Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Making Hay

We made Hay while the rain poured. Friday and Saturday last, the Hay Festival put on a Winter Weekend with two days of events; it was like the summer Hay Festival once used to be: small-scale, in the town centre, mostly locals in the crowds, the pubs and cafés have seating and don’t run out of ale on tap.

In October, I booked tickets for the whole family to see Peter and The Wolf, a one-man puppet show by the Sea Legs Puppet Theatre. I’d love to review it here, but unfortunately our 2-year-old, J, started hollering within the first two minutes of the performance and I had to extricate myself, somewhat ungracefully, from the tightly-packed rows of parish hall plastic seats that were jammed together.

One scoop of chocolate ice cream and four hankerchiefs was J’s preferred way to pass the hour in which his sister sat through the whole thing, entranced, apparently.

(An amusing side note is that the parish hall in which Peter and the Wolf was performed is the same one that I had run a charity café in six years previously with the Gaia Cooperative, and in which I was going to hold my own poetry reading. It was abandoned when there were only three people in the audience: my Mum, my Stepdad and my boyfriend. It is a memory I will somehow strangely cherish).

I had an ulterior motive, though, in getting the family to Hay en masse: to hear Horatio Clare speak about his latest work, The Prince’s Pen (Seren). And I was lucky enough to meet him beforehand to ask some questions about the process of retelling the myth of Lludd and Llevelys from the Mabinogion the results from which will feature in a forthcoming blog post on the Western Mail, so no spoilers here.

It was probably just as well that I did arrange to meet Horatio beforehand as it started hailing outside while I was snug in the Blue Boar interviewing him; my husband had charge of M, 4, and J, 2, who was in a pram with a broken hood and no rain cover. They came in bedraggled, and would have thrown in the towel, had they had one - and I suspect they would have benefited from one. Horatio excused me from attending the formal five o’clock Hay event and we left, having made Hay, and being glad of it.

What struck me most about my time with Horatio from my own writing perspective, was how much trust he was able to place in the narrator, Clip, and let the voice do the work. Now that I’m in writing mode, I’m looking forward to finding my voice again.

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