Childish Games

During the Home Front threats of World War II, one particular group of schoolchildren were spirited away from the grime and the dangers to a grand old estate on the bleak coastline of west Cumberland. The house and grounds, owned by a kindly old retired headmaster by the name of Arthur Glendinning, was to be their happy home, and it brought endless summers of adventure, and long nights telling tales of bold knights, daring explorers, dastardly pirates, and above all, treasure. All too made big plans for what they would grow up to be when the war ended and they eventually went home. When that happened, however, they found that it was more than happy memories that still connected them to the old house…

News of the death of Arthur Glendinning, and the invitation to the reading of his Last Will and Testament, reached them almost twenty years after they bid Glendinning House farewell. As tragic as the news was, it felt like an opportunity, as many had had cause to think back on their time in Cumberland.

Perhaps this was simply because the lives that they had found themselves in had never quite lived up to the flights of fancy that they concocted as children, and that maybe a chance to reconnect with the world of their childhoods would be just what they needed. On the other hand, perhaps it was that many had reason to believe that their loose talk of treasure hidden somewhere in the grounds of Glendinning house may have been more than just nighttime storytelling.

The Will bequeathed the entire estate to the former children to split as they pleased. This may have been treasure enough, were it not for the arrival of three strangers – all appearing as make-believe figures from their childhoods – who informed them that real treasure, of value beyond measure, was out there to be claimed. Little convincing was required, and the game – a treasure hunt up and down the house, and round and round the garden – was afoot!

While the promise of treasure was the Carrot, however, there was a Stick: such is the way of things when you play the games of the Fae Folk. This was the true nature of their imaginary friends, and their link to the old house and grounds, and these Fae brought with them a reality that suddenly seemed very shaky indeed, and the promise of an unpleasant death to those who didn’t play the game by the rules…


A full gallery of photos taken on the Saturday afternoon can be found on Ann Sundqvist’s Flickr account. Below are a few Ref favourites.


Event Details

  • Event Date: Friday 20th April to Sunday 22nd April, 2018
  • Time In: 5pm on Friday 20th April, 2018
  • Time Out: Approximately 1pm on Sunday 22nd April, 2018
  • Event Location: Eskmeals House
  • Ref Team: Cath, Craig, Jonno, Laura, Lucie, Monica
  • Players: 15
  • Total Event cost: £140 (deposit of £40)

Original Pitch


Some time ago – it may as well have been a lifetime ago – you were sent to stay in a grand old house on the Cumberland coast. Although you knew there was a war on and that things were hard for everyone you’d left behind, you remember that period in Glendinning House as the happiest of your life.

The owner of the estate, Arthur Glendinning, was forever busy with his own work, and you were left to roam the grounds with the other evacuees, playing games and having adventures. And what adventures they were! Your imaginations soared, fuelled by the rare comment and sly wink of Mr Glendinning of an evening that maybe there was treasure to be found in the old estate.

kids playing

You were arctic explorers seeking the North Pole; the next day you were pirates on the search for Blackbeard’s lost loot – spices and gold. Sometimes you were knights and ladies, questing across open moorland, leading your stalwart broomstick steeds through treacherous bogs in search of the Holy Grail. When the weather was grim, you stayed inside tapping on walls and lifting paintings in the hopes of finding secret passages.

By night, you crept through old hallways, sliding your small feet across threadbare carpets where creaky floorboards wouldn’t sound your midnight adventures. Nestled together in one bedroom or another, you told stories by candlelight, made up rumours, and imagined the lives that would await you when you inevitably returned home and left your make-believe behind.

And so you did.eskmeals

Time passed. As is the way of such things, you lost touch with the friends and fellow adventurers you had met. Commitments took a firm hold of your imagination and the stories you had created fell back to occasional daydreams. Back home, there was work to be done.

Although the grime of mundane life dulled your young hopes and dreams, a glimmer of something from those years in the country remained. While a wiser, more mature part of you thinks that Mr Glendinning’s comments on treasure were a clever old man’s way of keeping his wards from getting underfoot, at the same time another part of you wonders…

Despite this, responsibilities have kept your wandering thoughts grounded.

But then the letter arrived: You are now welcome to – nay, invited to – return to Glendinning House. The Last Will & Testament of Arthur Glendinning is to be read at the property on the morning of Saturday the 21st of April, 1964. Regardless as to where the estate and effects of the dear old man fall, you have the strangest feeling that there remains something wondrous to be found, if one has the nerve to seek it.


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