A Talent For Murder. – Review

S C Richmond

4.5/5.0 A Must for Christie fans.

A Talent For Murder – Andrew Wilson

A very enjoyable read, it fills in the gaps beautifully of the factual days Agatha Christie went missing. Still today we don’t know why she went awol, but this reads just like one of her novels, driven by the mystery and a plausible and particularly nasty baddy. It’s an interesting thought as to the reasons she was missing and well written in Christie style. She is portrayed as a strong intelligent, attractive woman which is a strong plus for stories set in this era.  If you’re a Christie fan then you’ll love this and it’s cozy approach to murder as every good Agatha Christie style book should be with a nice added twist, will she take up the job offer? Would we ever know?

Relax on your settee and curl up with this book.

The Blurb –

‘You, Mrs Christie, are going to…

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Wayland’s Smithy – Stones and Hidden Bones


IMG_2106 Wayland’s Smithy, Oxfordshire (historically in Berkshire)

Wayland's Smithy II: the blocked passage Wayland’s Smithy II: the blocked passage

IMG_2181 Sign-climbing

Recently I presented a keynote at a conference on the Subterranean in the Medieval World conference at the University of York, outlining my preliminary thoughts on the Past in its Place Strand B case study: Wayland’s Smithy.

Only subsequent to this conference did I get the opportunity to revisit this Neolithic monument of the 36th and 35th centuries BC. I went there to take photographs of the monument and also to think through some of my ideas about the site’s form and its location.

IMG_1747 Uffington Castle from the Ridgeway, looking back whilst en route to Wayland’s Smithy

Getting to Wayland’s Smithy involved a 1.4 mile walk from the car park along the historic Ridgeway path. This is a completely different and benign experience to my memories: closed to motor vehicles and carefully managed, this stretch of the…

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Song 4 in the 5 Song Challenge.

Love this!

S C Richmond

I have been invited to do the 5 songs challenge.

The rules are to post the lyrics of a favourite song five days in a row, explain what they mean to you and add the video if available.

So here we go again with day 4. Led Zepplin – Thank you.

All of Led Zeppelin’s tracks are brilliant but this one stands out and has for many, many years. You don’t need me to waffle on about all the moments in my life I associate with this song, I know you just want to listen to it.

Remember to be tell those you love how much you really do care about them, hold them close and say ‘Thank You’

“Thank You”

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

Kind woman, I give you…

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Death of Death, Death of Time – Reviewing the New Bryn Celli Ddu


In 2014 I wrote a basic blog post about the Neolithic passage grave at Bryn Celli Ddu, Angelsey. This is a Neolithic passage grave under the care of Cadw. The post here is a refreshed ‘site review’, critically commenting on the site’s new signage introduced since my last visit in early 2015.

I love the designs, and the new images on the signs are striking and evocative. The efforts to encourage visitors to also explore other ancient monuments on Anglesey are to be commended. Likewise, the emphasis on following-up with further information available online is great too. Furthermore, much remains the same about the experience of visiting the site, and the changes are not distracting to the visitor experience of the monument itself in any fundamental regard. Still, I left feeling that the visitor experience has been impoverished, rather than enhance, by the new signs.


The old sign that…

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The 50 Virus

The marriage blessing began.

Trinity walked up the short aisle towards her husband of 25 years. To say heads turned would have been an understatement. Jaws dropped as well, and conversation ceased. Even her teenage kids stopped fiddling with their phones.

It was her 50th birthday and she had woken up this morning physically and mentally and decided she was no longer going to be a ‘people pleaser’. She cast aside the dress Malcolm had chosen for her out of the Littlewoods catalogue, she’d never liked frills or the off champagne colour he had ordered and was damned if she was going to wear it. She rummaged through her closet and found the outfit she’d worn for her 21st birthday. Thankfully she hadn’t put a single pound on since then, and with the right bra and support knickers, it would fit just fine.

She crimped her long hennaed hair and pulled some on top in an elastic band. Then she turned to her makeup, paying special attention to her eyeliner and mascara. Purple pulpy lips completed the look when matched with coordinating nail polish.

She dressed in her outfit of stripped black and purple leggings, a ripped, off the shoulder T Shirt with The Clash printed on the front, a short leather skirt and hand painted Doc Martens. For the first time since her engagement to Malcolm she felt free, and like herself. Trinity grabbed her bag and headed off to walk the short distance to the church.

She made a bold entrance, her head held high. The sun was glinting on the safety pins holding her top in place and the pair she had used in place of earrings in one ear. The shock-wave reverberating around the congregation was palpable. Malcolm had invited all the best people, he had a penchant for social climbing, and all of Trinity’s friends had been lost to her over the years because of Malcolm’s appalling treatment of them. So the pews were full of people Trinity couldn’t bear. No better than they should be, but acceptable to Malcolm because of their wealth or position in the community. His co-workers from the board of the factory he managed were there, as were some of his more trusted office staff.

As she reached the half way point, he turned to look at her. His expression was comical and Trinity had to struggle not to laugh out loud at him. When she had walked the length of the aisle, he grabbed her whispered in her ear;

‘What on earth are you doing?’ he hissed, ‘How dare you show me up like this! What happened to the suit I got you?’

‘Oh, it’s right here in my bag’ she replied.

Trinity turned to face the congregation and began to speak:

‘As you are all aware, Malcolm decided to invite you here today so we could renew our vows. He took that decision upon himself, so I thought it was only right I honour him by saying a few words just for the occasion’

The silence persisted so Trinity continued

‘As you know, Malcolm has an important job and has been – for the most part – a good father and provider. So giving up the dream job I got after working so hard at university to qualify for so I could be responsible for all of the childcare, wasn’t a financial hardship for us. And since then, he has been wonderful enough to choose my clothes, my friends and my holidays, because, as he is fond of telling me, it is his money that pays for such luxuries. My First in anthropology has certainly set me up to be the perfect housewife and mother to two children who treat me with the same love, respect and courtesy as their father does. So on that note, I’d like to make a special gift of this dress to Sallie, Malcolm’s teenage secretary.’

Trinity pulled the champagne monstrosity from her bag and hurled it towards the sulky faced girl sitting a couple of pews back.

‘Sallie has been helping Malcolm out with a bit of extra overtime, so if anyone deserves a gift from him, she does. Malcolm only booked the blessing to try and divert my attention from his little affair’ she said to the crowd, ‘but I found the tickets for their little trip to Paris next week. So perhaps he will take you somewhere you can wear the dress dear’ Trinity spoke directly to Sallie, ‘and maybe the kids will start calling you mum soon. I’m off to live my own life now!’

Trinity walked to the door and turned around to look at Malcolm one last time. She hesitated for just a second, wondering if there was anything more she should say or do, after 25 years.

On reflection there was, so she looked Malcolm in the eye and slowly raised her middle finger in a gesture of sheer contempt and walked away.





Writing life stories

Lois Elsden

I run two creative writing groups, and although they are quite different essentially we talk about writing, discuss different aspects of the craft, share ideas and share what we have written – at the end of each group I offer suggestions for what to write about next time, but they are just that, just suggestions and members can write whatever they like!

I write here on my blog a lot about my family and the history of people who came before, and I explore different ways of telling my ancestors’ stories… I have thought for quite a long time about starting another writing group, based on how people can tell the stories of their lives and of their families lives.

I have wondered about this for a while, and in fact I wrote about it here before, and outlined the sort of things I might cover:

  1. Life story
  2. My story
  • My…

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