Friday, 30 November 2012

10 Best... Country Pubs

The i newspaper runs a regular feature choosing the ten best of something.
On Wednesday, the subject was country pubs - and there are two on the list which are reasonably local to Hay!
The first is the Bell at Skenfrith, a Jacobean coaching inn on the banks of the River Monnow in Monmouthshire. The article doesn't mention the beer, but it does mention a restaurant that uses produce from the pub's own kitchen garden.
Skenfrith also has a rather good castle (which once featured in a Doctor Who episode!)

The second is the Bull's Head at Craswall, which is described as remote, "but it's worth the effort to get there." Here they mention some fine real ales and farmhouse ciders.
There's a nice picture of what looks as if it might be the original bar, with the big corner fireplace, low beams and stone walls. If I'm right, the old serving hatch (they didn't have a bar at all twenty years ago) would be just off the picture to the left, and the photographer would be standing close to the steps that used to lead to the private house but later were opened up into a restaurant area.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

New Bee Books

Karl Showler, who was at the Turning on of the Christmas Lights last week dressed as Father Christmas, has just launched two new books.
He's long been known as an expert on bees - he used to have Hay's smallest bookshop, selling nothing but books about bees, and he also sold his own honey, and made straw bee skeps. He's done original research on the flight paths of honey bees - I remember attending a talk he did for the Wildlife Trust, where he talked about wandering the hills with a long flexible pole to follow them. I think the pole had some sort of bee friendly chemical on it to attract them.
Now he's written a biography of James Atlay, a former Bishop of Hereford, and Aspects of Beekeeping, which is a look at important people in the history of beekeeping.
I hope I have as much energy as him at eighty!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

What's Happening at the Castle?

I've been asked that several times over the last few weeks, as visitors who had not been in Hay for a while noticed that the Castle is no longer open as a bookshop.
King Richard has, of course, moved out, and now has a much smaller shop across the road from the Castle - called The King of Hay.
Restoration has started inside the Castle, with new skirting boards and repairs to windows. There are plans to restore the enormous fireplaces, and plans to put a wheelchair ramp in through the original front door.
This weekend, for the Winter Festival, there will be a dinner for the Friends of Hay Castle, and there will be guided tours of the castle during the day.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Hourglass Gallery Gearing up for Christmas

In the run up to Christmas this year, Lisa Beeching will be displaying her art at Hourglass Gallery. They're holding a wine and cheese party on 1st December, starting at 1pm. Lisa Beeching will be there, and so will Tim Francis, a local author who will be signing his book.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Food Fair and other Delights

I felt sorry for the French onion man (complete with bicycle), who had almost no shelter on a dismal rainy day. It was better inside the marquee - and it was packed with people. Outside under a shelter, there were male voice choirs, and Brecon Town Band and other entertainment. The Food Fair always shows off the best of local produce - I treated myself to a lemon drizzle cake (made in Rhosgoch) which is packed full of flavour. There were several brewers there - Brecon, Rhymney, Untapped, Jacobi - and Penderyn whisky, Black Mountain liquours, and other strong drink. Volunteers from Talgarth mill were there, selling their wholemeal flour. There was bread, and local beef and mutton, sausages, and meat pies, and honey and chutneys and chillies and chocolates and crisps, spices and cakes. It was all very tempting, and I treated myself to a few things, and got a few Christmas presents too.
There was more outside, along with fast food stalls and coffee sellers, huddling under shelter.
In the Buttermarket there was jewellery and more good things to buy.
Then I went on to the Parish Hall, where the vintage clothes and so forth were on display. I was tempted by the crinoline underskirt - and there was one stall with some gorgeous bodices (all far too small for me to fit into - I couldn't get into the plus fours, either!), though I did find a nice linen smock top, and a belt that I may be using as a swordbelt next year. Another lady was spreading out oriental rugs, and there were tweed suits and hats and blouses and skirts, shoes and children's clothes and old fashioned pharmacy bottles, and Eugene Fisk with some prints - lots of tempting goodies!

I saw some of the stall holders from the Parish Hall the following day, setting up in the marquee for the vintage fayre - I'm told there was a lot more there, too, but I had to pass by before they started and get to work. I did bump into the organisers on the way home, and they seemed very happy with the way the day had gone.

I also met John Evans, of the Chamber of Commerce, who told me that the collection for the Bryngwyn Riding for the Disabled on Friday night had raised around £700!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Bronllys Petition

"We have been focusing on our Hay area - and over 2,000 people in our small part of South East Powys - who have been asked their opinion, are really upset with the Health Board: how it is managed; the money that has been wasted; the fact that it has no serious strategy for health care in it's region; that it has systematically ignored the opinion of the public for over 15 years on this issue, and that it now has the gaul to propose yet another asset-stripping policy."

"This is a wake-up call, and we are confident that the Welsh Assembly Government will now take a good look at the Health Board, its management, its processes and procedures with a view to cutting endless meetings and costs. What the people are demanding is that our Health Board focus on providing the Health Care needed in South East Powys with Bronllys Hospital at the centre of its strategy. It's a no-brainer."
So says Michael Eccles (on the far right of the picture, next to Father Richard).

The petition will be handed in to the Welsh Assembly AMs at the Senedd in Cardiff on Tuesday 4th December, at 1pm, so there is still time to add to it. The website is,and the organiser of the petition (centre of the picture) is Lydia Powell.

Also in the photo are local shopkeepers, hill farmers, hill farmers' widows and other Hay locals.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Christmas Lights

A lot of effort was put into the switching on of the Christmas Lights this year - and the crowds turned out in force.
When I got up to the town square I could hear George the Town Cryer testing the microphone by singing in Welsh.
In the Buttermarket there was mulled wine and gingerbread and mince pies, provided by the Swan, and being given out in return for donations to Bryngwyn Riding for the Disabled, which was the charity Josie Pearson had chosen. There were people going round collecting in buckets, too. There was also a post box for letters to Father Christmas, and Father Christmas himself, in the form of Karl Showler (who has the beard for it!). I sidled up to him while he was standing there, and said: "I think you ought to know - I have been very good this year."
In the marquee that has been erected in the car park for the Food Fair, the stalls were being used for local businesses and groups for the evening. Stuart the Greengrocer was right by the door, with clementines and chestnuts and dates, and other seasonal treats. Inside, Londis had made up Christmas hampers, Hay School were selling raffle tickets, Castello de Haia soaps were there, and so was the WI. There were other stalls selling hats and scarves, and chilli sauces, and the Eighteen Rabbit man with some purses and wallets made of old car tyres as well as some of the things I'd seen in his shop.
The Cheesemarket committee were selling cards with the design of their tiled picture on them, and you could buy a tile for £10. There are 900 tiles in the finished picture, and one of them will be gold coloured to commemorate Josie Pearson's Paralympic win. Others include a rabbit for the Warren, a marquee for the Festival, and a Tuareg cross for the twinning with Timbuktu. They're hoping to put up the finished picture in the Cheesemarket.
Outside, there were carols from Clyro, Llanigon, Clifford and Hay schools, and the fire engine was parked by the bank. Shepherds had stayed open late, too.
John Evans took the microphone after the last carol (which was Away in a Manger so everyone could join in), and announced that the Cheesemarket Committee had just got the news that they have been given the grant they were hoping for - £300,000 to restore the Cheesemarket!
And finally, the lights were switched on by Josie Pearson, to a great "Ooooh!" from the crowd.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Future of Specialist Hospital Services for South West Wales

Or in other words, this is a meeting about the Stroke unit at Bronllys being transferred to Brecon, amongst other things.
It will be held at the Community Centre on Wednesday 5th December, starting at 2.30pm, so bad luck to anyone who works full time and wants to attend. However, there is an online questionnaire at, which also has more information.
Kirsty Williams, AM, has been encouraging people to attend these meetings, and said that "if we don't get this right it could see all of us travelling a lot further, it affects accident and emergency and other services."

This afternoon, I was walking past the bottom of the drive up to the castle when I came upon a group of people who had just been involved in a "photo opportunity" for the Save Bronllys Hospital campaign. Hopefully, I may get a picture soon.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Supermarkets Again

At the October Council meeting there was a lot of discussion about conflict of interests, and how all the town councillors needed to have a blanket legal dispensation before they could even begin to discuss the development plans for the school site and anything else around that subject.
They dutifully sent off all the necessary documentation to the County Council - and nothing has happened yet. So they're still effectively gagged.
The Town Clerk is now going to write to the Chief Executive of the County Council to complain.
In the meantime, since the county council didn't give the dispensation in the time frame they said they would, the town councillors discussed the latest on development anyway. There has been a Plan B meeting with the County Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Learning. She said that the County Council is aware that Hay is a "jewel in the crown of Wales", and that the County Council would be foolish to spoil this. She said that they would be looking at all options within the next two months.
Steve Like commented that this was all very well, but they haven't invested in Hay for the last thirty years!
Some of the Cabinet members came to visit Hay and look round recently, and although it was a Tuesday afternoon, one of the quietest times, they were surprised at how many people were about.

Plan B will be having a meeting at Hay Castle on 18th December.

Meanwhile, they have done a comparison survey of a shopping basket of goods from supermarkets and from the small shops in Hay - and found that the small shops in Hay came out over £7 cheaper than the supermarkets, before they took travel costs into consideration.
An Explorer bus ticket costs £7 now (I've no idea what the petrol would cost to get to Brecon or Hereford), so if you were going to Brecon or Hereford on the bus to do supermarket shopping, it would cost £14 more than staying in Hay, and take a lot longer, too.
There's a small notice on the door of the Wholefood shop with all the figures on it - I told them they should have printed it three times bigger, at least!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Latest on Timbuktu

On 24th October, there was a big meeting about Mali down in London, and Sue Felgate was there on behalf of Hay. She was able to ask the first question of the question and answer session, when she passed on what the Mayor of Timbuktu wanted to say. They have been under occupation by the rebel forces for seven months now, with no work (so some of the young men are joining the rebels), no schools and little food. He's very grateful for the emotional support, knowing that people in Hay are thinking of his city and trying to find ways to help.
Some money has been sent to local communities to buy seed, as they have access to water so they can grow crops. There was a concert at the Globe earlier this month to raise money to send out, organised by Oli Lewis, an ex-pupil of Gwernyfed High School who was lucky enough to visit Timbuktu in 2009 as part of a documentary for BBC Wales.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Warden Watch

Car parking was the third big issue to be discussed in last Monday's Council meeting.
The revenue from car parks across the county was down by 18% this year, and to put that into context, Hay car park alone raised a total of £140,000 last year. That's 15% of the total car parking revenue for the county - and Powys is a big county, so that's quite a big contribution from a small place, even if we are popular with tourists.
The town council asked someone from the County Council to come and talk to them about car parking - and they're still waiting....
They asked about the number of parking tickets that had been given out across the county, and they did get an answer for this one. 6,255 parking tickets have been issued. 643 of those were in Hay. The only place where more parking tickets were issued was Brecon. 210 of those tickets were issued in the car park, and 433 on the streets.
Across the county, the income from fines was £139,829, of which £22,505 came from Hay, which works out at £15 per head of the population.
It would appear from the figures that Hay is being targeted for parking tickets over places like Builth Wells and Llandrindod Wells. There have also been complaints that Hay is being disproportionately targeted in the mornings, after which the officials who give out the tickets move on elsewhere.
So small posters have started appearing in windows along the roads where the traffic wardens tend to go. Titled "Warden Watch", they ask anyone who sees a traffic warden to warn other motorists along the road so that they can move their cars before the warden gets there.

Monday, 19 November 2012

New Licence for the Globe

The mobile phone mast wasn't the only controversial issue discussed at last week's council meeting. There were nine members of the public there (including me, but I was only there to take notes). Three of them came because of the mast, and the other five were there because of the Globe. One of them was Mandy, to speak for the Globe, and she was able to clear up a few points about the times that they have asked for.
The rules about temporary licences for special events changed recently, and the licencing body now has to take into consideration such matters as noise. The Globe wants to hold events, like Le Crunch and How The Light Gets In, which spill over from the building into tents on the little field outside. They also want events to continue at certain times until 2.30am. Events in the tents would finish at midnight, with only the main building going on until 2.30am, but then there would be people leaving and making some noise as they went. They also want to be able to serve drinks up to 2am.
Gareth Ratcliffe has had some letters of complaint, and also some letters of support, and he wanted to have any further information sent on to him (other councillors have also been approached) so that he has as much evidence as possible when he speaks to the licencing body. The police, licencing and environmental health people have all met with Gareth to discuss this already.
It was pointed out that the type of event hosted by the Globe has changed since it first opened - there are fewer DJ nights now,and more talking and acoustic events. There's also a new management team. Even the opponents of the granting of the new licence said that the events that go on at the Globe during the day are fine, and an asset to the town - it's just the noise at night.
The Noise Abatement Officer, Dan Thomas, will be monitoring the situation - and it was mentioned that the Wheatsheaf finally lost its licence because of continuing late night noise.
When it was time for the public to ask questions, one person asked if there would be someone at the Globe in the evenings for a neighbour to go to when it was too noisy. Someone else asked if the Globe might need a bouncer (though I think they're called something else these days).
As a new PCSO for Hay had been discussed earlier in the evening, it was suggested that this is just the sort of occasion that such a person should be patrolling the nearby streets.
What surprised me about the people commenting was the level of fear they have. I was chatting with several of the people who had come to talk to the council after we went out (leaving the councillors to plough on with the routine business until the wee small hours!). Some of them are convinced that, if they give their names when they complain, there will be vandalism done to their property, or even "heavies" coming round to visit them! It didn't help that, on a previous occasion, names and addresses of people who had complained about the Globe were passed on to the Globe from the Council, quite wrongly - and Fiona Howard gave her assurance that this would never happen again.
So now all that can be done is to wait for the licencing body to make its decision.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Miss Havisham's Christmas Attic

There's yet another event happening next weekend, this time in the Parish Hall on Saturday, the same time as the Food Fair in the Square.
Miss Havisham's Christmas Attic will be selling clothing from designer to vintage, textiles, quilts, fabrics, antiques, prints and watercolours, period china, jewellery, scent and pharmacy bottles, and much more.
Teas, cakes and tasty treats will be provided by Pomme Pomme Foods, and the entry fee is £1 in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Small Business Saturday

Here's the Cafe Royal Fish and Chip Shop - where Gareth Ratcliffe, our county councillor can be found (when he's not busy representing Hay!)
I have heard that, sometime in the distant past, it was an army recruitment office!

Friday, 16 November 2012

MP's Surgery

Roger Williams, MP, will be at the Community Centre between 12 noon and 1pm on Monday 19th November, to meet with anyone who has issues to raise, or problems that they need him to sort out for them. It's an important part of an MP's job and brings him face to face with the people he's representing.
Pete Limbrick of the Stop the Hay Mast group has made an appointment to see Roger Williams at 12.30pm, and he would be delighted to see as many people as possible turn up outside to show solidarity with him. Banners would be good, and small children in buggies (the future pupils of Hay School). Photos will be taken for press releases.

I started this blog to chat casually about interesting and quirky things that happen in Hay - but over the last year or so there seem to have been so many important things happening to the infrastructure of the area that it's being overwhelmed by local politics! There are campaigns to save Bronllys Hospital, and stop a supermarket taking over the site of the school (while wanting a new school), while small village schools are scheduled for closure, and now the O2 mast. Hay used to be a little bit remote from all the problems of central government and budgets and cuts - but not any more. So I'll be trying to talk about some of the good and fun things that are still happening in Hay, while paying full attention to all these more serious matters.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Mast Meeting

Wednesday was the evening of the meeting quickly organised by a new group in town - Stop the Hay Mast! The Parish Hall was almost full, and the meeting started with an announcement that the meeting would be filmed for Hay TV, to give anyone who didn't want to be on film a chance to say so. Everybody was quite happy to continue. There are a couple of films about the mobile phone mast on Hay TV at the moment, and the meeting should be up there shortly.

The mast was also discussed at Monday's Council meeting, with the town councillors being quite unhappy about the way the issue had been handled. This is becoming something of a regular feature of town council meetings - they ask for information, or object to something, or remind the County Council that something is supposed to happen, and there's a deathly silence from the County Council. In this case it was the planning application for the O2 phone mast, which the town council objected to "in the strongest possible terms". This meant that it had to go to the planning committee for discussion - where only Gareth Ratcliffe opposed the application, and the concerns of the town council were ignored.

Several of the town councillors had health concerns about the positioning of the mast - it's going to be behind the industrial units on Forest Road, only about 300 metres from the school, and even closer to the medical centre. If the school is moved to a new site by the medical centre, and a new community centre built there, and the care home that is planned, they will all be much closer to the mobile phone mast.
I really didn't know whether there were health problems connected to mobile phone masts, but several people at the meeting on Wednesday had done some research, and the first part of the meeting was taken up with a short film (at least, the first part of a longer film) in which a Professor from Canada, Dr Magda Havas, was speaking at a meeting to oppose a mobile phone mast on top of a fire station somewhere in Canada. She's been doing research into the effects of the electromagnetic radiation from the masts for years, and talked about real, demonstrable health effects from prolonged exposure to the radiation from the masts. She also pointed out that we surround ourselves with electrical equipment all the time, in our homes and work, and all the places that provide wifi, and all of this has a cumulative effect on the human body.

On Saturday, Ellie Spencer and Fiona Howard (and I think someone else) were interviewed by BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester, and the way that the interviews were cut to go on air made it seem as if the people of Hay were Luddites who didn't want to be part of the 21st century. They were very annoyed with the way the reporters twisted the quotes to make it seem as if the people interviewed were against the Hay Festival. Apparently, Peter Florence was also interviewed, and he'd heard nothing about it, though there's been some Twittering going on about the need for a better signal locally.
I had no idea about this, not having a mobile phone myself, but Hay Festival erect a temporary phone mast over the two weeks of the Festival for the Festival goers.
At the moment, Orange and Vodaphone share space on the Clyro mast, which is a lot higher up a hill, and away from local residents. One of the options for an O2 mast was to share the Clyro mast, but this was rejected as being too far away. They also looked at land further up the hill behind Forest Road, but the farmers up there refused permission to build. They also looked at various industrial units nearby, which were on ground that was deemed to be too low. So they settled on the ground behind the industrial units on Forest Road, which is a bit elevated (the mast will be twelve and a half metres tall).
One lady at the Wednesday meeting said that she lived right by the site chosen, and had heard nothing about the mast until the other week - planning permission was given in March, and there was a notice in the B&R on two weeks in the middle of December. She said she had seen the little notice pinned to a post beside the site, but it had been very confusing and she hadn't realised what it meant. She was worried about the health of her children, and several parents at Hay School are also worried enough to be talking about moving their children to another school according to the man who went to talk to parents at the school gate the other day to gather opinions.

There are several problems here. One is that planning permission has already been granted, and would be extremely difficult to overturn. Another relates to the health concerns - the National Parks committee did not consider the health concerns put forward by the Town Council because O2 had signed a declaration that the electromagnetic radiation was within safe limits. The problem here is that the ICNIRP guidelines for safe limits were laid out in 1999, well before the present generation of mobile phones, and related only to the heat put out by the radiation, and nothing about other possible health risks. Since 1999, there has been a lot more research done, and WHO has classified the radiation from mobile phone masts as a "possible carcinogen" - in other words, it is possibly linked to an increased cancer risk. Hay already has high radon levels naturally, which can lead to cancer, and there is a cluster of cases of brain tumours in the area. Rob Golesworthy, the Deputy Mayor, said that two members of his family have suffered from brain tumours and this is why he is opposed to the mast.
And if that weren't enough, mobile phone radiation can threaten bee populations by messing up their navigational abilities and lowering their immune systems - and the loss of bees, which are essential to the pollination of crops, is a growing problem in itself.

So what can be done? One man at the meeting on Wednesday suggested that legal challenges were not going to succeed - international companies like O2 have already considered all the angles there, and it would also be extremely expensive. He said that what companies like O2 really don't like is bad publicity, and that one of the most effective means of embarrassing them would be to go onto their Facebook page and leave a comment (nothing abusive, obviously - that would only result in the commenter being blocked).
Apart from that, Roger Williams, MP was at most of the meeting - he had to leave early - and he is on the Science and Technology Committee in the House of Commons, with a special interest in the perception of risk. There was applause when he said "there must be a better place" to put the mast. He suggested that contacting an ombudsman would be better than a judicial review of the planning application.

Other people who would be worth writing to with comments about the mast would be Kirsty Williams, AM, Jill Evans the MEP, Stephen Rogers the Head of School Services at Powys County Council, Tamsin Law the Chief Planning Officer at the County Council, Dr Sumina Azam, the Interim Director of Public Health at Bronllys Hospital, Rosi Edwards of the Health and Safety Executive for Wales, and Keith Towler the Children's Commissioner for Wales.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Lights, Food, Vintage stuff, and Cellos

The last weekend in November is going to be a busy one in the centre of Hay.
On Friday 23rd, at 7.30pm, Josie Pearson (Hay's newest celebrity) will be turning on the Christmas lights, with carols from the Hay Community Choir and Clifford, Clyro, Hay, Llanigon and Rhosgoch schools. There will also be stalls and mulled wine, mince pies and soft drinks - and there's a possibility that Father Christmas will visit! If he can't make it there will be a post box for letters to Santa.
The next day is the Food Fair in the square, so there should be lots of goodies on offer to stock up on Christmas treats. I usually get some good presents there.
On the Sunday, Hay Goes Vintage, with antiques and clothing on sale. I'll be at work, but I was thinking of dressing up in something pseudo-Victorian, possibly with a bustle!
And on Sunday evening there is a marathon musical session at Booth's, starting with a film about the Russian cellist Rostropovich at 5pm, followed by a question and answer session, a light supper, and then a recital at 8pm by Moray Welsh, who was one of Rostropovich's students.

Monday, 12 November 2012

History Society

I've been otherwise engaged this weekend (the Young Man came and we had a Bond-themed birthday party for him, which was fun).
Before he arrived, though, I spent a pleasant evening in the Blue Boar with members of the Cheese Market research team, discussing the possibility of setting up a more general History Society for Hay.
There used to be quite an active history society, with visiting speakers, and dinners, and so on, and on paper they still exist - they even have a bank account. It would be possible to transfer that over to a new group, with the assent of the members who are still in Hay. However, the Cheese Market research team are not sure they want to take on the amount of work it would take to run a society like the original one, with the speakers and dinners and so on. So it was proposed to hold an open meeting for the Cheese Market people to meet with the original History Society people, and anyone else in Hay who is interested in local history, so that everyone with an interest in the subject can get together and decide how to go forward. This will be in January, and there will be posters up around town nearer the date.
By the time of this meeting, the lottery funding for the Cheese Market will have been decided on, as well, and they will know how they can proceed with the renovations that are needed.
Meanwhile, Eric Pugh has something interesting on his website (see the sidebar under Old Hay) - he now has some old 8mm films up on his site, of the last days of the railway, and the last Hay Fair, and a 1960s Boxing Day meet at the clock tower, with more to come.
And with Remembrance Sunday coming up, there were a couple of military stories. A man from Whitney won a VC in the First World War, for instance - and just after the First World War, two guns were presented to the Council. It's assumed that these were fairly large field guns rather than small arms - but where are they now?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Mast Meeting

If it's not one thing, it's another....
Now that we know that a mobile phone mast is planned for Forest Road, there is going to be a meeting to discuss it next Wednesday, the 14th, at the Parish Hall at 7pm.
It would have been nice if the Planning Department could have followed their own rules and consulted the people of Hay before they granted permission, rather than letting the news come out afterwards....

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


There's a student from Newport who is doing a photographic project - he wants to take a photo of everyone in Hay and make a giant collage of us all! The deal is that he will give a free copy of each picture to the sitter (or stander, in this case - you stand in front of a black backdrop). He's setting up in the basement of the Globe each Saturday for the next few weeks between noon and 6pm.
I went along in my re-enactment chainmail - and the picture he took of me looks magnificent!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Organic Hero

Paul Benham of Primrose Organic Centre has been declared one of the Soil Association's Organic Heroes this year, and he was also a finalist in the Environment section of the Inspire Wales Awards! They have also been invited to have an entry in the Parliamentary Year Book, as an example of best practice in the agricultural industry.
Not bad for one and a half acres in the foothills of the Black Mountains!
You can read more about them at their website, on the sidebar, under Primrose Organic Centre.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Small Business Saturday

Here's Broad Street Book Centre, with Rest For The Tired B&B above it, and the Black Swan holiday cottage next door. The building is one of the oldest in Hay, along with the Three Tuns and Old House on the other side of the road junction.
The Black Swan was a pub until just after the Second World War - and was popular because it had a piano.
When I first came to Hay, the shop was Colin's Restaurant, and had a grand piano in there. After that, it was a bookshop (Keith, the book seller, had a lovely old black labrador, and was an expert on Arnold Bennett's works), and then it became a mixture of antique and book units, with the books gradually taking over.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Hands Off Bronllys Hospital Again!

So says the flyer that has appeared around Hay in the past few days. It has a comprehensive breakdown of why the Bronllys Stroke Unit must not be closed or moved, why Brecon Hospital is unsuitable for a stroke unit and why the Health Board consultation is invalid.
Boiled down to the essentials, the arguments are basically these:
The present stroke unit works very well where it is, and the new unit would not have the same number of beds - also the parking at Brecon is inadequate. The Health Board have failed to consult the public in good time, instead presenting a fait accompli.
They suggest sending personal letters in support of Bronllys Hospital to:
South East Powys Consultation, Planning Dept., PTHB, Mansion House, Bronllys Hospital, LD3 0LS
There is also a petition - No to Asset Stripping - at, which will be running until the 28th November.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

More on the Police Commissioner

The B&R this week has a big article on the forthcoming elections for police commissioner for Dyfed Powys, and it seems there are two candidates - one put forward by the Welsh Conservatives, and one by Labour. Christine Gwyer is the Labour candidate - she lives in Pembroke Dock and works for the Co-op, but she's also been a Welsh Assembly Member, and was the first agricultural minister down in Cardiff in 1999. So both candidates have been put forward by political parties.
It seems that the existing police authorities are being disbanded to make way for the new commissioners.