Showing posts from June, 2012

Short Story: 'Nothing Left'

Nothing Left Albert had fed all his bread to the swans. The swans didn’t know that of course and continued to pester him. It was of no consequence to them that tears were running steadily into his beard or that his rheumy eyes were feeling all of their eighty-four years. Albert had told them everything. Who else was there to tell? ‘Grandad, can I borrow £20 pounds, just to tide me over until pay day,’ was how it had all started. Albert remembered this first request from David. Albert had been watching TV and, before giving his usual very considered response, had sent two puffs of smoke into the centre of the drawing room and taken his pipe out of his mouth. ‘Of course you can old chap. When’s payday then?’ ‘It’s…er…a week Thursday Grandad.’ Albert had been a little disconcerted by the ‘er’. In his day he’d known exactly how long it was to payday. Nevertheless, he’d opened his floppy, shiny wallet, smiled fleetingly at his late wife Sarah’s photograph and tak

Zero Income Tax - by Royal Command

Travel out of Hay-on-Wye towards Hereford and just before you hit the A358 you come to a lovely old Toll Bridge across the River Wye, at Whitney-on-Wye. Toll charge? 80 pence per day per car – a snip! Grahame Penny and the Toll Bridge The bridge is old (1774), picturesque and all that – look at the pictures – but what really interested me is the fact that, by Royal Charter, the owners of the bridge pay no tax on the toll revenue received. None!  Views from the Bridge A nice little earner you might say, but hold on. I talked to the current owners, Maggie Taylor and Grahame Penny, who purchased the bridgein January 2012 , and they told me that toll receipts for the three months up till March 2012 were £14,600 – but they then had to pay a £15, 200 insurance premium! Still, it must be nice to say: ‘The Queen says I don’t have to pay income tax’.  The Charter

The Hay-on-Wye Book Festival

Hay-on-Wye - as it should be! Hay-on-Wye - as it was. Umbrellas!! We did the Hay-on-Wye Book Festival again this year, over the bank holidays. It wasn’t as good as previous years – but not just because of the appalling weather. Here’s why. The fare was not as good as previous years – and more expensive. We travelled the five miles back to our superb B&B ( The Roast Ox ) - recommended by us and Trip Advisor  to eat, when the schedule allowed. First class scoff - and very reasonably priced. To get to the Roast Ox, take the bridge road out of Hay and head for Painscastle. The inn itself has an indoor well – but they’re not allowed to use it because there is a graveyard right next door. Think about it. Apart from the Festival’s own excellent coffee kiosk there was ample demonstration that the British still believe that ‘Fair Trade’ equals good coffee. It does not necessarily follow! Good, well-made coffee comes first and if it is Fair Trade, so much the better.