Monday, January 17, 2011

fish, fowl and 'the fight'

My cheaper (by a pound) eggs from 'caged hens'
I am on a very tight budget and I love eggs. They are my favourite food. And it is most disconcerting that smack on the packaging, or highlighted on grocer signs, are unsought details on the origin of my eggs.

I suppose North America is behind on this regard, as this branding practice in the U.K. is new to me. It is eye-opening and to be commended and it is most likely irresponsible of me not to be more aware of my food's origins, but I certainly don't enjoy the twinge of guilt and sense of unwanton cruelty that accompany my shopping now that the knowledge is laid out before me. Unfortunately, until I bring in a little more money, I suppose I will have to try to get used to my eggs with attitude.

That being said, the successful poultry campaign launched by U.K. chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, has been succeeded by this year's equally admirable and important Fish Fight. A series of hour-long episodes has highlighted the sad and disturbing wastes of current EU policies, seeking to inform, enrage and activate the U.K. consumer.

Blissful ignorance or disturbing knowledge? I suppose the goal and key is to make the truth less disturbing.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Along the Severn Sea

I could watch the tides come in and out all day. Penarth is a lovely town, but its seaside and the cliff walk are healing places for the soul.

Penarth Pier

Along the Cliff Walk

October in Penarth

The Harris', who welcomed me into their home on my arrival, had recently moved to Penarth which adjoins Cardiff from the Severn Sea -- (Mor Hafren) -- also known as the Bristol Channel. It is a charming town high on a bluff with some remarkable walks. Here are some memories from the lovely fall (before the rains came.)

Winter Wonderland

All the city lights and the skating rink came down on January 3. It was so pretty and they were on display since November, so I'm missing that magic sparkle.
Winter Wonderland in front of Cardiff City Hall
Cardiff Central Library, left in city centre -- New Year's Day night
(quietest I've ever seen city centre).

photos -- finally!!

Well, I finally have some pictures transferred from my camera to my blog. I hope these pages don't take too long to open on some computers. Usually I downsize and crop my pix for the 'Net, but the computers at the libraries don't allow me to do this and so I'm going with what Blogger downloads. If this slows anyone down considerably, please let me know.

Also, please excuse my virgin night shots. It's a long learning curve.

New Year's Eve 2010-2011, Cardiff

New Year's Eve -- Midway on Museum

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Calennig (celebrating a special night)

I was feeling kind of lonely on New Year's Eve and decided the last thing I wanted to do was bring in the start of 2011 -- my first New Year's in Wales -- sitting in my apartment watching television.

So I headed to the City Centre, where the day before a carnival midway had been set up on the length of Museum Avenue and there were to be fireworks set off at midnight. This carnival and celebration beat November's Sparks in the Parks mudfest by a landslide. What a fantastic sight.

The midway on Museum had amazing rides with the brightest lights I've ever seen. Perhaps they were LED lights, I don't know, but the colours were vivid and the rides first-class scary. It was such a grand setting, nestled between the National Museum of Wales and the University of Wales on one side and City Hall and Alexandra Gardens on the other.

On the far side of City Hall the street was open with loudspeakers and big screens presenting the bands as they played. Before the midnight fireworks and countdown, glam band T. Rextasy blasted through the balmy night. People of all ages, families with little ones in tow, bopped and boogied, some sober, others feeling no pain. Before the countdown the announcer asked who had experienced a bad 2010 and who had enjoyed a good year. The applause split the year -- good and bad -- 50-50.

As 2011 began the crowd sang 'Auld Lang Syne' quietly, gently and couples danced slowly in the street.

A good start.