Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Day out in Hay-on-Wye . . .

This was the view across t Pen-y-Fan yesterday - rainclouds lit from behind by the sun which highlighted the runnels of snow in the gulleys.


Anyone who knows me soon realizes that I am slightly dippy about books. With the emphasis on 'slightly'. I simply can't resist them. Unfortunately this disease appears to be infectious and my husband now has a bad case of it too. For people like us, the ultimate indulgence is a day out in the bookshops of Hay-on-Wye. So there are no prizes for guessing where we ended up yesterday, after deciding we needed a family day out to blow away the winter woes.

It was lovely just to stroll round, not having to hurry because we'd left late and had to get back to do the school run. We had dragged Danny along with us, slightly the worse for wear as he'd been to a party the night before. A bacon butty when we arrived was just what we all needed. We called it brunch . . .

Of course, temptation is there just to be indulged. I left home with a specific remit: look for books by Mary Webb; find a cheap copy of Thomas Hardy's The Trumpet-Major as I have loaned my copy to someone and want to read it - (don't think I ever did) and look for any early-Victorian or before horse books. I clean forgot about C Henry Warren, though I didn't come across him in my browsing of the Topography and Countryside shelves in any of the shops. I found several Mary Webbs, and bought Seven for a Secret, The Golden Arrow and House in Dormer Forest. There was a lovely anthology too, but it was £12.95 and so I passed on that. I also found a little book of Francis Frith's photos of Southampton, where I grew up. Some of them were taken when I was a child, so were very familiar to me.

I was delighted to find in Richard Booth's shop that the other Sabine Baring-Gould book was still there. Last visit I had bought "A Book of the West" and brought it home only to find I had picked up Cornwall and not Devon. Devon was still there waiting for me and so I have the pair now, both first editions too, but they are obviously not much sought after as they were only £4.50 each. I have several books by him, and a biography about him. Interesting chap, and really knew his West Country. Typical parson-antiquarian and I think he was a sort of "squarson" in his time - a cross between the local squire and the parson.

My husband didn't come home empty-handed either and was last seen with his nose in a book about the myth and magic behind Beowulf whilst I watched Poldark last night. (Which I am enjoying SO much, though my menfolk think it very melodramatic!)

We also had a stroll round the antique shops, though I kept my hands firmly in my pockets. There is one shop which is sub-divided into individual stall-holders' rooms, and it is always interesting to look round, if fairly reliant on pretty china, but we rarely buy as a) I've plenty of china at home already, and b) we would rather pay auction prices . . .

We did, however, stop as usual in the junky antiques place at Trecastle on the way home and a little enamel colander insisted it came home with me and I gave it a good scrub and used it for rice last night. Such things were meant to be used, not just to dress up as "kitchenalia".


Window-shopping . . . love the yellowy part tea-service on the right.

My eldest daughter would LOVE this, especially that green necklace - just her cup of tea.

Endless bits of china . . .

A lovely Log Cabin quilt (beyond my pocket though).

A view of Hay Castle, where Kilvert once socialized. He lived a mile or so across the River, at Clyro.

A lovely building, and that pale blue paint looks just perfect.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this beautiful window display - the catkins were splendid.

The old stables at Hay Castle.

Looking out over the town from in front of the castle. I wish I could tell you about the statue on the wall - all I have gleaned is that is is Henry VII (the same one that a son from this house was Esquire to the body of) and that Mrs Hitchcox is worried whether or not it is securely fixed to the wall (parish meeting July 2008). . . . Google is wonderful . . .


Looking across to Clyro between the houses . . .


Today it is back to gardening and cracking on with the intake area because my husband's told me he's taken down the sycamores which needed taking down, so I can get on with digging and planting now . . . I have weed-surpressing membrane down across the middle now for the pathway, and as it was getting dimpsy on Monday afternoon, we put the little Lidl fruit trees in - a Comice de Doyenne pear, a Victoria plum and a Cox's Orange Pippin. I have three more (2 pears and a plum) in big tubs down on mum's patio, so we will bring them up and may plant them yet (though I'd intended them to move with us when we downize.)

6 comments:

granny said...

I love looking at your photos,Australia is sooo young compared to your country.The old buildings are beautiful.Our home is a gold miners cottage,built in 1890's.And I think thats old !!!Thankyou for sharing these :0)

MrsL said...

Glad you had a good day Jennie. We love Hay too - imagine living there!! LOL
MrL is the only person I know who could go to Hay and come back with a raincoat (no books)..........

Lovely photos, especially the shops.

MrsL
xx

Wild Somerset Child said...

What a wonderful day out; you had me browsing along those shelves with you. Excellent finds, books and household. Do you know of the fantastic mail-order lady who sells second hand countryside book (Claire at Chantry Books); she sends out regular catalogues. If you don't, and you would like her details, email me and I will email you back (click on my email link found under 'my profile' on my blog.

I do so love reading your posts - and hope the fruit trees settle in nicely.

Arlene Grimm said...

What lovely pictures...I loved the blue door on the gray building...it really does look nice.

Liz said...

That's done it! A trip to Hay is now top of my agenda. I love the place.

Morning's Minion said...

What an interesting day out! I fear I would have lodged in the book store and someone would have to forcibly pry me out. I am taken with the arrangement of the blocks in that Log Cabin quilt. I use the "streak of lightning" setting for the one I produce for the quilt shop, but had never seen it done that way with the deliberate placement of colors for each "streak."