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Posted on: Friday, 13 April 2012

In time-honoured Bedford Tradition (see here, here and here) we have spent the holidays in a country cottage/B&B drinking wine and eating party food.

This time, we've been to Hay-on-Wye.

I've wanted to visit there for possibly my whole entire existence and now I've been. Hurrah. Another of life's ambitions fulfilled.

Now all I need is to go on a helicopter ride with Frank Bruno a'la my Jim'll Fix It letter of 1989 and I'll die a happy girl.  

Hay-on-Wye is a town that's known mainly for its literary festival, where Guardian-reading liberals descend once a year in droves to wax lyrical about books 'n' stuff. You're probably aware. It's lovely. It has a Herefordshire postcode but is very much IN WALES. The woman in Flow was quite adament about that. They have the most amazing rang of kooky independent shops (kooky in a good way, not an irritating Phoebe-from-Friends way). They also have a anti-supermarket campaign that Bedders was pretty keen on.

The beard-knitter ratio was pretty high. The vegetarian ratio was even higher. We drank real ale and ate cake, I tried on a People Tree dress and we purchased some wee tumblers to drink wine out of European-stylee.

And the bookshops. Oh Lordy, the bookshops.

The Hay Cinema Bookshop is a NEVERENDING LABYRINTH OF JOY. It has several levels, wooden floors, that authentic musty smell and feels like it might just welcome dogs*. Richard Booth's Bookshop has plants and posters, battered leather armchairs, a cafe and a CINEMA. Barnabee Books (no website, but this person's obviously a fan) specialises in old Ladybird books.

'When did we forget about books like THIS?' I asked Bedders. 'The People Who Help Us series! I had these! I totally forgot they existed!'

Do you remember these first time around?

It's the 80s, and yet there's a male nurse on the cover! Go, Ladybird!

I loved Ladybird books. I cannot believe I'd forgotten them. I had squillions. And googling 'Ladybird books' has proven that spoofsters are a fan of them, too. This blogpost raised a larf ('How It's Done: Surfing For Porn' = NICE). 

Anyone remember this? It was probably my favourite:

The soft cardboard covers, the smell, the pixelated covers - ah, man.

What are you feeling nostalgic about?


  1. I hadn't thought of the vegetarian aspect of Haye-On-Wye. Maybe this will be the next place I will coax Sam, with a tofu-flavoured carrot. Or just a carrot, perhaps. It sounds like a very exciting/geeky place.

    I think I had some fairy stories in Ladybird books, but I can't recall any factual ones.


  2. It's amazing. Go, go, go! The Granary Cafe does a mean nut roast.


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