Have you ever wondered what it’s like to go on a TV quiz?
You know the type – Eggheads, The Chase…
In the past few months I’ve had the daunting pleasure of going on the ‘celeb’ versions of Mastermind, House of Games and The Weakest Link.
I’m not allowed to say how I’ve done on the shows until they’ve aired.
But given The Weakest Link was on BBC1 on Saturday, everyone already knows I’m not in the running for Brain of Britain.
On the plus side, if you win, all the money banked goes to your charity and I’d chosen a brilliant one – Street Soccer Scotland, now doing great work in Dundee.
I thought this donation was a real possibility when I made the last two.
But when I got to the final I went totally to pot.
Thankfully, Romesh Ranganathan was far less withering than previous host Anne Robinson.
Because I gave him every opportunity to take the mick out of me..
Answer was all Greek to me
Here’s a question.
(Well, it went something like this – I can’t bear to watch the clip back to get the exact wording.)
In Greek mythology which hero of the Trojan war gave his name to a weakness of the heel?
I know, you’ve got it, right?
It was on the tip of my tongue too but this is what was also going through my mind: “I can’t believe I made the final. I can’t be as stupid as I thought. This is tense. Come on, you know this. Your heel. You’re an idiot. Millions of people are watching this. I’m so tired. All those rounds of concentration. And hungry. My mouth’s gone dry. My mind is blank. Everyone is looking at me. I need to give an answer. Your heel..a weak heel is called your…”
What everyone at home heard was a very long pause followed by the answer: “Hercules?”
To which, Romesh replied: “The correct answer is – your Achilles heel.”
It could have been worse
I now know that this is the exact point when my aunt and uncle fell off the sofa and laughed so much they cried.
My phone pinged a lot of laughing emojis and comments along the lines of “Hercules? You’ll never live that one down”.
So excited to be on The Weakest Link tonight with host @romeshranga and @JJChalmersRM, @SeanFletcherTV, @EdGambleComedy, @ShappiKhorsandi, @chizzyakudolu, @LindaRobson58, @kayeadams. Tune in tonight at 7.00pm on @BBCiPlayer to see how we did #theweakestlink #goodbye pic.twitter.com/8fiQ5IrnLJ
— Martel Maxwell (@MartelMaxwell) February 12, 2022
So I would like to make it clear that of course I know the phrase “Achilles heel”. But in that moment, I did not.
It wasn’t the only howler I made.
Thankfully, someone warned me beforehand: “Don’t look on Twitter – people are brutal about celebs on quiz shows.”
They weren’t wrong. I steered clear but the following day gave the site a sidewards glance and while 80% of the comments were nice, a few were vile. They sounded very angry, considering it’s a TV game show.
In fairness, they had a point. When it came to some of the answers I gave I made myself look pretty stupid, but at the same time I was worrying I might simultaneously pass out and throw up on TV.
So, in a way, I won.
Looks like we’re weathering another storm
I’m not sure the weather presenters ever say it’s blowing a hoolie outside, but they should.
It sounds a bit more Scottish, and a bit more friendly, than the 90mph winds that are on the way.
But there’s nothing too cuddly about this forecast.
The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for wind on Wednesday and Thursday, and those warnings could even be upgraded.
The last round of storms led to roofs coming off in Dundee and dozens of trees falling – and before that, swathes of Dundonians were left without power.
It’s worrying. So, let’s cheer ourselves up with a look at ‘hoolie’ again.
Also known as a hooley, the word makes the Oxford Dictionary as: Scottish – “to blow a hoolie”: to be very windy. Origin uncertain; perhaps from Orkney Scots hoolan strong gale, with alteration of the ending.”
Then there’s that other Scots word dreich. Nothing says “a drab, dull day” quite like it.
In fact I’ve noticed it being used by English presenters – including Chris Evans on his Virgin radio show the other day – to sum up the picture they see out their window.
We Scots are great at many things (like me, you maybe thought we finally had a shot at the Six Nations until Saturday’s narrow defeat against Wales) and I reckon we are world leaders at words that sum the weather up perfectly.
Making memories at Muddy Boots
If and when the weather finally calms down – and you’re looking for something to do with the kids on half term holiday this week, or the weekend, I can’t recommend Muddy Boots in Fife enough.
We ventured there on Monday and the boys loved it.
From go-karts to grass sledging, two giant trampolines, a pirate ship and playground, we spent a whole day there – punctuated with tasty, homemade lunch in the cafe – before I bumped into a pal with her sons and the day became even more fun.
Muddy Boots is a real, working farm, with a farm shop, tractors, goats, chickens and more.
And if it is blowing a hoolie, there’s a new indoor play area that’s terrific too.
It’s well worth the half hour drive from Dundee.