Thursday, 22 December 2011

With. Love. This. Noel.

Thanks to Alex Valentine for letting me have some of his fab boggle cards ('four line poems') today when I was in Hay Deli this afternoon.

Happy Christmas everyone, I'll be back in January.

'twas the week before Christmas

I've barely been at the cabin all week as we've had non-stop invitations for the boys to go and play with friends, for lunch, tea, to go swimming etc etc. I do love how sociable life is around here and the mix of different people I spend time with. Yesterday I enjoyed visiting my pottery tutor's home in Talgarth and having a look around his collection of pots. Sunday evening we had a bunch of friends over for Indian food at the cabin, Tuesday evening I went with a group of friends to The Globe to see a pretty good performance of A Christmas Carol by Hereford College of Arts, last night we went to Booth's Bookshop for lovely time singing carols and listening to poetry readings, and then we moved on to a friend's house down the hill for supper, and tonight I was at Val's shop for mulled wine, chestnuts roasted on the fire and live music. Tomorrow we drive up to Lancashire to spend Christmas with my family, which is a real treat as the last time I was with them for Christmas was ten years ago.
 Carols, readings, mulled wine and mince pies at Booth's

Looking on from the mezzanine at The Globe

 Play dates with Seth and Bo's pals

Christmas in Hay

View of Pottery Cottage, Christmas 2011

So this is how it looks as the builders take a week off for Christmas and New Year. The rear, ground floor facade has altered a fair bit in the last week with the two back doors, a window and an l-shaped window all now blocked in. Bi-fold doors replace the two remaining windows, so in the summer we'll be able to open up the doors from both the kitchen and the playroom onto the garden. It doesn't look attractive as it is, but once the windows are all replaced it should look much less cluttered than it did.
The new supporting column. This was necessary to support the roof, which is currently resting directly on the window and would probably have collapsed if the window was taken out without this extra support.
Inside the main house, a drain for the damp coursing. The walls have been built up in preparation for the insulation which will be added next month. Although the main house is still definitely en obra work should pick up pace there in January as it's actually less work that the guest cottage which was totally rebuilt.
The guest cottage is shaping up well and today the guys were finishing placing the plaster boards over the top of the insulation. It's already pretty toasty in there, even without heating, so hopefully this was all worth it and it will require minimal heating to keep it really warm even during the cold winter months.

All I want for Christmas is...a cabbage

Seth clutching his cabbage, after begging me to buy it for him on the market this morning.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Conversation with Seth

Today, talking with Seth about starting school in January:
Seth: Do Mummies and Daddies stay at the playgroup school?
Me: No, it's different from going to the playgroup there. After Christmas you wil go there on your own, I won't go, it will be like Crocodiles, you'll just go there with your friends.

Pause

Seth: We're a bit too small to drive there on our own. You'll have to drive us there, ok?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Darling Buds of Hay

More talented spotted in Hay. This stunning Christmas wreath was made by Layla Robinson from her cutting garden in Brilley. To see more of Layla's creations and details of how to order from her, see here.

Silent night vigil

Ollie joined 50 other Hay residents to form a flash mob outside Powys County Hall. Press release below, but for the latest update and an interesting first-hand report from veteran Hay blogger Eigon, see here.

PRESS RELEASE: Kept in the dark and denied a voice, Hay residents hold silent, night-time vigil at County Hall.
A group of 50 Hay residents gathered outside County Hall, Llandrindod Wells last Monday night to demonstrate their frustration at being denied access to the Council’s Stakeholders’ meeting. Calling their gathering Silent Night, they lined the way into the building, lighting their silent faces with torches.

When the protestors saw Councillors entering through a different door, they re-grouped in the entrance and asked to attend the meeting.  Chief Executive Jeremy Patterson and Paul Griffiths said it was not a public meeting and no-one could attend, not even the Press, and that minutes would not be taken.

“We are being kept in the dark and denied a voice while our councillors are, I believe, about to sign an irrevocable Option Agreement with the property developer who would change the face and future of this successful small market town.” said 40-year Hay resident, Gerry Taylor.  

Asked whether the Council would assure the people that no binding commitment would be made before full details of the proposal were given and a public meeting held, Mr Patterson refused to be drawn, saying that the decision would be made by the Cabinet.

Plan B for Hay, who have been campaigning for public consultation, transparency and time to formulate an alternative proposal, was one of the stakeholders invited.  

Snow men

From Andalucia to Clyro

Welsh Andalucian horses in the snow at our temporary home on Clyro Hill Farm.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Lights out

Goodbye Crocodiles!

Seth had his last day at Crocodiles today. A huge thanks to the lovely 'blue ladies', as Sethie used to call them, for four really happy months there. There hasn't been one day when he hasn't wanted to go, and he's especially enjoyed nature walks, making constructions, baking, animal visitors from dogs to snakes, and anything to do with numbers. He moves on from Crocs to Clyro School nursery class in January with his little pals Seth J, Ben and Ruby.

Crocodiles was Seth's third pre-school after Apple Kids in India (where he learnt to call me Amme, eat rice with hand, run around outdoors with his shoes off, all of which he still likes to do) and Jardin de la Plaza in Argentina (where they managed to get three year olds to do better art than I can do).  I hope his life continues to be as diverse, and that he always has friends from different places and cultures. Next up: Wales. Hwyl fwar Crocodiles!

In the thick of it

Thick snow up on the top of Clyro hill, less so as we drove the 2.5 miles down. The final photo was taken just up the hill from Clyro village, with views across to Hay nestled beneath snow covered hills on the other side of the valley.

Candlelight Carol

Candelight Carol by one of my favourite composers, John Rutter, set to old scenes of London.

(My only request for my funeral is someone to sing For the Beauty of the Earth arranged by John Rutter.)

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

We woke up to snow. It's falling again in big, fluffy flakes and there's a white out over the Black Mountains opposite...time to buy some sledges and stock up on logs for the weekend. Perfect!
(I do miss our Nikon...hopefully we should have it back next week and photos should improve.)

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Plan B for Hay in the press

It's been a busy week for Plan B for Hay. Good splash on the front page of the The Brecon & Radnor Express and coverage on the BBC. Ollie was out Plan B for Hay meetings both last night and tonight as the campaign picks up pace ahead of a key council meeting next week.

Our bird

So here's our turkey, all ready in the fridge in the barn next to the cabin. It's quiet around here, without the turkeys, geese and ducks circling the farmyard, but the Met Office have issue a storm for warning tonight so the wind will soon be howling.

Spoilsport

Overheard today.

Bo: I'd like to fly to Granny's house, up up in the air and go there.
Seth: Erm, problem is you don't actually have wings.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Warming up, caving in

The insulation is going in thick and fast, but I caved today and booked us in for another half term up at the cabin at Clyro Hill Farm. It was partly pragmatic: they'd be putting up plasterboard and temporary plumbing to get us in there for Christmas, which would later be taken down when the whole cottage is wired, plumbed and plastered, so that seemed like a waste of time and money. But I felt it wasn't fair on the boys, especially with Seth starting school in January. We'll just keep things easy and stay in the cabin for a while long, and hopefully we will be in for Seth's birthday and Easter.