Friday, 30 May 2008

Down at the Festival site

I finally made it this afternoon. The rain has stopped, but it's still very muddy - especially around the childrens' clay workshop, which looked like a swamp! I saw Mariella Frostrup filming the intro to today's Hay on Sky, and I went round all the exhibitions. There are lots of environmentally friendly organisations with stands, like the Centre for Alternative Technology, the Woodland Trust, and the Gaia Exhibition, as well as organic food from Rachel's and Xtreme Organix, Eat Natural, and some gorgeous looking fudge from Burnt Sugar. Cadw and the Brecon Beacons Park Society are there too. I did like the Guardian's House of Hay, made of straw bales (but then I've fancied having a straw bale house for years - either that or a whisky barrel house, like the ones at Findhorn in Scotland, made from the enormous barrels that are used to age the whisky).
Wiggly Wigglers are there, too, with their own little garden, a chap doing regular talks about green gardening, two chickens, and lots of bird feeders. They do a whole lot more than worm composting, now!
They even got into the Church Times last week! Clergy and laity (that's you and me) in the Diocese of Liverpool are trying out something called the Bokashi Bin, which composts food waste that you can't put on ordinary compost heaps, like meat and fish scraps, without smell. It's Japanese, of course. Wiggly Wigglers are one of the websites mentioned that supply the bins.

Anita said she'd been to The Next Big Things, a writing group from Carmarthen, and she said they were great. Tony had just been down to the church for a concert. He said that Vivaldi's Four Seasons is one of the few pieces of music he thoroughly enjoys all the way through - and whatever they played today was like that - he thought it was wonderful.
Boo has been going up to the Globe, and said that the poetry readings were good, and that she's enjoyed what they've put on all week.

To end on a sad note, the swans who were nesting on Booth Island, close to the canoe landing stage, have lost their nest as the island was flooded by the recent heavy rain. This is the second year that they've lost their brood.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Peacocks - and more rain

I happened to be wearing a sweatshirt with a picture of a peacock on the front of it today. My mother-in-law bought it for me, after going to a demontration of the sort of art that transfers glittery stuff onto fabric.
I was behind the counter at the shop when a woman came up. (Just to clarify - I had never seen this woman before in my life). She took one look at the sweatshirt and said: "I've got a present for you! It's in the car." So she scuttled off, and came back a few moments later. "Now, close your eyes and hold your hands out."
I did, and she laid a peacock feather across my hands.
She made a sketch of the picture, too, so she could have a go at reproducing it for herself.

Meanwhile, it has been raining again. There were pictures in the B&R today of the fire brigade pumping the field out at the Festival site, and a ballerina posing in tutu, brolly and green wellies.
Comments have included: "It's God's fault! 'I wasn't invited to the Hay Festival this year, so I will send rain!'"
"It's because Christopher Hitchens is here!"
"I'm just going out to check the lifeboats."
"It looks as if the cricket match at the weekend will be rained off, even if it stops raining now." (This was Mike, who is on the Hay team).
"It's a bit much if rain stops play three days before the match!"

It didn't stop the Fun Day for the Kids - old fashioned Punch and Judy, storytelling and face painting in the Buttermarket.
And the Guardian, sponsors of the Festival, have been giving away rain capes as well as cloth bags. I've seen a few Barclays brollies too.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

More on the Festival

It's finally stopped raining - though I hear they had to pump out part of the Festival site yesterday. Sightings of the Ark are thought to be exaggerated, but shops selling wellies have been doing well.
Tonight it's open mic up at the Castle Grounds, and beer festival with several local brews at Kilverts, as well as the Festival events.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

On the Templar Trail

Today, it rained, and it rained, and it rained.
And then it rained some more.
It's still raining.

Yesterday, though, I had the front door open while I was hoovering, so Islay could escape from the noise (she doesn't like the hoover) and sit out at the front. While I was in the middle of that, Old Dave from the Hourglass Gallery came across. "Do you know where Garway is?" he asked. "I've got a couple in my shop who are looking for it."
I grabbed my OS map, and went over.
They were an American couple, so I warned them that the roads round Garway are very narrow, and we found a route down the Golden Valley for them. They said they were looking for all the Templar sites they could find - they'd been to Rosslyn Chapel up in Scotland, of course. The night before, they had been to a concert at Hereford Cathedral, which they thought was a very fine cathedral.
While they were in the area, I suggested they should look at Grosmont Castle, too - it's a charming little place, very little known, and once it was the medieval equivalent of the King's holiday cottage in the country. Which was nice and convenient for the Templars, as when the King was in residence they were just up the road and could approach him more or less privately. There's also a rather nice pub in the village.
They also asked me about mystery books written about the area. The chap said that you can often get a good feeling for an area by reading the fiction set there. I suggested Phil Rickman, who writes the Merrily Watkins series, set in Herefordshire - and one of his recent books, The Fabric of Sin, was set in Garway.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

The Festival Buzz

It's happening now. Town is thronged with people. The Castle Grounds are full of stalls (including two tepees and a Vietnamese cafe). There's live music in the market square (a full scale folk orchestra when I passed by) - and swingboats. I loved swingboats when I was a kid - and now I'm too big for them.
Up in the Castle Gardens, the Cardiff Red Choir was singing (definitely Old Labour, and very good singers), and the Berkeley Owls did a display, including getting the members of the public to form an arch with their arms for the owl to fly through!
There are buskers everywhere else - you pass from one performer to the next all across town - an accordian player at the top of Backfold, and a glockenspiel on Castle Street (or is that the wooden version? This on was metal, and the player was very good).
Islay has been loving it - all these kind people who tickle her tummy and offer her chips, and all she has to do is look cute.
Following the Socialist theme, Arthur Scargill will be speaking at the Castle later, and there was a film about protesting against arms dealers, and the limits of peaceful protest in the UK, called On the Verge.

Last night I went to see Rosanna Westwood's pictures of Mali at Addyman's, and met the film crew again. I also got talking to John Evans, a photographer who also has an exhibition in Hay this week, which I went to see today. He spent many years as a sports photographer, but he also went to Mali in 1991 and took photos of the salt caravans and the salt mines out in the desert.
I also met the journalist from Germany who emailed me recently, having noticed posts about Timbuktu and the twinning with Hay on the blog. She's been doing freelance work on the ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu, so she'd managed to come over from Hamburg to meet Ann Brichto (who started it all) and see the Jump4Timbuktu people at the Festival site later in the evening - and possibly to see the Tuareg band Tinariwen as well.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Ambling round the Festival

Islay and I spent the day wandering around to look at the last preparations for the Festival goers. And Islay took the opportunity to say hello to all her friends. Like the man from the market who has just rented the little shop that used to be Ticking and Toile for his junk/antiques. He has a sheepdog that Islay is friendly with, and so she had to run in to say hello.
She also went into The Bookshop to say hello to Jackie. Jackie was in the big window, putting the last touches to the display. In previous years, there has always been something spectacular in that window, but this year there isn't anyone amongst the staff who are really creative. So it was Haydn to the rescue with some of his art work. The Medusa's head with writhing snakes is particularly good, and he has done several masks. The theme is vaguely travel, and the images do come from all over the world. There's even a crystal skull, with a poster for the latest Indiana Jones movie.
Up at the Castle Gardens, there are lots of stalls, including a bouncy slide and old fashioned roundabout, with the seats attached to chains. Berkely Owls are there, too, and there is going to be live music all over the weekend, and the puppet theatre. I stayed for a while to chat to Julia, who is selling Fairtrade bags - and trying to make the point that Fairtrade needn't mean sackcloth and self righteousness. Some of her stock is really beautiful - I was rather taken with a felt bag from Mongolia.
Down in Backfold, the Bone China Tea Rooms, which have been closed and up for sale for some time, are now open. They have tables with umbrellas outside - umbrellas covered with bright pink raffia.
The Globe now has banners outside, and a chalk board of events. I was too far away to read it, and I didn't want to cross the road in all the traffic, but I did catch a glimpse of some black and white photographs on display inside.

Thursday, 22 May 2008


The books in the window of Addyman's Annexe looked faintly familiar - and as I got closer, I saw why. Someone has written a book about Jean Miller's paintings!
I first saw Jean Miller's paintings when they were exhibited at Addyman's main shop (their only shop at the time). She lives just up Lion Street, and I think it was the first time her work had been exhibited anywhere. Since then she's gone from strength to strength - she's opened up her house as an art gallery during the festival, and had other exhibitions. Her work is very brightly coloured, and seems to be very popular - and now there's a book, and Jean was doing a book signing session today!
There's more art at 2, Belmont Road. There are a couple of bronzes in the window, of tall columns with women's faces at the top, and glimpses of richly coloured canvases within.
There's new art at the Hourglass Gallery too, and photographs upstairs at Marina's - and more photos at Addymans'. There are probably other special exhibitions for the Festival, too. I've been invited to two opening events.
The first invitation was slightly alarming! There were two women filming around town, and as I passed them, one of them pointed at me and said "I know this lady!"
I honestly didn't recognise her, until she mentioned the Timbuktu Twinning Ceremony, when I dressed up as Matilda de Breos. I was wearing a wimple then - so how she recognised me in 'plain clothes' .... She gave me an invitation to the opening, anyway - free glass of wine, Timbuktu goody bag, film, photographic exhibition. Sounds like a good evening.

This evening I met her again, along with the rest of the filming crew. I was just taking Islay out for her evening walk when I met Ann Brichto, who took me by the arm and said I must come to the Three Tuns with her for a drink and to meet the filmers. I had to take Islay home first, and then I sat with four or five other friends of Ann. When the film crew arrived, they said that they thought it would be useful if they did some filming then - probably just for research purposes, so it would never get as far as the documentary itself. So they asked Ann what she was doing and why she was going to Timbuktu, and then asked each of us what we thought of the idea, and they asked me about why I dressed up last year. I told them that Matilda de Breos had built the castle, and so she was the perfect person to greet foreign dignitaries - and it was especially apt, as Timbuktu was also supposedly founded by a woman.
It was a very jolly evening.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Our Alice in Wonderland expert tells me he's only going to one event at the Festival this year - Ken Dodd. He went four years ago, when Ken Dodd appeared in a marquee in the Castle Grounds - and on that occasion, Doddy kept going off stage, and returning to carry on shortly after. It turned out that the poor man was dashing out of the tent to be violently sick in the undergrowth - and he had to give up in the end. He blamed it on a pie he'd eaten earlier. Let's hope he has better luck this time.
Meanwhile the dolls' house shop by the Blue Boar has put a window display together with the dolls' house figures, of a performance by Ken Dodd, complete with tickling stick, and a book signing. And Tom's Record Shop has a Ken Dodd CD in the window.

I walked down from the Cinema this evening along Belmont Road. At the top, outside Jones Hardware, there was a little donkey cart, and a group of young people having their picture taken with the donkey. At the bottom, outside the Granary, two young women were sitting on the raised pavement, tapping away at their laptops.
Hay at it's best.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Public Meeting at the Globe

Mandy said, at the meeting at the school, that there would be an opportunity to meet Hilary Lawson and talk to him this evening at the Globe.
It was a much smaller gathering, and we sat upstairs in the gallery - the main hall has floorboards up to get at wiring, and there's a load of scaffolding along one side wall that they referred to as the "temporary mezzanine". Hilary Lawson said they want to put another one up against the other wall, to make more of a theatre space down below. He did offer to show us round the lower floor, too, but the meeting went on so long that we didn't, in the end.
Mary Fellowes and Nigel Birch were there, as the local councillors - and once Nigel's mind is made up, it's very hard to convince him otherwise. His refrain was "It's in the wrong place." Mary's main point was the problem of noise - even the Three Tuns has caused problems (though I've never noticed any disturbance from there).
Nigel used to live opposite, in Poplar House, which is now studio flats, and he remembers when the Globe was a chapel - and the noise of half a dozen old ladies singing hymns with the organ carried half way down Broad Street. The Globe is slightly elevated, which means sound carries further.
Hilary and Mandy said that any music events they put on would be done in the basement area, which does not have the large windows and would be easier to keep soundproofed. They weren't entirely sure what sort of music, only that it wouldn't be the same sort as Clyro Court.
Hilary said that he was very happy to work with people and have a conversation about the space - but the problems that the local residents brought up at the meeting seem to be intractable ones that any owner of the Globe could do nothing about. They can have no power over where people park in the area, however much they would like them to walk or park on the main car park, and they can have no power over the level of noise when people have left the premises.
The ladies of the NW Trust were there, (and you'd have to go a long way to find another pair of such sweet old ladies). They mentioned the time that they put on a salsa band in the Globe - and they got lots of complaints about the noise for that. They were broadly sympathetic to the new owner, and might even consider putting events on there themselves, but they do see the problems of the site, as they have dealt with them first hand.
Mandy seemed very clued up about the licensing situation now, and said that there was no point coming to an agreement with the police until the hearing on the license. Any negotiations would be done on the day.
When pressed about the possibility of opening as an arts centre without a license, I got the feeling that it wasn't an option that Hilary Lawson wanted to consider. He also seemed pretty resistant to the idea of closing earlier - he said that places that closed earlier didn't have the same sort of buzz as the ones that stayed open late, which was the sort of atmosphere he wanted to promote.
The other problem, of course, is smokers, who would have to congregate outside whether there was drinking going on or not, and if they're open late at night, sound carries.
So there it is - the next stage is the licensing hearing, and we'll just have to wait and see what they decide.
In the meantime, they have a huge amount of work to do if they want to be open for the Festival - and as Mary said: "Not being funny - but you will be watched." The last thing she did at the meeting was to ask Hilary for his phone number - "because if I'm awake, I want to make sure you are too!"

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Red Kite's Next Production

I saw Richie and Jackie in the launderette, and we got talking. They live up Heol-y-dwr now, so are quite concerned about plans for the Globe. However, they're also waiting for the final draft of the new Red Kite play to be finished, so they can start building the sets. So far it seems to be an SF dystopia, with an inner city ghetto that the heroes escape to come to a better life in rural Wales. One of the performances will be at Sue Best's willow theatre near Rhayader. "That's going to be difficult to turn into an inner city," I said.
"Oh, we'll probably do the inner city in the barn, and then migrate across to the willow stage for the rest of the play," Richie said.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Fish and the Fair

"It's been a quiet couple of weeks," said the lady at the new pet shop by the Blue Boar, when I popped in for some Bonios (actually, I had no choice about popping in - Islay has discovered that the nice lady behind the desk keeps a stash of biscuits to give out to passing hounds, so she just dives straight in, wagging her tail).
"The Fair has helped, though," she continued. "I've sold a lot of fish tanks and fish food." (which will be incomprehensible to anyone who has never been to a British fun fair - where live goldfish are a popular prize in the games of skill).

Friday, 16 May 2008


All has been quiet in Hay this week.

The Fair has arrived, and is set up in the car park. They stay for three days, and are not exactly quiet in the evenings - but I'm a bit past having an interest in fairground rides, so I haven't been down to have a look.

It's raining again....

The most unusual customer we had last week was a Bishop from Rwanda.

The swans are sitting on eggs on Booth Island.

The bunting is all up for the Festival, and lots of shops have been sprucing themselves up with new paint work. Work on the Clock Tower is just about complete, too. All we need now is for the clock to be started again.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Did Henry VII ever stop in Hay?

I had a fascinating conversation with a visitor the other day about the inn sign of the Blue Boar. On the sign the blue boar is carrying a flag, on which is depicted another blue boar and various crescents and other symbols, including a red cross on a white background. This seemed to be a very specific depiction to the visitor, who speculated that it could show that Henry VII once stayed in Hay.
I knew that the blue boar symbol often started off as a white boar on pub signs, to denote loyalty to Richard III, whose personal badge it was. However, when he was defeated by Henry Tudor, it became dangerous to admit to loyalty to the previous king. The obvious solution was to change the sign - and the easiest change to make was to paint the white boar blue - which just happened to be the badge of the Earl of Oxford, who was a general under Henry Tudor.
The Earls of Oxford also have an association with Hay - the road that the Blue Boar stands on is Oxford Road, for instance.
Personally, I don't think the pub is old enough to have any late medieval/Tudor associations, and the sign painter probably just made up a flag he thought looked good - but you never know.
I gave the visitor Rob Soldat's name, and told him where to find him. Rob Soldat knows everything there is to know about the history of Hay, and he could explain the pub sign if anyone can.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Public Meeting about the Globe

The Council Chambers would have been far too small - the venue of the meeting was changed at the last minute to the school, with a couple of people re-directing those who went to the Council Chambers first. The school hall was full, with people standing at the back. John Harris chaired the meeting. He lives in Broad Street, not far from the Globe, and is occasionally seen on Newsnight, being one of Hay's mildly famous people. He turned out to be one of the people who put out the HELP leaflet drawing attention to the license application.
Gareth Ratcliffe sat with him, in his capacity as our brand new county councillor. He has his own concerns about the application, but for the meeting he was there to explain how the licensing laws work, and to listen to what came out of the meeting, so he could take forward a consensus view to the County Council.
Mandy was there, too, with her sister and a few supportive friends. She's taken the job of manager of the Globe, after running the Wholefood shop successfully for many years. She was a very worried woman when I spoke to her earlier in the afternoon.
When she was asked if she would be willing to answer questions, she did point out that she hadn't actually been invited to the meeting, and it might have been better if she had. Also, Hilary Lawson, the new owner of the Globe, was in London and hadn't been able to get away at such short notice. While she was at it, she scotched the rumour that Hilary Lawson was any relation of Nigella Lawson (I'm rather disappointed by that - the idea lent him a certain glamour). He does, however, have various media interests, including involvement in a TV company and video art instillations, as well as a hotel in Bristol. He also writes philosophy books and has a house in Craswell.
The main point at issue was the length of the license. Mandy said that they had been advised to apply for the longest possible opening hours, which the licensing body would then place restrictions on according to the criteria they follow and any objections they recieved. Gareth confirmed that this is how the system works. The general public don't know this, of course, so when they see a license covering a period up to 2 and 3am, the natural assumption is that those are the hours that the premises wants to be open.
The main objections to this were the lack of any parking, and the late night noise from events themselves and from people attending the events when they went home. Most people living close to the Globe have experienced what a 24 hour license over the Festival is like, two years ago, and they don't want to go through that again, thank you.
When questioned about the sort of events that would be put on, Mandy's ideas seemed pretty nebulous. It's early days, of course, with a lot of building work needing to be done before the Globe can re-open, but her vagueness was a bit worrying, especially since she seems not to have given any thought to when she wants to open over this coming Festival, and that's only about two weeks away. She also talked about putting on films, and serving glasses of wine - but said that the audience for a film would only be about 20 people. If so, I can't see how the Globe could possibly be viable financially.
At this stage, though, the exact nature of events is beside the point. Neighbours of the Globe wanted to be re-assured that there would not be parking in the residential streets, and that there would not be noise late at night. With such late opening times, they also wanted to be re-assured that drinkers from the local pubs would not make their way down to the Globe to continue drinking into the small hours. None of these problems seems to have been considered so far at all, but they are all easily foreseeable problems, and of course the neighbours want to be re-assured that the new owners have thought about this and planned accordingly.
I came away with the distinct impression that the ideas for the proposed art centre haven't been sufficiently thought through, and I had several conversations today which confirmed that other people at the meeting had the same impression. Mandy and Hilary Lawson have a lot of convincing to do to get local people on their side.
Mandy said that Hilary Lawson will be at the Globe a week on Monday (19th May) at 7.30pm, to be available to talk to any comers about their concerns.
John Harris has started a blog where he will post the latest news about the applications and what's happening with the Globe generally. It's at
The next stage is that a licensing officer will be at the next Council meeting, on the first Monday of next month. Any member of the public is entitled to turn up to observe, and Gareth made sure as mayor that any public attending would also get a chance to speak, which was not the case formerly.
After that there will be the Review Board in Brecon. Again, any member of the public is entitled to attend.

Some people at the meeting were in favour of having an arts centre at the Globe - it wasn't out and out opposition - but no-one wanted late night events there, for all the practical reasons related to parking and the Globe's position on a difficult corner, and the problems of noise in a building that isn't soundproofed.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

More about the Globe

A flyer was pushed through my door when I got home this evening, from the new people at the Globe.
I'm not going to quote the whole thing, as it's an A4 sheet, but here are a few pertinent bits:
"We are in the early stages of a project to develop the Globe gallery. The aim of the project is to bring a variety of arts to Hay and provide a venue for the use of the community."

Further down, it says:
"We were advised when making the license application to put the longest hours that could ever apply to an event in the gallery space. These are however no indication of the hours we normally expect to be open."

and finally:
"...[events] will very much depend on your participation...."

Now this would be a very good advert for what the new people want to do with the Globe, if it had been sent out before the flyer about the public meeting to protest about the long licensing hours. As matters stand now, even if they are being honest about not intending to open into the early hours regularly, no-one will believe them, because this flyer will just be seen as a knee-jerk response to the opposition to the licensing application.
And if they really wanted the participation of the local community, they would have made their plans known well in advance, rather than the news leaking out quietly, as actually happened.
It's probably obvious that I'm quite sceptical about their plans, simply because of the way they have gone about their PR.

The person to contact with queries, by the way, is Mandy Houghton, on

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

New Book Map

When Derek Addyman and his helpers staggered into the Cinema Bookshop with half a dozen boxes, I knew the new book map had arrived. This year it's a tasteful mint green - and it's out of date instantly (ah, well). Cranbourne Books and Stamps are out, but their replacement travel shop hasn't made it in. So it may seem that there is one less bookshop in Hay this year, but in fact there is the same number as last year.

Meanwhile, Ticking and Toile closed its doors for the last time yesterday, and the shop has already been cleared. The original shop in Brecon closed some months ago.
It will be interesting to see what might replace them.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Events at the Castle

I've been up at the Castle this evening, sitting in Richard's kitchen and meeting the enthusiastic group of young people who are organising the events in the Castle grounds during the Festival this year. They're producing a children's fairy tale - and the illustrator was hard at work as we talked, while my recently evicted neighbour Chris did a final edit of the story ("'Are you mad?' he asked. Sounds a bit weak, doesn't it? What else can we have?" A quick check of the thesaurus, and 'hissed' was substituted.).
Meanwhile, a Brazilian chap was cooking a chicken dinner (which Islay was very disappointed not to share in - she would have liked to meet the chinchillas that were upstairs too, which would have been a very bad idea for the chinchillas).
The girl in charge (I forgot her name more or less instantly) would like to hold theatrical events regularly at the Castle, and she's also keen to get the local community more involved in the Festival activities - hence an open stage in the Castle grounds for anyone to perform, or share their skills. There are also going to be workshops (one in making fairy wings) and a puppet show, and stalls.
Tim the Gardener had taken me up there to introduce me because he thought they needed help with costume making. It seems they don't, but I did talk a lot about costume, and re-enactment, and the girl showed me the spinning wheel she bought for £10. It's a wreck, but a wreck that is mendable, and I said I'd give her the address of a firm who do spinning wheel renovation. I saw them at Wonderwool.
They all seem very excited about the possibilities, and I wish them well.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

New Plans for the Globe

The Globe Gallery, at the corner of Heol-y-dwr, has changed hands recently. This week, local residents found out what the new owner wants to do with it.
They have applied for a license to open until 2am Sundays to Thursdays, and until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, and they want to be open for 24 hours a day over the Festival, New Year's Eve and on Bank Holiday Weekends. They also want to show films, put on plays, and have live and recorded music events.
I wasn't too bothered about this at first, though various neighbours are very worried indeed. Then I got to thinking - the Globe has parking for two cars at most, so where are all the clubbers going to park? And having parked in the surrounding area, what sort of noise can we expect at 3am as they go home?
So I've joined my concerned neighbours in sending a letter to the Licensing Officer of Powys County Council. The address is:
Neuadd Brycheiniog
Cambrian Way
and any letters should make mention of the four criteria that the Licensing Officer takes into consideration when granting a license. These are:
The provention of crime and disorder
Public safety
The prevention of public nuisance, and
The protection of children from harm.
Letters should reach them by 22nd May.
There will also be a public meeting at the Council Chambers on Thursday 8th May from 7.30 to 8.30pm, where Gareth Ratcliffe will be on hand as our new County Councillor.

I'd be quite happy for the Globe to open occasionally into the wee small hours, by the way - just, not every night, and they really must sort out something about the parking.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

What next for Sigi?

I met the lady who has just sold Sigi, the shop with the luxurious lingerie, walking her dogs around the Castle. They have finally closed now, and the shop is being cleared out.
She's not going far, though. She's bought a cottage in Cusop, and wants to re-invent herself as a gardener. She did make the walled garden behind Sigi absolutely beautiful, so it's not such an unlikely career change.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Well done, Gareth!

We were voting for our new county councillor yesterday. It was a nice, simple choice between James Gibson-Watt, the Lib Dem who has been doing the job for eight years, and new contender Gareth Radcliffe, for the Welsh Conservatives. Just this once, I changed the habits of a lifetime, and voted for Gareth.
I've seen him in action as Mayor of Hay, and I was impressed at how well he kept the Council on topic when there are several councillors who tend to go off at tangents. He also, of course, managed to keep the Council Chambers for Hay when the County Council wanted to close them down, so we know he'll fight Hay's corner.
Not that James Gibson-Watt hasn't done a good job, of course - but I thought Gareth deserved a chance to have a go.
The news of the results broke with a simple sign on the chip shop door - "Gareth has won".
I'm very pleased for him, and I'm sure he'll do his best for Hay.