The first anniversary of Brian's passing was a time l was not looking forward to but it was as inevitable as the tides. We had always talked about going to the Hay on Wye book festival but in the way of things kept missing it. Around September he gave me a poke and l looked it up. It was to be held for 9 days ending on the 5th June the day after Brian's passing.
Looking up accommodation there was a camp site just next to it so l mailed them, crossed fingers knowing l would get in as it was so early and as l had such a strong push l knew l was booked whatever happened.
A couple of weeks before the event l asked a friend if she wanted to come with me, she lost her husband about 14years ago and would be a support if l needed, and she cooked, a major consideration.
I decided to contact the site organisers and see if l could fit on a smaller site, again all went well and they changed me to a cheaper site so £107/7nights as opposed to £140/7nights. They were excellent with their organising and the loos etc were all kept spotless. The rest of the year the field is full of sheep and not a camp field.
It was my first proper away in CB and the drive thanks to Tom was clear and well directed. We found the site and went to our slot, l turned on the gas and we celebrated with a coffee.
The "over the hedge" to the festival was a bit of a cheat yes it was but you had to walk about 1/2 mile around the field & houses as there was no way through the hedge, not that that mattered the exercise did me good.
The festival was not at all what either of us had been expecting. It was full of all sorts of talks which l had known about & not booked due to cost, coffee places, a few charity stands and odds and ends and very few books.
Being a book lover this was a bit weird calling it a "Book Festival" however Hay on Wye more than made up for that they are full with second hand book shops about 40 of them. I found 8 books from an author l was looking for. If you love books then get over to the town sometime they are amazing.
Getting talking to Celine & her Husband who had a stall in the town Mara Sculptures with sculptures from Zimbabwe we found that the small stand a gallery from town took at the actual festival cost 30K. We were more than a tad taken aback until speaking to the people who supplied the coffee at the camp site and were parked next to us we found that a coffee stall at the festival was 130k that was just a gobstopper.No wonder the costs of things were so high.
A big bug with me and l am sure many others was that 02 doesn't work in the area, in fact l never got 02 back until we were well out of Wales. I contacted them afterwards and got a weeks refund for it. Luckily Ann has 2 phones and l put credit on one and managed to stay in touch with Mum.
I could get intermittent use after midnight with the odd text in or out. On the last full day l found if l went down through the camp field (huge area) down the road about 30yards, over the style, through the field of sheep, over the next style, past the thicket of trees, up the hillock full of nettles l could get a signal.
All other suppliers worked, according to 02 they are in the process of sorting out signals but if you are on 02 & not been to Wales be aware the signal is either patchy or impossible. I lump in all Wales as after talking to people apparently it is like that all over at least North Wales. When we have been in the past l am not sure if we noticed as it was just quick day trips.
On the 4th of June l went on my own down to the river, found rather a dangerous path that was vertical and slippery and spent the day hidden from view by those on the river and people from above.
I was found by a loopy border collie who threw himself down the slope at high speed slurped at me with a big grin and hurtled back up the slope when he was called.
I wished the many canoes going past had quieter occupants and would have loved to be out there on the water but as l don't own a boat or anything this was impossible.
There was a rainstorm at one point, l scrambled under a tipped over oak with a thick roof of leaves and stayed nice and dry.
After about 7hours l went back to the camp site and spent a quiet night before we set off home on the 5th.
As we drove home on the 5th l decided to side track and go via Langar to spend a short time there. It was nice seeing friends again and l went for a quiet walk round the airfield with Brian, and memories.