All avid readers of the Sunday Times will most definitely be aware of an excellent competition in its travel supplement called ‘Where was I?’. It is not unlike ‘Treasure hunt’ in that it is based on the ‘clue and discovery’ principle only that this is entirely in a text form. All you need is a hot/cold drink ( Non-alcoholic preferably. Caffein certainly helps.This is serious stuff! ), pen and paper ..Oh and a connection to a wifi is a must unless you have volumes and volumes of Encylopedia Britannica somewhere on the bookshelves or a PhD or two in History and Geography of the British isles.
Paragraph after paragraph, the writer, a brilliant Chris Fautley (more about him later) describes an exploration of an area of the British Isles and takes us on a journey or a short trip with him. At times we are on a train travelling north or driving towards the East coast, waiting for a tide to subside somewhere, looking up a redundant lighthouse….We might be at a village where a famous author was born, passing through a town where a historian lived, close by a picturesque hamlet in which a King hid from his enemies… There is that medieval castle, rundown mill, a museum, an ancient aqueduct… He is our travelling companion, our guide as well as our teacher. He teases us with a series of clever clues enwrapped in a sense of humour that is so undeniably British. His observations are generously given, his descriptions captivating. The style of writing (which I think might be the foremost reason I look forward to this competition each and every Sunday) is unique and very inspiring.
Two questions are asked at the end. You may be asked to identify a place, a specific building/site or a person mentioned in the article or even a major event. Correct entries are entered into a draw. The prize changes every week. It is effectively a marketing tool for a list of travel companies which act as hosts but who cares? You get to travel with the wonderful Chris Fautley, get to know the British Isles as no syllabi on the school curriculum could ever cover and may even win a holiday while at it.
I haven’t won anything yet. Every Sunday, I see a ” …..from ….wins a ….days/weeks holiday in ….”. I am hoping one day I will see my name on the print. Sometimes my imagination runs wild. I imagine winning a trip to Alaska or somewhere equally exciting in the Northern Hemisphere to see the Northern Lights ( Bucket list #1). May be a trip to Peru to greet the sun in Macchu Picchu ( Bucket list #2). I wouldn’t say no to a journey to China to see The Terracotta Army ( Buckey list#3), the Cherry Blossoms of Japan, The Niagara Falls…the list goes on and on …
I want to win this competition. I want to make Chris Fautley proud.With my self-proclaimed competitive streak and my cup of coffee, “it is only a matter of time” I say to myself.
Luck doesn’t come into it.
* I had been very curious about the identity of Chris Fautley. I consciously avoided to Google him, as one does these days. I enjoyed having his company in his anonymity. While writing this piece I couldn’t resist it any longer. The article I read tells me that he is a journalist/writer who has written hundreds of articles, contributes regularly to a number of publications and is well known for his love of the British heritage and travel.