This time last week I was on a busy bus between Hereford and Hay-on-Wye, heading for a weekend away with one of my oldest friends.
Things had started well – we arrived and met at the right time, and headed for clubcard pizza, quickly demolishing a bottle of wine. It was just unfortunate that we’d read the bus timetable wrong and so we had quite some time to kill in Hereford.
We looked on Trip Advisor for what to do in Hereford and the list suggested the art gallery and museum was an idea. The label of “unremarkable” wasn’t enough to put us off so we headed to the library. It wasn’t immediately obvious where the museum was but we followed a sort of sign saying “lift to museum” and got in. A woman with a cart of books got out. She didn’t look surprised at us being in the lift, despite the fact that the only floor available to us was in darkness and full of boxes. Which actually we thought was pretty remarkable, if not very helpful in terms of filling time. It turns out the museum is shut in January.
I picked up a leaflet about Hereford’s other tourist attraction the “Black and White Museum”. I turned it over to discover that too was shut. So we did what any good tourists would do and take a selfie with a cow, before going in The Works and discussing microwaved poached eggs and Kimchi in Lakeland. Then we fell upon the genius idea of going to the cathedral to see the Mappa Mundi. Our commitment to this plan wasn’t complete because we didn’t fancy paying £5 each when there was a perfectly good poster of it on the shop door. We did go round the impressive cathedral though reminiscing about school trips to the church, stained glass and Rood screens.
Hay on Wye was dark and cold when we arrived but our little cottage was bright and warm. We drank wine and ate cheese sandwiches, and talked and talked and talked. For the first time in a long time I felt I didn’t have anything to think about apart from the very moment we were in. We’ve known each other a long time. Heady days of music quizzes and one memorable day of sport where we went to a putting green and played quite a lot of pool. We knew the next day would be filled with books, wine, food and conversation.