I like bookshops. I've said a few times that I could spend all day browsing a bookshop. Except, now I know its not true...
We've just had a highly successful weekend in the Welsh Marches, staying in the Baskerville Arms at Clyro, just a stone's throw from Hay on Wye.
Highlight of the weekend, of course, was to pick up Jacqueline's new car. Very impressive, lots of gadgets, but ultimately just a newer version of her old car. But the new car feels nice and solid, and the engine is more powerful and a lot quieter than the old car, and most importantly, Jacqueline seems to like it!
Poor old Jacqueline has felt crappy all weekend, just this cold thats going around (still) but nevertheless quite debilitating. Had it not been that the trip was so important I think she'd just as soon have stayed at home. But she perked up when we picked the car up, and we had a nice time visiting Brecon and later Hay on Wye. Brecon was pleasant enough, Hay very twee.
Hay, so our hotel said, has some 38 book shops at last count. Clearly a selling point, since the town was quite busy for a cold Saturday in January. I managed three bookshops, then to be honest the musty smell eventually got to me and I couldn't face any more. Just as well there was an ice cream parlour too (excellent waffle!)
Back to the hotel for an excellent meal of liver and bacon, we then gatecrashed a 50th birthday party in the pub - Alice loved the live band before finally crashing out at about ten o'clock.
As we ate the meal, the only other group was one containing a guy who said he was a vicar. We didn't speak to them, but of course in the small restaurant it is impossible not to overhear... I'm sorry but this guy was saying things so incredibly intolerant, I have to say it fitted in totally with my own experiences with the Church of England. In fairness to him, the other guy in the party (the xenophobe) was even worse. Ignorant, and so rude to the staff.
Made the most of our stay by having a lovely cooked breakfast before checking out. A brisk walk on Hay Bluff. Though it was quite bright in the valley, we were literally up in the clouds when we parked the car, but what a view down into the valley! Wonderful, being up on this great grassy, gorsey hillside whose main populace was dressed in wool! Not a bad idea either, since it was really blowing a gale up there.
Homeward, via a quick pit-stop in Abergavenny, and following the three-hour journey Jacqueline is still impressed (although I got home first by a good fifteen minutes!)