As we had to drive to Brecon today, we decided to lengthen our journey and have a couple of hours in Hay-on-Wye, which is about 15 miles further on. The entire journey is one I know so well that I could drive it in my sleep. I can recall virtually every inch of the journey in my mind's eye: the deep red earth of the ploughed fields, a rich soil which continues beneath the Bristol Channel to reappear in Devon; the autumn leaves on wayside trees jittering in the air disturbed by passing cars, flaunting their autumn colours like dancing girls; the River Usk swerving along its stony bed as it speeds along beside the A40 in the deeply wooded valley between Llandovery and Sennybridge; our favourite old stone farmhouse, higgledy-piggledy with extensions, extra chimneys, blocked-up windows, and two huge inglenook fireplaces middle centre of the house showing its antiquity; the delight of passing two old cider apple orchards as the road to Hay-on-Wye seperates from the A438, their apples green, or yellowing, or deep red according to their type.
Then there are the bookshops - ever-tempting - and this time I spent my money parsimoniously in Richard Booth's, savouring, choosing carefully, padding out current collections with delight.
We lingered in the antiques shops, noting prices of various bits we have - we could have had two more kitchen chairs to match a set of 4 we have, but at £42 each they stayed put! I took a few photos. We looked in other shop windows. Then drove back to Brecon to pick up our son (who couldn't face all those bookshops!) and do the weekly shop. It was probably our last "jaunt" until winter is over . . .
And old Welsh quilt made of whatever came to hand.
An interesting collection of this 'n' that . . .
A nod at Christmas in a window display in the antique shop.
When this house was assembled, they made sure that the timbers matched . . . Which makes me wonder was it reclaimed from another - older - building?
The wool shp. It didn't get my custom. Not at £10.99 and £11.99 for the most seductive colours . . .
Mural in a doorway.
The colours of autumn in these pumpkins.
Very "Miss Haversham."
In this photo it is easy to see what the town would have looked like a century ago.
Alleyway beside the iron mongers.
The abiding memory of Hay today - festoons of rosy Virginia Creeper on many walls.
The view from the car park.
Country books in a corner of the Brecon bookshop, but we resisted temptation . . .