22 November 2012 (Thursday) - Covered in Fox Poo
Among my many and varied hobbies I fly kites. I no longer post on any kite-related internet forums as it is too easy to misunderstand what someone else has written and to have your own words misunderstood. It was the same when I kept snakes, and now it seems to be the same with geocaching. On Monday I mentioned that I hid a cache only to have it turned down because it was too close to a playpark. At the time I didn't realise there was even a playpark nearby. I've had other caches turned down for the same reason, whilst I know of (at least) four other caches which are closer to playparks than the one for which I got the thumbs down. Including one of my own. So I went through the official rules to get some guidance. The official rules were vague, so I asked on a geocaching forum for advice.
In retrospect I really wish that I hadn't. Perhaps I was being over sensitive, but some of the replies were (in part) quite nasty. Having been accused of having half a brain, other posts seemed to imply that placing a geocache in the general vicinity of a school implied paedophilia. Another took offence at perceived digs on my part (supposedly aimed at people I don't even know) that I simply hadn't made.
I got the answer to my question from an entirely different source. It turns out that candidate geocaches are all judged on their individual merits by the specific reviewers. Reviewers who live dozens (if not hundreds) of miles away and who have no local knowledge. Instead they use on-line maps, which are not always right - Google Maps has the position of Norton Knatchbull school wrong by some miles. Which clearly explains the variable way in which caches are allowed or rejected.
This was a pain in the bum. I'd taken the trouble to get council permission to hide some caches in the Ashford Green Corridor, but one of the places I had in mind is not very far (as the crow flies) from a football pitch. Personally I didn't see any problem with the hide... It was at this point that the doorbell rang.
The nice man had arrived to service our boiler. It wasn't cheap, but regular readers of this drivel may recall that the boiler went west a couple of years ago and that was rather expensive. I'd rather shell out a reasonable amount of cash yearly to keep the thing going rather than running this one into the ground like we did the last one. It didn't take long, but once the nice man had done I realised he's left the bottom cover off. I've left a message on his phone for him to come back to fix it.
I then took Fudge for a walk to Frog's Island to set that geocache. After all, I'd gone to the trouble of getting permission from the council, and if it was too near to a football pitch, then I'd decided I'd spit my dummy out and formally squeal up all the others that might be in place but break the rules anyway. As I scrubbled about hiding the cache Fudge scrubbled about rolling in fox poo. I am reliably informed that you can tell fox poo because when rubbed on a dog it smells of rancid fish. Foul dog! I abandoned any plans I had to go on more of a walk and we came straight home for bath time. With the dog scrubbed I did the on-line registering of the cache I'd hidden, and there were no quibbles. This one went live within ten minutes and was found for the first time an hour or so later. You can see the details of the cache by clicking here.
A quick spot of lunch, then round to collect the first fruit of my loin. We went to the driving range again. I quite like smacking golf balls into the middle distance. I didn't get on too well today - my back was playing up somewhat. Probably because I was laying awkwardly on the floor whilst playing "Doggie Doo" with Lacy a couple of days ago. But I enjoyed myself. I came home with loads of dog-related paraphenalia that my boy had got for me, including a new harness for the pup, and a dog Advent Calendar. Fudge sat on my lap whilst I pootled about on the Internet. As I pootled I realised I could smell something. Rancid fish. The poor pup got another bath - this one was somewhat more vigorous.
Meanwhile the mo grows apace. There's no denying that I hate the thing, but it is raising some money for a good cause. please feel free to sponsor it; in eight days it is coming off.