Places to eat in Hay on Wye

the Granary Hay on WhyIt was Sunday and I went for a bite to eat in Hay on Wye. There are some very nice places for food to choose from. I have been many times to the Granary. It’s a lovely place to go for soup or tea and cake or breakfast. Why? It’s just the ambiance. I’m not the only one who thinks so, there are always plenty of customers there. No wonder, there is a nice open log fire and a cat who has its own little white fluffy rug on the window sill, right next to a central heating element. He is ever so cuddly. It gives the place such a homely feel. They usually do 2 or 3 different soups with a roll. You can help yourself to it and pay at the till where you also order your drink. Very friendly staff and if downstairs is too crowded, no worries because there is plenty of space upstairs where you can sit quietly and spend as long as you like. The Granary is a lovely place and the other day I had a slice of their lemon meringue for the first time… It was just heavenly.

Oscar's bistro, Hay on WhyContrary to my habit I did not go to the Granary yesterday, I felt it was time to try Oscar’s bistro. While wandering through Hay the other day I had walked past it. It’s opposite the Oxfam shop in High Town (odd street name). At first I thought it was a tea room so I did not go in because I’d just had lunch. So in I went yesterday. Oscar’s is also a real nice place ambiance-wise. A nice old wooden floor. Wooden tables and in the corner a bookshelf with second hand books for sale. Loos are upstairs and on going there I noticed that there is plenty more seating upstairs and also a very nice second hand book arsenal. Well, it is Hay of course, but still to find the love for books extends to eateries is a big plus to me. After a few days of not heaving eaten all that well, I decided I needed some veggies. So I chose the veggie meal of the day which was a coconut and vegetable curry with a choice of salad or rice or chips. I ordered the rice. It was simple and nourishing and nice. I liked it a lot. I had not noticed but it was help yourself to cutlery and stuff, however the friendly waitress did not mind at all getting cutlery for me.
Oscar's bistro, Hay on Why
While eating I noticed there was music playing in the background. Not very loudly I am happy to say. However this particular song I knew very well. It was Mississippi by a group named Pussycat. Now you probably do not even know this song, let alone the group, but I did because this happens to be a Dutch group and the song had been a smashing hit in the seventies and had gone to number one in many countries even in the UK! So I said to ‘Oscar’ who happened to clean some tables nearby that I appreciated his music choice. Oscar said he thought the lead singer should have gone solo to get a big career. I told him she probably did not do that because the other girls were her sisters. However I looked it up later and she did have a solo career later as well. After lunch Oscar (whose name wasn’t Oscar) showed me the cd:
the Dutch group Pussycat
He told me he really liked their music and we had a nice chat about it. He said he actually had to pay in order to play music in his cafe to 2 different organisations. He said that should he have over 5 persons working for him in his kitchen and play music he would also have to pay for that. How weird a world is it we are living in?

Anita Moorjani -Being Myself –

It was somewhere in November 2014 I got an email from Hay House that Anita Moorjani would be coming to London for a one day workshop in 2015. I think I must have been the first one to book it, because I jumped up, grabbed my credit card and immediately bought a ticket online. I was so excited. A chance to spend a day in Anita’s presence was such a wonderful prospect. I had looked on her website many times before and she always seemed to give talks and workshops in the USA specifically Maui with Wayne Dyer. And then this one day I found out she already had been to the UK once but that was before I had even read her book and heard of her. So now I secured my place and every so often I would chuckle and think: soon I will be going to Anita’s workshop.. So much joy in anticipation alone!

Last Saturday the day finally came. I travelled up to London and got a hotel at walking distance. I had seen on the website of the venue which was The Light House Euston, that the workshop started at 10 but the doors of the auditorium would open at 9. I decided to go early, because contrary to what I normally do – sit anywhere but in the front – today I was intent on getting a seat closest to the stage as possible. Upon arrival it turned out that the doors had opened at 8.30. There were already quite some people there. The two front rows were reserved for guests. In the third row a few people were sitting on the sides and one woman in the middle. I headed straight towards her and sat next to her right in front of the centre of the stage. I was very pleased with this spot.

Anita MoorjaniThe young woman next to me and I started chatting. It once again turned out to be a small world. She was currently living in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, the place where my friend keeps his Dutch barge and where I have spent many a pleasant weekend. A little later in the conversation it turned out she was French and I have lived in France many years, so we had a lot in common and we chatted on in French. Time flew and Anita was announced. And before we knew it Anita Moorjani was there on the stage. Right in front of me. I felt thrilled to the core.

Anita Moorjani "Dying to be me"Now maybe you wonder who on earth Anita Moorjani is. Maybe you have never heard her name before. This is entirely possible because although she is gaining more fame daily, she is a relatively ‘new’ author/speaker. Anita has written a book which is called Dying to be Me.

I cannot even recall how I got to know about the book. I think I heard someone speak about Anita in an interview. It may have been Rick Archer. After which I ordered her book online and devoured it. After which I looked up and watched any interview and article online with Anita I could find. She was interviewed by Rick Archer from Buddha at the Gaspump ( and ever since I first saw her I wanted to meet her. At the time she lived in Hong Kong which was not around the corner for me, so to speak, which was the only reason I had not gone to meet her yet. Anyway, there she was right in front of us.

I will give an account of the day, but please bear in mind that taking notes is a personal affair and that other attendees may have taken different notes because as Anita started off saying: “There is no coincidence in the world and if you could simply allow this day to unfold, you will learn and recall exactly that which you need to hear and learn for you today.”

I like this word ‘allowing’ she uses. She also uses it in her book. To allow life to happen instead of grasping or trying to control it. Allowing gives a feeling of surrender and welcoming. Very relaxing to me.

Anita started off by telling the audience about her Near Death Experience (NDE) which she had when she was dying of cancer and slid into a coma which lasted 34 (I think, could have been longer) hours. The doctors had given up on her and the family was alerted. Her brother had to travel up from India and everyone was afraid Anita might die before his arrival. The doctors were sadly convinced that Anita would die within the next hours since her organs were shutting down.

I obviously had read Anita’s book and also heard her tell her story many times in the interviews I had watched on her website etc. It struck me that Anita did not seem weary at all to tell her story all over again. She stood relaxed, open, smiling and she seemed totally at ease. Besides all that there was a humbleness in her attitude which I found quite moving.

The reason why I was so keen on seeing Anita life is that I always like to get a proper ‘feel’ of the person. Seeing them life is a good way to ‘feel’ if they are genuine, honest and walking their talk. It’s something you cannot totally grasp from a book. Some people are real good writers but in real life aren’t ‘genuine’. Therefore I go and attend seminars and workshops to see if my gut-feeling about a person can be trusted. I was dead right about Anita (forgive the pun). She radiated something intangible. I guess it must be the love she speaks about. It simply oozes out of her.

Anita said that we are taught to speak in order to express ourselves and communicate. She is convinced however, that talking is not really all that necessary. What people often do is using words to hide from others what we really feel or mean. Often words are also used to hurt others, so what we need is empathy because according to Anita when a person hurts another person this is caused by the hurter’s pain. We can only inflict pain on others if we are hurting inside. This is not an excuse but means that we need to develop empathy and understanding for everyone involved.

Anita, who grew up in Hong Kong as a child from Indian parents, had had quite a difficult upbringing because at home the religion was Hindu and the language Hindi. At school the language was British English but the area where she lived was Chinese. So Anita grew up in this multi cultural environment and felt she did not really fit in anywhere. She was always trying to please everyone and she now sees that she was raised in fear and lived fearfully. Her best friend got cancer and Anita was so fearful of getting that decease herself so she researched the internet and was frantic about healthy nutrition and lifestyle, yet she also developed a cancer. Lymphoma. For 4 years she had to undergo all the treatments and the cancer became worse. Then one day her best friend died of the decease which was even more upsetting for Anita. She got worse and worse herself and could not walk by herself anymore so was in a wheelchair. She also could not eat so was fed by a tube.

During her NDE Anita experienced a spectacular feeling of unconditional love. Something she had never ever felt before on earth. She felt loved completely for who she was. She did not have to do anything to deserve that love. She was loved just because she was Anita, no conditions. During the NDE her father and friend both whom had passed away already came towards her. They radiated love and understanding and Anita felt totally accepted and loved and could for the first time communicate with her father with whom during his life she had had a difficult relationship with. They also gave her all kinds of information and Anita became omniscient. She knew everything, the future, the past, the now. The reason why she had cancer and she also knew she had to go back to the earth because her life was not over. She needed to accomplish her purpose in life and she needed to go back to her husband of whom she speaks very lovingly and who she feels is her soulmate. She did not particularly wish to go back because the feeling of unconditional love was amazing, yet she knew she had to go back.

So Anita awoke and the entire medical staff was in a flurry, because not only did she awake, she also wanted food. After a few days the cancer cells started diminishing and soon there was not one single cancer cell left in her body. The specialist consultant at the hospital was all confused and said there was a problem: they could not find the cancer. Anita was convinced she did not need the cancer anymore. She had learned her lesson.

She now says that the biggest insight she got from her NDE was that all she needed to do to live her life was:


No more people pleasing or doing things from fear. From then on Anita knew she had to put herself before others instead of last. She says we are born as perfect little babies, we already know everything, unfortunately all this knowing is being conditioned out of us in the following 20 years of our upbringing. Anita says she never learned to love herself. She only learned to please others and value other peoples opinions about her more than her own. “So then I realised I had never learned to be myself.” And so now all that had to change, which was not easy because no one is really keen on change. People like the way things are in their little comfort zones.

Anita says: “Now I know that I will stand by myself no matter what. Even if everyone around me, family, friends and loved ones are telling me that I should not do something, or would be disappointed or even angry, I would still stand by myself and follow my own wishes, because only I know what is good for me in my life. All too often we let others pass before us, but this isn’t right and means that we use 2 different standards of measuring to the detriment of ourselves.”

“Now I know that the cancer saved my life. I had been killing myself long before I ever contracted it. It forced me to start living my life for myself.”

“There are two major forces from which we live our lives. Either Love or Fear. All my life I had been fearful. I was frightened for all kinds: I had the fear of being disliked, the fear of speaking my own truth, fear to disappoint others, fear of failure, of death, of life, the state of the planet, and I was obsessive about food and living a healthy lifestyle. Today I know that food cannot harm me, not loving myself is the real source of harm. Nowadays I do not obsess about my weight or my food. When I feel like eating chocolate, I enjoy it and do not feel any guilty about having some. I love myself enough to eat chocolate every once in a while.”

“Loving yourself does not mean that you are unaware of certain character traits that you might want to adjust or develop. Loving yourself means that you love yourself right now, just the way you are, because you are you. It is accepting who you are. Right now. If you want to lose weight you need to start loving yourself now, with the overweight. Because you are not simply a body. You are so much more. We are magnificent beings and we are so loved.”

Anita has Dr David Hamilton come on the stage. He is a very nice Scottsman, who endears the entire audience, which incidentally is mainly made up out of women, when he gets emotional when talking about his dog Oscar who only recently died. David has written a book called I love me. He is a jovial funny man of great wisdom who shares with us his story of never feeling good enough. Even though he holds a phd in Chemistry among other things. So David felt it was time for him to dive into this feeling and sort it out once and for all. He has 4 premises which he describes fully in his book. It goes from I am not enough, to: I have had enough, to: I am enough, to, eventually,: I AM.

David had the audience stand up for an exercise and everybody is laughing. The atmosphere that reigns in the venue is uplifted and optimistic. Even though we are aware that there must be quite a few persons in the audience who are ill with serious deceases with family members, and maybe bereaved people and probably some doctors. After David’s exercise it is time for lunch and everyone applauds enthusiastically. The first part of the workshop has been wonderful.

During the lunch break I quickly go to the book table to get Davids book. I also pick up Anita’s guided healing meditation cd and a copy of Dying to be Me in English (my copy was in Dutch). Then I join the cue because I would like David to sign the book. I am offering it to my sister. Both her and me have direct experience of the ‘I am not enough’ feeling.

foto van my met David Hamilton hier

In the cue the person in front of me is a very kind Englishman who happens to live in France. Since I lived in France we have a connection, besides he is an author and I like to write. So we hit it off well, the woman in front of us turns round and says: are you guys living in France? So am I! Anita was right, there are no coincidences and what on earth is this message of the French connection which is so clearly displayed for me. James invites me to lunch and we go to a very nice little Indian place with a fresh buffet of many dishes all veggie and eat as much as you like for seven quid. Not bad. James kindly presents me with a children’s book he has written and we are talking of doing a project together.

After lunch Anita comes back. She has us dance to get the stuffiness out of our system. Anita likes the song Dancing Queen by Abba which a lady quickly conjures up on her phone and soon the audience is swaying to and fro.

Thus refreshed we sit down and Anita hits us with the following penetrating question:

“Do you unconditionally love your parents? Your spouse? Your children? Of course you do, so why do you not love yourself unconditionally?”

“Many of us tend to believe that loving unconditionally means allowing them to treat us as they please. Thing is: if you treat yourself as a doormat, as I have done a large part of my life, others will treat you as such too!” “So loving yourself unconditionally sometimes means we have to walk away from relationships. Whether with friends, spouses etc. It means being able to say: I love you unconditionally and I understand that you are this person with this behaviour. I love myself unconditionally too and I need to walk away from us.”

“Myth: I must win the approval of others.                 Truth: Winning my OWN approval (following my heart) is even better.” Be who you are. Don’t dance for the critics.

Then we get to the subject of illness. Anita asks us: what if symptoms were actually a message from your physical body that it is busy healing itself. The body is always trying to find a balance. Always building homeostasis. Taking drugs would mean we were healing symptoms, not the cause of the dis-ease. Anita suggests a new approach. We are going to do the exercise all together. It is a guided meditation-visualisation-relaxation during which we go with our attention to those parts of our bodies in need of loving attention. Any aches, pains, areas of discomfort we turn our attention to and ask that particular body part what they want to communicate to us. Anita says: Illness is often my body’s way of communicating with me.

She also feels very strongly about the word remission which she would like to eradicate from the language. She says let us replace the word remission with Remember My Mission. She emphasises that we should not obsess about our illnesses. Not do as she did: spend hours on the internet researching disease and cures and reading forums and blogs, because just as you think you found a good tip on a page, on the next you will find the contrary and in no time you will feel frustrated, defeated and fearful. Instead she suggests we live as if we are still healthy as much as we can. We do take our medication but just routinely like brushing your teeth. We should avoid making the illness the focal point of our lives and certainly not identify with it. Don’t become your disease.

The best cure of all according to Anita, is laughter. Laughing every day will stimulate healing and you will feel so much better with joy and playfulness in your lives. We are way to serious and should embrace laughter as much as we can. “Make laugher your prayer.”

Anita now comes to the subject of being authentic. She brings up the subject of money with a question: ‘how many of you think money and spirituality don’t go together?’ A great many people in the audience raise their hands. ‘Thought so..” says Anita and everybody laughs. There are so many laughs today which is wonderful. The atmosphere in the venue is vibrant, the energy scintillating. Anita continues by saying: ‘Money is neutral. It can be used for good or for bad things. Money does never object. It just is. We are all spiritual beings living in a body on this planet. Whether we are aware of it or not. Owning a lot of money is fine. When you love yourself and you discover your purpose in life, money will automatically follow. There is only one reason not to have enough money in your life, only one reason. Namely when you tell yourself: I am not worth it. But when you start loving yourself and becoming the being of light that you truly are, money will follow automatically. You are a magnificent being of light and you are here in this world to shine to your full potential. And do realise that time is not linear even though to us humans it may seem that way. So this means that in order to get from A to B you do not need to follow step 1, step 2, step 3 etc. It is not like that. You can jump steps and go from 2 straight to 10. If you are living your life authentically you will attract what you need and what your are and your purpose in life will unfold for you.

Should you feel really uncomfortable with loving yourself, you can begin by getting up in the morning and asking yourself the following: ‘If I loved myself unconditionally, what would I do today?’

You owe it to yourself and to everybody around you to be who you are and spread your joy around you. Joy is contagious and will uplift the world.

After another break it is time for some questions and answers. Now is my chance, even before Anita gives the green light for people to ask questions I raise my arm. Since she is straight in front of me she obviously notices immediately. She says: ‘You are the first one to raise your hand and therefore we will start with your question.’ Yes yes yes!!

My question to Anita is: ‘We all heard you explain about self love and how we should put ourselves first even if our nearest and dearest are deeply disappointed in us. However I feel this is a very hard thing to do. Could you please elaborate on this since I feel this is the most difficult thing being very emphatic and aware of my families ‘needs’?

Anita thanks me for the question and gives the example of her mother who is now getting on age wise and who wants Anita to come by more often however Anita travels extensively and is away from home a lot. She says: ‘Even when I am away from home, I have this bond with my mother that no distance can sever. But still I also know that she is getting older and needs me more. So whenever I can and whenever I am home I will go and visit her more often. However what I would say to you is that you seem to feel that your children need to be free to follow their path in life but for yourself you feel this is restricted. This means you are using two standards and are losing out. I suggest you ask your dear ones to understand what your path in life is and ask them to be happy for you to follow that path because it makes you happy, Just as you are happy for them to follow their path in life regardless of your wishes. You need to learn to put yourself first.

The next day, while thinking about what Anita said I get a further insight: I realise that I have lived my live apologetically, And that I have been looking for approval. Approval has been granted but only if my wishes did not impede on the wishes of the others. Meaning that their behaviour was selfish. Which is fine. The thing is that I also need to learn to be selfish and not give in to what others want all the time. I realised that my purpose is trying to show itself to me, but that I created obstacles for it to happen because I had not been authentic and had not followed my inner impulses. I knew I never meant to hurt anyone. I knew what I needed and had stifled the urges. They did not know that and maybe have other ideas about my intentions. But my intentions are mine only and I know best. I feel this zest for life which is rather like an inner volcano which wants to erupt and live life to the full. I will stop living life apologetically for it was never meant to be lived that way.

After the q and a session, Anita thanks us all for the standing ovation we give her. She is now going to sit and sign books for us. An enormous queue forms and I am in no hurry so I am last in line. I cannot really say how many people attended the workshop but I think at least several hundred people are queueing for the book signing. When finally it is my turn I can tell Anita is tired. It has been a full day for her, but still she is smiling and friendly. I have a chat with her husband who was present all day. He tells me how they have been living out of suitcases travelling from one hotel to the next these past 6 months. And that they even had given up their rental home in Hong Kong because they spent so little time there. I turn to look at Anita who after giving all these book signings, now takes time out to give people the opportunity to have their photos taken with Anita. I quickly jump in the queue which luckily for her is only about ten people.

Thank you Anita Moorjani for a wonderful wonderful workshop. Having spent this day in your presence has given me such a lift. I think the unconditional love that you have experienced during your NDE is clinging on to you and you radiate it around you for all who meet you to contaminate with. Thank you for coming back out of that realm and sharing unconditional love with us all!

Looking forward to the next time Anita comes to Europe!!