Schooooools out for ever! Well for the summer at least. With Sam on 6 weeks holiday it is always a challenge to find things to do to stop him and his loving parents, ahem yes that’s me and Shar, from climbing the walls. Although he would probably be happy to attach himself to his Xbox for the entire time, that is not going to happen, not on my watch baby!
What better way to start off the hols than with a spot of geocaching. And besides I was itching to take my new Mountain Warehouse friend Jimmy Talon out to begin his adventures. If you have no idea what I am talking about, check out my previous post, Meet Jimmy Talon for more details.
Oh, and talking of Mountain Warehouse, it is thanks to them that I was able to actually go geocaching wearing more than just my boxer shorts, as when we did leave the house heading for nearby Tring, I was wearing my new combat trousers, as supplied by them, and feeling ready to take on the world… or at least find some tupperware… same difference.
The area around Cholesbury and St. Leonards near Tring in Hertfordshire is one we have visited a number of times before for geocaching. In fact it is not too far from there that Shar and I got engaged, after finding a multi cache.
For whatever reasons, the mood and spirit in our team was less than 100% today so we decided to not plan too much and just take a lunch and do as many or as few caches as we felt like. The main thing was to get out and get some fresh air into our lungs. And fill my lungs with it I did as I stepped out of the car, with ease and comfort thanks to the nice elasticated waist and generous cut of the new trousers. With lungs full of air and nostrils filled with the smell of … err sheep poo, I booted up and we gathered our bits and bobs and headed off towards our first cache of the day, Church Micro 3510 Cholesbury (GC4A6ET).
I love church micros that involve collecting information from gravestones in sleepy village churchyards. Mainly because I get to sit on a bench in the peaceful grounds, while those with eyes that work, namely Sam and Shar, go in search of the information. So there I sat, in the warm sunshine listening to the birds tweet and the groundsman strimming back the weeds and I allowed my mind to drift.
But I didn’t get too much time in my own head as Sam and Shar soon returned with some of the information and complaints about not being able to find some of the other numbers. The curiosity of the groundsman got the better of him at this point and he came over to enquire if he could be of any help. A short while later after one of those slightly awkward conversations about what a geocache is and why we are looking at gravestones and he is able to help us find one of the numbers we need. Nice work fella.
With just a couple of numbers left to find I sat back down and listened as Shar and Sam did slow but steady laps of the church pausing only to grumble as the reached me each time. I felt I needed to do something to help and so after reading the cache description, I turned to Siri to see if she could help. One of the numbers needed was associated with a renowned doctor who was very influential in the field of world health and family planning. I got to work and promptly got thwarted when my single 3G reception bar disappeared and I was left with GPRS and the iPhone ground to a halt. hmmmm.
A bit of experimental moving around trying to find a better signal and soon I was back in business on 3G. Siri was put to work with a search based on the birth and death years of the doctor along with the keywords renowned doctor family planning. She was very helpful in returning a number of web results telling me all about cheap prescriptions and how and where to get free family planning advice and failing that, the morning after pill. Well not exactly what I was looking for.
After a little thought, a more careful choice of keywords and some improvised phone signal search jazz dance moves, I was able to pull up a name and the required number we needed to complete the formula, which was good because Sam and Shar were just about ready to give up.
We sat back down and worked out the numbers and discovered that our destination for the final location was within about 20 metres of where we had parked the car!!! We nodded to the groundsman and made our way back to GZ and after a short search managed to find the cache well hidden in a small clump of trees at the side of the parking area. This fun but time consuming process had taken us up to lunchtime, so we plotted up on the nearby handy benches and broke out the sandwiches.
Revived and refuelled after lunch, but still lacking a little mojo for some reason, we decided to pick off one or two nearby caches and see how we felt. We packed up and strolled across the nearby cricket pitch and into the trees to make our next find. A relatively simple base of tree cache but well hidden in a patch of nettles nonetheless. After this we took a decision that rather than push on and risk turning lack of mojo into bad moods we would call it a day. We took a roundabout route back in the direction of the car and just enjoyed the walk as we went.
We bumped into this lady as we were heading back to the car and took a moment to introduce her to Jimmy Talon.
Back at home I tagged the picture with the required hash tags and uploaded it to twitter as per the Mountain Warehouse competition instructions. Okay, it was nothing special, but it is a start for Jimmy, and I feel sure that bigger and better things are just around the corner for him.
This geocaching adventure took place on Sunday the 23rd of July and took our total cache count up to 1728.