Friday, 29 May 2015

Thursday Evening

I was working late yesterday, so when I came out of the shop I had the choice of poetry with Julian Pettifer (with music from Alan Cooper and someone else) at the church, or a bluegrass band at the Old Electric Shop.
The Old Electric Shop was on my way home, so I stopped to listen to them for a bit. The windows were open, and the band were in the front part of the shop, where the cafe tables are, complete with double bass.
I've heard a report from someone who was at the Globe that the DJ for the disco was very good - and he "danced like no-one was looking".
And overnight, the rain came, though it's pretty much cleared up this morning.

And there's a strange tricycle with a curved, metallic cabinet on the back, parked outside Anima Rising, the pop-up shop on Broad Street. I couldn't get a photo of it because it's impossible to get an angle where I can see all of it at once - it's parked very close to the bushes of the garden next door - and I have no idea what the cabinet is for.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Music at Baskerville Hall

British lions on a stall in the market this morning.

Last night, we arrived at Baskerville Hall in daylight for a change, and so we noticed the stump of the great cedar in the garden, which collapsed a few years ago, has been carved beautifully, with a howling wolf made from one limb, and an eagle in flight on another.
Inside, Moriarty's Bar was full, and everyone was having fun. We met the chap who owns the Sitting Room Gallery near the Clock Tower. He'd been in the bar a few days before, and Cally behind the bar told him he should come on a Wednesday evening. He was delighted - he said he'd never seen an evening like it. I think he's going to come again.
The Canadian lady came again, with her friend, and showed her sketch book round to the people she was drawing last week. She's added water colour to the pictures, too, and she was doing more sketching over the evening.
There was a couple from Warrington there, too, who came last year - they've been staying at the Baskerville over the Festival for the past seven years. The lady sings with a jazz choir, but said she didn't sing solo. She remembered Paul and his giant bass guitar, which he made himself, from last year.
Bob brought his home made banjo in for everyone to admire, this time, and there was another banjo player, who Bob introduced as the fastest player in the universe!
As it was the Festival, I did Joyce Grenfell's The Writer of Children's Books, which seemed to go down well, and I sang until my voice cracked! I needed to belt out the songs a bit, because of the noise in the bar, but it was nice that everyone quietened down for me.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Festival Wednesday

The good weather seems to be coming to an end this evening, with blustery winds and spitting rain, but we've done quite well so far.
It's a pity that the funfair across the river hasn't been very busy - maybe it's because it costs £8 just to get on the field!
I overheard a little girl, looking at a display of Alice in Wonderland books, and asking if Lewis Carroll was giving a talk at the Festival!
(I don't think he would have been very keen to give a talk - apparently his sermons were not very good, and eventually he stopped being asked to give them).
And a chap who got lost in the Cinema Bookshop claimed to have found a lost tribe of pygmies with their shaman in the uncharted areas at the back of the shop.

Emma Balch is doing a thing on Twitter and Facebook called #thestoryofbooks, with 16 questions, such as "Where would you set the opening scene of your biography?", which book you'd take to a desert island, which book you'd like to sleep in or take a holiday in.
I don't know what she's going to do with the answers, but Narnia seems to be a popular holiday destination, and I'd like to sleep in Milly Molly Mandy's attic bedroom!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


I went straight from work last night to St Mary's, and slipped in at the back just after they had started the musical evening. There was a lady with a cello, who will be playing Bach and Taverner later in the week, a lady singing with guitar, and Justin, also singing and guitar.
And it was absolutely lovely. The church was lit in the nave, but the choir was dark behind the performers with only a couple of candles on the altar, and the faint smell of incense in the air, and the sound of the guitars and cello were just the thing to wind down to at the end of a long day. It was beautiful. They sang a variety of songs, traditional folk and several of Justin's which I've heard him perform over at the Baskerville, finishing off with one in Welsh. At one point, they asked how long they had left, and a voice from the back (one of the organisers) said: "Carry on!"
Apparently, the organisers were let down by the performer who was originally meant to be there, so this was a last minute replacement, and they were brilliant.
There will be music in the evenings at the church all week, as well as the BBC lunchtime concerts, and of course Father Richard will be playing the organ to accompany Nosferatu and A Cottage on Dartmoor at the end of the week.

Back on the streets this afternoon, though, was one busker who would have been perfect casting for Cacafonix, the tone deaf bard from the Asterix books! I was quite relieved when he decided to move on.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Festival Monday

I've been wandering round the town, soaking up the ambience, listening to the musicians - a very good Spanish guitar player outside Spar, for instance, and a jazz band in Fair on the Square.
In the Buttermarket the CD and record sale is on today.
Both my neighbours are outside with clothes rails and tables, having fun and making some money, even though it's a lot cooler than Saturday was.
And today I've discovered The Secret Garden Tea Room, serving Painscastle Preserves round the back of Paraphernalia on Market Street, next to the Antique Centre.
Soon I go back to the Cinema for the late shift, until 9pm - and then I'll decide whether I've still got enough energy to go round to St Mary's for the Nocturne, which tonight is a folk evening. One of the performers is Justin, who goes to the Wednesday Acoustic nights at the Baskerville.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Seen Around the Festival

Brian has been making his bookshop beautiful for the festival, with new signs, a table and chairs outside, plants, and model Staffies here and there (after all, the shop is named after his favourite Staffie!). It's down near the Clock Tower, behind Rose's Bookshop.

Yesterday there were crafts in the Buttermarket, including one chap I hadn't seen before. His stall is called Iconic Delights, and he makes replica icons with modern pictures - he'll also do photos, made to look like antique paintings. Very popular with re-enactors, he said. He'd come down from Ludlow for the day.
The Fair on the Square had music going on, and stalls selling a variety of vintage items - one stall had a lot of leather footballs and boxing gloves!
The Africa Market was on today, at the Parish Hall.
Meanwhile there are rumours of a cocktail bar, hidden within one of the bookshops, down the Book Passage, perhaps?
Hay on TV are having a competition - to win an iPhone6! They want people to record their best Hay moments, during the Festival, reviews and comments on events, bars and restaurants, and are asking participants to upload their video onto Youtube and forward the url to
There have been buskers all over town, including Toby Parker, who went off to Liverpool to make his fortune! This evening there's a fiddle player, a banjo player and a guitarist outside the pop up shop in the middle of Broad Street - the shop is also having meditations throughout the week, and is selling dreamcatchers and art and vintage clothes (there are so many places in Hay to buy vintage clothes now that I never need to buy a new dress again!).
Yesterday I spent a bit of time sitting outside with my neighbour, who usually does a table sale for the Festival. I think she did quite well - she has a good eye for interesting clothes and pretty things. One couple of regular visitors who stopped for a chat were disappointed, because they'd intended to go down to the Globe, as they have on previous years, to have a drink and soak up the atmosphere, only to find that this year you need to buy a wristband to get in. So they'd come away again.
They weren't very impressed with the chippy in Talgarth that they stopped at on the way back from Llanidloes, either. They said the batter was soggy.
And last night, there was a jazz quartet on the pavement just opposite my house! Which was quite nice, actually, even though I'm not a great fan of jazz.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Small Business Saturday

Number Two Style, companion shop to the clothes shop further along the road - they sell clothes, too, but also shoes, and in the basement there are garden and home accessories, and all sorts of interesting gift-y items.
This shop used to be Grants' newsagents - he sold all sorts of other things as well, and at one time even had a china department. He also had a stuffed armadillo in the window, with a sign that claimed it had been caught in the River Wye!