Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Well Done, Woodland Group!

They won! Here's Alan Powell with the Keep Wales Tidy Cleaner Communities trophy!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Last Night at the Rose and Crown

I started my evening at the Castle, at the Good Cheer Singalong - and I got a cup of mulled wine as soon as I stepped through the door! Basically it was a chance to belt out some well known carols, with readings like Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and an extract from A Child's Christmas in Wales (performed by Malk Williams, who played Henry V at Cusop Church).
There were also solos/duets, from Catherine Hughes and Di Esplin (not playing a cello - she had a large recorder type thing for The Coventry Carol), and Justin, regular at the Baskerville acoustic sessions, did one of his own songs.
The Castle hall was a lovely setting for carols, with the beams and the big fireplace - but this will be the last event there for a while, as renovation starts in earnest in the spring.

Justin played again later, most of his regular songs from the Baskie, in the bar of the Rose and Crown. It was the last night for tenants Paul and Lin, before the new owner closes for renovations before re-opening as a sports bar. It surprised me to learn that Paul and Lin have been there for 16 years - I remember them coming to Hay (they're from Essex originally), but I hadn't realised it was that long ago!
More than one regular at the Crown is feeling bereft now, and looking for another local where they can get a similar mix of interesting conversation.
So all the regulars were there. They'd run out of real ale (Copper Beacons from Brecon Brewery) but had some Tanglefoot and Wainwright bottled beers in - and earlier Haydn had to go up to Tomatitos to get some more Guiness, as it ran out mid-pint.
I'd been to the singalong with Jane, who went home to wait for her friend to come up from Abergavenny for the Winter Festival. They decided it was better to stay overnight in Hay than to try to get to Hay in time for the talks in the morning. So they came in later on, and I ended up having a detailed discussion with the friend about Julian of Norwich. She was going to the talk the following day, but knew very little about Mother Julian, and I spent two years living close to St Julian's Church in Norwich, and attending Evensong and prayer meetings there - which led me into reading the Revalations of Divine Love, which Mother Julian wrote in the cell beside the church where she lived for over thirty years in the fourteenth century.
I saw a couple of people the following day who had been to the talk, and said it was very good - I was at work, which was why I wasn't there.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Food Fair and Winter Festival

I completely forgot to mention, yesterday, that the lovely French couple who now live in Hay generously donated prizes to the children singing in the school choirs - books, and the children were chosen by a draw. I even saw them walking through town with the parcels earlier in the afternoon, so I've no excuse!

And yesterday was the Food Fair - I indulged myself, with some unusual beers from Brecon Brewery, and spicy chutneys and sauces - there was a stall there selling sauces from Borneo - www.sorai.co.uk - with recipe suggestions on a card. There was meat, and bread and cake and tea and cider and cheese... a good selection as usual. There was music from the Brecon Town Band when I was passing by. The stall run by Sikhs was back, as well, so I treated myself to samosa chaat for lunch. I had it last time they were here - it's a little bit of everything, with chopped up samosa and chickpea curry and sauces and pappodom crushed on top.
And in the Buttermarket there was a craft fair - I particularly liked the pyrography stall, Hectic Eclectic, with some imaginative designs - www.hectic-eclectic.co.uk They told me that they lived down in the Valleys, not far from Aberfan, in a building which was once the pay office of a colliery.
And there were stalls in the Cheese Market, and in the Castle Gardens was a Flea Market - mainly the stalls which are usually in the Buttermarket on a Saturday. Fortunately for them, the weather was dry, but very cold!
There was even a gazebo outside the Cinema Bookshop, selling Christmas wreaths and artistic prints with a Welsh theme - they'd come all the way from West Wales.

There was one event in the Winter Festival that I particularly wanted to go and see. Pete Brown was talking about his book The Apple Orchard at St Mary's Church in the afternoon. He talked about mythology (with a slight wince at discussing Genesis in a church!) and how the apple adapts and becomes native everywhere it grows, so the English think the apple is a particularly English fruit, but so do the French, and the Spanish, and there's a good reason for the phrase "American as apple pie". It was the Greeks who learned to graft apples, so that varieties would breed true, rather than every apple tree being unique. He talked about Celtic mythology, and other myths around the world that mention apples, and also about the modern methods of harvesting, the "arms race" of pesticide against pest, and the complicated problem of GM crops.
He only had time to briefly mention that he visited a lot of orchards around Herefordshire, though he also managed to pick apples at an orchard under Glastonbury Tor, and in the questions at the end, he confirmed that Marcher Apple Network, which covers the Hay area and up into Shropshire, is mentioned in the book.
I was sitting with a friend, who has an old apple tree in her garden, and she wondered if they would be able to come and identify the tree. They have a website at www.marcherapple.net
Needless to say, I came out of the talk with a copy of the book, which will go very nicely with my collection of Pete Brown's beer books.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Turning on the Christmas Lights

I'd been in Gibbons Butchers earlier in the day, and Geraldine told me that they would be opening late for the turning on of the Christmas lights, and serving beef and turkey rolls. So that was my first port of call when I went up to join in the festivities. When I got there, I found they were giving out mulled wine as well, and it was quite a festive atmosphere in the shop, completed by the hat worn (I think under protest) by one of the assistants, in the shape of a turkey, covered with sprouts, and with tiny Santa hats on the ends of its legs!
Up in the square, there were crowds, and the marquee was full of people too. The school was there, and several local businesses had tables, including the Cinema Bookshop (with children's books that seemed to be going well), the paper shop with toys, Londis with a hamper and Hay Vouchers, and the Thoughtful Gardener. There were games like Guess the age of the Christmas tree or the name of the soft toy, cakes, chutneys and jams, more mulled wine, mince pies, pancakes - and packets of reindeer food! At one side, one enterprising kid had set up Kai's Comics, selling off his surplus collection, and looking very professional! I started my Christmas shopping at the Fat Man Chili stall.

There was also a stall for Hay Library, manned by the HOWLS (Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters) giving out flyers describing what's happening so far and giving information on who to contact at Powys County Council:
Councillor Graham Brown
Deputy Leader/Cabinet Portfolio Holder
Member Support, Powys County Hall
Spa Road East
Llandrindod Wells, LD1 5LG
There will also be a fun event - Voices for Hay Library - on Sunday 11th December from 4pm to 5pm on the Library Green, corner of Chancery Lane and Brook Street, for carol singing, with free mulled wine and mince pies. There will also be an opportunity to sign up for a library card (an ideal stocking filler!). George the Town Cryer will be there to give a warm (and loud) welcome in Welsh and English at 4pm. And there will be a gazebo, just in case its wet!

Outside the marquee, the Community Choir was singing in the Cheese Market - and then, after a pause for photographs, the big moment. Andrew of 18 Rabbit thanked all the people who had made the evening possible, and then Ben Fogle gave a short speech saying how much he liked coming to Hay, followed by The Countdown. He pressed the plunger - and the lights went on all over town!
After that, the schools choirs sang.
It was a great evening!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Valeryan's Rolling Road

Here's something else I got ages ago, and only got round to listening to today!
Valeryan occasionally comes to the Wednesday night sessions at Baskerville Hall, and she does have a musical background. She was in the group The Settlers, who sang the theme song to Follyfoot in the 1970s, The Lightning Tree.
And more recently, she's made a CD called Rolling Road.
A couple of the songs on the album are ones she's sung at the Baskie - Betrayed by a Kiss, Never Shared the Wine and The Circle Line, for instance, though at the Baskie she plays the guitar as well as singing, and on the CD she has a variety of accompaniment, including backing vocals. Some are songs she's written herself, and she also does a good version of the traditional She Moved Through the Fair, and Sandy Denny's Who Knows Where the Time Goes.
Valeryan's website is www.valeryan.co.uk

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Good News for the Castle

Hay Castle Trust has just had their planning application approved, for renovations to the Castle. They're hoping to start work in spring next year.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Jesse Jones and Her Violin

I feel a bit guilty about this - I've only just got round to reading The Strange Tale of Jesse Jones and the Violin, and I was given the copy (with accompanying CD) on the week of Brecon Jazz.
Jesse Jones herself, who has moved on from fiddle to saxophone, was playing at Baskerville Hall at the regular Wednesday night acoustic session. She'd come down to the area for Brecon Jazz.
And now I've finally read the story of how she became a musician - from a traumatic beginning in her school recorder group (which put her off music for years), to picking up a guitar, and after that, a violin. The book chronicles the difficulties of finding a suitable instrument, and a sympathetic teacher, in North Wales, and sees her attending music camps, and meeting a group to practice with, and learning bluegrass style fiddle and jazz. There are plenty of interesting characters she meets along the way, from Sid the music teacher to Carlo and Bruno the dodgy twins at the army camp where some of her musician friends live - and lots of musicians, many of them with good advice to Jesse to help her improve her playing.
And to really get the feeling of the music that's being described in the book, there is the CD, The Strange Tale by Outlaw Jones III - Jesse on fiddle, Jay Jones on guitar and mandolin, and Jimmi Jones on double bass and guitar. At different points in the book there are instructions to play a particular track from the album.
I enjoyed the story, and the music, especially the bluegrass version of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau at the end.
The Strange Tale of Jesse Jones and the Violin is available on Kindle.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Persimmon Homes

This is one of the designs for houses on "Readers Retreat" (or possibly Birch Grove), seen on the Persimmon website, where they are advertising the development of two, three and four bedroomed houses, with desirable amenities nearby.
I don't suppose they got much work done today on the building site - it was tipping it down!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Bronllys Well Being Park AGM

The Concert Hall at Bronllys Hospital will be the venue for the first AGM of the Bronllys Well Being Park group, at 7pm on Thursday 24th November, and it'll be more than just a committee meeting.
There's a keynote speaker, Chris Jones, who is the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales. He'll be talking about the opportunities for "citizens and the NHS to achieve better health and well-being outcomes by working together as equal partners" - as it says on the poster.
There will also be a fund raising quiz night to finish the meeting, run by "a popular local Quiz Master"!
All this and refreshments too!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Friday, 18 November 2016

"Save Our Hills"

I can understand, and sympathise with, the Water Protectors of North Dakota, who are peacefully protesting against an oil pipeline crossing Sioux reservation land at Standing Rock.
I'm right there with the Lancashire Nanas, who are protesting about fracking in Lancashire - fracking, like oil, has serious consequences for the environment if (or more likely when) there is a leak. And we need clean water more than we need oil.
But I can't understand the passionate opposition to wind power.

Yesterday there was a stall on the market (and it was a grim, wet and windy day for it), with the slogan Save Our Hills on a chalk board, and a large map of the Local Development Plan for Powys.
The ladies on the stall were objecting to the shaded areas on the map, which have been designated as suitable for wind farms - and it is a large area of Powys. They don't like the way Powys County Council have decided on this without proper consultation. I pointed out that Powys County Council tend not to consult properly about any planning decisions (for instance Gwernyfed School and the other High Schools in Powys, or the library closures that still might happen) so there was nothing different about them making decisions about wind farms in the LDP. But I wasn't going to support their campaign on the grounds that Powys didn't consult. I think wind farms are generally a good idea.
They tried to convince me, showing me a letter to the House of Commons detailing all the disadvantages of wind power, all of which I'd seen before from other people who object to wind farms, so I wasn't convinced.
I mentioned my sister, who has visited a wind farm in Germany, and based on that experience would live next door to one any day. One of the ladies, rather bizarrly, I thought, tried to argue that a) wind farms were only sited next to main roads in Germany and b) Germany has an ugly countryside anyway - which I told her was rubbish. Germany is a beautiful country. And it has wind farms.
I was shown the LDP map, and the lady I was talking to pointed out that the Epynt was clear of shading, meaning that it was considered unsuitable for wind farms, and why couldn't they put the wind farms there?
"But that's Sennybridge," I said, "the military training grounds."
"But the Barracks in Brecon is closing," she said.
(So it is, in eleven years' time, which is probably why the military plans haven't been included in the present LDP).
But closing the Barracks in Brecon doesn't mean that the training ground will stop being used. And there's a more important reason why it's unsuitable for wind farms.
"But - it's got unexploded bombs on it!" I pointed out.

Another argument they were making in opposition to wind farms is the natural beauty of the area and the historical significance. Wind farms, they said, would discourage tourists from visiting the area. I mentioned this to the Stitch and Bitch group that evening, and Ros from New Zealand laughed, and said that in New Zealand (which anyone who has seen the Lord of the Rings films will agree is a stunningly beautiful country) wind farms are a tourist attraction!
As far as the natural beauty goes - we are very fortunate to live in this part of the world, but George Monbiot would take one look at our bald uplands, swear about the bloody sheep, and tell us to plant more trees. The ladies pointed out that pylons would have to be built, marching across the countryside, to link up the wind farms to the National Grid. Here's a picture from the Guardian last year (Thursday 9th April 2015):

In the background is a traditional pylon, and in the foreground is a modern pylon which the National Grid is trialing, especially for use in hilly areas and where they want to minimise the visual impact of pylons on the landscape. I think they look rather good.

For the historical significance - well, I was trained as an archaeologist, and I know that the uplands are littered with small prehistoric tombs and standing stones. We even have a hill fort nearby, Castell Dinas, with a Norman castle in the middle of it. And there are more castle mounds along the Welsh Marches than anywhere else in Britain.
Archaeological investigation in the uplands where wind farms are given planning permission may uncover interesting prehistoric remains which are presently unknown - just look what they found on the hill outside Dorstone in Herefordshire! That was a student training dig which has changed our understanding of the Neolithic period in this area. So that's a possibility, but it's not something which will attract large numbers of tourists - while the information gleaned from prehistoric remains can be very exciting, the remains themselves are usually not much to look at. For instance, the Rotherwas Ribbon, discovered during road building outside Hereford, was terribly exciting for prehistorians and archaeologists - but it just looked like a bit of gravel path.
So I don't think the archaeological case is sufficient to oppose wind farms either.

And the benefits of wind farms are great. It's clean, renewable, and if a wind turbine goes wrong, it doesn't cause an ecological disaster like an oil spill or fracking chemicals getting into the water. There are also different designs of wind turbine which minimise the danger to birds. Scotland is certainly in favour - they even export energy from their wind farms at times. And here is a wind farm in Scotland:

In 2013, I wrote about the planning application for a wind turbine in Clyro, which was turned down, and made my views about wind power clear there. The blog post can be found by clicking on the link below, which will show everything I've ever written about wind farms.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Bank Closure

It's been happening in other small towns up and down the Welsh Marches, and now it seems it's Hay's turn.
The HSCB Bank will be closing on Friday 10th February, at 2pm.
The nearest branch will then be in Brecon.
The sign the bank has put up by the ATM machine, giving the details of the closure, says "We apologise for any inconvenience".
'Inconvenient' is usually a word to describe minor disturbances in a person's routine - and not really applicable to a branch closing forever, with all the customers needing to make alternative arrangements for their banking. My first response when I read that was: "Polite but inadequate."

All three banks in Hay have been cutting back on the hours they open, over a period of years. Barclays is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Nat West have restricted their hours as well - but this is the first actual closure.
It's not very long since the HSBC had a disabled access lift put in at the entrance (that caused 'inconvenience', but not for long - and was a distinct improvement for the disabled customers). The work must have been quite expensive, and now it will probably be obsolete - who knows what the building will be used for next!

Some towns, of course, have no high street bank at all now, so Hay is still doing quite well in that regard - but it's one more example of services being gradually chipped away.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Figure Drawing, with Life Models

Thomasin Toohey is running another art class at the chapel hall opposite the Drill Hall in Hay. It will run from 10am to 4pm on 3rd December, and the £40 cost includes lunch at Kilverts.
She will be looking at ways to incorporate figures into paintings, and thinking about proportions and so on, and there will be two life models there for students to draw from.
She can be reached at 07955 344958.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Gareth Ratcliffe's Statement to the Planning Committee

This is the statement that Gareth Ratcliffe, as Hay's County Councillor, is making the the Brecon Beacons National Park Planning Committee today. It's a good summing up of the story so far:

"May I first take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to address this committee on such an important development for our community.

For many years now the need for a new school in Hay-on-Wye has been well documented. The community has been split on ways of delivering such development but united they have been in the need to replace the falling down school that is presently in place. A school that was built in early 1970s with a 20 year life span and was well over due when I left the school.

Over all the community FULLY supports the application and I only wish to make some comments for the planning committee to consider when approving this application. This would be to enhance the application to benefit the community and also to help the council and BBNP understand in any future developments the wider discussions that should be considered with a community to help understand the needs and issues to deliver a wider supported community on and off the site proposed.

I will go on and I hope these comments will Help

1. For many years the community have been promised a community focused school with sufficient community space to help mitigate the loss of our community centre. As the council has moved forward they have only worked with the school in the development and not extended it to the wider community in drawing up the proposals that have a wider community impact., The officer has said that LDP policy 50 doesn’t apply to this development in relation to the loss of community facilities so I would like pointed out that it is the previous decision by PCC to remove the community centre that is at the heart of the issue because what is being proposed in the school is the supposed “alternative and equivalent”. We believe it does apply and I would welcome the committees view?
2. I am pleased to see that the council is proposing to put the public Library in to the school but I’m a bit surprised as Powys are presently in discussions with the community on funding the future of the library. I am very disappointed to see council departments are not talking to each other to get a plan that may benefit more people and working in silos and consulting the community in peace meal sections. This could end up with the community having community sections of the building they may not be able to utilise fully and not afford. So I hope the planning application will allow flexibility in the future.
3. Swimming Pool. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the PTFA for taking the running over of the pool to save it from closure. This is something close to our hearts. I would like to see security in the application to support its viability and do not design restrictions that may hinder its long term objective.
4. The location/relocation of the recycling is also important to our community it is much used and needed facility but also, Hay carpark has beautiful views of the country side and consideration desperately is needed not to stain the image of Hay as the proposed siting at bottom of the carpark would be the first thing anyone would see entering the carpark.

I will finish now and hope the committee will take the comments on board and approve this application for the residents of Hay-on-Wye."


Monday, 14 November 2016

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Update on Hay School from Gareth Ratcliffe

Hay Primary School Update

Dear All

On Tuesday 15 Nov Brecon Beacons National Parks Planning will be discussing the application for the New school on the present school site. The recommendation to the committee is to permit. I have requested a slot to address the committee to put forward the communities comments. I have asked the Town council for comments and this post is a request to you all to PM me or talk to me over next 2 days so I can represent you with all comments that need to be aired. This has been a long time coming to this point and the community has been torn apart on some issues but all together we have identified and supported the desperate need for a new school in Hay. If you would like to read committee documents please follow link below.

I hope this time Tuesday we will be celebrating the granting of planning for our new school. I look forward to discussing with you.

Best wishes

Cllr Gareth Ratcliffe
Hay Ward

There is a link to the planning documents (54 pages of them!) at governance.beacons-npa.gov.uk on Gareth's Facebook page.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Small Business Saturday

The Secret Garden cafe and units seems to have closed down.
I passed by today, and the room is empty, with the blinds drawn.

However, there has been some movement near the Clock Tower, where people have been seen in the empty shop between The Keep office and the antique gallery. The flat above the shop is also for sale/to let, and is reportedly quite roomy, on two floors, and with a small garden at the back.

Friday, 11 November 2016

We Will Remember Them

Poppies at Caernarfon Castle

This Sunday the annual service of remembrance in Hay will be starting at 2pm, gathering at the town clock. The parade march will start at 2.30 for the service at the church at 3pm, followed by wreath laying at the cenotaph in the square.
There are giant poppies attached to lamp posts along the route.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Council Meeting - Police, Persimmon, and the Woodland Group

We have a very cheery new policeman in Hay - Lee Garrett has arrived from Brecon, and is still finding his feet, so he wants local residents to tell him what they think is important. One of the things he's already involved in is doing talks, mainly for the elderly, to alert them to scams, along with social services. He said there's a chap in Brecon who is sending money to someone who has promised him £50,000 in gold from Ghana, for instance, and they're trying to talk him out of sending any more! He distributed a magazine called Senior Siren. There was a lot of interest, especially from the lady from Dial a Ride who was there. The whole council thought it was a good initiative, and should be better advertised, in places like the B&R and WyeLocal.

Persimmon Homes have started building on the edge of town, and have opened a new entrance to the field. The name on the signboard is "readers retreat", which the councillors thought was a daft name. They have, however, been given the opportunity to choose a new name for the development. It was felt that this was a good opportunity to name something in honour of Nigel Birch, who died recently and was on the council for many years. Birch's Way was one suggestion (because Nigel always did things his way!), but the eventual choice was Birch Grove.

The Woodland Group has been shortlisted for a Tidy Wales Award for their work on dog fouling and the public litter pick they did. They'll get £250 if they win, and they get something just for being shortlisted.
On the subject of dog fouling, there was some discussion over whether it was time to start spraying offending dog poo with brightly coloured (safe!) paint again - highlighting the problem in that way did work in getting poo cleared away. There's also a poster competition going on for children, being judged by Hay Vets.
There was also some discussion about clearing out the old garage by the Sports Pavilion for the use of the Woodland Group. At the moment it's got old sports stuff in it, like goal posts and nets, which could do with a clear out, and the Woodland Group need somewhere to store their tools. It was agreed to try the arrangement for a year.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Council Meeting - Library and Council Chambers

I arrived at the Council Chamber in the middle of a minute's silence to remember Dai Ratcliffe, who died recently.
And then it was on to the questions from the public, which is the regular five minute slot at the beginning of the meeting. A representative of HOWLs was there, to read out a statement supporting the Town Council, which she said had been put in an invidious position by the County Council. HOWLs are demanding a proper consultation process, which has not been followed by the County Council in this case (rather like what they tried to do with Gwernyfed School). They want other options than closure to be considered.
Fiona Howard thanked the speaker, and said that the Town Council have forwarded a list of proposals to the County Council already - but haven't heard anything back yet.
The Welsh Assembly are also involved, giving extra options to the County Councils with budget restraints. It was also pointed out that libraries can be used as a first point of contact with social services, which would save money for the County Council.

Later in the meeting, the Library was on the agenda as the Town Council discussed the condition survey. Apparently, routine maintenance has not been done for years, and the Library building needs £260,000 worth of work doing, including work on the ramp, the flat roof, the gas and electricity, and more. Again, the County Council have not made any response when asked about this.
Even if this work was done, though, the County Council still wants to cut the library staff.
The HOWLs representative said that they had seen various statements from the County Council, and the figures quoted were inconsistent, and seemed to count different things in different statements for things like how much the library costs to run.
HOWLs will be putting an article in the next Wye Local explaining what the state of play is so far. The Council are also due to put an article in Wye Local, but after some discussion, they decided to concentrate on good news for Hay rather than their views about the Library.

Near the end of the meeting, Fiona was talking about the meeting she went to in Crickhowell about the library service, where she was told about the "cluster council meetings" they hold, involving all the small communities which are close to Crickhowell for issues like the library, which they all use. It was thought that this would be a good idea for Hay (rather like the old days of the Hay Urban and District Council), and could include Llanigon, Glasbury, Velindre, Gwernyfed - and across the border in Herefordshire with Cusop, and as far afield as Dorstone (residents of Dorstone come to Hay for the sports facilities).

Meanwhile, negotiations continue on the handing over of the Council Chambers to the Town Council. There have been inconsistencies and mistakes in the documentation here, too, with the public toilet block included in the plan with the Council Chambers when it should be completely separate (though the block was built on land which was originally the house's garden). There are also queries about the allotments at the back of the Council Chambers. Councillors said that the document drawn up by the solicitors didn't reflect what was agreed at the meeting they had with the County Council.
In view of this, together with the uncertainty over the future of the Library, the councillors felt that they were not in a position to make a decision about the future of the Council Chambers until there was clarification about what, exactly, was being agreed to.
It was also noted that the County Council have not yet released any of the money due to Hay Council from the car park takings, which was the agreement - and the councillors want the money due to them in the Town Council's bank account.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Book Launch at the Poetry Bookshop

While other people were thinking about Bonfire Night, I popped round the corner to the Poetry Bookshop for the launch of Land-Music/Black Mountains by Ruth Bidgood.
It's a double sided book that meets in the middle, and contains poems about the local area. The newer ones are under the title Land-Music, and the rest, Black Mountains, are chosen from a body of work that spans forty four years.
The Poetry Bookshop was full for the readings, with Ruth Bidgood enthroned in one corner. Introductions were made by the lady from Cinammon Press, who published the book, and then she read three poems, to a room in rapt silence, followed by more from two other readers. Along the way, she mentioned the Eppynt, Blanche Parry the nursemaid of Elizabeth I, Thomas Treherne the mystic priest - and her friend talked about a day out when they had a picnic in what they thought was a churchyard, gradually realising that it was, in fact, a private garden - but they were invited into the converted little church, and a lovely poem about the juxtaposition of old monuments with a modern kitchen was the result.
It was a very enjoyable evening, and I was very pleased to have such a pleasant introduction to a poet who was new to me.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Friday, 4 November 2016

Help for Refugees At the Globe

There's a benefit dance at the Globe on Friday 11th November to raise money for the Calais Refugee Community Kitchen. Although the refugee camp at Calais has now been demolished and the residents dispersed, there is still a need for the Kitchen to continue its work. There will be live music from Juliet Noble and Rebecca Plato. Tickets are £8, and anyone who wants to help can also contact Juliet at Shepherd's Ice Cream.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Winter Festival

It's not long now....
Hay Winter Festival will be held over the weekend of 25th to 27th November this year. Guests include Owen Sheers and Ben Fogle, and Pete Brown (usually) the beer writer, whose new book is called The Apple Orchard.
The Festival bookshop and gift shop will be based at The Swan.
The Christmas Lights will be switched on at the beginning of the weekend, and there will be a marquee in the car park for the Food Festival on the Saturday.