26 March 2013 (Tuesday) - An FTF...

An interesting interlude - whilst I was scoffing my brekkie some chap stopped outside the front of my house and started shouting. He got quite angry with whoever it was to whom he was speaking. On reflection I think he must have been having a conversation with someone using hands-free phone technology. I hope he was. But there was no denying that he looked like he was arguing with the voices in his head. "Hands-free "is great - it makes people look like nutters.

With "Daddies Little Angel TM" having arrived we took the dogs for their morning walk. They seem to like that. On the way up the road we stopped off to find a geocache that had gone live recently. It was on our way so it would have been a shame not to have gone for it. And once at the park we stopped off at the ladies following an unfortunate incident that I have been forbidden to blog about. Let’s just say it involved shrieking and dog dung and leave it at that…
We then walked on through the park past Singleton Lake and seeing that the floods had subsided we went looking for a geocache that last week had been in a swamp. Not quite a swamp now, but it was still rather damp underfoot. After a little mucking about I soon found the cache. And signed it for all of us. "Daddies Little Angel TM" will go mental when she finds that she might get mistaken for a geocacher.

We then made our way home via the Environment Centre. For some reason poor little Sid seemed to be having a hard time keeping up. Odd – he’s become used to coming on walks. Perhaps he was still tired from yesterday’s excursion.

Once home I knew that if I stopped I wouldn’t start again. So I went straight into the garden where I had another go at the lawn; this time strimming. And then I hacked back some of the jungle pouring over the fence. In years gone by I got the garden looking quite good. Frankly I can’t be bothered any more. It’s too much effort to fight back the stuff which is constantly coming over the fence.

I had a quick cuppa and checked my emails. A new geocache had gone live half an hour previously in Kings Wood.
I could be FTF - the First To Find. There’s a lot of kudos in being the first to find a cache. But it had been live for half an hour and there are a lot of local cachers who rush out to find them first. And I had stuff to do. I decided not to go for it. Instead I popped into town for a large box I needed to replace a geocache of my own that had recently gone missing. Whilst in town I checked the new geocache’s record on my phone. No one had found it so far. I wondered if perhaps I might have gone for it; and decided that if it wasn’t too late when I first saw the email, then by the time I got home it certainly would be too late. So I consoled myself with a Snickers milk shake from the shake bar and went home.

The Rear Admiral was visiting for lunch and we bandied insults whilst I painted the inside of my box. I’ve taken to painting the insides of sandwich boxes to camouflage them. I then had a spot of lunch and wrestled with indecision. Surely this new geocache had been found. I’d received the email timed at 11.42am, and it was 2pm by then. It is unheard of for one to go unfound for so long in our neck of the woods. But I had nothing else planned for the afternoon, and it wasn’t that far away really. So I put Furry Face’s collar and lead on him and we set off to Kings Wood.

I’d seen where the cache was on the map – I knew vaguely where it was. There would be a short walk involved. Once parked up we started walking and I activated the GPS to confirm where I was going. I was mistaken about there being a short walk. The cache was just over two kilometres from the car park.

So we set off. The cache was where I thought it would be – deep in the woods is a milestone with directions. The first time I ever passed this milestone four of us missed it completely and went miles in the wrong direction. Ironically when we missed it we actually posed for photos at its location, and those photos still exist in which you can clearly see this milestone in the background.

As I approached the cache I could see where it was. But then I had a GPS unit telling me where to look, and the experience of one thousand three hundred and eighty six previous caches telling me what to look for. The average person will walk straight past this geocache with no idea that it is there. Which is as it should be, and for me is one of the marvellous things about this hobby.
As I opened the thing up I looked at the log. Surely someone else had beaten me to it. I couldn’t possibly be first. Could I?

I was first to find it. No one else had been for it, and I signed the log at 2.57pm. I felt rather smug as we walked back to the car. The cache owner had obviously been watching the listing, and we exchanged insults via Facebook all the time I could get signal to do so.

It’s traditional in geocaching circles to say “TFTC” – “Thanks for the cache”. I think this one needs a special thank you. Firstly it’s a cache on its own. The ones I’ve hidden are either on my way to work, or on routes I walk Furry Face along at least once a month or so. Today’s FTF was over two kilometres into the woods; a cache on its own and in isolation. Maintaining this one will take special effort. And secondly it’s on Forestry Commission land. I’ve toyed with the idea of putting geocaches on Forestry Commission land and abandoned the idea. It’s too much like hard work. When you hide a geocache you hide it, tell the moderators where it is and they do their thing and all is tickety-boo. But if it’s on Forestry Commission land you need formal permission from the Forestry Commission people. You have to write to them (actually write) saying where the caches are; giving latitude, longitude and grid references. If they are going to send anyone to work in the area they ask you to go and fetch the caches back. And they want you to formally apply for permission every year. I looked at putting caches on to Forestry Commission land and decided it was too much like hard work. So I can understand the effort that has gone into this one.

And so home again where I messed about trying to edit html documents in Word. Not as easy as it might be. It’s such a shame that Claris Web Site Designer doesn’t run in Windows 7.

Being Tuesday the clans gathered – this time in Somerset Road. Once the obligatory squabbling was done we settled down to an episode of "Merlin". I was disappointed. Up till now they've been good, even plausible, Tonight's episode was just silly. Which was a shame...

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