Another blog from my other half:
For someone who has been going to the Hay literary festival for the last 7 years, I have a confession to make.
I rarely read novels. The last I finished was Engleby, by Sebastian Faulks. it took over twelve months and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Before that, I think it was The Book of Dave, by Will Self.
And that explains why, for the first two years at Hay, I was extremely bored during the day. Whilst my very literary wife (currently taking her masters in English) was attending session after session, I sat around, read the Guardian, wandered into town, did the shopping, chatted to strangers in the Pub, scoured the bookshops for sporting biographies and Wisdens and attended the Early Edition for a laugh, before meeting up with Jill for an evening’s entertainment of music and comedy.
My days at Hay are now complete by being a steward. I was always struck by how helpful those in hi-viz jackets were, and now feel very proud to continue that tradition.
The large number of volunteers who collect your tickets, guide you to the last available seats and run around with the microphones love the festival as much as those paying to attend the sessions. I get to see some sessions whilst working inside the tents that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise (it surprised me that I knew so many words to The Gruffalo, and know the Rainbow Magic dance) and have made many good friends amongst those working at the festival.
It’s hard work, being on your feet for long spells and isn’t for everyone. You do need to bite your lip at times (One man swore at me several times as he claimed his event had been moved 5 times – it hadn’t) but the number of smiles and thank yous more than makes up for the very rare idiot.
A few years ago, Peter Florence attended a meeting about volunteers and their role in London 2012. “We want GamesMakers to be like the stewards at Hay”, he was told. It has been a pleasure to been involved in both events.
We are all counting the days off until 22 May 2014 when we can meet up with old friends again in a field in our spiritual home.