• Ian

Getting lost

This is the first in a theme I would like to explore, prompted by my mum, Glad, who has a couple of stories which I will share with you later, just as soon as we find her again and get her permission. We've located her slippers so we know she can't have gone far.

This is a story I wrote as a blog for a friend of mine, Tim, who runs a treasure hunt company in Sussex. It's very good, I've heard, but almost impossible to find (bet you've not heard that one before, Tim). Ah, there you are... https://www.blackcattreasurehunts.co.uk/

Bit lazy but I've copied an extract from Tim's site. His lawyers will be on to me, no doubt, claiming copyright. This is the extract:

I was very pleased to be asked to write a blog for Black Cat Treasure Hunts and even prouder to be a sponsor on its home page.

This is a quick story about getting lost. We’ve all done it; it’s easy to do. One moment you might be driving along a road looking for, I don’t know, clues or something. Or you might be walking along a beach or across the Downs, searching for that little nugget of information that might be crucial to getting to the next point on your destination. You see a sign – no entry. Or something that tells you shouldn’t proceed. Sometimes these no entry signs are explicit (quick tip: red round sign, white stripe = no entry. You can have that one for free). Sometimes they are implicit – a sign saying ‘Private Land’ or a bouncer standing at an entrance to a night club with his arms folded (By the way if you do come across him on your hunt, you might want to revisit both your navigational and time management skills). Sometimes the signs are there but there might be things growing around, making them not clear to see at all.

In the case of my brother-in-law (let’s call him Andy for the sake of protecting his embarrassment), the no entry sign was implicit and it was being hidden, not by anything physical but by a myriad of other things going on in his brain. Let me explain.

Andy was a young salesman back in the day. He was full of enthusiasm, keen to create a good impression, well prepared and confident. One day he was asked to go along to a customer’s sales meeting to present to a group of people. The treasure at the end of this particular sales hunt was a significant contract for the business. He had done his homework: projected sales figures were on hand, details about the product, delivery timescales, anticipated questions prepped for answers. He had his laptop with him, slides to show, papers organised and a sales patter which he delivered with aplomb. The meeting finished and there were smiles all round. The contract was looking very promising. The adrenaline that had been coursing through him had done him proud. He packed away all his equipment and with his laptop and papers tucked under his arm, enthusiastically went round the table, shook everyone’s hand and bid his farewell. With one last wave of the hand he turned to leave and walked through the door... straight into a cupboard full of stationery.

Now, there was a moment while he was in there when Andy had to make a decision. He had to choose a route, just as you might have to on your own hunt for treasure. Do you carry on or turn back the way you came? For Andy, it was not straightforward; neither route was attractive. He could go further into the cupboard, hope they hadn’t noticed and stay there until the meeting broke up. Or he could turn around and face the music.

To his credit, he did the latter. He continued the waves and smiles on his way out of the cupboard and to the exit door which was next to the door marked ‘Stationery cupboard’ (implicit). To uproarious laughter, he carried it off as well as he could have done. His only regret, he told us, was that he did not have the wherewithal to do what Inspector Clouseau did in one of his films in a similar situation which was to wave a finger in the air and say, ‘Ah... the old closet ploy’.

The moral? Well, read into it what you wish. But remember: you are a treasure hunter. Go out and enjoy yourself. After all, you only live once (unlike the characters in my book, Quarton: The Bridge, on sale now.)

Congratulations! I knew you’d reach the treasure at the end.

P.S My brother-in-law is called Andy.

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