Monday, 29 September 2014

20 Geocaching Questions

Washknight came up with the idea of asking various geocaching bloggers a set of 20 questions to see how we all replied.  So, here are my answers:

GeoBlogger 20 Questions
1. When and how did you first get into geocaching?

--My best friend introduced me to it. She had been caching for some time and was telling my teenage daughter about it. I remember thinking at first "what an odd thing to do for a hobby" but having seen how keen my teen was and how much fun my friend was having doing it, I decided when I upgraded my mobile phone I'd go for a smart one and give it a shot.  That was back in June 2011.
2. Do you remember your first find?

--Yes, it was called Roadside Dash and was very near to where I live.
3. What device(s) do you use for locating caches?

--I use my phone (Samsung Galaxy SIII).
4. Where do you live and what is your local area like for geocaching? (density / quality / setting etc)

--I live in Woking, Surrey.  Caching density is quite good around here with some lovely walks over common ground and quite a few rings in the area.  A good range of cache types too.
5. What has been your most memorable geocache to date, and why?

--Tough question.  Probably JJEF's Newton's Pendant over Maidenhead way. Purely for the ingenuity of it at the time but there have been so many great cache containers over the years.
6. List 3 essential things you take on a geocaching adventure excluding GPS, pen and swaps.

--Food, drink, tick-twisters
7. Other than geocaches and their contents, What is the weirdest thing you have discovered whilst out caching?

--Nothing springs to mind.  Our adventures are quite ordinary it seems.
8. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is I am obsessed by numbers and 10 is I am all about the experience and the quality of each individual cache. Where do you put yourself?

--About a 5. I love collecting numbers but I won't run out to get a new cache now that I've done a couple of FTFs, and I'm filling up my grid slowly but, again, won't go out especially for a day I don't have. I do enjoy the variety of cache containers but am slowly disliking rings of 35mm containers more and more.
9. Describe one incident that best demonstrates the level of your geocaching obsession.

--Easy.  I think I came close to being divorced when I did this X Marks the Spot cache.
10. Have you picked up any caching injuries along the way?

--Odd bit of ankle twisting and being caught on brambles or rose bushes but nothing serious.
11. What annoys you most about other geocachers?

--Not much.  Occasionally some seem less than caring when replacing caches.  Nice to see all lids shut where possible.
12. What is the dumbest thing you have done whilst out caching?

--Deleted my App - mid-cache trip and no phone signal. Here you go: Chesham has lots of hills - I was not a happy bunny!
13. What do your non caching family and friends think of your hobby?

--Most are really interested in it and happy to come out and give it a try. In fact, we've promised a lot of people a caching trip so really need to get out and take them with us.
14. What is your default excuse you give to muggles who ask what you are up to or if you need help?

--Depends how obvious we are or how quickly they snuck up on us!  Sometimes we're just honest. Others we pretend we're looking for something. Often been scrambling up a tree and just said "good morning" to people who have looked at me in a puzzled way as they were walking past.
15. What is your current geocaching goal, if you have one?

--To keep enjoying it and get out a bit more to do it (now involves a drive for caches as completed most of the local area).  Would like, at some point, to complete the 365/6 days of caching challenges.
16. Do you have a nemesis cache that despite multiple attempts you have been unable to find?

--No. I've found them all although sometimes on 2nd, 3rd or 4th attempt.
17. What 3 words or phrases best sum up what geocaching means to you.

--Free Family Fun
18. What prompted you to start blogging about geocaching?

--I blog anyway so it seemed a fun thing to add into my blogs. I did originally have a separate geocaching blog but it was a bit sporadic so I put it all into this one blog.
19. Which of your own blog entries are you most proud of.

--I hope to give people a grin with my blog posts but one that got a lot of hits and made a good few people laugh was this Mind if I climb your garden fence? - we got lost!
20. Which other geocaching blogs do you enjoy reading?

--There are a variety that I've signed up to but off the top of my head I can't think of their titles as I get an email when they have written a blog piece (good way to stay in touch when you forget to look at them frequently).

Do join in the fun and answer these questions on your blog then drop in on Washknight's blog and say hello!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Basingstoke Canal Caches

We decided to have a walk today and headed off to the Basingstoke Canal at St John's, near Woking to pick up a few caches there.  It's been a fabulous sunny day here around 22C. Hard to think it's a few days off October (glad I didn't put my summer clothes away yet).

**This post contains spoilers!!**

No pipe dream
First of the day was #6A.  As we approached and started to look around, I spotted something.  Heading down to the towpath, I was sure I was correct in where I thought the cache was.  Hubby said no, it was just a 'stink pipe' and to leave it alone but something seemed odd. As he went a bit further under the bridge, I stuck to my guns and, gingerly, opened it up.  I was correct!  Amazing piece of cache building this was and definitely deserved a favourite point.  Dropped off a TB I'd been carrying around for a couple of months (first place that had space big enough for it!) and away we went with me feeling very self-satisfied.

Ivy covered tree
Lots of cyclists and joggers on the towpath as we wandered along.  Next was #6 hidden in an ivy covered tree. Ivy tends to make my eyes itch so myself and the teen stood back and the little ones peered in with hubby. It was soon spotted and S made the retrieve here.  Well camo'd.

N retrieving the cache
Last of the day for us (it was just a short, circular walk) was #5A by another big tree.  Hubby went in to check as sadly poo-bags were all around (just why dog walkers do that is beyond me).  He spotted the suspect. It was another home-made cache but the lid had not been attached securely so it was scattered all over the place.  He lifted N up who carefully made the retrieve, collecting all the bits together for us to put back into the container.  Signed and put back carefully. Hope it lasts.

We then headed home having had a nice 45 minute walk out, picking conkers up on our way which the girls are now playing with in the garden.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

It's too big to deliver so you have to collect it

Ruler is 17cm long (just to show the size)
Yes, I know.  What's that all about right?

Well, it seems that our new postman (who clearly doesn't have a brain cell the intelligence of a 2 year old) could not deliver this parcel.  He made an 'attempted delivery' it seems and then gave up and took it back to the sorting office rather than (a) put it in a perfectly secure, very large, accessible cupboard by our front door or (b) deliver it to one of our neighbours - all of whom were in and would have taken it for us.  Instead, I have to make a special journey to collect it proving who I am.

It's odd as Amazon, eBay, Yodel, UPS and also our old postman - everyone, it seems - manages to leave parcels so why can't this new postman?

You can imagine my shock when the man at the sorting office gave me the parcel.  "Too large to deliver" said the card.  I looked at him,  "Is that it?".  He replied that it was and it didn't fit through the letterbox hence the postman having to bring it back.  I couldn't help myself "the new postman is a total imbecile" I found myself saying to the man, "he could have left it in multiple places instead of dragging me all the way up here, the prat" and walked out.

So, I need to catch our new postman when he next comes - which is now anywhere from 1 - 4pm.  Our old postman was never that late and this new one is.  Maybe Royal Mail could get him an alarm clock?  I need to tell him quite clearly, where to put 'big' parcels next time as he will be bringing it back and forth as I'm not going to waste my time again.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Another bloody cold sore!

Poor S. You may recall that she suffers from cold sores.  She started getting them when she was around 3.  She's even managed to have one bought of impetigo in exactly the same area - bottom lip, left hand side.  I feel so sorry for her.

A couple of weeks ago yet another cold sore came up.  We're using those Compeed patches like they are going out of fashion in this house!  We caught it early and it took around 7 days to completely disappear all the same.  Today was school photo day for her. Guess what she woke up with?  Yep, a stonking great cold sore :(

I'm not sure if I told you this but every school photo she has had done (3 years now, since she was in nursery) she's had a cold sore for it.  How is that even possible? This year we thought we'd beaten it as at the beginning of this week, her cold sore had almost disappeared but nope, as usual, it's back.

Last weeks cold sore was swabbed by me.  The last time we visited a doctor about it, I was given swabs for the next outbreak. I'm cross today though as when I tried to call the doctors surgery on Monday to get the results (yes, 10 day wait you know) I was informed, in quite a blunt manner by the receptionist as I got through at 10am "You need to phone us between 2pm and 4pm for results.  Thank you" and she hung up!?  WTF?  I've been so busy the rest of this week I've not been around during those two hours to get the results. Tomorrow I shall phone and trust me here - someone will give me those results no matter what sodding time it is!

What I'm more cross about is it seems there is nothing we can do for our poor little 5 year old girl who must have at least 8 - 10 cold sores per year.  It's beyond ridiculous.  Surely this isn't normal?

I'm looking for support from anyone else with young children with cold sores please.  What are you doing? Have you found a great treatment I can get/ask my doctor for? Anything!

Hubby and I both suffer from cold sores, as does the teen, but none of us have had one and none of us would kiss each other on the lips if we did.  How can this little girl of ours suffer so badly with them?  Any advice folks?

Monday, 15 September 2014

A pumpkin for Cinderella

Is this one any good Cinderella?
We took one of our lovely friends to Wisley last week (well, we'd hardly take a horrible person really would we).  She's never been before so N and I decided to show her around a little, get some fresh air and enjoy the season.  Everything is beginning to change and look a little more Autumnal now.

We started our walk up the hill past the side of the garden centre but of course, the call for the toilet went up so we turned back and headed that way.  All sorted and we started our walk again, this time going past the fountains and around the lake area where N enjoyed sitting and watching the fish and ducks. One inquisitive duck wandered right up to her and then another did the same.  She thought this was great. Unfortunately they didn't hang around to have their photo taken.

We then headed off to the Glasshouse to have a look around there (I avoided the root area - what is it about that part that my girls want to go to every time? - and we had a look at the cacti and then headed in to see all the tropical plants.  A little stroll through the orchids (friend and I love them) and off for a bit more of a walk around, heading into the fruit and vegetable orchards/area.  I was amazed at the size of the pumpkins.

Our little walk over, we headed back through the rose bushes and home.

Friday, 5 September 2014

More Jelly & Bean books

N is an avid little reader as you may recall (see this post).  She seems to have an almost photographic memory for words (that or she has an understanding that is amazing me!) and as you may recall, absolutely adores Jelly & Bean books. In fact, without doubt, they are the favourites of both of my youngest two.

Today some more Jelly & Bean books arrived on our doormat.

N has exhausted her current supply and knows all the words in each one so I've ordered some harder ones for her.

As you can see, she sat down and got stuck straight in, reading me this book immediately and only struggling with a couple of words that (a) she couldn't sound out and (b) hadn't seen before.  I'm going to need another order before long it seems :)

The books we have already are:

A Series 1 - 10
A Series Extra Books 11 - 16
AD Digraphs Series 17 - 24
B Series 1 - 10
B Series Extra Books 11 -16

I'm just hoping her nursery do as they promised this year and start reading with her as she is progressing so fast at this and I want to encourage her whilst her enthusiasm lasts!

P.S. I've just ordered the first set of Follifoot Farm ones for her as well so I'll keep you all posted.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Free School Dinners

My girls went back to school yesterday and are now entitled to free school meals (well one is, the other is at nursey).  There is only one problem with this.  My 5 year old absolutely hates school dinners.  I have tried to persuade her that almost all of her friends will be having it but no, she's not swayed at all by this fact.  Packed lunches it is for her then.

I do feel sorry for her heading in to school in the morning with her bookbag, packed lunch box and bottle of water (along with the bottle of drink she has at lunchtime in her lunch box and a flask as she enjoys a hot lunch).  I'm tempted to buy her an Alpaca that she can take down the road with her to carry all the stuff!  It wasn't so bad when she was in Reception and could go straight into class and drop all the heavy stuff off but now in Year 1, she has to walk around the playground until the bell goes. I may end up taking her to school later so she has less time to trundle around, weighed down with stuff.  First day back was even worse as she had an entire PE kit to lug around too!

Littlest one has school dinners as her school do not allow packed lunches. This is fine for her as even though she's only 3, they do a cafeteria style lunch session so they have plenty of choice from the daily meal/vegetarian option or the usual salads, jacket potatoes will all sorts of fillings and pasta (of course).

It's a far cry from my school dinners. I was home to lunch girl as we did back then - can you imagine that?!  However, for 2 weeks I decided to try school lunches. Suffice to say I left school every day starving. I remember the smell of the dinner hall that used to almost turn my stomach as I entered and the absolutely disgusting food they served - cheese and bacon swirls stick in my head (and throat) as I'm writing this.  Fortunately things have come a long way since then.

Do your little ones have school meals or are they packed lunch kiddies?

Monday, 1 September 2014

Two Wheels Now

On Saturday, after a friends birthday party, S decided she no longer wanted her stabilisers on her bike. I have no idea why this suddenly occurred to her (no, it wasn't a cycling party) but can only assume it was due to yesterday when we went out with friends and one of her stabilisers bent quite a bit.  Whatever the reason,we removed them and then proceeded to try and help her with how to cycle without them.  You will notice I used the word try.

Nothing we said to her she listened to. We could not hold her seat and help her balance. We could not advise her to put the pedal up and push off. Nope. Nothing.  She was going to do this herself and that was that.  And do you know what?  About an hour of wobbling around trying to put her other foot on the pedal before the bike tipped over and she did it. Yes!  She cycled for 4 revolutions of the pedals.  I was jumping up and down with pride.

Yesterday, she wanted to ride around again.  First we went to the outlaws house (with bikes) and she cycled around their garden. Well, more a straight line with hubby pushing her off as granddad really does need to mow his lawn *grin* No matter, she did it - showing off to us all.

When we got home, she wanted to carry on riding. We took her to a nice pathway near where we live and off she went. She starts herself off, pedals backward a bit to get her leverage and she's away.  No help from us at all.

Today, we had promised she could go riding again so we took her over to Brooklands which has a fabulous place to ride around and the two girls went around the track and big, flat area for an hour - in the rain! No, not even rain was going to stop her.

N is a little speed demon on her bike so they had great fun whizzing around together.  I'm so proud of my little girl and her determination to do it all by herself. For such a shy, quiet person, she has some wicked determination.  Her friends are now all trying it too!