I’m just about ready to give up. It’s so cold that my toes are frozen in my usually winter-proof boots, and I’m honestly not sure if the lodge we’re looking for even exists. But then I see Dan stop running to gawp at something in the distance, and my breath catches in my throat. It seems like, finally, we’ve found our first major clue.
Let’s face it: January’s the worst. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s the longest time until it’s Christmas again, and everyone’s talking about the urgent diet they’re on. However, each year out of the gloom comes at least one ray of light, one thing to get you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step.
Creme. Eggs. Back. In. Shops.
Generally, it’s the same routine every year: Forget that it’s coming. Be pleasantly surprised to see them in the shops. Post on social media about how many you’re going to eat. Spend a couple of weeks debating people who don’t “get it”. And then find that Easter’s creeped up on you way too fast.
But this year is different. This year is extra special as Cadbury has organised a nationwide Creme Egg hunt, calling on the most dedicated fans around the country to hunt for some extra-special, gooey Creme Eggs. When Dan and I found out about this, well, I guess you could say we were pretty eggcited...
As longtime Creme Egg aficionados, we’ve both been unknowingly preparing for this moment for years. Decades even. A chance to combine two lifelong passion points: Creme Eggs and, er, finding stuff.
But why us? Why are we so special? Well, I like to think we each bring something different to the table, like all good sleuthing duos should. Dan fancies himself the millennial version of Sherlock, whereas I’m purely in it for the chocolate. I’ve been known in the past to hoard a bunch of Creme Eggs to last me until well after Easter is over. It’s this level of discipline and foresight I have, combined with Dan’s determination (read: slight delusion), that makes me pretty confident we’ll ace this.
So, the hunt! Cadbury has told us to find a special lodge, lying somewhere deep within the heart of London’s bushy capital. Supposedly it’s not just the home of the legendary Creme Egg Hunter Gregg – who’s so legendary he doesn’t even need a last name, just "egg" in his first name – but also a rare "Mythical Egg" Creme Egg-ologists have debated the existence of for years! Sounds like this would make for some eggcellent TV.
We begin by heading toward the South Bank, where we’ve heard rumblings the lodge is located (read: That’s where Cadbury said it would be, but we purposely chose NOT to look at the exact address because Dan felt it would add to the thrill of the hunt).
Of course, the South Bank is a massive area, and I’m already feeling slightly disheartened that we won’t ever find the place. Dan, ever the optimist, reins me in by reminding me of our tasty, glory-giving prize. We’re out in the wild, it’s seriously cold, and our confidence in our Creme Egg-hunting skills is currently shaky at best, but it’s okay. We’re feeling good; we’re feeling motivated.
With the bitter, icy wind challenging us to quit, it feels a bit like the world doesn’t really want us to find that rare egg. We keep walking until eventually we spot a clearing in the distance. It’s quiet and unassuming, but something about it is calling our names. Could it be? Is it? We try not to get our hopes up, but it’s hard to remain calm when our goal is potentially within walking distance. My mind starts filling with images of treasure chests of Creme Eggs and of the legendary "Mythical Egg" hidden in an ancient cave buried underneath the lodge. A thought flashes in my mind that this moment isn’t dissimilar to the mirages explorers experience when venturing through never-ending deserts. Hearts racing, minds running wild, we tentatively step closer.
By jove, we’ve found the lodge!
The lodge is a living museum to Creme Egg Hunting, the walls lined with medals and rosettes collected from hunts past. As we make our way through the legendary hunter’s (Gregg, two G’s) home, we spot a row of huge golden trophies atop his mantlepiece. One says “Creme Egg Cup Winner”, but what’s even more impressive is the “Creme Egg Hunting Lifetime Achievement” award sitting next to it. The man certainly isn’t afraid to celebrate success. Naturally, the place is bursting to the brim with chocolate, nonchalantly scattered across the wood interiors.
And the literature! There’s enough eggitorial here to keep you occupied for months. Romeo and Juliegg. Great Eggspectations. Gooliver’s Travels. Plus a copy of 2014’s Eggstreme Survival Guide, which would have been super useful if we’d seen this before our arduous journey to the lodge. But no time to think about that now – we’ve a rare egg to find, and this library is probably a pretty good place to start.
Searching out the nonfiction section, we get to work reading up on the lore. Turns out there are tons of legends about the "Mythical Egg", sketches dreaming up what it could look like, rumoured sightings across the country. But while it’s a nice history lesson, there’s not so much as even a wrapper to go on.
We decide to go off and explore the lodge for further clues, where we stumble upon what I assume is some kind of “Wall of Fame”, which is a pretty humbling lesson about all the efforts and dedication of hunters past. There’s a display of old-timey photographs that show hunters displaying bounties we could only dream of. Hanging off one of the walls, we spot some heavy-duty hunting nets and some old-fashioned fox hunting horns, so naturally we have a play around with those. Dan spots a portrait on the wall of Gregg that’s more elegant than we could ever be, but still we look on in awe and wonder. This– this is how legendary Creme Egg hunters hold themselves.
By now we must have scoured every inch of the lodge, twice. It feels like hours have passed since we first started searching. We flip over photograph frames, check for loose floorboards, and look under bowls of the *regular* Creme Eggs we’d usually be lining our pockets with for anything that’ll give us a hint as to where this rare egg could be…but nothing.
Maybe there is no "Mythical Egg" after all.
We look at the Creme Egg globe and consider cracking it open. But on second thought, drinking on the job is probably not the greatest idea.
Sighing, we look at Gregg’s portrait again. Where awe and inspiration once was, there's now creeping regret and disappointment.
Except...the way he’s standing and holding his hunting horn, he almost looks like he’s staring at something in the distance. Wait…is he pointing at something? Dan and I spin around to look in the same direction. The bookcase. In fact, he appears to be pointing at the book Goolysses in particular. We rush back over and stare at the book for a second, almost afraid to touch it, our hearts thudding once again. We’ve already been burned today, but something about this just feels right.
We push the book together, and this triggers a hidden door in the bookcase to open and reveal a small, dark room behind it. Dan rushes in without a second of hesitation, I let go of the door, and it slams shut behind him. I try pushing against the book again to open the door but it just won’t budge. To make matters worse, I yell out for Dan and get no response.
A few seconds later, he yells, “Ayesha, I think I’ve got something!” The “Oh my god!” I yell back is mostly from relief that he hasn’t taken a trip to the Upside Down. I tap my foot against the floor rapidly while I wait for him to reappear, still slightly worried I’ve lost Dan to the secret room forever. Finally, he pushes open the stiff door and re-emerges. My repose at seeing him alive and apparently totally unharmed is quickly overtaken by my excitement at seeing a shiny, golden thing in his hands. He holds it up proudly and this time doesn’t look too far off from the portrait of Gregg above the fireplace. My god, he found it. We’ve found our prize!
What a feeling. In one day, we’ve gone from complete novices to top-of-class Creme Egg hunters. My mind starts flooding with images yet again: journalists shoving microphones in our faces to get a quote, flashes from paparazzi cameras blinding us, shaking hands with the prime minister…
But as we go to leave the lodge and enter a new world of fame, something starts niggling at us. We look back at the photographs on the wall of all the Creme Egg hunters through history. We recall all the folklore we read today and realise the mythology and the magic around this egg is bigger than us. To deny future generations this experience and this joy doesn’t seem fair.
And it’s with this thought that we put the egg back to its original spot. Maybe another set of hunters will find it tomorrow, or maybe it’ll be hundreds of years before humans ever lay eyes on it again. Regardless, that’s not a decision for us to make.
And so the mythology of "The Egg" proudly lives on.
Fancy yourself as a Creme Egg Hunter? Then why not come down to the Creme Egg Hunting Lodge and put your skills to the test IRL?
That's right! The travelling lodge will be returning to London on the 25th and 26th of February, giving you a chance to go on a Creme Egg Hunt of your very own, as well as try a special menu of concoctions – like a Creme Egg Black Forest Toastie and Gooey Creme Egg S’mores.
One hundred percent of the proceeds will be going to The Prince’s Trust. Find out more here!