Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
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Monday, 13 June 2016

The Hay Buzz

It's still with me - that excitement and optimism that Hay can generate in a book-mad person like me.

   It was busy - claustrophobic busy in the corridors.  It took fifteen minutes to go from one tent to another. But the quality of discourse Hay brings together year after year is amazing.

   I had the pleasure of listening among others, to Bridget Kendall on Russia, its current and past agendas with respect to to rest of the world, its wonders and our misunderstandings about it. She made Putin sound irrelevant.

   And then there was Dara O'Brian, almost 90 minutes of stand-up hilarity. Th audience, figured out his end-lines even before he reached them, so that he had to finish each joke amid laughter. 'You are laughing too soon. Hold on,' he pleaded.  

   The rains came down half-way through, like a deluge, beating on top of the Tata tent and making a quagmire of the fields where we camped. This was my very first experience of camping. I wish I had done all this earlier, when I could still get down to the floor-level futon without flopping on to the floor and crawling in. Also, to state the obvious, a private toilet would have been great. 

   In the Masai Mara national park in Kenya your camp has a toilet and shower for each tent and the beds are normal beds. I remember being totally spoilt. The hippos can be heard in the dark African night munching away at the grass just outside the back of the tent , which is on the river-bank. The monkeys set up a signalling system alerting all their mates when a lion is near and the elephants crunch at the palms and pull down the odd one for sport.

   However, I go to Hay for the intellectual excitement, the stimulus that makes me want to start writing as soon as I am within reach of my desk-top.

   It was fun to meet Lionel Shriver. I just finished reading the signed copy of her new novel, The Mandibles. Shades of 1984, I thought. She writes beautifully with an in-bred arrogance. I did not find her likeable, cold-blooded in fact. But I will forgive anything in honour of good writing.

   My daughter calls Hay the Davos of the thinking person. It certainly gets me thinking. The research from Cambridge university on the pathology as well as the functioning of the ageing human brain was interesting. I have a vested interest in this.

   I have already booked up for next year. A proper B and B with a bathroom at the end of the corridor.