Monthly Archives: October 2022

Murder on the Lakeland fells

WHEN there’s a murder on the Lakeland fells, guests at a Lake District hotel  will be stepping in to solve it. But this isn’t the plot of a new thriller. And there are no actors or ilm cameras involved.

Guests at the Rydal Lodge County House B&B near Ambleside will be taking part in an action-packed murder mystery weekend, and they  will be playing character parts for the entire weekend until the murderer is revealed on the Sunday.

Helena Tendall, who runs Rydal Lodge with husband Mark, has created the themed weekends with a gruesome plot where the  fictional owner of a Bowness guest house is found dead in a septic tank.

Rydal cave: could this be the murderer’s hideout?

“No one is above suspicion as dark secrets emerge,” says Helena. “Illicit affairs, fraud, suspect sausages, plots for revenge and drug addiction are all intertwined in the life and death of our victim.”

It’s an elaborate plot in the Weekend to Die For, but Helena has form; she used to run a business called To Die For…Murder Mystery, writing her own plots, and providing every guest with a separate booklet with their script for each scene.

A member of Ambleside Players and a woman of great imagination, Helena’s previous “murders” have included entire days with ramblers searching for clues in the countryside, a poisonous blowfish dropped into a coffee cup, words written in blood on the floor, riddles that provide clues, and a top chef imprisoned for poisoning wedding guests at the Ritz.

The garden at Rydal Lodge

This time, along with clue hunts in the countryside around Rydal, there will also be a pub lunch included, a wine tasting game on arrival, and dinner at Rydal Lodge during which subsequent acts will be revealed,

“It’s great escapist fun, and we have a fantastic location here for our guests to do some sleuthing in the countryside,” says Helena.

For details of the next themed weekend see


Furniture star Tom’s work goes global

A START-UP fine furniture  business that makes hand crafted wooden and silk boxes inspired by the wonders of the dark skies, currently being celebrated in the Yorkshire Dales, has had a stellar first year.

Talented Tom Addison has had a meteoric first 12 months creating furniture in the workshop attached to his home, near Askrigg, and footage of him at work on the Buckden boxes has had an astronomical 2.8 million views and more than 56,000 ‘likes’ on his Instagram platform @tomaddisonfinefurniture.

The number of online followers he has got since launching in August 2021 has gone into orbit after he shared clips of himself showcasing his carpentry and chiselling skills and Tom his over the moon about the interest being shown in his fledgling business from across the globe. His work is regularly seen by more than 30,000 online followers in the USA, Asia and Europe.

For the popular Buckden box Tom took inspiration from the inky night sky and some of the awesome heavenly events he can see from his Wensleydale home on a clear night. He has collaborated on the keep safe box with textile designer Rachel Stirr of Bernie & Blue.

Tom and Rachel with the Buckden boxes

The luxury handcrafted boxes that will light up any home feature a shooting star design on the lid. The silk interior is inspired by the aurora borealis and some of the natural forms, textures and patterns that can be seen from outer space along with polished solid brass fittings.

Tom, a father-of-two and a former English fell running champion, said it was crazy to think how many people had viewed him at work in his humble workshop. Another video of him hand-planing the curved surface on the pedestals of a one-of-a-kind dining table with benches has been viewed by 3.8 million people and had 45,000 likes. The table has been delivered to a client who lives in central London.

He said commissioning bespoke handcrafted furniture can be expensive and he wanted to share videos of the intricate working processes that goes into creating unique pieces that have also been inspired by the landscape surrounding his home.

”It is great to know that people worldwide enjoy watching these traditional methods in practice,” said Tom, who learnt his trade at the prestigious Peter Hall & Sons workshop in the Lake District village of Staveley.

”I am so fortunate to live and work in the Dales. I think most natural and man-made landscapes can inspire fresh contemporary pieces of furniture. It is a pleasure to work with customers to bring in recognisable features into their very own pieces such as the Ribblesdale Desk and the Barbican Dining Table. It brings so much joy and memories to my clients which means a such a lot to me as a furniture designer and maker.”

The Buckden box collection are available for pre order at and 

The Yorkshire Dales National Parks’ Fringe Dark Skies Festival runs 21-30 October 2022. 


The swimming doctor’s invitation to her book launch

A doctor who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of the Covid pandemic is launching her book about the experience.

The event will take place at Kendal Library on Saturday November 12, starting at 10 am, and Marisa hopes that all those affected by cancer in some way will call in for a chat.

Marisa, who lives at Natland,  is a consultant psychiatrist for older people, and runs the psychiatry programme for medical students at Lancaster Medical School.

But she’s also an open water swimmer, climber, runner and adventurer – along with being the author of a truly uplifting and occasionally very funny book.

Marisa swimming in Angle Tarn

Marisa documented the ups and downs of her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer during the Covid pandemic initially in a blog, before publishing the whole story in Cancer, Covid and  Me.

“In April 2020 doctors revealed I had breast cancer, just two weeks after the Government initiated a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus,” she says.

“I was told that I would need mastectomy surgery but this was delayed indefinitely due to the pandemic.  I was going into work with the knowledge that I had cancer growing in my breast which was a very difficult and stressful thing to have hanging over me.”

At Sam Read’s bookshop in Grasmere

Marisa eventually had her surgery later that year. She says that writing gave her a focus at a time when she was not only feeling poorly but was also denied access to her beloved Lake District mountains, due to pandemic restrictions.

She decided to publish the book in the hope that it will provide inspiration and insight for others.

“I hope that reading my book might help some women, their loved ones and maybe even their doctors, to realise that they are not alone and to laugh and cry with me over the horrors and the funny bits of having breast cancer. I also hope it’s informative on what to expect post-mastectomy with immediate implant reconstruction and the mental processes we go through as survivors.”

Marisa is donating a percentage of the sales to CancerCare which supported her with counselling during her treatment and Breast Cancer Now.

“I can’t speak highly enough of CancerCare. Just having that listening ear and someone to tell you that it is completely normal to feel the way you are feeling really helped during my treatment,” she said.

Everyone is welcome to come along to the library, where Marisa will be signing copies of the book, but will also be happy to chat with anyone affected by cancer. Or anyone who shares her passion for the outdoors!

The event is at Kendal Library (Stricklandgate, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4PY) from 10-12 on Saturday November 12. All welcome.