15 February 2015 (Sunday) - Otford
It was a late night last night - I didn't get to bed until 2.30am. Despite a tiring day and a surfeit of brown ale, persistent neck ache made for a restless night.
I got up to sad news; "My Boy TM"'s beard is no more. Apparently routine beard maintenance went horribly wrong and to cut a long story short the thing was put down as an act of kindness. I'm told there will be a period of official mourning.
I also saw there was ranting on the "Geocaching in Kent" Facebook page. My piss didn't actually boil, but it did simmer...
When you find a sandwich box in the wilderness and you've done the secret ritual known only to the initiated you then have to log this on-line. There are those who maintain that you come home and *on your PC* (ideally running Windows 3.1) you write a twenty-page essay singing the praises about said sandwich box in the wilderness. Should you find a second sandwich box in the wilderness then an entirely different essay must be written. (I personally maintain that the hobby is a treasure hunt, not an excercise in creative writing, and those who differ with me can do so when they too are a published author (!) but (as usual) I'm in the minority.)
The essay *must* be a glowing tribute to the wonder of the sandwich box no matter how much in disrepair the thing might be. Heaven forbid you should only leave a one-line comment, and if you do so from your SmartPhone then you will surely burn in hell fire.
It amazes me that geocaching has been going for fifteen years and (effectively) we still have to use the same technology as was used to find that first geocache. For all that it's a good walk in the countryside, it's one using gear which is ten years out of date *and* sees doing so as something to be proud about.
And talking of the g-word we collected the troops, narrowly missed a First to Find, and set off to Otford where we met Rosie. After a quick chat with a fellow hunter of tupperware six of us (and three dogs) set off for something rather unusual in the geo-world; a virtual multi-cache. There's a to-scale model of the solar system in Otford. And for all that you might know (in theory) that planets are a long way apart, it's not until you actually experience the amount of hiking about that even a scale model involves that you realise just how big space is.
We started off at... I won't say which model planet (not giving spoilers!), and solved the puzzle, moved on to the next one, and so on until we found ourselves being directed into a private allotment. We re-checked out calculations again and again to no avail. It was with something of a sulk that we admitted defeat.
Rosie suggested we went and did a series of caches which was just three miles up the road. I didn't have them on my tablet, but two minutes of piggybacking off of my mobile wi-fi hotspot saved the day. (You can't do that with a GPS unit!) and soon we were in Mildridge woods. A beautiful wood where the dogs could run and we could hunt tupperware.
I was so impresed with Jess the geo-pup. I'd seen her before many times but not really paid attention to her. I hadn't realilsed she is the ideal geo-hound. When we are near a cache and searching we have to keep an eye on "Furry Face TM" because he gets bored and wanders off. When Jess hears the beep of the GPs unit she immiediately sits and waits for us to do our geo-thing.
In these woods we searched for twenty-five caches, and found the lot with minimal difficulty. If anyone wants a scenic walk, or is considering taking up hunting tupperware as a pastiime I can't recommend the series in Mildridge Woods highly enough.
We were just about to get into the cars when another caching friend pulledd up. He was taking his dogs for a walk. he asked how we got on with the virtual multi-cache. We told him we were suulking, and he said.... I won't say whaat he said, He didn't tell us the answers we were after but he did point out our error. We went back, and in five minutes we had the solution to the puzzle we wanted. Success !! In over four thousand three hundred geo-finds this was only my thirteenth virtual find.
As I sometimes do, I took a few photos whilst we were out.
Home, and after aa rather good bit of tea we watched the latest period drama - "Indian Summers". Billed as the next "Downton Abbey" I thought it would be right up my street. The first episode started well enough, and I then fell asleep for the rest.