A city guide with riddles that boggled our minds | BBC Radio Solent's Alun Newman

Sadly, I would not be your first pick if you were assembling a great pub quiz team. That is for several reasons.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 5:32 pm
Updated Monday, 15th November 2021, 5:32 pm
Looking at the tour map in Winchester.

Firstly, and for reasons I have never understood, I can only recall items, events and trivia that nobody else needs.

Secondly, under quiz pressure, my mind becomes the cerebral version of Wookey Hole and grinds to a complete standstill.

Thirdly, even if I do know the answer, there’s always someone else in a pub quiz team that says the answer with more authority and I would probably follow the most charismatic suggestion rather than one that seems logical.

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For example, I can remember what I had for lunch on day four when I was on holiday on the Greek island of Kos at the ripe old age of 23. We'd hired mopeds; it was scorching hot. We had an omelette. You see, I am absolutely no use at pub quizzes.

For the classic pub quiz, the question ‘who was the inventor of the Bristol Suspension Bridge?’ came up (even though I know the answer, the pressure got to me and I had to ask uncle Google).

It is of course Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

I did know that and I set the question for myself and still didn’t get it.

For that reason, I tend to avoid those types of challenges.

That was until my wife downloaded a city treasure trail.

There are more than 1,000 of these self-guided treasure hunt-style walks across the UK and this one takes you through Winchester’s Abbey gardens, along the riverside and to the grounds of the cathedral.

We were looking for something to do and we were trying to avoid shopping, coffee and eating.

Or at least looking to delay those things with something different.

It cost £9.99 believe it or not and is sanctioned by the council.

You can have a PDF on your phone or print it out.

At first I was dismissive.

Firstly, because we’d paid for something that must be free on the net somewhere.

Secondly, what if it was out of date, boring or simply no good.

My wife reprimanded the emotion on my face. I was ordered to buck up. I responded accordingly.

This trail took us on a five-mile tour around St Catherine’s Hill near Winchester.

In and around the city's ancient walls and to historical treasures nearby.

If I was reading that last sentence, it would read in my mind as: it was dull, old and boring.

But let me stop you there. The weather was kind.

I was surprised on discovering just how much I got into it.

We were loading keywords and numbers into a grid.

At times, we were obviously looking so puzzled that complete strangers walking their dogs stopped to ask if we were all right.

Some even offered to help. That obviously would be cheating and completely unacceptable.

It was, dare I say it, a great way to discover part of the south coast.

However, what I will add is this. I started this story by explaining that I am mentally challenged when it comes to all things quiz and clue related.

My wife is not much better unless we’re in a music round that only spans the 1960s to about 1990 which is when Spandau Ballet split up. That is the benefit of a ‘Mod’ who then becomes a ‘New Romantic’. This quiz treasure trail was labelled as taking two adults about three hours. Without a word of a lie, it took us… three separate days!

Not full days but a serious chunk of each was used up.

The delay was partly caused by a selection of mistakes on my part. Either going too fast or trying to guess the answer – believing that I could guess where to go next, as I was in the head of the quiz creator.

All those mistakes aside it was, and I pause to shake my head with disbelief – surprisingly quite good fun.

Vexing car clock dilemma

Some of the cleverest people on earth are engineers. Their skill and dedication to building some of the most used products on the planet is remarkable.

It’s amazing how we can carry, what essentially is a laptop, around in our pockets and then surf the internet, send messages, book restaurant tables, all with a light touch on a glass screen.

We have robots picking shopping orders and loading them into delivery vans.

We have new stores where the ‘shelves’ know what you’ve taken and bill you when you leave.

With all this in mind, I would like to ask: why is it so hard to change the time on the clock in your car?

I’m sure fancy new ones do it for you, but for the rest of us it’s as tricky as getting Apollo 13 back to earth.

Armed with my owner's manual and some help from a 17-year-old YouTuber, I recently travelled through behind-the-scenes wizardry to finally – on attempt number 12 – reset my wretched clock.

This was after I had reset two service indicators that I didn’t know were there, carried out a mysterious brake safety assessment, and to finish, found the digital Vehicle Identification Number. If I had kept going, I expect the bonnet would have opened and the horn would have changed tone.

I had people on the radio show this week accept that for six months of the year, their car clock is an hour out.

The ultimate test for new drivers could be changing the clock time while driving. No-one would pass and the roads would be quieter.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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