Archive for the ‘Caching’ Category

Catching up

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

So – I had a fabby Easter weekend with Purple Fred and Mini-Fred: we went away to Dorset – one of my favourite counties – where we went to the Royal Signals museum, won a bingo competition, hunted (and found) dragon eggs, cuddled guinea pigs and stroked goats, and discovered a new favourite tea room. Oh, and found a geocache, of course.

And then yesterday was the birthday of Mini-Fred, with much food to be consumed – including, of course, birthday cake. I’m going to have to find a new name for Mini-Fred soon – it won’t feel right to call him that once he’s taller than me!

And…relax

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Well…the Hospital Broadcasting Conference is almost over – most of the delegates have gone home, and conference team are sitting around with our feet up and quaffing our choice of rehydration fluids.

If you’ve been watching my Facebook page you’ll know some of the following, but for those of you who don’t – or who’d like a bit more detail…

Our performance at the Totton Drama Festival went well, the adjudicator was nice about us, and out of a cast of seven we had four award nominations, and one award winner. Well done to Natalie for picking up the Best Supporting Actor award :-) .

The next morning I hopped on a plane – minus my coat and camera – for Glasgow, and the above mentioned conference. A weekend of minibus driving, interspersed with other bits of conference helping, and of course a few geocaches – well, nine actually. I had one fail to find because the final location looked a bit trespassy – as in, it was on the private side of a barbed wire fence – and another where it looked like ground clearance had taken away the vegetation in which the cache was hidden, but otherwise I found everything I looked for.

This evening’s plans centre on relaxation, a bar snack and an early night: Tomorrow’s main features are expected to be taking the minibus back to the van hire place, and catching the flight home. And hopefully, somewhere in the meantime, finding the ticket that will enable me to get my car out of the long-term parking at Southampton.

Fire

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Today I have been mostly attending Firex South, the exhibition for the fire safety industry. And if you think that sounds dull…you should’ve been there! Even the quality of the freebies on the stands wasn’t up to much, although I did score a “quid on a keyring” trolley token, get another mouse mat and a packet of mints. Oh, and a fairly decent ballpoint pen.

Still, it was a nice day outside (which made being inside seem even more dull!) and the fact that the show was in an area I’d never visited before meant that on the walk from the railway station I bagged five caches – including this little beauty:

How many of us remember when 90% of caches looked like that, and micros were an occasional novelty?

Better still, also included in the five was another one just as well hidden as that, and a micro that showed how good a microcache can be – it was exactly right for the location, and drew attention to an interesting local curiosity that a visitor might otherwise miss.

A good day out – I think I might go back to Sandown Park.

Mojo

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I seem to have got my geocaching mojo back :-)

I solved the puzzles on the multicache Carry On – Follow That Camel aaages ago – and again last Summer when I realised I’d lost the original notes. But it was only this morning that I motivated myself to make the necessary diversion from my normal walk to work to find it.

And then, thanks to a tip-off from m’reader Jane, I discovered that the cache I couldn’t find on Monday, London Invasion had been reported missing last week. The owner doesn’t plan to replace the cache in the same place for a number of reasons, so he’s allowing logs from people who didn’t find it, as long as they can describe the location accurately enough to convince him they were looking in the right place. And I must’ve been convincing enough, because I got my permission to log today.

It’s a shame it’s gone missing because the trail that leads here is a good one, and an excellent example to new cache setters of how a multicache should be (for other excellent examples see any multi owned by Esscafe or Paws for Thought!). I wouldn’t normally log something I hadn’t found, but the fact that the cache owner had already let someone else do it, combined with that the cache definitely isn’t going to be replaced in the same place, made this look like fair game.

And then on the way home this evening I got Britain’s Largest Screen to complete the day’s hat trick :-)

More Caching…well Sorta

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Not my most successful geocaching day.

On the way to work, I trled for Long Tall Alley – it was the second time I’d tried this one, or the third if you include the time I couldn’t even find the alley, never mind the cache. I know within thirty feet or so where it must be, but still can’t even spot a likely hidey hole.

Then at lunchtime I went for a walk and had a go at St Georges Garden and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s Cache, both nice enough hides in little parks, and I now know where both of them are – they were under the bums of people eating their lunches.

Oh well, I’ll try for them on my way in one morning sometime.

Bleep Bleep!

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Well, I know where the final location of the cache is :-)

That is, I think I do – I visited the site this morning but couldn’t find it, but all the clues fitted so I’m sure I was in the right place. I’ll email the cache owner and check I was in the right spot, and try again later in the week.

Didn’t it hammer down over the weekend? I was out on the Meon Valley Plod, and had to drive through some really deep floods to get there. I’ll tell you how cold and wet it was…I didn’t do any caches afterwards!

Bleep…

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

I’ve been doing a multicache :-)

Inspired by Purple Fred (whom I love very much) I’ve been forsaking the bus and walking to the office in the mornings, and to stave off boredom, I’ve been varying my route, rather than going the same way every day. And to make things even more interesting, I’ve been searching out some cache clues.

I’ve tried to start the cache “London Invasion” a few times, and being unable to find the first point, have given up a few times :-( . But on my morning walks I’ve spotted a few of the points further round the trail, and been inspired to have another crack. The basis of the trail is a number of tiled mosaic “space invaders” peeping out at you from hidden nooks around the capital – like this one:

and this one…

Three days into the week, I’ve found ten of the thirteen clues – and if the rain holds off tomorrow morning I’ll try for a couple more. I’m having fun!

Jersey

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Yesterday I said “Hopefully after 6 PM Thursday, the old number – the one ending 748 – will be the only one.”

I don’t know what I was thinking there, but I should have said, the number ending 783. Anyway, I’m hoping that by this time tomorrow the whole number-moving-across thingy will be done and dusted.

Right, I promised you a blog about Jersey, didn’t I? The whole trip – with Purple Fred, Mini Fred and Aunty of Fred – was based around a sepcial thingy to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Durrell Wildlife, what used to be called Jersey Zoo. They’d arranged a package deal including the hotel, behind-the-scenes tours of the zoo, a sepcial dinner and show, the whole nine yards. The days at the zoo were certainly full – there was plenty to do, maybe even a little too much – and we saw gorillas, orangutans, meerkats, snakes bugs and creepy crawlies.

Bug

Here you see a creepy crawly sitting on PF’s hand.

We also went panning for gold, at a place where we also saw this rather famous car.

James Bond Aston Martin

We visited a castle and saw falconry…or more accurately, hawking

Me and a hawk

And then before coming home we found some caches! A tirung, but greatly fun, five days.

Home from Holiday

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Well, we’re home…and Sally-J has beaten me to producing a summary blog of the trip. I’m just not sure who the “Tit in a Hat” is that she keeps referring to…

Tree Hugger in a Hat

We did lots of nice walks – as well as the climb of Scafell Pike that I’ve already told you about, we did something nice every day: Walking alongside the river in Kendal; a nice almost-circular walk around a ring of six caches, and my favourite, a ridge walk which netted me my 1200th cache. Here I am at the start of the ridge:

At “Top ‘o the First Climb”

Picture 1 by Rob, picture 2 by Sarah.

And if you’ve been following my Facebook status updates, you’ll know that on the last night, I gave my ratty old geocaching trousers a viking funeral. I can’t remember how long I’ve had them, but I do know that I meant to get rid of them after the “More minging than blinging” cachepedition three years ago! If you don’t know what a trousery viking funeral looks like, thanks to Rob’s video skills, you can see it on YouTube – or indeed here:

Picture

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Oh look, a new blog header.

I do apologise, I’ve been messing about with it all evening, so some of you may have seen a not-very-good previous version. It’s a nice pic, though…here’s the original, taken by Rob on the way down from Scafell Pike:
Paul on Scafell, copyright RDA 2009

Sca Fell

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

England’s highest mountain is Sca Fell Pike, at 3209 feet above sea level. And yesterday we climbed it, picking up three caches on the way!

We chose a different route from the one we recce’d last year: that’s kind of the point of the recce. That route had long flat-ish stretches, interspersed with steep, horrible climbs: The one we chose yesterday was just an unrelenting climb, which didn’t vary much from the one-in-five gradient all the way. We thought that was better, as at least, broadly speaking, the terrain was better.

Better yet than that, when we got to the top, there was a view! Apparently that’s really rare, normally the summit is shrouded in low cloud. The cloud had been lifting all morning as we were climbing, and just as we reached the top the last of it blew away and we could see the Irish Sea, and…um…lots of things that were further away. Just because we could see them doesn’t mean we knew what they were! Oh, and Rob’s mobile phone logged on to Vodafone Isle of Man as being the strongest available signal.

And then we made our way down, and picked up two easy drive-by caches on our way back to the cottage, bringing the day’s total to five. Nice one.

Photos when I have a decent bandwidth connection…probably when we get home!

…and calm.

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

I realised the other day that of the last six weekends, I’ve spent four Saturday nights in the caravan, one in a friend’s guest room and one in a slightly dodgy hotel. It’s all been fun, but it’ll be nice to be in familiar surroundings this Saturday night – especially as in a week’s time I’m off again, this time with Rob and Sarah for the 2009 Great Lake District Cachepedition.

I predict a couple of late nights packing between now and departure day: just the gadget list seems to get longer every year, and with at least one walk on the list that’s more major than any we’ve done in recent years, there’ll be more safety kit than usual too. I hope R and S won’t mind too much if I sleep in the car on the way up – at least I won’t be driving. I’ve already tested the MP3 player’s “extra loud” setting, in case Rob insists on playing “Les Mis” all the way up the M6.

Perhaps a couple of early nights during this week would help. I suppose I might manage it.

Round-Up

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Phew! It’s been a busy old time – as you’ll have noticed from the lack of anything approaching bloggage. So as a summary, in the last week PF and I have been to Jenny’s birthday bash at a pretty pub…

steamboat.jpg

…and we’ve had a meal out with Rob and Sarah, and celebrated PF’s birthday with a little light geocaching. And this weekend we’ve been to a bit of a do at PF’s sister’s house, where it was very sunny and I’d forgotten my hat…

hat.jpg

.

Coming in the near future, a review of riding to work on my bike – but in the meantime, here’s a clue: What do you call a dinosaur with an uncomfortable bike saddle?

Dash

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

It’s been pretty busy here chums.

We’ve been saving lives like mad, treating ill people, and still finding time to have fun and get to the morning and evening celebrations (well, most of us have!). And – for those who’ve read Sybil’s most recent blog – we had communion this morning, complete with wine.

I’ve even found time for five more caches, taking my New Wine total so far to seven:
As Keen As Mustard
The Shortest Day…
Dinder View
Haydon Drove No. 2
Haydon Drove No. 1

The last two of these both offer fine views of this mighty aerial:

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Many years ago, I knew someone whose 14th birthday treat was a trip to be photographed next to that mast…

UPDATE: Another cache this afternoon:
Church Micro 301 – Prestleigh and New Wine

In the Beginning

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Greetings chums.

Since I last updated you, we’ve had two Medical Team barbecues, treated some patients – including some with symptoms suggesting Swine Flu – and consumed 11 packets of chocolate biscuits and seven million gallons of coffee (I blame the doctors for that). On a personal note, I managed to get off site this afternoon and found two geocaches:
Path to Cannards Grave
The One With the Sunset

I’ve also had a personal revelation – I know revelation doesn’t normally go with “In the Beginning”, but there we are: I’m allergic to yoghurt. It doesn’t make me turn green, or my head explode, or anything like that – but let’s just say it doesn’t remain in my stomach for very long. I’ve had this since I was old enough to eat yoghurt.

Needless to say, it’s a while since I’ve knowingly had yoghurt – about thirty eight years, if I remember right, but I’ve eaten it in curries, where I assumed the non-explosiveness was due to the fact it had been cooked. And then yesterday, I had a dessert which I thought had some funny-tasting Angel Delight on it, but turned out to be vanilla flavoured yoghurt. Again, no reappearance of either the yoghurt or anything else I’d eaten.

So I did an experiment today: I bought a peach-flavoured yoghurt from the shop on site, and with the loo ready to receive, and a bucket on my knee, sat in my caravan and ate it. That was ten hours ago and it hasn’t yet made a reappearance, so perhaps it’s fair to say I can now be a yoghurt eater.

Which makes buying healthy-ish desserts much easier.

Purchase

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

I bought a bike!

Bike

And a bike helmet…

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Am I not, as Jools Holland famously once said, a groovy fakir?

I’ve wanted a folding bike for a while – it’ll be good for commuting, and will extend my in-London geocaching range significantly :-) – not to mention being a handy gadget to keep in the caravan. I did some research and found the one pictured above on this website – followed by some more research after a chum of PF’s advised us to look at some more options. We did, and I still ended up ordering the one in the picture.

I’m hoping it arrives in time for New Wine :-)

Sveden. Tiring, very Tiring

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

The lovely PF and I spent the weekend building Swedish flatpack furniture. It was knackering and we both feel a bit past it – but I think the results are worth it…(and yes, we know it still needs doors)

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And then the lovely Purple Fred – whom I love more and more all the time, and I’m not teasing when I say that – put everything that was worn out and no longer any use, out for the council rubbish men to collect…

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And then we went caching and had a lovely time :-)

Lanzarote Caches

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

So I’ve now logged all those Lanzarote caches – the delay was getting owner’s permission to log one of the earthcaches, and he was on holiday so it took a while. Anyway, all is now done.

There’re about 35 caches on Lanzarote, we missed quite a few out because of

  1. Daftness (we walked past a couple because I hadn’t got my act together and plotted them on the map properly)
  2. Time – it wasn’t a caching holiday and we had other things we wanted to do
  3. Risk – some of the locations weren’t suitable for people who weren’t experienced and well-equipped climbers

So the ones we did were:
Cueva de los Verdes, an earthcache in some caves formed when volcanic lava forced its way to the surface – very dramatic.

La Bomba, a micro at a volcanic bomb – a rock formed when a lump of molten lava ejected at high speed from a volcano twists and turns in the air, and sets in an ovoid shape before hitting the ground.

Los Hervideros – Lanzarote – Islas Canarias earthcache, an earthcache on the dramatic west coast of the island…

Los Hervideros…and a micro not far away.

El Golfo Earthcache, yet another earthcache at a sea-eroded volcano cone. We got a bit confused finding this one because there’s a village of the same name, not far away…

Olivine Treasure, a traditional cache at the end of one of Lanzarote’s dirt track roads.

White Horses of the Sea on Lanzarote, another one at the end of a dirt track – this was the one where I cracked the sump on the hire car.

and

Tuff but not tough….easy, an earthcache within a five minute walk from the hotel.

There will be photos soon, honest…

Adventure

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

I had an adventure today…I went to London on the train! Not something I do every day, and…

Eh? What?

Oh yes…it is something I do every day. But at least, it being the weekend, I was able to travel first class for £2-50 each way, which meant comfortable seats, a tray table big enough to spread out on, peace and quiet, and a mains socket to charge the PDA so I could catch up on some work.

The purpose of today’s visit was to go to a committee meeting of a charity I support, to offer some advice on their new Health and Safety policy. They already had the bones of one in place so we were more or less there in an hour, and I was free to leave…

Needless to say, I scored a cache on the way back to Waterloo! I’ve tried for The South Bank Lion several times when work has brought me to this part of the Nation’s Capital…and today, Bingo!

And next to Waterloo I spotted this sign, which I’d never seen before…

090516a.jpg

Expo

Friday, May 15th, 2009

So – to the National Health and Safety Expo at the NEC. I scored a geocache just outside the NEC…

Sidetracked – Birmingham International

…spotted some amusing spelling mistakes such as this one…

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(there was also a book called “Affective Health and Safety Management”, but as the author and publisher were standing proudly next to it, I thought photographing their smelling pistake might be seen as taking the mickey).

I did get a pic of this rather ill-thought-out trademark, though.

090514b.JPG

I even spoke to some interesting people and scored some worthwhile freebies – including a book that normally retails for thirty quid!

Miso-tery

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I tried a Japanese noodle soup, from the new Miso bar over the road. They only had half of the advertised flavours available then, so I ended up with vegetable dumpling flavour. It was a close contender for the least satisfying meal I’ve ever eaten.

But on the credit side, it came with a little plastic bottle of Wasabi sauce, in a doomed attempt to give the thing some interest: when washed out, this proved ideal for packing a handfull of vitamin pills ready to take on holiday, rather than transporting the whole pack. It also seemed quite useful in geocaching terms…

I really need a second pill pot, and today Mungo’s Miso Shop had Hoisin Duck flavour. Hoisin Duck being one of my favourite oriental foods, it HAD to be worth a try.

It was a close contender for runner-up in the least satisfying meal I’ve ever eaten. And they forgot to give me the little bottle of Wasabi sauce.