I love it when a plan comes together. *:) I really was nervous about it - on the train up to town to lay the treasure hunt trail I was getting serious butterflies, mainly revolving around whether I'd be able to charm someone to hold the first clue for me or whether I'd get a point blank No (which has been known). But, all went to schedule, and I have a very happy man as a result.
So, as you may have heard, for his birthday last weekend I gave The Man a locked money box with 'Surprise!' written on it, but no key. He spent several days doing his nut and threatening to withhold priviledges until I let him open the box, but hey, he's rubbish at resisting me. *:) I think he'd then got busy at work and sort of forgotten about it. Meantime, I'd called one of his work colleagues and got them to agree to be an accomplice, sent them the key and got them to book in some fake work for The Man on Saturday afternoon (he works weekends) to make sure that the time required was mine.
The Man (luckily) dropped a horrible clanger on Wednesday night when he said he had to be in work early on the Sunday as well - argh! Impossible! So another call was made to the Accomplice, and all was sorted. I owe a couple of people some bottles of wine....
So, anyway, back to the treasure hunt. I'll do it from The Man's point of view, so as not to spoil the surprise. At about 2.30 on the Saturday afternoon he was told by my Accomplice that his last client had cancelled. 'How do you know about my diary?' queries The Man. 'Oh, and I have this key for you', adds the Accomplice. It takes a couple of minutes for this to compute, during which time the Accomplice notes dryly that The Man can be bloody hard work sometimes. Finally the penny drops, and there is an excited opening of the box.
Inside they find a London streetmap, train tickets, a note to bring an overnight bag and half a postcard of The Ritz. The Accomplice tells The Man to s*d off home and get sorted out. I get a call at this point from The Man saying, 'Sooo, I have a key, and I'm at home.' 'Really?' I say innocently. 'How nice!', wandering towards the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. 'Hmm', says The Man (who hates being kept in the dark). 'Right, I'm getting the train'.
An hour and a bit later and I've seen the Exhibition (the only thing that grabbed me was The Entymology of Love by Sue Whale, a box frame of different types of cut-out hearts pinned to look like butterflies, with labels underneath each group reading 'Margate, March 2005' or 'Mim's birthday, 1998') and had tea and a 'delicate' at Laduree (how tiny is that shop??? Argh! But the pastries are divine, so it was just about worth it.) when I get another phone call.
'I'm at the Ritz. Where are you?'
'In Boots getting some water.'
'Aren't I meeting you here?'
'Nope. You just need to get to the concierge desk and ask for your message.'
Later still (as I was in M&S buying some cheap fizz):
'I've got the next clue.'
'They chucked me out of the Ritz once because I've got jeans on.'
'It's against the dress code.'
'Oh dear! But you got the clue OK?'
'Yes, cloakroom ticket for the Royal Academy. The concierge made me give him the other half of the postcard.'
'Good for him! Well, I'll let you get on then.'
Which led him to a Fortnum's bag containing my shopping (tea) and the next clue...
And then a text:
'It's written on the back of the room key!'
Honestly, sometimes men are not very bright.
And a knock at the door...
After a few excited whoops and The Man saying I was very naughty and very clever, we sat around for a bit swapping stories of the chase and drinking fizz, then went out to see Jersey Boys, which I can recommend for a great night out and source of several more forgotten singing-in-the-shower ditties, and then on to Chinatown for some late night crispy duck and shredded beef. Mmm.
So, a big thank you to everyone who helped me with this, and for keeping it a secret, and to The Accomplice for being a star and also one of The Man's team for covering the Sunday work, Fenella for 'inviting us for dinner' on Saturday to make sure he kept the evening free and the concierge at the Ritz for being a diamond and fully deserving the golden keys on his lapel. Good grief, you'd think it wouldn't need a whole cast to make something like this happen! Anyway, I think I am forgiven for making him wait for his birthday present. And of course I've upped the ante for my next birthday present too... *:)