Saturday, 26 December 2015

Writing - Into the void and Agatha

I watched a little of Michael McIntyre's comedy show last evening - Happy Christmas by the way - and he began with the day and went on to the space between Christmas and New Year.

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There is an undoubted void between the two celebrations particularly if you don't shop. There is a confusion between what day it is, are shops open, will post be delivered and more.

Some places of work close for two weeks nowadays, others never close at all. I've worked every day except for Christmas Day while working at the bank. It was almost as if the bank were terrified they'd miss a sale. I worked on several New Years Days and it was a waste of my time and company money.

Of course it does vary year on year and depending upon the day of the week on which the holiday falls. This year with it being  Friday we have one long weekend for Christmas then it seems to peter out.

What I find there is to fill the time is lots of reading. I found some interesting facts about one of the UK's greatest authors. I usually produce 10 facts about the news but this week it is all about Agatha.

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Christie was a surfing pioneer

Through her marriage to Archibald Christie and his job promoting the British Empire Exhibition, the couple were able to travel the world - and recent research has uncovered that Archie and Agatha may have been among the first Europeans to learn the art of surfing standing up. Agatha became skilled at body-boarding in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and in Hawaii she and Archie learned to ride the waves while standing on the board.


She had a penchant for poison

Early in the First World War Christie worked with the VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) and later in the dispensary of the local hospital, where she completed the examination of the Society of Apothecaries and acquired an interest in and knowledge of poisons.


Her husband was suspected of murdering her

1926 saw both highlights and heartache for Christie. She became a household name with the publication of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd but she lost her mother that year and her husband revealed he was in love with his golfing partner, Nancy Neele. The result was an intriguing 11-day disappearance. Suffering from amnesia, Christie had signed herself into the Harrogate Hydropathic Hotel, where she registered as Teresa Neele. Police and bloodhounds searched for her. Colonel Christie was suspected of murdering her and only when a member of the hotel band recognised her and reported it was Agatha considered safe. She never recovered her memory from that time. Agatha divorced Archie Christie in 1928.

Best-selling female writer ever

And Then There Were None is the best-selling crime novel of all time, with over 100 million copies sold across the globe. And with global sales of all her books totalling somewhere between two and four billion, Christie is one of the best-selling authors ever - beaten only by William Shakespeare.


She really dug photography

Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan in September 1930 and became his artefact photographer on his many digs in Syria and Iraq.


Christie rose to a challenge

She’d begun writing detective stories in response to a bet by her sister Madge that she couldn’t do it.


She killed Poirot, then put him in a safe…

By the late 1930s Christie had begun to find Poirot "rather insufferable" and in 1940 she killed him off in the story Curtains. Persuaded against this by family, friends and her publisher she placed the manuscript in a safe and carried on writing the character until 1975, when the story was finally published. Hercule Poirot received an obituary in the New York Times.


For the love of dogs

She loved dogs, usually a terrier of some sort. Her first was called George Washington, but her favourite was a short-haired terrier called Peter who starred in Dumb Witness under the name of Bob.


She was humble and gracious

According to her family, Christie initially refused a damehood and only accepted after Max was knighted for his services to archaeology.


Christie didn’t have a formal education

Although her brother and sister were sent away to school and she was sent to finishing schools in France, Christie taught herself to read at five, and educated herself from her father’s library.

God Bless