Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Simon, Matsuko and Richard in Hay-on-Wye
After the Green Man Festival we decamped to Hay-on-Wye, a famous small town with about 38 second hand bookshops, right on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, there's a superb remote valley nearby and quite spectacular scenery, though in Hay you don't really see that yet, it's all very bucolic and charming still, lush green meadows and rolling hills, but you only have to drive a few miles and you're in the wide open spaces of the Black Mountains leading over a pass into the Llanthony valley (and you don't want to get stuck in there with a flat tyre as happened to us). So we went hillwalking during the day and bookshopping when not...and on the last evening we ran into an old friend of mine, Richard, and his lovely Japanese girlfriend Matsuko. He lives in Japan now, in a city in a fairly remote southern japanese island, and he's only been back for a little while before returning there again. So quite a surprise, he was a housefriend back in the old days in Brighton. While in the pub I forgot to take photos even though i took gazillions of photos of hills earlier in the day, so when we ran into them again the next morning we had to take a photo. this is in the grounds of the castle ruins in the middle of the town, where there's the so called "Honesty bookshop" - it's open 24/7, and there's lots of trashy books for next to nothing. The choice in that town is somewhat overwhelming but the more time you spend there the more you appreciate its unique atmosphere and all the things it has to offer, there's specialist shops and sections, and even a poetry bookshop, the town is so small and tranquil, and the pervading literary, eccentric, borderline atmosphere makes it slightly different from both England and Wales. And you never know who you might run into there...
below are some photos from earlier in the afternoon, walking up Hays Bluff and, ermm, Lord Herefords Knob (that's the name of the mountain though it's got a celtic sounding name too, to use for official occasions i think, a visit of the Queen?), the evening sun came out and made this a pretty special walk. The Brecon Beacons are really gorgeous, i'm glad we lingered in the area after the festival.