Ev­ery week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­

Harefield Gazette - - YOUR SAY -

JUST BACK from the Hay Fes­ti­val where the lit­er­ary luvvies of the world con­gre­gate to wal­low in book heaven. I’m just a hanger-on.

The jour­ney from Uxbridge was fraught as my sat­nav de­cided that Hay on Wye didn’t ac­tu­ally ex­ist. After stop­ping for a cof­fee at Bur­ford – which I knew was in the right di­rec­tion – I de­cided to give my sat­nav an­other chance be­fore throw­ing it in the near­est bin.

This time a lit­tle smar­tarse ques­tion popped up at the bot­tom of the screen. Change coun­try?

Ah ... you mean Wales. Very funny. Last time I looked they were still part of the UK.

Having chucked out our old maps in a re­cent car de-clut­ter­ing cam­paign, it was a huge re­lief when – yes – it did recog­nise Wales. Mr F was spared an SOS call.

At the fes­ti­val I saw one of my favourite writ­ers, Mar­garet At­wood, (have you been watch­ing the adap­ta­tion of her book A Handmaid’s Tale on TV?).

Also good was a lively panel dis­cus­sion which in­cluded Guardian colum­nist John Crace and comic Marcus Brig­stocke. Most mov­ing was the UK pre­miere of A Life After about the Ir­ish trou­bles which will be in the cin­e­mas in July and later on BBC TV. Dev­il­ish Ger­mane Greer di­luted all the saint­li­ness as usual. This year it was her thoughts on the #MeToo cam­paign, part of a talk on the theme of rape that hit the head­lines. She pointed out that the is­sue of con­sent is al­ways dif­fi­cult to prove or dis­prove.

Real high­lights though were eat­ing a de­li­cious paszteciki – a Pol­ish pasty con­tain­ing feta, spinach and pear; and find­ing that or­gan­is­ers have at last in­tro­duced cash ma­chines to the fes­ti­val.

Last time I was there – two years ago – I had to get a bus into the vil­lage to join a long queue of hot, grumpy peo­ple at a sin­gle cash ma­chine at the vil­lage’s only bank.

Mind you, be­ing an­noyed at Hay is just a shrug of the shoul­ders, a tut, and a big sigh, so there was never any danger of a riot.

I’m pleased to say we have lots of ex­cit­ing arts events hap­pen­ing much closer to home.

Arts in Ac­tion, a fes­ti­val cel­e­brat­ing the arts in Hillingdon, runs from June 20 to July 15 and in­cludes drama, crafts, mu­sic, dance and out­door art dis­plays. Search­n­ac­tion or www.hilling­donthe­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

I hope to go to as many events as I can. No sat­nav needed, no fes­ti­val toi­lets and plenty of cash ma­chines on tap. And I’m sure I could find a Pol­ish pasty some­where...?


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