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Pete Lawrence - 06 Dec 2015


"P opens blind in morning, Mind blown, views, sheep, no-one, peace.."

Black Mountains and Way On High

Another fab trip with La Bunce, four nights without hook up and it’s all going to plan so far. How much fun can a boy and girl have in a camper van. We have the best bro / sis style relationship ever. The plan was to take in a couple of days at Hay on Wye, where the Literary Festival was in full swing, not that we would spend much time at the actual event..

Tuesday through Wiltshire

Set off from Braunston just after lunch and made it down to the Vale of The White Horse in Uffington, just east of Swindon. Parked up, admired the view and did a bit of work on a sunny afternoon. Then it was on into Swindon to meet the Bunce at the station as she’d come up from her Mother’s near Pewsey and was game for another adventure in the van.

So, first stop was Blunsdon Stadium for Elite Speedway but first time to sample Swindon’s fish and chips, which proved less than wonderful as the fish wasn’t the freshest. Undeterred we marched on to the track where the opposition was, co-incidentally the Coventry Bees, my team. A glorious sunny evening beckoned, and a big crowd (Sky Sports had done a special £5 offer) were there to witness an epic encounter which only turned Swindon’s way after a run of misfortune for the Bees in the last few heats, culminating in a crash which left their no1 Hans Andersen with a broken finger.

After a frantic run to the van to ensure an early escape from the big car park, we set the controls in a north westerly direction, a vivid sunset still painting watercolours in the sky as late as 10pm and finally, a drak, magical mystery drive from Hay On Wye up the Gospel Pass to our chosen position on the edge of Hay Bluff, by the stone circle. I knew how spectacular the view was but Bunce didn’t and I’d leave that particular surprise until the morning.

Wednesday on the Bluff

Here are Bunce’s notes “P opens blind in morning, Mind blown, views, sheep, no-one, peace”  That just about sums it up really as we ate a tasty cooked

Breakfast in the van, admiring at least 40 miles of view over Shropshire and Hergest Ridge.

After much sheep gazing, we decided to sweep away the cobwebs with a walk up Hay Bluff which was invigorating, including the spotting of what Bunce thought was a dead horse, which then started to move just as she was photographing it. After getting back to the van and realizing that internet was very sporadic at best, Alan arrived, bearing chicken legs and herbs and Bunce set about cooking a delicious dinner while Alan and myself sat around talking music and other man stuff.

After a “chatty, chicken dinner” Alan drove us all down into Hay and we had a first look around the riverside site for the fringe festival ‘How The Light Gets In’ which this year had expanded beyond its usual home in The Globe arts centre and in its gardens. The new riverside site looked impressive, and had a big top and several entertainment marquees… not no people!  Wandering around with only a handful of people on site, one had no wonder how the stall holders were making a living. We concluded that midweek must have been downtime, and everyone would flock in for the last weekend.

That night, Scottish maverick folk singer Alasdair Roberts gave a spell-binding performance of original songs which left us wanting more. A quick drink followed, then Alan drove us back up The Bluff for a cuppa before departing for home.



notes : 

More sheep in morning

Pete's breakfast

Camp move - garden site

First look round Hay

Comedy toilets

Melamine plates for van 

Old lady

Van sorting - hosepipes

Lunch and afternoon in garden

Music - Fab Gear compilation, towel dancing

Chicken in cheese supper in van

Question Time Scotland




Campfire letter writing

Camp move

Miss solitude

Hay first glance



Frank Turner



Fairy wood walk and afternoon at beach. Buttercup fields and pink-sprayed dog poo. Muslims praying in buttercup field

Sheep. Improvised bottle opening 



Music - Elvis Costello, Ry Cooder

William 11


Camp breakfast

Westons perry trauma

Leftover lunch and prosecco

Race to station


More From Pete Lawrence

Welcome to the E-cosystem Victoria Wheeler
Let The Music Play Pete Lawrence
The ego of activism Pete Lawrence
Meditations Bruce Bickerton
The power of the heart Scilla Elworthy