The Sketch

Sunday afternoon in winter. Not a lot to do, having cleared my way through the European Ironing Mountain for nearly 4 hours yesterday. A spot of caching seemed in order. I’m still a few shy of my 1000 for the year. I’ve been doing my best to fail at that one recently. I’ve not been taking my Friday holidays and generally doing other stuff. So no particular plan – just around and about.

So after a morning of cleaning up, making pancakes with Ami. And then clearing out a cupboard in the kitchen (livin’ the dream). I managed to persuade Izzy to come caching with me on the understanding that there would be cake involved.

I didn’t really have much of a plan, but I had a few reports of missing caches in Milton Keynes so I thought we’d go and do a bit of maintenance. Izzy has her own account now (Wandering Primrose) so while I’m searching and replacing, she’s getting her stats up ready for when she’s old enough to actually care. Well, she enjoys coming out for a walk occasionally. Very occasionally.

Hitting the Road

So off we pootled to see what we could find. I asked her if she wanted to do maintenance or a find first. Unsurprisingly, she was squarely in the “find” camp. She made this decision just in time as we were passing St Mary’s Bletchley. It was my closest non-smiley, so it seemed like a good place to go first.

The coordinates took us somewhere into the churchyard, to a very unpromising looking spot which we quickly dismissed. So we looked about for some places matching the hint, and at the same time read other people’s logs about the coordinates, and quickly ended up at a much better looking spot. Made a meal of it though. I actually moved the cache container out of the way. I didn’t realize it was the cache, so I  searched fruitlessly for 10 minutes before picking up and actually looking at the thing I previously moved. Oh yes, one of those then……

The Edge of Bletchley

So next a couple of maintenance trips to puzzles of mine in Bletchley. MK Schooldays: Statistics didn’t really need maintenance because Dr Solly found it a few days ago, but we were passing, so why not. One in the bag for Wandering Primrose, anyway The log says something like “I smiled at Daddy in a cute way and he said I could log it as a find and solve the puzzle when I’m old enough”

Abundant Woodyard Users did need a look, because nobody has found it since I moved it in February. Indeed nobody had found it for nearly 13 months. And then someone went for a look and reported it wasn’t there. Plus I know a certain Slovakian gentleman also has the solution and was aiming to go for a look. So I thought I’d go check.

Once I’d established where I actually put the thing 9 months ago it then took me a good 20 minutes to find it. Even though it’s mine, and I have the hint. Not impressive. In fact, I actually gave up and wrote out a new log roll, put it in a new container and then started rummaging around the tree for a nice hidey-hole before finding the original one stuck in the ivy right where I left it. It was apparently untouched by human hand since I left it there in February. Cool. The person who logged the DNF will have to come again and find it properly then.

I am happy to award “gimme” finds to people who can’t find caches because they’re not there. However I don’t give finds to people who just can’t find them. Even ones that are a bit on the tricky side. So I mailed the DNF’er to say they better come for another look. And I mailed the certain Slovakian gentleman to tell him it’s kosher if he wants to come for a look. He mailed back later to say he didn’t find it about 2 hours after I was there. Guess it’s a good one then.

Back into Milton Keynes

Next was a quick “drive by” at Little Herbert – the site of a previous cache-related adventure and a relatively easy find which involved me picking Izzy up so she could stretch up for it. Very public location, surprised it has lasted more than a couple of days, but maybe the general suspension of reality concept applies, even in Bletchley.

So onwards to Caldecotte Lake to have a pop at Let’s Go Orienteering! – 2. Suffice to say I won’t be taking up orienteering any time soon with map reading skills like that. Should have checked the quickest way over the river, but instead ended up walking a good 300m too far down the lakeside and then coming back again. I gave Izzy the phone about 100m out and she negotiated her way to the little red pin. Then I told her the hint and she bent down and picked the cache up. Cool. She listens!

Walnut Tree

So on to another maintenance job. This time, MK Schooldays: English Literature, which was reported missing in the week. And missing it was. The general area is a lot more messy than I remember when setting it, and not really suitable. However, armed with a little store of pots covered in camo duck tape, we found a nice little spot about 10-15m away which will do us nicely, thankyou very much. Wrote out a new log sheet, chucked it in. Stuck on the MK Schooldays Bonus Code we thoughtfully printed out before leaving home, and Bob’s Yer Teapot, as it were.

Except, of course, this one is the poem cipher, so the puzzle needed changing too. I was expecting a painful night finding a copy of the cipher poem, then reworking all the words. Followed by recalculating the whole shebang. But in a fit of efficiency when I created these puzzles I actually recorded the whole solution in a spreadsheet. I just had to type in the new location and hey presto, it told me what to change the codes to. Blimey! Sometimes it’s almost like I’m clever.


Cake O’Clock

And with that, Izzy came out with a lovely comment about her energy level needing to be up to her boobs and it actually being down in her feet. It was a very convoluted way of telling me she was cold and she wanted cake I’d promised. So we drove off down to Kingston Tescos for a quick coffee and were surprised to see Kas and Ami just getting into the car having finished off the shopping. Not that surprised, I suppose, and it was Izzy that saw them, not me. But nevertheless, coffee and cake for 4, not 2. We were late enough that they would only serve drinks in takeaway cups, ‘cos they’d already got the dishwasher on.

Izzy decided this was enough for one day, so she went home with Kas and Ami. I took the slow route home along the H8, picking up a few on the way. 3 to be precise, as follows :

  • Let’s Go Orienteering – 5 – a multi for that I gathered a couple of months ago, then ran home and realised I’d passed the final on the way. D’oh!
  • Pretty Canal Bridge – a nice little trad that was an easy find, even in the failing light with a UV torch, the only one in my bag having managed to forget to pack any of the others.
  • H is for … – a tricky little puzzle that I’ve had the answer to for ages, but which has been lost in action on both my previous visits. Found it today though.

So all in all not a bad afternoon, I reckon – 3 maintained/checked and 6 found. And cake.

And, of course, an afternoon with my gorgeous little Izzy. I’ve spent a fair amount of the weekend with Izzy, and it’s always a pleasure.