Cardiff report

So, backing up to last weekend: Karen, Colin and I left Oxford by train early in the morning for our trip to Cardiff. After two connections, a delay in Swindon and a nail-biter as Colin raced back to the train after he realized he'd left his camera onboard, we arrived in sunny Cardiff and were met by poet Ivy Alvarez and her partner Mark Heseltine. Mark whisked our bags away and Ivy took us on a tour of Cardiff Bay, home to the Torchwood headquarters and the Doctor Who Museum.

I didn't bring a hat or sunscreen, so I blistered quite badly on the long walk down to the bay from the train station. We had to stop a couple of times because I felt like I was having heatstroke. Sunscreen and heatstroke are not the first things that come to mind in Wales, but now I know better.

Cardiff Bay is a marvel, mainly because it's only existed for about a decade. The bay was created by building a barrage at the mouth of the rivers Taff and Ely to form a lake. The derelict docklands area was regenerated with high-end apartments, shops, the construction of Roald Dahl Plass and its centerpiece, the Millennium Centre.

I have to admit I was a bit disappointed to find that the Cardiff Food and Wine Festival had taken over Roald Dahl Plass, obscuring the filming locations for Torchwood and Doctor Who. The water tower, the entrance to the Torchwood Hub, was decorated with giant fruit for god's sake! Anyway... we had a bit to  eat, walked through the festival and then headed over to Red Dragon Center to visit the Doctor Who Museum.

Colin was a bit disappointed since the museum mostly deals with the new series, which means more David Tennant and almost none of the other Doctors. However, there were nifty bits like the TARDIS replica, plenty of Cybermen and Daleks, K-9, costumes and more. Somehow, I stopped myself from buying anything in the gift shop, which had every Doctor Who toy available.

In the evening, Ivy and Mark took us to the The Conway (a former "old man's pub," as Ivy called it), which has been transformed into a trendy gastropub. We all had big meals (mine was a steak), but we were all exhausted from walking about, so it was an early evening.

On Sunday, Karen and I gave our reading at the Old Orleans pub. It's located in the transformed Cardiff city centre, which is now one huge pedestrian walkway full of shops, restaurants and the old St. John the Baptist Church. Ivy said the reading was one of the most well-attended in weeks and Karen and I were thrilled to see nearly every chair full. We did separate sets, which was followed by an open mic and then we did a round-robbin with Karen and I taking turns reading poems prompted by a word, phrase or general mood from each other's work. We even sold some books!

Many, many thanks to Ivy, Mark and Mab Jones for being such excellent hosts in Cardiff. Make sure to read Karen's blog about the visit to Cardiff and to see more photos.


Rondell said…
Cardiff? Swindon? Y'all live in Alabama or something?
scott davidson said…
What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.

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