An Extra Day; a trip to Cardiff and The Big Leap Year Swindle

Wednesday 29 February and I decided to spend The Extra Day doing something different.  Shame to waste a freebie just doing ordinary stuff.  I arranged to meet up with friends in Cardiff and it turned out to be a great day. Strangely, considering the fact that we lived there for 5 years and the many times I have been there since, it brought back long-ago memories.

After the end of my ‘A’ Level GCE exams, we were allowed to be absent from school for the last week or so of term if we put forward a project which the headmaster regarded as worthwhile.  So a friend and I dressed up a hitch hiking trip to Carmarthenshire to see my family and to Gloucestershire to see his family as a ‘Geography Project’.  I wrote up the Project Report from the RAC Guide on the basis of which I was awarded the schools Initiative Prize on Speech Day.  The only time I have won a prize and it was perpetrated by a con-trick.

Lots of people hitch-hiked in those days, it was how most impoverished students got around. Many of the people who picked us up were very interesting and it was a trip rich in memories.  En route from Carmarthenshire we were picked up by a guy and taken to Cardiff.  He was so proud of his city that he insisted on giving us a guided tour, particularly of the Cathays Park Civic Centre which by any standards was impressive.

Cardiff City centre still is impressive, particularly in Spring sunshine.  Between meeting friends for coffee at dinner time and at the end of the afternoon I had time to kill and so, quickly giving up on the shopping (shame to waste the Extra Day on shopping), I wandered around with the camera.   I ambled around the Civic Centre and the Museum/Art Gallery, Bute Park, and some of the new bits.  The result …. a brief snapshot of Cardiff.  Well worth a visit if you haven’t been there or looking at with fresh eyes if you have.

The Old Library, opened in 1882

.... and facing it at the other end of the street, the New Library opened in 2009

St John's church, dating back to the 12th Century

City Hall in Cathays Park Civic Centre

On top of the central dome of City Hall

Six Bells, the largest painting done by LS Lowry and housed on the Welsh National Museum Art Gallery

Famous portrait of one of Wales' most famous sons (my father knew him, musically at least)

Pick an ancestor: entrance to the origins of Wales exhibition in the National Museum

Typical of the standing stones found in many parts of Wales

Portrait of one of our well-connected ancestors

The City-centre Bute Park basking in end-of-winter sunshine

One of the many beasts trying to climb over the wall surrounding Bute Park

One face of the clock tower at the entrance to Cardiff Castle

The Millennium Stadium, immensly popular with fans for rugby internationals and for the FA cup during the Wembley Interlude

Sitting and waiting for another friend in the evening and contentedly musing, a thought struck me.  I was thinking how pleasant it had been to do something different on the Extra Day but then it struck me that those of us who had been on an annual salary and whose occupational pension was based on that salary were being short-changed.  We were paid one twelfth of our salary each month which meant that in Leap Years we worked an extra day for no extra pay!!  It was the same salary for 366 days as for 365.  By contrast, staff whose pay is calcuated by the hour or the week are paid for the Extra Day.  Maybe I’ll start a campaign and next Leap Year I’ll go on strike.  Or maybe just do something different again and revel in the Extra Day.

Despite the realisation of the Great Leap Year Swindle, Leap Day 2012 was very enjoyable.

This entry was posted in Grumpy Old Men, Reflections, Spring and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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