back to Cardiff Central, with a phone-call from Emma in London, en route. We continued walking from the back of the station towards the Porth Teigr area of Cardiff Bay, where we found an excellent supper at the Pizza Express on the waterfront, with red wine. Back towards the city along Schooner Way by the old docklands, now a posh, ever-growing residential area, and there was our hotel.

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