On October 1st, many of the staff and volunteers at Talgarth Mill are taking part in the Cardiff Half Marathon as part of a team to support fundraising efforts for a local family - #TeamDrew – on behalf of The Drew Barker-Wright Charity. The Mill and Craft Shop will be open for our usual hours – 10am – 4pm but the Bakers’ Table Café will be closed all day. The Mill will be by donations only rather than our usual admission charges. We wish all our runners and everyone #TeamDrew the very best of luck!
It all began in April, with a visit from Dame Shan Legge-Bourke. She called into the Mill to ask if we might be able to host a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall during their annual summer break. Dame Shan said that the Royals would be particularly interested in the Mill for its community credentials, and let it drop that Their Royal Highnesses enjoy our bread when they are staying in the area. What followed was a recce, supposed to be discreet, but try hiding 9 of the Royals’ officials and having a discreet conversation in the café, especially when one of them was over 6’ tall, and they were all dressed in a distinctly ‘London look’! It was agreed that we would be put forward, that we would have to wait a couple of weeks to find out, and that we couldn’t tell anyone who the VIPs we were inviting them to meet were. We got the go ahead and had to quickly compile a list of invitees. Volunteers, staff, Talgarth school and suppliers were all included. When it came to café customers, we had to put the names of our regulars in a hat and draw lots, as space was limited. Two weeks before, we were allowed to say who was coming, but not at what time, and excitement began to mount as people planned what to wear!
On the day, guests had to arrive by 9.30am. As the time of the Royals’ arrival drew nearer, Dame Shan’s invited guests arrived, and we lined up at the gate to greet their Royal Highnesses. Having introduced them to Bruce and Rosie Williams, Liz and I took Prince Charles and the Duchess around the Mill and gardens, where they met volunteers, local school children and grain suppliers. In the café they met the rest of the guests before trying their hands at kneading bread. After unveiling a plaque to commemorate the visit, they met some of the Craft Shop’s artists, then went for a walkabout on The Square.
4am Saturday morning is when I start the biggest bake of the week. Now, I know compared with bakers who work through the night, 4am might sound reasonable to some, but I have tried baking through the night a few times, and it''s a killer; plus I am nearer to 50 than I am to 40, so 4am it is.
I love the Mill; it’s so full of surprises. No two days are ever the same and invariably days don’t turn out the way I expect them to.
I thought New Year’s Eve – a grey, wet day, would be quiet with no, or very few, visitors or volunteers. Wrong!
I spent many of my formative years growing up around here when the main reason to visit Hay-on-Wye was to buy a horse and there was no reason at all to visit its neighbour, Talgarth, other than to visit the superb ‘George the Butcher’. In fact, during the early 1970s, I took a good friend of mine to an old pub where they still had real sawdust on the floors just so he could see what it was like! Lorry drivers who mistakenly decided to travel through Talgarth often found that they could not navigate the sharp corner near the bridge, and regretted their choice of route particularly if their vehicle had damaged the mill house in the town centre.