For the hundredth time - it's a 5 not an S!

Witch way now?
Back in September 2011, we went off to get our first 5* difficulty cache (which now seems to be a 4.5* difficulty - but trust me it was hard).  Here's the tale of our adventure and why it is sometimes hard to go caching with your better other half!

Hubby and I decided to give a shot to one of these caches and see if we were up to it.  We had to search for an inventor in Surrey, crack a code to lead us to a Micro which, in turn, had a second part to the puzzle where we had to find someone born in the same area as the inventor but much further back in time.  Off we went to the PC being sure this could be a doddle.  A bit of Google later and I was amazed at how many inventors this county had produced.  However, I was sure I had the right one but how he related to the code was a mystery.

Never mind, move on to the 2nd part.  Almost immediately I found the person we needed to complete the micro that would eventually lead us to the cache.  Gosh, these 5* caches aren’t very hard then are they!  So, back to the inventor and how to break the code.  Surely that therefore couldn’t be hard. After all, I had read the logs and lots of people struggled to find the ‘older’ person.  Despite not being able to crack the code, I thought I had the right person and decided to check with the cache owner but it seems they are no longer caching. What to do now?

The last person who found this cache was in March 2011so I thought it worth a shot to contact them.  Fortunately they were still caching and remembered this one well.  They kindly told me I had the right older person and the inventor was correct, but not for this X cache!  Umm...another X to do later then.  They gave me a hint which I did not get at all so I was back to square one with the inventor.

Hubby tried searching but we kept coming up with the same ones and none related to the code.  OK, I’m beginning to think a 5* cache was tough now.  After about 3 weeks of coming back to this one and much frustrated Googling in the evenings, I finally found the inventor and his invention!  Fantastic. The clue the previous finder had given me now made sense.

I only wish the code did.  I stared at it repeatedly.  Hubby stared at it.  Other cacher friends had been round staring at it but nobody was the wiser.  We had all wondered how numerals to make up the location could have one line longer than the other.

Hubby suggested the code was borne out of a variation on the invention which made perfect sense, but still the code did not work, despite there being quite a few things that came about from it.  I repeatedly looked at the invention as something was bugging me.  I knew we were close but something just wasn't clicking in the old grey matter.

One night I sat and stared at my PC for 3 hours and would you believe at 11.45pm BAM! it was right in front of me!  The code finally fell into place.Why had I not seen it before?  I wrote it down and worked out the coordinates.  Now I know why the cache owner said they had used ‘artistic license’.  Yes, would you believe we even looked up ciphers around those words.  Basically, you name it, we tried to find a code in it from Incas to Morse!  Anyway, I was so excited to get the code at last that i ran upstairs, burst into the bedroom calling hubby's name. He sat up with a start and asked what the heck was wrong?  I told him I'd got the clue finally and found the coordinates for the cache.  He was less than impressed I can tell you.

A week later we headed out, picnic and girls in the car and went on our adventure. Hubby found the micro quickly and we got down to solving the clue to get to the cache.  Unfortunately, the girls started to (baby) cry and (toddler) demand lunch so I scribbled it down quickly and we tried to find a picnic spot.  Epic fail. We seem to have found the only area of West Sussex with nowhere to picnic!  We ended up in a bit of scrub land off a potholed road but that didn't matter to our toddler who only requires grass for it to be a great adventure.  Sandwiches eaten and back we went to the suspected co-ordinates and set off for a nice walk.

We ended up not far from the mirco – that’s good then as it said less than 1 mile – and headed down a country lane.  The GPS pointed to the edge of a field.  Yes, this had to be it.  Hubby asked if the coordinates I had worked out were correct. Of course they are!  Why had I put a figure that didn't add up next to the 'S' he said. It wasn't an 'S' but a '5' I replied. 

We found that the lane didn’t seem to have access to the field but we had spotted a public footpath which lead us to the church and cemetery.  We went back and down that.  A path lead us through the cemetery and along the edge of another field.  At the end of about 500m we turned left and found an open gateway into the cache field.  Off we went over ruts and bumps.  We got to GZ and began to search.

The clue had said “to the South of the path” but we weren’t on any path.  Hubby asked if I was sure that the thing I had written was a ‘5’ not an ‘S’.  I said I could read my own handwriting and it was a 5. We carried on searching. There were no logs there either.  Could this cache have been removed now as it hadn’t been found for so long?

We went back into the cemetery where there was a path and it was to the South and walked up and down it 4 times.  Hubby was beginning to lose patience with this. Her asked again about the S that didn't make sense. I repeated it was not an S but a 5.  I got grumpy and said we were going to keep looking a while.  After about 30 minutes in the area and being spotted about 5 times by the man mowing the grass, I sat down again to try and work out the coordinates to see if I could possibly be wrong.

Hubby suggested again that the ‘5’ was in fact an ‘S’.  I said it bloody well was not but now the sums didn’t add up.  We decided to head back to the mirco and check again before we filed for divorce!  Yes, tensions were mounting a bit.

It occurred to me that perhaps - just perhaps - I may have made a mistake with the numbers but now I'd rewritten them so many times I didn't know what was right or wrong.  Clearly that would be hubby's fault for keep asking!  To be honest, I secretly was confused as to how I’d got one number at all now.  

Hubby went and retrieved the micro again. Huge DOH! moment.  Yes, it was an ‘S’ not a ‘5’.  New co-ordinates in and off we went.  Same place as the micro, just a bit further away. Not a cemetery in sight then *blush*.

A nice stroll later and the cache was ours after we had watched some cows crossing from one field to another.  A few muggles cycled past but that was no problem.  Toddler was delighted with the cache and took the witch toy which seemed appropriate as the cache was called “X Marks the Spot - Witch Way Now”.  We left some energy mints for the next finders as they may well need them!

Fabulous fun and such a sense of achievement when we finally got it.  We are, I’m pleased to say, no longer considering divorce based upon the grounds of ‘uncoordinated caching’ 


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