It was more lock-in than lockdown in my year in Wales with many a night spent back drinking after last orders in Kildare’s.
Yes, Kildare’s in Cardiff city centre, with its Brain’s bitter and dance floor with a darts board on the wall is where I’d be spending their two-week ‘fire break’.
Cardiff has changed considerably since I learned how to report proper back in the late 80s.
But to me it will always be 1987 and 1988.
When on the first night there a local in the pub next to my college enquired of my origins. As we stood peeing in the loo.
‘English bastard are you?’ asked Taff.
‘Scots bastard actually,’ said I as I hoped a bit of Celtic brotherhood would get me out of a tight scrape.
‘Just as flipping bad. You cheated us out of two World Cups, you bastard,’ he shot back without taking a breath.
At which point I turned to meet his eye, shook myself and left.
The loos were safer but more used when Brains allowed us an hour free bar at the end of our tour… I think we broke the record.
I’d probably not be sitting here jotting this out if I hadn’t got out of my tent in my pal’s back garden in time for my final exams.
There were other highlights too. Such as scoring the last-minute equaliser in the semi-finals of the University of Wales Interdepartmental Cup semi-final.
And getting my first Press pass, into Cardiff Arms Park… Wales robbed Scotland with a kick from inside their own half.
All these and more.
You’ll make your own memories when their politicians allow us all back in.
Like Cardiff Castle, with its Banqueting Hall, the picturesque chapel and clock tower.
The arcades, my pick is St David’s with its statue of its most favourite sportsman, Gareth Edwards, among a range of spectacular art throughout the city.
Yes, Cardiff’s changed and Wales play their internationals at the futuristic Millennium Stadium now.
Where Scotland still lose… and don’t even get close.
Now there’s a Cardiffian bar fly who is searching for a new victim in the Woodville Bar.
Meet you on the road…
CWRDD A CHI AR Y FFORD