Updated: May 3
As a child, I was transfixed by the daring television adventures of ‘Challenge Anneka’.
From my humble viewpoint, her swashbuckling treasure hunts - on helicopters and high-wires - were the stuff of legend, guaranteed to inflame a sense of adventure, with family dog walks becoming rigorous, challenging, quests.
I can still remember the shock of watching my hero being inadvertently struck by a show jumping horse. There ensued a week-long sense of panic that she might not return to my screen.
She did. Thankfully.
So influential were Anneka’s crusades, that, a quarter of a century later, attending a fancy-dress party, I actually donned a boiler suit, blonde wig and neck-hanging map-pouch.
Sorry Anneka, your crown’s quite safe.
Amid these days of endless exposure to one’s family, a discussion about favourite TV shows, and the object of my childhood fascination, was recently broached.
I thought no more about it until, days later, returning from the Co-op, a pink sticker solemnly announced: “Welcome to the game. You have me when I am in pain. I am your great relief, but never chew me with your teeth.”
A new hunt had begun.
Astute readers will recognise that Clue One refers to paracetamol, currently stockpiled and, along with thermometers and cough mixture, looms large in the household psyche. An apposite first kick.
Further cryptic evidence followed: “I am full to the brim, when you look at me, you can’t stay slim.”
No, prizes for guessing that the fridge is our new best friend, stubbornly producing calories, no matter how extreme the depletion of its innards.
Every room in the house, along with the garden, was embraced during 14 tricky clues: “We rearrange this piece of wood, where now we drink and eat our food.”
Covid-19 ‘displacement activity’ of tidying out the summer house. If only I’d known a couple of hours with cleaning materials would be so inspiring.
Metaphorically speaking, I’d say much of the nation is also on a bit of a personal treasure hunt. None of us is very comfortable with the landscape in which we find ourselves, all fumbling about looking for hints as to our future direction.
Most of us are wearing silly outfits and shouting quite a bit, often frustrated with those on our team. Suddenly, we’re being hit with an attention-grabbing blast of information – usually around five o’clock in the afternoon. We discuss, look to each other for inspiration, then head off on our own preferred route.
Along this route, there’ve been various curve-balls, elephant traps designed to throw us off the scent.
“We’re running out of loo rolls.”
“No, we’re not.”
“Yes, we are!”
The prize, of course, seems permanently out of reach, tantalising snippets of intelligence giving only tiny clues as to the possible final outcome.
We all have our own game-plan, but probably - ultimately - it will be the puppet-masters who dictate our destination, with personal crusades being of little importance to any but our immediate sphere.
But maybe there is sufficient insurgence being generated to search for solutions with the final destination not lying just in our leaders’ hands? Who knows?
Whatever the outcome, it looks like being a very long treasure hunt.
Until we do reach the pot of gold, I’m very grateful for all of that Sherlock ‘revision’ on Netflix. You just never know when finely-honed detective skills might prove very useful.
Mairi Fraser 27.4.20
(found on a globe light - I hope the world does indeed go on long after I leave it...)