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Geocaching: Hunting for tiny things in odd places

After re-advertising my last geocaching blog post last night I thought I would update you on my baby steps into the world of Geocaching. It’s been a while since I’ve looked for caches but whilst out on a recce with work yesterday morning, my colleague suggested that I find a few. He’s a local lad and had previously found the caches on our route and I welcomed the timely reminder that I actually really like this activity! I found three caches yesterday: a small film camera type; a micro magnetic one and an entirely new type of cache, an earth cache.

It seems an earth cache is a natural feature and to log it as ‘found’ you need a take a photo of yourself there, upload it and answer a few questions about the cache. I found ‘Runcorn Erratic’ which is a piece of granite that was dumped in Runcorn as a result of glacial flow 10,000 years ago. An erratic is a piece of rock that deviates from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests; the name “erratic” is based on the errant location of these boulder. Everyday is a school day! So I duly obliged, added my find to the and was re-inspired to find more caches. Today I went out with the aim of picking up a trackable situated a 10 minute drive from my house that my colleague had visited recently. He told me that he’d left a trackable that he’d picked up in Australia and that no-one had moved it on yet. Mission accepted!! After a quick scout around in the area, I found the cache but there was no sign of the trackable – very disappointing indeed. A quick look at the log of the cache indicates that there should have been three trackable items in the cache but all were absent. I hope that some locals haven’t been picking them out and keeping them. This cache was a plastic storage container hidden inside a green waterproof bag and placed just inside a hedge line, it contained a log book, pencil, pen and some items to swap.

Having found this cache I decided to find a few more in the area, the second cache took me a while to find it – in fact, I almost gave up. I eventually found it concealed above head hight behind a bent fence post, phew! Geocaches really do range in sizes and some are really hard to find as demonstrated by the next one that I sought to find. I was looking for a micro, a small magnetic cache, but I really couldn’t find it and have to give up. I know my colleague was the last person to find it so I may have a chat with him to get some pointers. Last cache of the day was located above the M60 on a farm access road and was tucked nicely into the crash barrier.


I must have looked like a real wierdo today – wandering around, alone and looking suspiciously into hedges, fences and posts…. It’s definitely a way to see a different side to the local area!

Geocaching strikes again

As suspected, I have taken geocaching to my heart and it is now my new hobby – in fact, it’s now a reason to go out for a walk. Hunting for a geocache is now something to just drop in to everyday activities, a sneaky ulterior motive for just walking down that random path…

So Friday evening I rushed home from work, attached a lead to Luke and headed out to the woods that I’ve visited hundreds of times before: but this time I was seeing it with new eyes. This time I was on the hunt for ‘Maddie and Jamie’s Stash’. After 10 minutes of searching for it, I found it tucked away nice and safely – can you spot it under the tree trunk? Inside this cache was a logbook and some swappable items – I don’t carry things to swap but I might start because it seems like fun. I quite like this geocaching thing: such a simple idea, rewarding and very addictive. It’s not all rosy:  I searched for a cache for ages on Sunday but couldn’t find it – such a disappointment.

I also stumbled across something even more exciting (hard, I know) – a Travel Bug. This little dog tag was in a cache I found in Cheshire, it was attached to a woggle and a plastic tag labelled ‘Swindon Sea Scouts’. The idea of this bug is that it has a unique trackable number that has it’s own webpage, as each person finds it in a cache they log it and move it on to another location. Each movement is mapped on its page and you can go see where it has been – it’s actually really cool. I shall be moving this Travel Bug on soon, I am aiming to get it out of the country…. I will let you know if I succeed. 20130125-195329.jpg

The waiting is over: Argonaut 2012

I found out in February that I had been selected as the Senior Escort Officer for the UK Exchange group to Argonaut Cadet Training Centre, New Brunswick and July seemed so far away. Now it’s time: our flight leaves in 24 hours and we will spend the next 6 weeks living and working together. Everyone in the group, both adult and cadet, will learn a lot about themselves and each other and this will be an experience to treasure.

Yesterday I met my fellow escort officer for the first time,and we seemed to get on fine – she was younger than I expected. For some reason I had presumed she would be older than me – but no, I’m 3 years older than her. The tone was set for me when I arrived at Frimley Park and was greeted by a member of staff with the words “Are you a cadet?”… “No”, I replied “I’m an adult”. There followed the usual conversation as to whether I get asked for ID a lot (I do) and then it was time to meet and greet the cadets and parents.

From that point on, it’s been non-stop and I am sure the next six weeks will continue like that. I know that we will be on expedition for 18 days, a little daunting but I am sure that it will be fine… There’s been the inevitable last minute rushing around to sort out cadet’s lost/forgotten kit but all in all, it’s not been too bad.

The clothing I designed and ordered from DCS Embroidery has gone down a storm and the cadets look really smart in it. I’m having the group all travel in the polo shirt and fleece – should make it really easy to find them if they go missing.

I’m not going to have much internet access while I’m away so it may well be that this is my last post for a few weeks. I will write and share my photos and experiences when I can, but for now – stay safe, enjoy the Olympics, Cricket Week and the summer as a whole and I’ll see you all after August 19th.



To have and to hold: Thoughts on gay marriage

You would have to have been living in a cave for the last few months to have missed that the idea of gay marriage is causing quite a stir amongst clergy and politicians alike.

Two weeks ago every Catholic parish priest, all 2500 of them, read out a letter to their congregations denouncing the government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage. They claimed it was the moral ‘duty’ of all Catholics to fight plans for marriage equality.

Clearly same-sex marriage is not something the Church is happy with, puts the sanctity of marriage in question it so it would seem. The thing that confuses me with this whole debate is simply: why?

Same-sex couples have been able to legally formalise their relationship since 2004, enjoying all the legal benefits of marriage. A marriage by another name: why then the need to push further and legalise same-sex marriage? Initially I thought that it was an issue of religion, that same-sex couples could have their relationship confirmed in the eyes of God. However, a small amount of research later reveals that the proposals only affect civil marriages and there would be an outright ban on same-sex marriage ceremonies in religious buildings.

So this equality would only apply to civil marriages. We already have this and it’s called Civil Partnership. Even more confusingly, same-sex couples would still be able to enter into a Civil Partnership if they preferred. In my opinion the attraction of legalising same-sex marriage is to be able to celebrate the sacrament of marriage with my partner, ‘to have to hold til death do us part’. Civil marriage is a civil partnership by another name, is there the need to force this change when all the benefits of marriage are already open to same-sex couples? Marriage is a religious term and should stay in the domain of the clergy.

For true equality opposite-sex couples should be allowed to enter into a Civil  Partnership. Interestingly, the government has abandoned plans to allow this – equality? Only for some. This all seems hypocritical and poorly thought out. Here’s a proposal: if you cement your relationship in the eyes of God in a religious ceremony then you have entered into marriage; if you do this in a civil ceremony then you have entered into a civil partnership. This should apply to both same-sex and opposite-sex relationships. A new vocabulary may need to be adopted but in my eyes, that would be equality.