Stiff Competition - the novel

Treasure  Map & Clues 

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Stiff Competition - the novel

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Clues

We Seek It Here, We Seek It There ...

    I love treasure hunts, although they usually prove frustrating and costly, and always lose me at least one good friend.  I still recall the the one run by Toblerone, which I did with a pal called Brian.  We were both jobless and destitute at the time, with overdrawn bank accounts and soon-to-be-cancelled credit cards, but that didn’t stop us hiring cars and driving the 80 miles to Bristol on four separate occasions.  I said to Brian’s long-suffering wife as we departed on the last expedition, ‘Cheer up, Sarah - we’ll bring you back the treasure and a stick of Clevedon rock.’  To which she replied, ‘I’d settle for some shoes for the kids.’  Knowing we were spending the kids’ shoe money on this iffy enterprise was a great source a joy to me as we trudged from one dead end to another. 

    I was convinced the Bristol area was the place where they keys to the prize car were hidden because the clues referred to ‘The English Columbus’.  This just had to be John Cabot, as he was born in the same place as Columbus (Genoa), did the exploring thing like Columbus, and is thought to have discovered parts of America.  Practically a clone.  Bristol, of course, was where Cabot lived.  We had to look for a relic of the great man, and there was a whale bone from one of Cabot’s voyages in Bristol’s St. Mary Redcliff church.  From there we had to ‘Fly as the crow towards the setting sun until the open road is calling.’  Due west from the church was the M5.  After that, said the clues, the answer was to be found in an old poem called A Silent Love.  This had the line, ‘The dial stirs yet none perceives it move’.  Just over the M5 in Clevedon was Dial Hill, and a few miles inland lay Dial Quarry.  Ah - the dial moves without seeming to move, i.e. magically jumps inland!  Right next to Dial Quarry was the village of Winford - and the prize was a Ford car!  It couldn’t have been clearer if there had been a neon sign over the village saying, ‘Here it is!’

    Well, we sifted every grain of sand in that place but there were  no hidden keys.  Fifty miles into the journey home we realised we’d forgotten Sarah’s stick of rock.  It was probably just as well we didn’t hand her anything that could be used as a weapon, because she wasn’t pleased to learn that the kids had been deprived of their shoes for nothing.  She and Brian were divorced not long after that. The keys were eventually found in Norfolk. The English Columbus, it turned out, was that old seadog Isaac Newton, who discovered somewhere called Gravity.  I still whimper a little when I think of that one.  

   The moral of this story, apart from don’t tell the wife, is that a spot of lateral thinking is often called for in treasure hunt clues.  But be warned, sometimes they require no thinking at all.  You spend days saying to yourself, ‘Yes, but what does it really mean?’ and then find that it means just what it says and the village idiot has beaten you to the loot.  

                       The Clues:

Late one dismal afternoon (what jolly lads are we!)
We buried all our principles and our integrity;
We buried all our honour, lads, our sense of fair play too:
We’d found them inconvenient - oh yes, me lads, it’s true.

From Wideboy Beach we took a path straight to a shady place;
The shadows hid the shifty looks on every shifty face.
We lost our way but found a man who knew the island well.
We hired him as a guide, with dodgy coins (he couldn’t tell!).

We realised that we’d become the lowest on the map.
We looked around and found nearby a feather for our cap.
We headed for the messenger and twisted to the right,
And took a route where some might see a creature of the night.

We scrambled up a slope and quickly marched along the line,
Had a drink then joined the road that bore no earthly sign.
Another walk, another left, a few more yards and then
We reached a place we wouldn’t go if we were better men. 

Fifty paces on we found a funny sort of tree,
And there we hid the treasure - oh what jolly lads are we!
 

Treasure Hunt Tips

    Not all of the clues are in The Clues.   

   The round blobs on the map in the town of Kinson are trees, each marked with its name (by which I mean oak, ash, etc, not Fred and Doris).  One of these is the hiding place  - but which one?   No guessing now.  It can all be worked out logically ... bearing in mind that we are dealing with treasure hunt logic (i.e. sometimes twisted).

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