Hay on Wye 2013 Photo Review

Dear Readers!

 Everybody knows this feeling. This burning desire to go out and do something significant. It’s an urging thought in your head that says you should be somewhere else, maybe attending an event or a celebration, protesting an injustice or even meeting with your friends to discuss something important.  Our personal compasses are never wrong. A Jedi would say this is the Force calling us towards our destiny. Others would recognize it as our intuition and  advise we should never ignore it. Sometimes it’s very hard to follow the call. How would you explain the calling to your employer or family members? Would they understand?  Perhaps they would call us crazy or laugh. Maybe it would be impossible for us to drop everything and go – there are family obligations, bills to pay, money difficulties and hundreds of other arrangements that keep us rooted in one place. Many times we desperately wanted to escape but we had no money, no spare time or means to get to that special spot.  In those moments, we feel disappointed and depressed. Out there, a history is in the making but we cannot witness it. If we cannot contribute, we feel useless and powerless. We regard ourselves worse than others who managed to get there or follow their own calling.

Rita at Hay on Wye Festival in 2013

Rita at Hay on Wye Festival in 2013

 Not being able to go, doesn’t mean that we should shut ourselves in a shell and ignore the world. There are many opportunities around us that we tend to overlook. We will give you an example of our calling. Every year, we have this huge urge to travel to Roskilde Festival in Denmark. This is not about a summer festival, drinking or partying until you drop. This is not about music, holidays or sightseeing. Roskilde is our place, this is our sacred ground, our home – we feel really strong about it. It’s been nearly a decade since we were there last time and we miss it. We miss building the stages, climbing walls, working long hours and sleeping in a tent. Our mission is to organize a big event, bring joy to thousand of participants and make sure everything will run smoothly.

Living in two different countries (Malta and UK), working full time and paying off mortgages, it is hard for us to go to the festival these days. When we were still  in Poland, travelling to Denmark by bus was a real possibility – it was cheap and the trip would last about 15 hours. Right now, the only way to get there is by plane, you need to arrange holidays, somebody needs to take care of our cats etc. It’s a lot of trouble and in the end, we are staying home every year. For a long time we would feel bad about it, the calling yet again has been ignored. But then we started thinking. Is the calling truly about a certain place or maybe about doing something specific. We love organizing events, so instead of regretting not being able to go to Roskilde, maybe we should be working locally? After much brainstorming, we realized that each one of us has a special place close to us: Mal is attracted to Saint James Cavalier in Valetta and Rita loves spending her time in Wales. Eureka! Why not try to attend some local events and see if they need help? Malicia has successfully brought World Press Photo to Malta all by herself (with huge help from The Embassy of Netherlands and other sponsors) and Rita is making her name attending local events in West Midlands. Her favorite event is the Hay on Wye Literally festival that nearly feels like Roskilde, with books instead of rock music!

For the majority of the year, Hay on Wye has population of just 2000 people. When the festival starts at the end of May/beginning of June, the number of inhabitants jumps to 100.000!  This tiny medieval village with narrow streets looks like New York City on 4th of July or Tokyo before the Obon festivities! Tourists are everywhere: hotels and hostels are full,  private accommodations are reserved, camping spaces are taken and tents cover every inch of grass in 5 miles radius. People flock to attend workshops, meetings with internationally acclaimed authors and book signings. Big areas are filled to the last spot and tickets are sold out months in advance. Here, nobody is worrying about low literacy skills or statistics that nearly 15% of British teens are reading less than 1 book per year. The Kingdom of Hay is filled with books, second hand book stores, magazines, newspapers, leaflets and with every other written word format known to the mankind. Concerts, movie premieres, restaurants, street performances and arts and crafts displays offer additional attractions.

Last year, we have written a review of the Winter Festival and for some strange reason, we never published our review from the summer celebration. Now, it’s a good time to fix that mistake – dear readers, please take a look at nearly 40 excellent pictures taken by Mal and Rita.

1.

Main entrance

Main entrance

2.

Flags

Flags

3.

Welcome to Hay

Welcome to Hay

4.

Main corridor

Main corridor

5.

Main corridor 2 and the lobby

Main corridor 2 and the lobby

6.

Hay fever tent - do you wanna roll in hay?

Hay fever tent – do you wanna roll in hay?

7.

Restaurants quarter also known as the food hall

Restaurants quarter also known as the food hall

8.

Game of chess

Game of chess

9.

Official sponsor of the festival and the media partner had their own tent  called The Telegraph Tent

Official sponsor of the festival and the media partner had their own tent called The Telegraph Tent

10.

Google and its big tent, sadly it was the last year Google was present at Hay

Google and its big tent, sadly it was the last year Google was present at Hay

11.

Some of the events happening in Google tent

Some of the events happening in Google tent

12.

Public is sunbathing  in the lounge area in front of  the festival's bookstore

Public is sunbathing in the lounge area in front of the festival’s bookstore

 13.

Festival bookshop

Festival bookshop

14.

Bookshop signing list and authors meet and greet  schedules

Bookshop signing list and authors meet and greet schedules

15.

Visitors are lining up to have their books signed

Visitors are lining up to have their books signed

16.

Shopping for books is always fun

Shopping for books is always fun

17.

Our treasures wrapped in official festival bag

Our treasures wrapped in official festival bag

18.

Look what we have!

Look what we have!

19.

Mukesh Kapila is a humanitarian, adviser to United Nations, World Health Organization and NATO. He is also one of the kindest and  respectable people we have ever met. If you don’t know him, please read on. Mr Kapila was the first to discover about the genocide in Darfur and worked tirelessly to protect the victims and notify the world. It was his actions that made us aware of the unspeakable crimes committed in Sudan. His life has been endangered many times but  threats  didn’t stop him. Mr Kapila had to be taken out of Sudan as attempts on his life were made but he still works to make our world a better place.  “Against a tide of evil” is a mix between a document and a memoir about his time in Sudan and his fight to uncover one of the worst genocides in human history.

Mukesh Kapila on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukesh_Kapila
Official website: http://www.mukeshkapila.org/
Mukesh Kapila on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mukeshkapila

Mukesh Kapila signing our book

Mukesh Kapila signing our book

Mukesh Kapila again - sometimes one picture is not enough!

Mukesh Kapila again – sometimes one picture is not enough!

20.

Mr Kapila's words of encouragement for Malicia

Mr Kapila’s words of encouragement for Malicia

Hay on Wye Literary Festival is usually accompanied by additional events like How the Lights get in Festival. The other festival simply known as The lights  festival is a philosophy/arts and crafts extravaganza that brings a lot of interesting  people to Hay. We have met some of the most unique tradesman and artisans and it would be a great shame if we didn’t include them here as well!

Hay Street Festival:

We have mentioned how beautiful the village  is, but now you can now see for yourself!

21.

Clock Tower  - meeting place for all lost tourists

Clock Tower – meeting place for all lost tourists

22.

Hay on Wye is known for its picturesque narrow streets

Hay on Wye is known for its picturesque narrow streets

23.

Castle street market

Castle street market

24.

Hay Castle

Hay Castle

25.

Castle Street performances schedule

Castle Street performances schedule

26.

Street vendor selling his crafts

Street vendor selling his crafts

27.

Interesting bridge at the entrance to the village - it was a lovely summer day!

Interesting bridge at the entrance to the village – it was a lovely summer day!

Francesca’ s Restaurant

Based in the hear of the village, Francesca’s restaurant served one of the best meals we have had last year. Home made bread and meat balls with bolognese sauce was an instant hit.

28.

Francesca's restaurant in the heart of Hay on Wye city center

Francesca’s restaurant in the heart of Hay on Wye city center

29.

The service was swift and excellent. 5 star review from us!

The service was swift and excellent. 5 star review from us!

30.

Bread and meatballs served on ecological plate

Bread and meatballs served on ecological plate

Window Gallery

Opened in 2013, Window Gallery is owned by two artists and residents of Hay, sculptor Jemm Stiff and his partner, painter Menna Angharad. Both Jem and Menna are graduate of University of Wales Institute Cardiff  and hold MA degrees in fine art. They have been exhibiting their work to  much acclaim in Wales, London, France and several other European cities.  The couple are happy parents to daughter Lilli who soon might be an artist herself as she is already showing interest in drawing and sculpting.

Jemm Stiff website: http://www.jemstiff.co.uk
Menna Angharad website: http://www.mennaangharad.co.uk

31.

Elsie by Jem Stiff , sycamore, life size, 2002

Elsie by Jem Stiff , sycamore, life size, 2002

32.

Mother and child by Jem Stiff

Mother and child by Jem Stiff

33.

Window Gallery and  Menna's  still life  works

Window Gallery and Menna’s still life works

PRESENCE Artisanias

Member of Fair Trade Movement, Presence Artisanias is a Polish-British company (run by Spencer Watkins and his partner Aneta) that imports hand made jewellery from Africa, Timbuktu, Asia and other exotic places. They are visiting Hay every year and you will have no problem locating their stand as they are always located on Castle Street, near the entrance to Food Market. We wish that the company had a proper website as the owners are incredibly nice and helpful but at least you can add them on Facebook. Their items are of highest quality and buying from them helps artists to earn money from their crafts. Fashion can be charitable as well!

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/timbuktubazaar
You can also contact them at spenwat@yahoo.co.uk or by calling Spencer’s mobile at 07835 410981

34.

Proud owners and Polish British co-operation at its best!

Proud owners and Polish British co-operation at its best!

35.

Presence Artisanias street stand

Presence Artisanias street stand

36.

Another look at their  brilliant collection of hand made jewellery

Another look at their brilliant collection of hand made jewellery

Eighteen Rabbit

If you believe the legends, Eighteen Rabbit was a fabled King of  Mayan City of Copan and patron of  artists and craft guilds. The name has been taken on by a group of British tourists who traveled to Honduras for holidays. Tempted by clear blue skies, beautiful beaches and luxurious  hotels, they quickly discovered another face of paradise. Local people lived in poverty without schools, public transport and any hope for a better tomorrow. The only jobs available was banana plantation or clothing industry  making cheap outfits for Western clothing magnates. This is where the 18th Rabbit was born. A fair trade company and independent retailer, the Rabbit  specializes now in gifts, jewellery, home ware and apparel made by excellent Honduras artisans. As they say, they cannot change the world overnight, but at least they help people of Honduras (and many others as well) to find their way to vast European markets without the middle men. Believe us, they have some sensationally unique items!

18Rabbit store: http://eighteenrabbit.co.uk
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/18RabbitShop
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/18RabbitShop

37.

18Rabbit store is located at Hay Castle

18Rabbit store is located at Hay Castle

38.

You can find everything you need!

You can find everything you need!

39.

This cat nearly became a part of  our KAt-a-Log but unfortunately we were not  able to afford it.

This cat nearly became a part of our Kat-a-Log but unfortunately we were not able to afford it

40.

Vintage looking cat medallions? Yes please!

Vintage looking cat medallions? Yes please!

1066 Creations

1066 creations owner, Simon Jameson is a Renaissance man: he sings, paints, sculpts, makes murals and prints. His stand  behind Hay Castle looked like a medieval sculpting guild drawing huge crowds. Simon makes stone sculptures for house and garden specializing in gargoyles, green men, trolls, serpents and dragon sculptures. You can purchase hand made tiles from him as well. Simon travels far and wide and you can meet him at summer fair shows all over the UK.

Official website: http://www.1066creations.co.uk

41.

Owner of 1066 Creations, Simon proudly pose for a picture

Simon proudly pose for a picture next to his artworks

42.

1066 Creations store

1066 Creations store

43.

Don't just stand there, help me to get out!

Don’t just stand there, help me to get out!

Roo The Leather Carver

If anybody would tell Roo, that his small leather making business will gain him national recognition and pictures in popular tabloid press (with the Queen Elizabeth herself!), he would have laughed.  Taken as a simple hobby, Roo’s leather making passion soon involved his entire family, including his nephew Martyn Walkden, a master carver in his own right! We have met the entire family and  those people have fantastic skills! Their belts, bags, pouches and archery accessories should be introduced in Hollywood – at least some blockbusters would be historically correct!

Official website: http://www.leathercarver.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Roo-the-Leathercarver/129417857068325

44.

Roo! The Leather Carver

Roo! The Leather Carver

45.

Books and diaries bound in leather

Books and diaries bound in leather

46.

Closer look at the leather masterpieces

Closer look at the leather masterpieces

Bounty of Midgard

John Game  is  a specialist in fossils, gemstones and minerals. He is the owner of a small business called Bounty of Midgard and visits many local fairs and  arts festivals around the country. Rita hell in love with his selection of gemstones and bought several agates for her own abstract artworks.  If you’d like to contact him (and maybe book him for your event), please contact him at 07445 282899.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BountyofMidgard
Twitter: https://twitter.com/johngame812

47.

Bounty of Midgard

Bounty of Midgard – selection of semi precious stones

48.

John posing at his stand

John posing at his stand

49.

Gem lovers paradise!

Gem lovers paradise!

House of de Lytton

Suzie Litton-Wood is a mistress of needlework. An accomplished tailor, bridal dressmaker and costume designer, she can easily re-create any garment from any historical period. She makes her costumes with traditional methods, entirely by hand and using authentic fabrics as far as it is possible of course.  House of de Lytton’s creations were used in numerous theatrical and film productions, historical events and festivals.

Official website: http://www.thehouseofdelytton.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thehouseofdelytton

50.

Suzie Litton Wood and her historical costumes

Suzie Litton Wood and her historical costumes

51.

House of de Lytton stand at Hay Festival

House of de Lytton stand at Hay Festival

52.

Collection of dresses - a wardrobe for Sansa Stark maybe?

Collection of dresses – a wardrobe for Sansa Stark maybe?

53.

And now collection of jackets to go with the dresses  above

And now collection of cloaks to go with the dresses above

54.

Suzie's large stand - you could spend hours just looking at the costumes!

Suzie’s large stand – you could spend hours just looking at the costumes!

Hudnalls Apiaries

The Hudnalls Apiaries are located in the Forest of Wye and Wye Valley – a designated areas of outstanding natural beauty. This is a small family business  that collects pure natural honey along the Welsh Marches – from Chepstow to Brecon.  We had a longer talk with Doug Isles, the owner of the business about  safe ways of collecting the honey and reasons why the bees keep dying.  You can contact the owners through their Facebook profile, as their website  www. hudnallaspiaries.co.uk seems to be down at this moment. Doug and his crew are visiting farmers markets all over the UK and will take part in BBC Good Food show in NEC Area in Birmingham in 2015.

55.

Hudnalls Apiaries and their honey based products

Hudnalls Apiaries and their honey based products

56.

Bee-wax candles and  creams

Bee-wax candles and creams

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hudnalls.apiaries
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hudnallshoney

Tinto House and Bella’s Cafe

Located just two minutes away from the Hay Castle, the 18th century guest house named Tinto House is a hidden gem. If you don’t know its exact location, you can miss is easily just walking down the main street!  We have discovered  it by an accident and we fell in love with this stylish building and large, beautiful gardens. Each year, Tinto House opens up Bella’s Cafe especially for the festivals guests. The cafe serves delicious cakes and drinks made by local chefs. You have to try their cheesecake with fresh cherries and  elderflower drink – it is a masterpiece! And if you want to rest from big crowds and  noise, the gardens will be the best place to do so.
Tinto House receives rave reviews from tourists and it  gets fully booked months before the festival. Be quick!

Official website: http://www.tinto-house.co.uk
Trip Advisor website: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g190755-d196417-Reviews-or20-Tinto_House_B_B-Hay_on_Wye_Powys_Wales.html

57.

Tinto house Gardens and Bella's cafe

Tinto Gouse Gardens sculpture display

58.

Tiny pond, you can see green frogs swimming it it

Tiny pond, you can see green frogs swimming in it

59.

Flower patches

Flower patches

60.

Big picnic lawn serves as an outdoor art gallery

Big picnic lawn serves as an outdoor art gallery

We thought it will be a short review! Nearly 3.000 words and 60 pictures! Hay on Wye is an interesting place and there is always something here left to discover.

Will we see you in Hay AD 2015? We surely hope so!
Take care and come back soon. Doctor Who fans will not be disappointed!

Best wishes,
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

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