Devon caches

So, back in early September we had a glorious week in Devon. We stayed in a fantastic house and saw the most amazing sunsets from our roof terrace. Here’s one.


I managed a bit of geocaching. The most interesting was above Woolacombe beach.

There’s a geocache in them there hills:woolacombe beach view

Hang glider Heaven (GCVB8T), as the name implied, involved a bit of a walk up that hill you can see in the distance. Luckily I had parked near the start of the trail but as Skye and I made our way up the track it was obvious that the going was getting steeper. I soon realised I was seriously out of condition.

footpath sign

By the time I reached this sign and the incline levelled out I was knackered. Skye, on the other hand, was still raring to go so, after a brief pause, we continued onwards and upwards.

a view of the cache site

After a while, we arrived at the rough location of  GZ. The cache appeared to be in the middle of an impenetrable swathe of small trees, gorse bushes and bracken. While Skye tried unsuccessfully to hoover up some nearby rabbit droppings (I wouldn’t let her!), I boxed around the area with one eye on the arrow. Finding a way in, I began to burrow until the narrow, brambly opening developed into a hidden path which was surprisingly easy to negotiate.

Once “inside” and completely hidden from view, we hunted around until I spotted a small outcrop of naturally occurring slate. Moving a couple of likely rocks aside revealed the cache! Once I’d done the biz, I extricated myself (and Skye). Before walking away I checked out the interesting geocoin I had liberated; only to discover that the coin had to stay in the cache! Grr! Back in I go! At least I had checked this out while I was still at GZ, I would have been less than happy to find that out when I was back at the bottom of the hill!


At least our return journey was downhill!



Oh, Bugger. Another geocaching slump.

Back in September we had a late family holiday after the school holidays ended. By now I would have posted something about my geocaching activities (especially as I managed to drag Mrs. WP and both my daughters along on a caching trip). So, where is that very interesting post? I hear you ask. (Ok so you might not actually have vocalised that particular question but it’s a convenient link).

Soon after we got back from Devon I had another retinal detachment, this time in my left eye.

My eye post surgery

While I could see perfectly well before the surgery, afterwards I couldn’t see a thing for a couple of weeks and it is only recently that my eye has recovered sufficiently to return me to something approaching normal allowing me to break radio silence.

Last time, my enforced sabbatical from geocaching resulted in a slump (no finds) of 49 days. As of today, I’ve equalled my existing record and if I don’t find a cache tomorrow I will have set a new one. While I’ve been tempted to take a leaf out of the book of the only blind geocacher I know, the intrepid Washknight, my eye has not yet fully recovered from its surgery so I’m not ready to risk getting it poked with a branch or some such while I rummage under the hedgerow for a small item of tupperware. I am, however suffering from the geocaching equivalent of cabin fever.

Maybe I’ll get around to writing that Devon geocaching post to stop myself looking at all those new caches on the map…


It is most definitely not just about the numbers

When you place a geocache, the first thing to think about the location is “why here?”. The Groundspeak guidelines on cache placement begin with this quote:

“When you go to hide a geocache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot. If the only reason is for the geocache, then find a better spot.” – briansnat

Today I happened to be in London. I had already done all the local caches on previous visits but I checked the website for any recently published caches. I was pleasantly surprised to find one just up the road at Shepherds Bush Green so after a mid-morning coffee I wandered across the green to look for it.

The geocache was a nano hidden somewhere on some railings. The railings turned out to be for the protection and security of the emergency exits from the underground station and I’m being charitable when I describe them as unattractive. As I approached GZ I tried not to be put off by the down & outs sleeping around the adjacent war memorial and I tried to ignore the discarded gin bottles and beer cans which decorated the railings. The additional decoration provided by some small black plastic bags (which looked suspiciously like dog-poo bags) deserve a special mention. Nevertheless, I decided to have a bit of a search, that is until a scruffy bloke with a staffy arrived and proceeded to walk around the area inside the railings. Enough!

Now, I’m not a big fan of urban caches but I have found quite a few excellent caches in London and I consider my requirement to be both simple and fair:  there needs to be a good reason for bringing me to the location. That could be an awesome view, a site of historic, architectural, archeological, geological or scientific interest – those are good reasons to be at the location. Sticking a cache in a shitty place like this one? As they say in Dragons’ Den, I’m out.

Passwords, and when, Oh when, will they kill off Flash?

I saw this on the Ars website recently.

Good security practice

Of course, it’s not as simple as that, so it’s worth reading the article from whence it came.

Then there is Flash. Steve Jobs hated it but not because he hated Adobe. Flash was a power hungry plug-in which didn’t sit at all well with his plans for iPad (etc.). Of course, things have moved on a bit since then. Java and Flash have shown themselves to be, um, susceptible to hacking, malware, trojans, etc..

Java (JRE) has largely disappeared from our browsers and it is mainly enterprise applications which still rely on its continued availability (my daughter’s employer’s internet-accessed HR system for one).

Many websites still use Flash but they don’t need to.There is HTML5. Even YouTube doesn’t rely on it any more. So I think it is time for Flash to die. I’ll leave you to make up your own minds.

Happy 3rd birthday, R2

My Freelander 2, AKA ‘R2″, will be 3 years old this week so as a birthday treat he went in to my local Land Rover Dealership for a service and his first MOT test. Happily he passed and came back all clean and shiny.

Batteries again

Here’s the article I was looking for yesterday where it mentions how perfectly serviceable batteries get reported as dud when their voltage drops too low.


The main article is a “review” of a gizmo which purports to extend battery life, the article itself remains a bit suspect in my view, mainly because the writer seems to have taken the Batteriser chap’s pitch without doing any independent tests for himself. That’s something which has been covered elsewhere so I’m not going to repeat the work of others. :)

New for old?

Today I saw these:


Hang on. So people buy batteries, when they run flat, they donate them into a suitable recycling system. Then Energizer perform some form of chemical mumbo jumbo and sell them to the same people over again.

So, do they reconstitute and repackage the chemicals? I read elsewhere that a used battery only seems dud because the EMF drops from the nominal 1.5V to something below 1.2V and that’s when the electronic device that was using the battery tells you that the battery is flat. When actually it still has about 70% of its energy left, it’s just that you can’t access it. *

So I’m just wondering if the battery company has simply found a way to “reactivate” the battery so that it can be used again at its original voltage?

Who knows? Given that these recycled batteries are still pretty expensive I wonder if they are just trying to tap into the eco warrior market. Me? I’m still using rechargeable batteries wherever I can.

* I can’t remember the article and the figures I mention are my recollection and may be a bit out. ;)


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