Image treacherously stolen from The Octogon
I have returned from a road trip to Wales with an old friend. We had been discussing going to Hay-on-Wye in Wales for years and finally took the plunge last week.
For those of you not in the know, Hay on Wye is a town of 1,500 people on the border between Powys and Herefordshire which has thirty one bookshops. I haven't been to Heaven, but I'm reasonably sure that it will bear a more than passing resemblance to Hay on Wye. We took the ferry over on Monday night and after an overnight at a Travel Lodge and a detour to HarlechCastle (pictures in another post), managed after a longish drive to get to Hay. Matters were complicated somewhat by the appearance of every road worker currently employed in the United Kingdom being in our way leaning on shovels and generally being an impediment.
This photo of Rest for the Tired is courtesy of TripAdvisor
We arrived in Hay and made camp at Rest for the Tired, an extremely friendly B&B run by a lady called Mary, who makes an excellent fried breakfast. The B&B is right over the Book Centre which is well worth a look. We only really had one full day in Hay, so most of it was spent scurrying from book shop to book shop laden with treasures.
I would have to recommend...
- The Book Centre - large military history section and an extensive collection of Ospreys. Also where I picked up a first edition of Donald Featherstones Naval Wargames.
- The Hay Cinema Bookshop - huge selection, very impressive on turn of the century adventure stories and anthologies, military history section not to be sneezed at. I left this shop with many regrets for "...the one I left behind me." They have a wholesale section in an industrial estate on the outskirts of town, though it's not really worth the walk.
- The Addyman's Annex - not as big as HCB, but some finds.
- Hay Castle Books - A bookshop in a castle, what could be finer? Not as comprehensive as the others, but some nice prints and very reasonably priced. I picked up an etching of of Detaille's "La Reve" for a song.
- Booths - Hays largest bookshop. This is quite overwhelming. I was having a look at their military history section and counting myself very lucky, when I realised I was just looking at the "New Aquisitions" section and there were stacks and stacks more to explore.
There were a couple of great finds, which I'll get to in another post.
I'm really quite behind on my posting at the moment, mainly due to having pots of things on at the moment. More tomorrow, Scouts honour!