5 Resons you have to go to Hay-on-Wye

1. You can buy the most amazing books.

Plain and Ornamental Lettering, 1921 by E.G. Fooks

If you too are quite fond of the tactile quality of a good old-fashioned book, Hay-on-Wye is your place to go. It’s a small market town and located on the English Welsh border. And it has not just the typical charm of a small British town (clock tower, cafes, wool shops, lovely old houses) but it also has around 1 million second hand book shops. … Ok. ok. that’s slightly exaggerated, it’s ‘only’ 28 in actual fact, but most of them are huge and have books of nearly every topic under the sun.

2. You can go to the Hay festival.

£3 for ‘100 Easy-To-Make Toys, Games and Models’

Paper Sculptures by Tadeusz Lipski, 1947

Every year there is a huge literature festival that is a must for everybody not just interested in books, but also politics and music. This year the hilarious Tim Minchin was performing (sadly we had to give it a miss, as baby J is still too small for evening outings), I attended a great Women in Business Forum and Mr P went to a talk by the former canceller Alistair Darling. In between plenty of reading, listening, strawberries and picnics on the green festival lawn.

3. You have something to read (or do) for the rest of the year.

Insight into the Home-Made Toys book

Yes, you can not just carry your books home by the ship load (last time we had 50 books between the 2 of us), but also enjoy them for the rest of the year (or as in our case years to come). Just get this cup of tea, hunt for the biscuit tin and cuddle up on the sofa.

4. You can get your books signed.

The new pride of my bookshelf…

… that also contains the stunning design of the new London bus.

So once you shooed the dog from the settee and made yourself comfortable, the signature in the front of the book will remind you for the splendid talk you attended. I had the great pleasure to hear designer Thomas Heatherwick speak about his work and even manged to get hold of a copy of his most sought after book ‘Making’, with which I happily joined the signing queue.

5. You will have a great holiday destination in years to come.

Pen & Brush Lettering And Practical Alphabets, 1944

Well, yes, it will be difficult not to get hooked on Hay. Once you’ve been there, you will most likely feel the strong urge to return to books, green hills, sheep and more books. Just remember to tie up your accommodation (in the best case) months in advance, if you like to go during the festival time. Otherwise camping may be the only (often slightly chilly) alternative.

I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing you there.

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