Friday, 28 February 2014

Wisley Wander


The sun was breaking through, S was at school so as it's hubby's last day of holiday, we decided to head off to our favourite place again - Wisley.  N took her Skip Hop (we just love these things) rucksack and carried the snacks around with her and Diddy went for a ride in it too.  She led the way and we just followed behind.


We walked up to the left at first through the flower beds and then went to look at the water feature.  


From there we headed up the path to the new Centenary Gates celebrating 100 years of the the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.




Beyond were such wonderful colours of crocus.  Doesn't this make you feel Spring-like?


We walked up to the apple arboretum and sat down in the sunshine and nibbled on our little packed lunch.  This is where the decision making went wrong. We decided to walk down the other side towards the play area.  The grass did not look too sodden but boy, once we got halfway down the walk, it was like a bog.  Never mind, we've come this far so we carried on, taking pictures of the rather rusty looking sculptures on the way.  I'm not sure I'd want to pay around £10k each for these but they are nice to see.









N then wanted to head over to the Glasshouse to see the butterflies again.  I hoped there wouldn't be any queues and fortunately there weren't.  Just one group of school children enjoying the walk around. Not many photos taken in here this time as we got so many last time (see Butterflies at Wisley).


This way!



N said she would love an umbrella like this.  Wisley - butterfly umbrellas for sale in the shop?


There was a lady taking out newly hatched butterflies and putting them into a kind of soft washing bag type thing (I'm sure there's a proper name for it).  N found this fascinating.



The only butterfly I didn't get last time (I think)


It was thirsty work watching the butterflies so we stopped on the benches and N had a drink before we headed off to have a look at the fish.






Another lovely walk around timed just right as it was starting to cloud over as we left.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Secret London Pub

The 'Harry Potter' pub
Today I went for a meeting up in London at Chancery Lane and managed one of those fluke things - perfect transportation!  The bus was heading up the road towards me as I arrived at the bus stop so I hopped straight on, the train arrived as I walked down the steps at the station and the tubes all arrived within seconds of me getting on the platform. Consequently, I was an hour early getting to my destination!  Good thing I had looked up a local geocache to get (although I could have done a few it seems).

**Spoiler alert**

I wanted to pick up 16th Century Pub as it looked lovely.  I ambled off and soon reached near the destination - Hatton Garden.  Now, I'm not sure if you have seen the film Snatch but I honestly expected to see Arvi pop out of a shop any second!  I wanted to photograph some of the diamond rings in the windows for my friend who, well, would like to buy up the street, but I thought that the stores may not appreciate that.  They'd probably think I was getting ready for a heist!

What's down here?
I strolled past and suddenly noticed a little alleyway.  This was something out of Harry Potter surely?  Diagon Alley was in the middle of London.  Walking down, I came to the pub.  What a super little place. I only wish it had been open as I'd have loved a peek inside (and maybe a lemonade).   Isn't it cute?  (see top pic).  If you're interested in going there, it is open 11am - 11pm Monday to Friday only so you'll be disappointed if you turn up at the weekend.

I took the pubs name and counted the things required on the sign and then headed off for my meeting having taken a couple of selfie's there too.  A quick log entry hanging around suspiciously by a window full of diamonds under the watchful eye of a lady putting out even more and a photo uploaded and I was off.


Have to say my meeting wasn't in a totally unspectacular place either as you can see.  Love this architecture.  There are so many wonderful things to see in London that any day there can bring nice surprises, especially when you're a geocacher! :)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Cove(rt) caching

Guess where the long-horned shaggy cows were...
Today hubby and I went off out to do what most married couples do when they are alone without the children for a change. Yep, you guessed it, go geocaching of course!

I'd found a nice ring in Cove, just off the M3 so we ambled off around 9.30am and parked up about 10am in the Harvester car park and set off.  Weather forecast said sunshine this morning but clouding over and rain in the afternoon so we hoped we'd miss any downpour (mainly as I'd forgotten my umbrella).

We were going to do the W.W.S.W. ring so #19(A) was our first one.  While I was reading the description hubby said "here it is" so that was an easy one.  #20 was another quick spot and then we headed across a field (glad I had my wellies on).  There were some cows grazing further down (I'm not one for cow fields as you may know) so I was keen to get to the other side quickly.  Didn't like the farmer's sign about there could be cows, calves and bulls in the field!  Surely you don't walk through a field of bulls...do you?  Anyway, #19 (yes, odd I know) was next and another quick spot. I haven't read all the D/T for them but now suspect these will all be easy to find caches.

Moo
 #18 was spotted as we approached.  A bundle of geo-sticks always gives the game away doesn't it.  #17 had me confused for a second. How can you magnetise something to wood?  Then I spotted it.  Ah, that explains it.  Managed to make a meal of putting it back though as couldn't get it to hold on to anything at first.

Magnetised wood?
WWSW Replacement was next and another easy spot.  I had read the clues for the last couple and realised they really did pinpoint the cache to the exact spot.  Less of a clue and more of a guide then really.  Decided we wouldn't use those again until after we found the caches.  Make it more fun!  Very wet around here and one tree laying down as it is clearly a damp area and the roots spread out rather than down.  Guess the recent wind knocked it off its feet (or trunk!).

Well blow me down
#16 was next and we guessed where it would be.  Had a look and nothing to be seen.  Got a stick and poked around and still nothing.  GPS definitely wanted me this side. Hubby climbed over the fence the other side and had a poke around with a stick too and made the find.  GPS quite off here then.  The cache had been pushed quite a way back which is why we couldn't see it at first.  With the help of a stick, it was in hand and signed.  Headed off the wrong way at first (my map reading skills are rubbish!) and then doubled back and went the right way.  Hey, it's all good exercise.


#15 was an immediate spot as a lady jogger went past.  Very soggy inside and doubt the elastic band holding it together will take another open/close.  Carried on to the next one as we saw the lady now jogging over the bridge on the M3.  Boy she was quick!

#14 seemed to be beside an assault course of types.  I first thought it was a BMX track but hubby said they were far too high and close together to be that, more like an army training area.  I pointed out the broken bike to him that confirmed my initial deduction but equally confirmed his point even more too!

M3 - We visit all the best places ;-)
#13 was an easy find again. I wonder if the man in the entry booth opposite sees many people loitering here?  He seemed to be watching us but quite unbothered.  Read clue afterwards. Nope, it's definitely not a telephone pole said hubby.

Motorway Mayhem M3 Jun4a was another easy spot.  Took the TB. Not heading to Devon but will try and help it on it's way there.  Hang on, isn't this Sun Microsystems we're at now?  #12 was an easy spot buried under some leaves.  Good size container here but we didn't swap anything.

We crossed the road heading to #11 and then realised we were walking down the side of some people's houses. Oops. Despite the Parking coordinates provided on the cache here, there were signs everywhere saying "No Parking" and "Visitors Only".  We walked along the side of the road until we got to the pub.  Would you believe, we know the people who have just taken this over! Talk about small world.  Hubby had a chat with one of the chaps who was outside and we headed down and collected the cache.  The path wasn't very obvious but going across some MDF at the end of the car park, it appeared, leading to a gate, leading to shaggy brown cows WITH BIG HORNS!  No way was I going in there!  I looked at the map and suggested to hubby that we go down beside the barbed wire fence and around the bottom of the field as the cache seemed to be the other side. He agreed and we waded through the brambles.  I have to say they were well trodden down so I suspect we weren't the first to encounter these cows and decide that going in was not an option.  We got to the end and that's where the barbed wire fences met. Darn it.  We didn't want to turn back so we decided to climb over them using the sloped fence on one side.  Both over and away we went alongside the cow field.

Strange type of troll around here

We ignored #10 as it was in the middle of the field and still to close to cows with horns for my liking, so off we went to #9 which was just by a gate into the field.  I decided we were now far enough away from the horned cows and close enough to the gate to make a run for it should they come charging up at us.  Searched the wrong tree at first and then made the find.  We crossed the field to the next gate, checking for the thundering hooves bearing down on us (no they were still grazing over the hill somewhere) and headed for Silent Sentry 3.  Lovely big container here.


#8 was another very easy spot.  Lovely big house up on the hill.  Wonder who it belongs to?  #7 the GPS tried to take us to the wrong tree but we soon moved along a bit further and spotted the stickoflague.

#6 had the plastic bag around the whole 35mm container so took the paper log out, signed, bagged and put that back in the pot. Seemed to make more sense ;-)  #5 was brightly marked by some lost baby teething keys hanging on it.  Here we turned back down the road heading towards another bridge over the M3.

#4 was quickly spotted by hubby while I was on the phone to his dad organising a lunch.  Multitasking us geocaching women you know.  #2 was another quick spot.  Starting to cloud over now.  Close to finish though.
Bloomin' windy up here!
#2 was by the bridge.  A quick sit down to sign here before we crossed over.  Oh the sights we see ;-)  #1 was by a sign.  It warned you not to touch anything. Here you can see hubby ignoring this warning quite blazenly!

It says "do not touch"!
#22 was in plain view as we approached so signed the dry log that was inside (other sodden and stuck together) that someone had popped in and put it back hidden a little better.  Here's hubby with the cache.  It was getting towards the end of the walk and the madness had taken over!


#21 we walked straight past before I looked at my GPS and then headed back to make the find.  Cows again!  This time no horns and busy grazing.  They had barely moved from when we walked past 3 hours ago.  I picked up the pace to get away from them and back over the cattle grid we went and off to the Harvester to have a quick bite of lunch before collecting the girls from school.

The rain had held off and we could both feel our legs aching a bit. Can't wait for the good weather so we can do this on a far more regular basis.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Butterflies at RHS Wisley in the Glasshouse

Scarlet Swallowtail
Today we headed off to our favourite Garden, RHS Wisley to see the Butterflies in the Glasshouse.  We had booked a 10am slot in advance and arrived about 9.30am. Parked up easily and headed off in (having first upgraded our membership to joint - worth every penny too!).

We walked straight down to the glasshouse and no queues were there yet.   Had a look at the butterflies hatching which the girls were fascinated by.  Trouble is the glass is so steamed up you can hardly see them.  Very inconsiderate of the cocoons don't you think.  Handed in our ticket and away we went. I think the pictures say it all.  The girls loved trying to find the different butterfly types using their Butterfly Spotter Guides.  It was the first time the teen had seen them and she loved every minute.




Beautiful colours outside walking around with a chill in the air that was refreshing rather than cold. However, we were soon wishing we were in swimwear!  Coats, scarves and hats are a nuisance in rainforest conditions I'll have you know.







Blue Morpho (closed wings)




Tree Nymph


Common Sergeant

Malachite








Owl (no, honestly)





Glasswing (yes, see-through wings)

No visit is complete without an orchid picture too










 




Malay Lacewing

 


Spotting butterflies


 
Can you spot it?



You can just see a White Morpho near the fan/light



 We had been trying to get a picture of a Blue Morpho each year with very little success.  Today we spotted one on the ground and I gave it a gentle blow and it opened it's wings....too briefly!  I missed the shot.  Another gentle breeze from me and it did it again.  After about 20 puffs we got this.



 


Studying together


I love this shot. I was about to take a photo of my teen, J, when this butterfly flew past.  Beautiful, if a little blurred.


Rounding the corner, I was looking at the girls when would you believe, this cheeky Blue Morpho landed on my guide!  Lots of people came over to take pictures of it.  Fantastic I'm sure you'll agree.






Naturally having gone to the effort to try and capture the Blue Morpho this year, they seemed suddenly to be everywhere showing off their colour.




 
 






Outside was just as glorious with the spring flowers blooming in the sunshine

 








Great name!
 



Just look at that sky.  The best day to be here by far.  Lucky us!


If you get a chance to see the butterflies, you won't be disappointed.  Go visit.