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.