Thursday, 31 May 2018

Something Happening at the Three Tuns

I was standing on Broad Street, chatting to Brian, when we noticed a big car pulling in onto the double yellow lines opposite the Three Tuns pub - so we were quite prepared to be judgemental about people who don't park properly during the Festival. There were quite a few problems around the Globe during their How The Light Gets In Festival, with vans and lorries delivering to the site, with the police getting involved, over the weekend.
In this case, though, the young chap dashed across the road to the Three Tuns and opened the front door, and then started unloading kitchen chairs from the back of his car, while a young woman stayed with the car. So we went over to help, so that they didn't have to stay on the double yellow lines any longer than necessary.
I didn't catch their names, but they are the new owners of the Three Tuns, and although they couldn't manage to get it re-opened in time for the Festival, they hope to be re-opening the pub soon.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Sitar on the Pavement

The sitar player was back in town this afternoon, at the top of the Pavement. He was even using a blues slide on the strings at one point.
Unfortunately, the policeman in the background of the picture came over after he'd finished a piece, to ask him to move because people had stopped to listen in the middle of the road.
I bought his CD, Sensorium by Omnivibes. His name is Paul Jackson, and he has a website at

Monday, 28 May 2018

More Festival Happenings

The Handmaids were, indeed, heading for Margaret Atwood's talk at the Festival site, after walking all around Hay.
I had some time in the middle of the day to go into Booth's Bookshop, to have a look at the Jackie Morris exhibition (at the entrance to the café), and I'm sure the ones at the top of the stairs on the first floor were by local artist Jean Miller. There was a Jackie Morris print of a hare and fox sitting together that I think was my favourite of the ones there (though the swooping barn owl on a gold background was gorgeous, too). They were all a bit out of my price range - the originals ranged between £1,000 and £4,000 - but at least I have the set of cards of art from The Lost Words, which I've been displaying round my bedroom.
Later, I chatted to a young man who had his face painted and decorated with stick on gems in purples and blues. There's been a young lady outside the Hour Glass Gallery with a table over the weekend. If I said she was doing face painting, that usually suggests children painted as tigers or butterflies, but what she does is far more intricate and beautiful. The young man had the make-up done for partying down at the How The Light Gets In Festival later in the evening. He'd been stewarding there over the weekend, and had really enjoyed the experience.
Another couple I chatted to said they'd had a wonderful time over the weekend, but were a bit confused - they thought How The Light Gets In was the same as the Hay Festival, rather than two separate events.
I also stopped to chat to the lady at the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust stall in the Cheese Market. They'd brought along a lot of animal skulls, most of which I could recognise, but there was one big one that stumped me - it turned out to be a grey seal.
The lady said she'd been coming to Hay since 1981, and said she always looked up at the Castle and noticed the big cracks in the stone work, so she was glad it's being renovated now. She said: "Please don't say it's going to be a wedding venue!" I had to admit that weddings had been held there - but there are plans for lots of different things too.

Seen in Hay Today

A procession of Handmaids from the Handmaid's Tale, identically dressed in red with big white bonnets. I think Margaret Atwood is speaking at the Festival today.
The weather, thank goodness, is better.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Festival in the Streets

The weather has been horrible in the mornings and clearing up to be glorious in the afternoons so far.
Usually, my neighbour sets up a stall outside her house, and I join her with my bits and pieces, but the weather was so horrible that we thought we'd postpone it - until about 3pm, when the sun came out and stayed out, and she came round and said: "Shall we risk it?".
It stayed fair for the rest of the afternoon, and we sat in the sun and chatted, and sold a few bits and pieces.
Over the road, they had to stop letting people into the Rose and Crown because it was so full - I think because they were showing a big football match, or something - and the queue for the fish and chip shop was the longest I've seen it for years.
My neighbour admired a man's hat as he was passing by, so he stopped to chat. He was Edward, a magician, and he did some card tricks while he stopped to chat. He'd also been canoeing up the Wye, and had been a speaker at a Canoe Festival! While he was standing there, he noticed another couple passing by, and called out: "Are you from Portsmouth?"
It turned out that they were both part of the boat building community down there!
A lady was collecting for the Hay2Timbuktu appeal, to build new toilets at schools in Timbuktu. This is especially important for the girls at secondary school, who often miss school days every month because they can't use the toilets. They were hoping that they'd collect enough over the Festival to be able to start building work.
And when I was sitting in Kilvert's, having a quiet half of Trooper from Robinsons while my washing was at the launderette, a lady came round collecting for an animal sanctuary in Rossendale, Lancashire, which was fairly random!

Today, the Fair in the Square was packed when I came out of work, with music in the marquee. A Big Issue seller was outside Spar, dressed as a sheep. Down on the Pavement, a young man was playing the sitar, with a bird of prey sitting on a perch beside him. I think it might have been a peregrine falcon, and it was very calm with the crowds going by so close to it, considering that it didn't have a hood on.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Friday at the Festival

It's been wet all day, but it does really feel like the Festival now.
This morning I went into Shepherds to see Lizzie Harper's exhibition (and buy some gooseberry and elderflower crumble ice cream). Francoise and Pierre were there, sipping coffee and reading the morning papers - they were looking forward to several Festival events.
Adam Tatton-Reid has pictures in the Granary too - I'll try to get round to seeing that exhibition during the week. He does some wonderful photos.
My first event, though, was not at the Festival site, but at the Poetry Bookshop, where Owen Sheers, John Retallack and Dan Krikler were doing a free event, meeting the creators of the play Unicorns, Almost, which has started its run at the Swan.
Sadly, Owen Sheers couldn't be there - struck down with a migraine, he was tucked up in bed, so he couldn't tell us himself about how much the poet Keith Douglas meant to him. John Retallack, the director of the play, said that Owen first discovered the poetry when he was 24 - which was the age that Keith Douglas had died in the Second World War. He also talked a lot about Owen Sheers other play, Pink Mist, about three Bristol lads joining the army and being sent to Afghanistan. Pink Mist is an extended poem, originally written for radio - which caused a few problems when trying to stage it, according to Dan Krikler, who also starred in that play. On stage, you can just pick up a cup of coffee - for radio, the text actually says "I picked up my cup of coffee", so they had an interesting time getting that to work. However, Pink Mist ended up being a very physical play, and when John Retallack directed it at the Bristol Old Vic he wanted to work with someone else who had a particular type of theatrical training, to get the right physicality (I forget the name of the place that did the training) and the Old Vic had just taken on someone who had exactly that training.
So Dan performed the beginning of Pink Mist - first asking if there were any Bristolians in the audience, because his accent was a bit rusty!
He also performed some of Keith Douglas's poetry, which was quite different, complex and beautiful. Dan mentioned some criticism that Keith Douglas had from poets back in London during the War, complaining that his later poems had lost some of their musicality, to which Keith Douglas replied that he was in the middle of people being blown up in the Western Desert, so of course he'd lost some musicality! At the same time, though, he had access to the big luxurious hotels of Alexandria, which is why there's a chandelier hanging from the roof of the tent in the set of the play. Dan was wearing a flying jacket with a polo neck sweater - with the small moustache he has, he reminded me of Douglas Fairbanks!
When questions were taken from the audience (nobody left when Melanie announced that Owen Sheers couldn't be there) one man said that he had been stopped by four people already who all told him he had to go and see the play, because it was so good. Another lady, who had been unaware the play was on, asked where she could go and see it, because what she'd heard so far had been so interesting (tickets are available at the Poetry Bookshop). Another question was whether the play would be shown to children with no experience of war - and children from Fairfield School locally are being brought to see it.
I hadn't noticed it when I went to do my shopping in the morning, but the shop which used to be St David's Hospice, by the Buttermarket, has become Grove House Gallery for the Festival, with paintings by Martin Andrews round the walls, bog oak sculptures, Irish handmade woodcraft (many beautiful bowls) by Malcolm McAndrew The Wood Wizard, and leather belts, pouches and purses - and two friendly rough coated lurcher-type dogs.

Then it was down to the Festival site - there are a few stalls along Brecon Road as usual, one selling "posh kebabs", the usual woodturner and craft tent, with rebound notebooks and a Christian tent outside Cartref, and a couple of others, but the weather wasn't really on their side today.
I had time to browse the Oxfam bookshop, and the Festival bookshop, and look around the Festival site. The Quakers are here again, and I got a little bag of leaflets from them. There's also wine, cheese, vinegars, Celtic Spirits, and ice cream, vintage clothes, and charities including Greenpeace, the Woodland Trust and the Cat's Protection League. There's an art gallery, which will be open tomorrow (they were still setting up), and a Make and Take tent....
Which leads on quite nicely to the talk I went to see, which was How to be a Craftivist: The Art of Gentle Protest. This was supposed to be Jonathan Porritt talking to Sarah Corbett, the author of the Craftivist book - but Jonathan Porritt has had to go into hospital for a knee operation, so Martin Wright stepped in instead.
Sarah Corbett has had an interesting life - brought up in one of the poorest areas of Liverpool where her father was (and still is) a vicar and her mother a nurse, on the 14th floor of a tower block. That's what started her life of campaigning and activism, when her mother was worried about fires in the block and couldn't get a satisfactory answer. From that beginning, Sarah grew up around lots of local campaigns, and got to see what sort of things worked and what didn't work. She also once made an old lady cry, during a conventional placards and petitions protest outside Primark, which made her feel awful, and made her think about the wider issues - the old lady couldn't afford to buy clothes for her grandchildren anywhere else.
As she started work, that was the sort of thing she went into, working for several big charities, and one of her successful campaigns, using craftivism, was to get a large department store chain to pay the living wage to its staff - by sending the Board members a hanky.
Each Board member got a personalised embroidered hanky (the craftivists did research on what sorts of things each person was interested in to personalise them) and the gifts were given, along with a handwritten letter about the benefits of the living wage, at the AGM. By the next AGM, the Board members had persuaded the CEO to change his position, and introduce the living wage. The name of the company isn't in the book, for legal reasons, but they did say who it was on stage, which made me sad, as I grew up believing that this particular company was well known for looking after its staff.
There were some good questions from the audience. One lady wanted to know how to do a Plastic Free Challenge with her Rainbow and Brownie group (so girls between 5 - 7, and 7 - 10), and another lady wanted to know how to be a craftivist if you'd never picked up a needle before. Up to the age of 7, children have less dexterity and find some crafts difficult, but there's always scope for something creative to be made to give to a local politician, for instance, and if an adult has never tried any crafts, then a gift from them, even if it's a bit messy, is all the more thought-provoking, because they'd made the effort.
Something else thought provoking were Sarah Corbett's thoughts on the "pink pussy hats" made by women who marched against Trump in the early days of his presidency. Yes, they were hand made, but the movement didn't really go anywhere because they didn't have a clear aim in mind, and they didn't have a specific question to put to Trump, so he could ignore them. Another question from the audience was about the effectiveness of gentle craftivism against an opponent such as the NRA gun lobby in the USA. Sarah Corbett said that the best way to approach something like that was to see what the two sides had in common, and to have a clear vision of what they want the future to look like - so for instance someone who didn't believe in climate change (she worked on campaigns for this, too) might be persuaded by something local like clearing up pollution in their local area, rather than "Climate change is terrible, we're all going to die, and it's all your fault". She also pointed out that using crafts to protest is just one thing in a toolbox of different methods - alongside marching and placards and petitions and so on.
It was a fascinating hour, and I'll be looking up the Craftivist Collective online.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Festival Window

The volunteers at the Red Cross shop are talented!
The manager was just shutting up shop when I took the photos and she said she'd had an offer for one of the book art vases of flowers already! As the person asking was local, she said she'd keep a note of it, and they could come back after the Festival.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Getting Ready for the Festival

So the bookshop windows are being cleared to put out books by Festival authors, there's an art exhibition at Tinto House and another in one of the empty shops, stalls are going up in the Honesty Gardens, the Fair on the Square will be happening again, and the Hourglass Gallery has been painted green.
Meanwhile at the Globe, a neighbour saw a group of people manhandling a gypsy caravan up the sloping path past the front of the Globe and into the little meadow at the side of it - and this morning Emma Balch came into the Cinema Bookshop to buy some books on the British Army to put in her display for the play Unicorns, Almost. One of them was a history of the Sherwood Foresters Yeomanry by Jonathan Hunt. Their nickname was the Unicorns because of their badge, and the author will be coming to Hay to see the play.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Swan Well

I was asked today where the "wild spring" was in Hay, so I sent them to find the Swan Well, which is tucked away behind the almshouses beyond the Swan Hotel on the way out of Hay, on the Brecon Road.
By coincidence, I'd taken advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday to do a circular walk. I started off along the riverside walk, as far as the church, and at the top of the path, it occurred to me that I hadn't been past the Swan Well for a while, so I took that path, and took a photo:

Before piped water to every home, this was one of the public wells in Hay.

From there, I took the path by the side of the cemetery, up to Hay Common. It's up a steep gully, with several little bridges over the stream, and in dappled shade from the trees overhanging it. At the top it opens out into a wide meadow - and from one side there was a good view over the Hay Festival site, with all the tents up, dazzling white.
Going down again, I cut through the cemetery, and took this photo of the military graves near the entrance, most of them Italian and German prisoners of war, who died at the end of the Second World War, at the Military Hospital in Talgarth:

Then I took the path from Forest Road round the back of the school, and came out on the fair at the bottom of the car park, and then home.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Hay Fair

Down at the bottom of the car park.
It'll liven up later into the evening.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Black Mountains College

Last Saturday, while I was in Hay for the Grand Opening of the new bench, a meeting was taking place in Talgarth Town Hall which sounds quite intriguing. Apparently, plans are being drawn up for a new Black Mountains College - and the organisers are considering the old Talgarth Hospital site for it.
It's obviously a serious proposal - Kirsty Williams, AM, was there to introduce Owen Sheers (the local novelist) and Ben Rawlence (journalist), the founders of the idea. They have also been given seed funding by the Brecon Beacons National Park to conduct a feasibility study into establishing a college for rural skills and higher education, and teacher training. They are also supported by Talgarth Town Council (it may become part of their Town Plan), Powys County Council, several colleges and universities, including Swansea, local environmental organisations Green Valleys and Ty Mawr Lime Ltd., Good Energy, Hay Festival, Cerys Matthews, and the Wye and Usk Foundation.
What they say they want ( their website is is an environment dedicated to creativity, experimental learning and adaptive thinking. The aim is to encourage a zero-carbon economy, which is why there's an emphasis on traditional rural skills, but they also want to offer new solutions, so there will be computer coding, and courses on renewable energy, transport, and organic farming, leading up to a real-world research project for each student.
It all sounds very interesting, though as yet it's only a concept - and it would be a great use for the old Talgarth Hospital, which is presently mouldering away into ruin.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Royal Bedding Day

No, I haven't spelled that wrong!
I was at the Baskie for a brilliant evening of music and laughter last night. The usual Wednesday session was moved to Tuesday because a group had booked the entire hotel for Wednesday, and when we arrived, we saw a big banner over the porch for the Gunfighters' Motorcycle Club! They'd gathered from all over Europe, the UK, and the US. Some of them came to listen to the music, and sang along! According to their website, the group started in the US in 2005, and is made up entirely of active and retired police officers.
At the end of the evening an announcement was made that there would be a special event at the Red Lion in Sennybridge on Saturday, the day of the Royal Wedding. There will be music from 2pm until late, as part of a nation wide campaign called Musicians Against Homelessness.
This is a response to Windsor council wanting to clear homeless people off the streets of Windsor in advance of the Royal Wedding, because they make the place look untidy. The intent was not to help them, but just to get rid of them out of sight.
Musicians Against Homelessness have already raised £100,000 for charities which help the homeless.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Clothes Moths!

So I have a small infestation - fortunately I noticed the little so-and-sos fluttering around quite quickly.
The place they had taken up residence was the big basket stuffed with my medieval spinning and weaving supplies, including raw fleece and hand spun wool.
So, all that had to go.
I haven't actually used the contents of the basket for some time now - I think the last time was around the Agincourt 2015 festivities - as the group I used to belong to has disbanded/moved to Scotland. But I still had the thought in the back of my head that, if a medieval spinster was needed, I was ready!
The clothes moths forced a decision, though - realistically, I'm probably not going to be doing any medieval spinning or weaving in the near future, and maybe it's time to sort out the spindles and de-clutter a bit.
When I was demonstrating, I also had a variety of natural plant dyes that I showed to people, and I've already managed to find a good home for them where they will actually be used for dyeing. Annie, the lady who spins in the Cheese Market, was happy to have them - madder and woad and dyers' greenweed and St John's wort and dyers' chamomile.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Dedicating a Bench

Here are members of the Bell Bank Club and the Monday Choir getting ready to dedicate the new bench (hidden just round the corner of the stone building), which has a plaque on it in memory of Eileen Bufton, who belonged to both the Bell Bank Club and the Monday Choir. The crowd that had gathered to watch was across the street - and there was a police officer up in the square making sure no cars came through while the ceremony was in progress. A number of people walked straight through the middle, though. County Councillor Gareth Ratcliffe, and Josie Pearson from the Town Council, were also in the crowd, as well as members of Eileen's family. John Price was the Master of Ceremonies, and the Monday Choir sang three of Eileen's favourite songs - Summer is icumen in, The Lord's My Shepherd, and (with help from the crowd) Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
The plaque reads "The Bell Bank Club for the blind and partially sighted" at the top, around a picture of bells, and under that "Fond memories of Eileen Bufton and all departed members and helpers of our club."

Friday, 11 May 2018

Next Council Meeting

Hay Town Council normally meets on the first Monday of the month, but because of the Bank Holiday this month, they will be meeting on Monday 14th May instead, at the Swan Hotel, at 6pm. I saw the announcement on Facebook this time. It's also the AGM for the Council, and the time when the new Mayor is chosen.
I won't be there this time - I'd already promised to go to a friend's poetry reading before I realised the date clash.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Cool and Unusual Bench

Seen in Kilverts' garden.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Remembering Eileen Bufton

At noon on Satuday 12th May, there will be a ceremony to unveil the plaque on the new memorial bench by the Cheese Market, in honour of Eileen Bufton and the Bell Bank Club. The Bell Bank Club is the local group for blind and partially sighted people, and Eileen Bufton was well known around town with her guide dog - she also sang in the church choir at St Mary's. The Monday Choir will sing for the ceremony.

And at St Mary's Church, the following Friday, 18th May, there will be a concert in memory of Eileen Bufton and in aid of the Bell Bank Club and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Cost is £5 including refreshments, and there will be a raffle.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Snodhill Castle

It was another weekend when there were several good and interesting things happening that I'd have liked to go to. In Hereford, it was the River Festival, and up at the Bull's Head at Craswell there was a protest/party because the pub has been closed for 3 years now with no sign of re-opening.
But I really wanted to go to Snodhill Castle, where the Snodhill Castle Preservation Trust were having an open day and party to celebrate all the hard work that's been done to renovate and preserve the castle - and it really is a fascinating castle!

The best thing about this trip was that I could get the bus there and back.
I did ask how much a return to Dorstone was, since it's such a short trip, but it was only about 10p cheaper than the Explorer ticket, which gives limitless travel for a day, so it didn't really seem worth it.
There is no parking at the castle itself, so the Friends were using the yard at Dorstone Court as a car park, and running a shuttle bus to the Castle - on a one way system around the lanes because they are so narrow.

It was such a lovely day that I walked up, together with a couple from the Hay History Society and a couple from Bristol who knew the chap who is one of the leading lights of the efforts to preserve the Castle.
Snodhill is not a village, as such, but there are several big houses near the Castle, including Snodhill Court Farmhouse. As we passed it, the lady from Hay History Society asked me if I'd ever been inside. "It's got a Justice Room," she said, when I said that I had only ever passed by it. "And cells - so the Justice of the Peace must have used it." It's a rather fine 17thC farmhouse, with some earlier bits, and some corbels incorporated into the building which had originally come from the Castle - which must have been a rather fine building itself in its heyday.

Everyone got a printed plan of the Castle as they arrived, which sent you up the mound in a gentle spiral. We had entered by the West Bailey, and you could either go the "heart attack route" straight up the side of the mound, or the gentle track round the edge....
...which led to a tree with a bat box, and a level terrace around the mound. The slope down to the lane is very steep.
Moving on, the route went under the North Tower, and round to the hornwork that protected that side of the Castle from attack. There's also a fair sized badger sett on that side of the mound. Looking down the slope, there was the old pear orchard, and a large flat area which might be a prehistoric settlement, or a Norman outer bailey to the Castle, or medieval gardens. A dig there would be very interesting.
Further round, there's a good view up to the Keep itself:

It's 12 sided, which is unique.

Going back a little, there's another path up to the Inner Bailey and the other side of the Keep. Kilvert picnicked here, and the views were superb, right along the Golden Valley to Peterchurch one way.
I was determined to get right to the top - it is very steep, and I managed to scramble it. Mari Fforde and her family were up there - she works for Hay Castle, so had a professional interest in this neighbouring castle.
Down in the Inner Bailey, some of the children were finding this very interesting:

and here's a more general view:

The potted history at the bottom of the printed sheet takes the Castle from 1068, when it was built by William Fitz Osbern (also lord of Clifford, Chepstow, Wigmore and Carisbrooke). It was in the hands of the De Chandos family for 328 years, and eventually came to the hands of Elizabeth I, who sold it to her favourite Robert Dudley - who in turn sold it to the Vaughan family. By this time, it had a deer park, like the still existing Moccas Park nearby.

Down in the West Bailey there was a little exhibition of pictures of the renovation and excavation work so far, including a map of the deer park - and two cannon balls, which children were struggling to lift.
And there were cakes, and drinks. Scattered around the flatter areas were tables and chairs, and picnic rugs.
I also caught part of the tour, given by Garry Crook - there was a big crowd for that.

The whole thing has been a magnificent collaborative effort - the acknowledgements section of the printed sheet mentions local families and small businesses for everything from the cakes for the party to the banners that decorated the castle, to the chap who made the new gate from local oak, the fencers, and even the Nag's Head in Peterchurch for the sandwiches they provided at site meetings! And of course, Historic England, Herefordshire Council and Hereford Archaeology for their work on the site and financial support.

Anyone who wants to become a Friend of Snodhill Castle can visit

I managed to catch the minibus back into Dorstone, where there was just time for a quiet half of Pandy Ale (from Grey Trees brewery) at the Pandy before I caught the bus back to Hay. Several lovely people offered to give me a lift back to Hay, but since I'd paid for the bus ticket already....

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Ladies Who Lunch - this time at Booths Cafe

The Ladies Who Lunch only meet occasionally, but this time it was done on fairly short notice, because one of the Ladies is about to move to Llanidloes!
We met up at the Globe, because we'd had good meals there before, but this time the chef was preparing for an event, and so was only offering fish and chips.
So we decided to head for Booths.
There's a printing press in the café at the moment, and it's been used fairly recently to print pictures of cows and fish and vegetables on pages from old recipe books, which were hung up round the walls. Several people came to take photos of it while we were there.
Since the Ladies Who Lunch are also Ladies who Stitch and Bitch, we all noticed when a man came into the café with a long scarf like thing draped over his shoulder.
"Is it woven?"
"No, it's knitted."
"Oh, it's a hat with a long tail!"
"That man doesn't know how close he came to being mugged, does he?"
The food was absolutely delicious - I had the devilled Portobello mushrooms on toast, with egg, and we shared scrumptious chips. And we had to have scones - this time I tried the gooseberry and elderflower jam, which was gorgeous.

So we gave Ros a good send off - with promises to have a day trip to Llanidloes when the quilting exhibition is on at the Minerva Centre. The Minerva Centre also has a quilting group and an embroidery group, and runs courses, so there'll be plenty of opportunities for handicrafts there. There's also a really good vegetarian café on the main street ("I know," Ros said. "We've been three times already!") and the Great Oak Bookshop.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Library Update

So here's the latest news on the Library, from Kay Thomas the Chief Librarian for Powys, via HOWLS:
Until the playground is finished, there is no safe access for the public to the new school building, and the hoardings on the car park side have to stay in place. This should be finished sometime after the Festival, so the present Library will now close on Monday 11th June, and re-open at the school on Monday 18th June.
Also, despite the article in the Hereford Times a couple of weeks ago, it seems that no final decision has been taken on how many hours a week the new library will be open for. Powys County Council said it would be open for 12 hours a week, which is about half the hours it's open now. Hay Festival have said they are willing to put in additional funding again (they've supported the Library financially for several years now) to bring it up to 19 hours a week - but Powys County Council have yet to agree to a date for a meeting to discuss the issue.

The HOWLS AGM will be held on Wednesday 20th June at 7pm - venue to be announced soon.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Memorial to a Small Dog

Sally from Fleur de Lys antique shop called me over this morning to tell me that Lucy, her dog, had died. Lucy was the constant companion of Brian for 16 years (this is not the same Brian that takes me over to the Baskie every week), and she was a lovely little dog.
So this memorial has gone up in the window of Booths.
Brought a lump to my throat.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Kilverts Update

The original owners of Kilvert's Hotel have come out of retirement, as the manager of the Brecon and Hay Taps has decided the new company to run the two pubs won't be able to make it work after all. The pub is still open, with the same staff at the moment, but there's a story in the Brecon and Radnor Express this week about one couple who had booked rooms for the Festival, and paid a deposit, and now don't know what's going to happen about their deposit money.
Meanwhile the ladies of Stitch and Bitch had their usual session in the side bar this evening, and so far it looks as though the group will be able to continue meeting there.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

The Bull's Head in Craswall

This remote pub has now been closed for 3 years, with no sign of it re-opening. I remember walking up there years ago, when there wasn't even a bar - just a hatch in the wall, and you could be there on your own until suddenly 20 pony trekkers appeared for cider and cheese and pickle sandwiches. They even had an under-18s bar in a separate room.
More recently, they served food, and were quite a popular destination for a drive out, but the pub has changed hands a few times, and the present owners don't seem to be doing anything with it.
So on Saturday there will be a protest (polite and well-mannered and peaceful) outside the building, at 12 noon.
The post code is HR2 0PN, to help to find it. There is also a petition on 38 Degrees for it to re-open.