Every week BARBARA FISHER looks at issues that affect us all – the issues that get you talking. You can join in by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Search www.hillingdon.gov.uk/artsinaction or www.hillingdontheatres.uk 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...?