Saturday, 30 April 2016

Small Business Saturday

The Bean Box, coffee down by the river (just across the bridge). It's also where canoes are hired out.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Poems for Landscapes: Prelude

Here's another local poet - Marva Jackson Lord - who has just brought out a book of poetry. Poems for Landscapes: Prelude is available from Marva's website, for £6.50 plus p&p. The launch party was held at Tomatitos, where Marva organises a monthly poetry session (which I never seem to have time to get down to, which is a pity. The couple of times I've made it have been really good).
She will also be appearing during the How the Light Gets in Festival at the Globe, on Wednesday 1st June and Thursday 2nd June, with the guitarist Justin Preece.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Village Quire at New Radnor

"Do you know where we're going?" Jane asked, in the absence of a GPS.
"Oh, head to Kington and keep going," Brian said confidently.
We kept to the main roads, rather than attempting the hill roads via Painscastle.
"There's Old Radnor," I said.
And a little way further on, we came to the turning for New Radnor. "There's the church!" I said. We headed up Broad Street and turned into Church Street. "Where's it gone? I'm sure it was over here somewhere. Oh, there it is, behind us up the hill!"
We found a place to park quite easily, and wandered through New Radnor, admiring the pretty cottages - well, apart from the two modern houses on the footpath up to the church. You have to be fit to go to church there - it's a steep climb!
Inside, it's a very Victorian church, but the outside looks older. The audience was quite small, enough that the three of us from Hay made a difference. We sat near the front, despite being warned that we would have the best view of the sopranos' backs. Phil Smith, the narrator, was sitting just in front of us, and let us look at the field glasses he was using as a prop in the interval.
The first half of the show, Back to the Garden, was based on the letters from William Bevan, at the Western Front in 1918, to the man he'd been head gardener for before he was called up. I forget the name of the landowner, who had a big house somewhere near Lyonshall in Herefordshire, but he was obviously a good employer from the tone of the letters - the letters to William did not survive. William was married to Alice - but if he wrote to her, no letters survive either.
William was no ordinary gardener - he was also assisting his employer in breeding new types of daffodil, with a trumpet of one shade of yellow and a corona of another shade. At one point, designing a new garden (with gardener's cottage on the South facing slope) distracts William from what's happening around him, as his platoon (he was a Corporal) is rotated forward to the trenches for eight days and then rested before going back again. I'm not sure if the songs were written specially, or were very carefully chosen to go with the letters from songs of the time. They were, as always with the Village Quire, beautifully performed.
The second half of the show was selected highlights from earlier shows, including Precious Bane, and readings from The Rape of the Fair Country, where Phil Smith sported a carnation in his button hole like the character Iolo Milk "for ladykilling" and made good use of his "five Welsh accents, all of them bad."
CDs were on sale at the back of the church (I have three of theirs now), and on the way back down the hill in the dark, Phil Smith and Brian chatted about astronomy as we looked up at a clear star filled sky. On the drive home, the moon was full and golden over the hills.
They'll be performing at Craswell in May.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Under the Tump

Oliver Balch, who lives in Clyro, is a travel writer. He's written about Latin America and India, broad sweeping books covering whole subcontinents - but for this book he's narrowed his focus to one tiny bit of the Welsh Marches - Clyro and Hay.
And he's got it spot on.
At the beginning, he talks about local drinkers at the Rhydspence, and the members of the Young Farmers Club, while wondering if it's possible to put down roots in a village. He doesn't have the same memories of the area as the local men. He isn't a farmer, either, but as he interviews more local people, or people who have moved into the area, like the owners of the Majestic Bus, he starts to think it might be possible.
In the second half of the book, he turns his attention to Hay - the Festival, and the Council, and Chamber of Commerce - he's there in the shop as Andrew and Louise of Eighteen Rabbit move into Lion Street, for instance. Here, he started talking about people I know as well - and he's got a very good eye for character.
At the same time, he's comparing his experiences with those of Rev. Kilvert, over a hundred years ago - also an incomer, with a position in society that meant he was able to talk to anyone. He visited cottages, and was invited to the big houses, and he observed everyone.
So the book also compares Kilvert's countryside to the countryside today, and looks at the changes there have been.
I enjoyed it immensely - and was delighted to find that I'm mentioned! Near the beginning, Oliver and his wife Emma are looking for a place to settle, and they find this blog:
"In the months before we moved, Emma's hesitations about rural life were further alleviated by her close reading of Life in Hay, a well-informed blog by an idiosyncratic local bookseller. The site includes a profile picture of the author in historical re-enactment garb as well as links to websites such as Hay Feminists, Brilley Buddhist Retreat and Cosy under Canvas."
I was very kindly sent a copy of the book by the publishers, Faber and Faber, who said that Oliver had mentioned me to them.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Books from Peevish Bee

Huw Parsons has been both writing and collecting - and publishing the results as e-books, on Amazon Kindle.
A Clyro Diary - 2016 is both his thoughts on the news of the day and his daily life in Clyro, and trips into Hereford, with the people he meets and some of the poetry that the news and the meetings inspired.
Very Rev is available as an Amazon Kindle download, and includes seventy seven poems that Huw has written over the last four years or so, ranging from a pen portrait of a vicar to his thoughts on a court case where he was a member of the jury. Some of the poems have been performed at Baskerville Hall's acoustic evenings.
Huw said I could quote from his work - but it's impossible to choose. So I'll just recommend the poem about Penywyrlodd Long Barrow and the companion to it, Skulldiggery, and the one about the Battle of Pilleth, and the one about How the Light Gets In (the Festival at the Globe which is on at the same time as Hay Festival), the difference between being six and sixty and the Ballad of Clyro, My Beautiful Lady Alice (about the font at Eardisley Church), Reasons to be Cheerful and Hunters in the Snow, which is all about one of Breughel's most beautiful paintings, and the one about the Victorian workhouse. There are poems about stars and freezing winters, a long forgotten battle on the Begwns near Clyro, an adder on Egdon Heath and refugees in Calais. There's the lovely 'Somerset and Dorset' Remembered, about a long lost railway line, and one about an ancestor of Huw's fighting in the Monmouth Rebellion. One is about learning to drive with his dad, and another about David Bowie's death.
It's a collection well worth having!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

More on the Gwernyfed Meeting

I've now had a chance to look at the video of the meeting at Gwernyfed School on Wednesday evening, at
I hasten to say I didn't watch it all - it's three hours long - but I did skip through and sample questions and answers. What struck me was how intelligent and articulate the questioners were, including the pupils of the school, and how uncomfortable the people on the platform looked. I didn't catch who the moderator was, but he did a very good job but I did notice that he didn't seem to know that Gareth Ratcliffe was a county councillor - Gareth got a good point in about the £1.4million debt that Brecon High School owes, which would be wiped out if Brecon and Gwernyfed were merged.
Several people made good points about the extra time pupils would spend on buses, when the "superschool" was finally built in Brecon, including a lady farmer who lives in a quite remote place. She was very pleased with the education of her eldest son, who now goes to agricultural college, because he had time, despite the long journey to Gwernyfed, to help around the farm (giving him valuable experience) and for extra-curricular activities - but she was very worried about the education of her younger children. And she can't just move closer to the school.
I was also very impressed by the lady - I think she was a member of staff - who pointed out all the problems with the A-level providers from Neath, including the poor student who completed her first year of A-level in Crickhowell, only to find that the second year was available only in Neath! The representative of the A-level provider was not able to give an adequate answer to her.
And then there was the ex-head boy of Gwernyfed, now a local estate agent, who countered the County Council's claims of falling rolls with the information that he knows of plans to build 400 houses in the catchment area of the school - so rolls will inevitably rise as families move to the area.
There's still time to send letters to the County Council about their plans.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Small Business Saturday

One of the smallest businesses in town - Tim the Gardener has his books (and a comfy sofa) in the alleyway that leads to the garden of Tinto House, where he also works (and it's a beautiful garden, occasionally open to the public).

Friday, 22 April 2016

Gwernyfed School Meeting

So the public consultation meeting at Gwernyfed School was on Wednesday evening. A thousand tickets were issued and there were three overflow rooms with video links to the main hall, despite the difficulties with parking. One of the ladies who goes to the Baskerville Hall acoustic evenings with me was at the meeting rather than performing (she recites poetry), concerned about the future of her grandchildren. From the comments I've seen on Facebook since then, it seems that the County Councillors are in no doubt about the depth of feeling locally about their plans for the school.
And yesterday, teachers across Powys came out on strike, including a march by teachers from Llandrindod High to County Hall in protest about the way they, and the education system of the county, are being treated. Llandrindod Wells and Builth Wells have also had meetings about the future of their secondary schools, as has Brecon, over the last week or so. Teachers were also concerned about their workload, which includes collecting all sorts of data on the pupils which they consider to be unneccessary as well as the cuts in funding. They also held a question time event at the Pavilion in Llandrindod Wells with all the candidates for the Welsh Assembly locally.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Library Consultation

While everyone is distracted by the struggle to save the secondary schools of Powys, here's something else that's going on.
The situation is that Powys County Council needs to save £250,000 (because of austerity) from the library services. They suggest that the six main libraries, at Ystradgynlais, Brecon, Llandrindod, Machynlleth, Newtown and Welshpool – and the two mobile library services for North and South Powys form the cornerstone of the service. The eleven branch libraries include Hay Library - and there the future seems not so rosy. Basically, they want someone else to pay for library services, whether it's the local council (unlikely with all the other things local councils are now being expected to do that the County Council did before) or other organisations, whatever they may be.
There will be a drop in session at Hay Library on 13th June, between 5pm and 7pm, and there's an online survey to fill in at
Paper copies of the survey should be available from the branch libraries.
The consultation runs until the 3rd July.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Loose Leaves by Huw Parsons and Friends

What a lovely, relaxed recording!
This is Huw Parsons reading some of his poetry, in the company of a variety of local musicians - Rob Lee, David Cooper Orton and John Eyre on guitar, Mike Jenkins on harmonica, Di Asplin on cello, Bob Evans on drum, Gordon Wilson on bass viola da gamba, Cornelia Rahdes on harpsichord, Graham Hick on percussion, Thomasin Toohie on flute and tin whistle.
Some of the tracks are live, recorded at Baskerville Hall and the Hayloft above The Long Valley Bar in Cork and others were recorded in St Michael's Church in Clyro (by kind permission of the vicar) and it's just a pleasure to listen to. I've heard Huw perform some of the poems, like Our Friends from Overseas and The 'Somerset and Dorset' Remembered, at acoustic evenings at Baskerville Hall, so it's nice to have a permanent copy of them.
The CD is available from Huw at

Monday, 18 April 2016

The Village when Death Comes to Call

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to review a book.
It's a children's book by Eleanor Watkins - she's a local author who lives at Wernwilk Farmhouse just outside Hay. This isn't her first book - the biography at the back of the books says she has written around forty books, mainly for children, and particularly likes writing historical fiction.
So this one is about three children in a village during the Black Death. It's a fictional village, though the nearest city is named as Hereford, and the lord of the manor is a member of the de Breos family. It's interesting that each of the main characters is an outsider in some way - Ellen is a tinker's daughter, returning with her father to the village of his childhood, William is the lord of the manor's son, so set apart from all the other children in the village, and Sam has some sort of mental disorder which includes obsessive behaviour. It's not often that a writer "gets inside the head" of a child like that.
As I read, I was reminded of books like A Parcel of Patterns by Jill Paton Walsh, which also deals with a village dealing with the Plague, except this one is based on a true story, about the village of Eyam in 1665. Sure enough, it was mentioned in the bibliography at the back of the book, along with the magnificent Domesday Book, by Connie Willis, which involves time travel gone wrong - the time traveller was supposed to arrive years before the outbreak of plague in the village.
I do have one quibble, though - I'm pretty sure that the association of the Black Death with rat fleas was not known in the fourteenth century.
The Village is published by Books to Treasure, at

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Council Meeting - Schools, Town Plan, Toilets, British Legion and more

At the time of the Council meeting, around 500 tickets had been issued for the public meeting at Gwernyfed School on 20th April to discuss the closure of the school and the amalgamation with Brecon High School. The last I heard, somewhere around a thousand tickets had been issued!
Meanwhile a pamphlet has been given out at Hay School with details of Powys County Council's plans - Lizzie Harper did a precis of this which I blogged about a few days ago. Gareth Ratcliffe has been trying to get the County Council to debate the future of the secondary schools in full Council, rather than in the Cabinet - and the Council have taken legal advice on preventing this!
The Cabinet members claim that the changes to the secondary schools are all about improving educational standards - but Gwernyfed is doing well. In fact, Gareth got the Cabinet to commend Gwernyfed on it's high educational standards when he was allowed to ask a question.

Meanwhile, there's Hay School, and a contractor has been chosen to build the new school building - Wilmot Dixon. They will be consulting shortly on the design stage. Which will bear no resemblance to the previous consultations and plans that were available for a new school building.
There were ten applicants for the post of Head Teacher at Hay School, and interviewing will begin soon.
Rob Golesworthy also reported that the school swimming pool had been heavily used over the Easter holidays.

And on 21st April, there will be a meeting about the Hay Town Plan. The question now is, how to share the Plan with Hay residents? The National Parks press officer is using the computer game Minecraft as part of the planning consultation process, as things can be built in the game and changed around to see what they'll look like. Hay Scribblers are building a virtual Hay in Minecraft at the moment for planning discussions.
Hay Council AGM is next month, and at that point councillors will be asked to champion different parts of the Town Plan to take it forward. Transition Hay and the Affordable Housing group are also very interested in taking part.

Dial-a-Ride have asked if they can have a stall on the front lawn of the Council Chambers during the Festival - there was no objection to this, as long as they have public liability insurance and do a risk assessment (in case of people falling off the edge of the lawn - it's quite a steep drop in parts).

The British Legion are starting to think about commemorating the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and are planning an event by the War Memorial for 7th August. This will mean closing the car park, and could possibly be combined with the Food Festival, or celebrations for the Queen's 90th birthday. However, nobody really seemed to know what to do about the Queen's birthday.

They have, however, been thinking about getting the rates bill for the public toilets dropped. Apparently there is some mechanism whereby the County Council sends the bill out, but then negates it, so nothing is paid. There were several comments about the County Council failing to support local councils with all the extra responsibilities that the local councils have had to take on.
There was an attempted break in at the toilets by the Clock Tower, but Healthmatic have repaired the damaged door at no charge.

Mention was made of the field opposite the Co-op, which has planning permission for 26 new houses, 12 of which should be affordable (and which is just in Herefordshire). Apparently no housing associations in Herefordshire are interested in taking on housing there, because it's too far from their centre of operations, so it's possible that Wales and West Housing Association will be involved.

And finally, there has been a planning application from the Conservative Club to paint an oak tree on the side of the building - which apparently hasn't gone down very well with the National Parks. An artist's impression of what it would look like was passed round (personally, I think it would brighten the place up!), and no-one seemed to have any objections to it - but Rob Golesworthy declined to take part in a vote on the grounds that he's a member of the Conservative Party, and Gareth declined to vote because he drinks at the Con Club.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Small Business Saturday

The Sitting Room Gallery and Hazy Daze - tasteful antiques.
Previously this has been an art gallery, Carlisles gifts, and there was a pottery in there at one point. Back in the days of Major Armstrong, it was a pub, with the jug and bottle shop in Hazy Daze.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Council Meeting - Cemeteries, Council Tax, Recycling

Councillors have been researching how to run a cemetery themselves, and they're looking around the area of the present cemetery for suitable extra land to use. They talked to the people at Llangynidr, which has four burials a year, and were told it involved a lot of official paperwork. Talgarth has about fifteen burials a year, but they seemed to find it a lot easier - and cheaper. A burial at Llangynidr costs around £300, whereas a burial at Talgarth costs around £150, though actually digging the grave appears to be extra.
And to prevent premature deaths, there will be a course on using the defibrillator that is kept near the Clock Tower. The trainers will do the two hour course in return for a donation, and want ten people or so to go along. The Chamber of Commerce will be asked for volunteers to do the training, and Rob Golesworthy expressed interest too. If there's not enough room in the Council Chambers, they may re-locate to the top floor of the Granary, or even the Buttermarket.

Hay's Council Tax has been held steady this year - in contrast to many other places in Powys. The average rate increase was 8.1%, but Talgarth put their rates up by 31% and Knighton by 43%! On the other hand one place managed to reduce their rates by 78% (I wish I'd caught the name of the place that managed to do that!). The Town Clerk from Welshpool will be visiting Hay soon to find out how the councillors here have managed to get such good deals from the County Council.

Suggestions that the recycling facilities should be moved from the car park to the Market (entrance opposite the Swan) have been met with opposition from Powys. They say that the lorries that collect and drop off the recycling containers wouldn't be able to get into the Market car park - though stock lorries delivering and taking away the animals seem to manage all right. The recycling facilities take up 14 car parking places in the main car park at the moment - and the councillors would prefer to see cars parking there.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Council Meeting - Bronllys Well-Being Park, Persimmon Development and Police

The Council meeting was postponed for a week this month - and Nigel the Town Clerk kindly rang me up to let me know in advance (I hadn't been planning to go last Monday anyway, because of a horrible cold, but I'm better now). As it was, there were only six councillors present - out of a total of eight. They are still looking for people to fill three councillor vacancies.
So the meeting began with a short presentation from Lydia, from the Bronllys Well-Being Park group. She was asking for Council support for the project, and a councillor to sit on the committee, alongside people from Talgarth and Bronllys. These are the major hubs in the area that they want to support them, and they are also going round to the smaller local councils like Llanigon and Glasbury - Bronllys Hospital serves quite a wide area. They will be holding a launch party on 13th June at 7pm in Hay School, to explain what they are going to be doing on the site.
They also need a local body to hold funds for them (£50,000 was mentioned) until the Land Trust is up and running - but Hay felt they couldn't do this, and it would be better if it was done by Bronllys or Talgarth, which are closer to the site.
Hay's Town Plan has already gathered together some statistics that will be useful to the Bronllys group, and Lydia was told about other resources she could use.

The questions from the public related to the Persimmon development and when it would be possible to see up to date minutes from the Council online. The chap said that he got most of his information from this blog (which was very gratifying, but I don't give a complete record of meetings, just the highlights that I think are most interesting).
The good news was that the new Council website will be up and running by the end of next week! As soon as it is, I'll add a link in the side bar. The website address is, and there is also a Facebook page.

Some work has begun on the Persimmon site, but this seems to be an archaeological dig in advance of the development - though they don't seem to have found anything in the field. The National Parks met on Tuesday to discuss the development - but they told Gareth Ratcliffe that he was not allowed to speak at the meeting! He thought he would be able to put forward objections to the development, and local opinions, but was told he would not be able to. He wanted to mention the flooding problems with the site, road safety concerns and the affordable housing that is supposed to be built as part of the development.
There is some concern that Persimmon will end up not building most of the affordable houses on the plans, because they are in phase 4 of the building plans, and if the other houses are slow to sell, that phase of the development may not happen. Even if they are built, there's a concern that they are being kept separated from the rest of the houses on the site. The hope was that the meeting will be deferred and that people who wish to speak to the planners will be able to later. I don't know what the outcome of that meeting has been.
There was some concern, too, that the new houses will be used as second homes rather than much needed affordable housing for local families.
Near the end of the meeting, Trudy brought up her concerns about making comments on planning matters, because there didn't seem to be a consistent method of doing it - she said that her comments about the Persimmon development had not been put forward to them, and she had ended up commenting as a private individual instead.

Councillors still want to meet with people from the Highways Department to discuss the traffic problems around Gypsy Castle (which will be made worse when the new houses are built). They suggested half past three in the afternoon would be a good time, so the Highways people could see for themselves what the problems are when children are being picked up from school.
It was also mentioned that Hay is being used for a pilot scheme of Speedwatch by the local police, because of on-going speeding problems. The police have been asked about increased resources for the area, because of increased crime rates, and the new local Inspector has said that this will happen. There have also been arrests for burglaries. It was felt that there should be a session with the new inspector, possibly as a feedback session after Hay Festival, which would mean putting the June council meeting back a week to give them time to sort out the feedback.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Keep - A New Literary Magazine

One of the things that was discussed at the social media evening last week, which I couldn't quite fit into the post about the evening, was the launch of a new literary magazine. It's called The Keep. There'll be a Festival event, at 8.30pm on Friday 27th May at Booths Bookshop, called Genius of the Marches, and a launch party the following evening (also at Booths) at 6pm on the Saturday evening.
It will feature writing and photography from the Welsh Marches (and we do have a lot of talented people in this area!) and will come out twice yearly. It's run by a CIC, so it's non-profit making, and exists to support Hay and the surrounding area. Antoine, who was at the social media group, is their "web wizard", and contributers include Jasper Fforde and Jenny Valentine, Oliver Balch and Owen Sheers, all local novelists.
They have a website at

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Gwernyfed Pamphlet Summarised

I can't possibly put this better than Lizzie Harper has done! Apparently all the children at Hay School were sent home with a 115 page document about the proposed plans for Gwernyfed School a few days ago, and Lizzie has gone through it all and come up with the following three page digest. Clicking on the picture should make it big enough to read!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Small Business Saturday

Alana's Baby Corner. Soon moving to new, bigger premises!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Blogging Discussion at Tomatitos

It was a small group, but a brilliant conversation (we were still there at 10pm). Richard Priestley had brought along a laptop and projector, but there was some problem with being connected to the internet, so we spent the entire time talking about blogs without looking at a screen. He blogs about environmental matters, and has written briefing notes for MPs and given a talk at the House of Commons, among other things. He said he was invited to China to talk to marine engineers on the strength of one blog post he wrote - but it was a case of mistaken identity. They thought he was the director of the project he was blogging about, so he turned them down.

Around the table, I blog here and (for non-Hay-related stuff) at Morwenna's Tower.
Anna started a blog some time ago, didn't update it, and now wants to go back to it.
Antoine is a tech expert and could answer technical questions about blogger vs. wordpress (and was it worth copying your blog content onto both? Answer, probably not.) and what hashtags are for - key words for Twitter, basically, in the same way that I put labels at the bottom of my posts, so that it's easy to find all the posts I've written about Hay Castle by clicking on "Hay Castle" in that area for instance.
There was quite a bit of interest around the table in consulting him professionally in the future.
Lizzie inhabits a very specialised niche of botanical illustration and natural history in her online life.
And there was a lady who had come along to learn more about blogs because she is just starting a B&B (she already runs a holiday let cottage) and wants to publicise it by starting a blog about it, perhaps writing about what she can see from the window about twice a week with photos.
We talked about spam - I don't really get any, because blogspot is protected by Google. Wordpress bloggers have more of a problem (but wordpress blogs seem to have more bells and whistles if you want them).
We also talked about the dark side of social media - the trolls and people who make nasty comments. Richard gets his share of climate change deniers - and even Lizzie occasionally comes across them. She'll be writing about the migration patterns of a particular butterfly, and get someone being furious with her in the comments.

The lady with the B&B (sorry I didn't catch her name) asked how people found blogs. We offered some suggestions to her, and I've been thinking about how I find interesting blogs as well.
The first thing, when you do find a blog you like, is to see what they like in the sidebar and have a look at those blogs. I've gone down many interesting rabbit holes by doing that! At one time, I found a Buddhist blog, about a Scottish Buddhist running a temple in Arizona. That led me to other Buddhist blogs, mostly in the States, including a Chinese-American gay guy who also knitted. His blog led me to a whole group of blogs by men who knit, including a vet in California!
One way of finding blogs I didn't mention last night was by joining discussion forums for topics you're interested in. They can be hard to find, too, but once you're there, people commenting on the forum who have a blog will often put the link to their blog at the bottom of each post they make, so you can have a look.
Downsizer forum, and a couple of other sustainability forums I used to belong to, has led me to people living on smallholdings in Brittany (which led to more British people living in French villages, and Spain, and Greece....).
Ship of Fools, a Christian discussion group (and also the best place to discuss Doctor Who I've found online!) led me to Episcopalian women priests in the States, and Lutherans, and Quakers - and The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley, which is a hilarious blog about a strange Pagan community, led by ArchDruid Eileen and with a whole cast of strange characters, with the odd bit of serious Christian theology mixed in.
These days, my blog list grows organically, by following links from blogs I already follow - and it also shrinks organically, as bloggers stop posting, or I return to a blog and think "Why on Earth was I interesting in this?" or "This is indistinguishable from half a dozen other blogs about patchwork I've seen recently." Mind you, I remain fascinated by a blog which is entirely about sand, Through the Sandglass, so I can get interested in some pretty odd things!

Meanwhile, back at Tomatitos, Richard Priestley will be running his course about sustainablilty shortly. The first meeting is Tuesday 12th April. He's also running a course in Malvern, and was surprised and delighted when a local lady took it upon herself to organise the whole thing for him. She's booked the room, and publicised the event, and all he has to do is turn up and talk!

The next Social Media meeting will be about Google Analytics, date to be confirmed.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Drone over the Castle

A chap came into work the other day, and showed me this picture on his phone. It shows the shape of the original medieval castle very well, I think.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Gwernyfed School Round-up

I got Wye Local a few days ago, and couldn't help but notice all the columns mentioning the proposed closure of Gwernyfed High School: the first page editorial from Lisa Marie, News from Glasbury Ward by James Gibson-Watt the county councillor, News from Talgarth by William Powell AM and county councillor, Kirsty Williams AM, Chris Davies MP, and every single one of them is against the proposals and wants to keep Gwernyfed High School.
And today in the B&R I saw that Brecon Town Council are also against the plans, not because of the closure of Gwernyfed particularly, but because the County Council wants to take Welsh provision away from Brecon, as well as the sixth form. They'd like a new school building, but not on those terms.
So who, exactly, are the people who want the changes to secondary schools, when no-one who actually lives in the area seems to agree?

[edited to add] Oh, and since the consultation period was supposed to be starting today, the County Council didn't get it together to have any information on their website about it this morning, including the information for how to book the tickets for the public meetings. Then they said it would be ready by 1pm....

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Sustainability Course

Richard Priestley, local green activist, is holding a series of workshops on Sustainablity in Hay over the next few weeks. They start on Tuesday 12th April, at 7.30pm, at Tomatitos, and continue for six weeks.

He says: "What can we as individuals, and as a community, do to make Hay, and Planet Earth, a more sustainable and resilient a place? What inspires and motivates us to help create the change we want to see?"

It costs £45 for the six sessions, but the poster adds that there are concessions for attending only part of the course, or for poverty, "don't let the price put you off"!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Blogging at Tomatitos

It's the first Monday of the month, and normally I'd be in the Council Chamber about now, settling in for a long meeting. However, the meeting has been postponed until next week - which is great, because I've got a stinky cold, and I'd much rather be huddling in bed with a mug of cocoa!
I should be recovered by Thursday, though, when I've been invited to the social media group that meets at Tomatitos. They're discussing blogging, and I have something to offer to that conversation, by virtue of having kept a blog going for so long! The meeting is at 8pm, and I think it'll be quite interesting.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Toledo Steel

It was the Roman helmet that first attracted my attention.
The Buttermarket is being used for regular Friday Flea Markets now, and one of the stall holders specialises in antique weaponry - and replicas. I suspect the Roman helmet was originally made for a re-enactment group such as the Ermine Street Guard.
When I got closer, I could see all the sharp pointy things, including a rather beautiful rapier. The stall holder was kind enough to let me hold it - it's a little longer than I'm used to, more like my hand-and-a-half, but beautifully balanced. I was just doing the basic moves with it (slowly - I didn't want to accidentally hit anyone!) when Susan who comes to the Baskerville acoustic evenings came past. She said something about me having hidden depths!
Sadly, I can't really justify spending £350 on a genuine Toledo blade (but there was an executioner's axe that I know the Young Man would like....).

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Small Business Saturday

Upstairs for clairvoyance, tarot, medium, massage and reflexology.

Friday, 1 April 2016

EasterCon - a weekend of Science Fiction

I'm now blogging about my weekend away in Manchester at Mancunicon, this year's EasterCon, over at my other blog Morwenna's Tower (link on the side bar).
We had such a good time that we forgot to take photos!