Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A Short Break to the 2nd Hand Book Capital of the World

Not so much a holiday as a pilgrimage to Hay-on-Wye, a village on the Welsh border that boasts over 20 second hand bookshops and, of course, the annual Hay Festival. The book sellers cater to all tastes, even my somewhat esoteric ones, and it was great to chat with them about obscure authors some of which they'd met and corresponded with. A particular short out to Belle Books on that account; they specialise in vintage sci-fi and detective fiction and I enjoyed a lengthy chat with the proprietor (not Belle - she was the dog). I didn't take my camera to the bookshops as that would have meant less room on my bag for books, but we did manage a couple of non-literary walks in and around the village.

bull's head in window - close up

A window on the backstreets of Hay.

bull's head in window

A view of Hay from insude the castle; the windows were a bit grimy so got as close as I count to blur out the muck.

Hay-on-Wye from its castle

The old castle that overlooks the village dates back many centuries.

inside Hay Castle

The castle has enjoyed a chequered history, and was gutted by fire in recent years. The tour of the castle is run by volunteers and helps fund the restoration work. I managed to blot my copybook by taking pictures when I should have been listening to the guide.

a cottage on the hillside

Bob and Annabelle were our hosts at the very welcoming La Fosse B&B. Bob talked of a hill-side cottage he longed to purchase, which we took to be the one in the image above.

harvest produce in Cusop Church

Harvest festival in Cusop Church.

Cusop churchyard

I love a good graveyard, and the trees in this one were Tolkeinesque.

grand old tree in Cusop churchyard

The farms dominate the countryside around Hay.

farmland skirting Hay

Not the best weather for atmospheric landscapes, but I could easily imagine living in the area and tromping over the hills as they are gradually illuminated by the rising sun.

Hay cemetary

They really know how to do cemetaries in this neck of the woods.

the spine of the cemetary

The path is wide enough for cars to drive up - which they did.

dog walker in cemetary

The Scottish lady in the image above disappeared from view for a while, before reappearing and telling me she didn't want to spoil the photo. On the contrary, she rather made it.

a walk through Hay cemetary

And then we stubled upon the icing on the funereal cake....

amazing gravestone in Hay cemetary

And finally the best thing about the area? The pace of life.

a gentle pace of life


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  2. Roughage on-Wye is a Welsh people group with a Town Council. Its limit takes after the English fringe/Dulas Brook from the River Wye southeastwards for a little more than a kilometer, turns south-west to a point only south of Oakfield house, thus north to Greenpit Farm and north westwards, encasing the Hay Showground and meeting the National Park limit close to the B4350, Brecon Road. Starting here, it takes after the National Park limit to the River Wye and the stream back to the Dulas Brook.
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