Tuesday 6 October 2009

A day in Hay . . .

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 . . .


  1. ah well see it cant be your last jaunt beause you have to go back dont you! why? why??! because I NEED THAT RED CHAIR SOOOOOOO BAD! I NEED IT I NEED IT I WANT IT!!

    lol lol! oohhh I do~ sigh!
    That man in the mural spooks me,I wouldnt walk past him if I saw that,he looks bad :OO maybe he grabs folks who dont read enough books!
    GTM x x x

  2. We like Hay on Wye; OH is the only person I know who could go there and buy.............a coat lol



  3. Oh, the books! I see a Fred Archer and Birds of the Great Plains-Nebraska--how did that get there? The little one titled Autumn Fields takes my eye and of course there is Edith Holden's Nature Notes.
    I looked close up at the quilt, intrigued, but not so sure the piecing is entirely random and a bit worried about the tag on the edge which looks like a fabric care tag. I shouldn't like to do the binding around all those triangles. And yes, the red chair beckons---but my cats do very bad things to furniture.
    I do hope this isn't the last outing until spring--you'll suffer from what we call "cabin fever!"

  4. ah, it looks like you had a wonderful time!

  5. Ooh, well-spotted over the quilt MM - in that case it's Chinese-made . . . I just thought the colouring looked very like the made-out-of-old-clothes quilts which turn up at auction sometimes. I didn't look closely as other people were coming in the room behind us whilst I was photographing it.

    I suspect it may NOT actually be our last outing till spring, especially as T had an interview for a job yesterday and if she gets it, she won't be home for Christmas . . . in which case, the mountain will have to go to Mohammed then . . .

    GTM - the red chair has a small red sofa to go with it. Probably a silly price as the mark-up between auction and antique shop is often think-of-a-number with no relation to actual value.

    Mrs L - your OH is obviously of a very practical mind . . .

    Tammie Lee - in a word, YES!

  6. Hullo BB,

    Love the monochrome feel to the street photo where there are only odd pieces pickd out in colour.

    Feels like a weel kent road too from your description. Roads like that transport you in many different ways dont they?

    Fascinating marks on the beam or joists

    I see James the 1st listed on the plaque. We called him Jamie the 6th before we sent him down South to try and sort out you lot, but did you listen???


  7. I have a feeling he was not amongst the Top Ten Most Popular Monarchs of England Al . . . the term "the wisest fool in Christendom" was coined just for him! But Heck - it was only his WELSH blood that got him on our throne . . .

  8. We visited Hay years ago and loved it. The shops in your photos look wonderful, I found myself straining to look closer at the "Miss Haversham" display, very "me". I would be very interested to know what price tag was on the old Welsh quilt? Kath