Bain and Murran’s World Famous Emporium.

I could moan on about the state of the world, or get all droopy about the greyness of the sky – but I’m not going to.  It’s all got a bit much lately, so instead I’m going to write about something that cheers me up, another post about a friend’s fantastic shop in Hay..

I heard about Becky before I met her.  A woman came in to my work wearing a beautiful embroidered, felted wool bracelet, and I was like – Oooo! where did you get that?Information gained, I soon enough made it up to Hay Castle where Becky had her shop.

Since then Becky and her partner Tom have moved down to Castle Street and the shop there is an absolute wonder.  Like Simon in my previous post, Becky is enormously creative, knowledgable and has the magpie eye for finding interesting and unusual objects, clothes, shoes, jewellery and all manner of fascinating things.  I wander around her shop with my mouth open and you could easily spend an hour or two fossicking for treasure.

She is also one of the best friends you could have, kind, wise and a hoot, with a London background in magazine and T.V. work, she is an interesting person who is interested in other people – how lucky I am to have been able to come to the other side of the world to meet her.

Oh and Tom is lovely too!

Some photos folks…

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Here is the woman herself under a waterfall of vintage scarves..

These are some of Becky’s own creations, beaded and embroidered brooches and bracelets, which you can’t buy on the net, so you’ll just have to come to town and visit..

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Two floors of Amazing Emporium!

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Something for the boys..

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It was fun taking the photos but once again I don’t think I’ve done it justice.  So if you are in town and have had your fill of books, you can always take a wander into Tom and Becky’s shop and you might just find some lovely thing that you  can’t do without 🙂

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a little light on my friend Simon

One of the things I used to love about coming to visit Hay-on-Wye when I lived elsewhere was the fact that not only were there masses of book shops, which is my idea of heaven, but also there were other lovely and sometimes unusual shops as well, with a complete lack of the normal high street chain stores.

My friend Simon has owned his chandelier shop Goosey Ganders for twelve years now.  I met him when we first came to live in Hay, and I liked him straight away.  He’s an interesting person, a bit of a renaissance man – sometimes outspoken and outrageous, kind and gentle and incredibly creative and I love him to bits.

I think Simon knows everything there is to know about chandeliers – he certainly knows the history of them, how to build them, fix them, hang them, clean them and make them even more  fantastic than they are already.  The amount of care and work that he puts into creating and rebuilding is mind-boggling.  I am always fascinated when I go in to his tiny, jewel box of a shop because it is jam-packed with lamps dating back over the last century and full of light and colour, which is not to be sneezed at in these dark days.

So without further ado, here are some of the photos I took the other day..

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Flamingo friends
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Keeping him company.. Kenny and friend

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The man himself

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My photos don’t do the shop justice so drop in if you’re in town and maybe you can add some extra sparkle and light to your home.  And don’t forget to say I sent you 😉

it’s great being back..

One of the first things I noticed when we arrived at our new home in Hay-on-Wye, just over two months ago, was this stone doorstop covered in a crochet cozy by my dear friend Em who had found us this flat in the first place.

It is always a bit worrying when you rent a place sight unseen and although the flat has a few small downsides it has turned out to be a great, little bolt hole.

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And it is wonderful to be back in Hay!  Really so good.  We arrived back to a spectacular autumn, warm and beautiful.  Our house lacks a garden so we have to walk our dogs a lot and we have visited quite a few of our old haunts, up on the Begwns (where it is possible to see all of the Brecon Beacons National Park from the roundabout at the top), Cusop Dingle where I was happy to greet my favourite, majestic Copper Beech, and the castle at Clun on the way up to Montgomery.We live close to the Wye River so that is the default walk of the day.

 

Two months has been enough for the weather to slide into winter and so far we have had one furious storm and yesterday and today the temperatures have dropped to well below zero and even though the sky is clear blue and sunny  the frost stays on the ground all day.

Our flat is in an old, stone building that used to be the work house, it has massive thick walls and is amazingly warm so that even though it is minus 5 outside I don’t need to have the heating on.  I was not best pleased to hear of the buildings horrible history when I got here but I like to think that we will be adding some happier atmosphere to it, besides Em tells me she smudged the place before we moved in to clear any negative energy and whether the smoke helped or not it’s the intention that matters.

Mr T is working back in his old job and has found a welcoming chess club based in a pub in Presteigne, not far from his work.  I am back making things to sell and consciously working on keeping the Black Slug of depression at bay, which is made easier by good friends, beautiful surroundings, our lovely dogs who need lots of walks in the fresh air and it’s nearly Yule!!

This weekend the Christmas lights were turned on on Friday night and that plus the Hay Winter Festival, Food Festival on Saturday, Vintage Market on Sunday meant that the town was full of happy wanderers even more so that usual.

It is lovely living here, we are so very lucky..

 

Hay-on-Wye leaving doobedoobedoo..

Karen the Cake, me and Jo, at Kilvert's, Hay-on-Wye, the start of the evening.
Karen the Cake, me and Jo, at Kilvert’s, Hay-on-Wye, the start of the evening.

A few nights earlier my friends had given me the necklace I am wearing and we spent some time amusing ourselves by giving each bead a friends name according to what shape we thought they represented.  Now when I look at it I think of them all..

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My darling friend Simon, later in the evening at Tomatitoes Tapas Bar
Giant farewell cupcake with edible butterflys made by Karen, scoffed instantly (not all by me)
Giant farewell cupcake with edible butterflies made by Karen, scoffed instantly (not all by me)

 

Drink may have been taken
Drink may have been taken – Simon, Jo, Me, Jenny, Mr T, Nicky

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Just a few shots because I forgot my camera and had to rely on Chrissy to send me these.

It was a wonderful night and it is making me sad just looking at the photos knowing I will not see these lovely people for some time. They are always welcome to visit us on this side of the world 🙂

 

 

 

 

Keeping toastie..

It’s a bit like this today..

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Toastie is in her second favourite spot (the first one being in front of the fire) – the back of the sofa, behind which is the largest radiator and the front window – you’ve got to keep warm whilst watching out for intruders and of course, her arch enemies – the evil neighbourhood cats.

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To keep out the gloom I have made an enormous one of these –

Sprinkled with cinnamon
Sprinkled with cinnamon
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Latte Coffee in my favourite mug.

Then I plan the rest of my day, which unfortunately requires me to walk out in the Weather with my terriersaurus who will need airing.

I will be doing some more work on this..

A la Alabama Chanin long sleeved bolero.
A la Alabama Chanin long-sleeved bolero.

Finishing the Cretin Stitch edging, which I have finally got the hang of and am now really enjoying.  I had been going through that part of the learning curve where I did know how to do the stitch but it really didn’t make a lot of sense, now it’s clicked and plain sailing, whew.

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I am also finishing the second part of Stephen Fry’s autobiography which I have just loved to bits – his utter honesty about his inner demons is so touching and so brave, while his reminiscences of his career set in the media cultural landscape that I grew up in are fascinating, rude and hilarious.  Everyone from my hero Douglas Adams to Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie of course, Ben Elton, Paul McCartney and the Queen Mother – just a few in a cast of hundreds of famous people to write your life around.

Later tonight we shall be going to our friend Leslie’s birthday party – supposedly dressed as Pirates but unfortunately we will be very crap Pirates as nether of us has a costume.  Hopefully Leslie will forgive us and just be happy that we are venturing out to her place in the snowy night.

Monday, Monday..

I’m tired tonight.. Even with the huge mug of coffee that I have taken to inhaling after work – normally that perks me up a bit for the evening.

Mondays are usually pretty much the same around here.  I leave work at 4pm and walk the short walk home.  This time of year it’s rapidly getting dark and as I cross the bridge over Cusop Dingle I can see it’s flooding.

At home Toastie is waiting and we scoot out the door together, me fully Mac’ed up against the rain and Toast in the lead.

Tonight, half way up the Dingle Road, we had the good fortune to hear two owls calling each other and one swoop down, crossing the road in front of us.  The bats we usually see flicking around, have vacated the air space for the time being.  I hope they are holed up somewhere safe for bats – belfrys?

When The Toastilator and I  have walked till it’s nearly too dark to see properly, we turn for home, both of us keen for fire and food.

Later, while I did the dishes and stared out through the window into the black night, I reflected on just how lucky I am to have this warm home to hole up in. How I really need to appreciate it now – because everything can change, just like that.

My Squash Monster cushion, I' m sort of glad I sewed his mouth on a bit wonky.
My Squash Monster cushion, I’ m sort of glad I sewed his mouth on a bit wonky.
Printers drawer I got for my birthday.  I love collecting tiny things to put in it. Sad no?
Printers drawer I got for my birthday. I love collecting tiny things to put in it. Sad no?
A little joyful job for this evening - pinning out the snow flakes I crocheted for bunting :-)
A little joyful job for this evening – pinning out the snow flakes I crocheted for bunting 🙂