The rest of the quiz was a bit ludicrous as well. Lewis Hamilton was the answer to two questions, as was Belinda Carlisle! It was all incredibly surreal.
Our table of seven created a bit of confusion when we went up for food and asked for five vegetarian meals. The woman looked at me as though I’d just announced I was taking her hostage. They’d made the assumption that there would be a maximum of one veggie per team, so each table was presented with a huge vat of meaty chilli and a tiny little individual portion of the veggie sort. So basically I returned to the table with a sky high stack of vegetarian portions and a massive bowl of the meaty stuff for just Sascha and my Dad to share! The veggie stuff tasted very bland. Incredibly hot, yet bland. It tasted okay with a heap of ketchup, but I do wonder why people mistake hot spices for flavour. Everyone’s too scared to use salt these days.
We picked it up a bit in the second half, although the history round was a wipe out. We were asked to name the longest serving UK Prime Minister. The official answer is Walpole, who was also the first, but there’s so much doubt around whether you’d call him a prime minister or not, so the question felt almost irrelevant.
We were so disconsolate by the end that the news we’d come third barely registered. Sascha won some cup cakes in the raffle. That was a highlight. Helen, Abbie and I discovered a mutual obsession with Agatha Christie. That was also a highlight. As was the open fire and tea and cake at my parents’ beforehand. Ah! The smell of an open fire.
Abbie and I drove Helen back to Cambridge along the dark Northern Essex country lanes which, we all agreed, seemed particularly scary. They were all wrapped in a sort of haze and we kept seeing curious lights sweeping across the fields to the sides of the roads. It was certainly a night of curious optical illusions. I’ve no idea what they were caused by, but they made us feel incredibly uneasy.
We got home late. Very late. I think I slept instantly!