Posted by: marymarthatours | January 15, 2014

Trivia…what trivia?

The English Garden Tour this spring will be the tour number six for Mary and me.  We have fallen into a format and individual roles that we both like and that work for us and for the travelers.  The question is, what is Martha’s favorite tour task?  The answer is, the daily trivia game.

Here is how the game works:

  • on the coach in the morning, I ask a question
  • travelers write their answers on slips of paper and deposit them in the “answer bag”
  • I tally the answers and the next morning on the coach, I award a small prize to the winner

 P1000088    P1000090

A ‘preview’ of some of this year’s prizes

At the end of the tour, we have a final group dinner and award special prizes.  The final trivia game prizes can be for the most correct answers, the funniest answer, or the greatest percentage correct.  These final categories vary from trip to trip so participants don’t know what to expect.

The questions cover a wide variety of topics and they often relate specifically to the focus of the particular tour.  I always include one question that had its answer given on a previous tour for the attentive repeat travelers.  Not only is the game meant to be a fun experience, but the questions provide a vehicle for sharing some bits of interesting information about the country, so I give a brief ‘talk’ when I reveal the correct answer.

Travelers are instructed that they can use any resource they wish to find the answer, but not Mary, Martha, or the coach driver.  We encourage them to ask local folks for help, as it’s a great way to interact with residents, although this might not be the best resource as one traveler discovered.  On her answer paper she noted, “I asked someone at the Braemar Highland Games and he told me…”  The next morning, I said, “Good job, but he was wrong, the correct answer is…”

I am amazed that with current technology, the travelers aren’t all looking up the answers on their smart phone, I-pads, etc.  On the 2012 Miniature tour, one gal must have used a travel guide book, since her answers were paragraphs long with tons of information.  She could have given the little morning talk on the topic for me.

On the Scotland tour, a traveler turned the tables on us and had some “stump the M&M questions”.  And she did too.  Neither Mary nor I knew that there are five states in the U.S. with a city named Aberdeen.


Snap, the Welsh Dragon

I have my list of questions ready for the upcoming tour.  I’m finishing up making the final prizes with some cross-stitched flowers which will be extra cute.  And I look forward to reading the answers and laughing at some of the very “creative” and often funny responses.  In Wales, one lady said the the national flower of Wales is the “Snap Dragon”.  That was the inspiration for the name I gave the stuffed, red dragon that I bought for myself at Tintern Abbey.  The correct answer is the daffodil.  And travelers, you never know where you might find a correct answer.  In Scotland one day, it was on the coach driver’s necktie.

(by Martha)




  1. Apparently there are some 30 Aberdeens around the world. After the Highland Clearances, many young men went to sea, giving rise also to the sea shanty “Rolling Home to Caledonia.” One modern fellow visited Aberdeen, WA about the year 2000. He was on a global tour of all the Aberdeens. His next stop was Aberdeen, New Zealand. Sounded like a great travel idea!

  2. As I read your messages about the garden tour, I wish I were able to join you this year. My husband and I will be in Turkey in April, which will be fabulous, but those English gardens and the fun of M&M tours will be on my mind the whole time. Your photo of snap brought back so many happy memories! I have a tiny little red dragon figure in my sewing room to remind me of all the tour. As I watch Downton Abbey and other BBC shows, I keep telling my husband, “Hey! I was right there!” I hope to be able to join you all on your next fabulous tour. ~ Ginny

    • Thank you for the lovely reply. And we hope you will join us in 2015 for more quilts and needlework in England. Cheers, Martha

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