So, it is St Hilda’s Crime and Mystery Weekend! Technically speaking it does not really start until 6:45pm when we all gather on the lawn for a drinks reception. The regulars will of course know the drill. But for me St Hilda’s started earlier today when I caught the coach from Victoria to Oxford.
This year we have a wide range of speakers under the brilliant chairmanship of the lovely Andrew Taylor. With the theme being Sharks Circling: Politics and Crime it is bound to be a fascinating weekend.
So far things have been pretty quiet as people are slowly arriving. I have been put in my favourite room that looks across out onto the River Cherwell and I have already managed to nip into town to have lunch with a friend.
As I said drinks on the lawn heralds the start of the weekend and luckily this year whilst the weather was balmy at least it was not raining.
It was of course lovely to see so many old friends and quite a number of new faces as well.
Dinner was as usual a lively affair and I found myself on the same table as a historian Judith Flanders, Shona historical crime writer and CWA dagger winner (SG MacLean), Committee members Natasha Cooper and Jake Kerridge, Louise Welsh, Zoe Strachan and Chris Brookmyre.
After dinner Andrew Taylor introduced Lindsey Davis who was the after dinner speaker to everyone and she gave a lively and topical speech on A War of Just the Right Size which included references to Domitian and a number of other famous Roman rulers to the current #MeToo movement along with a rather pointed attack on the state of politics and politicians today both here and abroad.
Meeting in the SCR (senior common room) after dinner is not exactly de rigueur but it is a tradition that has been taking place since the conference started and once again after dinner most of us made our way to the SCR where we caught up with friends, made new friends and generally hung out until we decided to go to our various rooms.
So, tomorrow is another day and St Hilda’s College Crime Fiction weekend starts in earnest. It is wonderful that it has been going for over 25 years and most pertinent that with the state of things today that the theme this year is politics and crime.