Living in the English countryside, even as far away from easy access to cities, and therefore centres of culture, as we do, is not as bad as one might expect, once the season of summer festivals is upon us. And not only festivals gladden the heart, people also rediscover the joys of entertaining and to those who belong in such circles, invitations to luncheons, tea parties and suppers are issued with as lavish a hand as at Christmas; the only thing missing is the tinsel. Bunting is not usually in evidence, although at present, post-Jubilee, there are still traces of such misguided decoration visible; ones friends would never indulge in such obvious bad taste. Naturally.
I am not so fond of writers who only come to publicise their new books and spend their allotted hour on reading excerpts. Jeanette Winterson was one who did just that. She is a good speaker and very funny and although "Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal", her new memoir, is certainly a book I shall buy, I didn't need her to read quite so much of it. I loved her first memoir/faction, "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit" and this book promises to be as good.
He spoke well, although he kept saying lee-gends instead of legends, which confused me at first. (Okay, I know I'm being petty.) The good thing about these readings, interviews and lectures, is that members of the audience can question the speaker afterwards and Llosa certainly didn't have it all his own way.
A.C. Grayling is a less well-known name; I enjoyed his lecture because anyone speaking on reading and thinking, without visible support in the form of lecture notes, has my vote. Grayling is a philosopher, he has probably given this lecture a zillion times before; but it was the first time I heard him and, although he said nothing earth-shatteringly new, I agreed with every word he said. It probably means that he was one of the few speakers at the festival whom I could follow easily; sometimes I feel such a fool when both the people on the stage and in the audience leave me sitting in dumb ignorance. I should have got used to it by now, it happens a lot.
In November 1774 a bill was put before Parliament for the erection of a bridge over the river Wye at Whitney.
Between 1774 and 1795 three bridges were built, each with five stone arches. All were in turn washed away by floods.
In July 1796 a new bill was put before Parliament proposing a fourth bridge with the three centre arches constructed of timber. The timber specified was Greenheart, noted for its durability.
The bridge was a privately funded venture and remained with the same family and its descendants until sold in 1981.
The present owner bought it in 2002 and kept the Tolls unchanged at their 1990 levels. The Auto Toll was introduced in 2004 and local charities benefit from surplus funds.
Income is tax-free and estimated at £2000 per week. I believe the bridge is back on the market as of 2012. Interested?
This contribution is offered to Tess Kincaid's Magpie Tales No. 121. For more contributions click on the link.