Today I died and went to heaven. It looked exactly like the Hay Festival. I know, imagine. No pearly gates at all.
In all seriousness, my loves, the Hay Festival is amazing. I walked in and squealed with such intensity my whole head vibrated. I have wanted to go for years. This year we got ourselves together enough to buy tickets to Hilary Mantel’s talk on Bring Up The Bodies (obviously). Next year, we’re going the whole caboodle, planning it properly, securing an overnight babysitter and parking ourselves in a tent.
In case you don’t know, Hay is a literary festival that now includes film, politics, comedy and lots of other things as well as writers. And it lives in Hay-on-Wye, a town on the Welsh border famous for its second-hand bookshops, vintage fairs and funny narrow streets. It’s also got a beaut of a church, and on our way back to the car we nipped down a little lane that led to a bridge that led to a rambly path next to a half-buried stream, and we felt like the only two people that had ever found it. I mean, it doesn’t sound bad, does it?
Hilary was fabulous. She read from the book, then talked about her research methods, her characters, her history and her writing. I loved it. And was only slightly on the edge of my seat because we’d sneaked in a baby, and he’s just learned to shout.
Actually, he was so good. He didn’t make a sound, not that that stopped the snooty man next to me from glaring. What, are you allergic to silent babies, Sir Quiff? Even though they smell nice? Are you ALLERGIC TO THE NICE SMELL?
I think Henry enjoyed it, nonetheless. We walked out just in front of Tony Robinson, who’d also been in attendance, and I think he got a bit starstruck. Thankfully he didn’t try to grab Tony’s face.
We had a venison cheeseburger and spicy potato wedges for lunch (venison is nice, did you know?), browsed the fancy stalls, almost made it into the book signing queue until they shut the door on us, and accidentally watched a 3D film on the Amazon in which a Brazilian naturalist kissed a sloth. It was disconcerting. But delightful.
Hay, you and I were made for each other. Let’s do this again next year. Ok? Kisses.
UPDATED because my favourite sausage-dog-blogger and all-round snazzy lady Emily went to Hay today as well. Since she was sensible enough not to take a baby, she got some great photos of Hay-on-Wye delights. Check it. (That’s not an order. Unless you want it to be.)