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It’s been a wonderful hunt, but it’s time to go.

Dear friends, gift-hunters, blog-followers and Elf-lovers,

It’s been an amazing year. We started with an old account of Mel’s, hoping that someone would see it and have a go at hunting for the gift. Things ran along slowly for the first little while, then we had the radio interview, the newspaper article, the Awesome contribution and a lot of retweeting from a lot of wonderful people. We even had a mention on Joy FM’s Lost Dogs Home show.

But after 52 weeks, 60 gifts, a bundle of amazing Guest Elves and a pile of wonderful Gift Hunters, we’re hanging up our Elvish boots, and leaving the stage.

It’s been a lot of fun. We never thought we’d go this long. We worried we’d fall into a river, into a garden or over a fence line. We also thought we’d get found out.

When we started, Mel was an office worker and Dot was looking for work. They were both feeling rather miserable about the way some people were treating each other, and the gloomy Melbourne weather wasn’t helping either. They needed to do something to cheer themselves up, and they hoped they’d cheer up a few other people as well.

Now, Mel’s been moved to field work and is away from Melbourne much of the time. While she gets home on the weekends, she has a lot of muddy overalls to wash, a cat to feed and she needs her sleep. Dot is working for the same company, and is the Assistant to a senior manager, who needs her at odd hours. They’ve managed to keep things going the last few weeks, but it’s just a bit too difficult.

So it is with incredibly heavy hearts that we say goodbye.

Thank you to all of you. The people who followed us. The people who retweeted us, told their friends, and spread the word. The Guest Elves who found new and wonderful hiding places. The radio and newspaper people who talked about us.

Most of all, thank you to all the people who followed the clues, asked the questions, and headed out on wet or cold or steamy or windy or spider-laden (or combinations of these) hunts to find the gifts. Without you, we never would have gone on.

If anyone else would like to take this over, please contact us on our email address of hiddengiftmel@gmail.com. We’d be delighted to hand over the email and twitter accounts, and explain how we did it. We’d guide you and hold your hand, and cheer you on as only the Elves can.

Keep spreading the joy. Keep the joy alive by helping each other and by acts of love, and please keep safe.

Your very special friends,

Mel, Dot and the team.

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Which two gifts have been the closest so far?

From a question by @JustJimWillDo, we were challenged to neglect our real work, and calculate which were the two gifts that were closest together. As it happens, we recently set up a new, larger CBD map, and it was the work of an hour to make sure all the gift points were marked and the distances measured.

A quick glance at the Zone 1 map will show you that the two closest gifts are the Week 20 Zone 1 at the Great Petition, and the Week 26 Zone 1 in the Fitzroy Gardens. They’re about 400m apart.

To our surprise, the two closest gifts are gifts 3 and 20, which were in the northern end of the CBD area and in or near the Queen Victoria Markets. According to our calculations, they were located a mere 150m apart.  We measured quite a few, and here are the results.

Gift numbers  

5 and 13 are 220m apart
13 and 29 are 200m
7 and 13 are 180m
3 and 20 are 160m
23 and 30 are 280m

The ones that @JustJimWillDo wondered about, those in the Chinese Tianjin Gardens (Gift 10) and the Great Petition (Gift 20 Zone 1) were 440m apart. We can understand that he has a personal interest in one of these.

Admittedly, we measured these in straight lines, so walking between the gifts would take a lot longer.

We’ve included the new, large CBD map under the cut, and you’re welcome to peruse it for information. It has a full list of all the CBD gifts found so far. And no, you won’t find any advance clues on it. We were very careful about that.

Read More…

Where is Zone 1?

We’ve had our CBD map up for quite a while, but Dot thought we had better start the new year with a nice clean Zone 1 map.

The trouble is the accuracy we can achieve. We’ve circled the Zone 1 limit stations, and blocked out the CBD (although Dot says our colouring-in needs work). But at least now you’ll have an idea of where the edges of Zone 1 lie.

As a bonus extra, we’ve marked in where the gifts were hidden for all the Zone 1 hiding places, as well as the first Zone 2 point. Again, they’re approximate, but you should be able to work them out better from the Clues and Solutions posts.

So without further ado, here is the Zone 1 map. Don’t rely on it for your Myki use, but you should be able to work out at least where the gift isn’t.

And next week is Zone 1 – good luck!

Zone 1 for publication

Thoughts and considerations about the missing gifts.

It is frustrating when a gift goes missing. We feel rotten for all of the loyal Gift Hunters out there who were sifting through the clues and slowly pinpointing the location. We feel worse when, like today, one of our followers went to the place and found … nothing. And we feel a little miffed ourselves, to be honest, because we love the thrill of the chase and the joy of seeing our noble followers solve the clues and find the gift.

We’re going to add a note to our letters so that if people do find it, they at least let us know and don’t feel too guilty about it.

And, as the last two gifts were in fairly public places, we’re going to ask Dot and her team to choose less conspicuous hiding places for a while. We think that someone may have seen Dot casually sitting on the fence and calmly slipping the gift into the garden bed. There wasn’t as much mulch to move as she thought, and it’s quite possible that someone else was there afterwards, having a quiet smoke outside the Food School, when they spotted the bag.

Never mind. Next week is our 26th week, our six month anniversary, and thus going to have 2 gifts – one CBD and one Zone 1. With any luck, both of these will stay in place until they’re found by one of our followers.

How Dot won a grant

The Awesome Foundation give out $1000 a month to projects they think are deserving. Their charter states that they love “Innovative, exciting and unusual ideas”, “Ideas that have the potential to go far”, and “Ideas filled with passion and purpose”, and they’d messaged us some months ago to suggest that we might want to apply. We held back until we were certain we wanted to keep going, because a $1000 grant is one that would last us a very long time.

And that’s exactly what happened. Once Dot was on the radio, we thought it was time to apply. And last week, the lovely Tamsien West rang Dot to let us know that we’d been chosen for October!

We’re using the money to keep the gift going for at least a year. $1000 funds us for about 40 weeks (with the extras we hide on the weeks that are multiples of 10), plus some of our printing and Myki expenses, and we’re quite happy to cover the rest of the year ourselves.

So thank you very much to the Awesome Foundation for their very generous support for the Gift!

There will be a photo in the next few weeks of Dot accepting the giant Cheque. It’s bigger than she is!

Although it seems that Dot now has a taste for expensive hats. This could be a problem…

Dot’s famous again!

And this time it’s a newspaper article.  It’ll be available in print this week.

We’re still not really in the office, but we thought we’d share this with you, because Dot does love the publicity.

The elves are having a break.

Leave Application

This landed on our desk yesterday. The elves have packed up their desks, slapped down the leave application, and left.

It’s almost quiet for once.

So, as we require the services of the elves (and especially Dot, without whom we couldn’t run), we acceded to their demand and let them have next week off.

Tonight we’re going to set the auto-tweeter, shut down the computers and lock the door. You’ll see a tweet every day at 9am, but we’re going to be away until just before Cup week. Expect our regular rush of tweets from the 2nd November. If you’ve got any questions, we’ll try and answer them, but it might be delayed a while.

Have fun, and try not to break Twitter while we’re away.

So you think you can be an elf?

More to the point, do you have what it takes to hide a gift in the CBD?

Read on!

Read More…

The Rules Post

(Because all the cool kids have one)

Hello there!

This is a brief summary of the rules for taking part in the Melbourne Hidden Gift hunt.

Read More…

When Dot Became Famous.

Those following the twitter feed will have seen that Dot was interviewed by ABC Melbourne 774 on Monday afternoon, with the story being posted up on Tuesday and the actual interview aired on Tuesday afternoon.

The story is here, and the audio (slightly altered to disguise Dot’s voice) is here.

The elves are currently out hiding next week’s gift.