The treasure hunt this year was organised by Heather and Jacqui. It was based on the Square Mile, which basically means that most of the answers to the questions could be found within the Square Mile. I say most, as one of the organisers assumed the Square Mile was actually a square, and failed to look up the actual City boundaries, so there were a few odd questions from outside the perimeter. The weather happened to be kind to us for another year of hunting, as the sun shone brightly all day. It was perfect weather for charging from one end of the City to the other, and hunting up and down streets for the answers to the various questions.
The event started at 10.30, in the Crosse Keys on Gracechurch Street. Those of us who attended were split up into groups of around 6, and Heather then handed out the question packs. One team in particular was especially keen, and had arranged to get to the pub early in order to have a team bonding session before the event. However, as the most key member (the one in charge of cucumber sandwiches) arrived after the treasure hunt had actually started, due to being out drinking till 7am, the bonding session didn’t go entirely to plan.
We all eventually went our merry ways (most of us after a hearty Wetherspoons breakfast) to seek out the objects that held the answers, be they walls, statues, plaques, or a hand-written sign stuck in a window behind a plant pot (asking people not to urinate in a certain place does undoubtedly encourage them to do so!). Some of the answers were extremely well hidden. One answer was written on a plaque which was covered up by scaffolding. Some lucky few who were the right height and rather eagle eyed, managed to not only spot the plaque, but by moving up and down and swaying, the words on the plaque were made visible through the scaffolding. Nick Hartley’s ego will never let us forget that he was the one who persisted and found a very well hidden answer by the Dutch church, when everyone else had given up. As always, there was a bonus round and tie-breaker challenge. The bonus round mainly consisted of how many comedy photos could be taken throughout the day, and the tie-breaker was to take photos of the Ward signs for as many City Wards as possible.
After much to-ing and fro-ing across the City, and a few stops for elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, etc., we all ended up at the Blackfriar, where Heather and Jacqui were waiting for us. The answer forms were
handed in, the photos were shown and given a score, and all the marks were tallied up. The winners this year were Clara, Quentin, Tom Wood, Tom Sibley and Mariko. There prize was a box of chocolates each, and being allowed to gloat for the foreseeable future. The results were slightly controversial due to accusations of cheating (i.e. a team splitting up to answer questions) which had absolutely no merit, especially as the winning team spent the entire day splitting up when people went off to ring for weddings. The evening ended in much revelry as all UL events are inclined to do. There was a visit to the Hare and Tortoise for many UL members, and some hard-core few of us ended the night with a trip to not only the Southwark Tavern, but also the Blue-Eyed Maid.
All in all it was a very enjoyable and very successful day. A huge thank you from all of us to Heather and Jacqui, and well done to the winners – may their heads not get too big!
By Hellen Richardson