Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival: Days 3 and 4

I’m in pain and exhausted. I had to miss a couple of panels yesterday and both this morning. I’ve over done it; but still, I’ve done it! I’ve managed to go on holiday on my own, go to a festival and meet people. I had to spend this morning resting after a late breakfast, but I’ve been out for an hour or so, walking around Harrogate to get some tape to temporarily repair my glasses, visit a bookshop and buy a new suitcase. But I had better get back to the start of yesterday morning.

Saturday 20th July 2019

Woke up exhausted, legs leaden and anxious. Managed to get to breakfast but came back to my room and collapsed for a bit. My glasses broke, both arms came off.

I made it up to the festival for a panel. Sorry my brain is fuzzy, I know I went to something, but I can’t remember what. I know I enjoyed it. I went to the ‘Make ‘Em Laugh, Make ‘Em Cry’ panel and later a Special Guest panel later in the day, as well as the HQ Proof Party – which was hell, by the way. Locusts descending on the plumpest field of wheat couldn’t have done a better job of gleaning. I went back later and had a chat with Joe, who I communicate with about HQ books.

I went to the WH Smiths shop again and bought a couple of books. They helped me with my glasses – a piece of string was involved. I bumped into Lucy and Jules outside, who I met on Friday, and went with them to the Library for the Crime Files events there. I picked up a book and a pile of samplers. Then we got an introduction to a new book ‘Seven Lies’, that sounds gripping, and will be their biggest release of 2020.

I went for an excursion in the town at one point, to find a cheaper option for lunch rather than buy the meal deal which costs £6.50 – the bloody cheek of it. I quite liked the change of seen and it definitely helped me get through the day.

I came back to my hotel, Harrogate Town Centre Premier Inn, I spent some time in my room, trying to work out how I was getting my books and clothes home on Monday. I went for tea in the restaurant – a mediterranean style chicken breast/burger. It was quite pleasant.

I had an early night and procrastinated until late.

A few pictures from today:

Sunday 21st July 2019

I have bruises of unknown origin on my outer thighs. I woke up just before ten, thus missing the first panel I had planned to go to, ‘The Big Issues’. I eventually made it to breakfast and struggled back to my room to take my medication. Then I collapsed on the sofa. The next panel, a special guest one with Val McDermid and Nicola Sturgeon, which I wanted to go to. I’m disappointed that I didn’t make it. My sister rang me to discuss the cleaning she’s doing at our house. Apparently the dogs were looking at her as though she was mad.

I’ve been for a wander around Harrogate, as far as the train station, visiting Imagined Things, a small independent bookshop that has benefitted from the Crime Writing festival, with many writers visiting to sign copies of their books. I bought a couple of books then headed to TK Maxx in the shopping centre near the train station. I found a new, larger suitcase and then headed for a bus, via poundland (yes, they have Poundland in Harrogate) to get some tape to temporarily fix my glasses.

The buses in Harrogate are free on a Sunday. So I got it to near the hotel and came back to my room. I’ve done some packing and organising, and I’m probably going to have a nap this afternoon.

I have learnt that I need to pace myself at these things, or I miss events I want to go to. Next time I make plans, I won’t book tickets for as many paid events. There are a lot of free events to go to at the festival. It’s very sociable too, so if you’re the sociable type it’s fun. Drinking starts quite early. I don’t particularly enjoy drinking, or being around drunk people, so it’s not my thing.

I’m having a quiet afternoon, listening to the audiobook of The Five, by Hallie Rubenhold. I have her book but I’ve had so much on I haven’t got past the first chapter. It’s quite fascinating to learn more about the lives of the women murdered by Jack the Ripper, as well as the social conditions of Victorian London.

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