Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Lost Little Wheelie Bin

Last week I came home to find a wheelie bin on my doorstep. It wasn't even bin day. It's not a brand new bin, but there is no mark on it to show where it's come from, and I have no idea who left it there. None of the houses down this end of Broad Street use wheelie bins - we have the blue and red and "aqua" tubs and purple rubbish bags instead.
My neighbour has put a little note on it to ask whoever left it here to remove it.
So if anyone's lost a wheelie bin....

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Drama in the Car Park

Best wishes to Tim the Gardener for a speedy recovery after he collapsed in the car park this morning! Mac Eager was on the scene and provided essential first aid, and probably saved Tim's life!
The hospital will only give out information about a patient to family members, so there's no further news of how Tim is at the moment. I don't think he has any family locally.

Update, Wednesday 28th: I've just seen Brian with the Staffy, and he tells me that Tim has been moved to Cardiff for a stent, and that several people have already visited him, including Athene English and the lady from Tinto House (where he does some of his gardening and has his book shelves).

Monday, 26 September 2016

Normal Service....

....is now being resumed!

This morning I caught the early bus into Hereford with my mum and left her at the train station, on the first leg of her journey back to Cyprus. This time she's got tickets to Birmingham International station, rather than getting off the train at Birmingham New Street and getting a taxi to the airport! This morning we were crossing our fingers that Monarch Airlines would have at least one more day's trading so they could get home!

Even though mum was here for two weeks, we didn't get to sample all the eateries in Hay, although she and Kevin went into Eve's so often they gave her a loyalty card! Kevin liked the espresso, and mum liked the blueberry muffins.

We treated ourselves to a meal in Red Indigo twice, though perhaps the first Saturday evening after they re-opened was not the best time to go! They were very busy indeed - the staff must have been exhausted by the end of the night - and they were doing take aways as well. Mum really wanted an onion bhaji - not easy to find in Cyprus - and she wasn't disappointed. The rogan josh was also very nice. Eklim, the manager, saw us as we went out, and said that he would be able to give the "lovely lady" his undivided attention next time we visited - and gave us each a miniature bottle of Prosecco because of the long wait we'd had. Neither of us minded - it was nice to see the support for Red Indigo after the unfortunate incident where their window was broken.
The following Friday was not so busy, and this time we had onion bhaji and chicken boona, also very tasty.

We ate in the Blue Boar twice, as well (lovely chili). Kevin had been waiting to taste English beer again, and he really liked the Timothy Taylor Landlord there. He complains that it's all fizzy lager in Cyprus.

We also went off to Hereford for a day, shopping for things that mum can't get in Cyprus (including a pressure cooker!), and spent another day in Brecon, where I treated them to lunch at the Brecon Tap (lovely steak pie, with black pudding mashed potatoes) and topped up my supply of bottled beers, including the Discworld range. This time, I took my own beer carrier.

On the last night, I took mum down to the Three Tuns, where we had enormous pizzas!

I have to give a huge thank you to Mrs Gwynne of Belmont House. She put mum and Kevin in the cottage to the side of the house, which was originally the stables, but has been converted into bedrooms with a kitchen and lounge downstairs, and a conservatory at the back overlooking the garden.
There weren't many other guests staying there, and the ones that did were only there for a night or two, so mum and Kevin had free use of the kitchen if they wanted to cook for themselves, and use of the dining table and lounge. Mrs Gwynne even lent them some pans to cook with, and it was much better for me to go up and sit with them in the lounge - my living room is a bit cramped!
There was a TV, too - I don't have a TV, so I discovered the delights of such daytime programmes as Tipping Point, Eggheads, Flog It and a really quite interesting programme about restaurant tricks of the trade (was your cocktail mixed in a factory and delivered in a carton, or was it made by a skilled bar person in front of you?).
Mrs Gwynne also lent them a CD player so Kevin could play the CDs he got from Haystacks in Backfold - lots of Sounds of the Sixties.
Belmont House is currently up for sale - Mrs Gwynne has been running the B&B for forty years (most of that with her husband who died not long ago) and she thinks she's done it long enough!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Pottering around the Cafes

My mum and her partner are visiting - and they are not in the first flush of youth, so we are taking things really easily, with lots of stops at cafes. This means that I've been into some of the cafes in Hay that I haven't set foot in for years!
Kevin is very impressed with the espresso coffee at Isis, which they did at double strength for him.
At the Secret Garden mum and I had a pot of tea and toasted teacakes, which they can't get in Cyprus. Kevin had strong coffee again, with a glass of water, as it's often served in Cyprus - and then asked for ice cubes to go in the water, which they brought for him in a little dish.
This morning we were in Oscars for more coffee (the mocha was very nice).
And last night, we went to the chip shop for three fish and one large portion of chips - which was quite enough between three of us! And they really enjoyed the mushy peas - something else that they can't get in Cyprus.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Good News!

Firstly, the Hay Ho Sunday bus has been confirmed for another year between Hay and Hereford.
Secondly, Red Indigo has re-opened for business after criminal damage meant that their bow window had to be replaced - by a flat window, sadly, as the original bow was probably made to fit that unique window.
and thirdly, two and a half cheers for Powys County Council, who have rejected plans to close Gwernyfed and Brecon High schools. There's still another step to go through when the cabinet make the final decision on Tuesday September 27th.
What the cabinet is now being asked to do is to submit a revised Outline Business Case to the Welsh government's 21st century schools programme for capital investment in both campuses, including a new build school in Brecon and improvements to Gwernyfed campus.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Traditions, Myths and Legends at Theatr Brycheiniog

I went over to Brecon with Jane, for the second time in a day, to Theatr Brycheiniog. The hall at the side of the theatre was hosting a free talk and exhibition to start Brecknock History Week.
The place was packed out!
Around the sides were the displays, which we had time to look at before the talks, in the interval, and for a short time before everyone had to pack up and leave.
Just by the door were Alan Nichols and Mari Fforde, with a display about Hay Castle and Alan's new book Lords of Hay. I had to get a copy - he's done such a lot of work with the original documents to piece it all together.
The Regimental Museum had a stand, and there was another about World War One Battlefields, and one about Welsh soldiers of the First World War - they are collecting stories about Welsh soldiers who were involved.
Robert Macdonald was showing some of his paintings depicting Welsh legends - one of them is on the front of the History Week brochure, showing the legend of the birds of Llangorse Lake crying out for a true King.
Brecknock Museum had leaflets about volunteering - the work on the building is going ahead now, as the Curator said later in his talk.
There was a model of a graveyard, with all the different types of graves in the 19th century, made by the pupils of Llyswen School, including the lovely local tradition of lining a grave with moss and flowers for people who had been well-loved.
There were others, too, for Llanwrtyd Wells and there was a map of the Llangorse Lake area.

John Gibbs, of the Brecknock History Forum, introduced the speakers, who had all been given six minutes to tell their story or legend.
In the first half, we got the story of St Eluned, Daughter of Brychan, where Mike Williams contrasted St Winefred's Well in Holywell, North Wales (a magnificent building and tourist destination) with the field and patch of nettles that marks St Eluned's well.
Richard Davies, of the Regimental Museum, dispelled a few myths about Rorke's Drift, as seen in the film Zulu (144 mistakes and inaccuracies in a film that was only 90 minutes long!). He encouraged people to come to the museum to see the new display about one of the soldiers at Rorke's Drift, who had been portrayed in the film as a drunken Cockney but was in fact a teetotaller from Gloucestershire!
Alison Noble was trying as hard as she could to dissuade people from visiting Cwm Llwch! It's a bottomless lake near Pen y Fan, and there are many ways of ending up "dead within the week" depending on what you do there!
Finally, Nigel Blackamore, the curator of Brecknock Museum, told the sad story of Tommy Jones, aged five when he disappeared on the Brecon Beacons in 1900, and the couple who found his body just over a month later - legend has it that a dream led the lady to the exact spot.

After the break - refreshments, wine and soft drinks were available at the back of the hall for a donation - we got the story of Boughrood Dead House, the church that was built on a very early roundabout (and rebuilt by the de Winton family as a memorial to the de Winton vicar there, when his son became vicar in his place). After the cholera epidemic of 1848, dead houses were built to keep the corpses of the deceased until burial, rather than leave them in the family home, and the people of Boughrood are trying to renovate their Dead House and turn it into a small museum. Elizabeth Bingham also warned against looking up the term "bier house" on Google if you wanted to find a place where biers (used for moving coffins) were stored - she had found a great many German lager selling establishments!
Continuing the renovation theme, Mari Fforde spoke about Matilda de Braose and her association with Hay Castle - and her terrible death. Such was the outrage when she and her son were starved to death by King John, that it was one of the contributing factors towards the writing of Magna Carta.
Felicity Kilpatrick from Christ College talked about a legendary master at the school, around the First World War and later, and followed it up with the Legend of Bishop Lucy, whose handless ghost walks the chapel (allegedly)!
Finally, Hugh Thomas told us a spine chilling story, written down in the late 19th century, of the Llangynidr ghost.

It was a very entertaining evening, and I learned a lot about different projects happening throughout the county.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Going to the Vet at Kington

We were on the way back to Hay after climbing Brecon Cathedral tower (and here's a picture of the very top turret):


Before we climbed the tower, we had walked down into the woods surrounding the cathedral so that Denzel the Staffie could stretch his legs before he was shut in the car. Somewhere down there, he had got something in his eye, and Brian thought it best to phone the vet in Kington and take him over there to have it seen to.
A lot of people in Hay use the Kington vets. I'd never been before - I used to go to the Hay vets in Lamb House, before they moved to their new, purpose-built surgery on Forest Road, and I always found them helpful and friendly.
On the way, we passed the doctor's surgery - apparently they are finding it very difficult to attract new doctors to work there, even though Kington is a very nice place to live. This isn't just a problem in Kington - there's a more general shortage of GPs across the country.
The vets surgery is down a little lane just off one of the roundabouts on the edge of Kington - I don't know the names of the roads, but the nearest pub on the way into Kington from that roundabout is the Olde Tavern. We were going to the outside of the ring road.
Denzel, by this time, had managed to get the thing out of his eye - it was a piece of leaf that had been smeared across his eyeball. But Brian had been meaning to take him for some routine check ups anyway.
While they were in the consultation room, we started to notice how the building had been converted from something else. There was a broad stripe across the tiled floor, and near the end of the stripe was a brass fitting in the floor. Jane suggested that it had been the place where a sliding door/wall had been secured, so we went looking behind the reception desk for the other end of it - as you go in, there's a reception area with a little shop for dog leads and toys and chews and so on. One of the staff said that the building used to be a trouser factory. All the staff there seemed to be young women with their hair scraped up into a bun, and they were all very friendly and cheerful, even when we were asking them to move boxes so we could see if there was another brass fitting on the floor!
So, Denzel was fine, and we went back to Hay "the pretty way" - by the back roads, which made me laugh, because the main road is very pretty as well!