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, and more information on the Book Art is at

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

HOWLS Gets Organised!

The Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters meeting last night, in the Library, was for the people who wanted to start getting things organised into proper sub-committees.
First, the good news - funding for the Library has been retained for the coming year, thanks to a one off payment from Hay Festival to HOWLS (the money to be used as they see fit) and an agreement with Powys County Council.
But - this is only a stop gap measure. By the end of the year, HOWLS needs to have come up with a plan to keep the library on a more long term basis.
At the moment, Powys County Council is in "purdah", meaning that they will not deal with anything prior to the election on May 4th. After May 4th, the make up of the Council may have changed considerably - the Leader, Barry Thomas, is stepping down, and so is the holder of the finance portfolio. With new people in those positions, it will probably be worth approaching them to get them to re-consider the PCC policy on branch libraries. However, the fact remains, as Kirsty Williams pointed out, that the Council still has no money, and has to cut something to balance the books.
Some libraries have already come to a compromise agreement with the Council - as Kirsty Williams said, each community is different, and different solutions can work for them. Asked how this would affect a county wide policy on libraries, she said that she thought it could still work well, even with different ways of working in different libraries. Llanwrtyd Wells, for instance, has gone for a mostly volunteer model, with some professional help.
What Hay needs is a solution which works for Hay.
One problem is that it is very difficult to get firm figures from the Council showing exactly how much it costs to run the building. So far, they've given four different answers. Kirsty Williams said that she would look into it, and see if she could pin them down on a definitive answer. Without proper figures, it's very hard to work out a budget!
Another problem is that Hay Library serves surrounding communities as well as Hay residents - and as Hay is on the border, some of those communities are in Herefordshire, so they have no democratic say in what Powys does. However, on the Powys side of the border, HOWLS are encouraging people in Llanigon and Glasbury and other local villages to talk to their candidates about the importance of libraries.
At the moment, HOWLS are in the process of opening a bank account ("if you can find a bank that's still open" was the comment from the audience). One possibility here is that Nat West have been talking about having a community banker in Hay once a week when their branch closes down, and they need an office to work out of. It could be possible for them to work out of the library, which would give the library income from renting them the space.
Rev Charlesworth said that a great help in the fight to keep Gwernyfed School open was the existance of Estyn, the schools body, which was on the side of the campaigners. There is no equivalent for libraries, and though there is the Libraries Act and Welsh Assembly standards, it is difficult to hold County Councils to those standards.
One possibility is to make the argument that libraries are useful across other parts of the Council budget - as Jayne said, libraries are the secret social service. They provide a place for social interaction for people who are isolated, such as the elderly or parents with young children, for free. One argument to make could be that closing the Library would cost the Council more than keeping it open, because of these hidden benefits of social cohesion and helping with problems of isolation, as well as other advice that can be gained at the library. There's a good argument to be made for involving health visitors in local libraries, for instance. The first two years of a child's life are extremely important for the long term outcomes for the child, and the library is a good place to see toddlers as they are brought in for their first picture books. It was emphasised that this is not a case of poor people not knowing how to be good parents - professional women who have their first baby can find it's a culture shock as well (as my sister discovered when she had her first child).
Kirsty Williams pointed out the similarities with the Day Care Centres that she has been trying to keep open - the Council had not considered the cost of closing them due to people who were being supported by the Day Care Centres then needing residential care, or the impact on the carers who also needed their needs to be taken into account.

This weekend is the 40th Anniversary of Hay Independence Celebrations, and there was some discussion of HOWLS marching in the parade - though they have left it a little late to make a banner and wolf masks!

The meeting then broke up into different small groups, and I found myself with the Publicity sub-committee. We successfully devised a slogan for the on-going campaign: Giving Hay Library a Future, and decided that we would wait until after the Independence Celebrations to issue a press release about the library funding for the coming year.

And on the way home, still chatting, we thought of an event we could hold in the future. Ian Finlayson was planning to have a Soapbox for anyone to give speeches from for the Independence Celebrations (borrowing the Kilvert's Soapbox for the occasion) but decided against it, because so many other things will be going on (mostly Circus-related) in the square. However, the Soapbox would be very useful for a group of people to do readings from library books, and it would be very simple to organise....

Monday, 27 March 2017

Growing Business, Shrinking Banks

Good news for Geraldine, who took over Gibbons Butchers from her father Chris five years ago. The business has been increasing trade, and they are now ready to expand. They will be moving to new premises on Castle Street, with space to expand their range of products, and add deli and bakery sections, and they are planning to be open in March 2018. They intend to employ another four people. The meat has always been very good there (Chris Gibbons used to be a judge at the Royal Welsh Showground), and Geraldine has added pies and baked goods to the range. Chris Gibbons opened the butchers in 1984, with one member of staff.

They were able to do this with a business loan from the Nat West - which is ironic, as the local branch of the bank is going to be closed in October, leaving Barclays as the only bank in town with a face to face service and ATM - and they're only open three days a week now.
NatWest customers will be able to do some transactions via the Post Office. The management also said that they were intending to have a mobile bank in Hay for one day a week - for an hour, when they met with County Councillors Gareth Ratcliffe and James Gibson-Watt, Kirsty Williams AM and Fiona Howard (who is mayor this year).

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Remembering Lucy Powell, Legendary Landlady

I was sad to hear yesterday of the death of Lucy Powell, legendary landlady of the Three Tuns before the renovations, which were done after the fire which ended Lucy's time there.
In the early days of Hay Festival, the Three Tuns was an essential watering hole for journalists from national newspapers who covered the Festival.
Lucy also claimed that the Great Train Robbers drank there, while in hiding in the area.
I remember belly dancing demonstrations, in the middle of the tiny bar - which also featured in Dandelion Dead, which was filmed in Hay in 1994. Just about the only thing they did to change it for the filming (which was set in 1923) was to take out the 1970s broken games machine.
Tim the Gardener used to play his guitar there.
The film crew with Monty Don drank there when he was filming a series about small towns - and one of them over indulged in the cider and was very ill indeed the next day.
Local characters Sid and Lil used to drink there (Sid worked at Booths Bookshop for many years).
Lucy used to cook her tea over the fire in the bar - now the fireplace in the refurbished bar, but stripped back from the Victorian overmantle that it used to have then.
And she talked to everyone. You couldn't go in there for a quiet drink on your own - you would end up talking to everyone else in the bar. This featured in a memoir about Hay by Paul Collins, Sixpence House, about an American who came to live in Hay, worked for Richard Booth and tried to renovate Half Moon House, which he renamed Sixpence House for the book. He also renamed Lucy - she's "Violet" and the pub becomes "The Hogshead".
I also remember her opening up the room on other side of the building, not usually open to the public, for a slide show by a chap who had just come back from the Arctic. Most of the room was taken up by a big round table, and we were squashed in like sardines wherever we could fit!
Once, Lucy locked herself out, and my ex-husband came to help with a ladder, which I think we borrowed from Rest for the Tired. The bathroom window was open, but Lucy wouldn't let him climb up to let her in - she insisted on climbing up herself, while he steadied the ladder for her. I think she was 76 at the time.
I was told that, in her youth, Lucy was a keen dancer, in the dance hall round the back of the Rose and Crown which is now a gym.
And of course, she played the part of St Lucia several times, at the Three Tuns and at Primrose Farm, with a crown of candles and wearing a white nightie.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Eating Out in Hereford, Hay and Brecon - and New Plans from the Brecon Tap

So, I saw the Young Man onto the train this morning, and now things are getting back to normal.
I don't eat out often, unless I have guests, so last week we indulged ourselves.
We started in Hereford, straight off the train. At the market in the square we saw the Falafel stall which comes to Hay on Thurdsdays, and treated ourselves to freshly prepared falafels - the Young Man reckons they're the best he's ever tasted.
And, having discovered how good the chilli and chips are from the chip shop on Broad Street, on a previous visit, that's what we got for our first evening meal in Hay.
We also sampled the pizzas at the Three Tuns - a large one to share between us - and they were delicious too. On the first visit we tried the vegetarian option with Perl Las cheese, and on the second we had the beef brisket option.
On Tuesday, we went to Brecon - a visit from the Young Man is not complete without a pie and a pint at the Brecon Tap. We thought it was going to be fine and sunny in the morning, so we could have a wander round Brecon and maybe go down to the Regimental Museum - but the weather was so foul in the afternoon we never left the pub! The Brecon Tap had several special pies on, as well as the usual menu, so I went for the Morroccan lamb, and he went for the coq au vin, which you get with two side dishes of your choice. The Young Man was most impressed with the coq au vin, and tasted my Morroccan lamb. He has a colleague from work who is Morroccan, who has occasionally brought food into work to share, and he reckoned the chef had got the taste just right!
We also took the beer carrier with us, so that the Young Man could choose some Gwynt y Ddraig cider to take to his friends in London who appreciate such things (the last time he took some back, one friend said that the contents of the bottle had not touched the sides on the way down his throat!)
While at the Brecon Tap, I noticed a leaflet about a proposed Hay Tap. They are crowd funding now to be able to move into Kilvert's bar with the same sort of range of beers - and the pies - as they are doing in Brecon. It sounds like an interesting project. For more information, call 01874 620800 or email The website is at, where they are talking about the ???? Tap - but on the leaflets, they are clear that they are talking about Hay and Kilverts.
Meanwhile, they have also been celebrating the first birthday of the Brecon Tap.

Friday, 17 March 2017

There will now be a Short Intermission....

I will not be online much for the next week, as my Young Man is coming to visit.
So, here is a picture of some wolfhounds (and their people) seen in Hay last week:

Help From an Unexpected Source for Local Groups

Persimmon Homes seem to be a generous lot - last week there was a report in the Hereford Times that they will be giving £1,000 to Hay School to pay for outings and extra-curricular activities. They have offered this money because Hay School usually makes money from providing car parking for Hay Festival on their grounds for extras for the children, but this year the grounds are taken up with the foundations of the new school building, so they can't do that.

And this week Hay Theatre group are the lucky recipients of a grant of £1,000 from Persimmon too. They're about to run a project in collaboration with HayDay, to help people who suffer from dementia, or who are at risk of developing dementia. HayDay runs a regular cafe for people who suffer from dementia and their carers. Hay Theatre is planning a series of drama workshops for the elderly, in which familiar household objects come to life and tell a story.

Apparently, Persimmon Homes does this sort of thing regularly, as part of their Community Champions scheme - they donate up to £2,000 a month to community groups and good causes in all 29 of their regions.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

New Blood Needed at the Chamber of Commerce

Andrew of Eighteen Rabbit is stepping down as chair of the Chamber of Commerce this year, though he will still be involved. Clare Fry is therefore looking for someone to replace him - and anyone else who would like to be more involved will be welcome, too!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Denuded Backfold

While I was taking some more twigs down to the garden waste bins in the car park on Saturday, my attention was directed to the work going on at the Castle. Tidying has been going on, including at the top of Backfold, which has had overhanging bushes for years. This is what it looks like now:

At least they left the little bush in the middle of the picture, which was planted a few years ago in memory of Graham, who ran the pet shop where The Thoughtful Gardener is now.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Dark Age Herefordshire

I went up to Cusop Village Hall on Saturday - Cusop History Group had a visiting speaker who was talking about Dark Age Herefordshire, starting just before the Romans legions left, and going up to the death of King Offa.
It's useful to look at history sometimes on a local level. Herefordshire is tucked away from the coasts, so the early incursions of the Saxons, Angles and Jutes on the eastern side of the country, and the Irish from the west, didn't make much impression on the area which would eventually become the county at first. The Roman roads were not maintained, and the iron smelting in the south of the county with ore from the Forest of Dean stopped being economically viable. Meanwhile, Celtic Christianity produced St Dubricius in the south of the county - who may possibly have crowned King Arthur at Caerleon before he went off to become Bishop of Llandaff. And St David may have been born at Much Dewchurch. There's even a church which claims to have a chair made for St Augustine when he came to visit the Welsh bishops, in an important meeting between Roman and Celtic Christians (the Welsh bishops weren't too impressed by Augustine).
The River Wye split the area in two, with one side eventually being taken over by the Mercians, and the other becoming the Welsh commote of Archenfield.
One thing which was really useful was seeing the map of the area, with the names at different periods, and the locations of the towns. Hereford itself wasn't built until quite late in the period, but when it was it seemed to become the pattern for boroughs elsewhere in Mercia, with a grid iron layout of streets surrounded by a stout wall. Some of the streets in Hereford still follow the original Saxon lines.
The hall was full, and I think we all found the talk very interesting - and there was time to chat over tea and biscuits afterwards. I found myself discussing the course of the Wye, and whether the Roman road went to the north or south of the river near Hay - and was it really the Silures who attacked the Roman fort at Boatside? Nobody was sure. And I learned that a Roman coin was found, years ago, in the garden of Rest for the Tired on Broad Street in Hay, the only trace of Roman occupation in Hay itself.
Cusop History Group and Hay History Group are quite different in the focus of their activities, even though there's some overlap of membership. The border really does divide things up so that Cusop looks to the east and Hay looks to the west and Welsh history much more.
Cusop History Group costs £5 for a year's membership, and £5 to attend a talk for non-members "so you may as well join!" they said. Members pay £3 for a talk, which includes the tea and biscuits.
The next Cusop History Talk will be at Cusop Church next month, talking about the history of the church.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Speaker's Corner

I was chatting to Iain Finlayson, of the Keep Magazine, a few days ago, and he told me that one of the things he wanted to do over the 40th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations was to set up a Speaker's Corner.
The last time this was tried was shortly after the Republican Uprising (when we cut off King Richard's head) and Tim the Gardener was a stalwart speaker. Eventually the bad weather and lack of audience because of the bad weather put even Tim off, and the soap box was abandoned.
But the weekend of the Independence celebrations might be a good time to bring it back. It would be open to anyone who wants to have a rant, or has a pet topic they want to bring to public attention.
Iain can be reached at or 07969 537798 for further details.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Wayzgoose Fair at Baskerville Hall

As well as the Hay 40th Anniversery of Independence celebrations over the weekend of 1st April, there will be a Wayzgoose Fair at Baskerville Hall. This is a traditional annual gathering of printers, dating back to late medieval times. Experts in the field of letterpress and intaglio printing, bookbinding, papermaking, marbling, book illustration and design will be showing off their work.
And there will be an exhibition called Re-imagining the Laws of England and Wales, put together to celebrate 800 years of Magna Carta. A set of ‘Halsbury’s Statutes’, the accepted authoritative texts for statute law (Acts of Parliament) of England and Wales, was donated to the Sidney Nolan Trust by a local court service whose staff now use online reference. The 27 volumes were destined to be pulped had the Trust not taken them. Each volume has been transformed into a work of art exploring themes related to topics covered in the particular volume as well as ideas around legislation and society.
The exhibition is open on 1st April from 10am to 3pm, along with the demonstrations, and entry is free.
There is also a supper in the evening, costing £15, and a book themed walk on 2nd April, led by Oliver Balch (so I imagine there will be some Kilvert references in there!). The walk is also free, and starts at 10am.
A collection of early printing presses is going to be housed at the Hall, and the plan is for there to be events all year round celebrating books and printing. There is a website for more information on, as well as updates on Emma Balch's blog A Book A Day in Hay.
Any profits from this Baskerville Wayzgoose will be donated to Hay Dun, a new not-for-profit organisation that will offer opportunities for respite, learning, training, supported employment, residencies, and volunteering at Baskerville Hall.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Enid Blyton's Signature

There's a story in the Hereford Times this week about a lady who was browsing the outdoor bins outside the Cinema Bookshop, and found a copy of Silas Marner, which she bought for £1. When she looked more closely, it had a note glued inside it. The note was congratulating someone called Mary for winning a competition, and was signed Enid Blyton!
There's been a bit of interest in this from the media - my boss Greg has been talking to BBC Hereford and Worcester about it.
We, of course, had no idea the note was there. The outside bins are the "last chance saloon" for books which have previously been on the shelves indoors at a higher price.
Finding Enid Blyton's signature is probably not quite as exciting as the student some years ago who bought a copy of TS Eliot's poems to read on the beach from a second hand bookshop for 20p - and discovered he was holding a first edition, but it's still very interesting, even though the note is probably a generic one which Enid Blyton sent to all the winners of competitions - she edited a magazine called Sunny Stories - with the winner's name added in.
Enid Blyton died in 1968, and back then it was highly unusual for authors to do signing sessions. Now it's a common part of publicising an author's work - the readers get to meet the author, who signs their copy of the book. There's a joke that the unsigned copies of Terry Pratchett's books are more valuable than the signed ones, because he did so many! And Neil Gaiman signs books in bulk, in advance of appearances - he's given himself repetitive strain injury as a result.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Helicopter at Baskerville Hall

I got chatting to a couple who came into the shop a couple of days ago. They were staying at Baskerville Hall, and were quite excited to relate that they were watching when guests arrived in a helicopter! It landed right on the lawn beside the hall! Apparently, they were willing to land further away, in the field, but David, the owner, was happy for them to get as close as possible.
Who could it be? Speculation leapt to reclusive rock stars, or maybe minor royalty!
As usual, I went to the Wednesday night acoustic evening - and there were the helicopter people, in the bar, wearing polo shirts with the logo Skyhook Helicopters.
It turns out that they are not rock stars after all, but they are involved with rocks. They're actually working in the area, using the helicopter to transport loads of stone up the mountain above Talgarth to repair the footpaths there - because it's difficult to get any other sort of vehicle up there.
The bar was packed to the limit with performers and audience, including the couple who had told me about the helicopter to begin with. She'd had her hair done in Hay that day - she asked me for a recommendation, and I suggested Lucinda's on Castle Street. She looked quite pleased with the result.
One of the performers, Les Covenay, has a song (I think it's one of his own) called Helicopter Ride, which he performed with lots of additional solos from other performers round the room. There were also a few nods to International Womens' Day in the song choices - I couldn't resist doing I Hate Men from Kiss Me Kate - and Susan read poems about insects, including the bumble bee which shouldn't be able to fly according to the aeronautical engineer, but does anyway. She also performed a La Fontaine poem about the cicada and the ant in English and French, to the delight of some French visitors at the bar.
There was also Tom on his fiddle, Rae on her cello, Sara on her drum, John Banjo and Mark with his new banjo (as well as the usual blues and acoustic guitars), Lesley on ukelele, Dave on guitar and foot pedal operated cajon (the drum box you sit on) and a variety of other guitars - and Neil doing unaccompanied Scottish songs. It was also close to the anniversary of the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise, so Dave did a song about that. There's always plenty of variety in the song choices.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

HOWLS Adopts a Constitution

I decided on attending the meeting at the library last night, as that's the most pressing local issue at the moment. There were quite a lot of people there, though not as many as came to the Parish Hall last month. I found myself sitting on the floor again, which I always think is fine to start with, until my joints remind me that I'm not in my twenties any more!
The main point of the meeting was for HOWLS, the Hay-On-Wye Library Supporters, to adopt a formal constitution and elect officers to a committee, so that they can go back to the County Council on a better footing. At the moment, it's easy for the County Council to ignore the group, because they are not a "proper" organisation.
Anita Wright did most of the speaking, giving the position so far. HOWLS have been in contact with Hay Festival, which has been donating money to the library for the past couple of years to keep it open an extra few hours a week, to see if they would be willing to continue for the coming year. Gareth Ratcliffe has also been talking to Councillor Brown, of the County Council, to discuss the library funding for the coming year - and so far the outcomes seem to be positive. However, these behind the scenes discussions wouldn't have happened without a lot of effort on the part of all the people who want to keep the library open, including the Town Council, who were discussing the Library as part of their monthly meeting on the same evening. Richard Greatrex of HOWLS was at the Council Meeting to see what the latest news was there.
Library staff have been offered voluntary redundancies, so there will be staffing changes in the coming year.
So the library service will probably look very similar to what it is now for the coming year, but HOWLS were looking forward to the long term future. They aren't wedded to a particular building to house the library - it could remain where it is, or be moved to the school when it is built - what is important is the library service.
Anita went on to say that it was lovely to have volunteers to help to run the library - but it is not sustainable to expect volunteers to run the library without professional staff. They understand that the County Council has no money, as Kirsty Williams said at the big library meeting last month, but there could be changes in the way the County Council allocates the funds they have.
As well as keeping the library open for as many hours as possible, HOWLS are also thinking about how to encourage the use of the library. For instance, they were considering how to encourage ten to fourteen year olds to use the library, and what activities would attract them. Michaelchurch Eskley School wants to be more involved with the library, and Hay School is now bringing a class to the library every Thursday. George the Town Cryer has also volunteered to do Welsh Chat - Welsh conversation practice for anyone who wants it.
All the supporters of HOWLS are being transformed into Members of the organisation (everyone who has given their emails or addresses), and there will be no fee for joining. As Anita said, it would be silly to charge to belong to an organisation which was formed to keep a free library service. Members are entitled to vote for the officers of the organisation.
They were also thinking about the wider picture - libraries are under threat all over the country, not just in Powys - and they are in touch with other groups, including the National Library Campaign. However, each library has its own unique community, and so there can't be a "one size fits all" solution - each solution must be tailored to the particular community the library is part of.
Voting had the following results:
Chair - Anita Wright
Secretary - Mel Prince
Treasurer - Kenny Campbell
with a Vice Chair to be decided shortly.
The Constitution has also been adopted only provisionally. One chap in the audience, with some considerable experience of these things, said that there are a couple of flaws in the way the constitution has been drawn up which could cause problems, such as there being no mention of the committee being able to co-opt members should a committee member drop dead, or resign or something. As it stands, they would have to wait until the next AGM to elect a replacement, which would be awkward if the person leaving was the Treasurer, and they couldn't access the bank account!
As things stand, the Treasurer doesn't have much to do at the moment - they think they only have £139 in total, and no bank account yet. They're not intending to be a fund raising organisation.
So they will be meeting as soon as possible to amend the constitution along the lines suggested, as well as adding a procedure to deal with disputes between members.
They will also be looking at forming working parties for different tasks - such as keeping an eye on what the County Council is deciding, or organising events to support the Library such as the carol concert they had before Christmas. A picnic for the International Day of the Child (perhaps with teddy bears) was suggested. Five people have already volunteered to be on working groups.
In future, they will be able to use the Library for meetings when the Library is closed, so they don't have to have a member of staff there to lock up after them. This was agreed with the Chief Librarian, Kay Thomas.
So Hay Library now has a properly constituted organisation to support it and fight for it.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Of Tangled Parrots and Eighteen Rabbits

Tangled Parrot, of course, being the name of the business which has been selling records and CDs out of the Keeper's Pocket, by the Buttermarket.
They've now moved down to Eighteen Rabbit, the Fairtrade shop on Lion Street, which has a little side room. When they opened, they had a changing room in there for the clothes they sell, but now it is full of music!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Fairtrade Talk at Cusop Hall

The full write up is on the Hay Fairtrade blog (link on the side bar). The talk was given by Taysir Arabasi and Cathi Pawson from Zaytoun, which sells olive oil and other products from Palestine. The talk was called Palestine: Fairtrade as Resistance, and there was olive oil to taste and a variety of products to buy from the stall run by Ange Grunsell. She's the volunteer distributor for Zaytoun products in the Hay area, and can be reached at

It's really very good olive oil, and the farmers are well worth supporting. I even got some olive oil soap there.

Friday, 3 March 2017

World Book Day

For some reason, I thought this was on Monday, but it was actually yesterday, so I missed my chance to dress up as Rev. Merrily Watkins this year. At least I had a daffodil pin for St David's Day!
Rose's Bookshop has a special World Book Day window display, though.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

St David's Day Celebrations at the Baskerville Acoustic Evening

Sometimes, we have a theme for the evening, and yesterday it was Welshness, so there were poems by Dylan Thomas and RS Thomas, and even some songs in Welsh, including Calon Lan.
Tommo brought along the banner of Owain Glyndwr to hang across the front of the bar - he's just lost his dog, Hector, a friendly spaniel who used to greet everyone in the bar, so one of the pieces I chose to read out was about a Celtic dog (an Irish re-telling of the Odyssey, where only the old dog recognises Ulysses when he comes home at last).
There were also more modern songs from Wales, from the likes of the Stereophonics and Bonnie Tyler, and original songs from Thomasin (snowfall on the Rhondda) and Bob (the Heart of Wales line). As ever, a good time was had by all!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017