Saturday 26 November 2016

Starry starry night - and Hay Winter Festival.

The past two days we have been out before first light and back as the last glimmer has settled on the horizon, with stars at either end of the day.  I found myself humming Starry Starry Night as we drove home from Hay this evening, after a very enjoyable and worthwhile day with our Fleamarket stall, in the grounds of the castle.

Each evening, the moment we arrived back we were greeted by five hungry cats, demanding their supper - NOW.  Each evening, I have hurriedly doled out cat biscuits and then refilled the bird feeders with barely enough light to find them on the trees - tonight especially when we were back at past 5 p.m.  A thin sliver of marzipan light was just melting behind the hills to the West, with an angry rolling purple-edged cloud above our heads, but behind us was stygian darkness.  Then I flung together a scratch tea - my husband quite happy to have cheese on toast, whilst I opened a freezer container which had a label saying Mince 'n' Rice and two happy smiley faces - to indicate it was one of my more successful concoctions.  Well, it might have been before it got frozen and before I had this cold, but tonight it tasted of absolutely nothing at all and so I mostly ate the few spoonfuls of baked beans I had slung on the plate to keep it company.

A part of our stand at Hay today.  I was gratified that several pieces I had bought because they were interesting and unusual were bought by folk passing through (and it was busy there today). Sometimes I wonder if I am going wrong because people don't even LOOK at what I have on display, but just wander past . . .

I had several wanders round the town centre as there was a small Food Festival there.  Here is the Onion Johnnie - a rare beast these days.  I can remember them coming over from France on the ferry, riding their bikes all over Southampton selling onions.  If I hadn't recently bought a sack of onions myself, I would have had some of his.

Here is where I got my lunch.  The stall on the left had a really good selection of pies, and I plumped for the Boozy Beef :Pie, which was delicious, with wonderful pastry.  Earlier I had some Spicy Lentil Soup from the stall on the right, and also a Chicken Samosa.  All were really good.

I was very disappointed (but not surprised) when my husband has his usual bacon roll and refused point blank to let me get anything for him to try - even a lovely pork pie, or some hand-made sausages.  He is highly suspicious of any food bought when out, in case it might have "stuff" in it - by this I mean dangerous spices, onion, GARLIC (which would poison him!) or even herbs.

Inside the long markquee were lots more stalls, selling various produce, like these tasty muffins - this end of the table had savoury ones, and as you went towards the other end there were lots of different chocolate mixtures and brownies.  I was very tempted by the After Eight one, but as I had made and brought cake, I stayed my hand.  It was bad enough that I had a samosa AND a pie!

A look around Festive Hay now - in the shop selling maps, a lovely Map Man.


Above and below, the good old traditional (and excellent) butchers.  It's a while since I've seen Game hung outside a butchers like this, although the (equally traditional and excellent) butchers in Newport, Pembs, does the same at this time of year.

Above, Henry VII overlooks the town, and has a big Christmas Bow to keep him company.

There were a variety of entertainments throughout the day - a couple of Choirs (I had to walk away when the Male Voice Choir were singing, beautifully I might add, as I always get choked when I hear them.  If they had sung Myfanwy I would have been in pieces.

Here, Brecon Concert Band were playing to a captive audience.

People-watching . . .

I think that Ben Fogle was turning on the Hay Christmas Lights, but we had an hour and a half's journey, so couldn't stay to watch him.

Right, two down and one to go.  Tomorrow morning we are up at 5 a.m. and away to Carmarthen Fleamarket shortly after 6 a.m.  I hope I can find the Hereford Hop cheese I bought today for my lunch tomorrow - it is SOMEWHERE in the back of the car . . .


  1. Your photos of Hay make we want to go a vist, perhaps one day when things are more settled here I will get, love the Butcher shop.

  2. Sounds to be all go for you BB. Lovely to see the photos of Hay - when we lived in the Midlands I used to always go at this time of the year - it is such a pretty, Christmassy place.

  3. Thanks for the post. Must admit to being a lurker recently but yhought i would comment to say hi and hope you do well at the fayres.

  4. Dawn - you'll love it there. NO chain stores - all individual traders, lots of book shops and a good day out.

    Pat - there was a lovely aatmosphere there this weekend, lots of people about, and no horrid over-commercialisation of Christmas.

    sharie - welcome. Glad you have stepped of the Lurker Shelf to say hello. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  5. A lovely post - your photos so make me want to return to Hay. It is wonderful to walk round a town with lots of independent shops. Hope you make lots of sales at the fayre today and find Hereford Hop - one of my favourite cheeses :)

  6. RR - hah - there is a joke about the Hereford Hop cheese. I didn't find it until AFTER we got home and unpacked the car last night, and there it was, all £3.34 worth of it, tucked inside a box of tissues! Ah well, I can enjoy it for my lunches this week anyway.

    Yesterday's fair went well - it is always good to chat to our fellow dealer friends down there AND make a bit of money too. Nothing worth buying to replenish my stock though, leastways at a price I could make any profit on, so I think we will be off to the last Malvern Fleamarket of the year in a couple of weeks' time . . .