Saturday, 25 March 2017

Eating Out in Hereford, Hay and Brecon - and New Plans from the Brecon Tap

So, I saw the Young Man onto the train this morning, and now things are getting back to normal.
I don't eat out often, unless I have guests, so last week we indulged ourselves.
We started in Hereford, straight off the train. At the market in the square we saw the Falafel stall which comes to Hay on Thurdsdays, and treated ourselves to freshly prepared falafels - the Young Man reckons they're the best he's ever tasted.
And, having discovered how good the chilli and chips are from the chip shop on Broad Street, on a previous visit, that's what we got for our first evening meal in Hay.
We also sampled the pizzas at the Three Tuns - a large one to share between us - and they were delicious too. On the first visit we tried the vegetarian option with Perl Las cheese, and on the second we had the beef brisket option.
On Tuesday, we went to Brecon - a visit from the Young Man is not complete without a pie and a pint at the Brecon Tap. We thought it was going to be fine and sunny in the morning, so we could have a wander round Brecon and maybe go down to the Regimental Museum - but the weather was so foul in the afternoon we never left the pub! The Brecon Tap had several special pies on, as well as the usual menu, so I went for the Morroccan lamb, and he went for the coq au vin, which you get with two side dishes of your choice. The Young Man was most impressed with the coq au vin, and tasted my Morroccan lamb. He has a colleague from work who is Morroccan, who has occasionally brought food into work to share, and he reckoned the chef had got the taste just right!
We also took the beer carrier with us, so that the Young Man could choose some Gwynt y Ddraig cider to take to his friends in London who appreciate such things (the last time he took some back, one friend said that the contents of the bottle had not touched the sides on the way down his throat!)
While at the Brecon Tap, I noticed a leaflet about a proposed Hay Tap. They are crowd funding now to be able to move into Kilvert's bar with the same sort of range of beers - and the pies - as they are doing in Brecon. It sounds like an interesting project. For more information, call 01874 620800 or email duncan@breconinns.co.uk The website is at www.breconinns.co.uk, where they are talking about the ???? Tap - but on the leaflets, they are clear that they are talking about Hay and Kilverts.
Meanwhile, they have also been celebrating the first birthday of the Brecon Tap.

Friday, 17 March 2017

There will now be a Short Intermission....

I will not be online much for the next week, as my Young Man is coming to visit.
So, here is a picture of some wolfhounds (and their people) seen in Hay last week:

Help From an Unexpected Source for Local Groups

Persimmon Homes seem to be a generous lot - last week there was a report in the Hereford Times that they will be giving £1,000 to Hay School to pay for outings and extra-curricular activities. They have offered this money because Hay School usually makes money from providing car parking for Hay Festival on their grounds for extras for the children, but this year the grounds are taken up with the foundations of the new school building, so they can't do that.

And this week Hay Theatre group are the lucky recipients of a grant of £1,000 from Persimmon too. They're about to run a project in collaboration with HayDay, to help people who suffer from dementia, or who are at risk of developing dementia. HayDay runs a regular cafe for people who suffer from dementia and their carers. Hay Theatre is planning a series of drama workshops for the elderly, in which familiar household objects come to life and tell a story.

Apparently, Persimmon Homes does this sort of thing regularly, as part of their Community Champions scheme - they donate up to £2,000 a month to community groups and good causes in all 29 of their regions.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

New Blood Needed at the Chamber of Commerce

Andrew of Eighteen Rabbit is stepping down as chair of the Chamber of Commerce this year, though he will still be involved. Clare Fry is therefore looking for someone to replace him - and anyone else who would like to be more involved will be welcome, too!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Denuded Backfold

While I was taking some more twigs down to the garden waste bins in the car park on Saturday, my attention was directed to the work going on at the Castle. Tidying has been going on, including at the top of Backfold, which has had overhanging bushes for years. This is what it looks like now:


At least they left the little bush in the middle of the picture, which was planted a few years ago in memory of Graham, who ran the pet shop where The Thoughtful Gardener is now.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Dark Age Herefordshire

I went up to Cusop Village Hall on Saturday - Cusop History Group had a visiting speaker who was talking about Dark Age Herefordshire, starting just before the Romans legions left, and going up to the death of King Offa.
It's useful to look at history sometimes on a local level. Herefordshire is tucked away from the coasts, so the early incursions of the Saxons, Angles and Jutes on the eastern side of the country, and the Irish from the west, didn't make much impression on the area which would eventually become the county at first. The Roman roads were not maintained, and the iron smelting in the south of the county with ore from the Forest of Dean stopped being economically viable. Meanwhile, Celtic Christianity produced St Dubricius in the south of the county - who may possibly have crowned King Arthur at Caerleon before he went off to become Bishop of Llandaff. And St David may have been born at Much Dewchurch. There's even a church which claims to have a chair made for St Augustine when he came to visit the Welsh bishops, in an important meeting between Roman and Celtic Christians (the Welsh bishops weren't too impressed by Augustine).
The River Wye split the area in two, with one side eventually being taken over by the Mercians, and the other becoming the Welsh commote of Archenfield.
One thing which was really useful was seeing the map of the area, with the names at different periods, and the locations of the towns. Hereford itself wasn't built until quite late in the period, but when it was it seemed to become the pattern for boroughs elsewhere in Mercia, with a grid iron layout of streets surrounded by a stout wall. Some of the streets in Hereford still follow the original Saxon lines.
The hall was full, and I think we all found the talk very interesting - and there was time to chat over tea and biscuits afterwards. I found myself discussing the course of the Wye, and whether the Roman road went to the north or south of the river near Hay - and was it really the Silures who attacked the Roman fort at Boatside? Nobody was sure. And I learned that a Roman coin was found, years ago, in the garden of Rest for the Tired on Broad Street in Hay, the only trace of Roman occupation in Hay itself.
Cusop History Group and Hay History Group are quite different in the focus of their activities, even though there's some overlap of membership. The border really does divide things up so that Cusop looks to the east and Hay looks to the west and Welsh history much more.
Cusop History Group costs £5 for a year's membership, and £5 to attend a talk for non-members "so you may as well join!" they said. Members pay £3 for a talk, which includes the tea and biscuits.
The next Cusop History Talk will be at Cusop Church next month, talking about the history of the church.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Speaker's Corner

I was chatting to Iain Finlayson, of the Keep Magazine, a few days ago, and he told me that one of the things he wanted to do over the 40th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations was to set up a Speaker's Corner.
The last time this was tried was shortly after the Republican Uprising (when we cut off King Richard's head) and Tim the Gardener was a stalwart speaker. Eventually the bad weather and lack of audience because of the bad weather put even Tim off, and the soap box was abandoned.
But the weekend of the Independence celebrations might be a good time to bring it back. It would be open to anyone who wants to have a rant, or has a pet topic they want to bring to public attention.
Iain can be reached at iaintfinlayson@gmail.com or 07969 537798 for further details.