1 August 2016 (Monday) - Jasmer Day
"er indoors TM"'s alarm went off at 4am this morning. She and our overnight house guest (Jimbo) were going to collect Gordon Tracey and set off to the week-long national geo-event in Wales. I couldn't get the time off work to go to that (I'm working mid-week) and had had my sulk some time ago. So instead of sulking today I thought I'd have a geo-event of my own. I decided to have a jasmer day. The Jasmer challenge is to have found a geocache in every month since people first started hiding tupperware in the undergrowth. I was missing a few months, and so I'd planned a little road trip for me and my dog.
I left home a few minutes before 5am and set off to my first target. Bearing in mind the grass can be wet in the early morning I parked up near Cobham and put on wellies. I walked down a lane only to find I'd gone the wrong way. I got within twenty yards of my target then had to got four hundred yards round the long way. But when I got there I had a quick find at 6.30am.
From there I moved on to Winchester Cathedral. There is an amazing bit of modern art there. It's a hi-tech lamp post which changes colours when you send texts to it. I got there, did the secret geo-thing and was back to the car before 8am (so I didn't have to pay for the car park)
My third target was the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (in the New Forest). One of the many things I love about geocaching is the amazing places to which you end up going. It was a shame that Fudge felt the need to tiddle on the gravestone. But we were there and away before 9am.
As we'd parked up I'd noticed the local pub had a sign saying they did breakfasts from 8.30am. I thought that once we'd done the secret geo-thing I'd have a fry-up. I hadn't noticed that they only did brekkie at the weekends. I sulked as we drove out to Dorset.
My fourth target was the furthest from home. I'd never even heard of Hengistbury Head before, but there was a virtual geocache down there. We got to the car park and I had no change. I tried phoning the car park people like the sign said, but after five minutes I gave up and drove a few hundred yards and parked on the road. By now we were both getting a little stir-crazy and so a walk would be good. Our target was a kilometre from where we parked the car, and as we walked "Furry Face TM" played with, ran away from, and humped all sorts of other dogs.
The virtual cache was straight forward, and as I was in the area I did the nearby Earthcache too. Hengistbury Head was beautiful; such a shame it is so far away.
The plan had called for us to be arriving at Hengistbury Head at mid-day... we were leaving shortly after 10.30am. I was quite pleased with progress at this point. (But things were to change...)
Our fifth target was Wickham in Hampshire. As we drove I was beginning to feel a tad weary so we pulled in to some services in the general vicinity of Southampton and I dozed for half an hour.
We eventually got to where we'd been advised to park the car. But it was a rather dubious lay-by in the back of beyond. Bearing in mind how unlikely it would be for anyone at all to come close, and bearing in mind it had taken us two hours to get there, we left the car and went for a little walk.
Just as I found the geocache so my dog started heaving. He spewed up a lump of partially digested grass which was about as big as he was. I wish he wouldn't do that. And as we walked back to the car we felt a few spots of rain.
Target six was in the general vicinity of Chichester and had been originally hidden thirteen years ago by the TV personality Chris Packham. It was up a rather serious hill. As we struggled up I seriously began to wonder about saying "sod it" and going home; the hill was *steep* and the drizzle was getting heavier. But we got to do the happy dance at 2pm.
It was at this point that we had the only real hiccup of the day. I'd chosen our targets on their attributes listed on the geo-website. I had a vague idea where they were, but only enough to know what order in which they would best be done. I was utterly dependent on sat-nav to get from one to the next.
My phone's sat-nav threw in the sponge and refused to work. I had a vague idea that we needed to be somewhere near Worthing and so that would involve driving up the A27. I wasted a *lot* of time finding the A27.
Fortunately the sat-nav sprung back into action just before Arundel, and we found our way to Cissbury Ring. I'd been there on a hiking/camping contest with the Boys Brigade in the late 1970s and it had been a disaster then. Today's was marginally better. We soon found our target; the oldest geocache I have ever found (hidden fifteen years ago) but the rain had picked up, and by the time we got back to the car at (4pm) we were both soaked.
The sat nav said it would take an hour and three quarters to get home. It was nearer three hours. Admittedly I did have a sleep in the car park at Clackett Lane services.
Once home I had a rather good bit of curry; scoffed whilst watching "The Monocled Mutineer". I had planned to do so much else this evening. I shall have to set up the new lap-top tomorrow...
In the meantime I took a few photos whilst we were out...