Catch Up: Crime Fest and other Author events, Crafting, Camping and a zoo trip...

The big event that I haven't blogged about, was this year's Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, at the Old Swan in Harrogate.
This year, I was able to attend for the whole weekend (which starts on a Thursday) and was lucky enough to be able to stay at the Old Swan itself! 

The Old Swan in Harrogate, is particularly famous. Back in 1926, already famous crime writer extraordinaire, Agatha Christie, went missing, leaving her car abandoned, sparking a nationwide manhunt involving the Home Secretary and Arthur Conan Doyle (who took her glove to a medium!). She was found, after 11 days, at the "Swan Hydropathic Hotel" in Harrogate (now the Old Swan) having checked in under a fake name, which included her husband's mistresses surname!

As a result, the hotel is the obvious choice to host a festival dedicated to the genre!

And what a festival it is. This year's guest programme director was Lee Child, who wrote the murder mystery for the Author's Dinner on the Saturday evening.

Highlights of the weekend, apart from the author's dinner, included John Grisham (which garnered a feature in the Daily Telegraph, and an awesome photograph by Festival Photographer Charlotte Graham) and Val McDermid interviewing renowned anthropologist, Sue Black:
The awards, quiz night and a performance by The Fun Lovin' Crime Writers, also made the weekend one not to be missed!

I had an amazing time, not least because of the book stack I came home with!

Before Harrogate though, I made my way to Oswestry, where Booka Books hosted Ruth Ware, to talk about her newest book, The Death of Mrs Westaway, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
The author was very personable and took time to answer questions after her talk, including a few brief readings. I have picked up a couple of her other books to read too.

In other book related news, I won a charity auction for a signed copy of Ruth Downie's newest book, Memento Mori, to support the building of a Roman Park just outside Chester, which I'm very much looking forward to visiting (hopefully later this month).

My current read, that I am hoping to finish soon, is Circe by Madeline Miller, which is a brilliant book about the eponymous ancient Greek witch. It's really well written, and I've been enjoying reading it.

I've also been to an outdoor theatre performance of one of my favourite plays, The Importance of Being Ernest, by Oscar Wilde. Put on by Immersion Theatre at Norton Priory. Although there was some rain at the start, the weather very kindly settled down to allow us to enjoy a brilliantly funny performance.

I have also been to a number of comedy gigs this year, including Jason Manford, Bill Bailey, and a multi-comedian charity performance, including John Bishop and Adam Hills, in aid of Warrington Wolves disability rugby team. All of which have left me laughing my socks off.

I have changed jobs, after almost 10 years! It was a bit scary, but I was spoiled by my lovely colleagues, and there were one or two tears. And then had a week camping, before starting my new job! It's strange being new after all this time, but I'm enjoying it so far, it's closer to home (and takes a lot less time that I'd expected) and the office is in a large business park with loads of facilities for lunchtime!

While we were camping, although we hadn't taken the telescope, Mars was visible with the naked eye! Sadly, also didn't have my camera, so this dodgy phone pic is the best you're getting, but we saw it, and that's the important thing!

I've also been crafting quite a lot. Finished one of the me made tops in time for the festival (although I wasn't happy with the neckline)

And my niece asked for a purple blanket for Christmas, so I've made a start... 

She asked for this at dinner, whilst we were on a weekend away together in Southport. Sometimes I forget how many pretty places are so close to us... and of course, as well as the arcades (a must for LittleBit) we managed to visit the miniature railway!

Finally, what catch up of mine would be complete without me telling you that I've been to Chester Zoo?

 and while we were there, we spotted a wild mouse in the gardens...

I'll try not to leave it so long next time!


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