10 August 2019 (Saturday) - Knatts Valley

The dogs missed "er indoors TM" last night. They all lay by the front door until I went to bed, and for all that they came upstairs, they wandered downstairs every half-hour or so to see if she’d come home.
I eventually gave up trying to sleep and got up. I set the washing machine going on some towels, and watched an episode of “Gotham” whilst we all had out brekkies. Just as “Gotham” finished, my phone went absolutely mental. The new geo-series that I’d been working on had gone live. Twenty-three geocaches each of which I received four emails about. Your geocache has been published”, “Geo-Fed #99 posted a reviewer note”, “Geocache #10000 has been published” and “There is a new geocache”. It was a lot of stuff to have to delete.

I eventually got all my gear and the dogs together, and I got it into the car in two loads. Luggage first, then the dogs. And then I drove up to Knatts Valley. Five months ago (on 3 March) I spend much of a rather dull day solving geo-puzzles. Today we went to find the things.
We arrived at a lay-by somewhere near Sevenoaks, and waited for our buddies to arrive. I took the dogs off for a tiddle, but it started raining, so I opened the boot of the car and the dogs sat inside. I sat on the edge and we all sheltered under the tailgate. After a couple of minutes some normal people appeared (seemingly from nowhere) and announced loudly to the world at large that they were going to shelter under my tailgate. Their dogs started barking at my dogs and it was implied that their dogs are delightful creatures and I should take my dogs elsewhere whilst they sheltered in my car. I didn’t actually tell them to p*ss off in so many words…

Karl, Tracey and Charlotte soon arrived, and we set off for our walk. We didn’t get far before we had to stop to shelter from the rain. And once we got going again we soon had to stop to shelter from the rain again. The BBC’s forecast was that the rain would all be done by nine o’clock. I was devastated to see that that BBC had got it wrong (yet again). But the worst of the rain was over by mid-day.
Mind you the wind was strong. Two of our target geocaches were found on the floor. They were still attached to the branches to which they’d been tied, but the branches had been blown off the trees.And as we walked though woods we could hear branches coming down.

We walked for just under twelve miles. Across fields and along lanes. Footpaths and woods. Fudge rolled in various disgusting things. Treacle found several sticks to carry. Pogo was well behaved.
It was as well that "er indoors TM" wasn’t along; there were some serious hills to be climbed. As we walked we found a deserted golf course. It was eerie. Have you ever seen a deserted golf course? Usually golf courses are pristine; an example of gardening taken to the extreme. This one had just been left to go to rack and ruin. The greens and fairways were two feet deep in grass.

Usually we have a pint on our walks. Today we’d sussed out that there was a pub two-thirds of the way along our walk. But it wasn’t until we got there that I realized that it was the Rising Sun in Kemsing. We went there on the twenty-third of April 2017 when I wrote: “As we walked we found a pub. A pint would have slipped down nicely. I asked the people in the garden of The Rising Sun if the place was still open. A grizzled old harridan who I can only describe as looking like Zelda from “Terrahawks” said she might be, and asked me what the time was. I told her it was twenty to four; she replied (in a “piss off” tone) that she’d closed at three o’clock.
We got there at half past two today to find a very welcoming sign outside, but the place was closed and locked. Just as we were giving up some bloke drove up and said that he wasn’t opening today.

Others who’d walked this series had reported they’d taken five hours to get round; we took eight. A combination of sheltering from the rain, time spent searching for some rather tricky hides and diverting to closed pubs all slowed us down. Mind you I took a few photos today. That probably added a minute or two.

Geocache-wise today was a mixed bag. Some were straightforward finds. Some were rather more difficult. Despite having secured permission to replace any missing ones, we logged two “did not find”s. One had clue “base of concrete post”; we couldn’t find any posts in the thick stinging nettles.
And the other one – after fifteen minutes searching some chap came out of his house (in his pyjamas and smoking a fag) and wanted to know what we were doing.

Once home I fed the dogs who were incredibly hungry after their walk. I then went up the kebab shop for my tea. Chicken doner meat, chips and a can of drink for four pounds fifty pence. Can’t be bad...
Except that they’ve put it up to six pounds seventy (there’s inflation for you). And it didn’t help that I had to keep handing it back to them. Chicken meat and chips – how difficult can it be? No – I didn’t want all those sauces. No I didn’t want some pitta bread thing. No I didn’t want lamb. No I didn’t want salad… in the end the manager came over and was amazed that anyone could mess up chicken meat and chips so much.

I scoffed tea whilst watching more “Gotham” as the dogs snored. I had to turn the telly up to hear it over their snores…
I’m hoping for a better night tonight…

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