Bins, The Woody and Fiat 500s: The trials and tribulations of living in Cathays

Learn to park people

Walking through the concrete jungle that is Cathays is an adventure to say the least. It certainly has its quirks that make it feel like the home we’ve all come to love. But what is it that makes this grotty student area so distinct? We’ve compiled a list of the things that truly make Cathays… well Cathays.

The Woody is (was) your second home

Those four words, “fancy the pub mate?” are music to our ears The Woody is everyone’s friendly local, offering a sanctuary from looming deadlines and seminar prep. Yet in recent times getting to this carefree haven has become that little bit more difficult.

So, you and your mates decided to try your luck at The Woody for a taste of God’s nectar – the humble pint. However, it soon becomes apparent by the groups of people being turned away that your quest to have a pint has only just begun. By the end of the night, which will be exactly ten o’clock, you have exhausted all the possible pubs in Cathays only to reach success at the Heath, or even The Vulcan.

What a sight for sore eyes

The musician on your street is a pain in the arse

Sound proofing in Cathays simply doesn’t exist, the walls are basically made from paper. It only takes a quick scan of Overheard to find a student complaining about the trumpet next door. Being serenaded by a trumpet every day clearly is reason enough to be shameless and out your neighbour. We all like music mate… but on a Sunday morning, the day of rest… really?

Dodging the food that paves the streets after bin day

The mad rush to get the rubbish out on bin day is an activity students are very familiar with. Yes, it’s been the same day every week for the past two years, but you still forget. Every. Single. Time.

After your morning of cardio, running the length of your house, you head out to start your day. Yet bin day haunts your every step around Cathays. Eyes down, it’s like playing a game of Mario cart dodging the banana skins, trying not to get any grim stains on your perfectly white Nike Air Force. The Cardiff classic.

Some of us clearly need to learn to double bag

Parking your cute little Fiat 500, or maybe not quite

It’s a classic Cathays scenario, either someone parallel parks way to close for comfort or is feeling generous with space, too generous. Either way you are going to get a sarcastic shout out on Overheard. The classic “even cars are socially distancing” seems to be doing the rounds at the moment. So, watch out drivers of Cathays, otherwise your number plate could be circulating the net, and if you’re lucky, you might even get a handwritten aggressive note.

The madness of the Hoffi Coffi traffic lights

The Hoffi Coffi crossing is where all the action happens – where Cathays meets the real world. Not waiting for the green man at these traffic lights is the kind of energy that some can only hope to achieve in life. The confidence that is channelled whilst performing such a task of life or death really deserves a moments applause. Meanwhile you stand there feeling sheepish because you’ve been waiting patiently for the green man for what feels like hours.

The Wednesday buzz that engulfs Cathays (pre-COVID)

If you find yourself leaving the house between the hours of 5pm and 9:30pm on a Wednesday evening, you’ll  have witnessed Cathays at its finest. The boys chanting in their chinos, and the groups of girls with Echo Falls in hand, screeching in ridiculous outfits. In fact, if you just popped out to get some milk with the intention of a quiet night in, you’ll soon discover that FOMO takes a hold. You will find yourself speeding back home to ditch the PJs, line the stomach with pasta, and to down some cheap tinnies. All in time to queue outside the SU for 9pm and dance the night away with four VK in hand. Oh, the good old days.

While sometimes it feels like the unpredictably quirky streets of Cathays can be out to get you, it will always hold a special place in your heart. In short: Cathays we love you, don’t change for anyone!

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• The new normal: a Cardiff student’s average week during covid

• Women plat rugby too: Cardiff Ladies Rugby President talks of gender disparities within the sport

• Things in Cardiff student houses that just make sense