Saturday, 31 January 2015

Small Business Saturday

Shepherds, for wonderful sheep's milk ice cream and good coffee.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Warren Purchase Completed

Jeff Morgan has announced this today on Facebook:

"If anyone is interested in fishing the Wye at Hay, a local community group has today completed the purchase of the fishing rights at The Warren. This has been ongoing for 2 years so it's a relief to have it finalised. The stretch is about a mile long of single righthand bank with many pools, glides & fast water. Recent catches include barbel to 13lb 8oz, pike to 28lb, chub to 6lb with numerous trout, dace & grayling, no one can remember the last time a salmon was caught here.
The fishery will be run to benefit local anglers & visitors with cost of fishing reflecting that:-
Day ticket £10
Season £60
Ten year & lifetime (message me if interested)
The 10 year & lifetime ticket holders will be able to take a guest."

He also says that "this is the stretch where the Wye record pike 37lb was caught in 1910 by Major Booth while spinning for salmon."

It's sad that salmon are no longer caught here - the Wye used to be well known as a salmon fishing river.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

A New Venue for Musicians

I was at the Baskerville Hall musical evening last night - it was nice to see some new faces. Educational, too - one of the chaps sang a song about the invention of stainless steel in Sheffield! He'd written a couple about Wainwright, the walker and guidebook writer to Lakeland, as well.
Valeryan had come the furthest, from near Leominster, to try out the new guitar she got at Christmas.
Young Jamie, who plays flute, accordian and guitar (not all at the same time!) hasn't been for a while. Bob, who runs the evening, said that he's heavily involved in Greed! The Musical, which will be performed in Brecon next month, so he's spending a lot of time rehearsing for that at the moment.
And Bob is starting another, similar, evening at Brecon Golf Club once a month. The first one is on Friday from around 8pm.
He said that there used to be a singing evening/open mic at the Market Tavern in Brecon, but the pub is under new management and the new people don't want to continue with it, hence the new venture.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Burns Night at the Castle

I missed the kilts and the whisky and the dancing this year - it was on Friday - but I'm pleased to hear that the evening raised £1200 for Clyro School!
I'll have to try to get my tartan out next year....

Monday, 26 January 2015


I've finally got round to reading the book I got at the book launch at Booth's before Christmas.
And it's very good. Seriously - it's worth getting hold of a copy.
The idea is that the way words are used to describe things 'frame' the way you think about them, and it's very easy to manipulate people into thinking a certain way. Sometimes arguments have been going to and fro for so long that even the people making the arguments don't realise how they're being manipulated by the language - "economic growth", for instance - growth's a good thing, isn't it? Or could it be looked at in a different way?
I've certainly started to become more critical of stories in the news since I read this - and it also links in with some discussions I've been seeing on the web about films and TV shows - how the stories that are told shape the way the viewers look at the world. That's why Joss Whedon was being so subversive when he cast a dainty blonde girl as Buffy the vampire slayer, when film after film has the dainty blonde girl as one of the first victims of a vampire. He got people thinking that maybe girls weren't so helpless after all.
We're coming up to a major election this year, and politicians will be 'framing' the debate in the ways they want them to go for all they're worth. This book can help us see through their debating tricks and maybe look "behind the scenes" at the real issues we need to tackle.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Small Business Sunday

The Chemists - this is the very place where Major Armstrong bought the arsenic to poison his dandelions (or, allegedly, his wife and business rival).

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Back on Line!

I've been having computer problems. All my own fault - I tried to download something that I thought was innocuous, and it turned out to be something nasty instead.
However, the lovely Tim Pugh came round this morning, and now everything seems to be back to normal! Apart from working to save the Warren for Hay, he fixes computers out of the electrical shop on the Pavement.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Bee Quilt

Hereford Library have just proudly unveiled this quilt, which has been made over the last year or so:

The detail is amazing. It was all hand embroidered at the library sewing group, from images put together by pupils from Aylestone School with the help of artist Jaime Jackson, and then the pieces were machined together by three volunteers. It's part of a project on local beekeepers, which also included vintage photographs.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Small Business Saturday

Primrose Farm stall on the market - local organic produce. They are also known as the Primrose Earth Centre, where they also do sound healing and accomodation.

Friday, 16 January 2015

More from the History Group

After the talk about Agincourt, the meeting turned to the various projects that the History Group are involved with. They've been very busy!
Tim Pugh had come along from the Warren Club with a proposal for co-operation. At the end of the month, all being well, he should be handing over the money to buy the strip of land and fishing rights around the Warren. When he went to the Town Council to ask for some money towards the total, they said that they didn't want to be seen to contribute to something that would only benefit fishermen - it needed to be something that benefitted the whole community.
Tim Pugh has taken this to heart, and this is why he was approaching the History Group. There's a stretch of the old tramway (which was there before the railway was built) on the Warren. So he wants to produce a leaflet about the history, with a walking route, which can be sold by the Tourist Information office to raise money for them. The Tourist Information office is totally independent, and needs to raise it's own running costs. He'll also be talking to the Cheesemarket group, who run the Hay Tours walks around town. There was a lot of interest in the idea.
He was also able to give some information about old photos of shops that Alan, chairing the meeting, had brought along, including the fascinating story that digging around the cellar of what is now the St Michael's Hospice shop years ago had unearthed a Civil War era sword! The chap who found it took it home, though, so no-one knows where it is now. It's the sort of thing, though, that they are looking for to fill a museum cabinet of local history. They've been talking to Jayne at the Library, and she's keen to find a space for a cabinet in there.
Tim Pugh also knew something about the whereabouts of the gravestones that used to be outside the Catholic Church. In those days, it was the Presbyterian Church, and when the graveyard was cleared, the gravestones were sold to Boatside Farm, and stored in a barn there for years. They might still be there - or at least, someone up there might know what happened to them after that. There were gravestones at the Globe, too, but no-one's sure what happened to them.

Several people at the meeting have been writing books.
Eugene Fisk had brought along his book about Agincourt, illustrated by himself when he was artist in residence in the village, and for sale at £6.50.
Alan has been looking at local wills (less interesting than he had thought they would be for local information!), and is writing about the Wellington family who owned the Castle from 1720 to 1820. He discovered from parish records that one of the brothers of the man who bought the castle was the innkeeper at the Red Lion in Hay. This was possibly the building which is now Hay Wholefoods, but there is another house on Lion Street which mentions the Red Lion, near the Police Station, so there may have been two pubs of the same name.
He also showed a copy of a letter that had been found in an old wallet, from a Captain Crichton, who lived over at Wyecliff, on the Clyro side of the river, and who died, a month after he sent the letter, at one of the last major battles of the Boer War. He's been doing some research into the Crichton family, and it's possible that some descendants still live in the area.
Tim Pugh commented that the people of Clyro and the people of Hay never used to mingle, because of the toll on the bridge - you didn't just go over there for a walk because you had to pay!
David Bennett has written small leaflets for each pub in Hay, giving their history, and he has now combined them all into a thick booklet, which he brought along. It seems to concentrate on the public events that used to happen in pubs because there was no other large public space available, like auctions and inquests.
He also brought along his new book Major Injustice. He said he hadn't intended to write a book about the Armstrong case, but he got fascinated with the story to the extent that he has talked to Robin Odell (who wrote one of the standard works about the case) and looked at the court documents, and believes he has uncovered new evidence. He comes down on the side that says Major Armstrong should never have been convicted on the evidence that appeared in court, along with Martin Beales, the local solicitor who wrote the other standard work on the case.. This book is available from Haystacks record shop in Backfold, and it's a print-on-demand book from

Mari, who was co-chairing the meeting, is involved with the Castle at the moment, doing work to help them with their grant applications, as they need to show that they are involved in educational work. So she has been getting in touch with the local schools for various projects, like the poppy making last year, where they did their own small version of the installation at the Tower of London.
She's also trying to track down the ownership of Salem Chapel. The paperwork has been lost - last seen at Gabbs solicitors - and without it, they can't do essential building work. They were also thinking about contacting the congregations in the United States that grew from Salem Chapel, when the preacher there, John Miles, emigrated with many of the original congregation in the seventeenth century. He's a lot more famous in the States now than he is here and they might be able to do some fund raising.

Finally, a new group is starting in Cusop. The Cusop History Group is, at present, mostly interested in the buildings of the area - and there are some quite interesting buildings up Cusop Dingle, for example.

The next meeting of the History Group will be on 18th March, details to be arranged.

Thursday, 15 January 2015


Which is the French spelling of the village better known in English history as Agincourt.
It was the archer's battle, which is why I was at the History Group talk at the Swan instead of across the river at the Baskerville, singing. As an archer and historical re-enactor, I couldn't miss this one.
It was an evening of filthy weather, but even so, the room at the Swan was packed out. They had to find extra chairs, and one late-comer was almost sitting out in the entrance hall.
The speaker was Bryan Davies, ex-RAF and Intelligence, who has been indulging his interest in medieval history since he retired.
It all started when he was a boy, when there was a board in Brecon Museum listing the local men who had gone to fight at Agincourt. When he had time to do a bit of research, he wondered where those names had come from - how had anyone known? Which led him to a document called the Merbury Indenture. This was the list of all the men who joined up for the Agincourt campaign from South Wales, specifically the Duchy of Lancaster lands. They wore a blue and white livery, the Lancaster colours. Then, as now, the Duke of Lancaster was also the monarch - and that means that Henry V was, at one time, Lord of Hay! John Merbury was his Chamberlain in South Wales, and mustered the men. They gathered at Tretower and marched down to the fleet at Southampton, and from there they crossed the channel in a flotilla of a thousand ships, to besiege Harfleur.

Twenty men came from "Haysland" and their names were:
Richard ap John ap Gruffudd
Philip Bailly
Rees Fferrour
Llywelyn ap David
Gruffudd ap Hochekyn
Henry Lloyt
Jankyn Lloyt
Ieuan ap Gruffudd Ston
John ap Iowerth
Ieuan ap Philip Keheryn
David ap Howel ap Madoc
Rees Penduy
Ieuan ap John ap Howell
Thomas ap Daffydd ap Madoc
David ap Madoc ap Jake
John Saer
Thomas ap Gruffudd ap Madoc
Jankyn ap Eynon
John Bailly
Philip ap Ieuan ap Eynon

Mr Davies had helpfully printed out hand outs to be given out.
When he got to describing the battle, fought when the English were on their way to Calais and home, I brought out the arrows and arrowhead I'd brought with me. It's always easier if you can see an example - in this case a long bodkin arrowhead and a broad head. The long bodkins (named because they look like a needle) were used to penetrate chainmail, and later a shorter version was perfected with a more chisel-shaped point, and these were armour-piercing. The broad heads were most useful against horses.
Mr Davies is part of the group co-ordinating the celebrations of Agincourt's 600th anniversary in this part of the world. There is a website called and also an Interestingly, he dismissed the myth that the archers at Agincourt were mostly Welsh. It was only about ten years after the rebellion led by Owain Glyndwr, who was still at large and was never captured, so there was no recruitment from North Wales at all. Only 6% of the archers, therefore, were Welsh. Crecy, an earlier English victory, has a better claim to be the battle won by Welsh archers.
There are going to be quite a few events through the year commemorating Agincourt. I forsee a couple of trips to Brecon in my future, wearing medieval kit.
On Friday 20th March Professor Ann Curry will be speaking at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon - free but ticketed, and he said that the tickets were going fast. She's a leading expert on the 1415 campaign and the battle. There will also be an exhibition on The Welsh Bowmen and the Agincourt Campaign of 1415.
On Saturday 20th June, in Brecon, there will be workshops for children in the morning followed by the Great Brecon Pageant in the afternoon, re-enacting the departure of the men of Brecknock for Henry V's Expedition to France. This is where the names of the participants becomes important, as they want to gather children aged between eight and sixteen, and give each of them a name from the Merbury Indenture to be their character for the day. They're not going for complete authenticity of costume, but something that's accessible for everyone who wants to dress up (so a hoodie can stand in for a medieval liripipe, for instance) but they are hoping to have some blue and white material available so the children can have tabards in the proper livery. The men at arms commanding the detachments will have more authentic costumes.
In August, there will be a medieval festival at Trecastle, and the Welsh Bowmen exhibition will be popping up here and there all year.
On Sunday 25th October, St Crispin's Day and the day of the battle, there will be a commemoration service at Brecon Cathedral, where wreaths will be blessed, one of which will be taken to Abergavenny Church to the tomb of Gwladys, daughter of Davy Gam. Davy Gam was one of the few men on the English side to die in the battle, but legend has it that he recieved his mortal wounds while rescuing King Henry himself on the battlefield, with several other Welsh gentlemen, and was knighted on the spot. (Kings could do that in those days).
There will also be events in Abergavenny, Raglan Castle, Tretower, and Newport. And Hay, of course, to be decided on soon, though I think that Professor Curry will be speaking at the Castle in September.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Tourist Information

A couple of people have been looking for the tourist information office, even though it's the quietest time of the year.
At the moment, though, it's closed as they empty their premises on the craft centre and move across the road to the little shop next to Country Supplies that used to be Backfold Books and Bygones.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Good News for Bronllys Hospital

There have been negotiations going on behind the scenes, but now everything is finalised, and Haygarth Surgery are taking over the running of one of the wards of Bronllys Hospital. I'm not entirely sure which one, but it's for elderly patients. Apparently it's very busy there at the moment. They were having problems finding qualified cover, because of the shortage of Age related consultants throughout the UK.
The League of Friends is delighted. "We truly have a Community Hospital" said Maggie Sims, the chair, in a letter that was shared by Hay Together on Facebook.
It seems that the Pain Clinic is also secure for the future.
This year the League of Friends is going to make it a priority to take up the cases of patients with poor care packages - both the patients at home and those who are stuck in hospital waiting to be discharged.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Raquety Farm seeks to Diversify

Just over the river from the Warren is the land of Raquety Farm, which is an organic farm, and the riverside there is part of the local SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). It also offers glamping (i.e. glamorous camping), camping and bed and breakfast. They have a canoe launch point on the river, and Hayfield Gardens, the community gardens, is on their land as well. Ros Garratt, from the farm, was briefly Deputy Mayor of Hay a couple of years ago.
They have put in a planning application to extend the accomodation side of their business. They want to build a log cabin and six "eco-pods" for visitors to stay in, together with a waste treatment plant, and a new car park for twelve cars, two spaces for disabled access and space for ten bikes, with a gravel track leading to it. It looks from the plan (available on the Powys planning applications page) as if the new road will go across the hillside just above the Hayfield Garden to the woods, where the car park and the cabins will be, on a line which is a field boundary. The woods are used for coppicing at present.
This is all on the Clyro side of the river, so it is the Clyro local council which is dealing with the planning application. However, it will be visible from the Hay side of the river, so Gareth Ratcliffe has asked the planning department to consider consulting Hay Town Council for comments. So far, there are four letters of support for the project, which is designed to be eco-friendly (the document from the architect, Jonathan Lees, is 274 pages long, so I didn't plough through it!)

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Small Business Sunday

A general view showing carpets, the sock stall and the back of the fish van from Ludlow (which also sells game).

Saturday, 10 January 2015

An Afternoon at the Cinema

I noticed that the final part of the Hobbit trilogy, Battle of the Five Armies, is on over the weekend at the Brook Street Cinema. The first showing was at 4.30pm yesterday. Normally on a Friday afternoon, I go to the laundrette - but why not live dangerously for a change?
The cinema was about two thirds full, mostly older people, but with a few kids. It seemed to be a mainstream audience, whereas at one time a film like this would only have appealed to fantasy fans. Tolkein is for everyone now.
It was fun. I was expecting long drawn out battle scenes - which there were - but they weren't ridiculously over-extended like the sequence where the dwarves are floating down the river in barrels in the last movie. I found myself warming to Thranduil, King of the Wood-elves, which I wasn't expecting, because he's not the most sympathetic of characters, and Thorin's descent into dragon-sickness madness was excellent. You can see why Richard Armitage wanted to do the part.
And there was Billy Connolly on a battle pig.
The Facebook page for the Hay Ho Sunday bus service is saying "Come to Middle Earth in Mid-Wales" and suggesting that film-goers use the Sunday bus to come and see the film.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Happy Birthday, Derek Addyman!

Bucks Fizz for breakfast!
Well, almost - the surprise party for Derek Addyman's sixtieth birthday was set for 10.30am, at the shop in Lion Street.
Derek himself had been sent off to collect something, and while he was away the shop filled up with well wishers, as well as balloons and party nibbles and drinks. He arrived back to a packed shop and a chorus of Happy Birthday. There was even an overspill into the street, and a few people still arriving with cards and bottles of wine and so on.
The other Derek, at the Wholefood Shop, provided quite a few of the nibbles (and very nice they were, too). There were several booksellers and other local shopkeepers there, and other friends of Derek's - it was quite a gathering. I saw a few people there I hadn't seen for ages. Ann and Mollie were presiding over the drinks and nibbles table (i.e. the counter) and Cassie, Marina's daughter, was helping with the clearing up.
"Is this alcoholic?" the potter from Haymakers asked of the drink that was pressed into her hand, "because I've got to paint some pots later!"
I saw Judith from the Children's Bookshop filling up a bag of goodies to take back to her son Colin, who was minding the shop for her. "Just like Amelieranne's umbrella," we said (this being a picture book from the 1920s where the little girl of the title hides party food in her umbrella to take back to her little brothers and sisters).
Derek had to leave quite quickly - he was due to catch a train to London to stay at a swanky hotel and see a show with his son and daughter - that's why it happened so early in the day.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Council Meeting - More Finance - and a Bench

There was some good news about the Warren - it looks like the purchase of the fishing rights and river bank by the Warren Club will be going ahead, with the help of HADSCO, who have agreed to a donation, and to pay the balance of the final amount, whatever that might turn out to be after all the other fundraising.

Rob was concerned that the Council's financial decisions in the main Council minutes might seem quite starkly put, and he wanted to be sure that anyone who wanted to could see the Finance Committee's minutes, so they could see that the amounts decided on were carefully deliberated. Nigel the Town Clerk said that the committee minutes were available at the Council Chambers for anyone who wanted to come in and consult them.

There was talk of an extra skip for cardboard re-cycling in the main car park, but several councillors said that they'd rather see if they could move the re-cycling bins elsewhere, so the spaces could be used for cars instead, which would make more money. The Cattle Market was suggested as an alternative location, but that would need to be discussed with the people who run the cattle market.

The Solar Energy project, that was mentioned at the last Council meeting, came up again - but as it's a commercial proposition, the council don't want to get too involved. It should be for the people running the project to get in touch with the County Council for discussions.

And finally there was the matter of the Bench.
Half way up the slope from the Swan to the Blue Boar there is a public bench, which was originally put in next to the phone box (which has since been removed). There is a BT junction box next to it, and BT want to put in another junction box to provide super fast broadband to the town. To do this they need to move the bench - and they want to shunt it uphill, right under Fiona Howard's windows.
At this point, she left the room, as she couldn't discuss the matter - it being a conflict of interests. She made quite clear that she was furious about it, though!
Everyone agreed that a public bench shouldn't be right underneath anyone's house windows, though it was useful for the bench to be in that general area. At the moment it is against a blank wall. When it was put in the building behind that was a shed, and it is now a holiday cottage.
And at that point I left them discussing the correspondence. Gareth wasn't there, so there wasn't a County Councillor's report so I don't think I missed anything vital.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

RIP Nigel Birch

There's a good write up in the B&R about the life of Nigel Birch this week - they even managed to find a picture of him smiling!
My personal favourite memory of him is when he worked at Hay and Brecon Farmers. I used to go in to get a tray of dog food every so often (because it was cheaper from there) and Islay-dog would run round the back of the counter to say hello to everyone. If Nigel was there, he would always give her a pig's ear (which was her favourite!).

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Council Meeting - Serious Financial Discussions About Toilets, Playing Fields and a Community Centre

I arrived just after seven, and the meeting had already started, so I missed the introduction of the new lady councillor. I should think that they also had a moment's silence in memory of Nigel Birch, who died in Bronllys just before Christmas after a short illness.
This means, of course, that they need to find another councillor to fill his place.

One of the main topics of the evening was the public toilets. The Council have had a quote of £80,000, which the company involved said was needed to refurbish the toilets. They haven't looked at any other quotes yet, though. They thought it might be possible to look at what needed to be done and use local contractors, who would probably be cheaper. The figures were £35,000 for the toilets at the craft centre and £45,000 for the ones at the Clock tower, which have not been refurbished as recently as the craft centre ones. This would be separate from the running costs, for which the County Council is now willing to provide a grant of £6,500 a year for five years if a town wishes to refurbish their toilets.
Crickhowell has recently had their toilets re-furbished in an eco-friendly way, but they may have got a grant to do it because they are on a trunk road. Nigel the town clerk is going to write and ask.

One option would be to close one set of toilets, at the craft centre, since the ones by the Clock tower have asbestos in the building.
Another option would be to charge for the toilets at the craft centre and keep the ones by the Clock tower free.

So how would the Council afford this? "Have we got any assets to sell?" one councillor asked, and the only suggestion that came up was the fishing rights, though no-one was sure who would want to buy them.

There is, of course, £200,000 sitting in a bank account which the Council cannot use - though one suggestion was to draw out £30,000 from that account, and get the County Council to pay in the £6,500 a year to top it back up, so they would have a lump sum to play with. The £200,000 was originally meant to be for a new community centre that never happened.

The Welsh Assembly say that councils must provide toilets - so do they have any grants available to make it possible? Kirsty Williams the AM will be asked about this.

The Town Council will also be meeting with Jeremy Patterson from the County Council soon to discuss what to do.

The County Council will also shortly be devolving the maintenance of the playing fields and pavilion onto the Town Council, at a cost of £8 - 9,000 a year.
There was a suggestion that the Pavilion, which includes the changing rooms for sporting activities, could be combined with a new community centre to save money (though this was one of the suggestions when there were plans to build a new community centre for the millennium, and it was a non-starter because community and sporting facilities needed different rules and the grants were different, so they had to be separate buildings). If the Town Council built their own community centre, rather than waiting for the combined school/community centre/library to be built, they could use the £200,000 on that. The land that they wanted to build the community centre on fifteen years ago is still available, near the doctors' surgery.

In Talgarth, a sports association have taken over the running of the facilities rather than the Town Council.

The councillors decided that an urgent meeting was needed with all the different sports clubs - tennis, bowls, football, rugby, cricket, and anyone else, as well as HADSCO, Hay's sports association. The children's play grounds will also be affected, mainly for the grass cutting through the year.

But we're not getting a reduction in rates while these responsibilities are devolved. In fact, there will be a four and a half per cent increase. However, it was pointed out that, as the County Council are devolving responsibilities down to Town Councils, so Central Government are devolving some of their responsibilities, in the area of social security, for example, to County Councils, so the financial burden on the County Council will not be reduced.
So one suggestion was that the Town Council itself tried to devolve responsibilities - for instance getting the newer housing estates to take responsibility for cutting their own lawns - "or they could have wild flower gardens instead - that would look nice!"

The Council Chambers was the next item to be discussed, and it all relates together, as the County Council wants to sell the building in order to pay for part of the building of the new school, which will also be replacing the community centre and library - but the Town Council don't want to move out if they are only being offered half an office for the Town Clerk to share with the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, and the council meetings would have to be booked in the same room that all the community groups, competing for time with the WI and the cubs and so on.
On the other hand, the roof needs serious attention, which will be expensive. The lease has now run out on the building, so technically the Town Council and their tenants in the offices are squatting! However, as sitting tenants it will be hard for the County Council to remove them, especially as it was their fault that the lease ran out without an new arrangement being sorted out. So the Town Council are in quite a strong negotiating position. During this discussion, Rob Golesworthy described the Council Chambers as "a millstone with an income stream", because they do get an income from the tenants of the offices. If the Town Council offered to buy the building themselves, and later sold it, if they made any profit on the deal the County Council would demand the difference, so they don't want to do that - it would be nice, they mused, if the County Council just gave them the building - but then they would have the expense of fixing the roof....

Monday, 5 January 2015

Busy Week

Back to normal after the Christmas break, and there's a lot going on this first week of 2015.
This evening I'll be at the Council meeting, and on Wednesday there's the regular musical evening at Baskerville Hall.
On Thursday the University of Cusop Dingle are meeting at 8pm at the Swan. Anthony Daly will be giving the evening's talk, entitled The Nature of the Book and the Book of Nature.
*Edited to add: This will not now be happening, due to ill health, and will be re-scheduled in February.
However, it's also the evening for Stitch and Bitch, between 6 and 8pm, and this month we are moving to Tomatitos, just for a change of scene. Usually SnB has a room at the Swan. And since I've started a couple of new projects, and I want to show them off (and I've finished an embroidery) I think that's where I'll be spending the evening.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Friday, 2 January 2015

Trying to get more organised

Off to Hereford this morning on a very full bus for a spot of retail therapy.

I can no longer see the glowing hands of my alarm clock in the dark, so I treated myself to a clock with a glowing display instead. I picked up a wind-up and solar powered torch at one of the camping shops that's having a closing down sale, too.
Over the Christmas break, I've been getting enthusiastic about craft projects again, so I picked up a couple of hanks of black embroidery threat to create a blackwork picture of a badger. One of my presents was a "knit your own shoulderbag" kit, which involves cable, which I've never done, so I'm working my way up to it gradually.
So I'm making the effort to get more organised, and to use up my crafting stash - I've started weaving triangles with some of my odd balls of wool on a mini loom, too, which will be sewn together to make a small blanket.

I was hoping to look in the army surplus shop for a Thunderbirds hat, too (or more correctly, an RAF flight hat) because one of my Christmas presents was an International Rescue patch - but they were closed.
I was hoping to get rid of my sofa too, having just got the new settle, so I went into the British Heart Foundation to ask about collection. They said no problem - they send a van to the Hay area every other Friday - but the sofa needed to have a label to say it was safe in the case of fires. When I got home to check, the label is no longer attached - it must have come adrift long ago - so it's back to the drawing board for that. I've tried Freecycle and Freegle, but just before Christmas was perhaps not the best time to try to shift it, and the only person who was interested asked if I could deliver, which I can't, sadly. Still, it's not too much in the way for a while.

And I discovered that Poundland (now next door to Maylord Orchards) do a very nice selection of Belgian style biscuits....

One thing took the shine off the day, though. I saw a man sitting on the pavement near the bus station with a home made sign saying that he had three children and he would take any job, please. Nobody should feel so desperate that they have to beg for work on the street. It was like looking right back to the Great Depression of the 1930s - and it shouldn't happen in a civilised modern society, especially when there was an article in the Hereford Times this week about how unemployment in the county is going down.