We've been going to Hay Festival since 2003. Yesterday was my best day ever.
Something of his Art: Walking to Lubeck with J. S. Bach. Horatio Clare. Retracing a 250-mile walk the young JS Bach - full of his genius - made to visit the then star of German organ music, Dietrich Buxtehude. A fusion of physical exercise, reflections on nature, on the mind of one of the world's greatest composers and on modern Germany.
Infinite Powers: The Story of Calculus. Steven Strogatz. Calculus is a mathematical method of grasping curves; the basis of understanding our modern world. In physicist, Richard Feynman's, words: the language God speaks. Too tough for you? Strogatz, Cornell professor of mathematics, simplified it wondrously, even for this uneducated dumbo. Best of all he answered the question: Why?
The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker. A reworking of Homer's Iliad by one of Britain's calmly brilliant authors. Feminism for all of us.
Chaucer: A European Life. Marion Turner. Yeah, he wrote Canterbury Tales and tends be known as the Father of English Literature. Usually pictured as bearded, wearing an old man's smock. But he had a life too in London, France and Italy. Sold wine, acted as a diplomat (perhaps as a spy), turned English into a vivid means of communication. Oxford professor, Turner, reveals the wider Geoffrey.
(See pic) Between my booking Simon Armitage ("will be reading his stuff") and my seeing him, he became Britain's Poet Laureate. His session, packed to the rafters, turned into a wildly enthusiastic love-in. Used his flat West Riding accent (he was born - and lives - 12 miles from where I was born) as a frame for the slyest of good humours. Emotionally moving but in a modern way. New collection: Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic. A very English occasion