I'm just back from the Crime Writers' Annual Conference - an "annual" conference that has been in abeyance since 2020! It was good to finally see friends and visit the English Riviera - Torquay - which I really wanted to do for research for the work in progress. What can I say - the welcome was warm, the weather was perfect, the company was excellent and the speakers ditto. I prowled around the town, getting the pictures I wanted, visited Greenways, Agatha Christie's old home - the town and surroundings are inescapably linked to the Queen of Crime - I ate super meals that I didn't have to cook, including posh hotel breakfasts and locally caught fish, and generally had a perfect weekend. I now have builders demolishing my bathroom, so I'm glad I enjoyed it!
What did I do?
The conference location was the Imperial Hotel, a grand old fashioned place, of the kind I adore. A little faded now, but still impressive. Agatha Christie was a native of Torquay and attended many social functions at the hotel, and also used it in a number of books, under the guise of "The Majestic" Poirot and Miss Marple have sat on its terraces
|The "Majestic" Imperial|
|Dame Agatha is celebrated with a plaque|
in the foyer
|The impressive interior - |
my idea of the perfect hotel
|The dining room - a view of the sea - and just look |
at the linen and silverware!
I arrived on Friday afternoon to find I had a lovely room, with its own balcony and sea view, and treated myself to afternoon tea sitting in the glassed-in lounge with another sea view.
|The hotel grounds|
|The view from my balcony|
|Amazing afternoon tea|
The tea was amazing, arriving in it's own set of shelves - sandwiches, sausage roll and crab tart, scones and cake.
Friday evening was taken up with a reception at the local museum. As I had decanted my essentials into a tiny handbag I didn't take the camera, so was not able to photograph the Egyptian exhibits which I had not expected and which would have been very appropriate for the WIP. You will just have to imagine statues of gods and a sarcophagus.
On Saturday morning we had a selection of speakers covering law enforcement from a number of angles. Saturday afternoon was a trip to Greenway Agatha Christies' old home, now run by the National Trust The house was fascinating and the grounds were beautiful - full of spring flowers. I'm going to post next week on that - I think it deserves special attention. Ditto the pictures I took on my ramble around Torquay - I can tell you about the WIP too.
Saturday night was the gala dinner during which the long lists for the CWA Dagger Awards were announced. There were several friends in the line up and I got a special buzz being in the room to hear Alis Hawkin's name as a contender for the Historical Dagger. Alis is a guiding light for Crime Cymru - the collective a Welsh Crime Writers of which I am a member
|The Torquay marina|
All too soon it was Sunday - speakers from the Society of Authors and an interesting presentation on self publishing from CWA members who are doing it for themselves. All too soon the official weekend was over, but I was able to go on the town to prowl for location shots and then sat for a while in the sunshine on my balcony, reading.
All in all it was a wonderful weekend.