Merrily, Merrily, Merrily…

Oh Phil…

I have a bone to pick with Phil Rickman’s publishers. What do they think they’re doing publishing the latest Merrily Watkins novel at such a busy time of year? Now my poor family are going to have to fend for themselves and the tapestry is going to be neglected, while I immerse myself in the latest supernatural happenings at the vicarage in Ledwardine.

I suppose with an immense amount of will-power, I could have put The Magus of Hay on the shelf and waited for a quieter time, but come on – he’s not only given us the first Merrily book for two years, but he’s set it in Hay-on-Wye (my spiritual home). I mean really – how inconsiderate. I have no choice, I just have to read it…NOW!

IMAG3822Thanks Phil – please keep them coming…





Reading Challenge Preparation…

I still haven’t decided whether I have enough will-power to go without buying books for a year (or indeed a few months)- see here But just in case, I thought I’d start picking out titles from the shelves – not too many though, a few at a time might be best.

I came up with three candidates for my already-owned reading list.


Two titles are books I bought on trips to the second-hand book shops in Hay-on-Wye.

Hay is one of my favourite places – what bibliophile wouldn’t appreciate a whole town filled with books. When I used to live within an hour or so’s drive away, I managed to exert some self-control on my book buying habit, but now that we live further away, trips to Hay have taken on special status. Now, whenever we go, I have to try to contain the urge to fill the boot of the car with everything I find (and believe me, you can get an awful lot of books into the back of a large estate car). It’s probably something in my mind that worries it might not get any more books, so had better make the most of it while it can.

Now do you see why I’m not sure about going for months without a new book…

Anyway, bulk buying does tend to mean that the odd book or two gets forgotten on the shelf before I get around to reading it.

This is what’s happened to Memoirs of A Highland Lady, by Elizabeth Grant, and Greater London, Its Growth and Development through Two Thousand Years, by Christopher Trent.

The third title I’m putting on my list is Alison Weir’s book about Isabella of FranceIsabella She-Wolf of France, Queen of England. This one I have definitely read although it was a few years ago now. I watched the repeat of Helen Castors programme about the early queens of England, and thought I’d like to reread this title.

I can pinpoint my initial interest in Isabella to a school trip to Berkeley Castle in the 1970s, and seeing the room where Edward II was reputedly murdered. I think one day I might work out an Isabella & Edward tour, there are still quite a few places they would have known where you can visit, including Berkley Castle, Gloucester Cathedral and Castle Rising.

Right well, things to do and books to read.

PS: (A Time To Keep Silence hasn’t come yet)


Where Are The Indian Restaurants In Hereford?

English: Hereford Cathedral and Wye Bridge
Image via Wikipedia

Last week we had a mini jaunt to Hereford, so I could meet up with my brother who lives in deepest, darkest, rural Wales (OK, so not really deep or dark, but pretty rural, can you hear the envy seeping through here?).

We’ve been doing this for a couple of years. We stay at the Premier Inn in Hereford (very good value for money, especially when you can fit four in one room – although I think this may have been the last time – apparently both me and my other half snore!).

Then we go to Hay-on-Wye to meet up with my brother and I fill up all the space I can find in the car, with books (Hay is the secondhand book capital of the worldpossibly).

On our second night in Hereford, we decided that a curry would be nice. Husband works in Hereford from time to time, and was sure that he knew an Indian restaurant. So off we went. For some reason, he parked near The Green Dragon and then set off, practically frogmarching me and the daughters across the city.

After ten minutes, I think it dawned on the female members of the expeditionary force, that he had no idea where he was taking us. When we found ourselves somewhat closer to our hotel than the car, we knew it was time for decisive action.

We moaned.

After another ten minutes, we were at The Spread Eagle pub – a stones through from where we parked the car.

Excellent meal and very good beer. Beware, if you order the steak and ale pie, you get two. Obviously that’s fine if you’ve just walked the entire perimeter of the city and worked up an appetite, probably not so good if the jeans you’re wearing are already cutting off the blood supply to vital organs.

The coconut creme brulee is heavenly. (Had to share mine with number one daughter, due to rather enthusiastic consumption of the pies).

So, not a disaster in the end. But it does leave us wondering, where are the Indian restaurants? Surely Hereford cannot be the only town/city in England without one? We live in a relatively small market town and I could offer you a choice of about five sit down restaurants and another four or five take-aways.

If you can recommend an Indian in Hereford, please let me know. We’ll be going back again later in the year and I’d love to be able to astonish the husband by taking us straight there.