So finally I have to own up to it. I feel guilty for keeping quiet so long. For the last year since returning to Wales I have been writing a book about my travels to Brisbane. It has been a wonderful experience with much heartache and debate with myself over whether this was the right thing to do as well as how on earth do I write a book!? But I have done it, I have written it and my book is due out in January 2009!!
So I decided to take a trip to the Hay Festival to see what I could discover about the literary world.
I knew from my previous cycle travels that Hay was only 81 miles away from Machynlleth, on Lon Las Cymru, the National Cycle Route 8. In fact it is about 5 miles from route 8 as just before it hits England it sensibly dives back into the Brecon Beacons National Park.
I miraculously missed the rain and the mud and cycled this stunning route in 9 1/2 hours over two days and arrived, pitched my tent just as the next lot of rain fell on the festival.
Hay was an interesting experience. There were a lot of talks from an amazing range famous and less well known writers. This year I was pleased to see there was a strong 'Green' theme as Hay seems to be taking sustainability issues seriously. On a pauper writer's budget I was only able to see a few talks. 'A Women's Guide to Changing the World' was a discussion based on a book by Karen Eberhardt, who presented the talk with Clare Short and Elaine Brook (one absent contributor was my friend and colleague Tanya Hawkes who wrote a piece about Cuba for this wonderful book). It was an re-inspiring hour and I was impressed by the high turn out, so high they had to change the venue! And it was not just women, there were lots of men there all ready to do their bit.
I also went to see ecological writer Rory Spowers give his slideshow of his 'Bio-versity' project in Sri Lanka. It was interesting to see what he had done but I preferred the more native discussion 'Trust the Woodland' which was hosted by Clive Anderson. He led an interesting and humourous talkshow style discussion about Trees, along with Monty Don and Will Cohu.
I think Hay is ready for more ecological tales and hopefully is ready for me and my book and I hope to be back, with my bike and my book, next year......