Ichabod is itchy

May 29, 2006

Books, books, books

Filed under: literature,travel — by ichabodisitchy @ 8:09 pm

Just got back from the Guardian book festival, at Hay-on-Wye, where we have spent the weekend listening to authors discussing some of their latest literary offerings. Terry Jones told us all about The Barbarians, Mozzam Begg talked about his personal experiences in Guantanamo Bay, Paul Rusesabagina discussed his time in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, when he saved 1,268 lives at the Hotel Diplomat and DBC Pierre showed us his latest historical documentary (made for Channel 4) about the fall of the Aztec empire in Mexico. We also went along to a wonderful Poetry Gala, where Margaret Atwood, Tishani Doshi, James Fenton, John Fuller, Seamus Heaney, Don Paterson, Owen Sheers and Hugo Williams each got 8 minutes to perform a reading of their poetry.It was our first time at Hay– but we’ll definitely go back.

The town itself lies on the border between England and Wales, surrounded by countryside and very picturesque. The streets run higgledy-piggledy up and down a little hill, and every other doorway leads into a second-hand bookshop– where all the walls (and half of the floors!) are covered with books ranging from first edition H Ryder Haggards to the full collection of Colin Dexter. Everyone wanders around with bagfuls of books, talking about who they’ve been to see at the festival and what hidden treasures they’ve unearthed in town.

The kids enjoyed it too. Although most of the children-friendly activities don’t start until later on in the week, they did go along to some of the talks with us and ran around the garden of the simply beautiful house we rented with a group of friends.

We did also take them horse-riding on Saturday, although unfortunately it absolutely peed it down with rain the entire time we were out on the horses, so what should have been a pleasant jaunt through the countryside turned into a rather chilly and very wet tramp through the mud! This was, however, somewhat compensated by the fact that once we’d got back to the festival we ran smack bang into Albus Dumbledore (a.k.a. Michael Gambon) wandering around the site. Well, as any of you with kids can imagine, that made up for all sogginess and other discomfort endured!

I've put up some photos on flickr if you want to see more. 



  1. Glad you got back! We got trashed by the bebops in the daily set without you;-)

    Hay sounds great, and as for meeting Dumbledore, well — say no more.

    Cathy and Jenny have both started another new blog each while you were away.

    We saw the Thief Lord which they both liked — both are very fond of the book.

    see you wed (on hol tomorrow), all best, Maxine.

    PS what’s this with peeing with rain in one post and loos vs toilets in another? My only toilet recollection from my childhood is that my mother despised her father in law for making a habit of blowing his nose on toilet (or loo!) paper. Something that when I first left home I used to take great delight in doing, to be annoying “in absentia”. Got bored with it after a few weeks, I am glad to say.

    Comment by Maxine — May 29, 2006 @ 9:43 pm |Reply

  2. Sian, did you hear Al Gore’s talk? When I was in Edinburgh, I read that David Attenborough (sp?), the gentleman the UK goes to for information about things scientific, biological, etc., has embraced the idea of global warming as something humanity needs to address.

    I myself am still skeptical, and consider Al Gore as another in a long string of prognosticators of doom in the tradition of Paul Ehrlich, the Club of Rome, the people who warned of a coming Ice Age, etc. All these believed fervently in their message. I’m remembering the proverb, “Strong faith in a weak bridge will land you in the river, but weak faith in a strong bridge will get you to the other side.”

    Comment by Douglas — May 31, 2006 @ 1:16 pm |Reply

  3. Great blog

    Comment by hypnosis — October 10, 2007 @ 7:58 pm |Reply

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