On a pleasant September afternoon we made our way to Russell Square to find our quiz-slash-task masters, Derek and Samantha, ready and waiting to set our away day challenges. We were assigned three separate tasks and a map to help us with those tasks – an information scavenger hunt, a book bench quiz and a photo competition.
Off we eagerly scampered and scattered in different directions along the helpful pink lines drawn on our maps with an hour to visit and search several squares in the Bloomsbury area.
Our team, The White Rabbits (although we wouldn’t be called that until the end), decided on heading first towards Bloomsbury Square quickly spotting our first scavenger item as we left Russell Square. More followed as we entered Bloomsbury Square, spotting a lamb? in the playground, an engraving of the original square at its centre and other items too through investigating its statues, signs and surrounding buildings.
The first book benches were there too. We thought about taking a photo of one team member shooting another with a pen by the James Bond bench but carried on instead, maybe a bit too camera shy at this early stage.
We then made a deviation from our initial plan and swung over to the pub and Queen Square before those around the University of London. At Queen Square we continued our eagle-eye spotting, finding angels, a pump, a swan and more.
On the way back to Russell Square and beyond we went wrong, spotting a plaque for SOE Operative, Wing-Commander Yeo-Thomas, and popped him on our scavenger list.
As we went along we would occasionally spot our competitors and some light bantering would go on while deep in our hearts we knew our desire was to destroy all.
In the squares around Senate House, SOAS and Birkbeck, we continued to rattle them off- a globe, a flag, an owl. I suggested censoring the instructions and placing it on the 1984 bench for the photo competition but the idea was taking too long so we pressed on.
In the final two squares, with time more or less run out, we split up and ran around trying to see what information we could quickly scavenge (well Fiona and Liam did, I wandered a bit more slowly, partly because I was trying to write down the information as it was relayed back to me). We discovered our earlier SOE answer was wrong, found an Indian poet and a sarsen stone. On our way back through those final squares we got very fortunate and spotted a few we had missed such as The Warburg Institute and a plum tree.
Additionally, we finally framed our photo entry- one member of our team killing another on the Sherlock Holmes bench!
Back we rushed to Russell Square to find no one at all. And so on we rushed to the pub to find everyone else there. We named our team (Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas’s code name was The White Rabbit), deciding we were “Seemingly tame but surprisingly deadly.”
The answers were next: we did well where we had found the answers, winning the scavenger hunt but losing out from not having managed to find all the benches. That quiz was won by the team from Cass comprising Michael, Oskar and new team members Emily and Kathryn. The well deserved winner of the photo competition was Kirsty who re-created The Importance of Being Earnest, bursting forth from her handbag.
There were rather lovely literary prizes for all the winners, too!
I didn’t see what followed as I had a pre-arranged date. No doubt an evening of debauchery. With pizza. Please let me know in the comments – was there a particularly good pizza, beer wine, or piece of gossip-slash-story to tell of? And what were your experiences of the day? Was there anything you found find? Did you get lost? Why not share with us all?