Dog, finally! Geocache 144

This puzzle kept me occupied for a very long time. There’s not much more to say than… FINALLY, we logged Dog (GC525HR). Excellent puzzle-setting by the cache owner, and a very satisfying find indeed.

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First to find race–Geocaches 141-143

My phone went off and signalled a geocache had just been published near by. Then another one came in straight after! I called Terri and off we went, after frantic discussion about which one would be the best chance to get a first to find. We opted to go for Tree’s a crowd (GC5V7MH).

Tree was a nearly a crowd when mistyduneTerri and I arrived to find another cacher already searching! Having scrambled our respective helicopters we were quite surprised to have been beaten to GZ, but we all spent a good few minutes more looking! Eventually I went the opposite way to the other two, driven by a hint, and the cache was ours! Joint FTF with our searching companion! As soon as the log was signed…”Right… See you at the next one!”

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And so the challenge continued to St Benet’s (GC5V7Q7), as we raced to our vehicles…

…the drama continued as we wondered who would be the first to arrive. It wasn’t us! Our caching nemesis had unearthed it only moments before, but we shared in the FTF. It was great to meet another cacher and share the hunt!

To round off the evening, we went back to a cache we had missed on a previous hunt. Part of a series on war memorials, W.M.#62 We Shall remember them ~ Whitburn (8GC5NEB). It had not been there, but was replaced when we had our second try. We had solved the puzzle earlier. A telltale pen lying on the ground hinted that we were in the right spot! The tall one grabbed it in no time this time around!

Pea and Mint Soup

Today I made some Pea and Mint Soup, from this recipe on BBC Good Food. There aren’t too many ingredients – in the end I didn’t use the lemon or the crème fraîche either. I decided to make plenty for tonight’s tea and for a few lunches next week, so I made it with 1kg of peas and upped everything else too. Even with the kilo of peas, this is a pretty cheap recipe.

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The weird thing I found about this soup was that there’s no frying of onions and garlic to get things going. Instead, you simmer the potato, garlic and stock together until the potato is really soft.

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Then you throw in everything else except the dairy (if you’re using it).

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I used almost all of my mint plant. The mint flavour does develop after it sits overnight though.

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After everything had been added, it was time to blend it with the stick blender! This took ages, and it still wasn’t very smooth.

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We reheated the soup at tea time and it was fairly well received, though the texture was still sort of bitty from all the pea skins. Maybe the dairy would have helped with that. The flavour was nice though.

Edit – Tuesday lunchtime: This soup started to ferment and was visibly bubbling when I took it out of the fridge the next day. Argh! I’ll not be batch-cooking this again.

Churches, Red Houses and 15 Years – Geocaches 138 – 140

After a gloriously lazy morning finishing off my book, it was time to geocache!

The weather was absolutely horrible! So why cache today? 15 years ago to the day, Geocaching was born! As such, there was a new souvenir to collect on Geocaching.com, and who can resist a new .jpg for their profile?

Terri and I headed out to pick up some local caches that have sprung up over the winter. We started off with Attention Defici… oooooh shiny (GC5PJNQ), which is nearby the National Glass Centre. When we got to the parking place we were surprised to see this:

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HMS Ocean is staying in Sunderland this weekend. It’s a really huge boat. We walked up onto the glass roof of the centre to get a better look. This is the weird view you get up on the roof – the gift shop many floors below.

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Terri hoped that these designs weren’t covering up the cracks!

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Back to the geocaching though. We found the cache near the Red House, a sculpture nearby the National Glass Centre.

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Quite a view from the living room.

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After a short drive up in the hideous weather, we ended up on top of the cliffs at Roker. The picture below doesn’t do justice to the wind and rain we were enduring by this point! Traditional Bank Holiday weather.

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Next up, Top Bombing (GC5NM3R). Continuing the military theme we headed for a multicache set near an old Sea Mine.

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We solved the clues from the nearby information board, and ran along the clifftops to the final location to keep warm. The elements didn’t want us outside today. Once we got to the final location, we quickly hunted out the cache and signed the log.

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On the way back to the car, I picked up Church Micro 6343…Roker (GC5CCZ7) – which Terri had already found. Still freezing, we ran back to the car.

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From one church micro to another, the next one on the list today was Church Micro 7369…Whitburn (GC5NA9Y). In our own traditional style we headed straight for the church in Whitburn. Except it was the wrong church. Whoops. Still a nice church though.

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Nearby Whitburn Parish Church is this other red house The Red Cottage, which has cricket-themed decorations.

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Anyway, we were in exactly the wrong place for the church micro. We walked back through the village towards W.M.#62 We Shall remember them ~ Whitburn (GC5NEB8). The War Memorials series is a relatively new one, and you complete them by reading information on the monuments which reveals the final location of the caches. The church micro series has really taken off, with at least 7000 in the UK. I wonder if the W.M. Series will do the same.

Before going to the final location for this cache, we went to the Methodist Church in Whitburn (the correct location this time) but were unable to unearth the cache. We had similar luck with the final location of the war memorial cache. We should have quit while we were ahead!

At the end of the adventure, we were left with a couple of new DNFs in the area as well as our finds – it’s been a while since we’ve had some local DNFs to grab! The souvenir unlocked itself and presented us with a new mission of finding various types of cache on various days throughout the summer. I wonder if we’ll manage it!

Pi Day–Geocaches 135 and 136

 

In what is now a two-week long tradition, Terri and I grabbed a couple of local caches before heading to the gym. Our first one was Church Micro 7370…Fulwell (GC5NYCA) and after withdrawing last week due to dog walkers, we had to have another go this weekend. The coast was clear, and we went straight to it – a real cache and dash!

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Because of Pi day, there was a special souvenir to be unlocked on Geocaching.com. Finding a ? (puzzle) cache would do the trick. As we had already got a puzzle cache ready to find, we went for the final part of the BTB Cleadon series – BTB – Cleadon C (GC32XAH).  We had found the 4 feeder caches ages ago, and thought today would be the day to grab the final cache!

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It was a fairly quick find somewhere in the vicinity of the church, which we had suspected all along given the cache owner… you’ll know what I’m talking about it you’re from around here! Souvenir bagged, we went off to the gym!

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A Souvenir by: Geocaching HQ

Additional Information:Computing more and more digits of pi has been a goal of some mathematicians throughout the years. It’s almost like solving a very complex puzzle, which is why this souvenir was awarded to those who found a Mystery Cache on Pi Day, March 14, 2015 (aka 3.14.15).”

Church Micro – Geocache 134

Terri and I tried to get close to Church Micro 7370…Fulwell (GC5NYCA) first, but there were too many dog walkers about… we resolved to come back later.

Terri and I thought we might be first to find Church Micro 7373…Seaburn (GC5NM4V)… but we weren’t. We hung around the wrong clue item for a little too long and waited for a man and a dog to walk by. Unfortunately for us, they went more or less straight to the coordinates and stood there! Happily, he broke the silence and told us we looked suspicious. He was right! We quickly found the cache and signed the log, and had a nice chat too. Not bad for our first run out of 2015!

Once Brewed, Sun and Geocaches 130-133

Today I went to Once Brewed with my dad, who does lots of work with public engagement in astronomy. Once Brewed is near a section of Hadrian’s Wall, which provided a theme for the day as we travelled along various points on its route. My main task was to photograph him setting up his equipment and I also took some pictures of people looking at the sun through the specially designed solar telescope. I had lots of fun with the camera!

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Happily, this being Northumberland National Park, there was a fair smattering of geocaches about! I managed to find three different types today – two traditional, a letterbox hybrid and an earthcache.

The first cache, Once Brewed and the Sill (GC5226C) was very easy. It had been placed at the visitor centre by Northumberland National Park – a very quick find hidden in a very traditional style. Still, a find is a find!

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The second was the earthcache, Cawfields Great Whin Sill, (GC1YH9E), which was at Cawfield quarry.

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Very close by, there was a letterbox hybrid cache, Cawfields Quarry (GCXWCE) with a brilliant container, the first of its type I’ve found. Alison and I spent a few minutes searching in the wrong place.  There we uncovered a milk bottle half-dug into the ground, but closer inspection revealed it was not the cache.

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After relocating slightly, we got our hands on it! This was Alison’s first physical find, so I explained about letterboxing and how the logging works by collecting stamps in a book rather than by writing your name in the cache logbooks.

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After a short drive, we found ourselves by another interesting geological feature at Walltown with a cache nearby, Walltown Quarry (GCK29D). On the way up the hill from the car park we were heard a pack of hunting dogs and dad spotted a deer. We found the cache quickly at the top of a small hill and signed the log.

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At the end of the day as the sun was going down, we headed off to Twice Brewed, a very warm and cosy pub. There was a good pub menu and I really enjoyed my sausage and chips after a long afternoon in the cold! On the way out the barman told us they had the biggest rum collection in the North of England, and the next biggest collection is in Manchester. It seemed an odd accolade for a rural Northumbrian pub!

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I was really happy to get back in the warm after such a chilly day.