Saturday, 26 February 2011

A walk on the wild side

Last night, Clare treated me to supper at Stefano's on Romilly Road, next door to where the defunct 'Le Gallois' restaurant used to be. It was a very enjoyable experience, with a free bottle of Montepulciano to wash it down and the food was excellent. They are certainly making an effort to attract new customers. These are tough times for restauranteurs. After the meal, I had to take the bus back into town and collect my office keys from Ashley, working late as ever. I'd walked out of the office and left them behind in my eagerness to be punctual for our supper date. The city centre doesn't look quite as crowded at ten on a wet Friday night these days as it did a year ago. Recession is the likely reason for this. I wonder how many of Cardiff's extraordinary number of night clubs will go out of business this year?

After lunch, we took advantage of the mild sunny weather, drove down to Porthkerry and walked east along the cliff top on a path rendered very muddy by recent rain and many walkers. This piece of Jurassic coastline is an unusual environment, with huge well tended fields running all the way down to the foot path running a few yards behind the cliff edge. Some sections are screened from the edge by bushes or stunted trees, others simply fenced with grass running up to the sheer drop of around a hundred feet to the limestone bedrock below. Here and there you see evidence that erosion of the cliffs is continuous and impossible to defend against. It's a wild exposed landscape with few buildings apart from Rhoose power station to the east and Wick lighthouse to the west.

When the tide is out, the less friable, more hard wearing bedrock appears from above to resemble a giant cobbled pavement worn smooth. In one of the bays, pavement levels and tidal flows have combined to create  semi circular arcs of stones a hundred feet across perched upon them, making patterns reminiscent of a Richard Long sculptural installation on a huge scale along the foreshore. One section of the car park at our point of departure was littered pebbles between the size of a grapefruit and a football, all thrown over the retaining wall by wind whipped winter high tides. We're fortunate to live near places from which no human effort can eliminate the wildness. We'd do our selves a favour to make better use of them while we can.

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