I went for a long weekend with Little Sister a while ago, I travelled by train and she picked me up from the carpark at the back of Cardiff Central Station.

          From the carpark, the skyline is pretty much dominated by the BRAINS brewery building. 


          Most things look so different when viewed in a nicer light, even old industrial buildings like the brewery, and this disused colliery I found in “Pleasley“. 

          More from before : various visits to “Cardiff” .



          There I was, wandering up and down platform one on Cardiff station snapping pictures here and there looking for a smile to add to this post.   I liked the old station buildings and tried a few different angles, cutting out the drizzle in the sky and trying to use the platform roof and the tracks to frame the large letters of “CARDIFF” fixed to the wall. 

          I took a couple of snaps, nothing quite curled the mouth into a smile, but there were one or two possibilities then turning up back towards the busier central part of the platform I spotted the bench…

           …an empty bench, quite plain in itself, made up of two large, sturdy planks of wood secured into heavy metal brackets. Very much a functional bench rather than a decorative one, that is, until you look towards the base.

          GWR…  Great Western Railway…

          The letters weren’t cut out in a dainty fashion, but we’re raised, chunky, hard-wearing letters, in keeping with the rest of the bench’s design.  Although the GWR didn’t quite raise the smile I was hoping for, it did catch my interest and I parked my little suitcase to try and catch the bench in my picture.

          I very often think to myself as I stretch with my camera into a peculiar position, “thank goodness for viewing screens.”

          Time for just one more click before an announcement came over the speaker system “train arriving at platform one… “,  I gathered up my case and climbed onto my train.

          Sitting in my seat I examined my photos, vaguely remembering a young lad and his mother passing me. They’d stepped into my shot as I’d taken it…

          … There was my smile.


           More from before : various visits to “Cardiff” .


          The Mothership : Mash, pie, mushy peas and gravy.

2014-11. Mother ship.

          The picture above was Little Sister’s lunch on our last visit to Bristol.  Mine didn’t have the mushy peas… I don’t go in for all that green stuff, far too healthy for my liking.

          Little Sister hadn’t eaten at a Pieminster before so it was a new experience for her.  I was reminded of my first Pieminster,  which was actually at the very same place in St. Nicholas Market, many moons ago.

          I was visiting my old school friend in her hometown (actually, I shouldn’t call her old, I’m two months ahead of her on the countdown to retirement so from now on I’ll just call her Schoolfriend). Anyway, I was visiting Schoolfriend in Bristol and knowing my liking of markets and little streets,  and my very limited taste in food we ended up at Pieminster for lunch.

          We ordered at the counter and took our food with us to the table, a strangely sociable experience as we squashed onto long benches alongside the table and the people at the far end against the wall couldn’t get out unless we moved. The strange seating arrangement would obviously be no good for a business meeting or to discuss a private matter, but once I was comfortable at the table I stopped thinking of the little, everyday, conversations which were going on around me and enjoyed my pie.  Actually I very much enjoyed my pie, and the mash … and the gravy… Oh, and the huge mug of tea I had to wash it down too.

2014-11. Pieminster front.

          My second Pieminster experience was in Oxford, and just as memorable.  I had met up with Judith and her sister.  Judith writes “ I Choose how I will spend the rest of my life” and was bravely navigating around the globe on her own, visiting sisters and many other beautiful places on route.  It was wonderful to be able to fit in with a slot in her itinerary and really enjoyed the day spent with new “real life” friends.  I wanted to give my blogging buddies some very original memories to take away with them.  Lunch at the Randolph would have been amazing, but would have blown the budget out of the water, so instead I took the advice of Middle Daughter and we ended up at the Pieminster in the Oxford covered market.

          Again as seems to be the way, we picked up our pies at the counter and then squeezed onto the end of someone elses table to sit and eat.  Also again, the little conversations around us seemed to melt into our pies as we ate and enjoyed out own conversations as if we were the only three people lunching that day.

2014-11. Pieminster seats.

          All three pictures here are of the Pieminster in Bristol’s St. Nicholas market on my visit with Little Sister.  Again we sat, chatted and laughed our way through our pies as if we were the only people eating that day.

          A few days later after my sister had returned home, she sent me an excited message to say she had found a Pieminster in Cardiff.  On my next visit there I’ll simply have to drop in and compare … all in the name of research you understand.”

          More from before: “Cardiff“, “Bristol“, and of course, “Oxford“.