Thursday, 18 October 2018

Music and Dancing at the Baskie

What a brilliant night!
Thomasin (with trumpet and also playing flute and Irish whistle and singing) came along with the Speedgums (double bass, banjo, ukulele and kazoo), and there was lots of collaboration, people getting up to dance, a massed kazoo chorus, Tom with his piano accordion getting everyone to join in, plus guitars, an autoharp, castanets, a clarinet-type instrument, spoons, melodion, a fiddle and harmonicas. The official session stopped at about 11pm, but the players just carried on!
(photo taken by Bob Evans, and shared on Facebook)

Monday, 15 October 2018

In Remembrance

Here's the new poppy by the war memorial.

To take this picture, I hopped across the trench that's being dug right round the Castle for their new utility cables. So far, it's gone all along the back lane, along the edge of the Square, and now it's heading up Castle Street to go into the Honesty Garden next to the door in the wall. I've been peering into the trench to see if there's anything of archaeological interest, but I haven't seen anything yet.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Wet and Windy

I feel sorry for the organisers of the Walking Festival this weekend. It was quite enough for me to go along the Riverside path a little way to take these pictures.
Here's the canoe landing stage, with the water coming right over into the car park.
And here's the view under Hay Bridge:

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Survey of Library Users

Tucked away on page 7 of the Brecon & Radnor Express this week is a small article about a survey of library users across Powys. The survey can be done online at and on paper forms available at the libraries.
There are questions about online library services, and also the various benefits using the library service provides. The survey is only for this week, October 8th to 13th, so there's still time to take part. Users of the mobile library services will be surveyed over the rest of the month.
A library survey was last carried out by Powys County Council in 2015, when over 1,100 Powys residents took part.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Singing Together About a Cowboy

Huw Parsons invited me to do some more singing for his podcast - check out for the finished result.
He took me over to Clyro Church, which has lovely acoustics, and I brought out the booklet the Wild West. I've sung one or two songs from it at the Baskie on Wednesday nights, and Huw particularly liked The Lone Cowboy, which I don't suppose has been sung many times since it was used on the BBC radio schools programme Singing Together in 1971. All the songs in the booklet were specially written for the BBC by Paul Townsend, with the music written by Michael Rose.
We sang one or two other songs while we were there, which was a lot of fun, but this is the one he chose for his podcast.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Hay Walking Festival

The Festival is back, from Friday 12th October to Sunday 14th October, with a variety of walks, including walks with pack ponies! They have a website at where people can book in advance, and last minute tickets as well as information and advice will be available at the Tourist Information Office.
On Friday evening, at 7.30pm at the Swan, is a free event with three speakers talking about the journeys they've taken. Barry Pilton will be talking about walking the Pennine Way (he wrote the book One Man and His Bog about it in 1986); Pete Ward will be talking about cycling the Camino de Santiago, the famous pilgrimage route in Spain, and local dairy farmer Paul Richards took part in the Mongol Derby, racing on horseback across the Mongolian desert! I'm looking forward to going to that, though I don't think I'll manage to get to any of the walks.
Which is a pity.
Catherine Kramer is leading an eleven mile walk to Craswall Priory - I've done that once, and I was nearly weeping with exhaustion on the way back, and that was twenty years ago when I was a lot fitter! They're not all that strenuous, though!
Another walk goes to Mouse Castle Wood, which is a magical place, and others cover the landscape of On the Black Hill and the countryside around Snodhill Castle. Around Talgarth, walk leader Rob Yorke will be talking about the changing countryside, including farming practices, wildlife conservation, rewilding, public access, new crops like the daffodils that are grown locally for a cancer treatment, and food production for supermarkets.
There's a look at the industrial past of Cusop Dingle, and a visit to Talgarth's Witches Pool, and a hike out to Peterchurch with time for a drink at the Nag's Head before catching the Hay Ho bus back to Hay on the Sunday.
Kilvert is not neglected - there's a walk starting from Bredwardine Church, and local author Jasper Fforde will be leading a walk taking in the memorial of a local woman who died in a snowstorm in 1925 and Twm Tobacco's Grave.
In Hay itself, there's a bookshop tour and the Timbuktu Trail, celebrating the similarities and differences between Hay and twin town Timbuktu in Mali.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Lots of Exhibitions at the Globe!

Well, I went to the Globe last night to see Thomasin's art and ceramics, and the photos from the WyeLocal calendar - but that wasn't all that was on display.
Downstairs in the café Cliff Hatton was exhibiting his cartoons, some on fishing, some topical, and some about Hay. He was having a bit of trouble with the display, having mistakenly thought that sticky fixers would be enough to keep his pictures on the wall - one or two had already come crashing down!
Also downstairs were some of Thomasin's ceramics, including a life sized bust, arranged around the edges of the room, which was set out for a private function later that evening. As I lingered to look at her oil paintings at the top of the stairs, she passed me cradling a small gondola she had made, with tourist couple seated amidships, taking photos with a little camera - the detail was impressive.
Around the main hall were more of Thomasin's paintings. Most were of landscapes, but I rather liked a still life with guitar, entitled Reasons to be Cheerful. I also treated myself to a CD of Thomasin's music. I haven't listened to it yet, but I have heard her perform some of her songs at the Baskie at the regular music sessions there. Her friends the Speedgums are thanked on the sleevenotes, (double bass and ukulele players) so I assume they're featured on the CD. I've got quite a collection now of CDs by musicians I know.
Up on the gallery was the WyeLocal exhibition, a thank you from the magazine to the photographers who had often been contributing to the competition for the calendar for several years. As well as the 12 pictures from the calendar other work by the photographers is on display, and some are for sale. I chatted to one lady (Claire Young?) who visits the area from her home in South Gloucestershire regularly because her family originally came from Carmarthenshire. She had a long drive home, but she said she really liked what she had seen of Hay, and wanted to come back.