Sunday was the day of the Search Party, a scavenger hunt organised by the Mayor of London in the aim of encouraging locals to explore their own city. Through Huggies, I was invited to join a team, the Mighty Morphin Flower Arrangers!
Our registration was at the Guildhall Gallery. This was the first clue.
It led us to the basement of the gallery where there were the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre. The likely structure was highlighted by Tron-like, viridescent lines. At the amphitheatre, we went into battle against another team, playing thumbs up or down with Roman trivia. We were tied, but eventually went away defeated due to the last round, where the quizmaster just picked a winning team at random.
This led us to Love Lane, where the Beatles‘ lyrics (which I sang out loud for the benefit of my team mates) directed us to Postman’s Park. In this park, there were ceramic plaques dedicated to those who had died in the line of duty or in the process of saving others. Our challenge in this park was to find someone who had perished in a gas explosion and report back to the volunteer to receive a clue. We selected PC Edward George of the Metropolitan Police, who died in 1917 saving lives during an explosion.
At St John’s, we sang with a monk and then completed a crossword, briefly getting stuck on 1 down – “a land full of holes”. Eventually, we realised it was the Holy Land – Jerusalem! The crossword gave us our next instruction and we walked through Jerusalem Passage to Clerkenwell Green, site of many significant protests.
The clue we were awarded by protesting led us to The Apple Tree, a quaint little pub where we tried out some apple juice and had a proper drink stop.
This led us to a park where we played games to win our clue – limbo, duck fishing, coconuts and quoits. I was the victor at quoits, presumably due to receiving this game as a Christmas present from my cousins last year!
Looking at my watch, I realised it was time to return to Guildhall to retrieve my bag from cloak check-in, so I left my search party team. They went on to the final party location, which was a fifties-themed party in a large church hall, complete with music and dancing lessons.
I, on the other hand, attempted to catch the tube back to Mansion House and found the Circle Line completely suspended. I managed to get to Bank and run the rest of the way. I arrived, sweaty and wheezing at the gallery three minutes before closing, only to find they had already closed. However, I was determined to retrieve my possessions as they were the belongings I needed for my trip to Oxford, so I talked to three different security guards using various “negotiation techniques” (being on the verge of hysteria, being eternally grateful and allowing one of them to call me “babe” without my usual feminist tirade response).
So, although I didn’t manage to make it to the Mayor’s party, I did manage to reach my final destination for the evening, Oxford, with my essential belongings, so the day ended up a success!