Thursday, 1 June 2017
HAY FOR A DAY
Day spent at the Hay Festival. I sat in the Green Room and watched the good and the great come in before their stints on stage. Stephen Fry, Alan Yentob, Simon Schama, Sheila Hancock, the author of The Girl with the Pear Earring, various actors I know by face, but not by name. I have never been before and one day hope to return and actually be one of those who talks rather than accompany one of those who talks, but its a start. My friend did brilliantly. Very proud of her. And I also watched a talk on Quakers. They like silence a lot although it did make me smile when Sheila Hancock said it was very difficult to be quiet when she felt to angry at the moment. I completely get that.
And I liked the Hay Festival. Its a long one, and they must be shattered by the end of it, those who attend every day to help with organisation. I attended the party at the Wacaba Farm - although for some reason I kept thinking it was called Macaba, no matter how many times I asked. No wonder the taxis driver was confused. Shepherds Pie and chandeliers, under a huge marquee, with the same good and great who had earlier been on stage, now strutting their hearts out on a stage floor to Foo Fighter and a very good set with the CEO of Cannongate publishing as the DJ (I SO wish I had known it was him, would have pitched, or at least told him how good the music choice was).
Hay itself is delightful, and I'd like to visit when there are no festivals - which is rare in the summer. I also like Herefordshire, which always gets mixed up with Hertfordshire but this place has more depth and soul to it, and less commuters. Herefordshire has more character. I would describe it like The Shires in Lord of the Rings, only its next to Wales - like Middle Earth.
I stayed at Burton House, Leominster www.burtoncourt.com #burtoncourt @burtoncourt, which is agothic building, with stunning views from each of the three bedrooms on offer, and lovely hosts. Lovely rooms, beds to sink into, perfect weekend retreat. The owner was actually born at the house and grew up here, so knows a lot more than most people do about the properties they B and B. Most guests book there for a night and end up staying for two or more because there's so much to do and the walks are interesting and exhilarating. There's nearby villages to explore, and Ludlow, one of the prettiest places in the country (in my humble opinion) is close by. I stayed for a day and a night and had to journey back to Paddington. The train service was good as well. My only recommendation is you will want to stay here for longer than time permits. Two days is not enough - make it four. And definitely go to the Hay, for a day.