Thursday, 17 April 2014

Wisley with the Niece

Their favourite place to visit
Last weekend my niece came up to see us for lunch and a walk.  We decided to take her to RHS Wisley. I think, to be honest, she said she'd be happy to come and see it but wasn't really sure what there was to see. She was surprised when we pulled up that you would pay to walk around a garden.  Once we got in, she was amazed and enchanted.  From the initial mild sceptic, she was a convert.  We're going to take her again next time she's up as she wants to see the roses in bloom and then different seasons with us.  The joy of our joint membership.

Prickly Tulip? No, it was soft
L-R: My niece E, N, S, and J

Who stole the sculpture?
One thing we did notice though - who stole the sculpture at the top of the hill walk by Trials Fields?!  Well, to be quite honest with you, I didn't notice. It was J who pointed it out as we walked up or I wouldn't have realised until we got to the top!

The voting is open for Tulips

Our shadows

All of us on the bench.  My bottom isn't that big - honest - it was a bad angle and I was leaning in and err....!
The cacti are in bloom

Sitting on stones watching the fish

We saw this baby squirrel as we were crossing over the bridge towards the pagoda.  It was so still and didn't run away. At first my niece thought it was hurt and I began to wonder. Had it fallen from a tree?  Suddenly it turned around and had a rummage through the leaves and then went back to this position.  Sunbathing?  Who knows.  After about 5 minutes of watching it, I think it got bored of being stared at and just quietly walked away.  Never seen a squirrel do anything but dart around and dash up a tree when you get anywhere near it.

My girls, as always, had a thoroughly enjoyable time showing their cousin all of their favourite things to see.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Necropolis Station

The things you find out when you are geocaching can be quite amazing.  History lessons, geography lessons and geology data.

Yesterday my teen and I were up in London for a meeting (me) and some shopping (both of us) so as we arrived early, the first thing we did was to find a geocache.  I've found some super little caches in London and love the history attached to most.

This was no exception.  Apparently there used to be trains (Black Cat Trains) that ran from this station through to Brookwood Cemetary (a few miles away from where I currently live) that took the dead to be buried, along with their families.  No, I don't mean the families were buried too (just realised that sentence read rather strangely).

Do read the cache description for full details as it is quite fascinating.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Bassingbourn Caching

On Tuesday of this week us girls (hubby was working) headed up to Bassingbourn to meet up with my friend L and her two daughters.  A good drive (despite the M25 having an accident that fortunately was cleared by the time we were near to the junction concerned) and we arrived safely.

Having had a good natter and then nipped out for a fabulous lunch at the pub called the Pig & Abbot (boy they do the BEST fish & chips I've had in years), we headed off to do some caching.  There was one right opposite the Pig that we tried to find but unfortunately mobile signal is at a premium around there so we couldn't check if it was still around so despite a search, we gave up.

Away we went back to L's to drop the cars, put on wellies and head off for our walk.  First cache of the day was the Church Micro Bassingbourn which was quickly spotted by J.   A good start.  We then aimed for 10 (the Bassingbourn Blitz series) as this was the next nearest.  Despite an intensive search by J with me and L also looking but rounding up 4 little cachers too, we didn't find anything here.  Not one we stayed any longer at as it was right beside the road and we weren't comfortable searching with the little ones so close to the edge.  A DNF.  Never mind. On we go.

Bassingbourn Brook was next and I spotted it as we approached. Signed for us all and then decided we needed a team name so one was thought up.  That will be a paper saver!  01 gave us a bit of a hunt and 2 adults and a teen were scrabbling around looking through much rotting wood.  We were about to give up when J made the find again. Good girl!  Go my teen!  I'm glad she did though as not suitable for little ones so close to the stream.  Another log signed.  02 was nowhere we could see.  We consulted the clue. No, not even the clue item was around.  How odd as it had been found a few days ago and yet there was nothing even close to the co-ords that matched what we were looking for.  Another DNF.  Damn.

03 was a great find by L.  J and I had scoured the area but clearly my caching senses were way off today as L looked somewhere I just had and put her hand straight on it.  Well done!  How on earth did I miss that?  I think I'll just be navigator then ;-)  04 was my find after a little search. 05 eluded us.  Being a relatively safe area for the little ones to wait (we were in a field so only danger was a tractor and we'd hear that coming...wouldn't we?) we all piled in to find this.  Read previous logs after about 10 minutes of fruitless searching.  GPS out.  Umm...we split up a bit more. Lots of suspects.  Lots of prickles!  We spread out even further. Oh come on, it has to be here.  J was dangling over the stream holding a branch trying to see around a tree when in the next field the bird scarer went off, twice.  Poor girl nearly fell in from the fright it gave her. I couldn't help but laugh.  Little ones had a minor panic then relaxed again.  J thought about shimming across some pipes but I said no.  It wasn't anything like that level of difficulty.  Damn, another DNF.

Little Known Local History 1 was a nice spot by L.  She let one of the little cachers pick this up with her help.  Log was soaking and impossible to open, never mind sign. I took this photo of L with the cache then so hopefully that will satisfy the CO (we didn't have any spare paper or anything to dry it out with).

Oh, I forgot to say, there had been much competition and grumbling of "but it was my turn" as we found various caches as the little ones all wanted to find one.  We let them where we could of course.

Lots of ducklings were spotted with their mum as we were leaving this cache.  We counted 13. J wanted to take one home with her.

Little legs were getting tired by now so we decided to call it a day and head back to L's house.  It had been a lovely walk and we could all do with a drink anyway.

I had posted about the fact we were about to go caching on my Facebook page with a photo and another friend saw the post and was fascinated by it. She looked up geocaching, signed up and went out and found her first cache.  You'll never believe this either - she looked around for a cache close to her home and decided on one out of a few options.  Guess who owns that cache?  Yes, me!  How spooky is that!

We'll be back to do some more caching with our friend around Bassingbourn soon.  Glad we had such a lovely sunny day for our walk.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

April at RHS Wisley

N and I went for a lovely walk around RHS Wisley this morning. The weather was very mild and we needed some fresh air.

Lots of different flowers to see again and yes, we did have to go into the glasshouse (her idea, not mine).

After our glasshouse visit, we went and sat on one of the benches in the wild garden area and had some mini gingerbread men, a drink and an apple each before carrying on our walk.

Spots of rain hit us by the tulips but soon stopped.  Just a passing cloud as my mum used to say.

We went into the gift shop on our way out and, of course, N found lots of things that she  really, really wanted and even pointed out some for S too!  Did she get any?  No, of course not. Mean mummy.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

3 Adults and 1 teen beaten by a 5 year old!

Met up with my bestie and her fella today and we headed off to do some caching in Hazelmere, Bucks.  We parked up at the pub and reserved a table for some food later on in the day and headed off.

We were going to walk the Common Wood series as much as we could with little legs with us.  Our first cache was In Plain View and despite a jumping around GPS (all our phones said something different in terms of distance), we started the search.  After 5-10 minutes, we had scoured around and were no closer to finding the cache.  The hint was investigated further and we had a good rummage but decided it was unlikely the CO would put it near the barbed wire so extended our search out a bit. Another 5 minutes or so we decided to give up as we didn't want the little ones getting bored.  S had picked up some chalk and was busy making marks on trees. I called her to say we were going and would try again on the way back and she turned around and said "I've found it!"  She had as well.  This little 5 year old had done what 3 adults, 1 teen and another little one couldn't do working together.  Clever girl. Here she is with the cache in the first photo.  We decided as there were 7 of us, we would sign "Team MadAnts" for all of us on the logs.

Next was Horses.  A nice easy spot for A.  We had seen some big, black clouds heading our way as we set off and suddenly it had become very chilly indeed. I wished I'd remembered my gloves.  Sweeties were dished out by hubby to take our minds off the cold. He should have bought two packets of Moam sweets as everyone liked them.

Fallen was next for us.  Quick find by J as she ran for it to beat the rest of us. No competition here you know!  Funnily enough, our next cache was called Swinging and what did we see on the way?  Do you think someone took the title the wrong way?

I don't fancy yours much...
When we finally found the area, this was what was meant by it.  The girls enjoyed having a go on these old tyres.

I spotted the cache. Boy it was getting cold now.  Sandwiches were being called for by the little ones and we tucked in to them as we continued our walk (well, it is lunchtime).  Pit Stop was next and it was quickly spotted by our 3 year old cacher, N.

The clouds were now disappearing and things were looking brighter. Seems the rain had gone in a different direction.  The Larches was next and A made a dash for this one with G in hot pursuit.  He pipped her to the find.  Competitive? No...surely not.

Next was A Common Sign.  G and I started looking all around.  J counted the number of spiders in the information guide box (7 I think it was).  S found the cache (again!).  Well done. Think her height may have been an advantage here.  Near the Lane was another quick find for us all.  Here we decided a Team MadAnts selfie was required.

Team MadAnts - l-r: A, G, K,S, M (J at back, N in front)
What a scary bunch! :)  I'm sure some of the dog walkers and runners wondered what on earth this mad lot were doing rushing in and out of areas and scrabbling behind trees.  Beech Wood Cottage was another quick find for N.  These girls are going to be super-cachers when they get older.

Tubby was next.  What a super container!  We gave it a favourite point for having such a big cache container and also the super little knitted things that were inside (which of course the girls swapped immediately!).  A big thank you to whomever knitted the little 'grape' person and 'chick'.  Lovely job and the girls were so delighted to find them.  This cache was uncovered by S again.  She spotted hiding place easily and informed us that the ivy was plastic, just in case we didn't realise (maybe because we also tell her to keep away from it as it can make your eyes itch - well, it does mine).

Just a Tree involved A getting his arm prickled extracting it.  He did a good job though.  Astoneish was a quick find for both the little girls.  It did look like some of the cache had vanished and only part of it was left.  Can you spot it?  Perhaps the stick-o-flague has gone a bit overboard here, ha, ha.

I'd be 'astoneished' if you didn't find this
Cover was missing. There was a note put on the cache log saying they were logging in the area and had removed the cache and would put it, and any others, back once it was all done. How kind of the loggers (and clearly cachers) to do that.  Behind was another quick find for N.

Flint caused us problems.  Firstly, the GPS was bouncing around.  When it settled, we all homed in to one place. Nothing so we split up looking.  S and N went with A, G and I went in another area and M went in a third, while J searched quite a way away from us.  Suddenly you could hear a child crying further away.  Both hubby and I panicked for a second thinking one of ours had wondered off (most unlikely as A had them both) but then I spotted them.  I told hubby but he was still a bit concerned until he saw them both.  A French couple with two children (one who clearly wasn't enjoying the walk) were heading down the path towards us.  We were about to give up on this cache anyway as no amount of looking was working when the shout of "I've got it" went up from J who was on the other side of the woodland path, a fair distance from where the GPS said it was (about 50-60 feet I'd say).  That was a super find for her as we would have missed it completely as we never thought to cross the path.

Base was our final of the day and the two littlest cachers finished off their very successful run getting it.  We then headed back to the pub to have a drink and some food, still in the sunshine although the clouds were gathering again.

In case you were wondering, the little cachers 'find' caches that we spot and know they can retrieve safely. They aren't wandering around the woods on their own without one of us being beside them but yes, they often spot things around the other side of a tree or in a bush that we totally miss.  The first cache of today, for example, we were near but not near enough to lay any claim to the find before S did - that really was a true find of her own :)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Wellies at the ready

The email had come in and a new cache had been placed. I recognised the location and suggested to J we go and have a look.  The cache description said it was best done at night but no stipulation so off we went, at 10am!

Spotted the location as we drove past and thought I caught a glimpse of colour - blast, someone else was clearly there. Oh well.  Drove on and parked up in the free car park and walked back to the location.  It wasn't a person, only a blue piece of piping.  No sign of anyone else.

Wellies on.

J went in first. Slowly and steadily as the water has only just gone down after the recent flooding.  I came in next.  Glad we always kept wellies in the boot of the car as we'd carried them with us suspecting where we would end up.

Looking around, J spotted some things hanging.  Hold on. Keys!  Ah...making sense now.  We gathered them up and then began to look around some more.  

Suddenly J said she had the cache.  Brilliant.

Now which key would fit?  Turned out the one I had picked up was the right one for the lock. Opened up and the treasure was ours!  Signed the log as FTF.  What a great fun cache, even in the daytime.

Headed back to the car after logging the find on my phone.  Gave it a favourite too.  Love this type of thing.

Got home and J logged in to log it as a joint FTF.  Someone had written "Supposed to be a night cache?" in the logs. Really? Do you have nothing better to do than worry about someone finding a cache that said it was fun at night?  Come on, lots of people find caches that are 'preferred' at night in the daytime - I've seen plenty myself.  Anyway, although this slightly irritated me (did I beat you to FTF then?  Is that why you're grumbling?) the cache owner replied saying the maximum fun was doing it at night but unlike some of his other caches which were night only (glowing pins), this was for either but he would be happy to have a second FTF (if that makes sense) at night.  All in all, a good caching experience and only a couple of miles away for another lovely FTF for us both.

I won't tell you the cache name or GC code as I don't want to spoil it for anyone local but it really is fun if you're in the Surrey area (vague enough?).

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.