Archive for September, 2006


Saturday, September 9th, 2006

As I may have mentioned we were barbecuing today.

Our chum Bob, a few years back, developed the geocachers’ version of foxhunting: One car drives around beaconing its position by various means of technology, stopping every so often to let people catch up. Bob and the family did a few foxhunts, and another was planned for earlier this year, before sad events got in the way.

So today was the Bob Memorial Foxhunt – I say *the* Memorial Foxhunt, I suspect it may have been the first of several. Things went a bit pear shaped earlier this week, when the original fox’s car – with the required technology hard wired in – broke down and had to be abandoned in Devon. Luckily my car has a version of the same thing, so with some last minute reprogramming and some panicking about how to fit two adults, three kids, an insane boxer dog, a barbecue and the world’s supply of food into the Gruntmobile, I was pleased to step into the breach.

There was some more last minute alteration when Beaulieu was turned into a car park by an event happening at the Motor Museum, so we had to change the route; there were also a few problems with the technology, but most of the hunters found us in the end. What was best, though, was that quite a few teams caught us at the last stopping point, alongside Fawley Church, where those who wanted to – and everyone did – were able to visit Bob’s grave and tell him how much better it was when he was running them!

As you can see from the picture, we’d forgotten a log book – still, we managed to find a large flat white surface for everyone to sign. Note to self: Wipe-off marker is VERY HARD to get off Gruntmobile bonnets.

Anyway, we then went back to the start point, had a barbie of top quality, flew kites, played football, and set light to part of my caravan – but this entry has gone on long enough, I’ll tell you about that another day :-)

Ooh, and Rob, if you’re reading this – you won a prize after you left! I’ll pass it on to you on Thursday, assuming I haven’t eaten it by then!

Late Night Lunacy

Friday, September 8th, 2006

But first, the cute picture of Jenny and Pickle I promised you the other day. Jenny is the less hairy one.

When late night shopping first started, it was considered THE way to meet single members of the opposite sex. That may still be the case – but if Sainsbury’s last night is anything to go by, I think I know why they’re single (of course, I haven’t missed the irony that they were probably thinking the same about me). There was only one checkout open, and the three sets of shoppers in the queue in front of me were all a bit odd. One guy made a big show of not needing a carrier bag because he was packing all his purchases into his rucksack – then he had to unpack them all again because his money was at the bottom.

I was there on a mission to buy barbecue supplies…specifically, barbecues. The reason for that will be blogged in due course, for the time being I had been sent on a barbie-buying expedition. The first two places I’d tried didn’t have any, but I finally found three disposables in Sainsbo’s. There remained the dilemma that disposables aren’t allowed at the barbecue site we’re going to, but that remained for today.

Lunchtime, to be specific: I first tried B&Q, where only the tail end of the summer’s range remained. The lady was very helpful, showing me a magnificent gas-fired beast:
“Will it fit in your car, sir?”
“My CAR??? It wouldn’t fit in my flippin’ GARDEN!”

My next stop was Robert Dyas, where I was much more successful…a lovely end-of line jobby reduced from nineteen squids to eight! I took the precaution of assembling it before I left work…lucky I did, as I needed the full access to engineering tools and spare nuts and bolts before I was finished.

And finally…well, it wouldn’t be a Friday without an after-work cache would it? Surgical Spirits is a nice walk around the Victoria Country Park, home to a Crimean War military hospital, and allegedly haunted. I didn’t see any ghosts, but it was a nice walk anyway :-)


Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Last night I went down to Fawley, where I played football with Sarah and George.

Actually that isn’t totally true: Sarah and I took shots at goal, which George consistently failed to save. Personally I blame the fact that he was wearing Saints’ socks. If he’d had a Pompey kit I’m sure he’d be a much better player all round.

Oh yes, and Sarah made me trip over the ball: As I was flying gracelessly through the air prior to landing I remember thinking “OhmyGawdI’vegottheworkmobilephoneinmypocket” which probably contributed to me landing heavily on my arm – but on the side where the mobile wasn’t, so that’s all right.

In other news, of course all my loyal readers are well aware of the Gruntmobile Tracker and probably follow my movements1 from morning till night. But because of a caching thingy this weekend, the tracker has won a whole new audience, and in an easier-to-read format. The downside of this is that for a while last night, there threatened to be a whole new thread on the caching fora about how I keep leaving work early, and what a part-timer I am.

It’s nice to be entertaining people :-)

1 Stop sniggering, Stevens


Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

In a comment on yesterday’s blog, Jenny said “You need a small black chambermaid to help you get up earlier – when ARE you going to blog about that then?! “ I suppose I have to do that now, really, don’t I?

I don’t have any kind of weird droit de seigneur fetish or anything: It’s just that when I was up staying with Jenny and Chris for Jenny’s birthday weekend, I was awoken on Saturday morning in a rather unusual way. You’ll know that they’ve got a couple of kittens, Pickle and Button – I know that technically as they’re over a year old they’re cats, but they’re still little and cute, so I’m going to call them kittens. Anyway, I’d been warned that if I left the bedroom door open I could expect a feline visit in the night, but I like cats more than I like confined spaces, so I left the door ajar.

Sure enough, Saturday morning brought a loud meowing which I knew had to be Pickle: Button is cute enough, but she hasn’t got the hang of meowing properly and her efforts sound a bit half-strangled. This was followed by a little black furry face being thrust into mine, and she then proceeded to wash my nose, arms and any other exposed bits that were available. I know it’s unhygeinic, but it’s well cute so I let her get on with it.

And that’s the story of how I was given a bed bath by the Little Black Chambermaid: I took a lovely picture of Jenny and Pickle that weekend – I’ll blog it when I remember.

Term Time

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

School holidays are over…term has started.

You may be wondering why, as a non-parent, that affects me. I’ve never really understood why, but school holidays make a huge difference to the traffic – even at half past seven in the morning when I’m going to work. For some reason, the journey that, for the last six weeks, has taken fifteen minutes, took twice that time this morning. People I work with have suggested that it’s because people take holidays while their kids are off school – but not all for that length of time, surely?

Whatever the reason, it looks like I’ve got to get up earlier until half term :-(

Yet Another Blog about Being Rubbish

Monday, September 4th, 2006

Before I get into the “being rubbish”, can I commend – for those of my audience who don’t normally read it – this entry from Stu’s blog.

Regular readers may be surprised that I haven’t blogged about Saturday night’s “Test the Nation” yet.

I haven’t blogged about it because I was rubbish, alright? For the first time I played on line rather than following it on the telly, and while I can claim laptop enrubbishness and unfamiliarity with the format as part of the reason for my poor performance, there was clearly something else going on as well. Looking at the summing-up of my round scores, there’s a clear improvement going through, so I suspect that had I been as familiar with the online format at the beginning as I was at the end, I wouldn’t have been so rubbish.

Or maybe I’m just losing it ;-) – either way, it wouldn’t even calculate what it thought my IQ was.

By the way, I mentioned yesterday about the generosity of packed lunches at horsey events: Part of the lunch bag they gave me yesterday was an apple, which I took to work today. I ate half of it before I gave up and threw it away: it bounced. And I had indigestion for the rest of the afternoon.

Hard Work

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

Today I have been Working Hard.

Specifically, I’ve been manning not one, but three checkpoints on a horse riding event near Basingstoke: I was at one of them with my big radio, talking to Control, and using ickle radios to talk to the marshals at the checkpoints on either side and pass their messages back to Control as well. It all went on and on a bit…but the good thing about working on horsey events (apart from women in jodhpurs) is that they normally feed us well – if you play your cards right you can eat well and go home with more packed lunch than you started with.

Once the event was over – and if you don’t like caching blogs, stop reading now – I had an hour or two to pick up a couple: The Fox Hole was the first, at the edges of an old earthwork half a mile from the parking, where I also picked up a cute little travel bug, Jenny Smith Teddy Bear.

Then a short drive brought me to the recommended parking for Bluebell Woods (Hants): There weren’t any bluebells – wrong time of year – but it was a good walk, and having found that one I carried on to The Three Castles, named after the Three Castles Path alongside which it stands, and where I found the spooky old building in the picture.

And then I went home :-)


Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

I took my Mum for lunch again today.

There’s a river – the Itchen – running past the back of the pub, and the restaurant windows usually offer good views of ducks and swans – and if you get fed up with them there’s the planes taking off from the airport.

This time there was some added entertainment: the ducks were hiding from the rain, but there were a couple of workmen clearing out the river. I guess over the months all sorts of detritus gets washed down and jams in the weeds by the pub verandah – today they were clearing it. Equipped with an impressive array of power tools, they were slicing up logs and heaving them ashore for disposal, along with water weed, old planks and goodness knows what else.

The funny thing was the guy in the river, up to his chest in water with no protective quipment at all. His mate on the bank was holding on to his safety line, which was a bit of a waste of time…the other end wasn’t tied to anything. At one point the waterboy was sawing away at something underwater while looking up and talking to his chum…I was waiting to see his leg float to the surface and drift away on the current.

Then when he got out, he poured the water out of his wellies and went home. Sadly they complained when I wanted to take photos of them at work, to use in Health and Safety lectures. Still, the waitress forgot to charge for our desserts…sadly I’m too honest for my own good.


Friday, September 1st, 2006

This evening’s after-work cache was Compton All Saints Cache, just up the road from work.

This is the third (at least) incarnation of the Compton School Cache, placed by pupils at the local school who then follow the logs to see who’s visiting, and read their comments online. Lots of schools follow geocaches or things connected with caching: Fawley Infant School have a travel bug called Fawley Owl, named after the owl on the school crest: Since being placed in the special cache Owl’s House, he’s travelled the world and is currently in Canada, in the process teaching the Fawley children geography!

Of course, all this education can’t hide the fact that this is just another geocaching blog ;-)