Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Last Post

I came to the cenotaph just as the Last Post began, and Gareth Ratcliffe dipped the British Legion banner. The British Legion have been commemorating Hay soldiers who died in the Great War, on the anniversaries of their deaths 100 years ago - I missed the name of the soldier being commemorated tonight.
The moment was somewhat spoiled by a grey car coming down Castle Street, which ran over a racing pigeon which was walking across the road. It died, of course, and not instantly. Rob Golesworthy cleared the body away when the ceremony was over.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Valerie Singleton

The Blue Peter legend is coming to Llyswen Village Hall to talk about her life (and she did much more than Blue Peter, of course) on 23rd June, at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £12 to include a light supper, and there will be video clips of moments throughout her career. She's now 80, and she was one of the three presenters back when I started watching Blue Peter in the 1960s, along with John Noakes and Peter Purves. Actually, I just about remember her with Christopher Trace, the first main presenter. I also remember her voice on Radio 4 as a presenter.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Costumes for Hay Theatre Group

Sue from Hay Theatre noticed my post where I mentioned I had some medieval costumes for sale, and yesterday she came round to have a look at them. They haven't got anything planned in the near future set in the Middle Ages, but she took about half of what I had on the grounds that it would be useful in due course.
It was quite fun getting them all out and talking about the costumes - how silk dresses were made out of rectangles, so as not to waste any of the precious fabric (I made a linen copy of a 13th century silk dress), and were medieval clothes really that brightly coloured? The linen dress is a bright Turkey red, a genuine medieval colour made with all sorts of disgusting ingredients like sheep poo and lamb's blood! (Mine uses modern dye!).
And then there's the blue velvet surcoat, which I made before I discovered that, in the 13th century, velvet hadn't been invented yet - but I kept for occasions when I didn't need to be completely authentic.
And then there's the All Purpose Peasant Dress - which I've used for every period from the Iron Age to the 15th century!
It's nice to see the costumes going to a good home, where they'll get good use out of them.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Seen in a Hay Window


It's not easy to see, but if the picture is enlarged, there's a Famous Politician looking out (in cardboard effigy!).

Friday, 16 June 2017

Technical Problems - and Shelving Solutions

I've been having a bit of trouble with my broadband connection over the last few days, but Tim Pugh came round this morning - and I think he's fixed it (touch wood!).
It seems to be my week for problems with electrickery (to quote Catweazle). My hoover stopped working as well - the engine was working, but nothing was getting sucked in. I'd done pretty well with it - I was given it when someone at work was upgrading to a Dyson, and it's lasted quite a long time. Fortunately, I am a woman of means now, and I was able to go down to the electrical shop by the Drill Hall and pick up a brand new hoover (or Bosch, in this case) straight away. I shall be playing with that this afternoon.
It's time for a good clean round, anyway, as I also picked up a set of shelves from Paul Harris this morning. As he's clearing out Oxford House, where he had his bookshop until just after the Festival, he's been piling shelves and other bits and pieces outside for anyone to take. Broad Street Books has had a nice pair of chairs and a stool for the shop, and several people up and down the road have had shelf units. Mark Westwood came a couple of days ago to take a lot of the books that Paul isn't taking with him - he's off to Spain at the end of the month, and there's a lot to sort out in the next couple of weeks.
So this morning I happened to pass just as a shelf unit had been put out - not too big, so I could carry it home, and I've been re-arranging the bedroom to fit it in. It should also give me a bit of extra space for more books!

Mallyfest

When I was looking at events that were coming up soon, I didn't know that there would be another Mallyfest in the near future.
Then yesterday I saw the banner go up at the end of Castle Street, and today I saw the first posters.
This summer's Mallyfest will be at Baskerville Hall on 1st July, with lots of live music. Tickets are £10, with teenagers £5 and children free.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Up-coming Events

I've been gathering together a few flyers of events that look interesting.
Last week at the acoustic session at the Baskie, Valeryan brought in a poster for an event she's appearing at - A Night of Acoustic Music presented by the Friends of the Crown, Dilwyn. The Crown is owned by the parish council, who bought it when it was threatened with closure a few years ago. It's now run as a tenanted free house, with real ale, and it was built as a coaching inn in the seventeenth century. It's also very much a community pub, in the heart of the village.
Performing there on Thursday 22nd June will be Autistry (Gracie and Gelan Swift), Dan Nichol (folk and American traditional music), Mice in a Matchbox (Sally Stamford and Jim Rolt, recently back from sailing round the Caribbean) and Valeryan (former lead singer with the Settlers). Mice in a Matchbox and Valeryan regularly come to the Baskerville acoustic sessions, so if the two performers I don't know are up to those standards, it's going to be a good night.

Then on Saturday 24th June there's the Stoked Summer Feast at Lower House Farm, Longtown. It's billed as a celebration of farming, food and fire, with wood fired cookery, cocktails, and local ale and cider bar as well as the feast - and they have overnight camping with breakfast available.

I probably won't be able to get to either of those, but I will be able to get to Hereford on 1st July for the annual Hereford History Day on Castle Green. This year Historia Normannis will be there, so lots of medieval stuff going on (what a pity I've grown out of my medieval costumes!)

Some years, Hereford History Day is on the same weekend as Beer on the Wye, but this year Beer on the Wye is on the weekend of the 8th July - so I won't be turning up at the bar in any sort of odd costume this year!
I just hope the weather is good.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Uprooted by Nina Lyon

Last year I went to an evening organised at Addyman's bookshop, where half a dozen local authors read from their works. Oliver Balch read from Under the Tump, another chap read from his book about a huge refugee camp in Africa - and I picked up a book called Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man, by Nina Lyon.
I've had an interest in the Green Man for a long time, and Herefordshire is particularly rich in images, mostly in medieval churches, so I was interested in seeing what Nina Lyon had to say.
Nina Lyon chronicles her interest in the Green Man, even toying with the idea of creating a new cult around the mythological figure - only to find that he is already being celebrated in all sorts of ways already. She goes to the Clun Green Man festival, meets a shaman to talk about trees, decorates a wild corner of her garden in an attempt to make it into a sacred grove. She goes to Germany, where medieval images of Green Men are as common as they are in the UK - but the modern pagan revival of interest in them just doesn't seem to have happened. She goes in search of the Green Chapel from the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and meets the Bedlam Wild Hunt Morris men in a pub.
She also talks quite a bit about philosophy - it turns out that she has been involved in the running of the How the Light Gets In festival at the Globe in Hay. In fact, the owner of the Globe, who she refers to only as H, is the father of her children. Throughout the book, she only ever refers to the people she meets by initials - but I recognised some of the local ones, such as G, who lives in a gypsy caravan and has made a Green Man maze at Penpont - he used to run Hay on Fire, a wonderfully anarchic Hallowe'en celebration when I first came to Hay.
So I learned a bit more about the Green Man, and had the enjoyment of recognising local places and people in the search for him, so it was well worth the cover price!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Jumble Sales and Ladies who Lunch

I had quite a bit of stuff that I had intended to sell outside the house, over the Festival. Rain stopped play for that, so I loaded up the Islaymobile - and filled it to the top. This is the shopping trolley I used to wheel my dog around in, when she got too old and arthritic to walk far. It still comes in useful now and again.
I was heading up the road to the church to leave the jumble when I saw Em and Roz coming down. They were off to have lunch at the Old Electric Shop. So I trundled up to the church, unloaded my jumble, dropped the trolley off at home, and joined them for coffee.
After a bit, they started thinking about dessert. "Shall we stay here, or shall we move on?" they mused - eventually opting for scones at Booths Café.
It was a wise choice. The scones at Booths are superb, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, with a choice of three different jams and cream. We ate them with a pot of Earl Grey tea - a lovely way to spend lunchtime for a change.

And today it was the jumble sale, in the Parish Hall, in aid of St Michael's Hospice and doing improvements to the church. It was a real old-fashioned jumble sale, with clothes piled high on tables for customers to rummage through, and toys, bric a brac, books, and (of course) refreshments in the corner. And a raffle, at the door! Hardly anything was priced, and most things seemed to be 50p when you asked.
I got a lid for my wok, a cardigan, a denim shirt and a picture of the harbour at Mousehole, Cornwall which is now hanging in my bathroom.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Living in Interesting Times

So, I woke up this morning to find that Chris Davies, the Conservative candidate, had retained Brecon and Radnor, with James Gibson-Watt, the Lib Dem, in second place. From the figures, it looks as if the UKIP vote in the area pretty much transferred entirely to the Conservatives. Across the country, the UKIP vote collapsed almost entirely, but it wasn't as simple as UKIP voters transferring to the Conservatives in other areas.
Over the border in Herefordshire, both Conservative MPs have kept their seats, which was pretty much the expected result.
Elsewhere in the country, Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond both lost their seats - and Nick Clegg was replaced by Jared O'Mara, a new MP who has been campaigning for disability rights in Sheffield. Another disability campaigner was elected in Battersea, Marsha de Cordova, who is visually impaired. Both the new MPs are Labour.
Also elected last night were two Sikh MPs, Preet Kaur Gill and Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, also both Labour.
So now we just have to wait and see if a working government can be formed from the new intake of MPs....

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Polling Day

Don't forget to vote tomorrow!
The bowling club will be open from 7am to 10pm.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Codlins and Cream visits Hay

The lovely Codlinsandcream2 blog has pictures of a walk round Hay, on 25th and 30th May. I mention this because she takes far better photos than I can!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Last Day of the Festival

It seems to have come round really fast this year! As I walked down through town after closing up at the Cinema, I saw the people on the food stalls in the Castle Gardens packing up. The lovely people at Bain & Murrin had organised a little party for the shop keepers and traders around town, and the sun was shining so we could all spread out across the street with our glasses of bubbly (or beer/lager/fruit juice). It was a lovely end to the Festival, and I only came away because I needed to have my tea!
Down at the Festival site, of course, things are still going on, ending this evening with Bill Bailey.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Artisans at Hay

Today the Artisans in Hay are in the Buttermarket, including one lady who has an impressive array of animal skulls, painted with flowers and butterflies. There's also a monumental blacksmith, a regular to the Festival, with giant metal flowers, jewellery, wooden apples and pears, pottery, and a chap who was sculpting a chicken out of clay. He had several finished sculptures behind him, of chickens doing amusing things (one, entitled "Chick Flick", was holding an old camera), and hares - "Mincing my Words" had the hare turning the handle of an old fashioned mincing machine, with pages of old books being fed into it.
Up by the old HSBC bank there was a man playing a didgeridoo.
And it's Paul Harris's last day opening Oxford House bookshop today - he's going to spend the next three weeks frantically packing before he moves to Spain. I saw him dashing down the street with an arm full of packing materials to pack his pictures.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Festival Friday - Waterways of China and more

So today I've been acting like a Festival-goer, and thoroughly enjoying myself. The weather hasn't been brilliant, unlike yesterday, but I managed to dodge the showers - though I did make the mistake of heading into the Festival Bar for a swift half while I waited for the rain to stop, which ended up being Doombar at an eye-wateringly high price!
I was booked in to see Philip Ball talk about the waterways of China, and how the control of the two great rivers that run across China, the Yellow River and the Yangtse River, have influenced the rise and fall of dynasties right up to the present day. First, I wandered round the stalls again, bought a few postcards, and sat in one of the yellow deckchairs dotted about the grass to drink my frappe.
The talk had been moved from the Wales Stage to the Good Energy stage, so I sat in just about the same seat (in a packed tent) as I had for the Astronomer Royal's talk. I wanted to see what Philip Ball would say about the Grand Canal, which stretches something like 1,000 miles from the south of China to Beijing in the north. I first found out about the existence of the canal when I was writing a Steampunk fantasy story, and needed to get my Victorian lady adventurers from Shanghai to Peking - the Grand Canal was the perfect mode of transport for them. I had no idea that the building of the canal had caused enough unrest to unseat a dynasty - though the following dynasty was perfectly happy to take advantage of the canal for itself. Later European observers talk about vast fleets of ships using the canal to bring tribute to the Emperor.
I also had vague memories of Chairman Mao swimming in the Yangtse River back in the 1960s - I had no idea then just how politically motivated that swim was (and he did it several times), to show that he had control of the rivers and therefore of the country. Although no-one in the Communist State now believed in Heaven, Philip Ball said, the idea of the Mandate of Heaven by which leaders ruled was firmly entrenched in the national psyche - and the immense floods that could happen along the great rivers were a sign that Heaven was not on the side of the present ruler, and often led to protest and unrest. And the floods really were immense - one in the 19th century killed 170,000 people when a dam burst.
The history, shading into myth, of water management in China goes back to before 2000BC, to a hero/emperor called Yu, who was the first to successfully manage the water flow with engineering works. After that, there were two schools of thought about flood management - the Daoist engineers thought that the water should find its own equilibrium and the Confucian engineers thought that the waters should be forced to go where humans wanted it to go. One of the irrigation canals dug early in China's history was so well-designed that it is still being used now.
He also talked about the Three Gorges Dam, which has been surrounded by controversy - and which he's visited, on a very well-regulated tour that only let the tourists see what the authorities wanted them to see.
He said a little about Chinese art involving water, too, and how it could be subtly subversive. Those scenic views of a certain province alluded to a place known as an area of internal exile for Court officials who were out of favour. Those high mountains showed the overshadowing presence of the State - and more recently Chinese artists have used water to protest about pollution and, by trying to stamp the symbol for water onto the surface of a Tibetan river, making a comment about the impossibility of imposing Han Chinese culture on Tibet.
There is, of course, much more in his book, including the great voyages made by Chinese fleets - but I couldn't really justify spending £25 on the hardback.
I did head back to the Festival Bookshop after the talk, though. There was an immensely long queue outside waiting to have their books signed by Anthony Horowitz. Once inside, I spotted a few things that I'd missed the first time round, and treated myself to the paperback version of The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman, What Nature Does for Britain by Tony Juniper, and How Did We Get into This Mess? by George Monbiot. Lots of food for thought there.
Coming back into town, I noticed that the Rum Shack, presently open in the basement under La Maison by the Clock Tower, now has a hammock slung between two poles outside it, as well as a couple of deckchairs. And there's reggae music tonight at the Old Electric Shop.
I also wandered by the Post Office, where the letter box has been replaced by a new ATM machine - though it wasn't working when I saw it yesterday. The nearest post box is now the gold pillar box opposite the Blue Boar corner.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Photo Opportunities - and More on the Festival

I've been having my picture taken. I was serving in the shop when a chap asked for the photography section. When he'd had a look, he came back to the desk and asked to take my picture. He was using an old Leica - I think from the 1970s - with black and white film, just as it would have been used when it was new, and he was taking pictures of staff in every bookshop he could find which had a photography section. The camera had been a retirement present to his father, which was then passed down to him. His name is John Briggs, and he has a photography book out, of pictures around Newport, called Newportrait.
Later, I met Billie Charity on the edge of the last day of Fair on the Square. She also took my picture, which is up on her Facebook page now (also in black and white).
I went to look round the Festival site on Monday afternoon. There are a varied selection of stalls in the front gardens of houses along Brecon Road, as in previous years. The RAFA have a tea stall, and there are two stalls selling welshcakes. One of them also has crafts and wood turning. Then there are vintage clothes, and an ice cream cart, and more crafts in a tent on the corner of Forest Road. Further up Forest Road, Drover Cycles are running a café. The Swan gardens were also open with a beer stall and barbeque, and one of the cottages opposite the Swan had baskets and leather slippers outside.
On the Festival site itself, there were all the usual stalls set out - the Woodland Trust is giving away saplings all week (the first one went to the Duchess of Cornwall when she arrived to look round and to cut the cake celebrating 30 years of Hay Festival). Hay Does Vintage is there, and Athene English with her blankets and vintage clothes. The Oxfam bookshop was packed when I passed, and I treated myself to the latest Phil Rickman Merrily Watkins mystery in the Festival Bookshop, and a slim volume by Ta-Nehisi Coates called Between the World and Me, about what it means to be black in the United States. I picked it up because I recognised his name from discussions about graphic novels on various SF websites, especially the character Black Panther.
I also had a lovely chat with the lady on the Quaker stall. They were giving away postcards of panels which were part of the Quaker Tapestry - a history of the Friends done in embroidery. I remember the tapestry being done - there was a good article in one of the embroidery magazines I was reading at the time, and after the initial exhibition, the panels were scattered among Friends' Meeting Houses all over the country. There's one at Hereford Meeting House (it's down a little alleyway near the pub which is now called Firefly, and used to be the Orange Tree, near the Cathedral). It seems the panels are due to be reunited soon for a new exhibition. I came away with a badge saying "Quakers for Peace" and a couple of booklets on Quaker worship by a chap who calls himself Ben Pink Dandelion.
On the way back into town, I came upon the aftermath of a traffic accident. It seems that a shuttle bus hit a pedestrian outside the Blue Boar - I don't know how badly hurt the pedestrian was. All I saw was the bus pulled up with two police cars in front of it.
On Monday evening, Alan Cooper was playing at the Old Electric Shop, with Di Esplin on cello and Simon Newcomb. They're always good to listen to, but I finished work that night at 9pm, so all I wanted to do was crawl home and go to bed with a mug of cocoa!
Wednesday was the usual acoustic session at the Baskerville - some of the regulars, like Toby Parker, were off performing elsewhere, but Speedgums came along, swelled from their usual double bass and ukulele or banjo with the addition of Thomasin on harmonica and a chap playing the fiddle. Because Craig Charles was DJ at the Baskerville on Monday night, there was only one TV theme tune I could sing - Red Dwarf! And there were enough performers that it took about an hour to get round everyone. Two new faces (half the age of the rest of us, though they were playing Dylan and Johnny B Goode) had come from Builth, and seemed to enjoy themselves. One of them even played ragtime on the piano. And we finished off the evening with Phil leading us in a rousing version of "Sad Old Bastards with Guitars". "Hi, ho, silver lining!"

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Solar Sculpture


This is the sculpture outside the main entrance of the Hay Festival this year. It has little solar panels on it, so that it lights up at night, and is meant to demonstrate what a solar power project in Kenya can do to change people's lives there. Kerosene lamps are widely used there, and the fumes can cause health problems - and clean solar lighting means that students can finish their homework after it goes dark, and so on.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Pale Blue Dot

The title of the talk refers, of course, to Earth as seen from space, as described by Carl Sagan back when men were walking on the Moon.
The speaker was the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, who was introduced as one of the great science communicators of the present day, and as someone who had been supportive of Hay Festival and had encouraged the science part of the programming, which is now 30% of the total.
I saw him at LonCon, the World SF Convention for 2014 - he held a large hall spellbound then.
The Good Energy Stage was packed full - I got a pretty good seat off to the side, quite by accident. Martin Rees started off with the Pale Blue Dot of Earth, and took us out through the solar system, showing pictures from the Curiosity Rover on Mars, and a picture of storms around the pole of Jupiter which had only been released two days before - so right up to date! Beyond our solar system, he talked about the other solar systems in our galaxy discovered by the Kepler space telescope, including the seven planets of Trappist-1 - the inner planets of that system have a "year" of only a few of our days.
And out we went again, to the millions of galaxies beyond our own - that we can see. He described it as like being on a ship at sea - you can see ocean out to the horizon, but you know it goes on beyond that - but not how far. We can also see back in time for billions of years, as far as the first nanosecond after the Big Bang- which he also said was quite remarkable, since when he was a student, the accepted theory was the Steady State Theory, and the Big Bang was just a wild idea.
And then he went out even further, speculating about the multiverse, within which all those millions of galaxies we can see are just one tiny part, and different universes within the multiverse may have completely different laws of physics, depending on how they evolved over the first few seconds of existence.
He also talked about space exploration, and how it made much more sense to send robots than people - at the moment we are getting those amazing pictures of Jupiter and Saturn with 1990s technology, and the technology is improving all the time. He suggested that people going into space would be like Arctic explorers or extreme sports enthusiasts now - more Ranulph Fiennes than Neil Armstrong, and that these would be the people with the incentive to experiment on themselves to adapt to the extremely hostile environments they would be going to, with genetic adaptations and so on. When he's not being the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees is a member of the House of Lords, and sits on committees looking at the regulation of this sort of cutting edge science.
And then he brought it all back in again, back to the Pale Blue Dot - which should be cherished, because it's the only place in all that immensity that we are sure that life exists, and we should be doing our best to preserve what we have. "There is no Planet B," he said at one point, to some laughter from the audience.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Festival Sunday

This morning started, as usual for me, with Broadcasting House on Radio 4 - which was live from Hay Festival today! Judith Kerr was one of the guests onstage, talking about her childhood when her family fled the Nazis (as told in her book When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit), and how to talk to children about terrible events like the Manchester bombing this week. It's a sad thing that there are armed police at Hay Festival this year, and a strict policy on rucksacks.
Then I was in the shop all day, but I did notice a metal giraffe sticking out of one customer's bag, which told me that Martha and Love Zimbabwe were in town, and later a man came in with a small tree, which he'd got from the Woodland Trust on the Festival site.
And the Bean Box is open down by the river, in the garden of the last house before the bridge, selling coffee.
Now I'm just grabbing a snack before I head off to the Festival site myself, for the talk by the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

More Things Happening Around Town

My neighbour normally does a table sale outside the house on the first Saturday of the Festival, and I usually join her. This year I had more than usual to put out, as I'm selling off the medieval re-enactment clothes that no longer fit me.
It was noticeably quieter than previous years down at this end of town - undoubtedly because the Globe is closed this year. However, we made a few sales before the showers forced us to give up. So we went across and had a drink in the Three Tuns instead, as we watched the rain come down and congratulated ourselves that we had made the right decision when we packed up.

So then I had an afternoon free to look round the exhibitions.
Tinto House has wooden sculptures in the garden again, and paintings by John Clare. I met several people hovering outside Tinto House, looking for the Festival Bus Stop - and had to tell them that the shuttle buses are not stopping there this year. The bus stop for the Festival is up at the top of the main car park.
At the Fair in the Square there were stalls for Motor Neurone Disease and the Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Refugee Sanctuary. It was getting a bit windy at that point, and the lady behind the stall was trying to weigh down the papers with whatever she could find. Some of them were drawings by Eugene Fisk. When they organise outings for refugees living locally, Eugene takes a sketch pad along, and does pen and ink portraits of them - he's done about 75 so far. Later when I passed again there was live music in the marquee - Justin Preece who is a regular at the Baskerville acoustic evenings, singing one of his standards with a double bass and female singer on stage with him.
Up at the Hay Loft, it's not just an exhibition of Welsh landscapes (which are beautiful water colours) - the whole room smells gorgeously of leather, from Beara Belts. They also do bags and pendants and so on. And sharing the central table with them were wooden bowls, one of which was made of bog oak estimated to be 8,500 years old.
Moving up the Castle Drive to the Cobbles, most of the Castle outbuildings were in use - the Castle Café is in the stables, decorated with photographs by Billie Charity and Jasper Fforde. Next to them is Seren Books, with books of Welsh interest and portraits of authors (and some fun magpies). Herbfarmacy is also up there, and Beacons Candles where Beer Revolution used to be. Their display had a lovely scent as well.
I just missed seeing Jackie Morris at Booths Bookshop - she's the artist in residence there this weekend - I just saw the table where she had been working, and some of her books on display.

And in Backfold I popped into Haystacks Record Shop, where a new Phil Rickman themed tshirt is on sale. Haystacks have been selling the "Thorogoods Pagan Bookshop" tshirt for a while, as Phil sites his fictional bookshop just about where Haystacks is, in The Magus of Hay. Now it's been joined by "Gomer Parry Plant Hire" with a minimalist portrait of Gomer himself on the front - all bottle bottom glasses and fag hanging out of his mouth. Gomer is one of the fans' favourite characters in Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins series - I think he appears in every book (certainly most of them).
The Buttermarket, meanwhile, has a craft market, and down the Pavement the offices of The Keep are open with an art show. The Table has pictures by Stephen(?) Dorrell and Italian food from Nonna Catarina, and the basement of La Maison has become The Rum Shack for the Festival.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Exhibitions and Things

Today, the Fair on the Square was setting up, with vintage stalls and a marquee with tables and chairs out for music and supper evenings.
I usually do my washing at the launderette on a Friday, so I thought it would be a good idea to get that out of the way before the campers run out of clean clothes! Tangerine Fields is across the river this year, and there are the yurts (with live music) by the Festival Site. When I got to the Launderette, I found that the owner has chosen this week to put the prices up. I don't begrudge paying £4.00 - it's been £3.00 for a long time, but it is starting to be a bit difficult to find the round pound coins (as the coin slots haven't been updated for the new pounds yet), and I'd only taken what I thought was the right change - so I had to walk back home to get another pound coin. A bit of warning would have been nice. The charge for the dryers is unchanged.

I went into Beer Revolution for my customary half of beer while the washing was going - a nice glass of Lucky 7 pale ale. Dix the cartoonist is exhibiting there this year. I also picked up a card for The Long Way Home, an exhibition of contemporary Welsh landscapes by local artist BR Martin Andrews, which will be at the Hay Loft, at the bottom of the Castle Drive. In July he's moving the exhibition to the River Café in Glasbury. The scene shown on the card is snow falling on a wire fence, with a thorn tree, up on the tops, in shades of grey.
St Johns has transformed itself into a Burger Bar again, and Oxfam are having their yearly linen sale - I picked up a fine lawn pillowcase, with intricate embroidery in white, for £2.50. It's a bit frayed round the edges, but it still looks beautiful!
And down the road, opposite the Globe (closed for the week), Paul Haynes has set up his book tent, with bargain books and some prints for sale.
I'm also looking forward to seeing what music is on at the Old Electric Shop this year, as they stay open into the evenings. Last night, I was sitting outside Kilvert's with friends, and drinking Brecon Brewery's new beer The Physicians of Myddfai - "with suitable herbs", which was very refreshing.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

First Day of the Festival

It's always a bit quiet on the first day of the Festival. It's Primary School Day on the Festival ground, so we see the coaches taking the children down there, while in town, the first Festival goers are starting to drift around and explore the bookshops.
There are various pop-up exhibitions in town. Where Chattels used to be, by the Buttermarket, is Out of the Blue Gallery, with art and driftwood sculpture - the driftwood used to be exhibited at Salem Chapel, where the Model Railway is now.
Just along from there, where the St David's Hospice shop used to be, there are ironwork fire-baskets and other similar things, very beautifully made. I think they were exhibiting their wares from a garden on Brecon Road last year - the oak leaf designs seem familiar.
Up at the castle, Billie Charity is exhibiting her photographs, along with Jasper Fforde (better known for his novels than his photos of amazing ceilings!) and Zoe's café, which opens tomorrow.
Down by the Festival site is The Orchard Canvas Village, with Fred's Yurts and Festivals under Canvas. They are having live music (I was given the poster by Toby Parker at last night's Baskerville Acoustic Session), from local musicians including Thomasin Tooey ('diddly-eye' traditional music on various flutes and whistles) , the Speed Gums (double bass and ukulele, if I recall correctly from their appearance at the Baskie), and more. There will also be fine dining under canvas at their pop-up restaurant. And massage!
There'll be more fine dining at the Marquee at the Fair in the Square over the weekend, in aid of the Refugee Community Kitchen and HOWLS. HOWLS have been asking for volunteers to help out. Meals there are £45 for a five course banquet.
And Jackie Morris will be the artist in residence at Booths Bookshop. She does gorgeous picture books, and has also done the book covers for Robin Hobb fantasy novels. Expect dragons and hawks and hares, and lots of gilding.

On the main Festival site, there will be a maquette of a proposed statue to the victims of war, to be erected at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. They have a website at www.pityofwar.com, and are asking people to share their stories on Facebook and Twitter.

It's my day off tomorrow, so I'll be wandering round and seeing what else is going on round town and on the Festival site.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Manchester Bombing

I've been rather preoccupied over the last couple of days, with what's been happening in the city of my birth.
I'm a Mancunian - and I am so proud of the way the people of Manchester have come together after the terrible bomb blast at Manchester Arena.

So for a while my thoughts have been with the people of Manchester - but Hay Festival starts tomorrow, so I'll be back to blogging about Hay again then.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Book Art


Book art at the Cinema Bookshop - the theme is Shakespeare.
Next week, we're getting a new display for the Festival, on the theme of Dylan Thomas.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Hay Tap Orange Card

To be honest, I'd almost forgotten about this.
When Brecon Tap announced that they were in discussions to take over the running of Kilvert's in Hay (and make it their Hay Tap) they did some crowdfunding. I wasn't able to take part when they did this to start Brecon Tap, but the thought of being able to walk up the road to partake of their amazing pies (and the excellent beer) made me look at my finances and decide I could afford to help them out this time.
And then I forgot about it until I saw a friend, who had also put money into the scheme.
The idea was that participants would get a card, with 50% of the amount they had donated on it, to use at the bar of both Hay and Brecon Tap. My friend is a great fan of loyalty cards, and had emailed them to ask when the card would be available, and I met her when she was going up to collect it from behind the bar. Bless her, she had also mentioned that I hadn't got a card yet either, so I went up with her.
So we now have the Orange Card, and since we were there, and didn't have to do much in the afternoon, we decided to use our cards straight away. She had a coffee, and I had a half of the guest ale, which I think was called Thor Ale? and was a collaboration between women brewers. Spicy, and quite strong, and very tasty.

There are so many places where it's possible to get really good beer in Hay!

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Battle of Painscastle

I was stopped the other day by someone who knows of my interest in re-enactment and local history - she wanted to know more about the Battle of Painscastle, which is not far from Hay.
It's not one of the better known battles of medieval history, but it was disastrous for the Welsh.
In 1195, Matilda de Braos's forces caused a "great slaughter" of the Welsh defenders when she took Painscastle - she also built Hay Castle, and her husband William was lord of nearby Huntington.
In 1198, Prince Gwenwynwyn ap Owain of Powys brought up his army to besiege the castle and bring it back under Welsh control, and on 13th August 1198, after mediation had failed, an English army arrived to break the siege, and the justiciar of England, Geoffrey fitz Peter, took the decision to meet Prince Gwenwynwyn in pitched battle.
It was a slaughter. The Welsh forces broke almost straight away and an estimated 3,000 men died - with hardly a man lost on the English side. It was said that the River Bachawy ran red with the blood of the slain. It was one of the biggest massacres in Welsh history, and several of the Welsh princes who accompanied Gwenwynwyn were killed.
After that, the castle passed back and forth between Welsh and English lords, and the earthworks are still impressive. The castle was last in use when it was re-fortified against Owain Glyndwr in around 1400.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Lonesome Stampede

Local band Lonesome Stampede have made an album, and they're launching it at the Globe on Saturday night. The event starts at 8pm, till 11pm, and then they're having an After Party at the Rose and Crown from 11pm until 2am, with DJ Ben and Max's.
So I imagine there'll be a bit of a crowd moving from one venue to the other down Broad Street at about 11pm.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Hay Library on BBC Wales

If you type Mid Wales into the "Local News" box, there's a short story about how matters stand for Hay Library at the moment.
I was quite surprised, this morning, to get a phone call from a nice chap at BBC Wales, who was looking for background information from people who were involved in the campaign to keep the Library open. The press release from HOWLS only went out yesterday, so it was a good job I'd read it on the Facebook page!
I may not have done much for the Publicity Sub-Committee so far - but at least I've now talked to the BBC!

Monday, 15 May 2017

HOWLing at Tomatitos

HOWLS (the Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters group) will be meeting at Tomatitos on Wednesday at 7pm.
They will be taking stock of the situation so far, and making arrangements for activities over the Festival period.
Everyone welcome!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Small Business Sunday

The shop facing Kilvert's Hotel, Underwhere (which sells underwear) will be closing down soon, though they say their shop in Leominster will still remain open.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Council Meeting- Fair, Cemetery, Street Lights, Future Events and County Councillor's Report

An update on the situation in the car park for Hay Fair, seen on Gareth Ratcliffe's Facebook page - after a site visit from all interested parties, it was decided that the Fair would have to set up in its usual position, due to the slope of the car park - they need the flat ground at the bottom. So the recycling bins will be moved and reduced in number to fit everything in, just over the period of the Fair, and the bins will also be emptied more frequently over that period.

And back in the Council Chamber, the councillors were discussing the proposed extension to the cemetery. Rob Golesworthy had been in discussion with the land owner for a while, and reported failure at the last council meeting, but Derek is fairly new to the council, and seems to know local farmers, so he said that he would re-open negotiations. There is £100,000 available from the County Council for extending the cemetery, but it's only on offer for 5 years, and we've already had 18 months of that time. There are already plans drawn up showing how much land is needed - and the money on offer also has to cover things like maintenance and providing access to the new area as well as just buying the land.

Hay has been trialing new LED street lights, which shine with a more white light than the old lights, and use much less electricity. However, there are some problems to be ironed out, as the letter from a resident of Cae Pound pointed out. They now have this bright white light shining directly into their bedroom all night. Now that Gareth is aware of it, he can get in touch with the relevant office in the County Council and arrange for shielding to be put up round the light. It was also mentioned that the Brecon Beacons is a Dark Skies location, for astronomy tourism, and street lights should also be shielded from shining upwards, and causing that glow that obscures the stars.

There are a couple of special events coming up in Hay in the near future. The first will be a conference on Post-Brexit Britain, this June, I think, and next August there will be a Festival celebrating Richard Booth. The organiser of this second event, Georgie Cook, wants to come to talk to the Town Council about it.

Gareth gave his County Councillor's report from the audience, starting by thanking Rob Golesworthy for running a good campaign for election. He is still waiting to see how the changes in the composition of the County Council will work out - the largest group (though smaller than it was) is still the Independents, followed by the Conservatives, and there will have to be some sort of cross-party co-operation to get a working majority. Gareth mentioned that one County Councillor, standing for re-election, got a grand total of 17 votes, and came fourth in his ward!
However, Gareth has already raised the matter of the shorter hours and changed rules at the recycling centres round the county, which are causing a lot of anger - vans and double axle trailers are no longer permitted, even when it is domestic waste, as the recycling centres say they have had problems with small businesses pretending to be ordinary members of the public to dump their waste. And there have been long queues on the days that the recycling centres are actually open.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Council Meeting - Parking, Woodland Group and Persimmon

The parking of cars seemed to be a theme running through the meeting on Monday.
On the Gliss, two owners of abandoned cars there are expected to remove them soon, leaving one with its wheels stacked up behind it.
Meanwhile, two camper vans have been seen down there, staying overnight. This was considered to be more of an issue than residents parking overnight, and it was suggested that the signs down there should be changed from "No overnight parking" to "No overnight camping".
Down at the Sports Pavilion, a rota has been worked out that all the sports clubs seem to be happy with, for charging for parking in their car park over the Festival. However, a letter has been received by the Town Council by a lady who lives in the Harley Almshouses. She has been parking her car in the sports pavilion car park, and wonders where she will be able to park in future. The councillors were clear that they couldn't make exceptions for parking there - if she was allowed to park, then other residents of the Almshouses and Brecon Road would want to have the same rights, and there would be no room for the actual users of the sports facilities. So she will have to park on Brecon Road in future.
At the other end of town, the lady who lives in the house just on the edge of the parking zone by the Globe will be disappointed too. The councillors decided that they couldn't take action to extend the parking zone to cover her. Partly this was because the parking scheme was supposed to be a pilot scheme run by the County Council. They seem to have forgotten this, and allowed it to run for about three years, but it is up to them to evaluate whether the scheme has been successful or not, and what boundaries to put on it. They also pointed out that extending the scheme down Newport Road would involve getting the agreement of the residents down the road, to be included in it.
Up at Black Lion Green, there used to be parking for residents at the top of the Green in the field at the end, which had been made into a car parking area. However, this is now closed, along with the business it was attached to, so the residents there no longer have parking spaces near their houses.
And at the Council Chambers, it was agreed that the parking spaces should be for the use of Nigel the Town Clerk and the new Admin Assistant, whoever that might be (two candidates have come forward, and will be interviewed shortly). There have been complaints from the Catholic Church across the road that people using the Council Chambers have been parking there.
And finally, on parking, the Hay Fair will be arriving on Hay Car Park shortly, to find things moved around quite considerably from where they were last year, due to the building of the new school. There should be a plan on parking for the Fair, so councillors were going to check on this.

There was good news on the shipping container that the Town Council wants to buy for the use of the Woodland Group (that shed by the Sports Pavilion has still not been cleared out). It's going to be cheaper than they thought - at around £2,000. However, there isn't enough room for it to be put by the electricity substation where they thought it could be sited. So now they are considering the other end of the Riverside Path, at the Gliss, or even under the bridge, though there is some uncertainty about how it could be moved there. It would, of course, be green, to blend in with the surroundings as much as possible.

At the Warren end of the Path, Persimmon have been causing problems again. They have been cutting trees down without permission, and have been working at times that they agreed no work should be done. The agreement was that they should work from 8am to 6pm on weekdays, 8am to 1pm on Saturday, and do no work on Sundays - but residents overlooking the site have reported work going on (and the radio blaring out) on Sundays. The councillors agreed to invite the managers of the Persimmon site to a Council meeting to discuss this, and other issues such as the entrance they made into the site that they were supposed to stop using.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

May Council Meeting - Councillors, Crime and a Bench

Congratulations to Trudy Stedman, our new mayor, and to Alan Powell, this year's deputy mayor. Other councillors were decidedly thin on the ground, though. Gareth Ratcliffe attended in the audience, as he has decided to concentrate on being the county councillor for Hay this time. He thinks that he will be better able to fight Hay's corner if he does this.
There are six town councillor vacancies, and adverts will be going out soon to ask people to come forward to fill the places. Another member of the audience on Monday was Richard Greatrex, who has been involved with the fight to save Hay Library as part of HOWLS, and he said that he would be willing to step forward. He commented that the Town Council still has a problem with communicating what they are doing to the general public - maybe more people would be willing to take part if they knew what the Town Council is involved in, and what they have done for Hay! He added that decent photos on the website would be a start - which prompted a story of a recent incident in which Steve Like (40 years a town councillor) and Alan Powell (I think) were reported as being suspicious individuals when they were doing some measuring up on council business - the person reporting them had no idea who they were.
Another idea would be to get younger people involved, such as pupils from Gwernyfed School - they wouldn't have voting rights, but would be able to take part in the debates, and it would give them an idea of what local democracy is all about.

PC Lee was at the table, to give his crime report. He said there had been 119 calls to the police since the last time he was there - two or three involved cannabis, and there were four burglaries including Clyro Garage and tools being stolen from a local farm. He mentioned that any information about drug use locally can be given over the phone anonymously by dialling 101.
There was one case of fraud in which someone pretending to be from BT phoned a lady up, managed to persuade her to let them get into her computer, and got her to send money to Morocco!
Other activity of interest to the police included seven traffic collisions, and kids messing about in Hay Castle and causing some damage at Clyro School. He said it would be a lot better if there was a youth club - he would know where the kids were, and the kids would have something to do instead of hanging around and getting into trouble.
The Town Plan does include plans for a new youth club, and the new owners of the Rose and Crown have apparently offered their back room, with pool table, (not the bar) for youngsters on quiet nights.
One person was also banned from all the local pubs - and has since moved out of the area.
It is also Stop Rogue Traders Week - PC Lee had signs, and there was a photo opportunity! Trudy wore the mayoral chain for the first time to pose with PC Lee, Alan Powell and the signs.
Speedwatch seems to be going well, and is being expanded to Newport Street, Brecon Road and Gypsy Castle Lane.
PC Lee also asked if anyone locally would like to set up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. He is also available to talk to any local groups which would like to hear him, about scams and how to avoid them.

There is a possibility that BT will deliver a new bench opposite the Cinema Bookshop, and take away the old one which was installed incorrectly when they brought it back after installing the new BT green boxes. Though there was some doubt about whether they would get the job done before Hay Festival. Councillors want to put a brass plaque on the new bench to commemorate Arnold Wesker - they have the plaque, and there were comments about attaching a sign to the existing, far too low, bench if BT don't do the work, which would say "Temporary bench due to BT incompetence". If BT don't come up with the new bench, Hay Castle have said that they have a bench they are willing to give.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The London Welsh Male Voice Rugby Choir - in Hay

There will be a special concert at St Mary's Church on Saturday 13th May, at 7pm.
The London Welsh Male Voice Rugby Choir will be singing, supported by the Black Lion Singers.
The concert is in memory of Betty Weir, who died last year. She was half of the North Weir Trust, a charity which gives grants to local people who wish to advance their education or extend their professional expertise through voluntary work. It's been giving grants for twenty five years now, and Vera North, the other half of the partnership, is still involved.
When Betty died, it was decided to put on a special event to raise money for the North Weir Trust, and this is the result.
Roger Beetham, from the B&B at the back of Hay Cinema Bookshop, has been singing with the choir since 2005, when it toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions. The choir also sang at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics - so they're used to big crowds!
Tickets are £12, and are available from Roger and Dawn Beetham on 01497 820408, Eric Pugh on The Pavement, and Jackson and Gill Opticians in Backfold.
There will be a bar serving wine and soft drinks.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Congratulations to Gareth Ratcliffe

The results of the council elections are in, and Gareth Ratcliffe has been re-elected as the County Councillor for Hay, with 71% of the votes cast. This time, he was running as a Lib Dem - last time he was a Conservative. His opponent in the election was Rob Golesworthy, who was running as a Conservative.
For the rest of Powys, Llangors now has a Green councillor, Emily Durrant - the first Green county councillor in Powys. Talgarth and Glasbury remain Lib Dem, with William Powell and James Gibson-Watt holding their seats.

So there are now 30 Independents in the County Council - the biggest group, but down 18 from last time (though some just changed from being Independent to joining a party). The next biggest group is the Conservatives, with 19 (up 9 from last time), followed by the Lib Dems with 14 (up 4 from last time), 7 Labour (up 1), with 2 Plaid Cymru and one Green (both new parties to the County Council).

Friday, 5 May 2017

Springfield Arts

I happened to be in Hay Wholefoods when a lady was there leaving some leaflets, so out of curiosity I took one.
It made me laugh - because the arts courses she is advertising are based at Springfield, Crickadarn, near Erwood. Years ago, when I and my husband were homeless for a time, we lived at Springfield with the friends who lived there then, in a shed in the field. (We both had jobs, and money in the bank, but it was impossible to find somewhere in the area to live!)
I imagine it's changed quite a bit since we were there, and the courses look interesting: Mapuche weaving from Southern Chile, painting with cold wax, printing leaves onto silk and paper, felting, Wabi Sabi (which seems to be creating an artists book from prints) and landscape painting techniques. The cheapest course, one day of weaving, is £75, and the most expensive, the cold wax and landscape techniques over two days, are £275.
It's a beautiful place to do art - I remember embroidering on a frame in the middle of a meadow full of flowers one summer there - and there are lovely walks in every direction, too.
They have a website at www.springfieldarts.co.uk

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Stitch and Bitch

As it's the First Thursday of the month, a good number of knitting and stitching ladies turned up at the Three Tuns earlier this evening. There were reports from Wonderwool - maybe not the bargains to be had that there were in previous years, but some gorgeous wool on offer all the same.
One lady showed photos of her daughter's wedding, which I think was the first wedding to be held in Booths Bookshop - they had overflow seating in the cinema, so the guests could watch everything on the big screen!
Kitty brought her jumper which needed a bit of TLC, provided by Tracy - something had gone horribly wrong with the sleeves, but it's back on track now. She had intended to go on to the Greenpeace meeting at the Globe, but stayed to chat instead.
Another lady was only there because her book club had cancelled their meeting, with her incredibly elaborate jumper which she's been knitting for over a year now, incorporating all her husband's favourite animals in the design.
And Tracy regaled us with stories of her recent holiday in Ireland - including Newgrange and Knowth. She wants to go back and see more of the country.
There was much discussion of what's on at Hay Festival this year - Sharon has bought tickets to several events for her helpers who come to the camp site at Llanigon, and the campsite has sponsored an event, too. Kitty works in the press office over the Festival, and has also started introducing a few events - she says she normally sleeps for a couple of days when it's all over!
The next First Thursday will be in the middle of Hay Festival, so we probably won't be meeting at the Three Tuns (it would be unfair to expect them to reserve a table for us on the busiest week of the year) - but we might take our knitting down to the Festival site instead!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Polling Day

Don't forget to vote in the local elections tomorrow, down at the Bowling Club.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Book Art


The book art is starting to come out of the windows around town today, but here's another example of what was on display.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Local Democracy in Trouble

According to the advert in this month's WyeLocal, there won't be any elections for the positions of town councillors this year. In fact, only five people have put their names forward to be councillors this time. As the council needs eleven members to be at full strength, this is rather worrying. The only thing they can do to fill the vacant seats is to co-opt members - just over half the council!
Being a town councillor is a huge amount of work now, all done voluntarily, and if no-one wants to come forward, I'm not sure how it will all be done.
Local elections are on Thursday, at the Bowling Club, and there is still the County Councillor to vote for.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Small Business Saturday - Mayalls to Let

Mayall's the Jewellers closed a little while ago, and has been quietly sitting there behind the black wooden shutters.
Today, the shutters are down, and a "To Let" sign is in the window.
All trace of the jeweller's shop has been swept away - the partition wall across the middle of the building has gone without trace, leaving it open to the back wall, where there is another outside door and a window, and a fireplace. The staircase runs across the middle of the room at a slant, and the old floorboards have been revealed - black, and wide, and very old.
I peered in the window with the lady who has a spinning wheel on the Saturday market. She could just see herself spinning in there - though she doesn't really want to be tied to running a shop. She prefers the freedom of just doing the markets when she wants to. It could be a pretty card or gift shop, or something of that sort.

Friday, 28 April 2017

A Kind Gift

Many thanks to the kind person who left chicken soup on my doorstep yesterday!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

This Week's Interesting Events

Interesting things have been happening all this week, and I'm only just now taking an interest in the world again - and reading my emails to find out what's going on.

On Saturday, a phone call I missed turned out to be one of the ladies from Stitch and Bitch asking if I wanted to go to Wonderwool - which would have been a wonderful day out if I'd been well enough.

On Monday, Emma Balch hosted an evening at Pottery Cottage, Clyro, with three of the book artists whose work is in shop windows around town. About 25 people turned up, and it sounds as if it was a really enjoyable evening.

More seriously, tonight is a Special General Meeting of the Bronllys Well Being Park at Bronllys Hospital, 7pm, to talk about their progress and to vote on the new Bronllys Well Being Park (CLT) Ltd Board.

One thing which I'd been looking forward to for a while is the Campfire Convention meeting at the Old Electric Shop on Saturday, from 7pm until late. I've been on the fringes of testing their website (I haven't been as active as I would like, what with one thing and another) and it sounds like a really interesting evening of conversation, talking about global issues and local concerns, grass-roots democracy and anything else that is sparked off by the discussion. I don't think I'll have the energy to do that and then totter into work the following morning! The evening costs a suggested donation of £3, and Pete Lawrence has a website at www.campfireconversation.com

Also, the University of Cusop Dingle is meeting tonight, Thursday, at the Swan at 7pm. Chris Bradshaw will be presenting a talk called The Dead Man's History of the Universe - and King Richard will be at the Swan at 6pm on May 1st to celebrate his 40th anniversary of Glorious Rule, to which he invites all his loyal subjects!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

ShropDoc

I have a chest infection - I started coughing on Thursday, but I thought if I just took it easy over Friday and Saturday I'd be fine for work on Sunday.
I wasn't getting any better - in fact, I was getting worse, and by Sunday I also had pain in every joint in my body.
I knew I needed medical assistance, but I wasn't sure what to do - it's several years since I've been into Hay Surgery, and I couldn't find their phone number (and they'd be closed on Sunday anyway). I tried NHS 111, and found it was only for England - and then my neighbour brought me the number for ShropDoc.
The first young lady I spoke to took my details, and said someone else would phone back within the hour - and please to keep the line clear. "I'm not going to be chatting to all my friends," I said, somewhat tartly. I tend to get querulous when I feel ill, and it had taken me all my time to crawl downstairs to the phone.
Within the hour, I spoke to a Sister, who took more details, and said I really ought to be seen. Could I get to Brecon? Since I could hardly totter around the house, the answer was no - and I couldn't face the thought of ringing round people I knew with a car to take me. It just seemed like a monumental task which was completely beyond me. By this time I was nearly crying and saying I just wanted the pain to go away. So she said she would send someone to see me.
I crawled back to bed.
A little while later, a lovely lady came and examined me, and to my alarm said that she'd really prefer it if I went into hospital. She wanted to put me on a drip. At least I knew I hadn't called them out for something trivial, but I said I'd really rather not, so she left me with a stack of painkillers and some antibiotics for the chest. And, bless her, she even made me a pot of tea. "I couldn't find a teapot," she said, as she came upstairs with teabags floating in my cafetiere. So she said I should go into Hay Surgery on Monday, and left me to it.

I asked my neighbour to run me down to the surgery, and then I was very surprised to get a phone call from one of the doctors on Monday morning, to find out how I was (better than I had been) and to say that I was already on the list of appointments, as the paperwork from ShropDoc had just come through. I was very impressed.
So I spent a while in the waiting room of the surgery. They have a screen on the wall now where patients who knew what they were doing could check in and see the time of their appointment, and they have a box on the wall which people were using to post forms for repeat prescriptions - and there was a steady stream of people coming in to collect prescriptions from the receptionists (who were all lovely and helpful).
Also, Radio Two is very soothing.
So I was seen, and examined again, and told to keep taking the tablets I'd got.
And now I intend to spend the rest of the week in bed!

I was very impressed with how smoothly it all came together - and I'm very grateful for the NHS!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Book Art


Another example of the book art on show in the windows of Hay shops.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Buskers on Market Day

As I was heading towards the clock tower, I couldn't help noticing the two young men busking at the top of the Pavement - I've never heard the Star Wars theme played on guitar before!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Fantastic Night at the Baskie

The ballroom was packed - I oounted 26 musicians at one point, so there was only time for a couple of songs each. Fortunately there were a lot of songs where everyone could join in, including one song that Becky started a capella, with guitarists gradually joining in round the room.
Susan passed round photocopies of a painting of George, the dragon and the maiden, and read out a UA Fanthorpe poem about it (where the maiden ponders whether she really wants to be rescued, the dragon complains that the painter missed his feet off, and George comes with diplomas in dragon management).
My contribution to the evening was two songs I sang at the EasterCon filk session (filk is science fiction themed folk music) - the first one was based on Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, and I got the songwriter to autograph my songbook. I sang the second one (Welsh History 101, failed), looked up from the book at the name badge of the chap sitting opposite me, and realised he was the songwriter - so I got him to autograph my book, too!
And then there was the new trio, who sang Copacabana with enthusiastic accompaniment.
A great time was had by all!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Keep the Hay Ho Bus Rolling

The spring newsletter for the Hay Ho Sunday bus service is now out from Drover Holidays - and the good news is that the fares are staying the same.
The bad news is that numbers using the service have gone down over the autumn and winter months.
Although they receive a small grant from Herefordshire County Council and Powys County Council, they also need supporters among the community for the service to continue - this includes local bed and breakfast establishments along the route, and the likes of Addyman Books and Eighteen Rabbit in Hay - or anyone who is interested in the bus service continuing to operate.
So they have a suggestion - many of the pubs along the bus route do food on Sundays, and the bus times make it easy to go for a short walk and then lunch in the local pub without worrying about driving home.
For the May Bank Holiday, when the Hay Ho bus will be running, which is also during Hay Festival, the team have organised a 4 to 5 mile walk with bus ride, using the 11.55 bus from Hay to Hardwick, and walking back along the Wye Valley walk. Les Lumsden and Mike Ledlie have both written local walking books, and Les also has a blog called Slow Travel in the Marches (also the name of his book).

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Small Business on Tuesday


I've only been gone a few days - and a new shop has opened!
So it's now possible to get falafels in the middle of Hay, rather than once a week from a market stall.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A Short Holiday

I'll be off line for a few days over Easter.
In the meantime, here is a picture of some of the book art that's being displayed in shop windows around Hay.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Hay Tap

I met the lady from Kilvert's last week, walking Freddie the dog. She said she was looking forward to her retirement.
And when I next passed Kilverts, there had been a transformation!
There's a shelf of Brecon Brewery bottled beers opposite the door, and Tommo behind the bar was wearing a smart new waistcoat with the Brecon Brewery logo.
I had a half of Gold Beacons.
This is now the sister bar to the Brecon Tap. I'm looking forward to trying their pie.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Coach Trip to Lichfield


Susan wanted company when she went on a coach trip last week, so I joined her for a day out in Lichfield.
It's a charming town, and the main reason for the visit was the Doctor Johnson Museum. The coach was full, so we split into two groups for the guided tour.
We were in the first group, and we just had time for lunch at a lovely old pub called The Scales - all oak beams and three good real ales. I had the spicy bean burger and Susan had the bacon and cheese burger, which came with chips served in a mini deep fat fryer. Some people dislike quirky serving methods like this, but I quite liked this one.
Thus fortified, we were ready for the tour - the house was built by Samuel Johnson's father, Michael, who was a master bookbinder, and also had a book shop, and he decided he wanted eleven bedrooms! I think he wanted the tallest house on the square. Down in the basement was the kitchen, where the family spent most of their time (it would be the warmest room, after all), and on the ground floor was the bookshop, now the gift shop and charity bookshop, and Michael's work room where he did his bookbinding.
Upstairs, the biggest bedroom was where Samuel was born - his mother was quite elderly for a first pregnancy, and it was a difficult birth, which left him with a life long limp, partially sighted and partially deaf. However, she later gave birth to another boy, Nathaniel, about whom very little was known - he died at the age of 27 and left very little in documented evidence apart from a letter where he is apologising to his mother for his drunken behaviour!
Samuel went to the local grammar school, where he was saved from beatings for late arrival by his friends carrying him to school on their backs! In return, he did their homework for them.
The family were not wealthy enough to send Samuel to university, but he did manage to spend 18 months studying at the cheapest college, with a legacy of £40.
After that, he became a jobbing writer and went to London. For a while he and his wife Tetty ran a school, which was not successful, though one of the pupils was David Garrick (a Hereford lad) who became a great friend, and the leading actor of his age.
As we learned more about his life, we climbed higher up the house.
The thing that Samuel Johnson is most famous for is his dictionary, the first of its kind - it took him 10 years to complete, with various problems including a patron who didn't provide the money he had promised. However, on the strength of his work, Samuel was awarded an honorary doctorate from Dublin University, and was thereafter known as Doctor Johnson.
By this time, he had met his biographer and friend, Boswell.
Meanwhile back in Lichfield, his father had died, and his mother and a cousin who acted as maidservant ran the bookshop for thirty years.
The guide who took us round had done some research on the women of the family, and also on some of the words in the dictionary. She said she had been surprised to find the word "barbeque" included, with the meaning "cooking a whole hog in the West Indian style". One word which has changed its meaning is "nice". In Johnson's day, it meant "exact" rather than "pleasant".
When Tetty died, Samuel fell into a deep depression, so a friend decided to give him a little black slave boy as a present "rather like giving someone a puppy", the guide said. Samuel was vehemently against the slave trade, so he freed the boy, adopted him as his son, and educated him. This was Frances Barber, who was with him when he died, along with his wife, a white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, called Elizabeth.
Recently a family in Stoke-on-Trent were doing some family history research, and discovered that they were descendants of Frank and Elizabeth - which explained the family traits of either having curly hair and brown eyes or blonde hair and blue eyes! Now they get invited to all the events at the museum.
I'd known a bit about the life of Doctor Johnson when I went in, but I found the tour, and the details about the rest of his family and the people he surrounded himself with, fascinating.

Then there was time to have a look at the cathedral, which dates back to St Chad in Saxon times (the Lichfield Angel and the Lichfield Gospels were sadly not accessible when we were there).
The other important time in the cathedral's history was the Civil War, when the cathedral was besieged, and a marksman in the tower managed to shoot the leader of the besiegers. I stood on Dam Street not far from where the soldier fell, and was impressed at the accurate shooting!
After that, disaster struck, and the cathedral needed to be rebuilt - Charles II, whose statue is at the top of the post, gave money towards the work.
Lichfield Cathedral also has the most gorgeous Flemish stained glass, and the tomb of Bishop Selwyn, who was Bishop of New Zealand after he was Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry.

On the way back to the coach, we looked at the plaques on the church wall on the square where a market was being held - and found that four people were burned at the stake in that square over the years, including one woman, and the last person to be burned at the stake in England, in 1612.
All in all, it was a fascinating day out!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Council Meeting - Bits and Pieces

It seems the bridge is about to be painted, at long last! But plans for an extension to the cemetery are no further forward.
The Town Council needs another admin assistant, as Kevin is leaving. At the moment the post is for ten hours a week, on flexi-time, but there have only been four applicants for the job and the councillors wondered whether they are offering enough hours.
A letter arrived, concerned with the 19thC maps which were being kept in the cellar. The writer recommended moving the maps to a dry place, and that "three or four councillors" could work on the maps to restore them! As if the councillors don't have enough to do! Which reminded some of the councillors of all the records that the County Council just threw out some years ago....

Work is going on to make sure that the wards for elections of councillors are about the same size throughout the county - in fact, this is an international initiative, to ensure that the votes of each member of the public have about the same effect. The idea is fairness of representation, and in Powys it will mean that the total number of councillors will go down from 72 to 65. Some councillors wondered what the county councillors would find to do, since so many of their functions are being devolved down to the town councils and other functions are being taken over by the Welsh Assembly.

There are two vacancies at the Harley Almshouses - applicants need to be single and female, according to the terms of the charity.

At Hay School, a crane has been on site to lift in temporary classrooms, as the infants area is due to be knocked down over the Easter Holidays. So work is progressing well there.

SpeedWatch has also been doing well, and the police are considering extending the scheme to Gipsy Castle, as soon as they find a suitable place for the volunteers with the speed guns to stand without endangering themselves.

The town council are unsure about what is happening at the site of the old community centre, where Wales and West are supposed to be building social housing. Fiona Howard was distinctly unimpressed with the plans - she described the houses as "sheds" and said that they have only the tiniest of gardens, and there are still problems with the main access to the site, as well as problems with flooding. Wales and West are supposed to be engaging with the local community and the town council, but there has been no contact with them so far.
And at the other building sites around town - Readers Retreat has put up a sign directing people interested in the site into a dangerous situation they then have to reverse their cars out of. They were also refused planning permission for a portacabin on site. On the railway line, they've cut down two trees that they were not supposed to cut down, and gone onto private land to put a fence up. It seems they are not interested in getting permission for what they do - they're just going ahead and doing what they like.

The next meeting of the council will be the AGM on the 8th May, after the elections.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Council Meeting - Fly tipping, Recreation Facilities, Woodland Group, Hay Festival Parking

Pictures were shown of the cattle market. Brightwells, which lease the market, have been told to clear up the mess there. However, Fiona Howard said that, in her experience, Brightwells are very good at clearing up after each market - she has a back way into her garden which goes through the market. She also pointed out that the bath in the field shown on one of the pictures wasn't fly tipping - it was the trough for water for the sheep!
However, it was agreed that the fencing needs attention.
County Council officials had said they wouldn't come to Hay to discuss fly tipping with local councillors because the County Council is in purdah before the elections, and they can't do anything political. It was pointed out to them that fly tipping is not a political issue, and Gareth Ratcliffe agreed not to attend the meeting so there would be no whiff of impropriety.

Meanwhile at the sports pavilion, the Tennis Club has folded, with a small amount of money in its bank account. They have agreed that £250 will go towards cleaning the tennis courts, and the balance of the remaining funds will go to more cleaning and maintenance. The various sports clubs are sorting out the grass cutting between them, and HADSCAL have announced that they won't be getting involved. There is still some problem with the water supply and sewage to the Sports Pavilion, which needs to be resolved before the Town Council take over responsibility for the running of the building, and the estimate for the gas bill seems unreasonably high - they only use hot water for showers. Meter readings are going to be taken to check to see if the gas is coming on and heating the water when no-one is there.

The garage which was to become the headquarters of the Woodland Group has still not been cleared out - there is stuff from the football club still in there. However, a new idea was suggested - the Town Council could buy a shipping container and site it by the gas sub-station, nearer to the riverside paths. As it would not be a permanent building, it would not need to have planning permission. They estimated that a suitable shipping container would cost between £2,000 and £4,000. The money could come from the recycling fund or the council reserves, and the Woodland Trust would pay a nominal fee to use it.

There will be parking for Hay Festival on the cricket ground this year, but this needs to be manned so that cars are not parked there when it rains (which would damage the ground) and to take money. The sports clubs will have to find a rota of volunteers - and also to man the Gliss, if they want the revenue from the Festival parking there. Fiona Howard said that she wanted nothing to do with it, after many years of being stuck with the school car park duty.

Which leads on to more parking problems at Berry's Cottage, which has no on-road parking, and is just outside the boundary of the residents' parking scheme. It was commented that the residents' parking scheme was still a pilot scheme, with no signs of it coming to an end, in its third year! Councillors felt it would be too complicated to sort out a new boundary for the scheme to include Berry's Cottage right now, and are therefore leaving it as a job for the new town council after the elections.



Friday, 7 April 2017

Council Meeting - Library, Independence Celebrations, Car Parks and Town Plan

The councillors wondered how they were going to calculate the amount the community will have to pay towards the running of the Library in 2018 - 19. Powys County Council are still being vague about the figures.
Fiona Howard pointed out how much the Town Council has done behind the scenes to save the library, and added that, when there was a public meeting on the issue, nobody came along to say that the Library shouldn't be in the new school building. However, now there are people complaining about the library being moved to the school building.
A comment was also made about how local people often confuse what the town council do with what the county council do, so complain about the town council when it is actually the county council which is at fault.
There was some confusion about what HOWLS (the Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters) want to do next, as there has been some discussion about using the existing library building and adding more community activities. The councillors were unsure whether HOWLS wanted to take over the library building and run it themselves - in which case, how were they going to fund it? One suggestion was that HOWLS should put forward a candidate to be a town councillor in the coming elections.

The town council commended the organisers of the weekend's 40th anniversary of Hay independence celebrations for their hard work, and said that they had been told it might become an annual event. The town council gave a grant towards the Arts Trail, which will be in shop windows around town until May 1st. There was also a complaint about the county council charging for the closing of the town square for celebrations such as this - and sending extra traffic wardens into town to make a bit more money from fixed penalty notices.
Apparently, the Welsh Assembly recently offered to pay all the county councils in Wales for their car parking, so that all council car parks would be free across Wales, thus encouraging tourism and shopping in Welsh towns. All the county councils agreed to this - except Powys. Powys will continue to charge for the use of their car parks. In Hay, the income from the main car park is now supposed to go towards funding things like the public toilets, which the county council used to be responsible for.

Meanwhile, the Recycling Fund has been asked for a contribution towards St Mary's church, which needs better disabled access and some work on the heating system - at which Steve Like suggested that they should "burn sinners"! The Recycling Fund has offered them £500.

The Town Plan is so complex that the councillors feel they need a Town Manager to deal with it - there are so many intersecting parts to it. The National Park will work out how to join projects together across the park to help with funding, so that people are working together, instead of independently trying to do the same thing.
The best way to appoint a Town Manager to deal with this would seem to be to treat it as a project, in which case government funding may pay for the post as part of their leader programme. What they need is someone to have oversight of what's going on so that they can catch problems before things go wrong. The council have some experience of running a big project like this, with the Timbuktu project - and they also have some experience of how projects like that can go wrong. Whatever happens, it will mean a lot of extra work to do on top of what they are doing already.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Council Meeting - a Bench, the Gliss, Defibrillators and Festival Buses

This was the final Town Council meeting before the elections on 4th May. So everyone is anticipating change.
Fiona Howard will no longer be mayor.
A new chap (Derek?) had been co-opted onto the council this time, and he seemed quite on the ball, asking pertinent questions from time to time.
Here's hoping that enough people stand for election to make it a contest (though town councillor is a pretty hard job these days). Rob Golesworthy has already been out campaigning (I got a flyer through my door). He's standing as a Conservative.
And at the end of the meeting, Steve Like announced that he will be stepping down, because he can no longer work with Powys County Council - who have consistently failed the community of Hay for years, he added.
Gareth Ratcliffe is standing for re-election to the County Council, and thanked everyone for their support. Several County Councillors will not be standing for re-election this time, so after the 4th May the PCC may look quite different, and maybe different decisions will be made.

But the first item to be addressed yesterday evening was the on-going saga of the bench by the BT boxes opposite the Cinema Bookshop. BT have still failed to replace the bench they moved properly (it's way too low now), so the councillors were considering issuing an ultimatum. They want to site a memorial bench to Arnold Wesker there - and were half-seriously considering siting it across the front of the BT box so that BT couldn't open it! And they're thinking of issuing a bill to BT for the re-siting of the bench, and all the time the Town Council have spent on dealing with the matter when they could have been doing something more important.

Meanwhile down at the Gliss there are four abandoned vehicles, and no authority seems to want to do anything about moving them. It seems to be down to the Town Council to take action.
"We sit here and look at problems," Fiona Howard said. "We've got to find answers."
"We're not backed up by the relevant authorities," Alan Powell added.
They were also concerned about people camping overnight down there, and discussed installing a lockable gate. Another consideration is charging for parking over the Festival - it might be possible to get someone down there to collect money for the Festival, possibly someone from one of the sports clubs, which would assist them in fund raising.

And the transfer of assets from Powys County Council to Hay Town Council is also on-going. The PCC seems to want town councils to take on more responsibilities, but seem reluctant to take the final step of signing the assets over to the town councils. And of course there is no extra money available to the town councils to take on these extra responsibilities. At a recent meeting between representatives of town councils and the PCC, all the other town councillors and clerks reported similar problems. Although they had all come individually, without talking to each other before hand, they presented a united front against the PCC representatives. In fact, the people from Llandrindod Wells said that they always had a solicitor present when discussing anything with the PCC!

Nobody is sure what will happen after this year's elections....

Some good news, though, is that the town council are applying to have more defibrillators sited around town. The Gliss was suggested, but turned down as there is no electricity supply available there, but the Co-op was agreed to be a good site, in association with Cusop Council, and possibly the Craft Centre and St Mary's Church, to serve the estates at that end of town. "They can't always rely on prayer!" Steve Like said.
The Sports Ground was also suggested as a suitable site.

Although the Chamber of Commerce sent an email round recently saying that the Festival shuttle buses through town will be returning this year, it seems that things are not that simple. Herdmans Coaches have been given the contract, but apparently the bus drivers don't want to stop outside Tinto House/Clocktower - they claim it is dangerous. However, this is the site of the regular bus stop for the Browns bus into Hereford - they don't seem to have a problem with it for the rest of the year. Clarification will be sought from Hay Festival.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Long Live the King!


I should have mentioned yesterday that Josie Pearson, Hay's Paralympic gold medallist, was also knighted by Prince Derek - I missed that because I was at the back of the crowd, gossiping with the Stich and Bitch ladies!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Celebrations and Wayzgoose

Plan B, as far as costumes were concerned, was easy - I dressed as Sherlock Holmes and headed over to Baskerville Hall. I walked most of the way, though one kind gentleman stopped to offer me a lift (I didn't recognise him until I saw him later, at the Hall). Then Tracy and Ian stopped for me, and I came from the Petrol Station up the drive with them.
I was quite pleased with the walk, though - I'm very out of practice now I don't have a dog, and the last time I tried to walk to the Baskie I was wearing medieval boots, which crippled me, being slightly too tight (yes, those are the boots I'll be selling shortly - they'll be fine for someone with slightly smaller feet than mine).
There were lots of cars in the car park, and the exhibition rooms were crowded - there were a surprising number of people there who I knew, including Maureen Richardson the paper maker and book art maker, who had a stall next to an anarchist printer. I hadn't realised there were so many small press printers in the area, though one was on his way to Oxford from another show, and had decided to break his journey at Hay.
I picked up a flyer from Ludlow Bookbinders and Jemma Marbling, thinking to get as many cards and flyers as I could, but I soon got distracted. Also, several people asked to take my photo, one with the head of a giant hound in the background!
Outside in the hall was the book sculpture from the Sidney Nolan Trust, as well as cakes and coffee stalls, and round the back of the main hall was the printing press, together with plans of what the organisers want to do with the newer part of the building, where the raves used to be held, to make it into a museum and workshop space. One of their ideas is to use the bunk house accommodation for groups who want to come on printing courses, while bibliophiles can book the more luxurious bedrooms to stay, surrounded by first editions.

I went back into Hay with Tracy and Ian, and though we missed the parade, we were in time to see Prince Derek give out honours, accompanied on stage by George the Town Cryer. Mac Eager was knighted, and so was the author Phil Rickman, while our other local author, Barbara Erskine, was given the title First Lady of Hay, and Jeffrey Babb became Master of the King's Music.
I met up with a group of ladies from Stitch and Bitch, and Tracy produced a ball of wool from her bag so that it would be an official Stitch and Bitch meeting! Ros had dressed to incorporate a variety of books, including Watership Down shoes (with a picture of a leaping rabbit on them) and book ear-rings with The Hunting of the Snark in them. Sharon, who runs the campsite on the way to Llanigon, said that several Instagrammers were staying with her, and she was amazed at the distances they had come for the weekend. Ann Brichto, who has taken to Instagram as her favourite form of social media, managed to collect them together, and they had a meeting last night of sixty or seventy people.
Then there was African drumming, and a photo opportunity on the terraces of Hay Castle, with the photographer popping his head out of the skylight of one of the houses across the road.
I posed for photos with the Snow Queen as well (and foolishly failed to get anyone to take photos with my camera).
Down in the square, circus skills were in full swing, with tightrope walking, and diablo, and hula hoops and stilt walking. Two young boys stilt walking down Castle Street explained seriously that you had to keep moving all the time, or you fell over.
Also in the square was a stall selling accessories for period costume, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. The lady in charge was in full Jane Austen finery, with a tiara. I'd been told that she'd moved into the area by several people, though she specialises in a very different period of history to my interests, and it was fascinating to chat to her. She's living for the moment at Glasbury House, and said that one of the best things about this area, after life in London, was the fresh air!
Finally, I popped into Beer Revolution to try the Lucky 7 Independence Ale, which is very tasty, and hoppy. Derek from the Wholefood Shop told me they were getting some bottles in yesterday afternoon - the brewer was reportedly still sticking the labels on the bottles the night before! This is, of course, Hay's own local brewery, so the beer didn't have to come very far.
King Richard, sadly, did not make an appearance, but he was there in effigy, in the windows of Booth Books and the Flower Shop.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Alas! Medieval Costumes No Longer Fit!

For the Independence Celebrations, costumes are encouraged, especially of book themed characters. So I thought I'd bring out my medieval costume and portray Matilda de Breos again, who is historical, Hay-related, and the star of Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine. So she covers pretty much all the bases.
It is some time since I last looked at my medieval costumes, since I haven't been doing much historical re-enactment lately.
None of them fit any more.
Well, I could get into the surcoat, if I wanted to portray a man, and the braies and leggings are one-size-fits-all, (that's the male underwear) but the dresses are all out of the question, and the undertunic is very tight around the arms, which is a pity because it's genuine vintage French linen.
They'll all have to go.

So if anyone wants 13th century costume, plus one Saxon tunic and one Viking dress, I will be selling them off at very reasonable rates! Also size six boots!

I am, however, keeping the chainmail and helmet, just in case....

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Celebrating 40 Years of an Independent Hay

All sorts of fun things are happening this weekend!
Tomorrow the Globe is staging a Desert Island Picks evening with Deborah Moggach, who wrote the book which was adapted into the film The Best Marigold Hotel. Meanwhile, Bookstagram attendees will be meeting at Booths Bookshop, and Oliver Balch will be talking about his book about the local area, Under the Tump.
At the Old Electric Shop, there will be book themed cocktails and live music.
I won't be going to any of these, because Hidden Figures, the film about the black women mathematicians at NASA in the 1960s, is on at Booths Cinema, and I've been waiting for it to come to Hay since before it came out.

On Saturday the History Group are doing a Bookshop tour at 11am, from the Cheesemarket, with Alan Nicholls talking about the development of the book trade in Hay.
At Baskerville Hall there is the Wayzgoose - an exhibition of printing, alongside a touring exhibition of book art from the Sidney Nolan Trust.
There's more printing, of the linocut variety, at the Globe.
On the square (in marquee if wet) there'll be circus skills and samba drumming and breakdancing.
At mid-day there's a book themed fancy dress parade, starting from Hay School, and ending at the Honesty Gardens at the Castle, where the Hay flag will be raised. Knighthoods and other honours will be conferred on worthy Hay characters. There will also be a Family Photo for everyone in Hay who wants to take part!
The Bookstagrammers will be meeting at the Globe for a panel discussion about what they do (books on instagram for beginners, I assume!). The Globe will also be screening a film called The Rum Diary, with an introductory talk by writer and director Bruce Robinson.
Addymans Bookshop will be open until 7.30pm, which is when the Old Electric Shop starts serving cocktails again, with more live music.
Or there's the Independence Ball at the Parish Hall, starting at 8pm.

Sunday starts with a booksellers' breakfast at the Globe, while over at Baskerville Hall there will be a book themed walk led by Oliver Balch in the morning - and at 2pm he'll be at the Clock Tower to lead a second book themed walk around Hay.
Alan Nicholls will also be leading another history tour of the bookshops.

Already appearing in shop windows around town are the exhibits for the Book Art Trail - taking in 26 venues, including the Library, Beer Revolution, Shepherds, and Alana's Baby Corner as well as bookshops and Eighteen Rabbit, it even goes out to Drover Cycles and Pottery Cottage in Clyro! Amongst all the bright young artists, some of whom I saw when they were setting up the window at the Cinema Bookshop (which has a Shakespeare theme), it's nice to see local names like Maureen Richardson the paper maker, Tracy Thursfield, Sarah Putt - and Hay Primary School!

The full schedule can be found at www.hayonwyechamber.co.uk/independence, and more information on the Book Art is at www.marchesbookartsgroup.co.uk