Thursday, 12 July 2012

A day out in Hay-on-Wye

 We had to go to Brecon this week to get some more Earthborn clay paint for the interior walls here (it allows the walls to breath).  As we had to go that far, and as I had been confined to barracks for so long with this wretched chest infection, we decided to carry on to Hay-on-Wye.  This will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog . . . it is always our default setting for a day out, and it is SUCH a lovely town to visit, books apart.

It was just a quiet stroll around the town, visiting our favourite shops.  We started off at the Sandwich Cellar in Backfold, with my husband's favourite brunch of a bacon roll - proper bacon, thick stuff, not that awful pumped-full-of-water rubbish.  This is where we always start our day off in Hay and can recommend the food and the ambience.

Our stroll was leisurely, and involved my sitting down wherever possible as my legs are still aching from side-effects of the Steroids.  I'm alright as long as I don't sit/stand/walk for too long at a stretch.  Bending murdered my knees though and wouldn't you know, looking at books involves a lot of bending!

My husband found a great book on the Isle of Man.  His g.grandfather came over to the mainland in Victorian times but the Manx roots go back forever, so he's always on the look-out to add to his Manx book collection.  This one has lots of folklore in.

As it happens, I struck EXTEMELY lucky for the books this time.  Several of them had obviously been just waiting for my hand to come along and take them off the shelf. . .  Needless to say, Edward Thomas is still an important interest to me, both the man and his works.  I was fortunate enough to find a book in each category.  I had been looking for Edward Thomas' publications, and found his biography of Richard Jefferies in Booths.  A little the worse for wear, with its foxing, but I was happy with it.

This biography about him came from the Poetry bookshop, which I always look in too.  I am looking forward to settling down with that later on.

THEN, also in Booths, and below the Richard Jefferies biography, was THIS gem.  I have been looking for this for YEARS and wanted it SO much, but it was such a price on Abebooks , Amazon etc (£30 - £40 cheapest) I couldn't afford it.  This copy was just £5 and I snatched it up SO quickly, you wouldn't believe.  Both those books must have been simply keeping company, waiting for me to come along.


To anyone who didn't grow up reading Monica Edwards' wonderful childrens' books, it might be hard to fathom the attraction of this one, but I always felt that somewhere like Punchbowl Farm was where I belonged, and it actually imprinted me into the sort of house I always wanted . . . which is why I ended up in a falling-down Welsh farmhouse all those years ago. Punchbowl Farm has beams, inglenooks and character - just like this house.  I am delighted to find that some of her animal characters in the books were truly her animals in real-life and I am about to sit down and read this book from cover to cover.

Finally, I chose these two food/cookery books.  The first, because I intend to lose 2 stone in weight.  There, I've written it down, so there's no getting away with it.  I am too heavy and it is doing my asthma no good, nor anything else for that matter.  There are some gorgeous recipes in it and I will try and share them on here as I make them.  I am going to aim at a largely vegetarian diet in future, as that has been proven to help asthmatics.  I am really enjoying trying out new recipes and enjoying cooking again (my menfolk like plain and boring food which is, let's face it, plain, boring and repetitive to cook!)

The Immunity Boosters book is an essential too, as I want to boost my immune system (much-weakened at present) to fight any infections in future.  For £2 it seemed like a good investment to me.

So far today we had to go into Llandeilo as my husband had an optician's appointment, and I found a big vegetarian cookery book in one of the charity shops, and two long skirts which I hope will fit me.  I am going to pick more gooseberries and the blackcurrants, so I have soft fruit in the freezer for puddings and to mix in with yoghurt.  Then I am going to read about yoghurt-making again and get the ingredients when we shop on Saturday.  I have gotten too far away from my chosen pathway in recent years, and it is time to get back on the straight and narrow again - self-reliant and as home-made as possible.


  1. Sounds like you had a fantastic day in Hay. I would love to go but never seem to have the time. Beautiful books; I'm so pleased you found the one you've been looking for for so long. I spent years looking for a particular Zola novel that was out of print but I never found it. It was so long ago I can't even remember what it was called! Shameful.

    Perhaps you could aim to have the two skirts you bought fall off you and become unwearable. Losing weight is SO difficult. I was lucky in that I'd never had a problem up until the age of 45. Then, things changed and the cakes I used to be able to eat piles of, started piling onto me. Although I walk a LOT, it never seems to go anywhere. Anyway, good luck and fingers crossed for losing it and keep us posted on your methods!

  2. First of all I hope you are feeling much better soon. Second I love your header picture.

    Then I think your day in Hay sounds so peaceful and filled with good food and finding great books. What a quaint town.

    Losing weight is difficult after menopause, at least that's how it seems to me. I'm not eating any more, it's just that our metabolism is different and we don't burn up calories like we used to. I too am working on eating more vegetables, yogurt, and drinking lots of water, which we do anyway, but I want to drink about 10, 8 oz glasses a day.

    I wish you well in all areas.


  3. Glad you were well enough to enjoy a day out ...I look forward to hearing how you get on with the recipes.

  4. I never gave weight a thought--except for wishing people wouldn't label me 'skinny'--as has been noted, it seems to be a different matter after a certain age.
    I'm interested to note the trend toward a more vegetarian based diet, something we are doing here as well, not in the strictest sense, but as a modification.
    Lovely books and it sounds like a peaceful pottering sort of day out.

  5. You struck gold with the books in Hay. Especially the Edward Thomas ones.

    It`s so good to hear you being optimistic and cheerful again. You must be on the mend!

  6. Lots of lovely buys. I was particularly interested in the last 2 books. I have the cook yourself thin book, but have not made anything yet. Who am I kidding, I am waiting for husband to cook something from it ha ha so I am eager to see what you make.

  7. Happy to read that you are well enough for an outing. I would so love to browse that town someday. Perhaps it is best that it's an ocean away. I have such a weakness for books!

  8. Em - When our horses went, I put on half a stone and CANNOT shift it. For the year after I walked about 5 miles a day - no weight loss, but firmer muscles! Then I have gone downhill ever since : ( I intend to change that now with cutting out the sweet sugary things, and focusing on a veggie diet (less cals in veg). We shall see. I will not allow myself in the crisps aisle at the supermarket either!

    F.Lady - peaceful DOES describe Hay. We just wandered round, and there is such a lovely atmosphere there. People in the bookshops were happy - especially the ones with half a dozen books in their arms! Let's hope I can change my metabolism to "shrink"!

    Angie - I am planning my evening meal at breakfast time now, excited to try out something new.

    MM - I won't be hard and fast about no meat, but I can live without it if it's not helping my body. I live with two thorough carnivores though!

    DW - I am inclined to agree with you there. Positive - and hopeful now. It's not good to be scared.

    Kath - I never saw the accompanying Cook Yourself Thin prog. on tv, but the book has some GORGEOUS recipes in it. I like the concept of going for flavour instead of meal size to satisfy you.

    It's Me - If you are a book-lover, a trip to Hay is like a day out in Heaven!

  9. Ladies, may I recommend? Eating lunch as a RAW ROOT meal will instantly help in changing weight. The brain uses RAW STARCH for the type of sugar that fuels it...processed starch, chips, cooked potatoe, cooked rice, cooked bread, all work AGAINST it. One lunch meal of GRATED RAW ROOTS, for example, 1/2 grated beet, very thinly sliced (on a mandoline slicer) of red cabbage, with a tomatoe, a drop of toasted sesame oil, olive oil, and a bit of sea salt....will keep you going for hours and hours, and no weight gain. Try a different root vegetable every day. The brain needs no more than an amount of root that will fit into the palm of your hand. Bon appetit!

  10. One day grated beet, next day Daikon radish, next day Jicama, next day carrots, next day cole w/thinly sliced green cabbage. The toasted sesame oil gives great flavour. Or some feta cheese on top. Or walnuts. Very filling, very delicious. Make sure the grating is very fine to make chewing easier, with a food processer or a hand grater and some upper-arm muscle.