nWith only the Socialiser award left to collect to complete the 7 Souvenirs of August challenge (see my previous blog entry 7 Souvenirs for 7 Cachers) we needed to attend a geocaching event. With fantastic luck, our good friends Geoff and Melissa, otherwise known as Smokeypugs had decided to run an event at a nearby pub on Wednesday evening. This was perfect except for one thing… Sam was going to stay with my mum in Norfolk for a week on Wednesday morning so he would miss the event and he wouldn’t be able to complete the challenge. 😦
He was a little disappointed at this, to say the least, but I assured him that something would turn up before the end of August which was the challenge deadline. For once, the wisdom of dad turned out to be perfectly correct. Another event had just popped up in the local area and it was going to be held on Tuesday evening… perfect, I couldn’t have planned it any better if I had tried. The Cakes on the Common (GC5A109)event was being laid on by Tom and Jo, who we had met once before, coincidentally at the first ever event we attended which they had hosted almost exactly a year ago (see my previous blog entry Meeting Other Geocachers. Tuesday’s event was to be held on Harpenden common at 7.30pm and people were encouraged to bring a blanket and some cake. Sam and I baked some ultimate chocolate chip cookies and while we were at it we covered everything in a 10 metre radius with a thin film of flour and coco powder. Blind man and a 10 year old let loose in the kitchen can only lead to the baking equivalent of nuclear fallout.
Armed with cookies and a blanket we headed over to Harpenden and spent a very enjoyable hour meeting up with some familiar caching friends and also being introduced to one or two new people as well. Geoff and Melissa came along seeing as they lived quite close and it was also nice to meet Bob, A.K.A. The Bongtwashes who had claimed the FTF on our first ever hide. Some people had come from quite a distance to attend this event, those keen on completing the souvenirs challenge had to find an event somewhere. I was delighted and surprised to meet a few people who knew me from my blog and I tried hard to be humble as they said nice things about my bloggy waffling thing 🙂
All too soon it was starting to get dark and it was time to leave. As we thanked the hosts and said our farewells I snapped this cool picture of the darkening sky above the nearby fairground before making our way back to the car.
Back at home Sam and I logged the event and we both received our socialiser souvenirs completing the set of 6 needed to finish the challenge. But there was promise of a 7th souvenir for finding all the others and this was not appearing in our profile and I couldn’t figure out why. After Sam had gone to bed I did some searching on the web and found that in order to unlock the 7th and final souvenir you need to visit a web page on the geocaching website. For those who want to check there own progress or unlock their final Achiever Souvenir you can use the following link – Unlock your 7 Souvenirs of August Achiever Award. When I went to the page it congratulated me on unlocking the achiever souvenir and told me that I was the 27,149th person in the world to do it. Not bad eh? OK, so not an early adopter but we will see at the end of August how many people actually complete the challenge and then it will put this position into perspective.
On Wednesday, after dropping Sam off to spend the week with my mum, we caught the bus to Geoff and Melissa’s event, Deja Vu Das Boot (GC59G95) in nearby Chipperfield. We left the car at home for this one so that we could have a drink or too. That is to say, so Shar could have a drink or too. Being blind I never get asked to be the designated driver and therefore can always have a drink or two. We had a great evening at the event, the pub was packed to the rafters with almost exclusively geocachers. At its peak there must have been 30 – 40 people in a rather small room all laughing and talking loudly about the joys and woes of their caching experiences. We got to meet a lot of new people that night and a few that I had wanted to meet for a while including MJS64, mjcross, Hope2pigs, ElaineAlex and the maverics; all local cachers; to mention just a few. I enjoyed meeting them all and am delighted that through geocaching we are starting to make new friends into the bargain. To my surprise, I even met another visually impaired geocacher, DrewryFam. He labelled himself as partially sighted and described that he had a much greater level of residual vision than me but it was still cool to finally meet another geoBlindee, although that is probably not a very politically correct term to be honest 🙂
As always when I got home and read the logs of who attended the event I was sad to notice a few names that I have wanted to meet for a while, but who I just didn’t get a chance to say hello to on the night. Still that means there is an excellent excuse to attend another event in the not too distant future. I think the 7 Souvenirs of August challenge has been a resounding success encouraging cachers to try new types of caches and urging them to attend event s to further promote the social aspect of the hobby. Nice job Groundspeak, keep up the good work! 🙂