1 December 2012 (Saturday) - Geocaching Christmas Party
There was vague talk of going shopping in Lakeside this morning, but I had too much to do. Astronomy club accounts don't sort themselves. But we eventually got our chores done, picked up Geo, and set off to Bluebell Hill,
There was all sorts of things we could have done today. The kite club was having a Christmas party, as was work. But instead we thought we'd try something of an unknown quantity - the Kent County Geocacher's Christmas meet-up. We'd met one or two other cachers here and there throughout the last few months; and they all seemed decent people. So we thought we'd give the Christmas bash a go. I am so please that we did.
The meet was planned for 2pm, but for those who were interested there was a mini-cache run around Bluebell Hill. A local cacher had offered to meet up with anyone who was interested at the Bluebell Hill picnic area and lead a little expedition. It was a really kind offer; one I readily accepted. We were taken along the "Snail Trail" - a trail of six caches. And as we went along we found another six random caches as well. It was a bright morning; very cold. But it was a good morning to be out and about. Meeting old friends, making new friends. Smiling smugly whilst others struggled to find the cache you've found. Swearing impotently whilst everyone else has found the silly plastic box that you can't find.
The two hours flew by, and we made our way back to the cars, and on to the Castle Lake Hotel. I went in to the place with a little trepidation. I didn't know what to expect. I was rather amazed. I don't know how many people were along - I would estimate about fifty. We had an area booked, and on seeing Lisa and Earle we sat with them. We exchanged pleasantries with those people we knew. We were introduced to new friends. And without realising it we were chatting away with all sorts of people. After an hour the organisers called for quiet,and awards were made. Being a newbie to all of this I sat quietly, and applauded politely when people were called to receive awards. My name was called. I couldn't believe it. They'd made the effort to look at my caching history and present me with a certificate for having found over seven hundred geocaches. I was rather humbled that someone had done that for me.
We had a meal in the hotel, as did many other people, and then the "Secret Santa" gifts were given. I was presented with a telescopic magnet and a pair of tweezers (both with attached lights) which were ideal gifts for geocaching. And we chatted some more. As you go out geocaching, at each cache you sign the cache's log. On these logs you see other cacher's names and aliases. I found myself being able to put faces to so many names. And there were so many people coming up to me being pleased to finally meet Manky Badger.
We chatted until everyone else had gone home, and being the last few people left chatting, four of us set off on a mission. To find a last couple of geocaches.
I understand that these geocacher meet-ups happen quite often. I shall certainly go to the next one...
Oh - and it's December. December isn't December without a Lego Advent Calendar...