Hay on Wye Literary Festival 2014

Hello bookies!

Time flies quickly when you have a lot to read! And since reading equals fun, it is very safe to say that time flies when you are having a great time.  The summer craze continues and we are using every spare moment to update you on what is happening. Boy, we would need a Time Lord to stop the clock for few days so we can catch up! Well, time waits for no one (even the Time Lords) so we have to start typing faster if we ever want to dig ourselves out of this back log. Or maybe we should attend less events? Nah, that wouldn’t be fun at all!

Few days ago we have printed a photo review of Hay on Wye Literary Festival from 2013. For some strange reason, we never published our photographs last May but as we are reviewing the latest edition now, it seemed like a good idea to share few bits and bobs from our vast achieves. We have to admit that the blog generated a nice buzz online followed by lots of clicks, blog entries and even re-tweets. Thank you kindly people! You are simply the best! Do you still want more? No problem – Mal and Rita are kindly introducing the first official edition of Hay on Wye Alphabet!

If you’d like to read previous entries regarding Hay on Wye festival, please see the links below:

Hay on Wye Winter Festival 2013: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/hay-on-wye-winter-festival/
Hay on Wye 2013 Photo Review:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/hay-on-wye-2013-photo-review/
Baskerville Hall: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/one-castle-a-day-the-baskerville-hall/

Everything you want to know about Hay on Wye 2014 from A to Z:

A for Arts  – Hay on Wye is not only the town of books but also artists. Many acclaimed crafters are travelling to Hay several times a year to display their artworks. Art exhibitions are not part of the Literary Festival but How the Lights Get In Festival and are located in the high town around the town hall and the ruined castle. This year beautiful ceramic paintings, hand carved figurines and colourful printed posters has caught our eye. We wanted to grab a card or a leaflet from one of the exhibitors to tell you who made the ceramic works but we were told that the artist is not willing to speak to us and we were chased away from the stand. Great skills and no manners. Sad. No free advertising for you, sir!

Hand made posters

Hand made posters

Craft store

Craft store

Porcelain artwork

Porcelain artwork

B for The BBC – Earlier this year, Hay on Wye festival and the British Broadcasting Corporation announced a formation of a global partnership. The partnership is deigned to give the literary festival a grand coverage worldwide using BBC channels: radio channels, TV programs and online streaming.  Many events were broadcasted live on BBC Radio 2,3,4,6, BBC Cymru, BBC Wales and BBC Hereford & Worcester. TATA stage shows could be seen online through BBC Website (Iplayer) and daily reports from the festival grounds were added to World News section on BBC one. BBC partnership has replaced  a three year contract with SKY TV that came to an end in December 2013. BBC also had their own tent (called BBC stage) that was graced by appearances and performances from well known artists such as Cerys Matthews (ex Catatonia).

You can read about the partnership here:
BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-27244052
Hay website: http://www.hayfestival.com/wales/bbc.aspx?skinid=2

BBC Tent - UP Next!

BBC Tent – UP Next!

BBC logo on a billboard near the BBC stage

BBC logo on a billboard near the BBC stage

BBC at Hay Festival poster

BBC at Hay Festival poster

Quiet please!

Quiet please!

D for Doctor Who – Meeting with Steven Moffat was probably the main reason why we decided to go to Hay Festival. It was our first time seeing him live and we will remember it for a long time. Mr Moffat is an incredibly funny man. He is all smiles, completely relaxed, genuinely open and not afraid to tell various stories from his life. You don’t have to like his writing (in our opinion he is one of the best writers on TV these days) but you have to respect him for his courtesy, sense of humor and dedication.  Mr Moffatt talked to Alan Yentop  and the audience was captivated. He spoke about his beginnings as a writer, his lucky breakthrough when BBC crew came to film a show at his local school where his father happened to be a head teacher, his failed marriage, American TV shows he produced and his long journey to become a successful writer on British TV.

The upcoming season 8 of Doctor Who was of course discussed in details. Mr Moffat was fighting bravely trying not to spoil anything. We have learnt about his desire to hire Peter Capaldi even before Matt Smith decided to leave, looking for the right actress to play Clara, taking over the  position of head writer from Russell T Davies (and their constant email co-operation),  thoughts on turning the Doctor into a woman and panic at the BBC when David Tennant became tired of his role (the producers wanted to cancel the show not believing that the Tenth Doctor could ever be replaced).

Steve Moffat at TATa tent  - Event number 167, starting at 17:45

Steve Moffat at TATa tent – Event number 167, starting at 17:45

Mr Moffat also promised a new darker, more alien Doctor, shorter storylines and described his delight at working with the Doctor Who team again. In the end, he answered nearly 10 question from the audience and thanked all who came to see him. Rita left nearly 20 minutes before the end of the show as it was announced that Mr Moffatt would be signing Sherlock DVD’s and a line has started forming already.

It was a good move as the queue grew to epic proportions in minutes. Armed with a DVD and Hay of Wye programme, Rita was probably the tenth person that came to the signing table. Just few word of advice dear readers from an old and grumpy event organizer. When you are standing in line, please mind the crowd behind you. Do not give the poor man 10 books to sign, one or two autographs are sufficient. Your entire collection doesn’t have to be signed! Do not demand a whole photo-shoot either – some fans were changing clothes and Mr Moffatt had to pose with the same people in different T shirts. Leave the children outside unless you wish to turn them into claustrophobics! Your three year old son is incredibly cute dressed as a Zygon or a Dalek, but he doesn’t know who Steven Moffat is yet and he is hungry, crying and simply wants to go home. Spare your fellow Whovians the headache. Say thank you’s! We were the only one to thank Mr Moffat for his time – he was  truly touched. The man travelled from London and was going back on the same day!! And listen to the organizers, if they ask you to move, just do it. It was sad to hear Mr Moffatt commenting that he will need  mental help after signing so many autographs.

Steven Moffat on the screen inside TATA tent

Steven Moffat on the screen inside TATA tent

On the bright side, we managed to exchange several words with him, our Polish accent was something different and it got Mr Moffat’s attention.  He was kind enough to sign the DVD for us and the program for our dear friend, British writer Helen Stringer (a massive Doctor Who fan!) He even said that he has heard about her book “The last ghost”. Now that what we call a recommendation! We also had a second for a photo. What an exciting adventure!

Couple of links about  Steven Moffat talk at Hay:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/hay-festival-time-come-female-7174092
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01zvt1g (including a video)
http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/may/27/steven-moffat-bbc-david-tennant-benedict-cumberbatch-sexy
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2014-05-27/steven-moffat-reveals-doctor-who-nearly-ended-after-david-tennant-left

Steven Moffat and Rita

Steven Moffat and Rita

An autograph for our friend, successful British author and scriptwriter herself - Helen Stringer

An autograph for our friend, successful British author and scriptwriter herself – Helen Stringer

Sherlock DVD signed by Mr Moffat - kept under lock and key in private collection

Sherlock DVD signed by Mr Moffat – kept under lock and key in private collection

E for Exhibitors – Recruited from members of local commerce guilds in Wales, exhibitors play a very important role at the festival. They can be private businesses, schools, charities, tourist organizations or European Union foundations. All of them have strong ties to Wales and local communities. Exhibitors are not selling anything –  their role is to inform, raise awareness, educate or display. We have spent a long time visiting their stands. At Visit Wales stall, Rita was asked to recite Dylan Thomas poem to celebrate his 100 birthday. Her take on “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas can be seen on Visit Wales Instagram at: http://instagram.com/p/odifgbnRql/

We have also learnt a lot about the proposed construction of Tidal Lagoon Power in Swansea and we think this is a brilliant idea. The blue dragon you can see on the pictures was actually a  mechanical fountain that explained how the tidal power could be harnessed and turned into electrical energy.

Full list of Exhibitors can be found here: http://www.hayfestival.com/wales/onsite-extras-exhibitors.aspx?skinid=2

Now, please excuse us but a little rant is in order. 2014 was our third time at the festival and so far, we have been really lucky not to encounter any unpleasantries. We have visited Bowie Gallery (one of the exhibitors) twice before and their service and attitude towards visitors have been perfect. We have no idea what happened this year but we will name and shame her. Sara Bowie, the owner of Hay on Wye based art gallery was kicking visitors out if they dared to take out a camera or a phone to take pictures. A German couple in front of us got cursed at. When we stepped in, we got threatened that police will be called. Apparently, Mrs Bowie is afraid that visitors are stealing ideas from the artists she represents. A polite request not to take any pictures or no photography sign would solve the problem straight away. Cursing is beyond anything we have ever see. As an artist, Rita would never wished to be associated with a gallery that treats prospective clients with such contempt. We would also like to point out that the gallery has a website and Facebook page where they display all artworks online! You don’t have to take pictures in the gallery to steal ideas, they are already on the Internet. Nothing, absolutely nothing excuse such behavior, especially Mrs Bowie’s pathetic defense that she “needs to make a living”. We shall not patronize her again. There are other galleries and art dealers in the area. A crying shame as so far we have been great supporters of Bowie Gallery.

Visit Wales exhibitor stand

Visit Wales exhibitor stand

Reciting booth at Visit Wales.

Reciting booth at Visit Wales

Tidal Lagoon Swansea

Tidal Lagoon Swansea

Blue Dragon at Tidal Lagoon stall

Blue Dragon at Tidal Lagoon stall

F for Festival site – Hay on Wye Literary Festival is one of the biggest festivals of this kind in the world. It looks nearly like EXPO or International Fairs, if you ever been to one. If so, you will quickly recognize the layout: press stand on the left (sponsors, media partners), ticket office, white room and green room on the right, main stand in the middle. The main stand is also combined with Information Point so be prepared to stand in line to ask a question or find your way around. A detailed map of the festival ground is located just past the lobby, on the right hand side next to a gift shop. Turning left will allow you to reach play area for kids, turning right will take you to exhibitors area, food hall and the meeting tents.

Festival map

Festival map

Corridors 1

Corridors 1

Corridors 2

Corridors 2

Ticket office

Ticket office

Lounge Area

Lounge Area

G for Gates – Welcome to paradise! The entrance to the festival site is enormous. Before you even see the white tents with their never ending corridors and passages, you have to follow a long dirt road from the temporary bus terminal. The road is decorated with colorful flags, posters and  ribbons. Each year, the festival starts at the end of May and sometimes you can see a 10 foot May pole located in a small ditch to the right.  This year, we arrived with a group of other tourists from Clyro and as soon as our companions saw the flags, they reached for camera phones and started taking pictures. When in Rome, do as the Romans – Rita had a ball clicking away and photographed the entrance from every available angle. At the end of the road, you are welcomed by a huge billboard with HAY FESTIVAL written on it. Now, all you need to do is to walk through automatic doors into the main lobby.

Hay festival poster

Hay festival poster

Entrance and colorful flags

Entrance and colorful flags

Dirt road leading into the lobby

Dirt road leading into the lobby

Welcome to Hay

Welcome to Hay

Main Lobby

Main Lobby

All in! everybody's warmly welcomed!

All in! everybody’s warmly welcomed!

H for How the Lights Get In Festival – Literary Festival is not the only event taking place in Hay on Wye. How the Lights Get in Festival (abbreviated to  HTLGIF or simply known as The Lights) is an accompanying fiesta taking place in the same heart of the village. Street performances, exhibitions, arts and crafts venue, food market, film premieres, drama screenings, academic discussions and other shows are meant to entertain those visitors who are tired of books and reading. The festival offers free tickets and huge discounts for food and drinks. Highly recommended!

Official website: http://howthelightgetsin.iai.tv/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HowTheLightGetsIn
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/htlgifestival

How the lights get in festival logo

How the lights get in festival logo

Arts and Crafts display in the middle of  Hay on Wye City Center for The Lights festival

Arts and Crafts display in the middle of Hay on Wye City Center for The Lights festival

I for Independent Kingdom of Hay – Independent Kingdom of Hay has two meanings:

1. The whole village has been declared as independent kingdom on April the 1st 1977 by Welsh writer, bookseller, scholar and artist, Richard Booth.  In the early 70’s, the economical crisis has been very harsh for Wales, especially affecting small communities as Hay. Businesses were closing, young people were leaving – Hay needed a radical change and some fresh ideas. Booth’s vision for a financial success were old books.  He used his savings to purchase and renovate an old fire station where he opened the first second hand bookstore filling the shelves with books imported from libraries closed in America. He convinced his friends to open few additional stores and Hay started advertising itself as  “the town of books”. Richard crowded himself as King of Hay in front of journalists, naming his own horse as Prime Minister and issuing passports to Hay inhabitants. This comedy act was a big worldwide hit – some media were truly convinced that a town in the middle of Wales decided to separate itself from the Crown! Tourists and book lovers fell in love with Hay on Wye. Nearly ten years later, the popular literary festival has been born and today Hay on Wye is an established brand in the literary world. Richard Booth still lives in the city and has been awarded MBE for his contribution to economy, readership and  local promotion. Since 2000, Hay also has its own House of Lords and is visited by  500.000 people a year. Oh we nearly forgot. By royal decree, Kindles and other ebook readers, are banned in Hay On Wye. Electronic book readers – you have been warned!,

2. Independent Kingdom of Hay is also a book store run by the King of Hay and the royal Booths family.

Official website:
http://www.richardkingofhay.com/
Richard Booth’s Bookshop and Cafe on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richardboothsbookshop
King of Hay on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-King-of-Hay/683799078353942

Independent Kingdom of Hay

Independent Kingdom of Hay

Kindles are banned

Kindles are banned

K for Kids – Visiting the festival with kids is kind of a tradition at Hay. This is a family orientated event and you can find various attraction for your children. A mini festival called Hay Fever has been created especially for them. Parents can choose between book readings, workshops (like making a wooden stool), interactive games, meetings with writers, historians and scientists and many other. Kids can play in special designated areas, lounge in front of the bookstore or roll in hay if they please. This year they could also roll in mud. You may not believe us, but kids were actually queuing to do it at Mess tent (what an appropriate name). Parents were not impressed, we have to add.

Hay Fever official website: https://www.hayfestival.com/wales/hayfever/homepage.aspx?skinid=2&currencysetting=GBP&localesetting=en-GB&resetfilters=true

Mess Tent

Mess Tent

Book sculpture

Book sculpture

A child is leaning against Hay Fever tent waiting for his turn to roll in real hay

A child is leaning against Hay Fever tent waiting for his turn to roll in real hay

Group of kids playing in the mud

Group of kids playing in the mud

L for Little Rumba  – Little Rumba is a well known Welsh band that has been performing and recording for quite some time now. They gave a fantastic street show in a performance tent called The Square, located right in the front of the castle and next to the entrance to food market. We were just passing by but when we heard the music, we had to stop and listen! The band is a true rock and roll act – they have skills, passion and a lot of stage charisma. The band consists of Pete Mustill (vocalist and guitarist), Hugh Colvin (saxophonist), John Hymas (violin, viola and accordion) and a female bassist Jacqui Savage

Little Rumba has been joined on scene by a singer extraordinaire – Lori Campbell. This girl has a powerful voice and she can use it very well. If you are looking for a local rock/ fold/blue grass band with Latin influences, look no further. Little Rumba could easily win the next edition of Britain’s Got Talent.

Lori Campbell on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/loricampbellsings
Little Rumba on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LittleRumba
Little Rumba official website: http://littlerumba.com/

Little rumba o stage

Little Rumba on stage

CD's on display

CD’s on display

Little Rumba business card

Little Rumba business card

M for Market  – There would be riots in the streets if the ever popular Castle Street food market has been cancelled. Located in its traditional place (Hay castle walled garden), it served hot food from 10:00 am until 18:00 o’clock each day from Friday, May 23th till Sunday, June the 1st. Home made burgers, vegetarian chilli con carne with Italian herbs, whole baked tomatoes with mozzarella and red onions, cupcakes, soups, wraps, tortillas, cheeses from all over the world (we bought Argentinian goat milk cheese!), English favorite fish and chips (with a twist), ice-creams with kiwi and lychee bites, sweet bread, vegan ratatouille, local ales and drinks – we could go on forever.  We are getting hungry just thinking about the market. The prices are wonderful – you can buy full healthy dinner for two under 10 pounds. Brilliant!

Castle Street Food Market

Castle Street Food Market

N for Napier, James – James Napier is a successful sculptor and author of The Abandoned Soldier sculpture. The resin figure has been modelled after Lance Corporal Daniel Twiddy and has been unveiled in 2007 during the BBC documentary “Power to the People”. The sculpture doesn’t have a permanent display location and has been housed in many different places including Cardiff and Exeter castles. The soldier’s head has been touring Wales since March 2014 and was displayed at Hay Festival under the title ”The Abandoned Soldier – Do you see what I see?”

Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Abandoned_Soldier
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Abandoned-Soldier-Statue/243347702432383
Website: http://www.theabandonedsoldier.com/support.php
James Napier: http://drawpaintsculpt.com/tutors/james-napier-3/

Abandoned Soldier

Abandoned Soldier

Abandoned Soldier 2

Abandoned Soldier 2

P for Poet for Hire (Tim Siddall)  – We have to admit, this is something we haven’t seen so far. Young lad sitting on a folding chair in front of an old typing machine, wearing sunglasses and a tie in world’s ugliest shade of neon pink. Poet for hire will write anything you ask him to, for a fair price of course. He encouraged us to commission him to write a poem about the town, but we declined. He was quite popular with tourists and he seemed to genuinely entertain them with his writing, but we cannot tell you if it was good of bad. A novelty none the less, maybe worth checking him out if he’s in Hay next year.

Official website: http://poetforhire.net/
Flameproof Moth (Tim is also a musician) on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/flameproofmoth
Flameproof Moth official website: http://flameproofmoth.com

Poet for Hire

Poet for Hire

Q for Queues – Patience my young padawan! You have to have patience at Hay. You will be queuing everywhere:  waiting for your food, trying to use a loo, buying books, having your book signed, entering the stages etc. Queues are a normal state of things at the festival and there is even an official guide to queuing! Enjoy your time and bring comfortable shoes.

Signing queue

Signing queue

Queue to TATA tent before meeting with Steven Moffat

Queue to TATA tent before meeting with Steven Moffat

A short guide to queuing

A short guide to queuing

R for Rain – You don’t need a map to know that Hay on Wye lies on the banks of River Wye. Usually, the river is not causing a lot of troubles, but this year, it decided to seriously misbehave. Heavy rainfalls seven days before the festival started on May 26th, turned the entire village into large bog. The river flooded camping sites and fields that are normally used for visitor car parks. This forced the organizers to look for parking spaces outside of the village. The main car park has been moved to Clyro (about 2 miles away from Hay on Wye) near the Baskerville Hall hotel. Coach buses were also hired to transport tourists from Clyro into town or straight to the festival sites. Whole day parking ticket was priced at 5 pounds and the bus fares were one pound per person. We were not complaining – the buses were running according to schedule, drivers knew their way around  (even shortcuts in cases when the main road has been blocked by wrongly parked car) and we had a chance to see the beautiful and word renowned hotel that once belonged to The Baskerville Family. Unfortunately the rain would not go away and the foul weather continued during our visit as well. The festival ground was soggy and dirty despite every effort from the maintenance team.  Wellingtons were in high demand and we have seen people paying nearly 40 quid for a single pair!

River Wye after rain

River Wye after rain

S for Superstore – the main festival bookshop is located between Telegraph Stage (main media partner of the festival) and Llwyfan Cymru (Wales Stage). It is the only place where visitors can purchase books, maps, DVD’s and official merchandise. The bookstore is commonly known as “Superstore” . It is used for book signings as well and detailed author schedules are displayed among the shelves. If you want to be on featured on the TV, it is a place to go. BBC cameras are constantly present!

signed books available for purchase at the  festival book superstore

signed books available for purchase at the festival book superstore

Children section

Children section

Adults section

Adults section

Queue to the check out

Queue to the check out

BBC filming

BBC filming

T for TATA tent  – Tata tent is the biggest meeting tent/stage at the festival and the most prestigious one. It is reserved for the most prominent guests: best selling authors, world famous comedians (Stephen Fry), Oscar of BAFTA awarded actors/actresses (Dame Julie Dench), the most popular TV presenters – you get the picture. It has capacity of over 1600 visitors and it usually sells out quite quickly. This year, we had a pleasure to see an award winning script writer, “Doctor Who” head wr
iter/producer and the creator of “Sherlock” – Steven Moffat. Tata tent is named after Tata Corporation, one of the corporate sponsors of Hay on Wye festival.

TATA on Hay: http://www.tata.com/hayfestival/tata_involvement.html
TATA official website: http://www.tata.com/default

TATA tent poster

TATA tent poster

Public waiting for Steven Moffat inside the TATA tent

Public waiting for Steven Moffat

Stage inside the TATA tent

Stage inside the TATA tent

W for Writing on the wall – this original art project has been created by artist Candy Chang in New Orleans. She has used an abandoned house in French Quarter, turned its walls into huge blackboards and wrote chalk epitaphs celebrating the lives of people who passed away. The project was entitled  “Before I die” and Chang encouraged others to add their own memories to her own.  Today, it is a global public art movement inviting people to reflect  on their lives and goals. Hay on Wye black board has been made by St. Richard’s Hospice.

Candy Chang official website: candychang.com
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/candychangcandychang
Before I Die Official page: http://beforeidie.cc/
Before I Die on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeforeIDieWall

Before I die art project

Before I die art project – front

And the view from the back

And the view from the back

We hope you have enjoyed this alphabetic review of Hay Festival Anno Domini 2014. We would like to thank several people who proved to be a real source of information and made our visit a true success. First of all, a big thank you to Peter Florence, the founder and director of Hay Literary Festival – thank you for your time and reading our letter. We still hope for a response!

Rita would like to especially thank Mat Roberts for his kindness and assistance. she hopes to return the favor. Greetings to Mat’s lovely daughter and his team – you are a real stars.

We would like to pass our sincere greetings to Lyndy Cooke and the Telegraph Crew. Thank you for everything!

Have a lovely day,
XXX
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

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

Hay-on-Wye Winter Festival 2013

Hello, hello!

Today is the last day of March and looking back, we can only say what a fantastic month it has been! For those of our readers who wonder why the last 30 days were dedicated entirely to interviews with our favorite published authors, we would like to explain that World Book Day in the United Kingdom and Ireland takes place each year in March, almost a month and a half earlier than the rest of the world (usually around April 23rd). We do not know the reason why for this change, but the book-loving celebration is a huge one. This year, World Book Day occurred on Thursday 6th of March and we thought that it would be a great idea to go with the flow and try to introduce you to some seriously talented writers: Helen Stringer – a genius behind Belladonna Johnson Adventures young adult book series, Nathan P Butler – Star Wars fandom guru and Jana Oliver – a multi award winning creator of Demon Trapper’s Daughter saga.

Hey Festival Winter Weekend

Hey Festival Winter Weekend

If you have missed the interviews before, please use the links below to read them:

Interview with Helen Stringer: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-reading-hour-helen-stringer/
Interview with Nathan P Butler: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/the-reading-hour-15-uneasy-questions-for-nathan-p-butler/
Interview with Jana Oliver:  https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/the-reading-hour-15-uneasy-questions-for-jana-oliver/

We have stated many times on our blogs that books are very important to us. The printed word had a huge impact on our childhood and we try to promote reading in any way that we can. Good book is a malady for sadness, boredom, ill health and depression. Scientific tests confirm this very obvious truth – the more you read, the more you discover, the happier you are! England takes International Book Day (and sometimes Book nights) very seriously. In 2014 publishing houses prepared many hot premieres especially for March while local libraries organized big open days and meetings with writers. The government, harshly criticized earlier for closing down libraries and cutting art-related projects, subsides special Book Day program that gives each elementary school pupils a token worth exactly one pound. Pupils can exchange the tokens for books in traditional stores or receive one pound off while shopping for books and eBooks online. Charity organizations like Oxfam Books or Healthy Planet help university students by handing out exam preparatory books for free and even the local communities have something to say – one stop libraries (usually located in old converted red phone booths or inside private sheds) are growing quicker than the green mold on rooftops after the glorious British rain 🙂

Winter Weekend  box Office

Winter Weekend box Office

Keeping to the book related theme, today we want to take you to a small town located exactly at the Welsh-English boarder. The town is called Hay-on-Wye and is known for the internationally acclaimed Book Festival annually organized in the late spring/early summer. Last year we had a pleasure to participate in winter book-loving celebration entitled Hay Festival Winter Weekend. The smaller version of the summertime festival took place from 29th of November to 1st of December 2013 and drew huge crowds. Every car park in 5 miles radius has been packed tight and people were literally fighting over few remaining free spaces. And when we say literally, we mean it – two gentlemen came to blows after one of them parked his huge Chelsea tractor in the only remaining space in the city center. We were forced to park our car in front of a local hotel, but luckily the owners didn’t mind. If anybody from the organizing body is reading these words – please make sure that you are providing more parking spaces next time! We do not wish to scare the children by walking about the town with panda eyes and bloodied noses!

Be quiet! Event in progress!

Be quiet! Event in progress!

Now,  complaints are over and we can concentrate on what we love the most – reviewing the events! Hay-on-Wye is known as the used book capitol of the United Kingdom. According to our friend who has been living there for several years, there are exactly 24 second hand book stores that can provide you with everything you can dream of: steamy novellas, erotic fiction from 1950’s, pulp magazines from 1930’s, unique comic books, junk books that nobody wants to read and masterpieces in all language versions and editions. Each genre has its own place: if you love poetry, The Poetry Bookstore (http://www.poetrybookshop.com) is a place to go, avid gardeners have to shop at C Arden Bookseller (http://www.ardenbooks.co.uk), parents must take their kids to The Children’s Bookshop (https://childrensbookshop.com), fantasy and science fiction fans should go to Addyman Books (http://www.hay-on-wyebooks.com/) and the legions of Benedict Cumberbatch fans must stop at Murder and Mayhem to buy Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels. To be perfectly honest with you dear readers, Mal and Rita love this small store dedicated to crime and detective fiction. The store is very easy to be located – you just cannot walk past the body line drawn near the entrance and simply miss it. Once inside, you have to climb delightfully old wooden staircase that cracks and moves with your ever step. The biggest detective legends are watching you from the walls (and the ceiling!) and upstairs a true heaven awaits those who long for blood, jealously, murder, suspense and other cardinal sins. Did we mention a big black cat painted near the doorway? If that sounds like a cool place to go, you will know where to find us next year!

Murder and Mayhem entrance

Murder and Mayhem entrance

As I lay dying

As I lay dying

Kitty, kitty, kitty...bad luck!

Kitty, kitty, kitty…bad luck!

Hay-on-Wye Festival started in 1988 as a small literature event organized by Norman and Peter Florence. According to rumors, the father-son duo came up with the idea for literary festival in Hay while eating a family dinner and later used their winnings in poker to make their dream come true.  Truth or not,  the idea proved to be an excellent one. From the very beginning Hay-On-Wye festival had an unique atmosphere that could only be compared to summer music extravaganza. In 2001 Bill Clinton even compared it to Woodstock for book lovers and writers.

The first edition of the Festival of Literature and Arts gathered only a handful of  writers (with famous playwright Arthur Miller as the leading star) and the audience was limited to local townsfolk, passerby’s and tourists.  Norman Florence,  theater manager by pprofession, served not only as a spokesman, leading organizer, but also a s a driver, handy person, rigger and journalist. He had to use all his charm to convince Arthur Miller to arrive to the UK and give a small talk. Before attending the festival, the neurotic genius didn’t even know what Hay-on-Wye was. He thought it was some kind of sandwich – true story, we swear!

With each passing year, the festival grew larger and larger. 26 years later, Hay-on-Wye Festival is  known far and wide. Nearly 100.000 people visit this small Welsh town each year for ten days of meetings, talks, stand up comedy, film screening, concerts, art exhibitions and God knows what else.  Tickets are selling out faster than fresh buns and internationally acclaimed stars and writers submit their own applications to be considered for future events. Peter and Norman Florence  received Medal of British Empire for their contribution to English culture and the festival itself has been nominated for numerous awards, including the prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. To go or not to go in summer, that it the question! To help you decide we can only say that Carrie Fisher, Stephen Fry and Steven Moffat are confirmed to speak to the audience this year…Hey wait! Don’t rush off now! The festival starts on 22nd of May and will last until the 1st of June 2014.

You can visit the official website at:  https://www.hayfestival.com
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hayfestival
or Twitter: https://twitter.com/hayfestival

Hay on Wye author meeting at The Swan Hotel. Please visit their website at: http://www.swanathay.co.uk/index.html

Hay on Wye author meeting at The Swan Hotel. Please visit their website at: http://www.swanathay.co.uk/index.html

Meeting with readers at The Swan

Meeting with readers at The Swan

audience waiting for meeting with Jasper Fforde at The Swan

audience waiting for meeting with Jasper Fforde at The Swan

The main reason why we arrived at the Winter Weekend was not because of arts and crafts event taking place in the high town, or  the street band playing carols near the Hay Castle ruins, but sorely to meet an excellent writer Jaspen Fforde. We have been big fans of Jasper’s talent for years and since meeting him nearly two years ago in Hereford, we were longing to learn more about his best selling Dragon Slayer saga.  You don’t need to convince fantasy fans twice when one of their favorite authors is going to do a rare reading from his latest novels. Tickets were booked months in advance and when the moment arrived, off we went.

The meeting took place on Saturday, 30th of  November 2013, exactly at 5.55pm in beautiful Victorian Dining Room at the Swan Hotel. The Swan is a family run business that looks like a building taken right out of  Mr Fforde’s book: it has a cozy restaurant and pub with huge fireplace, a narrow corridors leading to beautiful reception area and an impressive meeting rooms – a perfect place for any Wizarding agency to do business with non-magical citizens (we wouldn’t be surprised if the Potters or Weasleys decided to spend their holidays there either!). Jasper, a resident of Hay-on-Wye, arrived on foot carrying a big suitcase of books, notes and even a dictionary! When asked why he needed an old  Oxford English dictionary the size of a large brick, he gave us a stern look, winked and told us to mind our business! Those writers, so full of secrets!

Talking to Jasper is a pure pleasure. He is exceptionally funny, intelligent and kind to his readers. He answered all questions (the room was packed full and he had to answer a lot!), read few passages from an unpublished book entitled then “The Return of Shandar” and even revealed that he was approached by BBC to pen the anniversary episode for Doctor Who! He sadly had to let this opportunity pass because of  conflicted schedules, but  you have to admit, it is a big honor nonetheless.  Fans of  Jasper’s book “Shades of Grey” will be delighted to know that he is currently writing a sequel that should be released sometime next year.

Jasper during the meeting

Jasper during the meeting

Jasper Fforde books ready to be signed

Jasper Fforde books ready to be signed

Jasper signing books during the meet and greet with fans

Jasper signing books during the meet and greet with fans

***UPDATE April 15th 2014***

The book three in The Last DragonSlayer saga has been released on 10th of April 2014 and we already own a copy.  The title has been changed since the December meeting to “The Eye of Zoltar” and the whole series has now been extended to 4 books! Fourth book is probably going to be entitled “The Great Troll War” and is scheduled for  Summer release 2015.

You can order your copy of The Eye of Zoltar here:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eye-Zoltar-Last-Dragonslayer-Book/dp/1444707272
Waterstone’s: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/jasper+fforde/the+eye+of+zoltar/9022819/
WHSmith: http://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/the-eye-of-zoltar-the-last-dragonslayer-book-3/product/9781444707274

or visit Jasper official website at: http://www.jasperfforde.com/

British cover of The Eye of Zoltar

British cover of The Eye of Zoltar

The Eye of  Zoltar received rave reviews from readers and critics and almost all 5 star ratings on Goodreads! (it’s not easy to please this particular internet community!) We shall not spoil you what happens next to our brave Jennifer, but she is now tasked with finding a rare artifact to save the lives of the dragons. Will she succeed? Grab a book and find out!
American fans will have  to wait till October 1st 2014 for the official American edition. We feel sorry for you guys!

Have a great day and don’t forget  that on 23rd of April the world will be celebrating  International Book Day. Please visit your local library and support them. In times of crisis the reading community should stick together and spread the word about good books that are being released.

Long live the written word!
XXX
Rita and Mal Dabrowicz