There’s nothing wrong with pumpkin. I quite like pumpkin pie. But after you’ve been a coach ferrying Cinderella around well, it’s a bit of a let down. To be, you know, just a pumpkin again.
As with last year, this year’s Hay Festival ended, perhaps not at the stroke of midnight, but definitely much too soon. Our Fairy Godmother has put her wand away and the shops in Kells have returned to their normal function: the chemist is just a chemist, and the electric shop just sells whatever it is electric shops sell. The bunting has been taken down, and all signs of our considerable stream of visitors have been swept away. Still, some things linger as very happy memories…
Like meeting so many locals who were completely on board with the entire event and watching them turn up in droves to support every event… Standing still and listening to the conversations floating by about books and writers, in an easy manner… Watching literature manifest itself as something that is just part of everyday life: “I was just chatting to Jeremy…” (Paxman) “Isn’t Louis (de Bernières) a lovely fella?” “No, that’s not what Beckett meant at all…”
Like the very Irish approach we took to this literary festival. No, it wasn’t all about books – not that that would be a bad thing – but the Hay Festival at Kells embraced so much more, such as wine-making, cookery, games, historical walks, art and countless other activities. There really was something for everyone.
Like seeing visitors come from very far afield and seeing their appreciation both of the festival and of Kells. Overhearing visitors: “I’ve never been here before… isn’t it a lovely town?” Yes, missus, it is.
Like the way so many shops set up seats and benches outside their premises for weary festival-goers to rest on. I, for one, really appreciated it. Good on you!
Like trying to decide which events to go to. Oh, the agony when two of your favourite things were on at the same time! The uselessness of arguing with a coin-toss…
Like happening upon last minute events or items that weren’t on the official programme but had just been added by artisans or businesses. The new craft shop, for instance, was a treat – I love a bit of wood-carving; or the storytime for children. The sheer unexpectedness of it all added to the atmosphere.
Like missing out on the foodie stuff because I was caught up in other, unmissable events, and wishing I could somehow make myself into three people so I didn’t have to miss a thing.
Like chatting with local photographer John Moore and hearing his tales of seeing John Banville walking down the street and agreeing to pose for a picture, or trying to get a good shot of the church. John’s pictures of the weekend are as charming a the man himself. Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1256594401&fref=ts
So, that’s it for one year. Yet, you know, I think the magic lingers, just a trace. Pumpkin we may be, but it’s a pretty special sort of pumpkin, sweet and spicy.
And now I want pie.