I had cause to reflect this morning as I typed up my latest research notes. I had been feeling a bit sorry for myself on Thursday as I trudged to the Metro from my latest shift in Newcastle City Library. It was raining, I didn’t get a seat on the Metro, and I still hadn’t found my murder victim! Such is the loneliness of the independent historian. But in reality, there is no such thing. Even on such a simple expedition, other people played a role. The editor of the Hexham Historian had sent me a list of potentially useful articles, and the courteous librarian retrieved the material I needed. I came home to emails from strangers I had asked for help to identify obscure characters, and we can add other strangers who offered information on my last trip out to the scene of the murder I am researching. There is of course Carolanne who has been driving me into the middle of nowhere for almost as long as we’ve been married, and recently my cousin Lynne sliced out some of her valuable time to wade through mud, climb a hill, and drive me to look at a blank wall along a muddy lane. So the next time you read a history book and wonder why the writer has included three pages of acknowledgements, now you know!