... but you wait until it's pissing it down to hold a festival.
The last week has been... wet. Not so much Hay On Wye as Hay In Wye.
When I got there the sun was shining. I'd been billeted in a B&B in the tiny village of Llanigon - a couple of miles out of Hay - and so I thought I'd do the smart thing and hire a bike. About two hours later it started raining.
And it didn't stop. The festival is held in a network of tents and marquees all erected in a large field. Or swamp. Once you're on the site you can get from A to B on covered walkways... which is remarkable... but you still have to get to the site and that almost always meant mud. I'm sure a lot of books are sold at the festival... but I dare say they ruin almost as many shoes. It's a shoe-ruining festival is what it is.
I saw a few events - and tended to enjoy the factual/socio-political ones most of all. A nice couple at the B&B offered me a lift down to the site on the first soggy morning and I accepted... but I was determined to make use of the bike and so decided to invest in some all-weather get up. Buying wellingtons is a sure sign that things haven't gone to plan. The only thing worse than buying wellies is needing to buy wellies and not being able to. With rubber boots and waterproof trousers I then cycled each day.
I managed a couple of excursions into the countryside and a couple of rock-balancing sessions too:
... but mainly I got wet, heard people discuss the books they'd written and watched as a few thousand people pretended they didn't watch television. They do.
There was a lot of free time and with the weather as it was there simply wasn't a lot to do with it so I was glad of any distraction. Just A Minute was more fun than the last time I did it... and I really enjoyed guesting on Marcus Brigstocke's show The Early Edition too.
The reason I was there was to film a show for Sky Arts. It's called What The Dickens? although I think there was only one Dickens-related question in six episodes. It's a panel show with the brilliant Sandi Toksvig as host and Tim Brooke-Taylor and myself as team captains. It's fantastic to watch Sandi work. She just seems to get better and better... she really is as complete a comic voice as I've encountered. And what can you say about TBT? He's a Goodie for crying out loud! I loved The Goodies! What kind of ridiculous world is it where I go away for a week and film 6 shows with a Goodie? In a tent. In the rain.
If you see any of them... I'm probably wearing wellies behind that desk.