Saturday, 27 April 2013

Caching between the downpours

I found the kiss
We fancied picking up a couple of caches today but the weather has been quite iffy.  One minute sunshine, the next rain.

Teen didn't want to be parted from Facebook so the rest of us jumped into the car and off to a couple of local caches that we needed.  We parked up and headed off.  Expecting mud (after the weird weather we've had the last couple of days) we were sensibly in our wellies but they were almost not needed.

We were around the back of the Priory Hospital - a famous chain known for treating celebs.

Our first cache was The Dead Half and the GPS was jumping around a bit under the coverage.  As we know these COs style, we knew what to look for (nice clues in the titles) and soon spotted a likely suspect.  Hubby climbed the ridge to check and made the spot but S went in for the find and retrieve, logging herself another cache in the process. She has 138 now. Not bad for a 4 year old.

What you don't know is that hubby and I are often no more than referees when we go out now.  The two little ones argue like crazy about who is allowed to find the cache when they are both in the mood to hunt for them.  Quite a lot of the time they just enjoy the walk but sometimes a small fight can erupt about who finds and who puts back and it gets quite heated.  Who'd have thought they would argue over Tupperware?

Back we headed to pick up Waiting for a Kiss at the Gate halfway across a field by a little stream/run-off.  Being a bit too keen I marched past GZ and went to look where I suspected the find may be. I was wrong. We all looked the wrong side for a while then hubby and N went back through and quickly hubby spotted it. He stood back and carefully directed N who was delighted to make the find as you can see from the picture.  Another one logged for her which makes 11 finds.

Between two caches
The couple we wanted done, we headed back to the car and just got in as the heavens opened again.  I'm now sitting her looking out of the window at glorious sunshine.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Mr Tongue helps a Lisp

Here's Mr Tongue (and static hair!)
S has a lisp.  We began to notice it around a year ago and it became more audible after she hit her mouth (here).  However, as her vocabulary is improving, so her lisp is more prominent.

I raised it with the nursery school at the end of last year but they said it often corrects itself and they wouldn't do anything about it at that point but would monitor it.  When she returned to school in January, they immediately informed me that they had spoken to their SENCO to arrange for some exercises for her to do to help correct it.

She now is enjoying Mr Tongue exercises which she has huge fun with.  This is a gentle way her nursery teachers help her with her lisp without pointing it out to much to her.  She is fully aware though that she struggles with some words and we all giggle about it at times.  She's not hung up about it at all.

The Mr Tongue exercises are nice in that they introduce her to her tongue (sticking it out and in), his house (her mouth) and his windows (her teeth) and where he should be when she's saying certain sounds.  She gets to have one-to-one time quietly with one of the nursery teachers and colour in the picture for each weeks exercises.  She said to me that she is the only girl who has a Mr Tongue book and she is very proud of this fact.

It is always a tricky thing when you notice your child has a lisp. You don't want to point it out to them too much but, at the same time, you do want to help them correct their pronunciation.  After all, we don't want her to turn into Ceaser from Life of Brian do we.

The type of things S struggles with are:

TR - this becomes P ('trick' sounds like 'prick')
TH - this becomes F ('think' sounds like 'fink')
S - this, ironically, can become TH ('sister' sounds like 'thister')

It seems that she pushes her tongue in front of her teeth a lot of the time when she speaks, creating this mispronunciation.  A strange but true trick for the S is to get her to do the biggest smile and while smiling, say the S word.  That way she does indeed say 'sister'.  So, it's all about learning how to control that tongue and keeping it where it should be.

I have read some utterly ridiculous statements that having a dummy or sucking their thumb can cause a lisp.  Rubbish is my conclusion. My eldest daughter sucked her thumb up until she was about 8 years old and she doesn't lisp.

Obviously some lisps are caused by malformations in the mouth or 'tongue tie' but this isn't the case for us.  Whatever type of lisp it is, it's a functional speech disorder that (a) many children will naturally grow out of or (b) will need a little assistance along the way with some level of speech therapy.  Apparently, it's never too late to correct a lisp too so that's encouraging.  If Sir Winston Churchill can have a lisp and make all the speeches he did, there's not too much to worry about now is there.

I will keep you posted as to how S gets along.  I have already spoken to her new school to inform them of her lisp so they will continue working with her when she starts in September.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Is it in the tree? Behind the sign? Or somewhere else?

Coo-eee, I'm up here
On Monday we finished off the Pirbright ring that we started Sunday.

It was quicker going around this circuit this time than it was 1 1/2 years ago with the girls (see here).

We parked up and started at #24, working our way backwards for this leg of the circuit.  A quick spot with the aid of the clue but I did wonder if we were heading into someone's driveway at one point.

The sun was out so this was going to be another nice stroll around.

Off to find #23 in the woods.  The GPS waved us off the path to our left and away we went to explore.  Having a quick look around, hubby and I spotted the container quite quickly.  What a super one too.  Can you just imagine the squeals of delight when the girls saw this swinging in the breeze?

They both tried to retrieve it with daddy's lifting help but it was on a little 'seatbelt' type tensioner and they were trying to tug it down.  Hubby gentle lowered it and the log was signed.  A definite favourite from me, if for nothing else than the girls delight at finding it!

Left right, quick march
Another short stroll through the woods to #22.  It was great to just be walking along and listening to nothing but bird song.  A small bridge appeared and it was clear we were off over it to the next prize.  As hubby lifted S over, he spotted the cache immediately.   I hope it lasts as it's a fun place to put it but despite the camo on the container, it was easy to see.  Girls were disappointed it did not detach from the post.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to cache we go
As we crossed the field a very scary beast ran over to us from a nearby house.  Grey fur flying in the breeze, it bounded through a gap in the fence, did the most endearing 'meow' and rubbed around my legs.  Hello kitty!  Unfortunately for this poor cat, she was clearly an object for abstract terror for N who hates almost everything that walks, flies or swims at the moment.  Daddy had to pick her up when she realised our furry friend was coming for a bit of a stroll with us. I think N's squeals and protests were too much to bear though so she gave up and wandered off at the other side of the stile.

Fear me
Away from the terror that had stalked us, we headed up the pathway and across a cattle grid to continue on the footpath to our next find.  The field next to us had horses and Shetland ponies in it which N calls "little horses" (quite right too).  #21 was up on us and it was spotted quickly by me.  Unfortunately, the minor altercation between the girls as to whose turn it was to get the next cache was put to bed due to the fact that neither of their arms could reach it so hubby made the grab.  Unfortunately today I'd forgotten all of my swappables but there wasn't much to take anyway, unlike yesterday.  The girls were happy to see what was inside and then put the items back.

Shush...I'm hiding
Along the footpath we headed and past another lovely house and around the corner.  Boy, I want to live around this area.  We would never know these places existed if it wasn't for our hobby.

#20 was marginally elusive as there were lots of options and the GPS decided to have a bounce around but having walked up and down a few metres, we spotted it.

#19 was next on the hit list.  A dog barking behind a large fence made the girls (and us) jump but we carried on our way.  Hubby made the spot as we approached, despite the stickoflague.  Another one bagged.  I now remembered where we were. This was the area we'd walked around before and made a wrong turn and ended up the other end of Pirbright to our car.

Hide me again then
The area around here was quite marshy and so very heavy with settled water so I'm glad we all had our wellies/boots on again today.  Bit of slipping and sliding down the path and me then taking us the wrong way for a few metres before realising the 'path' we were following suddenly stopped. Hubby had said we needed to cross the bridge a bit further up but I was sure we could go another way round. I'm not going to live this down am I - especially as I had the map!

Has N swallowed a bee?
The girls enjoyed clambering over the bridge and we explained to S and N that it had the piece in the middle to stop horses going over.  S suggested they could just go through the water which is a point I suppose.

Back to terrafirma and off to #18.  We spotted what was an obvious choice but nothing was there. The GPS then swung around to say it was behind us and the suspect was spotted. I do wonder sometimes if people realise what is lurking behind their house names or road signs?

What's lurking behind your house name?
I'm developing green-eyed-house-envy around here.  Goodness me there are some fantastic houses. What do all these people do? They can't all be merchant bankers (in the real sense of the word) can they?  Come on Lottery, do your thing!

Tummies were beginning to rumble now so we said we'd stop the other side of the alleyway.  In the meantime we had #17 to find.  It was a quick spot and my nimble fingers retrieved it. I'm glad all the logs are coming out of the containers easily as I'd forgotten my tweezers (again!).

Off to #16 which was where we would rest our legs for a moment and have a nice ham roll (today's menu plus the usual fruit of course).  The end of the alleyway was a mud bath and very slippery but fortunately on the opposite side of the quiet road was a big puddle and we took the opportunity to splash through (yes, all of us) and clean our boots, much to the amusement of the man eating lunch in his van parked up. Yep, right opposite the cache.

We stopped to grab our food and I made the retrieve from behind the girls, pretending to rummage around in the rucksack that was on the ground.

Lunch and a cache - super
Food eaten and we headed off to our next area along the footpath by a rather busy road. We don't enjoy any kind of 'road caching' as a family but knew there wasn't much for us to stroll along here.  #15 was fairly obvious but my GPS was saying the side we were on. Unless I was around 7' tall that just wasn't going to happen and sitting on hubby's shoulders at a roadside would have looked, well, odd!  Leaving the girls with him working their way through apple slices, I dashed across the road and spotted the cache immediately.  Quick sign (pardon the pun) and we were on our way.

Fascinated by a bee
#14 was back on green land and we remembered this from last time and made the spot quickly. The girls both wanted to try and make the retrieve but they couldn't grasp it. While hubby was hunting for a geostick to help, I plucked it from its hiding place and signed.

Snug as a cache
Up another footpath between some houses (and made to jump by another dog in the garden) and we were at our final cache of the day, #13.  Hubby had walked straight past it but I spotted where it was. I was worried about dropping it and almost did!  Fortunately I held on and got it signed safely and back in place.

You've come too far.  It's back that way
The girls and hubby had walked a little further around the corner and been greeted by this fellow who wandered what we were doing wandering around by his field.

Back we went and, naturally, no day caching around Pirbright is complete without a visit to the playground before heading home.

Monday, 22 April 2013

It's a bit Muddy (Duck)

Pretty lane
We noticed that a new ring has appeared in Pirbright.  Actually, that's not quite true. It's almost the same ring as the previous one which seems to have been archived, but a new owner has placed some of the caches in different areas so it's another lovely walk around the area to pick up 25 'High and Low' caches again.

Sunday arrived.  The sun was out, my bronchitis was much better now (as in I'm finally human sounding again as I was a bit more Dalek before) and we fancied some fresh air.  We parked up by the playground so we had some good bribery material to use to get the girls back to the car if their legs grew tired.  Fortunately, said ploy was not needed as they had a fab walk around.

#1 was in the same location as the original ring so was a quick pick up for us.  I'm pleased that I insisted that the girls wore wellies and I had my old boots on as there was a bit of mud as we headed off down the path.  We encountered a couple of ladies who informed us the mud got a little worse up ahead but we decided to go for it.  They were holding a GPS.  I wonder what they were doing?

Bridge to a big private house
We loved this little bridge that lead to the back of a huge garden area (more like a field) of a private house.  Come on Lottery win!  We carried on down the path. The stream that was running on one side was all copper coloured and I have to say not too pleasant to inhale near.  The mud wasn't too bad but I wouldn't want to fall in it.  In places it was almost dry to walk as you can see.

What mud?
Our next cache (#2) was in a new part of the path and almost had us stumped. There were a couple of 'cachers tracks' going to two different trees.  Hubby went up the bank to check the first out but the compass wasn't settling down there and started jumping around.  I moved away a bit and it settled a bit further on.  Up I went to look, poking around the ivy (not my favourite thing in the world) when I noticed that there was a football match on a field away and I was being watched.  I hopped off the bank and hubby went up to try and look more discrete (not sure how really) and as I stepped back, I noticed the cache.  A good hide and a lucky spot.  Signed and away we went.

#3 was a quick spot by me.  The youngest cachers wanted to make the retrieve but there was some twisty wire near the top and a very spikey bush behind the post so we said not this one. It's surprising what you wouldn't normally even consider when you're on your own as adults, but suddenly have to give great thought to when the little 'uns are around.  Signed and off we went.

We're watching ewe (get it?)
There was a little bit of walking along the pavement being watched by some sheep and lambs, before we veered off down another road - more of a track really. This area was where we'd stopped for our picnic last time and we decided to do the same again but first we'd get #4.  The location itself was nice and obvious but I completely overlooked the actual hiding place.  I can't believe it was that obvious and I didn't think about searching there first.  Hubby was shouting the location at me but I just said "no, it wouldn't be there".  He said to check and yep, he was right (I'll never live that down will I).  That got a favourite point from me but I won't spoil the fun here.  We spread our little picnic blanket out on the grass and had some sandwiches and fruit before carrying on our journey.

Snack time
There was a gorgeous farmhouse opposite where we were sitting.  They had a bench seat and super patch of green grass just behind their fence. Do you think they'd have noticed if we'd set our picnic up there instead?  I've decided if I win the Lottery, I'd like to buy the farmhouse (and all surrounding land of course).

Got to pick the right numbers!
The girls had started collecting some 'Angry Birds' toys that had been put into the caches so they were eager to see what was in #5.  We were so busy looking at the houses and chatting away that we walked straight past the area and had to back-track to pick up the cache.  A nice easy find for the little ones and another Angry Bird toy swapped out.  Glad they have one each now or there would be a fight soon.

#6 I remembered where it was originally and it was indeed in the same spot. I dashed across the road to do the retrieve, catching my rucksack handbag on a branch going in and out of the location.  Another Angry Bird swapped and now we had a bit of road to walk along.  Fortunately the footpath was only just around the corner and we were back off-road very quickly.

#7 was in the same place as last time too so I sent hubby in for the retrieve. Of course our memory wasn't *that* good.  The girls really liked the bridge.

Oops, wrong side
Now we had to cross over some fields.  Last time we were here the horses were very interested in us but this time they weren't bothered, which was good as S was worrying about them!  They grazed. We strolled through.  #8 was quite an obvious spot with the clue of 'lightning tree' as I'm sure you will agree.

Quick, before the ramblers spot us
N was lifted up by daddy to do the retrieve and S replaced (much to N's disgust).  As we were signing the log, we noticed four ramblers approaching. We had been so engrossed in chatting to the girls about what had happened to the tree and getting the cache that we never thought to look behind us!  They were moving at a fair pace and were out of sight very quickly.  I grabbed a lovely geocoin here but it hadn't been logged in the cache. I wondered if it had just been dropped off (we were seeing other names for today on each cache so were following some people around). When I got home it turned out that we had indeed grabbed it before it was logged as in there so I did a 'dip' for it for mileage.

Up the hill and through another stile, then between electric fences we walked to the next area.  The clue said 'Three in a row' and there were a couple of suspects for #9.  However, despite a false start in the correct location, moving some leaves with a geostick (yep, stick used for geocaching) turned up the cache.

I found it!
Despite the fact that S had made the find, it seemed that N was sure there was something else hidden here and was still busy searching while we signed the log and put a little swap in.

I'm sure there's another one here
Off through the woods we walked and down the hill to join a small road.  A riding muggle had unloaded his horse from the trailer and said hello as we passed.  Darn, he's near where #10 is.  Small people can be a great use for distraction though and we went to explore the lovely ivy covered tree.  Hubby made the spot and lifted N up to do the retrieve but it was then he realised it was attached and had to do it himeself (horse man had disappeared riding into the woods at this point).  There are another few houses here we'd like with the Lottery win.  We bumped into the ladies again. They were amazed to see the little ones still happily walking along with us and warned us of deep mud in the back half of the ring.  We were only doing half today so I'll make sure I have my wellies on too for that bit.  We had a bit of a chat and went on our opposite ways.

A bit more road walking now as there are a distinct lack of pavements around this bit.  Hubby stopped at a suspect for #11 and was scouting around it until I told him it was another 35m to go.  Duly found, S was lifted for the retrieve.  It was then that I realised I had nothing to get the log out.  Deft crafting of a miniature geostick did the job and the log was in hand.  S was lifted for the replace.  Food was now required as little legs were getting a bit achy.  Mini gingerbread men did the job (and for hubby and I too).

Around the corner we went, scrambling up the bank when cars were heard approaching. We don't enjoy road walking at the best of times but with little cachers it always feesls a bit more risky, although hands are very tightly held - they look after us, their parents, you know.

Our final one of the day was near the Mill House. I just adore the sound of rushing water (although I'd no doubt be up and down to the toilet all night if I lived there).  The road was quite bendy at this point so we didn't hang around.  As we reached a bit of safety at the entrance to the house, I realised we'd dashed past the final cache. Hubby sorted the girls out and I went back to disturb the resident to sign the log.

Oi! I was having a nap here
Little legs were very tired now so we said that was a jolly good walk and decided to head back to the car now. First a trip to the White Hart for a lemonade in the garden in the last of the sunshine (it was starting to cloud over a bit) and a bowl of the biggest chips I have seen - which were fantastic.  Then one final cache (well it would be rude not to) as we walked past it.  #25 was just around the corner from the pub. I spotted it quite quickly and made the retrieve. However, I was about to put it back without noticing that two muggles were approaching from the pub car park, another had pulled up on his bike and was talking to a third.  I'd never make a spy!  A bit of fumbling and trying to look non-suspicious and it was back in place.  That was my 420th cache.

The grass around the pond was very boggy and the ducks didn't seem to appreciate the cheese sandwich that N was throwing to them.  Fussy lot.

Giddy up
A detour to the playground for a well earned swing and ride on the see-saw (we let the girls have a go too *grin*) and back to the car.  First half done. If it's sunny tomorrow, we'll be back for a reverse walk to do the next half.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Bunnies and streams

Yesterday my best friend and I met up for lunch and a spot of geocaching in Amersham Old Town.  The reason we picked this area was that is was a nice mid-way point between us and we hadn't explored it before.

We managed to arrive almost at the same time which was great and decided to grab a cache or two before having out lunch, which was booked for 1pm in a pub called The Swann.

Walking along the lovely houses, we spotted a little pathway with a stone bridge crossing the stream, leading on to fields and the back of houses that each had their own little 'bridge' to their back gate. I wouldn't want to negotiate some of those after one or two glasses of wine.  Absolutely gorgeous though with the tiniest little strips of garden we had ever seen. Almost chocolate box picturesque.

A stream by your back garden
Our first cache was Top Down (Old New) 3 Riverside and despite the GPS pointing us to an area where we would have to either wade in the stream or invade someone's garden, we had a good rummage around.  I suddenly spotted the cache quite exposed in it's hiding place.  We signed the log and G left a beautiful geocoin to continue it's journey.  A short wait for a couple of dog walking muggles to pass and we were on our way.
Do we cross?
We walked back over the little bridge and down to the end of the High Street to collect the aptly named Leaving Old Amersham micro.  Nattering away we spotted the cache quickly but had to wait for a passing muggle (who seemed to smile knowingly) and some cars to move along before we made the retrieve.  It was a longer wait to put the cache back as the traffic flow was a priority system and a small queue had formed. I'm sure the drivers wandered what these two women were doing standing by a village sign staring at their phones.

At this point we walked back to the pub and took our table in the window to have lunch and a jolly good natter - putting the world to right as we do when we meet up.  Delicious lunch and dessert over, we headed off down a small road near the pub to our next area.

Cherry Pie proved to be a quick spot for G and I got this lovely photo of her with the cache.  We both decided that the lane was a lovely area to live.

'Cherry Pie'
We carried on up to the end and followed the footpath into a field. The sun was shining and it finally felt like Summer was on it's way.  Hard to believe last weekend it was pouring with rain and very cold indeed.

Friends about to spot rabbits
The field seemed to have an abundance of rabbits bobbing in and out of the hedgerow.  G also spotted a gorgeous pair or woodpeckers near the end by the trees.  Greater Spotted we think they were.  Having reached the corner of the field, we realised that we were in the wrong corner.  That's what nattering away will do to your caching game you see.  The trees were busting with buds and as we approached the right area, a man popped up out of nowhere with his dog and headed to where we wanted to be.  We hung back chatting and admiring the trees and fields and he disappeared, but within minutes he was back, went past us and down a bank into a car park.  No sign of a poop bag so we'll watch our step!

We got to Bunny Field and began to look around while another dog walking muggle went past. She was a bit more suspicious and seemed to hang around and keep looking back at us. I do wonder what some muggles think when they see people lurking around staring at phones/GPS devices and then diving off into the undergrowth.  The cache was quickly spotted in it's hiding place but I did wonder for a moment how to get it as barbed wire blocked the obvious route.  It turned out that my arm was long enough to reach around the tree and snag the prize.

Off down the next piece of footpath which took us along the back of a set of new flats.  How funny to be walking along looking in the 3rd floor windows.  A tree had fallen across the path recently (leaves were just dying on it) and we had to kind of duck/crawl underneath.  It's all part of the fun.  I did get my rucksack handbag slightly caught but managed a quick escape.

We both quite fancied owning this house
Our next target was Amersham to Little Missenden Memorial Garden.  Lots of muggles around on this sunny  day so we checked the clue.  The two of us did a bit of stealth gazing around and G went in for the retrieve.  We aimed for a bench to sit on.  It was grabbed by some old ladies.  Darn. Foiled.  We went for another. A chap standing next to it looked at us and sat down as we approached. Foiled again.  Third time lucky and the cache was signed.  Putting it back, G dropped it but we had the failed drop covered with an "I dropped my money, hold on" and she made the replace.  I wonder if anyone noticed?

We then took a walk through the cemetery with some very unusual shaped graves.  Over another gorgeous stone bridge to where a lot of people were enjoying the grass by the stream in the sunshine.  We headed up the path to Top Down (Old New) 4 Don't fall in and had a guess where the cache would be.  G was in sensible flat boots and I had ones with heels, therefore when she checked the place we both suspected and found nothing, I was trying to convince her to head further down towards the stream to look (note I sent her down while I waited!) but she spotted something higher up that looked promising.  She was correct and we made the retrieve.

Back to the pub we headed but first noticed a duck and her duckling...or two...or three battling the current of the stream being whisked away. G managed to get this quick shot.

Wait for me mum!
We had a nice walk up the old High Street again, nosing into the interesting shop windows and finally taking a seat in the beer garden of The Swann for a cooling drink before we headed home.  A great 5 hours chatting and caching together.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

You're never too old for a curly slide

Again! Again!
Typically, hubby has taken some leave and I'm ill.  That seems to be the norm now.  This time I've managed to get bronchitis which is a real drag.  I'm on strong antibiotics since yesterday and hoping that by the time tomorrow comes, I will be able to go out and do some stuff.

However, never one to want to be stuck at home, we decided to take the girls over to the park at Sunningdale yesterday as they both love the 'curly slide'.  Well, to be fair, S loves it but N was too small last time we went.  Not any more though.

We parked up and I had a gentle walk around (coughing like a woman who has smoked 10 cigars a day for a few years) and watched the girls having fun.  I did amble off to pick up a quick geocache too (well, it would have been rude not to). Trying to look inconspicuous by a main road with a sudden proliferation of cars whizzing by wasn't easy but I managed to retrieve, sign and get it back quickly.

Hubby had to join in.  What better excuse to go down the curly slide himself than to say he had to follow N up the curly ladder to make sure she didn't slip and fall. Of course, once he's at the top of the slide, the only way to go is down.  He wasn't the only dad pulling this stunt as another joined in afterwards.  I'm not sure who was having more fun.

I can't really say how he could justify the ride on the metal horse but he did. 

He couldn't fit into the swings though.

And he missed the trampoline to try out (but said he would next time we went).

Eventually my coughing just got too much and I felt tired from all my photographic efforts so we headed off home for the girls to play in the garden. 

Friday, 12 April 2013

SOS - Save our (medicine) Spoons

Design over function
Every now and again you find a simple object that some idiot boffin has decided could do with an 'upgrade' or 'design change' and invariably, we wonder why they bothered as it seems a pointless or less than helpful thing to do.

I have discovered one such change.  Medicine spoons.

Recently when buying medication, especially for children, I have noticed that the spoons that come with the product have changed.  They have moved from a useful measuring tool with a 5ml or 2.5ml side, to an utterly pointless, spill-it-everywhere-as-you-cannot-use-it-properly piece of moronic design.

Why would anyone think a spoon with a 'lip' on it was a good idea?

Now, I understand that it makes it less likely that some shaky old parent is going to spill it onto the carpet, but have you actually tried to use one of these spoons?

While the medicine floats happily in its own enclosed swimming pool, trying to get the stuff into your child's mouth is almost impossible. Yes, the first bit as you tip the spoon comes out but then to get the entire contents of it taken (remember this is a measured amount rather than a 'what you can get in is ok' amount), you have to get your child to tilt their head backwards and turn the spoon upside down to release the rest of the dose.  Yeah, try that with a 2 year old who has no patience.

Thankfully I have a good collection of the 'old' style spoons that actually worked but it seems that they are rarely available anymore in 'off the shelf' medication.

I'm going to have to launch a campaign of "Save our Spoons" - an alternative SOS for the modern day!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Is that a babysitter I spot?

Baby. Sitting.  Asleep.  Easy!
It's great having a teenager around.  I know, you probably think I'm crazy to say that but it's true.  After all, we now have our very own babysitter which means that some tasks become that much simpler now that I don't have to bundle the littlest two into the car, out again, in again and out again just because I have to pop to the shop and get a toilet roll.

Secondly, it means we can think about going out for an hour or so on our own now and again.  We could even hold hands without S or N pushing in the middle demanding to be swung.  Who'd have thought it?

When we had children, we knew that life as we had known it would change somewhat.  We used to be out quite a bit together and of course that stopped. I'm not sure we realised how much it would come to a halt but, to be honest, it wasn't a problem.  Our little family means the world to us.

The last time hubby and I went out was in July 2012 when one of my lovely friends came over to babysit for us so we could go to the school's Summer Ball. We had a blast and felt just a bit naughty not getting home until turned midnight.  We hadn't been out that late since before the girls were born!

Of course we've had the odd meal out (anniversary once a year - let's not push it) and once we went for a birthday geocache for hubby (you'll recall the story of how unsuccessful that was I'm sure).  However, we normally (a) went out in the day for a couple of hours max or (b) went out to dinner at 7pm and were home again by 8.30pm.  I'm sure the waiters thought there was something about their restaurant we didn't like as I don't think they've ever seen people eat so fast.

This year there are two events that we know of.  I know, what a social whirl we have going on.  We're off to the Ball again and my friend has kindly agreed to babysit once more for us so we can be dirty stop-outs, and next month we've been invited to a charity event.  As I don't want to put upon my friend twice in a year, we asked J if she would consider babysitting for us for a few hours (we won't be out too late you see).  I can't say her enthusiasm lifted the roof and, to be fair, I'm not sure she even said she'd consider it but when we mentioned we would give her £20 for doing so, she did mutter something about "easy money" so I'm assuming that was a kind of yes.

The youngest two will be in bed by the time we leave and we have already said we'll aim to be home about 10.30pm.  As we've not left J with the girls on her own at night, one of our fabby neighbours has said she would be around so if J has any worries, she can either phone or run across to her and she'll whiz over and sort anything out.  That gives both J and us peace of mind.  I'm not sure why the nighttime aspect bothers me more as, let's be honest, there is more likely to be an accident or fight between the youngest during the day when they are running around and I've never really worried about leaving J with them then.  Admittedly, it's only been a few times and that's because hubby was at work and I had a birthday party to take S to so J looked after N for an hour or two, normally until hubby got home.  She is super with her little sisters so they love having time with her.  But something about nighttime worries me more.  I know it's illogical but maybe it's more that we will be a bit further away (only 30 minutes drive) than I've usually gone when she's babysitting.

Anyway, two events in one year is quite the treat.  Mind you, we have to get J to fully agree yet before we purchase tickets and even the lure of a crisp £20 note hasn't quite guaranteed that - she is an unpredictable teenager after all *grin*

Friday, 5 April 2013

Did a giant place the cache?

Old mill stone, Pirbright

Found this old cache note I had made from September 2011 and as the weather has been so rubbish lately and S has a bad cough, I thought I'd post this in place of actually going out.  Oh dear. Roll on summer!

At this point, S would have been a month off of 2 and N was just 9 months old.

We decided to head off and start the Pirbright Ring caches with some friends who had come to visit.  We had a glance at the map and opted for around half of the ring to do that day before poor hubby had to head off to work.  A lovely day and off we went.

It was only when we arrived, unloaded the girls from car and were ready to set off, did I realise I'd left my phone at home!  It's a bit hard to go geocaching with no mobile device, no matter how keen you are. Fortunately both friends had their iPhones with them and away we went.

One of the interesting things to note about the iPhone was that our friends had different versions of it, the newer being the one that got the signal whilst the older 3G version couldn't pick up anything in the area.  Worth a thought if you're about to go caching with one of those as you're likely to just end up buying a loaf of bread to feed the ducks!

Our walk took us along the road for a while before we disappeared down a track road to the caches.  We certainly all prefer to be 'off road' for caching, particularly with little ones.  Just over 1 1/2 hours later (we were going at toddler pace you'll understand) we had 4 caches in hand and headed home for lunch.

The following day, hubby, girls and I headed back to Pirbright to pick up the rest of the ring.  We packed a small lunch for the toddler and away we went.

I had never completed a multi-cache before so we decided to head to the church to pick that one up as it seemed quite easy.  The clue was a Latin phrase on a War grave. Would you believe there were two War graves in this small church yard and, of course, I wondered off to the wrong one immediately and was therefore confused by the lack of Latin.  Looked across to the starting point and saw what I was looking for.  Like some other cachers (from the logs) I thought one word was in two parts then realised my mistake, so having searched around in some rather prickly holly, I headed off in another direction to a very obvious place.  It had to be here. Excellent hiding spots, a small cache, a quick search and.....nothing. Hubby had joined in and was having a good rummage around but no joy.  Even toddler with her usual stick couldn't see anything.  To be honest, finding the area wasn't easy as it was a dead (pardon the pun) zone on the live map and the compass did it's normal backwards and forwards ambling.

Another look at the logs and the implication was clearly that it was here. However, it seemed other cachers had the same idea but hadn't been able to find it either.  After about 20 minutes poking around, being prickled by holly and losing my shoe on a slope trying to almost climb into the tree, we gave up.  So I wouldn't have my first multi after all it seemed.

We went on to do the rest of the ring which took us, once again, past some lovely houses (a theme I'm noticing with geocaching) and down paths you would never have noticed.  Lots of nice caches to collect.

A sit down for toddler to have her sandwich and for baby to protest at having stopped moving and then we were off again.

One cache was a bit of a challenge.  The clue was '10 paces from 30' so we got to around GZ and noticed a 30mph sign.  Good start.  However, which way should we be pacing and how big a pace to take?  Off hubby went one way whilst the girls and I walked a little further down another.  Back we came.  Off we went in other directions and back we came again.  15 minutes had now passed and no cache was in hand.  Hubby spotted a wall further away and went to explore but I realised that would be the pace of a giant so unless one had come down the bean stalk to place the cache, that area was out!

We resorted to reading the logs and a thought occurred to me. Due to the size of the cache, I had expected it to be in a certain type of location but perhaps it was not?  A search around a dried up stream and in some vines proved fruitless but I decided (whilst hubby was still searching the giants area) that it could be over the road but attached in a different way.  Bingo!  There it was where I certainly hadn't expected it. Toddler was pleased as it had some nice bits in there to swap.

Away we went again and found two more 'unusual' caches.  Toddler couldn't understand why she wasn't allowed to keep the cache 'containers'.  I have to say that one that was hidden in plain sight (hubby spotted it from across the road) was smashing.

We had to walk down through a field of horses at one point and past the usual electric fence.  Toddler said the horses were lovely and was going to ride one when she was older UNTIL one came over to see us!  This was the point that toddler almost climbed up my leg.  I had to carry her whilst hubby walked ahead pushing baby (who was fast asleep at this point) with a horse at his back nudging him for a treat (he wasn't about to part with his extra strong mints for some old nag you know. No, not me, the horse!).

The usual clambering over some styles taking the pushchair apart and reassembling on the other side and we were back to walking along tarmac.  Our final cache made us laugh out loud and we let it be toddler's find which she loved.  Another lovely full container with a smashing travel bug that we'll help on it's way.  As we were signing this final log, a lady came past oddly staring at her mobile phone upon which I noticed was a map.  I wonder what she could possibly be up to?

Monday, 1 April 2013

Stuck in the middle (of the mud) with you

The gang
My step-sister and nieces came down this weekend and we decided to go and get a few more caches to help them add to their total.

Deciding on a nice, easy walk around, we opted for Horsell Common despite the fact that we had already done all the caches in the area.  However, for newbies, there are quite a good variety of caches to be found and it's not too long a walk.  

We also had a puzzle cache to collect there (so clearly no ulterior motive)

Off we went and parked up opposite the common in a bumpy road at the lay-by.  

Now, we've been to this area before as we said and the pathway had been dry and easy to walk on so we did contemplate not wearing wellies as it hadn't rained much at all of late.  However, we all had our wellies in the boots of our cars so decided to don them anyway.  That was a good choice!

We headed through the gate into mud. Lots of it.  Off we went to find TV Shows #1 which was a nice, quick find.  We had solved the puzzle some months ago but hadn't collected it as we didn't need anything else in the area so this was a great excuse to grab it.  

Phones at the ready.  Go!
Right now to to find the other caches for the family.  Off we trotted to the first one, HG Ring 17 which was another nice easy find.  The folks spotted it quite easily but it was too wet to sign.  We had avoided quite a lot of very boggy ground to get to it - much to our surprise.  Where had all this water come from?

Not at all muddy then
We aimed for the next one MIM03.  We remembered this one well as we'd sent the teen in to get it last time.  This time it was the youngest niece who was sent in for the collect.  Gorse is not a nice thing to be around/in and she nearly lost some hair backing out much to our amusement.  

Away we went to the next MIM04.  Oh boy, if we thought the path we'd been on already was muddy, this was a whole new ball game.  Hubby and I decided to pass the mini-Scorpios over the fence.  He climbed over first and I lifted them up to him so we could avoid the gate altogether but then I and the rest of the family went through.  It was a close one with wellies almost sucked off.  This cache made the family laugh. The youngest niece was not too keen to make the collect this time as the 'fun guy' looked like it was in a monster's mouth she said.  We had a look and had to agree.  She did go for it in the end and it was signed.

Back we went down the very muddy path.  The same procedure for the littlest cachers and hubby but the rest of us went through again.  Oddly, it seems the gate area had become more muddy in the few minutes since we'd passed.  As you can see, it was a bit of a struggle.  

Teen nearly lost her wellie and couldn't move. She was in danger of going for a face-first tumble into the mud so I lent a hand (reluctantly of course LOL).  After all, it would have been very funny wouldn't it...

Off down the muddy path to HG Ring 13.  Away the family went to the lovely, new erected fence and gates.  Hubby and I had read them the clue.  A bit of "Err....*old* post" followed and then they spotted the culprit and the find was quickly made.

Ahh...there it is
Just two more to get.  On our way to HG Ring 14 S managed to get her welly stuck in the mud. Unfortunately she was still moving forward at the time.  I wish I'd got the photograph of her, muddy tights on one side, welly in the mud behind her and hubby holding her up with J trying to get the welly back on while balancing in the mud with her own wellies sinking.  We were laughing too much though as we'd only just discussed this very thing happening on a previous muddy cache hunt we had done.  Isn't it typical.  Oh well, a bit of a muddy welly for two more caches wouldn't hurt.

HG Ring 14 was a very quick spot as it was pretty much open to view.  S grabbed it just as I noticed the huge pile of dog mess right beside it. How disgusting.  The family made the sign and put it back quickly. Sorry but we didn't look around for any camo as I was busy wiping S's hand with a wipe just in case any poo had got onto the box.  I wish these dog owners would clean up after their animals as there are dog waste bins all around.

Love daddy's hat
We headed into the centre of the area to make one final collection of HG Ring 16.  Hubby spotted it quickly from a distance (cachers eyes were working well today) and we had to give the family a gentle reminder that they needed not to just look 'down' all the time.  They soon spotted it and although the log was very damp, they managed to sign it.

Back we headed to the car.  Hubby found a reasonably dry path with N but of course, the rest of us went the more direct (but muddy) one. Well, what difference was one more lump of mud on our wellies going to make?

Where did this dry path come from?
A fun time out and at least the sun shone a bit.  We are looking forward to going up to visit the family in June and caching around their area of Milton Keynes.