To Harrogate, somewhat disorganisedJuly 28, 2010
Despite what anyone says, Agatha Christie did not disappear for eleven days in 1926. She simply wasn’t where anyone was expecting to find her. Instead she was here, at the very lovely Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate.
After spending Friday night there courtesy of the fine folk at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, I’m hoping some of the Christie magic has rubbed off. If not, there were plenty of living crime writers around to learn from. (Husband has just winced at this ungrammatical sentence construction. Apologies to anyone who objects to ending a sentence with a preposition. As Winston Churchill is alleged to have said, ‘that is something up with which I will not put.’ ) Meanwhile, back in Harrogate…
I especially enjoyed a panel discussion between ‘gritty’ and ‘cosy’ authors – turns out the ‘gritty’ folk are surprisingly unscary and the ‘cosy’ ones aren’t as soft in the centre as you might think. Outside the formal events, there was time to wander the middle of town enjoying a game of spot-the-author. Unfortunately this had to be abandoned early on Friday evening for a solitary and desperate game of spot-the-open-shoeshop. (The result of packing at the last minute, very late at night.)
More rushing about meant the chance to catch a few hours in York before driving home. In Museum Gardens they were announcing
but ‘The New Yorkshire Museum opens on 1 August’ wasn’t especially good news for those of us who hadn’t done our homework, and turned up in July. Still, there’s no shortage of things to see in York. I will restrain any urge to wax lyrical about the apsidal end of the legionary bath house in the cellar below this pub, but it really is rather good…
Regular visitors to the blog may recall discussions about the presence of Africans in Roman York. So it’s entirely appropriate that crowds had gathered just down the road to hear a superb music-and-dance group from Zimbabwe (who may or may not be called Siyaya):
Vowing to return when the museum’s open, I spent most of the long drive down the motorway happily listening to Ian Rankin’s gripping novel, ‘The Complaints’. Today an official letter arrived. Seems I was so gripped by Ian Rankin that I failed to notice the speed limit.
It’s been an interesting weekend.