Away in Hay

I am back from my weekend away in a converted grain silo. It was much more fun than it sounds. It sounds a bit gulagish. I think it’s the word, silo. It’s a bit cold war/bunker/nuclear winter.

Anyway, this was not that kind of silo. This was a lovely silo. It was warm, and cleverly designed and just the right size for two people to lounge about in for the weekend.

All the functional bits are on the ground floor. A galley kitchen, a bedroom, a weeny shower room and a loo with a basin. Upstairs it’s just one big round room with windows looking out over the mountains. We had a sofa each and lots of blankets to snuggle under, and it was great.  There’s hardly any furniture.  There’s hardly any anything much, not even WiFi, but what there is is lovely and well thought out. It sits on a site with a big medieval barn and some cottages you can rent, and some more silos, some small like ours, and one that is two, connected together.  The place is called Cwmhir Court. I am sure that this is a Welsh joke and not an actual, real Welsh word (Come Here Court), but I may be wrong.

It is the same silo we went to back in September. We had rather hoped to do a lot of the things we did in September again, but many of the places we wanted to go were still shut after the frenzy of Christmas. We were a little deflated, but soldiered on bravely and vowed that we will go again when everything we wanted to do is open, which is a very cheering prospect, possibly for my birthday.

On Friday we didn’t get away until late and the drive was a bit challenging, so we grabbed some fish and chips and stayed in and watched the final episode of Luther. I am delighted to say that no grain silos were featured, so I didn’t have to spend the entire night on high alert waiting for a random psychopath to swing out from a hidden panel anywhere.

On Saturday we grabbed breakfast at The Blue Boar Inn. We ate there last time and their breakfasts were so good we went again. I had the veggie breakfast because they do it with hash browns and Glamorgan sausages. These are basically cheese, potato and leek, which is a winning combination. At The Blue Boar they roll them into big dumplings and fry them so they are crispy on the outside and ooze in the middle. This made me very happy indeed. Also they make good coffee and the staff are really nice. You should go.

We did a bit of loping around Hay. I got some good stock for Boostique which I will be listing some time this week. I also went into the most amazing vintage clothes shop which wasn’t open last time we went. The lady who runs it is extremely knowledgeable about her stock and really friendly. She has some exceptional vintage tweed amongst other things. I really fell in love with a huge, pale green duffel coat and a cream and black silk Twenties opera coat, neither of which I could afford, but goodness they were beautiful.

We were feeling a bit on the urban side in the afternoon and wandered into Hereford for a poke around. It’s a lovely city and the cathedral is fantastic. If you haven’t been, you should go and check out the Mappa Mundi.

We were rather tired after all our traipsing about and went back to the silo with lots of snacks to hole up for the evening with our books.  We were up so late reading we slept through breakfast and treated ourselves to Sunday lunch at The Blue Boar instead. It was as good as their breakfasts.

We went to Booths’ bookshop to stock up on some reading material we didn’t need and spent the afternoon back at the silo, reading and napping before wending our way home. It was the perfect way to ease into January proper. Oscar is back at school tomorrow. Tallulah goes back on Tuesday and Tilly is moving into her new house properly this week. My spread sheet beckons and Jason starts his new job. I have also vowed to reintroduce Derek to the kittens in the coming week.  You can see why I needed a break.

p.s. books read over the weekend were:

Normal People by Sally Rooney  Tilly lent me this and I devoured it in a day. It’s a kind of twisted love story between Marianne and Connell, who fall for each other as teens and who live out a complex back and forth love story over about a decade. I thought it was exquisite.

Get Me The Urgent Biscuits by Sweetpea Slight This was entertaining but pretty uneven. It’s the memoir of a woman who worked in theatre for several years both in the West End and at the National.  It’s gossipy and interesting but I wanted more from it than I got.

Mutant Message Down Under: A Woman’s Journey into Dreamtime Australia by Marlo Morgan – I thought this might be a bit like Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines which is magnificent. It wasn’t.

Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym – I loved this. Pym is like the British version of Anne Tyler. She is all about quiet, ordinary people who live quiet, ordinary lives but which are rendered vivid and intense by the quality of Pym’s observation. This is about four people who work in an office together and have nothing in common except that they are all of an age where they are about to retire. It’s sharp and witty and sad and funny.



12 responses to “Away in Hay

  1. In some ways that sounds like the sort of weekend I could do with about now!

  2. Glad you had a lovely weekend, Katy. I shall have to pick up a Barbara Pym – I love books where nothing much actually happens. Thanks for the tip x

  3. We hired the whole place out for all our family for my husband’s 60th birthday, there were 32 of us so we filled it up, even the silos. The lawn in front was used for cricket, rounders and all sorts of games with the children. The patio was well used for bbqs and the long long table in the biggest barn was just enough to seat us all. We spent a lot of our time in Hay-on-Wye at the bookshops.

  4. Aww sorry you did not enjoy Marlo,Morgan s book, I found it life affirming! Which only confirms my belief that books present themselves when you need them ( cometh the need, cometh the teacher) but your sounding so much stronger, so pleased for you. ,best wishes x

  5. Cwmhir translates as long valley or vale!
    And I agree with you about Quartet in Autumn.
    Glad that you managed to have your chill out time.

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