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The City

According to the BBC, York has been voted the best place to live in the UK. Having been here for a few years since the age of 18 (Yes ok so technically I’ve been here a couple of decades rather than a few years but let’s not split hairs!) I would agree on the whole, although maybe not for the same reasons.

According to the highly trustworthy BBC (unless it’s the weather forecast which is always wrong) York is the perfect mix of heritage and hi-tech. Heritage yes but hi-tech? I am clearly missing something! I know that we have the the National Railway Museum but I’m not sure World’s fastest steam engine could be classed as hi-tech nowadays? The mystery plays are a fantastic thing to watch and this year they will be featuring a movable stage which of course is quite hi-tech I suppose (or at least it was when it was first done back in medieval times!)

What wasn’t mentioned in the report of course was one of my favourite things about York – no not the pubs and bars before you think it – but the libraries. We have a fantastic library service which puts on some great events. For example last week I went on a course to learn how to make notebooks. It was a fun day although I suspect Paperchase may be a bit worried about a fall in their profits now I can make my own. Stationary being my second favourite purchase after books.

York library also has a high crime rate. Not people walking off with a Winsey Willis biography under their arm, or pilfering the drawing pins from the notice board, but crime fiction events. Last year we had some big hitters talking including Val McDermid and Sophie Hannah. There was also Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre. This was a hilarious evening, made all the better personally by the looks on the faces of some of the attendees. Clearly two women behind me thought the event was going to be a talk by the WI about jam making rather than one involving frozen chickens in public toilets and dead bodies.

Coming up next month is another exciting sounding event called CSI’s in York – from the writing duo Margaret Murphy and Helen Pepper better known as Ashley Dyer. They are spending the afternoon showing us how to lift fingerprints and identify shoe evidence (you never know when that might come in handy)

Whilst I may not agree with some of the reasoning behind York being voted the best place to live, I certainly agree with the sentiment. Where else could you learn how to investigate a murder, see the only memorial in the country to women who lost their lives during the First World War and drink in a Viking bar all in the same afternoon? Not necessarily hi-tech but pretty amazing all the same.

Tickets for CSI’s in York are still available https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/event/csis-in-york-the-truth-about-forensic-investigating/https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/event/csis-in-york-the-truth-about-forensic-investigating/

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Resolution

So just in case you missed it, last week saw the start of 2014. This year on New Year’s Eve I did something I haven’t done for about 10 years and headed to York Minster for midnight. We stood with a few hundred other people all looking slightly bemused as there was no countdown or fireworks or party to acknowledge the date change. There were of course chimes at midnight and it was a lovely evening nonetheless.

So 2014 begins and it’s time for everyone to start making their New Year resolutions. As those of you who were reading this blog last year will know, I’m not a fan of the New Year resolution (and for the rest of you if you want to know you can find it here) but that doesn’t seem to stop the rest of the human race. Once again people are vowing to lose weight, get fit, save money and start doing fun things.

Giving up chocolate seems to be a big one this year (well at least til February when people can then devour the hundreds of half price selection boxes they’ve bought in the sales, before announcing to everyone that they’ll be giving it up again for lent) Chocolate may have been the death of many in crime novels as Margot Kinberg eloquently puts here. Yet whilst I’d hope there are not too many poisoned chocolates floating around. I’m not sure the whole feast and famine approach is a particularly healthy way to go either.

Apparently the latest craze in resolutions is having a dry January. Now this is one I was all in favour of when someone told me about it. I hate getting wet, and rain really makes my hair go frizzy. However further investigation shows they apparently meant they were giving up alcohol for a month. That soon put a dampener (no pun intended) on that plan. We are in a recession you know and pubs rely on the likes of me to keep their businesses ticking over. Even more ridiculous is the idea that you can get sponsored for not drinking for a month in a dryathlon. Are people seriously trying to say that giving up their favourite beverage is on a par with running a marathon or hiking across the Himalayas? Maybe it would be if you were Harry Hole or Homer Simpson, but otherwise surely it’s not really much of an achievement.

Apparently coming in at number ten of the top ten resolutions people make is the wish to read more books. I read this on a website that had asked people to fill in a survey on what resolutions they were going to make. Well there’s one of the problems straight away, rather than filling in the survey people should just have picked up a book and read that instead. That way rather than have to make a resolution saying they are going to do something, they can actually do something.

I, of course, don’t need to make a resolution to read more, I just pick up one of the numerous books I have hanging around. I haven’t yet had a tally up of the number of books I read last year which I should do. I do know however, that I’ve read many more than I’ve had time to review. Therefore maybe my resolution should be to write more reviews. I’m not calling it a New Year one though, that’s just asking to fail.

Anyway Happy New Year All.

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