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The Missing Tree Quiz: Answers

aka The Advanced Knowledge of You, the Reader

           Wendington had never been one to simply look in the back of a book for the answers. If it was a simple test of knowledge, it served no-one just to look it up. Because then it was not a test of knowledge but more a test of morals, many of which would be lost by cheating both herself and the test. If in the end she was wrong on every answer then she at learnt one thing, and that was that she had learnt little else. There was always more time to gather knowledge later on. But lost valour, well that was lost forever.

But if you're looking elsewhere to learn, well that is to be applauded. You're not expected to know everything. Far from it. But if you are willing to go, search and learn, well then the world is owed to you and every success with it. 

1.  Pennington was a well known traveller. But how many specific countries can name that she visited basely solely on what's in The Missing Tree?

Well quite a few actually. We know of course that she went to Australia to find the Tree. We know she went to Switzerland as her school was in Zurich. Though we know she visited the Amazon basin, that covers a great many countries. Though those wishing to know just where she went, she travelled through Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. However we do also know, from Chapter 22, that she walked the Machu Picchu trail, which definitely puts her in Peru. We also know she rafted the Colorado River, which puts her in the United States of America. We also know she sailed from Cape to Cape. Well, aside from dapper costume accessories, this implies the Capes of Good Hope and Cape Horn, which puts her in both Chile and South Africa. Crikey. She's travelled more than Captain Grimsby. Still, six solid countries for you right there. And if you thought that question was a bit tough, now you know what you're in for!

2. How would the chapter number where Wendington visits a bookshop, the number of people Captain Grimsby invites to his dinner that Wendington attends, the number of ports that Wendington visits on the SS Pembroke (including Southampton) , a decimal point and finally the age Wendington was when she started at Lady Goatberg's, all lead you to some helpful information on Perceval, in Grandmamma's library?

Let's do some maths! Chapter Five is where Wendington visits the Oxford bookshop. There are nine people invited to the Captain's dinner. (Wendington, Maddie, Teddy, Mr. Baxter, Mr. Jaeger, Mr. Leibowitz, Mr. Doyle, Father O'Brien, Rabbi Bloom). Wendington, and the SS Pembroke, visit seven ports. (Southampton, Cherbourg, Gibraltar, Naples, Port Said, Aden and of course Columbo.) Then the all important decimal point, followed by the age at which Wendington began at Lady Goatberg's, which was, of course, 8.

So, this leads us to 597.8. And in any good library, especially Grandmamma's, this should lead you to the Dewey Decimal Classification system for libraries. And under 597.8, you can find books all about amphibians including, but not limited to daring, adventurous newts. 

3. We hear of two vessels from the Emerald Line Shipping Company. One that carries her towards Australia, and the second that carries her back again afterwards. But what do the names of these two ships have in common with Wendington's home city?

The two ships are of course the impressive SS Pembroke and the SS Worcester.  Worcester and Pembroke are the names of two of the colleges of Oxford University, settled in Wendington's home city. The question of course is whether this is mere coincidence. Well of course not. In fact, you might be interested to hear that the founder of the Emerald Line Shipping Company grew up in the eaves of one of the famed colleges as the son of one of the groundskeepers there. Before he moved on to Southampton and his subsequent success on the seas, he marvelled at the sights of the dreaming city. As a result, it was his order, some 250 years before Wendington ever set foot on one of his company's vessels, that all his ships would be named after the colleges.


4. Three moustaches and one beard are mentioned in The Missing Tree. How many of the characters sporting facial hair can you remember??

The first moustache we meet is the strange courier who delivers the manuscript to Wendington's house in Chapter Three. He sports a pencil thin moustache, quite the rage at the time. Though not mentioned in the book, that courier's name was Archie Blake, and you can read more about him here. The second moustache is worn by Albert the stationmaster in Oxford. A keen fan of trains, Albert always dreamed of having a fish supper by the seaside. In 1910, thanks to the nationalised rail service he finally managed it, enjoying a haddock in Whistable. Something he so enjoyed, he's been back four times. 

The third moustache is perhaps the hardest of them all. It's on one of the flustered gentleman in the smoking room of the Pembroke. He's described as having a white moustache that stretched across his face and beyond. It was the only thing about him that was extraordinary at all. 

The beard, of course, belongs to the wonderful Captain Grimsby. The Captain is in fact extraordinary in  many ways. Not least of all because he can recite every country known to exist, and what's more he's been to most of them. However, unlike Albert, Captain Grimsby has never enjoyed haddock by the seaside. 


5. Who first said the phrase that Grandmamma has etched above the door to her library?

The phrase is, 'A life unexamined is not worth living,' something that Wendington repeats to Mr Gillespie by the Tree. Oft repeated, this is actually a phrase from Socrates, first recorded in Plato's work Apology, which recalls Socrates' final days after going on trial for supposedly corrupting the youth of Athens. But you know the funny thing? The corruption he supposedly taught, was that the youth should question the status quo. Apparently a revolutionary thought at the time, the battle continued then until this day and forever since. It's something key to Wendington, all her adventures, and everything going forward. So if Wendington, Socrates or even GRandmamma's library can teach us anything, it's to ask why. And if we're not happy with why, how. How to change, how to improve, how to be better and not just rest on what was, but instead what can be.


6. The weapon that saw to Mr. Baxter's knee, the item that jammed up the Pembroke's engine, the thing that Cecile twisted around and somehow clung onto in her chase of Wendington on the night of the Captain's dinner, what Mr. Owens blames instead of the pistons when he meets Wendington and finally what Wendington found over a dozen of in Mr Jager's bag. What item is missing from a similar collection from a far lighter celebration of domestic skullduggery and amateur sleuthship?

Well the items are, in order, a revolver, a wrench, a rope, a pipe and indeed a knife. Or rather, as Wendington learned, many of them. Fans of amateur sleuthing and a good evening around a table top might recognise these as five of the original weapons in the game of Cluedo, or indeed Clue if, like the Jacksons, you're inclined to the other side of the Atlantic. These five might lead you to the missing Candlestick

Now some of course may argue that it was a dagger rather than a knife. Or strictly a pistol rather than a revolver, if we're being entirely consistent. To that, we must admit that you're right, but it's not entirely in the spirit of things. And in the end Dr. Black still suffered a gruesome end. Or indeed Mr Body. Or maybe even Le Docteur Lenoir if Anne-Marie had even been able to play. Though one thinks that maybe once the death had been dealt out, Anne-Marie's interest in the game might have been all tied up. Nevertheless, let's just remember the key to the game. There are clues in everything. Something that Pennington was very keen to pass on. 

7. The name Wendington appears over thirteen hundred times in The Missing Tree. But based on name appearances alone, which other three characters occur the most?

In fact it's Rohan, (241 times), Cecile, (135 times) and Perceval (96 times.) If you forgot about Perceval then he forgives you. He may only be an amphibian with webbed feet. But he has a big heart and a short memory. Except for smells. Newts can remember smells.


(Going down the list next it goes Sebastian, Grandmamma, Anne-Marie, Teddy and then Maddie. Just in case a passing statistician is keeping notes. (Passing statisticians are always keeping notes.))

8.  Many odd noises mark Wendington's journey. From the strange clanking of a wrench stuck in an engine part to the awful blare of a ship's horn, announcing its departure from port. However a number of silences are also present in the tale. Lurking in between the bumps and clanks and horns. Can you recall one of the specific types of silence, for there are many, that Wendington encounters. Can you name them all? Just how many specific types of silence are mentioned?

Silences, we've had a few. There are in fact five specific silences mentioned. In Chapter Six, at Reggie's we're told of a silence of someone specifically trying not to make a sound. It's in comparison to the also mentioned silence of someone just not being there at all. In Chapter 19, while earwigging on Captain Grimsby and First Officer Pendergast, Wendington hears another silence, the silence of someone desperately trying to cling to the thread of an argument that they were fast losing. That person was, of course, the First Officer. Soon after, in Chapter 20, Wendington hears yet another silence. One perhaps the counterweight to an earlier one, the silence of people listening for someone else to make a noise.  Chapter 21 brings us yet another silence. One that Wendington had heard before but hadn't named until then. The silence of hopelessness. There are other silences of course. Those that are strained, those that are tentative. But none of them are specifically named as the five above. In the world however, there are many, many more. The silence of hunger, the silence of waiting, the silence of hope and of expectation. So while it's always important to hear the sounds, it's also important to hear what isn't there as well. And sometimes to hear what is there in what isn't there. As it were. 

9.  In the course of her whole journey, how many types of transport does Wendington use? And in what order do they come in least distance travelled, to further distance travelled?

In order, at least by our reckoning. Horse, (just the Naples dock), Bicycle, (To Reggie's house), Car, (To and from Oxford, as well as the drive back from Reggie's), Train, (From Oxford to Southampton), Airplane, (from Freemantle to Uluru), and then of course Ship, (from Southampton to Freemantle)

10. Wendington's overalls, gifted by the Pembroke's mechanics, the lighthouse in Naples, the covers on the lifeboats, Uluru's rock that Wendington finds at Reggie's, at least the last time it's mentioned, and the jacket that Perceval first turned up in. Other than the order in which they appear in the book, what other order could these things appear? And how would completing the list, at least in this tale, end in vain? Mnemonically speaking at least.

You might, if you so wished, list them like this. The Red lighthouse, the Orange rock, the Yellow jacket, the Green covers and the Blue overalls. Fans of prisms, refraction or simple rainbows might then tell you that you're still missing Indigo and Violet, neither of which appear in The Missing Tree. So your search would be both in vain, but also be represented by the classic mnemonic, at least in Britain, Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain.

Wendington had often mused, like so many other before and since, why purple  took so much prominence up in the representation of the fraction of light. It seemed unfair at first, but that's perhaps not giving purple its due. Nor indeed light itself, which was made up of every single colour all at once, and yet did not favour one shade or another, only reflecting back what items wished themselves to be. Wendington at least liked that. Light let you be what you wanted to be, and only reflected that into the world. All other colours would be ignored. Perhaps we, she once told Perceval, should all be like light. Bright, constant, and kind enough to only spread that which people wish of us, and no more. Perceval of course said nothing. He had neither the time nor education in basic physics. But he did have two flies which he had found on a window sill as Wendington had been playing with glass triangles. He was not above the sentiment that Wendington had offered. But it was lunchtime and that, for Percy at least, always came first. 

Be like light. Shine on darkness, help people out of caves and above all else, assist anyone that wants to read. It really is one of life's genuine gifts. 

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