23 October 2013 (Wednesday) - FTF and Beer

I was woken at 7am by a small dog sitting on my chest licking my nose. He does that. I got up and had brekkie. I checked out the “Geocaching in Kent” Facebook group and sighed. There were a few threads griping about various problems in caching which are entirely the making of using GPS units.
I wish I knew why people hunt Tupperware with a GPS unit. They aren’t designed for that job. And those who advocate doing the job the long–winded way also advocate the unnecessary use of software (which no one seems to understand) as though making the job into hard work was a clever thing to do.

I usually take my dog out immediately after brekkie, but the weather was against it. He didn’t understand, and he looked like he was going to cry when he saw I wasn’t going out. Whilst I waited for the rain to stop I got the makings of forty pints of brown ale on the go, and then did the monthly accounts. They didn’t look very good, but then bearing in mind the hammering that they received from car repairs a week or so ago I wasn’t really surprised.

The rain had eased off, so I put “Furry Face TM “s lead on him and we went round the roads through Newtown and into Frogs Island. Whilst there I looked for one of my own geocaches. Several months ago a rather good geocache (that Jose had made for me) went missing and I replaced it with a magnetic key holder. I had received a report that someone had found two caches when looking for that one so I thought I’d have a look. Sure enough the original cache had returned. I wonder where that had been.
And then Fudge woofed at a passing scratter on its way home from Asda. The scratter dared to be disrespectful to my dog and I saw red. I offered to shove said scratter’s shopping up its arse. The scratter soon hurried off.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have done that; but he shouldn’t have been rude to my dog. We carried on with our walk, popping in to Pets at Home; if only so “Furry Face TM “ sees the vets as part of our walk and not as somewhere he should be scared to go.

Once home I put some washing in the machine, made a cup of coffee and checked my emails. Red Alert! A series of a dozen geocaches had just gone live (fifteen minutes previously) and so with the chance of a First to Find I stuck the lead back onto my dog and we zoomed off to Appledore.
The Appledore Amble is a series of caches in a vaguely circular walk out of Appledore, through some wonderful scenery and comes back along the canal. We arrived in Appledore, parked up within yards of the first cache and could see no one else was caching yet. I pulled my boots on and soon had the first cache in hand. I was the first one there. Happy dance! FTF. Oh yes!
We carried on along the walk, FTF-ing as we went. At the third cache I had a shock. I found what looked like it might be a geocache in a sock tied to a bench post. As I undid it I saw the actual cache a foot away, but I was intrigued. Someone had tied a sock to a post, and inside that sock was a note saying that this was the Saxon Shore Way sock #7. I wonder what that was about? Presumably some rival form of geocaching in which one hides socks?
We failed to find the fourth cache; the brambles were too thick for my liking. I say “we” – my dog has very little interest in geocaching. Fox poo is another matter as he proved whilst I searched.
We pressed on through ploughed fields and thick mud. Despite missing cache #4 I continued finding caches that no one else had. Usually where a load of caches go live I tend to share the love and only take one FTF. But this was a series of caches; designed to be done as a series. Those that chase FTFs could have driven round if they were in a rush. Me and my dog walked. And FTF-ed with clear consciences.
We had a minor hiccup at cache #8. The route then went along the canal. There were marked footpaths along both banks. When I found I couldn’t get within forty metres of cache #9 it was clear I’d chosen the wrong bank. As I was walking back to the bridge ‘er indoors TM  sent the news that other cachers had started the cache series from the other end and had FTF-ed some. I managed one more FTF, then met “The Three of Us” (there were two of them) at cache #10.
We chatted for a bit. It was odd. I’m sure I’ve not met them before, but they recognised me. Or to be precise they recognised “Furry Face TM “; their first words were “This must be Fudge”.

I then gave up FTF-ing and started geocaching. The two are very different concepts. I found three more caches, and having got all of the clues to find the bonus cache I couldn’t find what I was supposed to do with these clues. Usually the clues give you co-ordinates of the bonus. These ones didn’t. After twenty minutes of head scratching I logged that I hadn’t a clue and came home.
I came home to find that the chap who had hidden this elusive bonus cache had since posted an apology. He had overlooked publishing the instructions on what to do with the clues. Some might see that as being rather frustrating. I saw it as a relief that I hadn’t overlooked something obvious.

To Folkestone. I’d heard reports of the Firkin Ale House so I went there with the Rear Admiral. They did a nice drop straight from the barrel. And cheese too. And a wonderfully decorated lavatory. We had an elegant sufficiency and moved on to Kipps Kipps is another alee house of which we’d not heard such good reports. It seemed OK to me. They had Dogbolter, which can’t be bad. From there we wandered and staggered to Wetherspoons who were doing something nutty. We then staggered off for a kebab, kissed goodbye and I found the train station. I got there at the same time as the train so didn’t have time to get a ticket. The ticket inspector on the train laughed when I told him I didn’t have a ticket, and he said that he thought I looked honest and I should buy one when I got off. I would have if I had seen anywhere open to buy one from.
When I got home I found these photos on my phone

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