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.