I travelled to Wales for work on Monday, catching an early morning train from Paddington to Abergavenny, a market town at the foot of the Brecon Beacons. After spending a good part of the day on a narrow boat interviewing Keith, a charming man who spends his time crafting leather goods entirely by hand (find them here), I went on a bit of an unexpected adventure. After admitting to not having seen much of Wales, Keith offered to drive me to Hay-on-Wye - the famous town of books - a place I've wanted to visit for some time. We chose the scenic route, taking the Gospel Pass (Wales' highest road pass, reaching 549m above sea level) through the majestic Black Mountains and gently down into the little town. I took the above picture from the car window. When you live in the south of England as I do (it's pretty flat here), big green hills and mountains really do become fascinating things to behold.
Hay-on-Wye was wonderful. The place is literally bursting with books. This is part of a mural that we came across, painted onto a wall next door to a bookshop. It depicts a strange man running up a flight of stairs laden with books. Good colours.
The exterior of another bookshop, the largest and most famous of them all, Richard Booth's, is made up of lots of wonderful glazed tiles like this one.
I obviously couldn't leave the town without a book or two. I bought this. I try not to judge by cover, but... what a lovely, striking cover.
I bought this too. Another perfect cover, and what an excellent shade of green, wouldn't you agree? Books books books. Oh, and that's a new rug. I'm utterly in love with it (it's Welsh, coincidentally). More on that to come.