As moving to a new place is never easy, so is leaving a place that one has become familiar with. It meant letting go of certain comforts and starting that cycle again of settling in somewhere and establishing a workable routine.
One of my fondest attachments in Hay-on-Wye–well, not exactly in Hay-on-Wye but in Brecon, to be more precise–was my church family at the Brecon Elim Church. Gentle reader, time did not allow me to let you in on the resolution to my initial attempt to attend church in Hay-on-Wye but suffice to say, I settled nicely at Elim and looked forward to going there each Sunday. It was a peaceful haven, especially if I’d had a trying or tiring week.
I will always recall the fond memories of my first meeting with Malcolm, the pastor, Evelyn, his wife, and their little granddaughter, when they drove over to Hay and when we met in Richard Booth’s Bookshop for coffee.
I will always recall with equal fondness my friendship with Chris, Fean and their famiy, and the extreme kindness that Chris showed me in faithfully coming to pick me up for church on Sundays and afterwards taking me back to where I was staying.
It was time to say goodbye to them all, and to Jemma and Rob, and Maggie, and Stan, and Ruth; Ben and Laura, and Jim and Gaynor and everyone, many of whose names I cannot just now recall but whose faces and smiles remain etched in my memory.
I had to say goodbye to the good folk at the community garden; to Joe, who operates the organic farm; and to Leaf and the other staff at the green grocers. Gentle reader, I ate my weight twice over in overripe bananas on account of the green grocers letting me have them at half cost during the hot summer months, and I lost count of the many marvellous smoothies I enjoyed.
I said goodbye to some of the bookshop people and to the town in general. and even as I did so, I knew that I’d be returning to visit Hay-on-Wye someday because there were still people and shops I’d connected with in cyberspace that I had not managed to connect with tangibly in the physical realm. No doubt, I will return to Hay-on-Wye next summer to do the real tourist thing, shorts and all. . .if I’m fully acclimatized to the British weather by then.
And I said goodbye to Alex and Malcolm and Sue; Gillian and Liam and the rest of the ‘gang’ at Alex Gooch Artisan Bakery. I will be forever indebted to them for the privilege of getting that hands-on experience in a sourdough bakery. And I left there with the boldness and confidence that what I desire to do is achievable with perseverance and with God’s bountiful favour gracing my path.