Thursday, 31 May 2007

Not a happy knitter!

I met a lady today who was looking for knitting needles and yarn to replace the ones she had lost.
She was knitting at the breakfast table at her hotel, and had her knitting supplies in a plastic bag - which she forgot to take with her when she left the dining room. By the time she'd remembered and gone back for it, the staff had thrown it away, and all her knitting with it!
For that, and other, reasons, she won't be staying at that hotel again.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Travellers moving on

At the end of last week, I was walking with Islay across the car park when I noticed two Council lorries parked at the entrance, almost blocking it. I didn't think anything of it at the time. Now I find, from the Brecon and Radnor, that they were actually there in case travellers who were moving on from Talgarth car park came this way and tried to set up in Hay.
There's been a bit of trouble about the travellers in Talgarth. One B&B owner refused to pay his Council Tax because he said he was losing business - prospective holidaymakers were taking one look at the travellers' camp and deciding to stay elsewhere. Now the travellers have gone elsewhere.
It may be that the Council needs to think about providing a permanent site in the area for travellers - which is a decision always fraught with difficulty because no-one wants it to be near them. When I lived in North Wales, the Council there argued for years about a site for a travellers' camp - one of the last places they looked at was a disused quarry in the middle of nowhere, and one of the councillors even protested about that. "They can't stay there," the rumours had him saying. "There's no proper water supply - and besides, it's haunted!"

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Trip to Hereford

I had to go into Hereford this morning, and I knew that the Hay Post Office would be closed when I got back to Hay (it always shuts on Tuesday afternoons) so I thought I'd take a letter in to Hereford to post.
When I got to the Post Office, the queue was up to the door, so I thought I'd come back.
When I next looked in, the queue was a little shorter, but it still looked as if I'd have to wait about half an hour for one stamp, so I didn't bother.
I went into the Barnardo's charity shop across the way instead. "Is the Post Office always that busy?" I asked.
"Oh, yes - they start queuing up before it opens most mornings, and on Thursday mornings the queue goes right back to the Heart Foundation shop!"
If the Post Office is that busy now - what will it be like when rural post offices close and the people who would have done their business there come into town instead?

On the way back to the bus station, I stopped in at Dunelm's for the last time. The shop closes on Saturday and they're re-locating to Gloucester. "That's no good to me," I said to one of the assistants.
"Do you go into Gloucester often?" she asked.
"Never! It's too far by bus," I said.
"But there's a bus stop just near the new shop. It's really quite convenient."
"But it takes me an hour to get from Hay to Hereford - it would take hours to get to Gloucester by bus!"
There is a Dunelms in the out of town shopping centre, but that's no good to me either, being too far to walk from the centre of town.
Which leaves the little patchwork shop off Capuchin Alley where you can buy fabric by the yard and the shop behind the Green Dragon, which is quite expensive.

Monday, 28 May 2007

The Festival Buzz

It's taken a few days to work up to it, but there's definitely that Festival buzz around town now. There are crowds everywhere - the Festival site is packed out; people walking up and down Brecon Road in a solid line, and crowds spilling out into the roads all over Hay.
It's also stopped raining.
Practicalities first - I needed to go to the launderette, and I found the electricians in there when I arrived, wiring in a new big washing machine in the gap where the non-working machine used to be. So now there are 4 normal sized machines, and 2 big ones that take duvets (but not horse blankets - only in Hay would you need to put that notice up!)
On the way home, I ran into Jean Miller. She was just about to throw away some French sticks and chicken pate, and asked me if I'd like them, so they wouldn't go to waste. It's rather more expensive chicken pate than I would normally buy, too.
I was just in time to go to a creative writing workshop at the Library, part of the Fringe events, and I came out bouncing. I learned a lot, and the other people there liked what I wrote - which was a great relief, because when I arrived I wanted to crawl under the table. The others were so much more high powered than me! One of them teaches scriptwriting - and what we were doing was writing a dramatic monologue, so he had a bit of a headstart over me.
Jane rang me up last night to tell me about the workshop. She'd just been to the performance of a dramatic monologue that the teachers had done last night - she wrote it and he performed it, and it was very interesting to have an actor's point of view on the work.
When I saw Jane this morning, she was just about to dash off to grab a bite to eat and then change into her Morris Dancing costume to perform up at the Castle with Foxwhelp Morris (named after a cider apple).
In the afternoon, I was at the Chamber of Commerce stand again. We ran through a box full of the Festival booklets in about an hour, and then had none left apart from the stall copy - which they would have to prise from my cold, dead fingers! Fortunately, some more arrived from the Tourist Information office later, but there aren't many left. I got very used to saying "I'm sorry, I'm not the Festival; I'm the Town - I don't know how long the performance will last, or anything about the Green Room... but the toilets are that way, and the Barclay Wealth Pavilion is that way.... Buses to Hereford? (Hollow laughter) It's Bank Holiday, so there is one bus into Hereford now, and it goes at ten past six. No, the shuttle bus is just to go around Hay - it doesn't go all the way to Hereford. No, no extra buses have been put on for the Festival - they don't care about how green the Festival is trying to be."
It is trying to be Green, too. There's a very good display of the lower carbon home, showing all the ways a normal house can save energy and water and so on, and Solar Aid is there, with solar panels for third world countries, and the rubbish bins are all labelled for different sorts of waste - plastic, paper, tins....
I came back from the Festival site, past gardens full of bric a brac (and some fine bronze statues in one garden) and fruit stalls squashed into odd corners, and houses selling cakes and tea, or having an art exhibition (Betty opposite the Cinema is part of the local art group, and some of them are rather good) and Tom's Record Shop belting out music while a sign pointed the way to his juice bar 'Squeeze Me'. My next point of call was Di Blunt's house, so I could take her dog Molly out with Islay. Di was last seen in the Festival bookshop looking a bit fraught while a queue for a signing session stretched out of the door.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Festival news

It's been raining solidly all day. There have been more people wandering around town and going in the shops, but quite a few of them were looking for warm/dry clothes and umbrellas!
There were no street perfomers, for obvious reasons, and one chap who went up to the Castle to listen to the Primrose singers at 12 noon found that they had whizzed through their performance and finished by the time he arrived at 8 minutes past!
I think the Native American dancing that starts the day up at the Castle must be a rain dance!

Friends Rally Round

I've been telling people I know around Hay about the Yeoman's Canyon letter I got yesterday, about dogs on the buses.
The lady at Fleur de Lys immediately offered to run me into Hereford on Sunday evening, if she was working that day.
Belle's people, the couple who wanted to take their dog on the bus, asked me for the address of Yeoman's Canyon so they can write and complain, on the grounds that they're taking a public subsidy from the Council and should therefore cater for all the public. They also offered to look after Islay for me if I can't take her next week after all.
This is the great thing about Hay - everyone supports each other. It's true that everyone also knows everyone else's business, but on the whole it's a good thing.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Dogs on buses 2

I've just had the official letter from Yeoman's Canyon Travel, about their policy on dogs on buses, and I'm not a happy bunny. This is going to make my life rather more difficult when I'm travelling at weekends.

The letter goes as follows:

"Thank you for your letter dated 18th May 2007. I am sorry but due to incidents that have occurred on our vehicles with dogs we have had to refuse to carry them. I do understand that there are dogs that are no trouble at all but we have had to say that we cannot carry any at all other than guide dogs.
I am sorry if this has inconvenienced you. We will be informing the Herefordshire Council of our decision so that it can be entered in the new timetable instructions for September 2007.
Assuring you of my attention."

So it seems from the second paragraph that this is a new decision, and it has not been their policy previously, as I was told on the phone. It also seems that they haven't told Herefordshire Council yet that it is their policy.

But there we have it. Stagecoach will carry dogs, and charge 40p for a dog ticket. Yeoman's Canyon, the Sunday service, will not carry dogs.

Festival News

This is how visitors normally see Hay - the Honesty Gardens, and the Castle lawn, are covered with tents, including a tipi and a Vietnamese cafe. There's a performance poet opposite the chemists, a rather good busker with a guitar - and a shuttle bus to the Festival site.
I saw a couple of local ladies up at the Festival site yesterday, and both of them were concerned that people would stay up at the site, and not come into town as much as they used to in previous years. There are cafes on site, and exhibitions, as well as the talks and performances; the only thing that you would need to go into town for is a cash point.
And now we're getting traditional Festival weather, too - it's raining and getting colder. They have covered walkways now, between the marquees, but the car parks are just fields. Sensible footwear is recommended.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Brecon Roadworks

I was in Brecon yesterday, and noticed that a few shops had got signs up saying things like "Hug a road worker today - they live here now" and "Fed up with the roadworks in Brecon? Call Richard Hobbs on (number) and ask him when it's going to be finished. It's his baby and he'd love to hear from you."
There have been roadworks, on and off, in the centre of Brecon for what seems like years, and the local businesses have complained several times about the loss of trade. This seems to me to be quite a clever way of protesting without being too confrontational.
I see in the Brecon and Radnor Express that the posters were sent to the shops anonymously, but they've obviously struck a nerve.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Festival odds and ends

Jean Miller got onto the front page of the Brecon and Radnor Express today. She's having an exhibition of her paintings over the Festival, in her home on Lion Street, again. She started painting when she retired, and I think she had her first exhibition in Derek Addyman's shop - it's certainly the first time I remember seeing her vividly coloured still lives. Since then, she's held her own exhibitions and seems to have done very well.

The signs have gone up pointing to Tangerine Fields. They did this last year, taking over a local farmer's field and erecting tepees to rent over the Festival, as well as having room for more ordinary tents. It looks quite bizarre, as you go up the quiet country lane that is Nantyglasdwr, and come upon a Plains Indian encampment.

Meanwhile, the workmen finished mending the wall at the top of Backfold today - which now looks a lot smarter than it did. And a lot safer.

There was a lot of sympathy in Backfold this morning for the owners of The Old Curiosity Shoppe, the antique shop in an outbuilding of the castle. They were broken into last night and, after disabling the CCTV camera, the thieves apparently helped themselves to a select list of items from the shop, as if they'd previously been window shopping.

Golesworthy funeral

Golesworthy's and the Granary were closed today for a family funeral. Roger Golesworthy and his wife Anna died within a few days of each other, (both were quite elderly), and were buried today in a double funeral. One window of Golesworthy's, which sells camping equipment, clothes and shoes, was given over to a vase of lilies and a display of cards the family have recieved.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Lonely Hearts for Jimmy the Curate

The vicar has used the pages of the Parish Magazine to advertise for a lady friend for Jimmy the Curate. Jimmy is a black standard poodle, who often wears a white collar. The vicar is looking for a lady labrador, so they can breed labradoodles!

Monday, 21 May 2007

The Pipeline in Cusop Dingle - and Wood

I was talking to a lady who lives in Cusop Dingle about the pipeline, which is crossing the Dingle and, therefore, the Dulas Brook as well. I asked her how they were going to manage it, and she said they are digging down, and they are going to drill a tunnel thirty feet below the stream.

Last night I went to visit a longbow maker, who lives about a mile above the Rhydspence Inn, on the Clyro side of the river. He has the most marvellous views from his house, across the Wye valley. We went out to the field at the back of his house to try out the bows, and while we were collecting the arrows, he pointed a couple of fields down, to a huge oak tree. "That's the second oldest oak tree in Powys," he said, and went on to say that he had examined the wood of it. It's hollow now, and he could distinguish the tree rings enough to see that the tree had been regularly pollarded for about 400 years. He thinks it's about 800 years old.
Meanwhile, up in Craswell churchyard, a yew tree fell down over the winter. David was told about it just a couple of days before the churchwardens were going to tidy it away - longbows are traditionally made of yew, after all, and it's quite difficult to get. He went up there and chose a number of logs that looked as if they would make good, straight bow staves - and at the same time a woodturner was up there looking for wood to make bowls and so forth. He wanted the more knotty, dense wood, so they were able to agree quite well between them. Now David just has to wait for a couple of years while the wood seasons before he can make any bows out of it.
And I came away with an order for a bow made of lemonwood and bamboo, pulling about 30lbs, which will be delivered in a couple of days.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Wonderwool and the Smallholders Exhibition

My feet ache! The Royal Welsh Showground is huge!

I got a free pass to the Wonderwool exhibition as long as I spent an hour handing out leaflets - which was quite interesting, though I did feel a bit like an evangelical on a street corner handing out tracts saying that 'Jesus is Lord' at times (mostly when people were trying to avoid me).

The Wonderwool area was fantastic. There were spinners and weavers and dyers and feltmakers and knitters and crocheters and rag rug makers, and all sorts of paraphanalia to go with each craft - from knitting needles to peg looms to everything to prepare a fleece, and the ready prepared fleeces.... I treated myself to some pretty drop spindles. There were all sorts of finished garments (and tea cosies) and wall hangings and rugs as well.
And that was just one part of the whole. There were goats - extremely cute goats, with kids - and many breeds of sheep, and cattle, and alpacas and llamas, and angora rabbits. There were hamsters and guinea pigs and rabbits and fancy chickens, and ducks as well. There were even two donkeys from the Elizabeth Svendson Centre - they work with handicapped children.
There were wood turners and basket makers - even a couple of wicker coffins! There was also a stall selling felted shrouds for those who wanted an even more natural option for their funerals.
There was speciality local food and drink, too, but I was running out of steam a bit by the time I found the food hall.
I saw the Tools for Self Reliance people, too - they send packs of hand tools to Tanzania, and help local blacksmiths to make more.

I had a great time, and came back full of enthusiasm.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Statues and puppies

Passing the pottery shop by the Buttermarket, I noticed a sign in the window. Looking closer, it was a press release saying that the windows of the pottery shop and the antique centre were broken on the 13th May, and that one of the statues on display was stolen. The police were making it known in case anyone was offered the statue for sale. It's pretty unusual for this sort of thing to happen in Hay. I hope they get it back.

Meanwhile, something seems to be happening on the site of Underhill's Garage. At least, a permanent fence has been put up in place of the temporary one that's been there up until now. I hope the houses that go up will fit into Hay better than the first plans that were submitted, by a previous owner of the site - they were going to be as tall as Globe Gallery, opposite (which stands on a mound) and had picture windows facing out over the river - which would have given a wonderful view of people's bedrooms from the Offa's Dyke Path opposite. They also had a balcony practically overhanging the cottage below, which the occupant complained about vociferously and successfully (it would have been illegal under planning legislation).

And finally, I was walking along Castle Street this morning when a car drew up beside me and stopped. It was the barman from the Crown. "Look in my boot," he said. So I gave him a bit of a funny look, and I peered into the boot - and down at a gorgeous Border terrier puppy. Brightened up my day no end!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Deadly Weapons?

I went into Oxfam to see if they had any odd balls of wool, and any knitting needles.
They used to keep the knitting needles on the top shelf in a big pot, but there were none there, so I asked.
"Oh, we're not allowed to keep them in the shop now," said the lady behind the counter. "Health and Safety...."
" case a customer runs amok with them and stabs someone?" I guessed.
She nodded - and went to the stock room to see what they had. This was probably more hazardous for her than keeping the needles out on display, as there are stairs, and she was walking with a crutch.
Nothing in the size I wanted, sadly, so I moved on to the Red Cross. They keep their knitting needles under the counter. They had the size I needed, and a good stash of tapestry wool that I can make into little balls for the kids to weave with on Viking days. And five balls of blue mohair. Now I've finished my shawl, with ribbing, and basketweave stitch, and moss stitch, I'm feeling enthusiastic enough to try a jumper. I just need eight more balls in two contrasting colours for the ultra simple one I have in mind.
I looked into Bedecked, in Backfold, the shop that sells trimmings, and buttons and wool, and I looked into Wool and Willow. Both shops keep tubs of knitting needles openly on display.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

The Wheatsheaf, and Brock

When I was going through town yesterday evening, I came upon Marina, standing outside the Wheatsheaf with an official looking chap in a suit (chaps in suits are rare in Hay, so it's a good bet they're something official when you do see one). Marina lives next door to the Wheatsheaf, and it's not always been an easy relationship. The pub used to be known for fights in the evenings, and since then there have been problems with an extremely loud juke box - and both Marina and Derek Addyman have had windows smashed over the years. By the standards of a big city it's probably nothing to get excited about, but it stands out here.
The topic of conversation this time seemed to be the consequences of the smoking ban. Groups of huddled smokers now gather outside the front door of the pub, and Marina said that she'd found broken glasses on the pavement on some mornings.

It wasn't the only problem Marina was having - in the morning, Di Blunt's dog Molly attacked her dog Brock, and he had to have six stitches. Normally when they meet, Molly makes a rush at Brock, snaps, and then makes a big detour round him. This time, her teeth connected with the loose skin just under the top of his back leg, a difficult place for it to heal, because it's constantly moving as he walks.

Offa's Dyke Path

There's been some work done on the path. When you come off the road at the far side of the bridge from Hay, you walk through woodland for about ten or fifteen minutes before coming to a slope down to a meadow beside the river. At the top of the slope, there's a concrete pipe across the path that's supposed to act as a drain for a natural stream that only runs during heavy rain. The pipe's been broken for years, with a hole in the top just the right size for someone's foot to go down it if they're not careful.
I went down with Islay and Alfie today, and it's been fixed. The water channel has been improved, and the pipe must have been mended, because a load of gravel and sand has been spread over it, making it much safer in muddy conditions.

Monday, 14 May 2007

A few grumbles

I went to the launderette this morning, to find three machines out of order. While I was there, one woman came in, saw that there was no chance she'd get a machine in the foreseeable future, and went away again. When I came back to sort the stuff in the dryer out, the lady from the British Legion was there, and she left without being able to do the washing she'd brought with her.

The other grumble is entirely my own fault. I saw one thing in the Festival programme that I really, really wanted to see - and when I got to the box office, they were already sold out. Neil Gaiman is coming to Hay this year for the preview showing of the film Stardust. Still, there's lots more going on.....

Not a grumble, but I was a bit worried - with all the heavy rain we've been having, I went to check on the swan's nest on Booth Island. Fortunately, it's still high and dry - and the swan (is the female a cob or a pen? I can never remember) wasn't sitting on the eggs, so I had a nice clear view of three of them!

Fairtrade Town?

I was passing the Sensible Bookshop this morning when I saw a sign in their window, saying that they were starting a campaign to make Hay a Fairtrade Town.
Being nosy, naturally I went in to find out more.
This is an idea that has been floating around since the Timbuktu twinning party in January. Kirsty Williams, our newly re-elected AM, is in favour, and so is Rhodri Morgan, the leader of the Assembly. In fact, the Assembly would like Wales to become a Fairtrade country!
In Hay, it should be fairly easy to achieve. We already have Shepherds and the Wholefood Shop, and Nepal Bazaar which sells fairly traded clothes (Nancy Palmer-Jones, who runs the shop, goes to Nepal regularly to meet the producers in the villages. The Nepalese flag she flies was given to her by a member of the Nepalese government several years ago). Charlie Hicks, the greengrocer, is campaigning for independent grocers to be able to get more than just Fairtrade bananas - at the moment all the Fairtrade produce is taken by the supermarkets, with none left over for anyone else who wants to sell it.
Derek Addyman is keen on the idea - and he's one of the people in Hay who Makes Things Happen - so I think it's got an excellent chance of success.
No-one can do anything before the Festival, of course - we're all too busy getting ready for the hordes of Festival goers - but things will start moving after that.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

May Fair and Freecycle

The first caravans and rides have arrived on the car park, ready to be put together in the next few days.
These days, the May Fair is confined to the car park.
In days gone by, it spread through the whole town. There were horse rides along Oxford Road, and a boxing booth outside Kilverts, where a black professional boxer from Merthyr Tydfil took on all comers. Conveniently, Kilverts was then the doctor's house and surgery.

Meanwhile, I've traded my first thing on Hereford Freecycle. My extra settee is on its way to a granny flat outside Hereford, and I have a lot more room in my living room! It's a great idea for getting rid of the sort of thing you couldn't take to a charity shop - and for getting all sorts of odd things, and all for free. And it's helping to save the planet, because the stuff that's being traded isn't going into landfill.

Friday, 11 May 2007

More results, and the wall

Checking through the Hereford Times today, I saw that the Conservatives won Golden Valley North - so Doug can concentrate on sorting out his new fitted kitchen.

Meanwhile, a man with a jack hammer started attacking the top of the unstable wall in Backfold, in order to take it down. It seemed to be quite a difficult job - the wall obviously isn't going to crumble at a single breath.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Election results

I got the Brecon and Radnor Express today, and I see that Kirsty Williams won the election with an increased majority for the Lib Dems. The other place was won by Nick Bourne, of the Conservatives, and the turn out to vote was 51%.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Dogs on Buses

I've been away to a historical re-enactment show and this time I had to go the whole way on public transport, instead of getting a lift from Hereford. So that was two buses, three trains and a taxi there, and three buses, three trains and a taxi back.
All went smoothly until I got back to Hereford. Being Bank Holiday Monday, a Sunday service was running. This is run by a local firm, Yeoman's Canyon Travel. The last bus home is 3.42pm. So I got on the bus, as I normally do, and was told dogs are not allowed, apart from guide dogs. I've been taking Islay on the Sunday bus for about four years now, and I have never been told this before. I also had no other way of getting home if I couldn't get this bus. So I argued, and eventually, he agreed to carry Islay if I paid full price for her - which was £4.10.
On the same bus was a couple from Hay who had been thinking of taking their dog about on public transport. Previously, I'd told them there wouldn't be a problem. Stagecoach buses charge 40p for a dog ticket, and I'd just taken Islay half way across the country on the trains, and had no trouble either with the local service from Kettering to Corby.
So today, I phoned Yeoman's Canyon. If I'm going to be travelling around the country to shows, I want to know in advance whether I can get home from them. The lady I spoke to said that it had always been company policy not to carry dogs. I asked how I was supposed to know this, when I had never had any trouble travelling with them before with a dog, and when there are no signs up in the buses saying that dogs are not allowed.
She advised me to write a letter formally, so that my complaint can be answered - which I have just done, so it will be interesting to read the response, when I get it.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Voting day

I went down to the Community Centre early, and tied Islay up outside - she has a tendency to follow me in to do a "meet and greet" with all the polling officials.
The list for the local council was huge! As well as the main parties, there were at least three Christian groups I'd never heard of before, Veritas (who did manage to put a flyer through my door - he said something about putting common sense into local government), the British National party - and a Communist.
Outside, I untied Islay, put her lead in my bag, turned round - and she was inside, doing her "meet and greet" with the tellers....

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Some of our street furniture is missing!

I took Islay round by the church for a change this morning, and up past the Cinema Bookshop, where we stopped to chat with an old chap on the bench there. After a minute, he said; "Do you notice anything missing?"
I looked around - and the phone box next to the bench had gone, with only a patch in the tarmac to show it was ever there.
This afternoon, I took Islay and Alfie up Cusop Dingle, and on the way back I stopped to deposit the little bag of doggy 'good luck' in the bin by the bus stop - and that had gone too!
I can understand the loss of the phone box, in this era of mobile phones - but that bin served a real purpose.

The Brecon and Radnor's lead story this week is on dog napping in the area. A worrying number of dogs, mostly of working breeds, have gone missing in the last few months. Thank goodness Islay's microchipped. There's also a website where lost dogs can be registered, at

I saw Jean Mar down on the Riverside Path, and she was full of the news that her son Mike has just resigned from Kilverts. He's been there, behind the bar, for years. New owners took over only a few months ago, though, and there's obviously been a difference of opinion - and not only with Mike. I saw a sign advertising for several new staff outside Kilverts the other day.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Happy Birthday, Islay

Ten today!
Well, today is her official birthday, like the Queen. We have no idea when her real birthday is, as she was a rescue dog. All we do know is that she was about 7 or 8 months old when we first met her, so May 1st seemed like a good date to choose.
She wasn't originally our dog at all. We used to know an antique dealer known as Scotch Annie, who lived above the launderette. She kept cats. Fergus, the ginger tom, was known for attending all the concerts at the neighbouring chapel - he just sauntered in every time he saw a queue forming. Heather was a tiny Korat cat - and it was Heather who ruled the roost.
Annie's friend convinced her that what she really, really needed was a little dog who could go with her in her van on buying trips to keep her company. Reluctantly, Annie agreed, and went to Brecon Hunt Kennels, where local strays are taken. When she told them what she wanted, they just showed her one dog - Islay.
We met her on New Year's Eve - so it was inevitable that she should get a whisky name. We were drinking Laphroig at the time, but all agreed that it wasn't a girly name, or one easy to call when you wanted the dog to come back to you.
Islay loved her new home, but Heather took umbrage - to the extent of a roof top protest, when she started to live in one of the hot air vents of the launderette. It was clear that this was a case of "the dog goes, or I go".
By this time, my ex husband and I had fallen in love with her, and we couldn't see her go back to the Hunt Kennels, so she moved in with us and our two incredibly tolerant cats (Cathcart still lives down the road at a previous address, but Malkin was sadly run over on the road a few years ago).
It wasn't long before she found her niche in Hay life, as a shop dog at the Children's Bookshop. There were times that we thought that we only existed in order to look after Islay so she could brighten up other people's lives! Now she's also a re-enactment dog, and much loved by school children when they spend a day being Vikings at my friends' farm (see the Drudion link, if you're interested in what they do).
Everyone knows Islay.