Friday, 16 March 2018

A Holiday....

There will be very little, if any, blogging in the next week or so, because my Young Man is coming to stay.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Clyro Press

The Story of Books wants to build a printing press at Baskerville Hall, as part of their printing museum. It's a Dutch press from the 17th century, based on this picture from The Book of Trades by Jan Luyken.
They are looking for volunteer woodworkers to use hand tools to build the press, working with local hardwoods such as beech, oak and ash, and they are also looking for sources of these woods locally. The skill level isn't important - anyone interested can be anything from a skilled craftsperson to someone who wants to learn a skill.
When the press is built, it will be used to print etchings and engravings, and The Story of Books hopes to offer workshops in etching and engraving.
The leader of the project is Roger Gaskell, who recently built a similar press for the Rare Book School in Virginia.
Anyone interested in finding out more should email or visit the Wayzgoose at 20 Castle Street on Saturday 31st March from 10am to 3pm.

Monday, 12 March 2018

A Whole Week of Hay Independence Celebrations

Only a few weeks to go now!
This year the organisers really have pulled all the stops out.
Celebrations begin on the evening of Thursday 29th March, with a preview of artwork from local poetry magazine Quirk.
Over the whole week, there's a colouring competition at Otherworldz and a Bookshop Treasure Hunt.
On Friday evening, there's a champagne reception at Booths Bookshop with readings by local authors Tom Bullough and Oliver Balch. Later in the evening, Tom and Oliver go on to the Globe, where Tom will be interviewed by Oliver for the Globe's regular Desert Island Picks evening.
Meanwhile, further along Broad Street, the Old Electric Shop will be open till late, with literary themed cocktails and live music.

On Saturday 31st, the Wayzgoose will be open at 20 Castle Street (recently The End vintage shop) showcasing the printers' art. They will also be holding a candle lit supper on Saturday evening.

Also on Saturday, a panel of Hay Booksellers will be at the Globe to talk about their bookselling careers. On the panel will be Derek Addyman of Addyman's Books, Judith Gardner of The Children's Bookshop and Pat Thornton from Richard Booths. Between them, they have 120 years' experience! The panel will be chaired by Joshua Green of Green Ink Booksellers.
Hay's Youth Theatre will be parading through town, and in the afternoon will be putting on a free performance of a Variety Show called "Happy Gleeaster" - directed by Janine Sharp from Playaway and Johnny Cartwright (Mr Bamboozle)!
There's also the Inaugural Richard Booth Lecture, given by Jeff Towns 'the Dylan Thomas guy', from his Book Bus in the Market Square. He's been a bookseller in Swansea for 40 years.
And from booksellers to publishers - Richard Davies of Parthian Books will be talking to Oliver Balch about the challenges of publishing in Wales in the 21st century.
And cocktails at the Old Electric Shop in the evening, and the official Independence Party at the Parish Hall, and Saturday Shenanigans at the Globe with Jally Kebbo Susso and Band Manding Sabu. Jally is a traditional Gambian griot, playing the kora in an entirely new way.

After all that partying, there's more on Sunday 1st April, which is Independence Day!
There's Lego Club and Easter Egg Hunt at the Globe, followed by Booksellers Brunch. Then at the Globe Helen Jukes previews her book A Honey Bee's Heart Has Five Openings, which is due to be published in July.
In the Parish Hall, Hay2Timbuktu will be celebrating 10 years of Hay being twinned with Timbuktu.
Adele Nozedar will be holding a Botanical Gin workshop, showing how to make flavoured gin.
Zoe Sadler will be reading her children's book The Lighthouse Keeper and encouraging children to draw their own monster.
Dr Andrew Webb from Bangor University will be talking to Jeff Towns about their new book about the Welshness of Edward Thomas, country life writer and poet who died 100 years ago at Arras.
And there's another Welsh publisher, Penny Thomas of Firefly Press, which publishes books for the 5 - 19 age group, who will be talking about how children's books are published.

On Monday, Zoe Sadler will be in the Parish Hall talking about Mermaids and Butterflies and getting children involved in activities from her book Mysteries of the Deep.
Andy and Karen Johnson of Logaston Press will be talking about Myths, and there's a Croquet Competition in the Globe Garden, refereed by the Red Queen!
This is followed by the Mad Hatter's Tea Party at the Parish Hall (Alice will be there, too).
And Jeff Towns will be talking about Dylan Thomas.

Tuesday starts with Drama and Magic Workshops in the Parish Hall, run by Janine Sharp and Johnny Cartwright (Mr Bamboozle).
At the Globe, Elaine Canning will be talking about the International Dylan Thomas Prize for Young Writers, and what it's like behind the scenes of a major literary award. The books on the shortlist of the prize will be available for sale.
There's also a trip to Hereford Cathedral, including entry to the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibitions, and a talk by Peter Challenger on the History of the Hereford Light Infantry, with a cream tea and a tour of the Bishop's Garden (not normally open to the public). There'll also be a chance to see the Weeping Window - the poppy installation which has just been put up at the cathedral.
Meanwhile in Hay, there's a talk on the Gentle Art of Penguin Book Collecting, by Megan Prince and David Jackson. Megan Prince owns the Ironbridge Bookshop, and specialises in Penguins as well as having an extensive collection, and David Jackson is a private collector of Penguins.
There are more Drama and Magic Workshops in the afternoon, and poetry and story telling at the Globe by Anne Lister. Later at the Globe there's music from visiting Bookstagrammers, followed by the Globe Open Mic Night.

On Wednesday, at the Globe, John Watson, from Edinburgh gives a demonstration of printing using woodcut blocks. Last year he did a similar talk on lino-cutting. In the afternoon he will be running a lino cutting workshop at the Parish Hall for children aged 12 to 15.
There's a full day of events put on by Bangor University on the History of the Book. Highlights include a talk on a Medieval Book of Hours, by Sue Niebrzydowski, a talk on printing in early modern England by Michael Durrant, and in the afternoon a talk on 19th century postcards from North Wales by Carol Tully, Eben Muse on "Fantasies of the Bookstore" and The Book in Cyber Space by Lyle Skains.
Then there's poetry and storytelling at the Globe by Anne Lister and author Bruce Johns at Eighteen Rabbit.
In the evening, Chris Hunter is at the Globe - bomb disposal expert, writer and counter-terrorism consultant.

Thursday is Market Day, and there will also be poetry workshops at the Parish Hall.
Andrew Taylor and Phil Rickman will be talking about writing and the crime novel, and Billie Charity will be holding a portrait photography workshop.
At the Globe serial killer profiler Paul Harrison will be in conversation with local PCSO Helen Scott, and later there will be more crime writers - Guy Fraser-Sampson and Hugh Fraser, in a discussion chaired by Phil Rickman. Hugh Fraser is also an actor, who played Captain Hastings in Poirot.
Also at the Globe Andrew Wilson will be talking about his work, including a book about Agatha Christie.
And on Forest Road, Chris Arden the Natural History Specialist is holding a late night bookshop opening.
The evening finishes off with a candle lit quiz on detective fiction, hosted by Maidens of Murder.

Friday is Flea Market Day in the Buttermarket.
There'll be another trip to Hereford Cathedral and the Bishop's Garden, and a chance to build a Book Igloo in the Parish Hall, with books provided by Hay Castle.
Barbara Erskine will be speaking about her latest work at the Globe, and in the evening it's literary cocktails at the Old Electric Shop and Literary Quiz at the Globe.

Saturday morning starts at the Globe with a talk about women in publishing, and at the Parish Hall local councillors will be holding a hanging basket workshop as part of Hay in Bloom. In the afternoon there's a celebration of our local Olympian, Josie Pearson, followed by a talk about Miles Without Stiles and a chance to meet the Town Councillors. The Hay Citizen of the Year Award will also be given.
There's an hour of poetry at the Globe, and a talk about Bookstagramming for Boys, followed in the evening by the First Official Bookstagrammy Awards. This year's themes are Books and Hot Drinks, Books and Scenery, and a Book Laid Flat, or Shelfie.
Desert Island Picks at the Globe will be with Shaun Bythell, owner of The Bookshop, Wigtown, and author of Diary of a Bookseller.

Sunday starts with a Faber bookseller's brunch, and a children's tea party at the Parish Hall hosted by Adele Nozedar and Lizzie Harper.
There's more Croquet at the Globe.

There will be other events too - I'm working from the draft programme!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Council Meeting - Cycleway, Tennis Courts, County Councillor's Report, Litter - and a Groan-inducing Pun

There are plans to create a cycleway on the track of old railway lines, right down to Ystradgynlais.
However, it was pointed out that Sustrans looked at this in detail some time ago, and without a lot of compulsory purchase orders to get lengths of railway line back from private owners, it's not going to happen unless the route is diverted onto nearby lanes.

There is money available from the old Tennis Club to maintain and upgrade the tennis courts. The Tennis Club was wound up, it seems, because they didn't have enough members to satisfy the Lawn Tennis Club rules.
Meanwhile, all the sports clubs will be running the car park at the sports pavilion to raise money during Hay Festival, as they did last year.

Gareth handed round a little packet marked with a yellow triangle which is designed to keep a person's medical information safe and accessible in case of accidents - it's to go in a car. The Lions do a similar thing with Message in a Bottle, which can be in a person's home or car.
Gareth also brought along a poster showing the UN's 54 Articles of Rights of Children, something that should be taken into consideration when councils are making decisions. The councillors were interested in finding somewhere to display the poster.

And this month's report on the state of the play areas: "Everything seems to be all white!"
(Alan Powell's comment got such a chorus of groans, I had to include it here!)

Despite the snow, (and it has mostly thawed now, around Hay at least - I understand there's still quite a lot of it further up in the hills), two groups were planning a litter pick for today, Sunday. The Woodland Group were doing the riverside paths, and Want to Canoe? were organising a litter pick around town. I believe one group were offering tea and Welsh cakes, and the other coffee and cake, to the volunteers. One councillor asked if any group had plans to tidy up the hedgerows on the routes into town, which also have quite a bit of litter scattered around, including a lot of bottles on the way up to Brecon Road from Readers' Retreat.

And at that point the councillors voted to exclude the public, so they could discuss something secret, and I headed for home.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Small Business Saturday

Keepers Pocket is back on the Pavement, and will be opening soon.
Meanwhile Clocktower Books by the Buttermarket, which was sharing premises with Keepers Pocket, is now re-organising and filling up with books to replace the antiques. The changes mean that the lovely old desk that was being used as a counter has gone from Clocktower Books, and Dale is making do for the moment with a tiny little table which everybody has been laughing at, including him!

Friday, 9 March 2018

Council Meeting -Graffiti, Fly Tipping, Miles Without Stiles and Affordable Houses.

It seems that the Town Council have responsibility for the maintenance of the bus shelters - so the next topic of discussion was what to do about this graffiti. One councillor suggested keeping it for Hay in Bloom! Others suggested a pot of green paint was in order. They also talked about having more town information at the bus stops. Apparently Velindre bus shelter has books in it - no buses, though....

And from graffiti to fly tipping, and the trialing by Powys County Council of imposing fixed penalty notices on householders who fly tip. There's also a warning here for any householders who pay someone to take their waste away - if the person who takes it then tips it, it is the householder who is responsible.

Richard Greatrex was very keen for the Council to get involved with a consultation on how local government should work in the future, from the Welsh Assembly. For instance the Welsh Assembly are asking what community councils should be responsible for. It may seem theoretical, but could change the way things work across Wales in the future, such as combining neighbouring councils. If Hay were to be combined with Llanigon, for instance, the two areas have very different requirements.
One Voice Wales is working on a response to the consultation at the moment, and various councillors said they would be interested in seeing it when it's done. They also agreed that more working together between local councils would be a good thing.

Meanwhile Miles Without Stiles is forging ahead with work on local footpaths. Powys County Council have donated ten gates! And the Lions have donated £1,000, and would like to have plaques on their gates. The next stage is to get grant money - the project minimum is £20,000, which can be match funded with volunteer hours rather than cash, so they're looking for a pledge of 500 volunteer hours, with an additional £6,000 from the Town Council - and I missed the details of the rest of it. The Finance committee was due to meet a few days after the main Council meeting, and they had a lot to discuss!

The councillors were also looking back to last year, when they had a meeting with the National Parks and set out what they hoped to achieve over the year - and the consensus was that they've done quite well!
One area where they haven't been able to make much progress is affordable housing, partly because they were hoping the Affordable Housing Group would do most of the heavy lifting, but the group doesn't seem to have been active recently.
One concern was over the affordable housing in the Persimmon development. One condition for the building to go ahead was that local families in need would get first choice of the housing, but families seem to be moving in from all over Powys, not just the Hay area. There was a point that these families have more points than local families, so were in greater need. There was also concern that some local people have tried to get housing on the new estate, but have been refused, and the councillors wanted to talk to the National Parks, Powys Planning Department and Wales and West Housing Association to discuss this. This was seen to be a matter of urgency, as Wales and West are involved in future developments locally.

Meanwhile, over the border in Cusop, the houses of Booker's Edge are springing up opposite the Co-op, and people applying for affordable houses there have to prove a connection to Cusop. This would include anyone with family already living in Cusop, or someone who is employed in Cusop, which would include anyone who works at the Co-op, or Hay and Brecon Farmers. However, Cusop is unusual in that all the facilities are in Hay. Affordable, in this case, means at a discount of 39% of the full price for the houses. The councillors wanted to publicise this as much as possible, to give local families a chance to apply.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Council Meeting - Hay Festival, Christmas Lights, Powys County Council, Walking Festival, Bonfire Night

Hay Festival have offered the Town Council a slot for a Question and Answer session. This will be on Thursday 24th May, in the afternoon after the schoolchildren have gone home. The councillors want the session to be based around the Town Plan. There was some discussion about whether the Town Council should have "official answers" for questions they thought might be asked, or whether they should show a range of views coming to a consensus. One councillor said that it would be good for the public to see how a consensus was reached.

Now the Christmas lights are back in storage, in the "bear pit" cellar underneath La Maison, the councillors want to have an audit of what's broken, what's left, and they also want to re-use the old frames that had incandescent bulbs, by replacing the bulbs with LED lights. Some councillors favoured more coloured lights, others considered that everything white looked more striking. Councillors will be meeting the Chamber of Commerce to consider what the Christmas lights will look like at the end of this year.

And the Transfer of Assets is still stalled over the problem of the money from the Car Park, which Powys County Council promised to Hay, and then changed their minds. The Town councillors are a little worried about the new Healthmatic contract for the public toilets - car park money was supposed to be available for that.
There's also been no reply from the PCC yet about the library building, in which the Town Council expressed an interest some time ago. However, there will be a meeting soon between Hay School and the Library Services to negotiate when the library at the school will have its opening hours.
As the school building's "community room" is not a like-for-like replacement for the old community centre, HADSCL are trying to move forward with plans for a new community centre. They also want to ensure that the money in the old Shire reserves (£200,000) doesn't disappear before it's used for the benefit of Hay.

Anna from Drover Holidays is keen to re-start the Walking Festival and has asked for Town Council support. As the Town Council are very much involved with the Miles without Stiles project, they would like to see this take off again.

Jim is a member of the Lions, and brought up the Lions' Bonfire Night, which has been held at Clyro Court for around the last 25 years. The members of the committee which organises the event now feel they are getting too old to continue, but they would like to pass on the event to new organisers if they can. So this coming Bonfire Night will be the last one that the Lions organise.
At present, the event is covered by general Lions' insurance, so a new group would have to have public liability insurance, and enough money up front to stage the event. The Lions usually spend about £3,000 on fireworks, and charge £10 for a family entrance fee, and last year they made £800 profit. Clyro Court don't charge for the use of their land, but they do run the bar, and make money from the event that way.
The Town Council didn't feel able to take on the organisation, as they are doing so many other things already, but they did promise to communicate with other groups in the hope that someone would take it on.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Eugene Fisk's Funeral

This afternoon I met a lady who had been to Eugene Fisk's funeral - and she said she'd never seen a funeral like it.
There was the Requiem Mass at St Joseph's at 10am, and then another service at Clyro, starting at 12 noon - which lasted two hours, because of the number of people who wanted to pay tribute to Eugene.

Coming home this evening, I looked in the window of Keeper's Pocket, which has moved back onto the Pavement and will open soon. They've got a portrait of Eugene in the window.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Council Meeting - Benches, Parking, Woodland Group, Hay in Bloom, Warren Close

I was heading down to the Sports Pavilion last night when Alan Powell came out of the Swan to say the Council were meeting in there again. Having tried the Sports Pavilion, they had found it too cold, and since they were in a separate room where no alcohol was being served, they decided that was good enough - and it was lovely and warm in there!

So, benches were discussed. The new bench to be put on Bell Bank has been ordered, and should be installed soon. The British Legion have a metal bench with a cut out of a soldier and poppies on the back, and have asked if it can be sited in the square, since there are going to be commemorations of the end of the First World War later in the year. This may mean finding a place for an extra bench, or replacing one of the benches that are already there, but Gareth Ratcliffe will be liasing with the British Legion to find the right place for it.
Also in the Square is a bench with a plaque on it to Mrs. Aitcheson. Her husband has asked that the bench be given a fresh coat of varnish.
There was some discussion of parking permits, including problems like - should someone with a driveway also be able to buy a parking permit for the road, and what about the motorhome on Broad Street? (It's got a legal permit).

The Woodland Group made enquiries about the container on the school grounds, thinking it might be possible to use it to store their tools - but the school wants to store their own equipment in it, so it's not available. There is a little-used shed in the cattle market which might be suitable, though.
The Town Council is going ahead with declaring an interest in acquiring the land around the Castle Motte, as the Woodland Group would like to be able to improve it, and maybe open up the mound and put picnic benches there. One councillor remembered that, in the past, councillors had wanted to flatten the motte to put a car park there, so now they wanted to be sure that it would be protected for the future.
There was also concern about the damaged fence along the side of the church which has been awaiting repair for a year. Powys County Council presently own the land, and have not replied to letters about it - another reason the Woodland Group would like to take it on.
Anna from Drover Holidays has had an idea for Hay in Bloom - using old cycle helmets as planters! In Hereford, apparently, donations of old wellies have been asked for. The idea is to plant them up and dot them around the town.

As part of the Hay Independence celebrations over Easter, the Town Council will be holding a Hanging Basket Workshop at the Parish Hall on 7th April. This will be followed at 2pm by the announcement of Hay's Citizen of the Year, for which Christina Watson will provide an artistic certificate, and after that there will be a guided walk around town. Closing date for nominations for Citizen of the Year is 19th March. Forms will be given out on the Thursday market (it would have been done last Thursday, but there was a bit of snow!). Gareth Ratcliffe instantly took a photo of one of the forms, and Tweeted it! The wonders of social media!

There's been some sort of study that recommends that town councillors for councils of the size of Hay should get an allowance of £150 a year, to cover things like home office supplies needed to do the job of councillor. This should be paid from the Town precept. There were questions about whether councillors had to individually approach the Inland Revenue to ask for a dispensation so that they didn't have to declare the money as taxable income, or if there was a blanket dispensation for every councillor automatically.

Warren Close residents are to be invited to meet soon to discuss the piece of land between their houses and the new development, to talk about planting trees (preferably fruit trees) to screen the view of the new houses and making allotments. It was agreed that householders have no right to a view from their homes (some people apparently don't like looking out on the new houses) but they do have a right to light for their homes. Fruit trees would be a good addition if allotments were made there, though a solicitor will have to be consulted to see if garden sheds are allowed, as originally no structures were allowed on that land.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Starting to Thaw....

But here are some pictures from yesterday:

Down at the Warren, the river was frozen right across.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Fairtrade Fortnight Postponed by Snow

On Thursday, the Fairtrade Hay team were intending to give out free teas at the market, but decided to cancel because of the snow - and tonight three shops were collaborating in a series of talks throughout the afternoon and early evening. The details can be found on the Fairtrade Hay blog and Facebook page - there's a link to their blog on the sidebar of this blog.
Now the talks will be taking place on March 8th instead.

This is what it looked like in town yesterday morning, with a mini snow plough trying to clear the Pavement:

Friday, 2 March 2018

Blizzard Conditions

Last night was the first Thursday of the month, as well as St David's Day, which is the normal meeting time for the Stitch and Bitch group. Several members on the email list had already said that they wouldn't be coming in because of the snow, but Kilverts is pretty much on my way home from work, so I thought I'd pass by there just to see if anyone else had turned up.
It was, of course, still snowing, as it had been snowing all day, and the path to the front door of Kilverts was pristine and untouched. The barman was standing just by the kitchen door, smoking, and he said he hadn't seen anyone yet.
Just as I was turning to go, another lady, Sharon from Blissland Pizzas, came up the road.
So it was just us two, with our chairs pulled close to the wood burner in the main bar, her with her quilting spread across her knees and me with my knitted squares, and we had a lovely time! As the evening went on, the bar got a bit busier, while outside the powdery snow whirled in the wind.

Today, it's still snowing (I think it stopped for a bit in the night) and drifting, and the police are warning that many roads are closed. On the Hay Community page on Facebook, several people are offering to run errands for anyone who can't get out of their houses.
I may get the Arctic gear out later and go and see if any shops have managed to open.... (I've just seen someone who works at the Co-op walking down that way, so I assume they'll be open at least!)

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus!

Welsh suffragettes in 1911!

I was going to use a photo of a Welsh flag in a blizzard, but when I went looking for the one I remembered seeing, I couldn't find it!