Today, I had a different experience of a public lecture: I spoke to a group of 19 enthusiastic and attentive members of the public near Mold, Flintshire, part of the Flintshire U3A: University of the Third Age.

Now, those Tolkein obsessives among you might immediately think I am referring to some kind of Hobbit HE College, but actually the University of the Third Age is a nationwide trust with independent local groups providing educational and leisure activities for those aged 50+.

The Flintshire U3A asked me to speak, and what they got was the cheery topic of Viking Death. I summarised parts of three lectures that I delivered at the Grosvenor Museum last year. I gave them a bit about death in Viking Scandinavia and areas of Norse settlement in the British Isles and then a bit about hogback stones.

What was also distinctive about today’s lecture was how I got there. I went on the old WMCQR: I took my bike on the train to Buckley and then cycled my way to New Brighton (Flintshire, not the one on the Wirral). Good exercise, a good audience and a good dose of Viking archaeology, and because it was a morning talk, I was back at home for lunch!

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