The difference, I discovered, between theory and practice is easy to see.

To borrow from a well-worn phrase; in theory I’m good at puzzles, in practice I am as dumb as a box of hammers.

Last Friday, the Good Lady Douglas booked me and the kids into an Escape Room.

You pay good money to be locked in a room, and have to solve a series of puzzles (set to a theme) to work your way out of the room.

I love a puzzle.

I love detective shows.

I love whodunnits.

I am a sucker for a good riddle.

And, I can usually work my way through the problem. See the surface. Find a clue which unlocks an insight. Parlay that insight into an answer.

Turns out, I’m good on paper.

Locked in a room with my nearest and dearest, each of us running around looking for clues (but not really knowing what a clue looked like) made me long for a quiet Saturday morning, a cup of coffee and a cryptic crossword.

I went in there thinking, “Just look for the thing that looks out of place.”

Someone had drilled a hole in the top of a desk and there was a light shining from that hole.

Turns out, that was the first clue.

(Hint, hint: People don’t usually have holes drilled in desks.)

And so, it went.

It was an hour of fun.

We eventually found our way out, escaped from the virus and managed to get home in time to watch an episode of Poirot.

I know it’s a foreign environment, and the clues weren’t as easy for me as “Cross words for One Hundred after a grave” – but my performance did not live up to my overblown belief in my own abilities.

Which made me have a little internal moment over the weekend.

While I have reason to believe I’m good at what I do, it’s always good to take a step back and ask if there’s anything obvious I’m missing.

Like a light shining from an oddly placed hole.

It may just be ambience. 

Or it may be the first clue you’re onto something interesting.

Just thought I’d share that insight with you.

Sometimes, the thing that doesn’t fit your assumption of the world is the key to a more interesting solution.

Thanks for reading.