Hay Festival & Exeter Library

Caban Coch dam, Elan Valley.

Just back from a week in mid-Wales, during which I popped into the Hay Festival for a day to join celebrity hatstand Sarah McIntyre for a couple of events – details on Sarah’s blog.

We haven’t been to Mid-Wales before, although I know the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia fairly well. It turned out to be beautiful. The towns aren’t up to much – charity shops and convenience stores inhabiting the decaying grandeur of once-popular Victorian resorts (Aberystwyth feels particularly post-apocalyptic)  but the surrounding country is beautiful, with mountains, gorges, waterfalls and lots of dams and reservoirs, which were looking very impressive after the recent rain. It reminded me a lot of the Wicklow Mountains, and also parts of the Lake District. We stayed at Pwllgwylim Cottages in Cilmeri, just outside Builth Wells. The owners, Richard and Jill, also do B&B, and were very welcoming and helpful. I’d recommend it if you’re thinking of visiting the area.

I was also very taken with the Hafod Hotel at Devil’s Bridge, which has exactly the sort of a big, comfy, friendly tea room you want to find if you’ve just been on a wettish hike to the bottom of the spectacular Devil’s Bridge gorge. And the drive back to Climeri from there over the mountain road was glorious…

I came home to find my first advance copy of the new Goblins book, Goblin Quest. It’s published this week, so I’ll be blogging about it in the next couple of days.  And if you’re in Devon, I’ll be doing a Goblins event at Exeter’s snazzy new Central Library on saturday 21st June at 2pm. Tickets are free, and can be reserved in advance (though you can just turn up on the day, if you prefer).  It’s so long since I’ve done an event without Sarah M that I can’t remember how, but I expect I’ll do some drawing, and read a bit from the new book, and I may even dust off the Bratapult…

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