The weather at the moment is a tad on the changeable side - and that southerly wind from Antarctica is bringing some very cold fronts and rain with it. So, although we'd booked in for the Daffodils and Tulips run, we were still debating about whether it was worth going right up to breakfast time. But - look - there was a peep of blue - so we were brave, and found our way to the start of the run, at Auckland Botanic Gardens. 'And it's not raining (yet)' said Art, 'Let's put the hood down'. Now this might be a bit foolhardy.....
Sue and Neil gathered us all up, handed out run sheets, and explained the 'rules'. Follow the instructions on the sheet. As you perform each instruction, cross it off. Half-way through, there is a section where instead of following written instructions you have to follow diagrams at each junction. And to make life interesting, here is a sheet of photographs. When you see the thing in the photo (which will always be on the left hand side), mark the letter of the photo next to the instruction you've just done'. It sounded easy enough.
We let a couple of cars go in front of us, then set off. By instruction 8 I was getting a bit worried, as we hadn't seen any of the photos at all, and I couldn't believe that Sue would leave it too long until the first one. There was a definite knack to this - and we hadn't got it yet. Then I spotted it - a picture of a chicken on a chicken processing factory - bingo! At least it wasn't going to be a duck. We drove on, into Clevedon. 'I spot the Daisy!' We were on a roll......
Into the Tulip section. There were supposed to be junctions meeting the road we were on - we seemed to be missing them. Never mind - there were four more photos spotted. The last one was the signpost into Ardmore Quarry Road, where the instruction was to turn right.
Back to the written instructions. One of the photos showed some graffiti on a lamp post. We found some - but it didn't look the same. Never mind - we made a note just in case. More photos were found (what were those chairs doing pinned to the wall?), then it was a drive through Papakura Industrial Estate. 'I've spotted the three little men on the Assembly Point sign' says Art. 'Are you sure?' says I, 'Absolutely' says he. So I marked it down.
The rest of the drive continued reasonably smoothly, with another 6 photos spotted on the way, before our finish at Kings Plant Barn in Alfriston.
With admirable dedication to duty, Sue & Neil were ignoring their meals and busy marking sheets, while the rest of us tucked into the excellent and very reasonably priced fare from the cafe. Sue handed our sheet over. So how had we done? There were 24 pictures to find, and 4 were red herrings. As expected, we had missed most of the first photos - three out of the first four! We had found 16 of the photos in total (16 points), but had marked the 'Ardmore Quarry Road' sign on the wrong instruction (-1 point). But as everyone else had done the same Sue gave us the benefit of the doubt (½ point). We thought we had found 2 more, but it was the wrong graffiti on the lamp-post, and the wrong three little men on an assembly point (-2 points). Total points - 13 ½. So we didn't disgrace ourselves. Another photo that caught a number of people out was the red herring of a chicken mailbox that was actually on the right hand side of the road (quote from Colin - 'so the chicken did cross the road!), so it didn't count. Or more to the point, if you marked it you lost a point - so actually it counted quite a lot! And of course there was Bunty's hat - which had blown away!
When all the sheets were in and marked, Sue announced the top three. And there was a surprise(d) winner.......Teri Cattel