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Planning Retirement Online

Grandparents do make a difference - 10

April 2010



Each month we bring you this special column on grandparenting written by our expert contributor Jeanne Davis.

If you have a subject you would like covered by Jeanne, please email us at:


A feast for mind and body for you and the grandchildren at half term

One of the plusses of being a grandparent is to discover new and exciting things to do. Last May I discovered Hay Fever, the festival for children of all ages and their families that offers an amazing mix of events during the Guardian Hay Festival. As well as showcasing the biggest names in children’s literature, Hay Fever runs workshops and activities in everything from Animation to Yoga to Pottery, DJ-ing, Drama, Storytelling and Street Dance.

Located in the market town of Hay-on-Wye in the Black Mountains of the Welsh Marches, festival events are scheduled over a period of ten days from the 27th of May to the 6th of June. The programme is divided into special strands for different age groups from toddlers to teenagers.

I spoke to Sophie Lording, Hay Fever director for a “heads up” on this year’s programme to share with laterlife readers.


“2010,” Sophie says, “sees Hay Festival develop a whole new strand of programming for teens across the first weekend of the festival, 28-29 May. Graphic novelist John Harris Dunning traces comic book history, CJ Skuse shows us the power of social networking and Carlos Ruiz Zafon launches his international best-seller The Prince of Mist. Charity UK Youth are celebrating their centenary at Hay with a host of workshops run by teens for teens, including: Beat mixing for future super star DJs; guitar masterclasses for aspiring rock bands; electric drumming sessions and audio recording classes in how to turn bedrooms into studios.


“There is plenty to keep the littlest of little ones (0-4 years) happy at Hay Fever 2010. We get back to nature with storytimes and relaxing Yogo with Waybuloo; our favourite little pig Olivia helps us dress up and it’s all aboard for songs and stories with Thomas the Tank. Plus dragons, aliens and lots of mischief.


“This year’s programme for younger children (5-9 years) is full to bursting with fairy schools, mermaid magic and pirate parties, as well as a new short film strand Eat My Shorts for the whole family to enjoy. Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne and Hay Fever’s official 2010 illustrator Quentin Blake get live drawing, while new artist on the block Andi Watson introduces the adorable world of Miss Glister Butterworth. World Cup capers include Tom Palmer with his fantastic football quiz and the Global Campaign for Education’s 1GOAL penalty shoot out.


“There is plenty to get the minds of older children (10-14 years) whirling away in 2010. Charlie Higson shares his love for all things horror in his new heart-stopping zombie-thriller series with Mark Kermode while Ian Beck and Glen Daikin transport us into pastworlds of secrets, smog and steampunk. Hailed as the modern day Herge Garen Ewing brings The Adventures of Julius Chaucer to life and Andrew Lane turns detective as he explores Sherlock Holmes’ school days. For gossip lovers Cathy Cassidy comes to Hay Fever for a chat and a sneak peek at her new book, Cherry Crush, due this autumn. From high street to haute couture, discover the best style secrets with the author of fashion fairytale Threads, Sophia Bennett and later in the week Gillian Cross teams up with Oxfam to look at the international reach of the fashion world.”

Hay Fever likes to keep busy so there are lots of activities across half-term for all ages from cookery and computing to film shoots and farm visits. If you’re after something a little more active hop on a bike and take one of the family excursions around the beautiful Hay countryside or join in a stunt trick workshop.

One of the most appealing features of the festival is how very informal it is. Events take place in pavilions set up around a peaceful green space where you can settle in between events on one of the benches or in a deck chair. You’ll find yourself talking with an author, making new friends and savouring Shepherds irresistible freshly made sheep’s milk ice cream and sorbets.

The body as well as the mind needs to be fed. In the many eateries on site you’ll find delicious homemade foods using locally sourced ingredients from savoury tarts and quiches, to salads, soups and decadent cakes and puddings, even fantastic Welsh tapas to graze on in the sun. At the Real Ale Bar you'll find Herefordshire Real Ale and Traditional Cider.

For further information about the programme, accommodation and ticket prices, visit the website or telephone: 01497 822 629.



Previous articles in the series:

1. Grandparents do make a difference
2. When Grandparents are on duty
3. To Discipline or not
4. The long Distance Grandparent
5. When the parents separate
6. Second time around
7. Who baby-sits?
8. Favouring one grandchild more than the others
9. Should Grandparents who provide child care receive financial assistance
10. A feast for mind and body for you and the grandchildren at half term


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