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‘In Search of Brecon’ Herefordshire Life, April 2008


‘A Day in the Life’

Brecon & Radnor Express, July ’09

Usually I lie in bed until woken by chattering voices of Nepalese children and their mothers, as they walk past my house on their way to School.
     However on Thursday I’m up early as I have a stall in Hay Market selling copies of “A Brecon Revealed” and “Planet Hay.” My stall is next to the fish van from Ludlow and throughout the morning its queue stretches ever longer past my table.
    Before long Sir Arnold Wesker appears and notices me with furrowed brow and pen and notebook in hand.
“Arnold” I say to him “Can you help me please with this bit of writing. It’s for my next book and I’m stuck on a sentence in which I’ve got the word TIME twice.”
“OK” he replies with an expression of perplexed bewilderment – “Read it to me.”
“In the vestry of Nempnett Thrubwell church I found a silent clock which hadn’t ticked for decades. It was as if when it had stopped TIME here had ceased to run, so I found the place frozen in TIME and completely cut off from the world.”
Before I’d finished he replied “Substitute the first word time for hours and minutes, or even better take a chance with language. Passing’s a good word; maybe rewrite the whole thing so you can fit that in.”
    By lunchtime I’ve had enough and pack up. It’s then I notice that another stallholder has arranged a huge group of wooden ducks on the ground around his stall. It would have made a great picture, but today I’ve broken one of my golden rules and left my camera behind.
    When I return home I find that the postman has called and there amongst the horrid bills is a smart looking envelope stamped “Buckingham Palace” in bright red lettering. It’s from Prince Charles’s Private Secretary and reads……… How kind of you to send The Prince of Wales a copy of “Planet Hay.” It’s absolutely fascinating and the wonderful photographs really make the history and daily life of the town come to life. I’m sure his Royal Highness will be delighted and I shall have much pleasure in putting it up to him at the first possible opportunity. This comes with The Prince of Wales’s grateful thanks and warmest good wishes.
    Four o’clock comes around and I’m off to town for a supermarket sandwich. On my way I bump into an old friend. When I show her my Royal letter she tells me that she had once worked with people with learning difficulties who regularly wrote to the Queen. On one occasion, an invitation to a tea party was sent to her and the entire Royal Family, plus a special guest - Roger Moore. This also received a polite reply, which puts my letter into a slightly different perspective.
After tea I sit in the garden under the shade of an old apple tree. I look out across the slate roofs of the Struet to the Cathedral, solid, ancient and brooding, surrounded by trees and silhouetted against a bright blue sky and huge stately clouds that drift in from the west. I linger here long in to the evening, until the cold forces me indoors.
     I love my little house, its one of the few in the Struet, which hasn’t been modernised. It still has old original plank doors, a huge fireplace and exposed beams. It has a lovely friendly atmosphere, which I believe is the legacy of the happy times spent here by the numerous people who’ve lived here since it was built in the early nineteenth century. I bought the house in May 1986 and since then it’s become a “Museum of Myself”, with me as its curator! My living room is the main gallery choc a bloc with personal memorabilia. I have for instance, a collection of photographs that is still growing, my own stored in twenty-six albums, plus five big boxes of inherited ones. Then there is my family tree, all neatly stored away in thirty-six ring binders. I’m also surrounded by various artefacts, Staffordshire Figures for instance, all gleaned from car boot sales and auctions. They’re all damaged (some even headless) so of no real value, but nevertheless greatly loved. Piles of books are everywhere, whilst CD’s seem to have a life of their own and have scattered themselves all over the house.
     I sit down to watch a bit of telly and ponder the fate of my set now we are all switching to digital. It’s about twenty years old, hideously outdated, the exact proportions of a giant sugar cube, furnished from a ghastly metallic grey plastic, with a tiny screen. However like so many other things here (my old L.P.’s for instance) it’s got immense sentimental value.
     I retire to bed and drift off to sleep and dream about having a “Life Laundry”, with my possessions taken into the garden and sorted into neat piles, things to keep, recycle, or throw away. I see my empty rooms being given a stylish makeover by an interior designer. Thankfully this is just a dream for I know that I shall continue living like the overgrown art student I am, my walls clad in nineteen eighties chip paper all the same conservative shade of magnolia, festooned with pictures and surrounded by the growing clutter of a lifetime…………………..