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

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


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.