Saturday, 25 March 2023

Leominster Morris in Hay

 It's a lovely sunny day, and Leominster Morris were out in all their finery this morning - pheasant feathers in their top hats, blacked faces and brocade jackets.

They were actually dancing up at the Castle, but I came across them after that, when they did another dance in the middle of the Buttermarket, where the Mad Hatters Craft Fair is going on today.

Summer must be a coming in!

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Snowflake by the Bridge


One of my favourite spring flowers, down by the bridge.

The footpath towards the Warren is closed at the moment because of fallen trees.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Best Laid Plans

 I had plans for tomorrow.  It's a day when the Herefordshire Hoard is available to be seen by the public, and I was going to go into Hereford to view it.  In the evening, I was going to go to the Cusop History Society talk about Roman roads (and more recent roads) which was postponed from the other week because of the snow.

I will actually be staying at home, so I don't inflict my stinky cold on anyone else.

Ah, well.

Monday, 20 March 2023

Hay Shantymen at the Globe

 Last night, the Hay Shantymen sang at the Globe to launch their new album, Songs from the Shed.

The event was sold out - I got there at quarter past six for the six thirty start, and the Globe was already pretty full.  I got a seat upstairs on the balcony, so I had a very good view.

I liked the way they incorporated verses about Hay into some of their songs (and saying they were more handsome than Fishermen's Friends!), and talking about Hay being on the East coast of Wales!  

Quite a few of the shanties were unfamiliar to me.  The first one I could sing along to was the Mingulay Boat song.  In the second half, though, they sang some old favourites like Strike the Bell, Second Mate (let us go below), Going Down to Old Maui, the Wellerman, and their final encore, Bound for South Australia.  I also liked the way different members of the group sang the solos for different songs, giving everyone a chance to shine.

They did a brisk trade in CDs after the performance, and also had buckets out for the RNLI, which is their charity.  50% of the profits of the CD will be going to the RNLI.

My CD came this morning (I pre-ordered when I got my ticket), and I'm looking forward to listening to it later.

Monday, 13 March 2023

Cusop History Group on Film!

 John Price has kindly sent me the link to the February meeting of Cusop History Group at Cusop Village Hall.

There's a talk about Cusop Castle by Tim Hoverd, the archaeologist from Herefordshire Council, and updates on the research that's been going on about Cusop Church.

Cusop Castle is on private land, and is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument, so no holes can be dug, or geophys a la Time Team done without applying for a license.  In the case of Cusop Church, a faculty would have to be applied for from the diocese for any archaeological work, but it would be fascinating to find out more about both sites.  Cusop Castle is a very unusual shape for a Border castle - there's no motte, and Cusop Church may once have had a round churchyard, which is a very early, Celtic, feature.

The meeting rounds off with a short AGM.

The new date for the Roman Roads to Railways talk is Thursday March 23rd, at 7pm, at Cusop Village Hall.  Cost is £3 for members, £5 for non-members, and includes wine.

Unfortunately, the film has copyright material in it, so can no longer be viewed publicly, so I have deleted the link.

(all the more reason to turn up to the next meeting in person!)

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Simple Gifts at the Red Cross

You never know what you'll find when you start browsing in a charity shop.  The other day I was browsing at the Red Cross shop when I noticed an interesting LP.

The title is Simple Gifts, by two folk singers I'd never heard of, but the title track is a mixture of the original Shaker hymn "Tis a gift to be simple" with the more recent hymn with the same tune Lord of the Dance.  I have happy memories of singing Lord of the Dance at junior school - our headmaster was quite keen on modern music at assembly.  The singers are Benjamin Luxon and Bill Crofut.  The picture on the back shows two enthusiastic looking young men with impressive beards.

I know quite a few of the other featured folk songs, too - the Four Loom Weaver was another song we sang at school, as well as The Fox and Johnny I Hardly Knew You.

A bargain for £2! ("Oh, but it's signed on the back!" said the volunteer at the till.  "So that's £200....").

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Eugene Fisk Exhibition

 I went up to the Castle yesterday to have a look at the exhibition of Eugene Fisk's paintings and sketches, and was very pleased to discover that it's free.

The blacksmithing exhibition is still going on, too, outside the exhibition room, and several exhibits are different from the ones I saw last time I visited it, so it's worth going again to see the new stuff.

I started by looking at the landscapes.  There are local pictures, like the cover art from his book Oh Happy Hay, and a picture of his house (also the Kilvert Gallery) in Clyro.  There's a whole group of pictures of Italy, mostly architectural, and a series of paintings of places along the route of Gerald of Wales' Journey around Wales in 1188 (he came to Hay at the beginning of this journey, to help drum up enthusiasm for a Crusade).  Eugene was planning to make the pictures into a book, but the work was never completed.

He also did portraits, and several of his pictures of members of the Welsh National Opera are featured - he was commissioned to paint them.  There's also his portrait of King Richard Booth.

Many of the pictures are not for sale - the average price of the ones that are seems to be about £1500.

There were also some of his sketchbooks and diaries laid out on tables (he had beautiful handwriting).

And there was a short video playing in one corner, giving his life story from his time as a member of a teaching order of monks to his life as an artist after he left the order, and his long association with Clyro and Hay.

There's even an opportunity to own one of Eugene's sketches - there are three on offer, as raffle prizes (I wish I had room to put one on my wall!).

Sadly, there was nothing about the work he did with Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees - he sketched many portraits of the refugees at open days, and collected them into a book called Only Connect.

On the way out, I started chatting to the young lady at the desk by the door of the exhibition space.  It turned out that we have a shared love of archaeology, and she is very much looking forward to see the students return to Arthur's Stone in the summer.  We also have a shared love of the City of Norwich, where she went to university, and I spent two years digging up the Castle Mall (six acres in the middle of the city which is now a shopping centre).