Life in a nutshell, 'cos it's better if you're nuts!
A collection of random thoughts, adventures, happenings and general goings on in the Gardner Family.
Please read my diary, look through my things and figure me out.Kurt Cobain
How many new French Departments could we visit in one day, without being totally silly about it ?
A day in the French capital whilst taking a bit of a break from a very, very busy week of geocaching.
Time for GeoNord again. It was a great caching event last year, so Izzy and me decicded to try it again.
I set out with the great aspiration of completing two of my missing counties on the UK & Ireland map. It was hard work.
I decided on Wednesday evening to go to the Kent Mega. Short notice, but thankfully very easy pickings.
Cap Blanc Nez - It's big, it's white, it looks like a nose, and you can see England from the top.
I am probably making more of a joke out this town's name than is strictly necessary.
Four days of mad geocaching under glorious skies, whilst trying to avoid a big, blue bear.
My caching year started off fairly slowly. This was a solo effort to try to get things moving a bit faster.
Fifty-something finds on a winter's afternoon, and a near death experience involving light aircraft.
Another day of trying to rediscover the elusive caching mojo. This time I walked two series near to home with Daughterus Minimus.
I've been suffering from what can only be described as a loss of mojo recently. I think I may have dropped it one day whilst walking around the Hatley Heart Attack series.
What ? Ye Old Survey Monuments ? What's that then ? It's a geocachers excuse for being a trigpointer.
In English villages, the church is normally the largest, oldest and most impressive building.
The girls were all out at a running event down in Leighton Buzzard as a result of Kas having volunteered to be a marshall, so I had the day to myself.
Kas somehow got it into her mind that it would be a good-fun idea to run an ultra-marathon in Cumbria to finish off the summer holidays.
A week of going up and down mountains and rediscovering school geography lessons, especially the ones about mountains and glaciers.
Five go mad in Valenciennes. Except there were only four of us. Unless you include the ukelele.
My initial enthusiasm was beaten into a bloody pulp of despair as a result of endless treks through neck high nettles and insect infested swamplands.
Our annual trip to the fine city of Liverpool for a bit of Rock 'n' Roll, with some running thrown in.
It's madness ! Madness, I tell you. It was quite a lot of caching, anyway. So much so that I didn't seem to bother with any photos.
A couple of loops of caches close to home, one out in the country and one in the town (well, in a park on the edge of town).
A day for finishing off a few small loops that remained on the Hatley Heart Attack. "At last" I hear you say, "you've been doing them since last year".
On the radar for today was chipping away at one of the large remaining loops on the Hatley Heart Attack.
This was another day for eating away a big chunk of the Hatley Heart Attack series.
It started as a bit of a "can't be bothered" sort of a day, having given up on my initial plans to travel the other side of Bedford.
Another day, another trip to the Hatley Heart Attack. On this day I was joined by DJ:CD and we decided we'd start in Sutton.
Time for the MK Boundary Walk Blue and Magenta sections to be consigned to the great tupperware box in the sky.
The end of a chunk of the MK Boundary Walk series of caches, which had passed their sell-by date some time ago and had started to be visited fairly infrequently.
Whilst I was in the middle of attempting to complete the Hatley Heart Attack series, one of the two responsible COs added another whole loop.
A winter's day up in the North East. The sun was shining and the kids needed to get out and run around a bit.
I had a few days holiday left to use up and, of course, the kids were on holiday. Time for a bit of caching then.
A bit of a two-day mega post, consisting of a Saturday afternoon around Measham, followed by a Monday morning in the car.
A cold and grey day in December with nothing much to do. Might as well go hunting for tupperware.
A November day and all was well with the world. I managed to pursuade Ami to come out with me to do a bit more of the Hatley Heart Attack.
A winter's day, a Friday, and a day off work, because I'd got holidays left to take.
A few days previously I heard some chatter on Facebook about a massive new series that ran pretty much covered all of the distance in between Biggleswade and Cambridge.
Kas entered the 2015 Snowdonia Marathon, so we were obliged to go and have a long weekend in Snowdonia.
Another one of Charlie's Loops to do. It started pretty much right next to my church micro at Bow Brickhill, so it gave me the opportunity to maintain that one while I was there.
A couple of loops to make a busy autumn day. One started near Hamerton Park Zoo, and one started in Thurning.
This was the first of a whole load of new caching series in Milton Keynes entitled "Charlie's Loops" - This one looked appealing enough to warrant a day off work to do them.
A long Saturday walk through some rolling hills on the border between Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
I had a professional exam to take after a period of, well I'd like to call it "intensive study" but it would probably be better to call it "not being bothered" over the summer.
My first day out caching after our rather epic journey to the Algarve for our summer holiday. The weather was quite Algarvian though.
Someone, somewhere, once said there was a geocaching challenge that requires you to find 10 or more multi caches in a day. That sounds like something that needs to be achieved.
A Sunday jaunt over towards Grafham Water to finish off a couple of bits of circuits I'd missed out on before - the Woolley Mammoth and the S2E2.
I set off with the objective of trying to make over 100 finds, and I'd decided that the A1 to the south of Peterborough would be a good place to go. I ended up setting a new
A return to the Rock 'n' Roll Half in Liverpool. This time it was Kas's turn to run it and my turn to look after the kids.
While we were up in Liverpool again for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon I took the opportunity to go and do a bit of caching on The Wirral.
To quote one of my logs for the day "Forgive me while I swear. I sacrificed my GPS at this cache." I put it down while signing a log. As I went to pick it up, I knocked it and it fell down a drain.
Well, we had to really. I couldn't go to Dover for a long weekend and not do that tempting looking caching series along the tops of the cliffs. That would be a waste, if not a criminal offence.
A long solo day out in the Cachemuda Triangle - a cache-packed area in the middle of a triangle formed by the A1, A14 and A45/A605
I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend an all day training session at a client's site. I stayed overnight right next to the old Greenham Common site, near Newbury.
Kas entered the 2015 Manchester Marathon. Technically, I suppose, she entered the 2014 Manchester Marathon and then deferred it for a year.
Sawtry - Because if you're surrounded by villages called The Giddings you can probably get away with all sorts of weird names.
Time to do the only remaining section of the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk series for which I had yet to collect the bonus.
A day out with Daughterus Minimus around the very pleasant little villages of Alconbury, Alconbury Weston and Coppingford.
FF40 is a series of puzzles near to Rotherfield Peppard, down in the south-east corner of Oxfordshire and not far north of Reading.
I took the day off work, in part because I needed a bit of a break and in part because there was a much talked about solar eclipse in prospect in the middle of the morning.
The day began with an event in Leighton Buzzard to celebrate "Pi Day" and finished with a very long walk over the chalk downs to the west of Dunstable.
Two sections of the MKBW still to complete - Green and Indigo. By "complete", I mean "do just enough to get the bonus", I don't mean "do all of them".
When I was a kid, my folks, and particularly my paternal grandfather, always used to refer to Ticknall as being the home of a now abandoned treacle mine.
A day out with Daughterus Minimus tramping across the muddy fields of west Cambridgeshire looking for bits of tupperware.
It was a very grey, dank, and pretty miserable kind of a day, but Ami and me had decided we were off out for a bit of box hunting regardless.
New Year's Eve, and we'd arranged to go out for a bit of a walk, and do a bit of caching, with some of our friends, the Burlaces and the Weedons.
A pre-birthday afternoon out in the car whilst up at my folks' near Measham, finding a few local church micros.
The Woolley Mammoth. A series near Huntingdon passing through the village of Woolley, hence the name.
A long day out up the top end of Northamptonshire doing a couple of loops that looked appealing.
Saturday morning and a change to our usual routine of running parkrun in Milton Keynes.
A caching jaunt around Hatley in Cambridgeshire with Ami and BingBongLong, on a grey and murky late autumn afternoon.
Halloween Hides time of year again. This was the fifth annual Halloween Hides and Creepy Caches mega event, and it proved to be the last one too, at least for a while.
Kas booked herself into the Chester marathon earlier in the year and we decided to all go up.
I'd been working on a bunch of puzzles so I could make an attempt at forty puzzle finds in a day. This was that day.
My final bash at the Cambridge CacheAthon series after previous previously doing two loops in April and two more in June.
Oooh ! A new running event. I couldn't resist one that started on the Severn Bridge.
Hmm ! The problem with writing blog posts retrospectively is that if the day in question was a long time ago, there's a possibility I can't remember it at all.
A fortnight in the Low Countries, travelling by car through Belgium and the Netherlands.
Kas was doing Redway Runners club run at Marston Vale, and afterwards we all went round the north of Bedford to have a pop at more of the Two Birthdays series there.
So on to the second stint of the Cambridge CacheAthon, having done the first couple of loops away back on Good Friday.
Much excitement in the Gardner household on this day, or at least I was quite excited, because it was my first caching trip out in the new motor.
We'd heard from friends who'd done their other events that the Rock 'n' Roll running series were excellent to enter.
In a very rare turn of events, someone decided that they'd hold the 30th installment of the Hertfordshire "Happening" events in Bedfordshire.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been getting more interested and more knowledgeable about mapping on my new Garmin, having previously been through the pain of creating and installing my own custom icons. After a discussion made during a long walk around Rutland last weekend a friend asked me how I have managed to install […]
The day after the moderately epic trip up to Rutland and Stamford, and the girls were all still away in Sunderland, so I figured I might as well go hit the tupperware again.
Rutland is small, isn’t it ? I mean, not microscopically small, but in the context of English counties it is small. It’s the smallest, apparently. Except that it isn’t !
We had a whole sunny afternoon to fill up. So we headed over to the Foremark Reservoir for a bit of ambling through nature, hunting for tupperware, and eating ice creams.
Good Friday, and in caching terms, it turned out to be exactly that. I headed over towards Cambridge to begin an assault on the CacheAthon series
A while ago the good lady wife won a place in the Virgin London Marathon for 2014. She failed in the annual ballot but then entered a competition on a bottle of Lucozade Sport and won it.
On Sunday April 6th 2014 I ran the 33rd annual Sheffield Half Marathon. It turned out to be one of the weirdest days of my life, apparently.
The teachers were on strike, so someone had to look after the kids. I did my bit by taking Ami with me to Letchworth for a bit of caching on our bikes.
Ami's been singing a certain well known song written by Keane and covered by Lily Allen for several weeks now, because it's going to be included in her school assembly.
Apparently one should go to church on a Sunday. I’m not sure if it counts when you go to 7 different churches and all you do is look for tupperware.
Kas's free entry into the London Marathon that she won came with side entry into a couple of "training" half marathons. This was one of them.
A day of getting confused about whether we were in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire or Cambridgeshire. It was all three, at some point.
We found ourselves at my folks' house in Measham for the weekend after I'd been up in Blackpool during the week. The kids wanted to stay in, so Kas took me out to lunch, via a few churches.
Ami and I had a spare Sunday afternoon so we arranged to meet up with BingBongLong in Aynho to have a go at Gingko's COYQ series.
Since I got the Garmin Montana 650t at Christmas I’ve used it a few times for geocaching but one of the things I’ve been finding difficult is the icons it uses for displaying caches on the map. The main problems I found are that they seem to be a little small, and a little indistinct. […]
A January day and what better way to spend it than pushing the caching numbers up a bit. Some would say that sitting at home with a few beers, but they're welcome to that. Sun's out, then so am I.
A day to remember in more ways than one, with a target of visiting the event at the uninhabited village of Imber in the middle of one of the Ministry of Defence's training areas on Salisbury Plain.
A Sunday afternoon out just before Christmas to fill in another day from The Matrix. It turned into a bit of a disaster, but resulted in me making a decision about the future.
A weekday morning and yet another day where I took the morning off to fill in a spot on The Matrix. This time, I headed for the village of Pavenham, to the north of Bedford.
Tuesday morning on my “busy” week of pre-Christmas matrix fillers – I needed to go out caching on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week to keep the run going.
Not much to say about this one except that there was a new series up near Riseley so I scooted up there with BingBongLong and a plan to meet Brew-a-cache up there.
I'd planned to do SmokeyPugs Ms Meander series just north of Hemel Hempstead and I set off at just after 7am to make sure I had plenty of time.
A multi-day special of a post recounting my four visits to Salcey Forest to complete caches set for the 2013 Halloween Hides and Creepy Caches.
Big Brother is 50. That means I will be next year. Oh dear ! Should I be concerned about that ?
The Milton Keynes Boundary Walk Grey section runs from Turvey down to Salford. On this walk, my and Ami did the northern two thirds of it.
Kas decided she'd really, really like to run the 40th Berlin Marathon on her 40th birthday weekend. It seemed like a reasonable idea.
This was a fine late summer’s day out in Cambridgeshire with a happy band of cachers including myself, Daughterus Maximus, BingBongLong and Wavvy.
A Sunday afternoon jaunt with Daughterus Maximus over to a tempting looking (i.e. short and easy looking) new series of caches at Stoke Bruerne.
We had a quick dash up to Kenilworth so that Kas could run the half marathon there. I toyed with the idea of running too but then Kas told me there's no medal. No medal ? No run.
A happy combination of circumstances for us today - a long run, a parkrun, and a couple of caches.
I'd been thinking about going caching on this day for quite a while, but had no time to plan anything. Thankfully, Wavvy came up with a cunning plan that I was happy to tag along with.
A quick dash around north Bedfordshire and west Cambridgeshire with BingBongLong and Ami. I needed a “matrix” day and Ami was aiming to get past 500 finds.
The problem with point-to-point caching routes is that you need logistical support. It's a good job I have an obliging wife.
Hmm ! The day on which I planned to kill off a day in quite a long series of "matrix" days, but on which I realised that I should actually have gone out caching the previous day too. Ho hum !
Alibags mentioned a while ago that she needed only one day to fill up her matrix, June 15th. So thinking you might as well do it in style, I suggested we go out and try to do a hundred in one day.
The kids and the parents decided they were off to Tamworth for a bit of shopping, so I thought I'd have a go at a new series of caches round the corner from their house in Austrey.
Ami was playing an ancient Egyptian priest, so she got to wear a big shaggy wig and some nice eye makeup.
I originally planned a trip to a caching event in Oundle on Sunday, but I then noticed I had a "Matrix" day on Saturday and not on Sunday, so I revised plans a bit.
WWFM is an annual geocaching event in May where you do something daft for 15 minutes. In Aylesbury it involved floating some rubber ducks.
The Emerson Valley Brownies went over to Willen Lake for a bit of R&R at Aerial Extreme.
Izzy's class assembly this morning. Lots of overexcited kids, and a few quite excited parents too.
Ami had an athletics event up at Stantonbury Stadium this morning. MK Dons had a home game in the afternoon. We went to both.
Tuesday night up north after a long day doing what I get paid for (or, at least, pretending to do it). Time to go out caching in the evening sunshine.
Saturday afternoon, following a fine performance at Parkrun by both Kas and Ami - two PBs. We wanted a bit of fresh air to avoid the kids spending all afternoon playing Pet Shop on the iPads.
It was a day for doing a bit of caching to contribute to "The Matrix", so we planned a bit of caching in Newcastle after Kas did Parkrun.
I managed to lure Ami out of the house for a bit of geocaching on the promise of getting a McDonalds afterwards. Quite an easy lure really.
I decided it might be nice to get my mum something personal for her birthday, so we decided to go to Chiki Ceramiki to make some handmade plates.
A new personal best for the number of cache finds in a day, without really expecting it.
MK Half day, and once again it's freezing. Same as last year only without the rain.
A business trip to Dublin for two full days, with plenty of slack time on the travelling days. Should be plenty of opportunity to finish off the run for February.
Another day with a spot of caching required to fill up the matrix. Kas had just got back from a long run and Izzy was at a party and Ami couldn't be bothered.
Filling a slot on the Matrix by walking around the second biggest airport in the Midlands.
Blimey, wasn't the weather nice today. Shame to be stuck inside for most of it working.
I needed to fill a slot on the Matrix and to the west of Olney are caches set on two different days I need for the "366 Days Placed" list too.
Sunday afternoon and some planned cache time, having sorted out schedules with the lady of the household. What to do and where to go ?
A slot to fill in The Matrix and I managed to persuade Ami to come (well, technically, it was bribery rather than persuasion, but it’s a fine line with an 8 year old).
A quick dash up to Stoke Bruerne on a grey Sunday afternoon in early February. It was after 2pm already when I arrived, so I had limited time.
I'd had a couple of warnings about my geocaches at Stowe being in need of some TLC, so I decided it was about time I paid a visit and fixed a couple of things.
A day of messing around punctuated by a quick trip out to grab a few new caches in Woughton-on-the-Green, thereby filling a gap in the "Days I've Been Caching" matrix.
I had a holiday spare in December, having saved one up in case the girls had a teachers strike or an illness. I decided December 6th was late enough in the year to risk it.
A score draw, of sorts. 10 finds and 10 DNFs. Scratched hands, muddy trousers, and twitching curtains.
Sunday afternoon with not a lot to do, having cleared my way through the European Ironing Mountain yesterday.
I decided on a relatively light day of caching today after yesterday’s excesses. By “light”, I mean a target of 40 or so, spread over 8 miles.
I've been thinking about the Halloween Hides & Creepy Caches (Reincarnated) Mega Event for much of the year. Today was the day.
Two long walks through the middle of nowhere, setting caches that I ultimately didn't want to own.
From the western edge of Milton Keynes at Hazeley School, across the countryside and up to the edge of Stony Stratford.
There's only so much attention that you can give to a washing machine before it degenerates into just watching your kecks go round in circles.
Finding Uranus is sometimes difficult for a geocacher, even with the use of both hands.
A day out caching with Wavvy where we got rather wet. How wet ? I had to wring out my socks, that's how wet.
I'd been working with the National Trust at Stowe since the middle of the previous year trying to see whether we could set a few geocaches on their land.
We both entered the 2012 Lisbon Half Marathon, which meant (obviously) that we had to go to Lisbon. We decided to take the kids with us.
This day was the start (for me) of a long love affair with the area between Peterborough, Oundle, Huntingdon, Northampton and Bedford.
I should have known better, but then I was a bit of a novice. You can't set caches on land that you have to pay to enter.
The boy Simply Paul was 40 years old, apparently, although I didn't really know him at the time.
Kingsbury Water Park is one of those British industrial regeneration jobs that the East Midlands is very good at, although technically this might be the West Midlands, I guess.
It was "The Other Stu's" 40th birthday, apparently, and he'd decided to celebrate the occasion by dropping a load of tupperware around the countryside of Bedfordshire.
I had an evening appointment in the West Midlands as we were having a corporate jolly at The Belfry.
I had a weekend at home alone as a result of needing to put some extra effort into a piece of work I'd been doing. Yeah, really !
My second attempt at the Chiltern Hundred series, and I took an afternoon off work to make sure I found loads.
A series called "Burgo and Beans", named after the villages of Newton Burgoland and Barton in the Beans.
The beginning of a six month long journey to complete one of the biggest series of caches in the area - the Chiltern Hundred series near Chesham.
As a New Year treat (sort of) we decided to head off out into the wilds of Warwickshire for a day of box hunting.
The story of our first series of puzzles. How they were conceived, and how they were placed. And what we got wrong.
Wandering around the countryside looking for bits of tupperware with a stinking cold.
How can I describe this afternoon without totally giving away the game on the prime purpose. Ahh bum ! It isn't giving away much really.
A bicycle borne trip with the plan of measuring out steps for a half-marathon themed cache. The plan failed.
The previous night's failure to complete a particular geocache was really grating and needed to be corrected.
What better on an autumn afternoon than to leave the kids somewhere with the parents and dash off for a bit of tupperware hunting.
A solo effort by bicycle one evening once the kids were in snoozy land, with the purpose of finding a Kitey.
A constantly updating diary of Kitey's Mission impossible series. More of a sort of Mega-Blog Special.
So what do you do at the worst services in the UK ? You turn your bike around, buy a posh coffee, collect the caches, and move on.
A bank holiday weekend up north, and for us a whole new caching experience, three whole degrees north of our normal haunts.
Monday lunchtime wanderings through some fields looking for caches using memory of Google Maps and a bit of on-the-fly estimation.
Thursday lunchtime, working at home, no girls in the house and no sign of the courier who is supposedly bringing a new phone that I'm sending back, so what do you do to pass the time ?
We didn't even realise you could claim finds just by going to the pub, but that's just what an event cache is.
Who needs to do packing for a fortnight away on holiday when you can spend your evening geocaching instead ?
A quickie dash out on a Friday night after 5-6 hours in the car driving to Leeds and back.
Is it possible to cache whilst on a business trip, wearing a suit and not in possession of a GPS device ?
Saturday morning sunshine and caching, while the good lady wife was off for a run.
What better way to relax than to bike to the pub ? Well, biking to a load of caches and then biking to the pub, obviously.
A week after our failed efforts in Broughton we decided to have another go, now suitably armed with a shiny new GPS.
The next day after the Shenley Wood Shuffle we had a spare hour after work, so decided we cleared the remaining caches in Shenley Wood.
On a windy Sunday afternoon in July, what better fun than to wander round a bit of ancient woodland looking for small clip-lock boxes.
A Saturday morning wander around Willen Lake in search of a few noddy caches while Kas went for a run.
A Friday night jaunt with the twin objectives of testing the Garmin and entertaining the kids until bedtime.
A little jaunt up Tattenhoe Linear Park one night to have yet another go at an elusive cache.
A happy weekend up at the folks house, with a bit of time spent wandering around reformed spoil heaps looking for tupperware.
A quick cache & dash after school that turned into a bit of a bike ride with a handful of caches found.
Our first successful geocaching venture on home turf. We fooled the girls with the "going to the pub" ruse. The pub in question has a good play area.
A full family, bike-mounted affair on a balmy Friday night. We didn't find much though.
A repeat visit for a couple of weeks to one of my favourite locations. This time we had two children and two grandparents with us.
Ahhhh, Brussels, the home of the sprout. Kas and me made a trip in February 2007 when it was still the depths of winter and it was pretty cold.
Skiing in Meribel. Well, I skied. Kas, Ami, Dennis and Linda did a lot of swimming, sitting in cafes and meeting me at the tops of mountains.
A week on the beautiful west coast of France. It was so hot, it was more like sun-snogged than sun-kissed.
A week in Northumberland enjoying one of Britains best, and least known, bits of coastline.
In early 2005 Kas and me went skiing in Whistler with the Burlaces. The weather was a bit suspect.
In February 2004 Kas and I took a short break in the Lake District to enjoy a final bit "couple" time before we became parents.
It’s not often we get a lot of snow at home. When we do, it can be really pretty, and we tend to get to enjy it because we almost invariably end up with roads, offices, and life in general, being shut down until it goes away again.
I surprised Kas for her birthday by taking her on a flying visit to Paris, on the train.
Durham, in the English North-East, is the self-styled Land of the Prince Bishops. Never heard of them !
An epic road trip around the southwestern corner of the USA, including more National Parks and National Monuments than you can shake a stick at.
In early June 2002 we paid a visit down to Devon for a long weekend of farting about and the enjoying the seaside.
In November of 2001 we scooted up to the Lake District for a couple of days to attend a friend's wedding.
In October Kas and I paid a visit to the estate at Blenheim Palace. Not a bad little house.
The year 2000 seemed to be the year when everyone we knew got married, including ourselves.
Nearly three weeks in Egypt by way of a little honeymoon celebration. It took "hot" to a whole new level.
In August 1999 Kas and me spent a week in Crete - our first ever "proper" summer holiday together. It was warm and sunny and very picturesque.
In summer 1999 I was working with a petroleum refining company in Portugal. At one point I had to spend one week in Porto then the next in Lisbon, so Kas came to see me at the weekend.
Kas and me went skiing early in 1999 in Cervinia, which is just on the Italian side of the Matterhorn. From there you can ski across into the Swiss resort of Zermatt too.