Sunday, 7 June 2015

Visitors from Foreign Parts

It's lovely to meet people who appreciate Hay when they visit! And you can have such interesting conversations!

During the Festival, my neighbours did a table sale outside our houses - I joined them more for the company than the selling (I made a grand total of £3!). We met a family from South Africa who had been canoeing on the Wye - and in the case of the two ladies, falling into the Wye. They were soaked! Even their trainers were too wet to wear, and they were barefoot. They fell on the rails of clothes excitedly, and managed to get complete changes of clothing. Then one of my neighbours disappeared into her house, and came out again with a pair of flip flops and a pair of slippers that she'd been given when staying at a posh hotel, which she gave to the ladies, so at least they could have something on their feet to get back to where they were staying.

And then, the other day, I was on the bus into Hereford and sat next to three lovely ladies from North Carolina. They already knew who I was - they'd been talking to Brian at Belle Books, and he had shown them the pictures of me in Planet Hay (by our own local poet, Huw Parsons). He'd also recited poetry for them, including MacGonagall and Dylan Thomas, and they had returned a few days later, with gifts, to record him reciting the Dylan Thomas!
They were near the end of their stay in the UK, having worked their way down from Scotland. One of the ladies is a writer - she gave me a bookmark advertising her book The Unfading (which also has a website at - and she said that one of her influences was George MacDonald, an early fantasy writer, so it had been very exciting for her to go to the museum where she could see his manuscripts. CS Lewis was another of her influences, and she had discovered George MacDonald because CS Lewis was also a fan of his, so we got talking about CS Lewis visiting the Golden Valley (through which we were passing at the time), and other fantasy authors.
They'd also stopped in the Lake District, at Coniston Water, and discovered the Swallows and Amazons books, as well as visiting Beatrix Potter's farmhouse. And now two of them were on the way to Oxford, while the other was heading for Birmingham. They were very impressed with the way the bus driver managed roads which, to them, were very narrow, and said thebus drivers here must have incredible skills!

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