As a writer, it seemed natural that I visit Hay-On-Wye, the UK’s book capital and home to its no.1 literary festival. Sitting snuggly on the border - half the town is in Wales, the other half in England- it is just a tiny village of 1500 locals. But what makes this town unique is its 26 second hand bookshops. There are far more books than people.
We came prepared. Half empty suitcases sat back in our townhouse waiting to be filled and since reading is part of the writing process, that’s exactly what we planned to do. With bags of books and perfect rain, we trundled our treasure back to our holiday home.
And a home it truly was. The Hay Riverside Retreat is far more luxurious than a usual home. With a bathroom on each floor and sleeping for five, we had choice. As we ran up and down the three sumptuous levels exploring our options, my daughter quickly bagged the second level lounge; TV control in one hand (the temptation of Sky was too much) and a newly acquired 1950’s edition of Little Women in the other. I chose the luxury kitchen, with a huge glass topped table that beckoned me to write and a magnificent 17-foot deck that overlooked the river that encouraged me to read. Even in this one room, I had choice.
A long weekend here was well worth it. Hours seem to lengthen and although a charming village complete with medieval castle sat on our doorstep, we were equally content to luxuriate in our riverside retreat and just read.