With the container for my first cache sorted (see Flash don’t melt – Choosing and preparing cache containers ), next on my list to consider was what needed to go in it. Well the minimum requirement is to put some form of log for people to sign. There are a few options for this such as a simple piece of paper or more elaborate notebooks and pads depending on the size of your cache and how much you want to spend. I like the idea of a small notebook as this is easier to sign giving the person something to lean on and also it just seems a bit smarter if you have the space in the box. I got some small spiral bound notepads from ASDA for something ridiculous like 8 for a quid. Sometimes it astounds me how cheaply you can buy things… surely the raw materials alone amount to more than the selling cost. I guess they know what they are doing.
The pads were a little big so I had to cut them down with the aid of a stout pair of scissors and a Stanley knife. Keeping the notepads dry is paramount so I wanted to store it inside a sealable plastic bag. We had some in the drawer that we use for food etc. but these were a bit big and cumbersome so after searching a bit on eBay I managed to find a selection of bags of different sizes. That is an understatement to say the least. It has to be said that you can buy any size bag of any thickness of plastic in any quantity whatsoever on eBay. If you want a bag with your granny’s face printed on it you can get that too. The biggest problem is just sifting through them all and finding what you want and making sure you avoid the shifty listings that are actually not selling you what you want even though you think they are. The process of eBay listing descriptions is an art that some people have perfected to such an extent that they can convince you to buy anything regardless of whether it is what you want. Then when you receive it and realise that it is indeed the exact style and size of, say for example, shoe that you wanted, it is however only one shoe and not a pair. When you go back to the listing and read it again you realise that it in fact does not mention it being a pair of shoes at all and you are faced with the fact that they have got you good and proper.
When the bags turned up they were exactly what I wanted so that evening of my life I spent trawling through eBay listings of seemingly identical plastic bags, wondering what the hell I was doing wasting my time, was in fact not a waste of time after all. So with the log book fitting into its perfect sized plastic bag what is next?
As a courtesy it seems that a lot of cache owners put a pencil in the cache if there is room. No geocacher would be caught dead leaving the house without at least 3 pens but it is true to say that after leaving the house pens do often go astray or are broke, or are left in the car or are accidentally left in the last cache you were at. Pencils are preferable to pens apparently as they fair better under all weather conditions and although the advice I read said that soft pencil such as 2b were the best bet I opted for the ASDA cheapo pack of pencils that they may as well have given me for nothing for the stupidly small amount of money they cost. Not only that but as the pencils were long I could saw them in half to make 2 perfectly good small pencils from one. Well that is the essentials dealt with so what next?
I wanted to offer an FTF prize of some sort. This is a reward for the first person who finds the cache. People often use pin badges, patches, certificates as well as all sorts of other items. The containers aren’t that big and neither was my budget so my options were limited. I looked around and saw that you could buy simple FTF pin badges for a few pence that would do the trick but I wanted something just a little more special if I could. I wanted something unique that you wouldn’t get at anyone else’s caches. Back to the internet and I found what I wanted…. A company that would make custom designed badges in small quantities for a reasonable amount. Badge Boy have an online design facility where you can put together what you want and then they will produce the badges in quantities of 1 to 100 or even more. Buying 10 as I would be, thinking ahead to future caches I wanted to place, it would cost around £1.50 per badge all in and after consulting the good lady we agreed that this was doable.
This left me with only one problem, how to design them. I knew roughly what I wanted in my head… nothing complicated just an FTF badge that was branded with my geocaching name, washknight. Problem is that as simple as the website might be it was no good for a blind person to use. Back over to the good lady again and with a bit of smooching and smooth talking she was up for the challenge. 30 minutes later and only a small amount of frustrated shouting and the occasional expletive and team Washknight had its very own FTF badge designed and order. Thank you darling.
The reason for making the cache a reasonable size is to try and encourage people to exchange items in it and even leave calling cards and trackable items as well. It seemed a good idea to load the cache up with a few bits to get things going so I got together a collection of bits and bobs for kids including some bangle things, a polyhedral die and some foreign coins. That done and the cache and its contents were complete.
Things left to do include taking accurate readings for the location of the cache and identifying the clue items that would be needed to locate the hide. More on that and the other finishing touches needed to place our first cache soon.