I don’t wish to seem smug but I am the reason that Christmas is taking place this year. Strictly speaking, I had some help from the other three members of my team, but the upshot is that we managed to find Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, who’d been kidnapped in a dastardly plot.
I am taking a risk of legal reprisals just for writing about this as there’s been a news blackout on the kidnapping so as not to worry the children of the world unduly, but now that the crime has been solved I’m sure the truth can be told. It has probably been leaked on social media anyway.
I had never been to an Escape Room before as I always thought that it would be like Crystal Maze and there would be walls to scale and pipes to squeeze through. Being of a physique and age when scaling is what the dentist does to my teeth and the only squeezing in my life is done on the toothpaste tube, I have given them a miss. Actually, I now think that ‘miss’ is the right word, as I had an absolute blast on a recent visit to NH Events’ Escape Room. No over strenuous activity is involved except for the cerebral kind.
There have been several events so far but, as it’s Christmas, the current one is a challenge to find out where Rudolph is hidden after being kidnapped. This is done by solving a succession of ingeniously constructed clues which are hidden, or not, in two rooms. You have to solve the problems set in the first room to be able to unlock the door leading to the second – and therein lie the clues as to the location of the reindeer’s hiding place. The rooms are furnished with items which could contain clues; some of them are locked and some not; other clues are hidden in plain sight but don’t look like clues to the casual observer.
I must say that they were brilliantly contrived and had the four of us scratching our heads. As someone whose day is ruined if I don’t complete both Telegraph crosswords, the codeword and sudoku, I was struggling with a lot of them. Fortunately, my teammates, whom I had not met before the event, possessed the skills I lacked and amongst us, we managed to solve the puzzle and find Rudie.
That was only half of the story, however, as we were then charged with bringing the kidnapper to justice by identifying them from a list of suspects. At this point, tea, chocolates and mince pies arrived to feed the brain. I think so much more clearly with a gob full of sweet stuff, and away we went, examining the witness statements and crime scene report. I regret to say that this part of the exercise defeated us and, as the perpetrator is still at large, I am not able to go into any further detail. The main thing is that we found Rudolph and so all the little darlings will get their presents on Christmas morning. I am sure that the parents of the world will be queueing up to thank us, unless their child was given a drum or a trumpet!
Fortunately, we were not left in limbo as to the identity of the miscreant and the clues which would have enabled us to work it out had we picked up on them. It was testament to the imagination which had been put into the exercise that we let out a collective groan and wondered why we didn’t realise whodunnit. My excuse is that I can only solve crimes which are committed in Sweden and have subtitles.
After the event, I spoke to Nicki, whose enterprise this is. She said that she has been a fan of escape rooms for some time and decided to try to start one of her own. This was made possible with a little help from a friend and its popularity is steadily increasing. She said that she hoped to move somewhere where she could have two or three crimes being solved at the same time. Although it’s called an escape room, Nicki was with us and gave us the occasional nudge in the right direction, or diverted us from the wrong one. She rightly believes that it is no fun if you’re stuck in a room and unable to even begin solving the puzzle, thus spending the hour time limit in aimless meandering. She knew that three of us had never done this before and so possibly was a little more helpful than had we been veterans. There was no assistance with the second part which is good as that would have spoiled things rather than helped.
We also spoke about the various types of people who take part in these events. The range was illustrated in the couple of hours we were there. On our arrival, a married couple had just come out of the second room to begin their hour trying to find the culprit, and the group I tagged onto were members of Meetup.com getting to know new people. The members of the group who followed us were on a company day out and at the time I left, were deep in discussion trying to work out the identity of the rogue.
I really hope that Nicki makes a success of this venture as it’s a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours, either getting to know new people, bonding with workmates or perhaps seeding the grounds for divorce proceedings.
Find out more about NH Events here.
Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living. He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds. He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.