Saturday, 17 April 2021

Shopping Spree in Hereford

Over lockdown I'd made a long list of things that I needed to buy in Hereford, when the shops were open again, and yesterday was the first chance I had to get there.

I'm not naturally a morning person, but I decided to take the early bus in (6.59am), which got me to the railway station at just after 8am.  I bought tickets for my upcoming holiday, and then headed into the town centre to see if any shops were open so early.

The newsagents was, and when the lad behind the counter saw the archaeology magazine I was buying, he took the opportunity to tell me all about the History Channel programme he'd seen about Ancient Aliens building the pyramids, and how he was convinced that Atlantis was actually somewhere under the Black Sea.*

I had gift vouchers for Marks & Spencers, which opens promptly at 8am, and I pretty much had the place to myself for browsing.  I also managed to get into Primark for cheap leggings and long-sleeved tshirts before a queue built up outside, so it was well worth getting up early.

I noticed a lot of empty shops, including famous names like Laura Ashley, Monsoon and Hotters shoes, and I was disappointed to find the shutters down on Cult Vintage - I was hoping to get some more vintage silk blouses.  However, they are not closed for good - just re-locating across the way to another empty shop, so I'm looking forward to them re-opening.  I did manage to get into Debenhams before they close down for good.

Another thing I really needed was a new alarm clock - after my old one broke I started using my travel alarm clock, but it has a very annoying tick.  Fortunately Hinds the jewellers had a perfect replacement, with a button on top to light up the clock face when you want to see the time in the middle of the night.  The girl who served me was looking forward to her first ComicCon - she had planned to go last year, but of course everything was cancelled.

There were a few stalls in the square, including Monkhide Wine.  I treated myself to a bottle of mead.  They also had Elderflower wine and fruit liqueurs.  The mead is delicious, and they have a website at

I came home laden with new clothes and most of the essential items on my list. I also couldn't resist popping into Waterstones, where I found the latest Becky Chambers book 'the galaxy, and the ground within', and the latest Rivers of London book What Abigail Did Last Summer by Ben Aaronovitch, so it was a pretty successful trip.

*Note: Ancient Aliens did not build the pyramids, and Atlantis is almost certainly not somewhere under the Black Sea.

Friday, 16 April 2021

New Gallery and a Change of Premises

 On Castle Street a new gallery has opened.  As I passed I heard a family admiring a life-sized statue of a barn owl inside, and I was very taken by the glass dragons in the window:

Meanwhile the jewellers' shop, previously in the little courtyard beside Eve's Cafe (now being renovated), has moved to the shop opposite the Blue Boar, where the hairdressers used to be:

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Farmers' Welsh Lavender

It's a lovely sunny day, and the Thursday market has all the non-food stalls back - leather, vintage clothes, plants, socks, old tools and knick-knacks.

The little shop by the Clock Tower has opened too, and they have a table outside today showing off their wares.  They are Welsh Farmers' Lavender, and they sell creams and balms made with lavender.  The farm is somewhere near Builth Wells, and they have a website at

Saturday, 10 April 2021

End of an Era at the Post Office

 On the Hay Community Facebook page, Steve Like has made the announcement that he is tendering his resignation to the Post Office, and that therefore the Post Office will be closing, probably by mid-June.

He's been trying to retire for several years.  The Post Office has been on the market, but no-one has come forward to buy it, and he was also exploring the possibility of leasing the business - that seems to have fallen through at the last minute.

The ATM at the Post Office will continue to be refilled for now, but will also have to go eventually.

(There is a cash machine at the back of the Co-op).

It's very sad that there seems to be no way of keeping the Post Office open.  The loss of the Post Office will have an impact on all the local businesses that send parcels (not just bookshops), as well as all the people who pay bills at the Post Office counter.  And, of course, all the staff will lose their jobs.  Post coming into Hay will have to be sorted elsewhere, too, which will have an impact on our local postmen and women.

I wish Steve Like a long and happy retirement.  I'm sure this was a difficult decision for him to make.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Local Gin Distillery

I had no idea there was a gin distillery in Hay until I got the Brecon & Radnor Express this week.

Under the Public Notices column is an application from Little Knapp Distillery of Lion Street for a premises license to sell alcohol, with extended hours over the period of Hay Festival.

They have a website at

They are very much a craft distillery - they make London Dry Gin in batches of up to only 25 bottles.  Their brands are Wild Knapp Gin and Doctor Beaky, and they flavour the gin with fruit, herbs and flowers from the land around the distillery (which is in a shed in their back garden).

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Traffic Restrictions

 As Hay gets ready to open up to visitors again on 12th April, there's been some local concern about the traffic restrictions that will be put in place in the centre of town.  

Traffic restrictions, to aid social distancing, were put in place last year during the easing of the lockdown - that's when the flower boxes started appearing round town as well.

Once again, there will be pedestrianised areas and pick up points for collecting goods from local businesses at the edges of the restricted area.

Yesterday I saw Trudy, the Mayor, standing in the street outside Londis with a couple of local business owners, discussing the changes and why the council has had to bring them in, and she's also had a letter published in the Brecon and Radnor explaining what they are doing and why they are doing it.

There will be, for example, ten parking spaces in the main car park which will be free for people who stay for an hour or less, so they can just pop to the shops quickly.  They are also only closing the roads from noon onwards, so anyone who needs access to the centre of town can use their car in the mornings.

The Council is not trying to kill local businesses, as some opponents of the scheme have claimed.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Community Banking

 When the last bank in Hay closed, several people made the suggestion that the banks should get together and share a premises so that the people of Hay would still be able to do the banking that they need to do.

Well, they're not exactly sharing, but they are taking it in turns.

From Thursday 15th April, between 10am and 3pm, a community banking expert will be at the Parish Hall as part of the Access to Cash scheme.

On 15th April, it's Barclays.

On 22nd April, HSBC will be there.

On 29th April, NatWest will be there.