Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Zombie SWAT Training/Survival

It was the teen's 18th birthday last year and as well as the 'nice' presents that we bought for her, I just had to get her something to remember.  She's not the sort of girl who would enjoy a spa day so I decided to get her an experience like no other - battling zombies in London!  I bought the experience through Red Letter Days.  

Last weekend she went and undertook the mission. I don't want to spoil the surprise for anyone who is going to do this so all I'll say is that she said it was brilliant, scary and very intense at times.  It even scared her dad in a couple of places!

The experience takes around 3 1/2 hours to do and 'training' is given on the 'weapons' used.  She said none of the actors broke character even once. From beginning to end you were immersed in the experience.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Destroy someones Amazon rating with their approval

I'm furious.  I have been selling on Amazon for some time now and have never had a problem, up until last month.

A buyer purchased an academic book from me.  I posted it with my usual Certificate of Posting on a Friday.  It was posted 2nd class.  On the Monday morning, effectively given just 1 day to get to the buyer (with no post on a Sunday), the buyer left me bad feedback!  He rated me at '1' saying the book never arrived.

Of course, I assumed therefore that he was clearly an idiot and that Amazon would remove the rating.  I assumed incorrectly - on one count at least!  

I put in a complaint to Amazon to have the rating removed, stating clearly that there was not adequate time allowed for the book to have arrived.  Amazon sent me back a bog standard reply saying the feedback did not breach any of their rules (did not use profanity, did not identify my address).  I was incredulous so sent a further reply, copying the Certificate of Posting I had obtained to prove when I posted it (late afternoon on the Friday).  They came back to me again with the same email.  

So, Amazon allow buyers to put up rating 1 feedback any time they like.  There is no sensible time period that must elapse before such rating is applied.

I contacted the buyer stating that I had a Certificate of Posting and if the item did not turn up, he would receive a refund.  I never heard from him.  My only recourse?  Leave a 'note' on his feedback to explain what happened.  I've asked him to retract the feedback - no claim for item so I assume he has it now, the f**ktard! - but no response to that either.

My rating has now dropped from 100% to 92%.  That's a big drop and has a big impact on an individual as a seller.  I know this myself. Given someone who has 98%+, I'd even pay a bit extra to buy from them than anyone with a lower rating.

Thanks Amazon for effectively stopping me selling now!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Cobham Geocaching Again

We headed out with some more friends today to scoop up a few of the geocaches we didn't get to last time we were in Cobham, and introduce our friends to some of the fun ones we had already found (see the blog piece here).

Deep Cover was the first of the day.  Teen and R (followed closely by pretty much all the children!) shot up the tree when the container was spotted. We had done this one so stood back and watched.  A great start for R's first geocaching adventure.  

We then walked down to Far Out Man.  Despite J and R heading out on the tree, no cache was found.  This is our 2nd fail here.  Goodness know where it is.  We are definitely not going to be able to leave this one without finding it now. It's becoming our nemesis!

It's a Floater was next.  Took a few minutes to locate the cache but we knew what to do as we have one of these near to us. Fortunately we had an empty bottle with us.  Hubby went for the fill and poured some water in. It was pretty yucky.  I had the idea to use an empty crisp packet for the bottom and he refilled the container so the cache was shortly in hand.  Yay!

Walkies was an immediate spot by J.  We were still gazing around.  Down she went with hubby and it became a battle of the sticks to see which one of them could grab it first. Talk about no cooperation *grin*.  J won and soon the cache was down with us.  Such fun.

Yew'll be Stumped was a great find by the youngest cacher today.  We had all looked and moved on when she made the spot.  Great cachers eyes and fab container.

We had a lovely walk back to the car via Opposites Attract, which we thought would be another great one for our friends to try. I'm sure it was even muddier under the bridge today.

All in all, another lovely walk around finding some more interesting caches.

Saturday, 19 August 2017


We want to make a little rockery by our patio doors as it's a bit of an odd area of the garden where things kind of grow but it doesn't suit high plants. We had agapanthus there but they just looked wrong.

Today we went down to Longacres to pick up some turf for a part of our garden that has now appeared since the neighbour's trees have gone as we want some more grass area.  Really helpful chap in the collection area who loaded in 6 lovely looking pieces.  S then insisted we go and get some lemon drizzle cake so we had a look around.  Typical of Longacres, I carried a small basket and ended up loaded to the eyeballs - wobbling a large pepper plant along - with both of us carrying extra stuff by the time we finished!

I bought some lovely little rockery plants, some marigolds for a burst of colour and some Cuprinol coloured paint for the new shed.  Need the weather to stabilise a bit first to do that - who'd have thought it would be so rotten in August.  

As we don't have the rockery stones yet, I decided to smash up one of my broken pots and make a kind of crazy paved area around the plants for now. Doesn't look too bad I think.  We just need to go and select some rockery stones soon and build this area up properly, but it's a start.

Only disappointing part of our day?  Longacres only had small lemon drizzle cakes, not big ones...tsk.

Friday, 18 August 2017

6 year old with a Baker's Cyst

We were out geocaching last weekend, climbing up and down hills, getting our wellies sucked off by mud and generally having fun for around 3 hours with friends.  That evening, we were due round our friends for a BBQ and my youngest, who is 6, changed from her leggings into shorts and off we went.  The girls went out to play when we got there and it was then that my friend asked what was wrong with N's leg.  We had no idea and looked and saw a huge lump behind her left knee!

N's left knee - leg straight - showing the Baker's Cyst
As you can imagine, we were really worried about it.  It wasn't bothering her at all but I wasn't leaving anything to chance and we headed to our local walk-in centre to get it checked.  N was very upset as she was worried about what would happen in hospital but with some reassurance, she calmed down a little.  The nurses were wonderful with her and not worried.  They said it was probably a Baker's Cyst, also known as a Popliteal Cyst.  Not so common in children as in adults apparently.  However, they decided to phone the paediatric doctors at our main hospital as it had come up so quickly and they also wanted to rule out DVT (deep-vein thrombosis), whilst they sorted out an ice pack for it and suggested she take Ibuprofen to help with the swelling.

The doctors at our main hospital asked to see us, so we drove straight there (hubby and other daughter were still at the BBQ as it seemed daft for us all to go).  We were seen within 5 minutes by the triage nurse and less than 10 minutes later, we were in seeing the paediatric doctor.  After a chat to N and myself, she had a look at it.  She suggested it may have been there for some time, but I am positive it had come up that day.  N has a habit of wandering around the house in her underwear so her legs are on display a lot and I'm absolutely positive I'd have noticed something the size of a golf ball sticking out the back of her leg!

Still somewhat visible when knee bent a little
The doctor went off and consulted with another doctor (more senior I assumed by the way her spoke). He came in and chatted to us and then switched off the lights and looked at the cyst with a light, pointing out the fluid in it.  He said that it looked like a Baker's Cyst but it had probably been there some time to get to that size. Again, I disagreed as we would have noticed that.  He checked her pulse down her leg and said it was all fine.  They went off to chat some more, having spoken briefly to me about an x-ray.

A few minutes later the first doctor was back with N's discharge forms.  I questioned the x-ray but it had been decided as she wasn't in pain, to phone my doctor on Monday and ask them to arrange for an ultrasound scan, which I duly did and we're now waiting for.

Having done some reading on this type of cyst, they can take from months to years to go away and have a relatively high chance of reoccurring.  There's some information on Baker's Cysts in pediatric patients here.

I have to say that the cyst doesn't bother N at all, but if I'm honest, it bothers me.  It looks very big on her tiny leg and I really want them to do something about it - drain it maybe.  I guess we'll have to see what the doctor suggests after the ultrasound is done. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

A walk around Winkworth Arboretum

Despite the pouring rain last night, the weather looked a bit less bleak today and so we headed off to Winkworth Arboretum for a walk around.  Very quiet in the car park and felt like we were almost on our own the whole route we took.  

This is such a lovely place but, oh my goodness, you need some energy to get up and down those hills if you take the red route around.

Bit slippery for tree climbing today but the girls still had fun. Finished off with a yummy scone, cream and jam and a cup of hot chocolate for me.  The usual Victoria sponge for the girls. 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Pirate Golf

We had recently won a voucher for a family game of golf up at Hoebridge Golf Club's Mr Mulligan's Pirate Golf.  This morning we decided to try it out.  Nice and quiet there so we walked straight on and started playing.

This is a great little game for children and we had lots of laughs as our golf balls disappeared into the water.  They have little 'rafts' that you pull yourself across to reach holes as well, which the girls thought were great.

Some of the holes are really good fun.  One you had to go around a wheel, another you had to go into a pirate ship and find your golf balls in the dark to get them into the hole.

We also opted to go to the high area for one hole which was good.

The final hole is literally that.  Quite an easy shot into a hole and your golf ball disappears.  This clearly prevents you from deciding to go round again.  It's not cheap but then again, for £26 for a family of 4, it's a great bit of entertainment for an hour or so.  The girls verdict - can we come again?

Monday, 14 August 2017

Oxshott Geocaching

We're on a roll now!  Out again today to do a short loop in woodland in Oxshott.  Oxshott Heath 1 was our first of the day.  A quick spot by our youngest and off we went.

2 was a very quick find by my goodself.  Yay!  I've still got it *grin*.  No. 3 was spotted by 8 year old.  Signed and now it's sandwich time.  

4 was another quick spot by me.  I'm enjoying nosing into the nice back gardens around here.  5 was hard work.  Compass was going bonkers under the trees so we had to walk back and forth a number of times.  Whilst I was still scratching my head, our 6 year old spotted it.  

6 was an easy spot by 6 year old again but more 'sticky' than I was hoping for when I trod in some dog poo that stuck to the bottom of my welly.  How disgusting....  After much scraping on the path and poking at said welly with a stick to remove the poo from the grooves, we were back off again.  I have to say, it seems no-one around here cleans up their poo at all. The whole place (particularly near car parks) was full of it!

7 was an immediate spot by our 8 year old, who is now an old hand at these type of caches.  Nothing has surprised her today yet.  8 was a great little side tracked cache.  We hunted round one area and then thought about it a bit more and headed to another and bingo!  Find by hubby. Swapped a couple of pieces of Lego the girls would like for other toys from our stash.

9 was one for me as I was in jeans, and hubby was in shorts!  Very nettly here (is that a word?  Should it have an 'e' in it? Whichever, my tablet doesn't like its spelling).  Cache just laying on the ground.  Umm...

10 was an easy spot as the 'camo' is a bit on the bright side *grin*.  Covered up much more. Swapped a couple of items for the children.

We went to Valiant as our final cache. Whilst we could clearly see it, neither of us adults wanted to climb in wellies, so we just left it be.

I have to say thought, Oxshott - you need to clean your act up.  The whole of this walk, bar one or two odd spots, was just dog-poo city!  Absolutely the most disgusting place we've walked around for that in a very long time.  

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Cobham geocaching

Yesterday we met up with some friends to attempt a few geocaches around Cobham in Surrey. We had no idea how good this area and surround is for caching.  Parked up near Claremont Garden and headed off into the woods...the wrong way. Quick backtrack and we were on course (this new geocaching app is taking a while for me to get used to).

Our first of the day was Levitator.  Glad we had our wellies here.  Frog city!  We hunted high and low for about 30 minutes and just couldn't spot anything.  Suddenly the shout went up from our 6 year old that she'd seen something.  We went over to have a look and yes, she'd made the spot. Worked out why it's called levitator now.  Great cache!  Fun retrieving the container and a definite favourite point. Is this a hint of caches to come here?  We did have to read some logs and looked at the picture which was more of a hinderance than a help.  Don't get hung up on the pics...they do seem to be random around these caches.

Fly Fishing was next.  Had a good hunt around again as GPS a little unsettled in the trees again.  Lots of cachers paths.  Hubby suddenly made a comment which made us all look around. He'd spotted it...but how to get it.  Apparently there was an implement nearby.  I took our 6 year old off to look whilst hubby and other hubby spotted a likely substitute. It didn't fit but with some whittling with the geo-penknife, it worked. Just as we arrived back with the proper implement.  Still quite a tricky one to get and put back.  Another great cache.  Yes, these were not going to be easy 35mm film container ones - hooray for that!

Crazy Cachers
Off we walked to Stone me, what a view.  The cache was spotted in seconds of arriving by our eagle-eyed 6 year old again.  First time our friends had seen such a container so a great one for them.  A strange box near the tree - some kind of electronic measuring tool? Took some photos on the bench, and then headed down the steps.

Opposites Attract was next on the hit-list.  Standing on the bridge, I had a suspicion of where the cache may be.  The children were busy running around under the bridge and then one spotted something.  Yes!  A bit of working out what to do and the cache was in hand.  Very muddy under there and glad we had wellies on, although one nearly got lost sucked by the mud.  Put the cache back (which was equally fun) and off we went.  More favourite points awarded.

Leviathan was next. This was not an easy cache to reach with the path that we chose to take.  Oh dear. I nearly lost my welly. We got tangled up in wild rhododendron plants. Slipped on logs.  Got splashed with rather brown water and went up what felt like a slippery mountain.  Finally got there in the end.  Great ammo container with two travel bugs in, so we took one each to move along.

Far Out Man was next and it became obvious where we'd have to go for this.  Other hubby was keen to get stuck in and headed out at the root.  A jolly good search turned up nothing. I was reading through some logs and suggested it may be further out that we first thought.  He removed boots and socks and went for it.  His wife was videoing just in case he fell in (which I think she was almost hoping for *grin*).  We knew this would be hard by its rating but despite a good 40 minute search by him, nothing was turned up.  Our first DNF.

Sadly, this is where we encountered two very ignorant ladies with their two dogs.  The dogs ran over and we called to say could they please call them back as we had two very frightened children (I was batting one dog away and even our friend's child, who has a dog which was with us, was getting scared.  All children were shrieking and my two were crying - hardly unnoticeable).  The women point-blank ignored us! WTF? We were in a state of disbelief!  We asked again and still nothing. I had my arms around my two with them at my back keeping the dog away. The women called their dogs as they walked past us.  Really? Wish I'd have photographed them. Unbelieveably rude, ignorant pigs - no other way to describe them.  Shame we had children with us or they'd have been told what I thought of them.  Why would anyone be like that?  

Bless the next lady who came past. She put her dogs on a lead. I'm glad to say we encounter far more people like her than the others when out caching.

Calm restored, and other hubby returned to the bank.  He trod a branch down, which slipped under his foot and shot up between his legs. Fortunately, despite a gasp from us all, it was a few inches too low to do damage *grin*.

We headed back towards the car park and went in to try Deep Cover on our way.   This was another one where we searched back and forth, read logs and were thrown by a photo on the log.   We were here around 30 minutes and about to give up.  Other hubby went up one tree and had a good search around but nothing to find. I was looking up another tree and made the spot.  Wow!  That is a long way up.  Up he went to this next tree and made the retrieve for us.  Brave in walking boots that were quite muddy. So pleased we found the cache in the end.  Bit worried about all the broken branches though!  He made it safely down in the end.  Good joint effort here.

A lovely few hours of caching. We'll be back to do some more of this route again.  A lot of effort went into the containers and made this a challenging but fun ring.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Claremont run-around

Our friends took us over to Claremont Landscape Garden today.  We all fancied a bit of fresh air and for the children to have a run-around (and hopefully wear them out a bit).  Our first challenge for them was to run up and down the ampitheatre area in a variety of ways (straight, zig-zag, etc) which they happily obliged by doing.  

We then went for a walk around. Shame the 10 pin bowls was locked up but plenty of dressing up in the house.  Sad to see notices around that said children had damaged items in the house so could parents supervise.  Our girls are very well behaved so we sat on the bench whilst they dressed up and came and showed us what they were wearing. We went in to help them put it all back on the hangers properly before we left. 

A quick go on the stepping stones and then around to the play area - which was packed!  Both of us parents felt that the play area needed something more. It's all well and good for imaginary play, but if you're a child on your own - as many were - there's nothing much to do.

We then went up the walk area to the bench overlooking the lake and the girls went off to build dens.  We chatted for a moment and realised it was a bit quiet behind us.  They had disappeared into the trees as they found a teepee.  They were having a great time playing together and climbing onto trees and jumping off.

These gardens are so nice.  We were both a little surprised at the craft area which, to be honest, was overpriced for making a crown of bendy foam with a few stickers on it.  Hence, we didn't bother as our children were probably a bit old for doing that. I'm guessing it's aimed at very young children.