It's very strange to be sitting in a hotel room on a Friday night typing up this blog, especially since it pretty much counts as work for me, part of the administration that goes with this second, unpaid, job of mine that is full-time amateur pub quizzing. I'm on holiday from the office job and yet the point of this holiday is, as has been the case for my last several holidays, quizzing.
This time, the holiday is to the New Forest, for an amazing event called QuizFest. I'll be writing more about that later, but I'm at an inconvenience due to being short on time, stuck using a poor hotel wifi connection (which I'm abusing by watching Mastermind as I type this) and without a mouse since I managed to forget to bring mine. I've got 2 weeks of these roundups to write though and I don't want to be delaying any further.
As to the first of these weeks, it was a very strange one. I only did 2 quizzes as a Little Mix gig meant that even though I drove all the way to Carlisle, I wasn't able to find anywhere remotely close to park, so had to drive all the way back without doing it! I then missed the Wednesday quiz due to a family member unexpectedly visiting, which turned out to be for the best since I'd have struggled on 25 questions on the rivers flowing through capital cities. I got a lift there with the host this week which is how I learned that one.
So, to the quizzes I actually did...
Quiz #135 - Monday 17th July, Kings Arms, Dalbeattie (P)
I had a rare advantage this week in knowing I'd have a team, which was a rare piece of good fortune for the week. It was No Kan Do whom I joined, as one of their number was on holiday and another was hosting the quiz. Having tied for 2nd the week before, I was hoping our numbers wouldn't hold us back. The two in the team who were there are certainly extremely capable - this is the team that won with 79/85 in my last quiz, remember.
P's quizzes have a certain distinctive style about them. They tend to be more list-based than those of other hosts, which means that strong knowledge in a particular field is often well-rewarded. I should have thought to study a known geographical weakness of mine, the actual placement of countries, given that his previous 2 quizzes both involved a map of the Mediterranean Sea. I didn't, though I was recently reading about the War of the Pacific due to hearing about it in an episode of the podcast Trivial Warfare. That did give me at least one answer in tonight's map of Central and South America. Very simply, we had to name the countries and two rivers. The War I mentioned was between Peru, Chile and Bolivia, and I was thus able to confirm the location of Bolivia. We mixed up most of the northern countries though and only managed 13 from 20 in total.
I must admit, I'd had a horrible day and wasn't in the best of moods from the outset, try as I did to put it behind me. That may have been a factor in my annoyance at being denied a point for the country Guyana, which the host was insisting was called French Guiyana. Now the latter is a French territory near the country, but it's not actually the country itself. We didn't even get a half mark for it as the 4 Stooges were marking and they're famously strict with their marking. That has caused consternation before, but there's never any point in calling them out on it. I did try repeatedly to get my answer accepted, and proved it was right, but nothing was done. That's the QM's right but I was really hoping the final result wouldn't be affected.
A round on local transport was interesting - the distance in miles from Dalbeattie to various major cities in the UK, plus some bus routes. I noted with amusement that the absent BTAS managed to get a recent question on one of those bus routes wrong despite living on the very same street. I didn't know too many of them, but I was also still stewing over the previous round which was a factor. Luckily the others got 14/20.
Round 3 saw me back with a vengeance, as it was two lists - the first ten of each of the Bond films and Carry On films. A bonus was awarded for getting them in the right order, which I gleefully took on the former. That left us to debate the latter set, and we knew a few more films than we could put names to. In the end we simply attempted to guess any CO films rather than bothering about whether they were actually early, and managed 4. Could have been worse!
Next was 3 old songs that I really really should know by heart but sadly don't: Sunday's Child, Solomon Grundy and another I can't remember. Again, credit to everyone else for the 17/20 there.
The last round was a great set on famous assassinations, and it gave me a chance to show off some history knowledge. We all clubbed in on these but there's some merit to the team's claim that I was largely responsible for our 16 points. It was a point for the assassin and a point for the year, based on the victim's name. I was certainly able to back up some suggestions made by others, so I felt very good about that.
When the dust settled, we'd scored very well indeed, finishing on the podium and 7.5 points ahead of 3rd - but 2 behind the winners. I've no complaints about that, it was a great quiz and we did ourselves proud, especially given we had less people than the other teams.
It was my own quiz this week so no chance to follow that up, but I'll tell you here that No Kan Do made it 3 2nd places in a row by doing on mine. So there you go!
Result: 75/102 (73.53%), 2nd/unknown
Quiz #136 - Tuesday 18th July, Ship Inn, Dumfries
I was very wary going into this quiz, knowing that my full team would be absent. I was left hoping I could perhaps join the NCP, which thankfully proved the case as one of their number was, like 2 of mine, at the football. We made a perfect 6, this being effectively R's side of the NCP plus one of the "main" team. We looked a good team, and I was flattered by a suggestion by another team that I was "too brainy" to join them, that it would make it unfair. Overdoing it definitely but very nice of them to say and I like that someone sees me that way!
We started very strongly in a more manageable than usual GK round, the evidence for which is the lowest score being 3 rather than the usual 0. I rattled off the first 4 or 5 I think, and we got 7 in total for a share of the lead with 2 other teams. The history round that followed was extremely tough and I can't begrudge our 4. Food & Drink would have been easier with the team's chef present, but if he'd have been here I wouldn't, so there's that. We got 6 which meant we recovered from 3rd to 2nd, though now 3 behind the leaders at the half way point.
The pictures this week were another set of dingbats based on a theme, and we just couldn't get them. They were prison based, and we struggled greatly for a mere 8/18. With none of us knowing the specialist subject, the show Ru Paul's Drag Race, we were in trouble but in a low scoring round our 1 from 11 wasn't as far off the pace as it might have been. We were 5 points behind first though in the middle of the table, and there we were to stay after a very typical music round of recent weeks that saw us get 18. Different team - same sort of score!
That meant we finished 5 - a respectable result in the circumstances against some tough teams, and we were only 7 points behind the winners which is very close for this quiz! The placing is relatively disappointing, but it's definitely better than it looks. I'm happy!
Result: 44/89 (49.44%), 5th/10
Week in Summation
I can't honestly pretend this was a great week, as it wasn't...in general, really. There's lots of good stuff going on in my life but there's a bit too much in totality and the pressure has been starting to tell. Trying to sort out a holiday, a new house, write quizzes, keep up with various other things...bah, I need to get through this patch and try and start anew once things have settled. Quizzing is a mental game as well as a physical one, and right now my head isn't there. It wasn't this week, anyway! I'll reveal in the next blog post how I was last week of course.
I'm not one to make excuses for my performance or behaviour though, and while I did nothing wrong at any of the quizzes (my grievance on Monday being legitimate and handled fairly) I must admit that I've not handled my stress as well as I might have done generally. Can't fix the past though, only the future. A 2nd place finish was well earned based on a strong performance there, but the rest of the week was a carcrash. Not one for the year's highlights reel, but I could but hope that my enforced time away from doing quizzes would refresh me somewhat. In fact I'd have had nothing to do with quizzing for a few days but for my need to write my own at the tail end of this week!
Ah well. Good days, bad days, etc...
Total Result: 119/191 (63.30%)