North Watford Squirrel Time Zone

Luckily the weather yesterday afternoon did clear up a bit and we managed to get out for a spot of caching in the car. We had 8 in total that we had loaded into the car sat nav but in the end we only managed to find 6. The first one was a tricky one, or at least we thought it was going to be. It was located in a cul de sac and as we approached GZ we realised that it was opposite a house that had workmen doing something to the exterior of it. The road being so quiet, we were totally conspicuous and thought we would have to abort and keep on walking back to the car. Luckily we were saved by the van belonging to the workmen which just so happened to be parked right next to GZ blocking the view from the other side of the road. The hide was a nice one too, it being a fake snail with the log inside.

The next one gave us a problem though as it was located in some low bushes that was right outside a shop on a small parade. There was no way we were going to be able to search and not look like total weirdoes so we had to give up on that one. I reckon will have to return after dark when the shops are closed. The third one was a relatively easy find despite being observed by some policemen sitting in their van a short way across the road.

The 4th one was quite an interesting one. The cache itself was just a 35mm pot in the folds of an ivy covered Oak tree and presented not much of a problem. It was interesting because it was located on the route of a disused road. The A41 is a very major road that runs through Watford and over the years it has been widened and its path altered a couple of times. The path we walked along today was the site of the A41 prior to it being widened and tweaked for some reason or other which despite me searching the internet I cannot determine. I like geocaches like this that enlighten you about a bit of history or some other fascinating fact that you would otherwise not have realised.

From here it was just another short drive to our next cache. We parked in the car park of a leisure park where there is the carbon copy outlets that you see in similar parks all over the country. Cinema, bowling, Frankie and Bennies. When we parked we were delighted to note that the cache was only 10 metres away. However our joy was short lived as we realised that it was 10 metres on the other side of a very high fence. We set about looking for a way to get to the other side and this is when we started spotting squirrels. First we saw a pair of them chasing each other around the edge of the car park and in and out of the trees. It got me to thinking… do they hibernate? I always thought they did, but turns out the internet was working for this one and they don’t. What they do tend to do in milder winters is get active around dawn, have a mess about doing whatever squirrels do… gathering nuts, chasing each other, watching This morning and then they are back in their beds by late morning. If that is the case then there was something going wrong with the squirrel clocks in North Watford today as it was around 2pm when we saw them. It wasn’t just 2 either, later on we saw another couple at different times… unless it was the same pair winding us up, which is a possibility I suppose.

Squirrel hijinks aside, we struggled to locate the way into the park where the cache was located. Eventually we walked back out of the leisure park and found a footpath that led us all the way around the bowling and cinema finally taking us to the cricket pitch where the cache was supposed to be. Is it a cricket pitch? Or is it a cricket field, or ground. For some reason I have cricket square in my head but that just sounds wrong as they are normally round…aren’t they? We didn’t find the cache after all that, we searched a long time around GZ but alas had to chalk up a DNF on this one. I suspect the squirrels may have nicked it and were running around with it in there teeth to taunt us.

Back in the car to do three more quick cache and dashes to finish off with. The first was a really tall stretch up to the back of a sign at the side of a very busy road. The second one, we parked so close to it that I could have fallen out of the car and probably landed on it if I had been so incline. I opted to get out and retrieve it in a more conventional method. The last cache was another quick find near an old road sign.

Six more finds to add to the ever increasing total and another 2 DNFs to toss on the pile that taunts me endlessly. Whilst this sort of urban caching is far from our favourite it is certainly nice and easy in terms of preparation and planning etc. Aside from a pair of tweezers, a pen and your phone you need little else to be able to collect a few urban caches. One last word of advice though, if you are going to do some cache and dashes or park and grabs as the Americans call them, then for god’s sake don’t forget the car!

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