|Cardiff Bay Barrage|
I’d not been in this position before when traveling: my evenings while in Wales were, by and large, spoken for with Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music concerts, but I’d nothing planned for the days.
The weather in Wales and, really, the UK, everywhere I looked, had been cold and rainy for days on end. I’m not a stranger to that, as I’d vacationed in England in the wettest June in 100 years. I’ll not say I was enamored of the idea, but I’ve learned you simply get on with it, that’s all.
My mental image for handling the weather comes from an early trip to the Scottish Highlands—it may have been during that wettest June, who knows? (The BBC broadcasters treated that June as if it were the legendary tennis match between John McEnroe and Björn Borg. During the tennis match, by the way, we'd been visiting Waltham Abbey, and someone had a radio on, to our dismay. The only thing I remember was one announcer saying to another how the players were “hewn out of rock.”)
But, as they say, I digress. The lesson I learned in the Scottish Highlands was visual. The rain stopped, and a car immediately pulled over to a layby, opened its boot, pulled out two folding chairs and, yup, you guessed it, a tea kettle, two teacups, and a Primus. Water boiled in a jiff, no doubt biscuits along with it, and Bob’s your uncle.
OK, enough of this. Here’s the thing: it took me 17 hours to arrive in Cardiff, door to door (no delays, just the way it is—so now you see what I will do for the sake of art). Moreover, I’d flown over on a red-eye, so you can be sure I was dead on my feet.
|rape fields en route to Wales|
BUT the sun was shining. Not just “dry” weather, but sky-blue sunny. Indeed, the clouds broke as the bus from Heathrow crossed the Severn into Wales: do you know how rare that is? I knew, from long experience, to take nothing for granted: that blue-sky day could very well be my last. My plan had been to do nothing whatsoever that first day, but, taking my cue from that car in the Scottish Highlands, I dropped my luggage and went out into the sunshine to walk the Cardiff Bay Barrage.
Cardiff Bay Barrage is but one example, a phenomenal reclaiming of waterfront and glorious greensward, to boot.
Ivor Novello looking back across the grand plaza to the Wales Millenium Centre.
What could be bad?
With night coming on, I opted to eat at the hotel, albeit not without a bit of dread. But lo, fresh Welsh sea bass on a bed of wilted bok choy was on offer and quite nice.
OK, so I had a teensy-weensy problem with my electronic devices. Yes, I had my adapters. Yes, I knew you had to turn on the switch at the wall. But nothing worked. This meant no camera, no ebook, no laptop, no iPod(!), no nothing, once the battery on each device ran down.
For a Spotify Playlist of the music of John Metcalf (composer and Artistic Director of the Festival), click on Wales Diary.
Scherzo from John Metcalf's Septet
© John Metcalf.
This is the first part in a five-part series entitled Wales Diary. The second through fifth parts can be found at these links: Cardiff Castle here, The Covered Streets of Cardiff here, Art and the Aquabus here, From Celtic Village to Castle Gardens here.
A three-part series of posts on the Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music concerts I attended while in Wales, including listening lists, can be found at these links: Crossing a Bridge of Dreams here, Ancient Instruments, Timeless Sounds here, and Worlds Entwined here.