I was very pleased to be asked to write a guest blog for Black Cat Treasure Hunts and even prouder to be a sponsor on the Stanmer Park treasure hunt adventure page.
My name is Ian Hornett, internationally unrenowned author of Quarton: The Bridge. Thank you for clicking on this blog. Bear with me as I take you on a magical treasure hunt of my own... a hunt for anything in this blog that is vaguely interesting and worth reading.
No... don’t click on the little cross or back button to close... stay with it. You’ve got this far so you might as well read it to the end. After all, you are a treasure hunter and, by being one of those, you will have the skills you need to see out reading through this whole blog.
Skills like: determination, perseverance and resilience (I’ve got this far, I may as well keep going); curiosity (I wonder what’s down there? What on Earth is this author bloke blathering on about?); a desire to focus on the end-game (Has he finished yet?); teamwork (You read the blog to see if there’s anything useful in it, I’ll check out the pubs); the ability to read and interpret signs and symbols (e.g. letters like these, cunningly jumbled up and reshaped to form words and sentences); a competitive edge (Derek, Ali and Sean, it says you have to read the blog just before setting off... Come on, the rest of you, let’s go!); navigational skills (It was the back button to get out of this, wasn’t it?) communication skills (‘Not that way... this way!”... “Are we nearly there yet?”... “Is there a feedback button on this site so I can say what I really think about this bloke?” ); and, if you’re prepared to while away a day getting lost in the Sussex countryside or reading something you don’t need to, time management skills.
So what’s this blog about? Well, there’s a little story I want to tell. It has a relevant moral to it.
But first, let me tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t a blog to sell my book, Quarton: The Bridge. You’ve already bought that and if you haven’t then you’re probably not interested and certainly don’t want to hear me banging on about a very good book for sale on Amazon at a very competitive price, that should be bought immediately by clicking on the very visible link on Black Cat’s Stanmer Park Treasure Hunt Adventure page, reviewed positively and recommended to all your friends and family. Far from it!
You are on this site because you are, let me remind you, a hunter of treasure... a treasure hunter, indeed. A treasure hunter does not have the patience or time to waste dealing with blatant attempts to sell Quarton: The Bridge available on Amazon by clicking the link on the Stanmer Park Treasure Hunt Adventure page. And, being a hunter of treasure you are far too savvy to be diverted from your goal by even subtle references to the book. No, you, treasure hunter extraordinaire, are totally focussed on your quest to find the treasure (or quarton as some people call it). Sure, you will have to cross many bridges along the way. Maybe even the odd river (for example, The Brede, Ouse or Amazon). But, if you reach for the stars, you will succeed! You will reach your goal. You will be victorious and return home near Stanmer Park-maybe (page and click on the Quarton link).
So the story...
It’s a quick one about getting lost. We’ve all done it; it’s easy to do. One moment you might be driving along a road looking for, I don’t know, clues or something. Or you might be walking along a beach or across the Downs, searching for that little nugget of information that might be crucial to getting to the next point on your destination. You see a sign – no entry. Or something that tells you shouldn’t proceed. Sometimes these no entry signs are explicit (quick tip: red round sign, white stripe = no entry. You can have that one for free). Sometimes they are implicit – a sign saying ‘Private Land’ or a bouncer standing at an entrance to a night club with his arms folded (By the way if you do come across him on your hunt, you might want to revisit both your navigational and time management skills – see above). Sometimes the signs are there but there might be things growing around, making them not clear to see at all.
In the case of my brother-in-law (let’s call him Andy for the sake of protecting his embarrassment), the no entry sign was implicit and it was being hidden, not by anything physical but by a myriad of other things going on in his brain. Let me explain.
Andy was a young salesman back in the day. He was full of enthusiasm, keen to create a good impression, well prepared and confident. One day he was asked to go along to a customer’s sales meeting to present to a group of people. The treasure at the end of this particular sales hunt was a significant contract for his own business. He had done his homework: projected sales figures were on hand, details about the product, delivery timescales, anticipated questions prepped for answers. He had his laptop with him, slides to show, papers organised and a sales patter which he delivered with aplomb. The meeting finished and there were smiles all round. The contract was looking very promising. The adrenalin that had been coursing through him had done him proud. He packed away all his equipment and with his laptop and papers tucked under his arm, enthusiastically went round the table, shook everyone’s hand and bid his farewell. With one last wave of the hand he turned to leave and walked through the door... straight into a cupboard full of stationery.
Now, there was a moment while he was in there when Andy had to make a decision. He had to choose a route, just as you might have to on your own hunt for treasure. Do you carry on or turn back the way you came? For Andy, it was not straightforward; neither route was attractive. He could go further into the cupboard, hope they hadn’t noticed and stay there until the meeting broke up. Or he could turn around and face the music.
To his credit, he did the latter. He continued the waves and smiles on his way out of the cupboard and to the exit door which was next to the door marked ‘Stationery cupboard’ (implicit). To uproarious laughter, he carried it off as well as he could have done. His only regret, he told us, was that he did not have the wherewithal to do what Inspector Clouseau did in one of his films in a similar situation which was to wave a finger in the air and say, ‘Ah... the old closet ploy’.
The moral? Well, read into it what you wish. But remember: you are a treasure hunter. Go out and enjoy yourself. After all, you only live once (unlike the characters in my book, Quarton: The Bridge, click on...)
Congratulations! I knew you’d reach the end.
P.S If you can stand more of this, google my name and you should find a link to my web-site and blogs.
P.P.S My brother-in-law is called Andy.