Even An­neka would be stumped for clues

Perthshire Advertiser - - CONT@CTS -

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 high­wires - 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 fan­cy­dress party, I ac­tu­ally donned a boiler suit, blonde wig and neck­hang­ing map-pouch.

Oh dear.

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 seen 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!”

“Ar­rggh.”

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 game­plan, 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.

None of us is very com­fort­able with the land­scape in which we find our­selves

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