Friday, 27 November 2020

Winter Festival Weekend

 It's all virtual this year - no crowds in the square for the Turning on of the Lights, no marquee for the talks.  Hay is quiet.

But online, there's a lot going on.  The link is at

Events are being streamed live, and they're free.  Benjamin Zephaniah is one of the speakers tomorrow, and Elton John, Dawn French and Gary Numan are part of the Sunday line-up.  

The site also has a list of local Hay businesses to support, and also Welsh language workshops.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

 I've been admiring the nature photography of Stewart Roberts on the Hay Facebook pages throughout the year.

Recently, he created a calendar which he advertised on Facebook and I was thinking about buying one.

Today, I found I didn't need to get in touch with him directly, because he has donated 25 of his calendars to the Red Cross Shop, where they are on sale at £7.00 each, with the proceeds going to the Red Cross.

The pictures are absolutely gorgeous.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Mad Hatters Christmas Craft Markets

 I'd forgotten the Mad Hatters Craft Markets until I saw a lady in an elaborate felt hat near Golesworthy's, so we went up to the Buttermarket to have a look.

The standards really are very high - we stopped to chat to the lady who hand sews teddy bears from the most gorgeous fabrics, some of which come from the Abergavenny studio of Charles and Patricia Lester (some of their clothes appear in Liberty's of London, and they also provide costumes for film and theatre).

They have a website at

We were very taken by the foil artwork of Riddle and Ravens - they have bookmark designs based on Harry Potter, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Greek Mythology and more, as well as larger pieces.  If customers sign up to their newsletter, they also get a 10% discount from their first online order and access to The Raven Club, an online bookish community in the style of a 1920s speakeasy!

They can be found at

Some wooden goblets caught my Young Man's eye on the NS Woodturnings stall - he bought a tall tumbler style drinking cup in ash, and a smaller one in oak.  All the wood is fallen branches or pieces from the firewood pile, turned into something beautiful.  They have a Facebook page.

Most of the crafters who appear at the Buttermarket also sell their wares through the Mad Hatters Christmas Craft Market Online on Facebook, and can be found through

They have craft markets planned for 28th November, and every Sunday in December - 6th, 13th and 20th.

Thursday, 19 November 2020



Over the summer, some of the roads in the middle of Hay were blocked off by barriers for some of the time to help with social distancing.

Now it seems that the scheme is becoming more permanent, as planters have appeared all around town in the places where the barriers used to be.

Today I went up to the market, and the junk/antique stall near the Clock Tower had utilised the nearest planter to display his garden tools.

We just got to the square at the right time to hear the Town Cryer celebrating the birthday of John Evans from the window of the flat over the Cheese Market - John has been involved in the Chamber of Commerce, and the Market, for many years.  Happy Birthday was sung for him in Welsh - penblwydd hapus.

In the Buttermarket this week there was a table selling second hand clothes in aid of the Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees group, which seemed to be quite popular.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Crowley and Aziraphale cosplay

 Since we couldn't wear our costumes at a Con this year, we had a little photo shoot in the back garden.  This is the Angel Aziraphale and the Demon Crowley from Good Omens, with the Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter:

Saturday, 14 November 2020


 I was lured through the door of Dugan's Patisserie this morning by the promise of 3 savoury pastries for £10.  At the moment they're set up in the little shop that used to be The Thoughtful Gardener on Backfold.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Changes at Nevill Hall Hospital

 I've been waiting for the booklet to appear, about the changes to the regional health service, and today I picked one up outside the Chemist's.  It's very clearly laid out, but the news is disappointing as Nevill Hall is being downgraded and people will have to travel further for the services they will no longer be providing.

The changes come in on November 17th, earlier than expected because Grange University Hospital near Cwmbran has opened four months early to help cope with the expected increase in Covid-19 cases over the winter.

The services which will still be available at Nevill Hall are:

The Minor Injuries Unit

Day surgery, where the patient is discharged on the same day as the operation.

Outpatient clinics

Diagnostic services - X-rays, CT scans, MRI and so on.

The Medical Assessment Unit, Enhanced Frailty Unit, and 213 inpatient beds.

Midwife-led maternity services.

Services which will no longer be available from Nevill Hall are:

Consultant-led Accident and Emergency Services (the nearest A&E for most people in the area will be Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, or County Hospital Hereford).

Children's inpatient services (again, probably Prince Charles Hospital)

Consultant-led births and Special Care Baby Unit (now at The Grange near Cwmbran)

Inpatient surgery requiring overnight stay.

For people in Hay, this probably means a greater reliance on County Hospital Hereford.

There is also a Minor Injuries Unit in Brecon and Llandrindod Wells.  At the moment, the Minor Injuries Units are Appointment only - you can't just turn up.  This is because of Covid-19 precautions.

There's also information available now for getting to and from hospitals on public transport, which would have been a great help to me several years ago when I was rushed to Nevill Hall with food poisoning and the staff there were somewhat at a loss to advise me how to get home (one of them suggested I go home via Monmouth - which would not have helped.)  The website is