Friday, 3 June 2016

More Mooching Round Festival Week Hay

As usual, there has been lots going on round town during the Festival - buskers, market stalls and so on. The Buttermarket and Cheesemarket have been full of stalls every day, selling vintage clothes, and crafts of all sorts.
There are food stalls in the Castle Gardens again, including Parsnipship (who took food to the refugees at Calais at the beginning of the year) and Weobley Ash, who usually have a stall on the Thursday market. In the Castle itself this year is the Menagerie cafe, with live music. Last night I passed Sarah and a few friends heading up there to celebrate Sarah's birthday - but I'd just come off my late shift at the shop, so I didn't join them.
On Monday afternoon, I went to the refugee event in the Parish Hall - Paddington Bear was wandering around town again, publicising it. Inside the hall was set up for teas and cakes, and lots of different craft activities, and there were stalls outside, including one entirely of teddy bears.
That evening, I was also doing a late shift, but as I walked home past the Old Electric Shop, I noticed Alan Cooper on the little stage in the corner of the front cafe part, along with Di Esplin with her cello and Simon Newcombe on guitar - so I went in, got a bottle of some excellent Hillside Brewery beer, and had a great time listening to some brilliant musicians being totally spontaneous on stage, among an audience of quite a few familiar local faces.
Sitting by me was Toby Parker, who used to busk round town and play at the Globe Open Mic until he headed north in search of fame and fortune! He was just back from Manchester, which he said he'd enjoyed, and he and his friend were up on the Old Electric Shop stage after Alan, Di and Simon. By that time, I needed to crawl home to bed!
I met an American couple in the shop, a couple of days ago, who were touring English gardens - they'd been round the Cotswolds, and to Westonbirt Arboretum. They were in Hay because of a book called Sixpence House, the story of an American who came to live in Hay and who worked for Richard Booth for a time, and they were looking for the Sixpence House of the book. The author changed the name of the house, but I knew where it was. At one time it was the Half Moon pub - and the name change was inspired by Somerset Maugham's novel, The Moon and Sixpence.
During my lunch break, I found them again - they hadn't been able to find the house, so I took them to it, and they took photos to show their friends back home.
That was the day I noticed lots of people walking round with small trees in their carrier bags - apparently the Woodland Trust were giving away small saplings from their stall on the Festival site.
Yesterday afternoon, I went down to the Riverside site - nobody was bothering to check wristbands at the entrance, perhaps because it was so quiet down there. Only a few people were listening to music at the Hat and the cafe, and the fairground carousel was going round empty. I hope things picked up for the stallholders there later on.

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