Notes from Puzzle Palace

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Don't shout!

Hi Puzzle fans!
I take a break from my IPP posts to become a bit of a puzzle pusher. Phil Tomlinson has a few "Don't Shout" and "Always Empty" boxes up on ebay now.  I think these are fantastic puzzle boxs. I played with them over at Allard's and loved them!  In fact, He did too.  Read his blog post about them, then go take a look at the auctions and place a bid!

(Photos stolen  from Allard and Phil.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 4-relaxing

This was the only day I had that wasn't filled with puzzling activities on this entire trip.  A picnic, hike, a swim.

This girl went to bed very satisfied.  :) Thank you Poseidon.  You granted my wishes.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 3-Top Secret Puzzle Hunt

Day 3 started off very early.  Breakfast at 7:30.  Which meant waking up even earlier because a girl needs a shower.
We met with Otis for breakfast and ate up quickly. Jumped in the car and set the GPS. What a wonder of modern technology that is! I've not driven in so many years, I was fascinated by it.  The drive over was around 2 1/2 hours.  We chatted as we drove. Otis played "The Room" for a while and then fell asleep.
After what seemed like a lifetime of driving we got close to the location but managed to get lost again. This seemed to be my lot on this trip. Lots of getting lost.  But That's part of the fun.  We finally gave in and called the organizer and realized that we had passed the location just a few minutes before.  Backtrack and we arrived at the secret nuclear bunker. 

Upon parking we ran into a bunch of other familiar faces.  Hugs were passed out all around!  After about half an hour we separated into teams and got ready to head into the bunker.  

The first thing we needed to do was to decode the puzzles.  I seem to have lost my book or maybe I gave it to Otis but no matter.  I remember many of the puzzles and the language has been burned into my brain.  6 people on the team and I was the only one who was fluent in squiggle. (I don't know if that's the name, but it's what I'm calling it).  It took me about 30 minutes to learn  it, and by the time we were finished with the hunt, I had one heck of a headache!
We weren't one of top three teams, and if truth be told, we were probably one of the last, but we did great work together. Sam made sure everyone had a chance to open a puzzle that they hadn't worked with before.  This was not only fair but great for me. I had the opportunity to play with a Dan Lock and as luck would have it, Peter had a spare and he sold it to me at IPP.  

The organizers had it set up rather nicely so that the teams were never in the same room at the same time.  We finished at least 14 rooms.  George asked what would happen if we went too fast.  The answer: we got a room that had nothing to do with the hunt. It really didn't matter because we had a fantastic time.  There were boxes, a wrap puzzle, a number of locks, a musicbox and another musical puzzle (Stairway to Heaven is Led Zeppelin guys-NOT Steppenwolf or what ever it was you said!)  There was a sideways burr that was a hoot!  Last puzzle of the day.  Rox read the line that told us where to start, but forgot how to read the English that told us to take the puzzle away with us.  

The entire day, we laughed until our sides hurt.  It was fantastic and if I lived in the UK I would beg the organizers to put together another one.

There were only 2 bad times during the day.  The first was when stupid Rox counted backwards and couldn't tell the difference between a bunch of pictures and a rebus. Doh!  Face palm!  Idiot!
 But hey, we managed to sort out our problem and carried on.  The other bad time?  I lost my sunglasses.  I know, who needs sunglasses in an underground bunker?  Rox of course!

We finished around 5, grabbed a sandwich and then watched a bit of the finals race before heading out.  There was a long drive ahead of us before we got to our final destination for the evening.  Next stop James Dalgety's! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day 2-MPP

I had the good fortune of meeting many of the lads from MPP in May when I spent a day with Allard and Gill.  When the IPP invitation was sent out and I saw to contact Nigel for the invitation to MPP a week before the main event, I shot off an email right away and said I would join in the fun.

This MPP wasn't just for folks from the Midlands though.  As it turned out, there were boys from all over the world who showed up for this event.

The day started out with a nice breakfast at the B&B that we were all staying at followed by a drive to Allards and then a convoy over to the venue of the MPP.  We arrived and I pulled a few toys out of the boot of the car to bring in and off we headed for the GAP center.

We all congregated in the lobby area for a bit of puzzling and some early morning coffee, then the fun began!

After an hour or so, we moved into a big room and everyone set up tables of the toys they brought along.  There was lots of puzzling and lots more boys to talk to.  There were even a few tables with puzzles for sale. This bit surprised me.  I guess I knew of it from Allard and Kevin's blogs, but that hadn't sunk in my simple brain.  

I wandered around and took a few photos before settling down to attempt some solving.  As usual, I was rubbish at it, but hey, a girl has to try.  

One of the highlights of this puzzle party for me was to finally meet the infamous Kevin.  What a treat that was for me!  

Brian Young handed out some MPP souvenir puzzles that were quickly put together by one and all.  Even Sue got into some puzzling.  
I got to see Burgo's puzzle kit and some very large puzzles made by Steve and the new 3x3x3.  
I didn't manage to stay very long.  By 3 pm the jet lag set in and I was done for!  I headed back to the B&B for a nap before the BBQ at Allard's that night.  After getting lost, we finally got back and I was out in minutes.  Funny thing happened while I was sleeping. Brian's puzzle unsolved itself.  I must ross and turn a lot more than I thought.
At 6 my alarm went off and we headed over to the Walker's for a bit of burnt meat.  As last time I had the pleasure of joining them, the food was fantastic, the host and hostess even better.  (Photos have been shamelessly stolen from Ois' facebook page-I was so busy having fun I forgot to take photos!)

There was a lot of chatting and a lot of puzzling going on.  As usual, I handed out my Berrocals for people to play with. In this instance it was Louis Puzzleman-A real giant that I enjoyed torturing with those tiny pieces.  :)  

Around 9:30 I said my goodbyes to Allard and Gill.  No Gill, I really wasn't sick.  I was just struck down by jetlag and needed time to sleep.  There was still 9 days of puzzling ahead of me.  One early night wouldn't hurt would it????

Next up:  A top secret puzzle hunt.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 1-arrival

I left on August first and arrived on August first.  Lucky me, I gained an extra 7 hours that day and I took full advantage of those 7 hours.

I landed around 3 pm, flew through the airport to immigration and baggage claim.  That took ages to get through.  Luckily I fancy myself a bit of a runner and my legs flew through the crowds before they really lined up.  As it was, I waited 45 minutes to go through.  I had to laugh, the officer didn't believe I was there for a puzzle party but took "convention" as a given.  He also had a few questions about my frequent trips in to China and other Asian countries. Try explaining that away-3/4 of a passport filled with visas for heavy drug riddled countries.  The officer even joked about it, but I'm so dull and boring that I went into a bit about being an academic and began to describe my work....He waved me through and off it was to meet my friend.

After a long 3 hour drive to Warwick, I checked into the B&B for the night and headed down to a local pub to meet up with a few friends.  Jim and Susan Strayer, Brian and Sue Young, Otis Cheng, and Jeffrey Aurand were all there.  How strange I don't have a photo of us.  At one point, Brian was banished to a corner.  He must have been Brian again.

Dinner of Fish and Chips and mint(!) mushy peas followed by a beer and a half and I was back to form. Sadly jet lag set in early and it was back to the B&B for a good nights sleep.  The next morning I needed to rise early for MPP! And that post will be coming soon....