Today we crossed the border to a foreign country. Wales. The lockdown regulations are slightly different there, and the notices are bilingual: feirwys corona sounds slightly hilarious. We visited the famed town of Hay-on-Wye, famous for its 24 bookshops and its festival. There are of course far fewer bookshops nowadays, and not all of them were open. I was slightly relieved, we do not need more books, having 1000 angling tomes in our bedroom anyway. The festival took place online this year.
It is a very pretty village and the castle is being restored: there was an open air market, with the obligatory one-way system and distancing notices. In 2 languages.
Kate the baker was in business, though with far fewer tourists, probably not doing as well as usual.
We had lunch at the Old Black Lion, served by a waiter in a plastic full frontal mask. The cutlery was brought to us wrapped in a serviette, on a tray, we had to take it off the tray, likewise the drinks. And yet who took the glasses off the shelf and put them on the tray? He whipped away the paper menus and said they would be immediately binned. This is absurdity. At the same time I read in the paper that the number of deaths from flu and pneumonia in the week ending 7 August were 6 times the number of deaths from Covid. People are dying of strokes, heart attacks and cancer because they are terrified of seeking medical help. We have backed the wrong horse somewhere along the line I fear.
But this is a relief: seen on a Bethesda chapel, Hay:
Rod says, will He wipe away droplets? And I want to know if He is at least 2m away.
But enough frivolity: the serious business of the day was angling on the R Wye, which is a most beautiful river. Rod caught some small chub but was finally rewarded with what he was really after, a barbel. They are great looking fish, and tremendous fighters.
This one was 5lbs 7 oz which is very respectable. We met two of Rod’s angling mates, and they were delighted that he was able to share their pleasure of catching barbel on the Wye. It was of course returned to the river: no fish were harmed in the taking of these photos. I enjoy the river bank, here with 10 foot high Himalayan balsam, which is not so jolly if you touch it after rain as the sap can burn severely.
The weather was changeable, but mostly sunny. There was a rainbow which is just about visible in the distance, also kingfishers flitting along the bank.
I like this part of the world, it is very untouched and quiet. Staycations are fine by me.