25 February 2018 (Sunday) - Green Chain Circular

I felt a tad rough when I woke this morning. Perhaps quite so many pints of “Snow Top” at 6% ABV wasn’t such a good idea.
As I read Facebook over brekkie I saw an old colleague had died. I first met Alan in the year 2000. I can’t pretend that we hit it off right away. But for ten years there was a mutual acceptance. In 2011 I had one of those episodes when (to coin a phrase) I found out who my friends were. People with whom I’d worked for years sharpened the knives and stuck them in my back. Alan didn’t. He surprised me. He looked out for me. I knew he’s been ill, but he’d only been retired a few years; he deserved a little longer really.
Facebook is useful for finding out things like that.
However on the more negative side one of the committee members of the Geocaching Association of Great Britain was stirring shite on a national Facebook forum, and those who should have known better were fuelling the squabble. I also saw that an ex-friend (who has fallen out with several people) was giving the arrogance to a local Facebook page.
Why do people delight in these arguments?

We got ourselves and the wolfpack together, and drove into London. We wanted a decent dog walk, but this time of year so many places will be mud and swamp. We’ve had our eye on the Green Chain Walk for some time. It’s a linked system of open spaces between the River Thames and Crystal Palace Park supported by the London Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich. There’s all sorts of tarmac-ed footpaths linking loads of different public paths, and some decent fellow had hidden over fifty geocaches on a circular route along the way.
In the week I posted on the Internet to see if anyone would be up for a walk. There were people who wanted to come along, and by one of those co-incidences which make life such fun, we met two fellow hunters of Tupperware just as we were starting.
Seven of us (and my two small dogs) had a rather good walk. Bearing in mind how cold it was, Fudge didn’t have a choice about his coat. For once I stood up to the little pup and he wore it(!) There was very little up or down compared to our usual walks. There was incredibly little mud, but I managed to fall over in what little there was. As we walked we saw squirrels and parakeets, and even an urban fox shamelessly going into someone’s garden. As we walked through one woodland area we found a bra and knickers laying on the ground. Things must get racy in Downham. Because the route went through public parkland we were able to find a table and benches for our picnic lunch; that made things easier, even if Treacle did insist on climbing all over the table.

Geocache-wise this was an excellent walk. Having fifty-plus caches at minimum distance apart clocked up the numbers. And the hides weren’t “another-film-pot-under-a-rock” but a mixture of caches, some of which were rather challenging. Usually I wouldn’t consider so many targets on a winter’s day (wanting the longer summer’s days for this) but this route was ideal for today. We found all but one of what we were looking for; and a quick email correspondence with the chap who’d hidden them made it quite plain that the one that had eluded us has gone missing.
This walk really is what geocaching is all about. We met new friends, and who would think you could walk nine miles in countryside in the suburbs of London?

The plan for the evening was to go down to the Festival of Lights in Cheriton, but by the time we’d got home, had a shower, fed the dogs and fed ourselves, time was pushing on. It had been cold whilst walking today; my nose had only just stopped running. I didn’t want to get it running again. My hip was a tad painful from where I’d taken a tumble earlier, and with an early start planned for tomorrow, a night in front of the telly was in order…
I wonder what’s on?

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