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Murder on the Corwen Express?


This morning saw the arrival of the first passenger steam train into Corwen Station for almost 60 years. As I heard it's distinctive rhythmic beat, and then watched it pass through the valley towards the station, I felt as though I was stepping back in time to another era. The Victorian terraced gardens in the foreground; the sunlit Caer Drewyn behind; the steam rising from the engine down in the valley. I was briefly inspired to create a murder mystery tale aboard the train, but knew it would not be original (like most of my fiction writing!). But I did find myself wondering what stories and imaginings the scene before me might inspire in more skilful and experienced writers attending one of our writing retreats....


After a few moments reverie, the train's celebratory whistle, as it pulled to a halt before the crowd of photographers on the platform, created an unexpected frisson and I was once again persuaded of the brilliance of this location for a place to write: geography, history and natural beauty in equal abundance, and a brilliant mixture of relaxation, inspiration and numerous places to think and, most importantly, to write.


This afternoon I have promised Wendy a home-made afternoon tea in the garden, watching this afternoon's trains come and go below. The scone recipe will be that which delighted our May guests and the sandwiches will, of course, include cucumber. I could imagine Jack Worthing bunburying here to his heart's delight, and even Lady Bracknell would be in her element. Maybe the tale to be told from this vantage point is not one about murder on a train, but about the seemingly genteel lives of 19th century aristocracy? Either way, the return of steam trains to Corwen has proven far more significant to me than I was expecting. As we approach the end of our first year here in North Wales, I find that wonderful surprises keep on coming.


Steam train passing through valley
Steam train seen from A Place to Write
Steam train approaching Corwen Station
Steam train arriving at Corwen


Teapot and cups, plus sandwiches, scones, cream and jam on a wooden tray for afternoon tea
Cream tea ready to go!


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