I can announce that I am happily reunited with my Mum this evening, due to the help of Toby Culshaw. My Mum and I have been out and had some mulled wine together to celebrate. I’ll let Toby tell you how he solved the UK Sourcers Christmas Challenge in his own words 🙂
As you will all know, on Friday 14th December, the gauntlet was thrown down by Katharine to find her lost mother. It read:
Please Help. I’ve lost my Mum.
She’s not been seen at home since she last went out to work.
Christmas just won’t be the same without her.
If you can track down where she was on Wednesday 12th December then I’m sure I can take it from there.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with my Mum’s name, where she was on Wednesday 12th December and a photo of her in a Santa hat (just so I’m sure you’ve really found her).
Thanks for your help and Happy Sourcing!
Now, being a kindly soul and also one that likes a challenge, I was happy to have a little look to see if I could help.
Although I love to be quick off the mark sadly, having just moved house, my internet access is at zero so I knew all activity would have to wait until Monday.
Firstly I looked at the text of the challenge itself for any hidden clues… nothing. I tried a quick broad Google search of “Katharine” AND (“mother” OR “mum” OR “mom” OR “mummy”) and stumbled across a review for a holiday house rental in Marseillette, France making reference to Paul’s mother Anne… still no use… although the holiday house looked lovely!
Then I saw a comment that Katharine had put in a discussion on the UK Sourcers LinkedIn group:
“Thanks for the “Like” Claire, I hope you’re taking part! No one has managed to find Mother Christmas yet”
I took “Mother Christmas” and ran with it… was it making reference to the Roald Dahl poem? Was it referencing “Mother Christmas’ Journey” a book written by Mary Martin and Valerie Stumbles (after all, I didn’t know about the marital status of either Katharine or her mother)? Is it connected to a short story titled “Mother’s Christmas” written by Elisabeth Robinson – possibly.. well the surnames match. After a little digging I decided these were dead ends.
I thought I needed to start from sctratch and get back to the last bit of data I knew to be accurate – Katharine!
Doing a quick look on Naymz I could see a fair amount of Katharine’s background but also looking in the tags section I could see one particular word standing out Henery. There seemed little relevance at first but I thought to note it down and see what came up later. Looking through Katharine’s Facebook profile (not usually a route I would take but my work’s firewall was being tricky on twitter and most other sites, so needs must) there were a number of names that stood out, all with the surname Henery, that I would later find out were some of Katharine’s cousins and aunts.
Looking at the profiles of these individuals on facebook, and doing some quick Google searches / cross referencing of their names on profileengine.com, I found an Angela Henery on LinkedIn.
Doing a few x-ray searches of LinkedIn, Facebook and WordPress, I had her LinkedIn profile in minutes (I may have also invited Angela to connect on LinkedIn as I originally thought I needed an email address as well). A rather nice looking recipe for a Cheddar and Red Onion Omelet and, most importantly, confirmation that both Angela and Katharine had lived in the same house at the same time and a Twitter handle (@AngelaH57).This is looking very positive… now all I need is to track Angela down to the 12th December and get a photo…
Having seen on Angela’s LinkedIn profile that she volunteered at the Averbury Manor, I thought I would do some digging in Google Images to see what they had released recently (and specifically around the 12th). Some lovely images, but nothing. From a conversation discussing imagery on a WordPress post about “The Manor Reborn”, which was filmed at Averbury Manor, I saw nationaltrustimages.org.uk I thought surely this is it… nope, nothing! Once again lots of lovely pictures but nothing useful. As before, I rolled back to the last thing I knew to be fact… Twitter.
The very first Tweet on Angela’s timeline was reference to Averbury.
— Angela Henery (@AngelaH57) December 15, 2012
No photo = no good.
Scrolling through Angela’s timelines I saw lots of interactions with @TheSourceress so I was reaffirming my choice as I went. Once I hit a tweet Angela had Retweeted from @AveburyNT I decided to investigate.
Looking at the @AveburyNT page, the images jumped out at me immediately… Christmas hats!!
Scrolling through, @AverburyNT had even kindly labelled the pictures for me so a few clicks later I had found the one I was after. It also rather conveniently confirmed where Angela was on 12th December by the date posted:
And there we have it, Angela and Katharine are reunited – safe and sound. The moral of the search being – don’t be afraid to run down a few rabbit holes because eventually you’ll find your way through.