Hay Festival

I’ve been a bit naughty and haven’t been posting. But I have a really, really good excuse – the Hay Festival was last week, over half-term, and I’m only now recovering from Festival Withdrawal.  Over a course of ten days, we had about 100,000 people in town. (Thank goodness I didn’t have to have them over for tea.)
For my friends back home who haven’t heard about the Festival and like details, go look here, because, really, its their website, and they can paint a much better picture of how awesome this week is. And I’m not doing details today. Suffice it to say, authors, economists, historians, comics, musicians, and fans and followers of all the former decended on Hay over the course of 10 days.
The Hubs and I had just missed the Festival last year when we came to house hunt, so we saw the tents, and experienced the rain, but that was the sum of it for us, aside from really tired shopkeepers and restaurant owners. So my first impression of the site this year was pretty amazing. I felt like I was in Disneyland for grownups, complete with Goofy (aka Nick Clegg) and overinflated food prices, only here, my “rides” were hearing Tony Parsons, Alexander McCall Smith, and Kazuo Ishiguro speak on their books, writing techniques, and where their ideas come from. Additionally, Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club provided a much better sound than “its a small world”: you don’t mind so much when “De Camino a la Vereda” runs through your head all day. Of course, it helps that I don’t speak much Spanish, so I don’t actually know what’s running through my head all day. Huh.

I felt like doing handstands, I was so excited last week!  I have lovely friends here, but aside from occasional coffee mornings, mine tends to be a bit of a lonely existence, and I finally felt like I was feeding my brain muscle.

This is a lovely statue. This is not me. Although, it could have been. Only, with more color and better skin.
What was just as exciting was that there was a mini festival-within-a-festival for the kids: Hay Fever. I think the kids spent more time in the Hay Fever tent and in the Festival grounds than anyplace else that week – it was impossible to get them to leave, as there was so much going on!
The kids were able to hear Lucy Cousins talk about our favorite mouse, “Maisy” as well as watch her draw AND meet Maisy. They attended a Thomas story telling session and met the Fat Controller. (Not very PC, this group, I’d say). We also went to a Charlie and Lola party, where they acted out vegetables as the storyteller read Pea’s favorite Charlie and Lola story “I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato“. Yes, you haven’t seen a baked bean until you’ve seen Boo’s baked bean impersonation.
Pea loves to draw and color, and spent the better part of the week doing just that. (Whereas I spent the better part of the evenings washing the chalk, paint and marker off of her and her clothes. Seriously, she may as well have just rolled on the chalkboard or drawn on herself.)
Boo and Maddie also had fun learning about physics.
yuh-huh. I just used “fun” and “physics” in the same sentence. Seriously. Me.

Although, honestly – don’t I spend enough time telling them NOT to poke their balloons with sharp objects?
The balloon kebabs were a lot of fun to make, but dangerous to carry around in a room heaving with under 7’s.
It was like a little (giant) tent village, complete with covered walkways, comfy chairs to lounge in and read a book, and grassy areas to kick back and do the same. Boo was captivated and wanted to have a picnic on the grass, despite the fact that it had been pouring all day and we’d be wallowing in mushy ground. I compromised with a Shepherd’s Ice Cream the next day.

The Festival was a really amazing experience. I think Boo took away nearly as much as I did; when he wasn’t at the Festival, he was home drawing pictures and writing stories to go with them. I also was able to spend a lot more time listening to Pea than I usually get a chance to, and continue to be amazed by the depth of her imagination, too. (Her imaginary friend has a rapidly growing family, too, apparently. Its going to get pretty crowded in this house soon. Thankfully, I don’t have to set a place at the table or buy event tickets for all these imaginary friends that were with us all week.)
Next year (despite the fact that my amazing babysitter will be off at university – hopefully I can find as amazing a replacement, and I highly recommend getting a sitter studying for exams for Festival week) I’m definitely booking more events for the kids AND myself. 

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