Roland Turner

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Hereford, England and Hay-on-Wye, Wales

We started our day at Garford Farm where some other guests, who had arrived last night at about the same time that we did, were also Australians (son working in the UK, parents visiting; there's a pattern here). Of particular interest here were the 'oast-houses' once used for drying hops. The half-cones on top swivel (with the aid of the vane) to ensure that the wind is always tending to draw air out of the silo. Inside the silo, a few metres above the floor, is a lattice on which green hop leaves were placed and then, I suspect, a fire lit on the ground to provide heat and smoke for drying. I managed to hit my head hard on the low doorway on the way out and was thus not in the mood to take further photos.

The afternoon and evening were spent in Hay-on-Wye, just over the border into Wales. Hay's Richard Booth has proclaimed himself 'King of Free Hay', apparently as an April Fool's joke in the 1970's. He does have the benefit of owning the old castle in Hay which is the centre of the largest second-hand book business in the world. Hay contains around 30 bookstores, several of which Richard Booth owns. I was very restrained, I only purchased ten books.

Here you see the castle from one end and from its lower wall, and then the view of the lower wall from in front of the castle. Notice the shelves of books at the bottom of the stairs; these are the 30p books (50p for hardcovers) which people are free to rummage and to place money in a slot (visible to the left of the stairs in the view from the lower wall) before taking them away.

Dining al-fresco, with a saint.

Belmont House, the excellent B&B where we spent the evening.