Mar 142016
 

On Friday we travelled to Sheffield for my Cousin’s wedding. Seventeen (ish) years ago (apparently it always stuck with him and he reminded me!) at my wedding I told Andy “you’re next”. Well, apart from his sister, I was right, he just took his time over finding the right person to spend the rest of his life with.

Well, thankfully Andy and Zoe found each other and decided the time was right. The wedding was fantastic, the blind tasting of the dinner was luckily a good affair and the whole weekend was a blast. Over five hundred photos to sort through and a four hour drive home yesterday meant that we were wiped out by the time we arrived.

That journey was broken up by a couple of cache finds. The second was “just another motorway-mayhem” cache and dash, but the other was one of the most memorable caches I have found.

The wonderrful thing about Tiggers is Tiggers are wonderful things.
Their heads are made out of rubber their tails are made out fo springs.
They’re bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy fun fun fun fun fun.
But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is I’m the only one.

A week or so ago #LJ and I recorded the March 2016 edition of the UK Geocaching Podcast and we featured a “Cacher Of The Month” called Molemon. He mentioned that his favourite cache was called “Tigger – GC5G9VJ” and it is located at Tibshelf Services. I didn’t look up the cache in advance but was speaking to a friend who listens to the show and he reminded me (as I was pulling into the Northbound side) that Tigger is located Southbound. So, a plan was made to stop at the services on the Southbound on the way home.

I cannot describe or provide a photo of the hide without spoiling it (hence I didn’t Periscope either) but it is most definitely one of my favourite finds! Minimad95 and Frema Gogo (who spotted the container!) were with me and we had great fun resetting the hide three or four times and playing. We didn’t drop the cache once!

I think that I am located far enough away from Tibshelf Services that (with the CO’s permission) I am going to try and copy the idea and hide a “tribute” version on the South Coast.

Feb 112016
 

tombstone

It’s all over. The fat lady has sung. It’s belly up. It bit the dust.

Yep, my caching streak is over, for now. Having finished work last night I headed home, got distracted by paint discussions, went to the shop, home, back to the shop (where I bought paint), home, had dinner, watched a couple of shows on the TV and….

Awe crap. Nope, I can’t be bothered. If it has managed to get to 10pm without me realising that I hadn’t found then it’s obvious that I have more important things to do.

Never mind! I made it to forty one days, twenty four better than my previous attempt a couple of years ago. My year has started better than any other so far and while I enjoyed every cache that I found, I have to admit that the last few days had started to drag so it’s time to stop.

I have to admire those that manage a couple of hundred days (like titannia1 who’s on around 225 days by now) or Mario McTavish who made it to 1400 odd days. I am obviously not the dedicated numbers cacher like they are, but, we all play our own way.

Right, where’s the map…

Feb 012016
 

What a great month!  Normally January is reserved for staying indoors, hiding from the elements and pretending the world doesn’t exist for another 4 months.

Not my January though!  I didn’t make any resolutions at new year, didn’t intend to get so hooked on being outside, but, go out I did.  Every weekend in fact, something I have never achieved.

So, some numbers:

Total finds: 74 – my third best month caching in a six-year caching career. This breaks down to:

    • 66 traditional cache finds
    • 4 multi-caches (three church micro caches)
    • Three earth caches
    • One mystery cache
    • Six favourite points awarded – one of these was for a whole series
    • At least one cache found during every day in January 2016

Not bad eh!

Loads of these caches (at least two series and a bunch of other finds were with my buddy DBR42 (aka Brian) who topped 100 finds during the month too.

Cornell Finch, Frema Gogo and DBR42 at GC4KDA6

Cornell Finch, Frema Gogo and DBR42 at GC4KDA6

February’s challenge is simply to find one cache a day. I am not worried about big numbers this month, the new conservatory is nearly finished and the whole house needs decorated.

Almost forgot: I bought a new torch to help out on those days where I need to find a cache in the dark. It’s an LED Lenser P7.2 that I picked up for 25 quid from Amazon. Only arrived today but the first impressions are seriously awesome! I might write a review once I have played with it a bit.

Jan 202016
 

Last night was the biggest struggle to get out and find a cache so far.  Minus two degrees C, lacking fuel in the car, lacking energy in the body. Still, needs must eh!

We jumped in the car and headed out, via the petrol station, and parked up about 30 feet from the cache. A very quick find meant I wasn’t out of the car long and leaving the engine running meant that Rach stayed warm too!

This mildly annoyed me though. The cache was a key-safe, not exactly a spacious cache to begin with. The log book was inside (obviously), but jammed in with it was a PS2 to USB converter (Google search link) and this:

This is not swag!

This is not swag!

Yep, a tea bag and a sachet of coffee.  Jammed into a micro cache.  The Cacher that left them obviously hadn’t read the guideline about leaving foodstuffs in caches.  Yes, I did remove them (but not the PS2 converter, although that’s not really a good swap, is it…) and they went in the trash as soon as I got home, I think…

 

Jan 192016
 

Saturday evening is a time to spend with family, at home, on the sofa watching a movie and eating all the wrong foods. If you’re over thirty. What about the under thirties? Of course, they call a few mates, go to the pub, get hammered, have a kebab and then barf it all over the nearest police officer.

Ok, so what about the rest of us? Those of us over forty with mates that need to do something because they have a lack of motivation and need a distraction. Well, they go Geocaching of course. This is exactly what happened to me on Saturday 16 January 2016. A text message that said “I am bored” lead to Chinese takeaway and then heading out at 2115 at night.

Saturday Night Selfie...

10:45 PM, minus one C and we’re out caching…

Brian and myself headed out, not to find any specific caches but to drive out of the home area and find a few caches that wouldn’t affect my daily caching streak. I am trying to save the caches close to home for the daily find. There’s precious few really close by and I am really trying to save them for the daily. Those further out are fair game.

We drove through Southwick (Google Maps link) and stopped for a single cache. We opted not to go for the multi cache Church Micro in the village, saving that for a daytime run (graveyards freak me out at night!) and headed for Denmead. We were intending to go for a “resus” cache but for various reasons we decided not to. Instead we walked most of a lovely little series called “Miley’s Favourite Trail

Just seven caches in the series, but they are a great little walk even if we did do them in the order 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and then 7 (due to where we parked). We skipped number one due to a minor emergency that meant we re-visited four of the caches. I will spare Brian his dignity and not mention the incident.

We logged 11 finds and one DNF in the evening, even managed to find two caches after midnight which meant I could spend the day at home on Sunday and not worry about the daily find.

Jan 142016
 

Three days, three finds, three Did Not Finds. Not a great ratio I think.

On Monday we went to Gunwharf in Portsmouth to see The Hunger Games – Mockingly Part 2, we have been waiting since Part 1 came out with huge anticipation for the conclusion to the series. It didn’t disappoint. What did disappoint was http://coord.info/GC3GQYG. Having spent 20 minutes in the watchful gaze of the taxi rank, feeling rather exposed searching for this cache we gave up. In defence, it was dark and there was lots of scary spiders! I have now had a hint from a previous finder (thanks Richard!) and know that I was about 20 feet out from the hiding spot, but I can’t see any point for this cache being here except as an escape from the shopping. I could think of much better places nearby to locate it. We did find Geological Forensics 5, an awesome Earthcache, the other side of the shopping centre.

Wednesday I DNFd a cache outside what seemed to be a school (it was dark and I couldn’t tell) and this evening we have given up on Cycad Bonsai, a fairly new cache that caused some controversy with the FTF hounds as the coordinates were some 500 feet out. Defence? Dark, wet, mud, slope, river. A daytime cache I think!

Still, 15 days consecutive finds and Rach located my GPSr – it was on the dining table underneath all the crap that was excavated from the conservatory cupboard when our building work began!

*It’s actually four days but that doesn’t rhyme as well…

Jan 132016
 

Have you ever tried GC Buddy (available on iOS and Android!)? If you’re a Geocacher who dislikes multi-caches because you have to juggle bits of paper (or a note book), GPSr (or phone), pen and try to work out the stages of a multi-cache then you’re missing out. It’s a couple of quid on the App Stores and it will change the way you multi-cache. I promise. Yes, I know that’s a big claim, but, it has changed the way I cache. I now actively go looking for multi-caches to find.

GCBuddy On the left is the home page from my GC Buddy.

To progress my current continuous finds streak (14 days and counting!) I decided to grab a fairly newly published multi (GC699G5 – Method In Thomas’s Madness) not far from work. Actually, if I am honest, I collected the clues on Monday while on my lunch break. I fed the clues into GC Buddy and got a result that suggested I was 4,000+ feet from the final location. Knowing this was an urban cache I stopped at that point and headed back to work, I was running out of break.

I had another look this afternoon as I finished and realised that I had missed a letter from the Northings of the location. I had typed “N50 (C+J)D.GG” missing a J from the end. When I corrected that and re-ran the code it suggested somewhere much more likely as a hide location. Parking up near the coordinates (I was driving instead of walking as I had just finished work!) the cache was soon in my hands.

Before I had GC Buddy I would have left these multi-caches until I was desperate for a find. It also means that I am more likely to head out and find more of the Church Micro Geocaches – these tend to be multi-caches for one reason or another, permission (or lack of) in most cases I suspect.

GC Buddy is also great at multi-stage multi-caches. GC5YJ4B – Sensory Reflections is a 4 stage multi cache near me that I am saving for a CBA day. With a little work at home I am able to set up the codes for each of the stages and the final location, plug the numbers in as I find them and GC Buddy does all the hard work.

Well worth a couple of quid if you ask me! Now all I need is a handy little app that will delve into the devious mind of the Puzzle Cache setter and solve them for me…

Jan 062016
 

fortbrockhurst31 December 2015 and I had promised my brother that we would go caching. 4 finds and one DNF (that I am sure will be archived soon!) and tea and food were beckoning. I realised that I had been stupid in that we went caching really close to where I work and I could have used those four caches to log a find a day for four days running. Ho hum!

The picture on the left is the location for today’s find – GC5XPP2 – The Fort. The cache page has superb information about the fort (which is rare for a cache ‘n’ dash):

HISTORY OF FORT BROCKHURST Forts Gomer, Grange, Rowner, Brockhurst and Elson formed the ‘Gosport Advanced Line’ built in the early 1850s at a range of 2-3 miles from the Portsmouth docks aimed at preventing at an enemy force proceeding down the Gosport peninsula and bombarding the Royal Navy’s primary dockyard. Built to a polygonal shape with caponiers to protect the ramparts and vaulted casemated guns, the fort represented the forefront of fortification design (which by this stage had moved away from the star/bastioned design of forts such as Tilbury and the Royal Citadel) whilst the rounded keep and flooded moat took inspiration from earlier ages. The five forts were situated within firing range of each other and thus whilst not a continuous physical line, they were able to fire on any attacker attempting to breach the defences.

The 1860 Royal Commission, which initiated a massive building programme of forts around all Royal Navy dockyards as a response to the threat from Napoleon III, suggested replacement of the five Gosport forts with fortifications further West. This was rejected on cost grounds and Fort Brockhurst, along with her sister forts of the Gosport Advanced Line, remained in commission. The invasion fears came to nothing and for most of the life of Fort Brockhurst it was simply used as accommodation for military personnel. Other than some bomb damage sustained during World War II it never saw action and was released by the military in the 1960s.

Although I have been past, around (and found other caches near the fort) I haven’t actually been inside the fort for around 13 years when we attended a classic car show with our Mini. Must figure out when it’s next open and pay a visit.

Sep 242015
 

I was contemplating all the BS that is abound on the internet this morning, not a bit stunned about how little of it is actually true. It reminded me of a couple of things:

Abraham-lincoln-internet-quote1

Was the first thing.

Then I was reminded of a topsy-turvy poem that I kind of mis-learned at school. It seems that, like anything, there’s a number of different versions, one of which I learned and appears to be the wrong version. I believe that this is the original version, however I can find no reference to credit the original author:

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,
One was blind and the other couldn’t, see
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”
A paralysed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine-inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the two dead boys,
If you don’t believe this story’s true,
Ask the blind man he saw it too!

Still, could be worse, you could drive a Volkswagen diesel…