She Knows Where She’s Going ~ Thursday’s Special


We’ve just returned for a two-day trip to Hay-on-Wye, the second hand book capital of Great Britain, if not the universe. This ancient, tiny town stands on the banks of the mighty River Wye, on the Welsh side of the Wales-England border and, astonishingly for so small a settlement, has 23 book shops. Some are small and specialist – catering for poetry  enthusiasts, natural historians and sleuthers of good murder mysteries; others are labyrinthine emporia, the size of college libraries – where all topics are covered. Many sell new books too and also, since the advent of the famous annual Hay Literary Festival, have upped their game from being the fusty, dusty places I remember from years ago, and transformed themselves into smart bookish resorts where you can curl up in a big leather armchair and spend the whole day reading. Richard Booth’s Bookshop even has its own cinema and very popular cafe. Treats all round then.

This photo was taken through the window of Mostly Maps and I think it covers all Paula’s word prompts for her December pick a word. Here we have the portrayal of a young woman by a non-human mannequin. She has the most sagacious looks too, clad in the re-worked remains of old ordnance survey maps. There are more remains reflected behind her – the dark silhouette of Hay Castle ruins. And then, here and there, are small stellar bursts from street and Christmas lights. Tarrah!

Now please visit Paula to see her and other bloggers’ cunning interpretations:

Thursday’s Special: pick a word in December

P.S. There will doubtless be more about Hay and our meanderings along the Wye in upcoming posts

40 thoughts on “She Knows Where She’s Going ~ Thursday’s Special

  1. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of Hay-on-Wye but it sounds like an interesting place 😀 would love to settle into a nice book shop right about now. You enjoy Hay-on-Wye?

  2. I like the picture very much, and the title too… maybe even a touch of irony there, when we talk of used books. You’ve brought everything together so well.

    1. Many thanks for your thoughts, Shimon. You are right. There are all sorts of ironies here – where to begin with recycling, upcycling, consuming and re-consuming, the functional and the dysfunctional, a paper coat…in Welsh weather…

  3. Full marks for seamlessly incorporating all the words Tish, and with such a cool image!
    I am a little envious of your trip to Hay. Another of those places on my radar that I never seemed to have time for while I lived in the UK. Sigh.
    I am glad to the bottom of my heart for places like Hay where books (and bookshops) are so celebrated. Our independent book sellers here are struggling (as are most worldwide) against the online giants. And little wonder. I wanted to send Kiwi kids books to my English nieces and nephew, but by the time I’d bought them here and paid the exorbitant postage, I’d be selling a kidney! And the books I wanted were available online in the UK anyway. Sometimes my desire for two kidneys so gets in the way of my morality.

      1. Yes. I feel privileged that I can make “ethical” choices about many things — like the quality of food I eat. But I guess life is full of trade-offs. 🙂

  4. So happy to know that bookshops continue to thrive. I’ve actually heard that independent bookstores are actually doing more business than before. Take that, amazon. 😀

    1. Yes, good on those bookshop owners who have taken on the very considerable challenge of Amazon, and made a success of things. The owner of our independent Wenlock Books provides huge value to the community with all the events and children’s pursuits she lays on. Such hard work too.

  5. The photo grabbed my attention…until I got to “23 bookstores.” That was it for me. Anything else is just unnecessary icing on a to-die-for cake. 🙂 We’re fortunate to have a vibrant independent bookstore in Naperville, one that regularly hosts famous authors doing talks and presentations. We also have a location of the wonderful Half Price Books chain and an excellent library system. Such blessings all.


    1. So happy to be in your company too, Paula. Things always seem a bit flat blog-wise when you’re not around to inspire us. And I know that’s more than a bit of tall order for you – keeping the show on the road 🙂

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