V-Force Tour

This weekend, Vulcan XH558 (the sole Vulcan flying today) has been travelling the UK. When I saw the flight plan for today I knew that this might be my last and only chance to see her in flight. Here are the details for the Salute to the V Force Tour.

Today’s flight plan:

VForce Tour flight plan

One of the waypoints was over Leavesden. Now home to the Warner Brothers Studios and the Harry Potter studio, in the old days this airfield was a Rolls Royce jet engine factory so I think this waypoint was chosen to commemorate the link between Rolls Royce and the Vulcan’s Avon and Olympus engines. So, off I went to Leavesden and parked up near the studios. Within about 15 minutes I was joined by numerous enthusiasts who all had the same idea!

XH558 was tweeting her progress so, once she had cleared RAF Halton we knew she was en route for the RAF Museum at Hendon and would be passing overhead soon.

We all spotted her in the distance then, very quickly, there she was! Almost overhead, she made her planned turn to starboard and within a couple of minutes was gone. I managed to fire off a few photos but I had a spot of trouble with the camera; the continuous AF wouldn’t lock on, so I quickly switched to manual focus, then I had to get her in focus as she flew away from me. Plus I was using my good (left) eye – before my retina detachment I’d  always used my right eye as my “viewfinder eye” and I’m not used to using that one yet. Argh!

Anyway, here she is:

Vulcan XH558 Vilcan XH558 Vulcan XH558

What a beauty!

I’m still hoping to see her again  this year but, if I don’t, today was a fitting salute to the V Force and the iconic Vulcan. I’m really pleased I saw her.

Return to Shenley

Yesterday I was able to return to Shenley. I’d done all the caches there back in April 13 but this one – Shenley Cage and Pond – was a new version of the original and I was keen to add it to my founds list. It was a lovely sunny day and, naturally, there was a muggle sitting on one of the benches which made cache finding a bit problematical. Still, I managed it in the end. A good cache.

While I was there, I admired the pond and this fellow, who was, I was told, a regular visitor.


After that I drove along Rectory Lane to find one of the Hertfordshire Way series. The CO advised against it being done as a C&D, however I found somewhere to park right by GZ for a lucky quick find. I think the parking styles of a couple of my caching chums must have rubbed off… ;)

Bordering on a Pension (or three)

The event on Tuesday went well. Loads of cachers turned up and a good time was had by all. Bob, Martin and I had set a few new caches in the surrounding area to keep everyone busy during the evening (although the usual FTF hounds were out early in the morning as soon as they were published!).

Bob and I decided to go out with a small group to find some of the caches, I then discovered that Martin had gone as well which meant all three COs had left their own event. Oops! (Closely followed by “Oh well!”). We started with one of my caches near the pub, A Crooked Sign, which I didn’t find, obviously, before striking off along the lane to find one of Martin’s – Bolivar’s Epaulettes. I think the idea up until now was to find that one and go back to the event, but somehow we all agreed to carry on for “just one more”. Well I expect you’ve heard that phrase before! So of course we found the next one, Che’s Beret, which was closely followed by Zapata’s Moustache.

By now we had met up with another gaggle of cachers from the event so with some encouragement from Martin we went in search of the bonus cache, Morpheus’ Shades. I don’t know whether there being lots of us milling about, plus a couple of geohounds getting in the way made finding the cache more difficult but a fair bit of chaos ensued, with the CO standing back, grinning and telling us we were “cold” “warmish” etc. Suddenly one of our number – the agile Simply Paul – cried out “Found!” He stayed in the tree while the rest of us signed the log.

It was getting gloomy in the woods as we set off back to base, stopping for the last time at my other cache A Crooked Lane. Now it was my turn to stand back while everyone tried to find it, which was actually quite fun. Still, they found it OK and we set off back to the pub.

The side story to this last cache is this. Prior to the event Bob, Martin and I had divided the area up so that we knew who was placing caches where. Simples! After I’d submitted mine I mentioned this to Martin. In the ensuing chat we discovered that we had both placed one of our caches in exactly the same place! His was underneath a large object and mine was… well that is something you’ll have to find for yourself! Anyway Martin agreed to move his elsewhere. What a Gent!

Event caches

M’Colleague, Bob, had persuaded me and other local cacher to jointly host an Event Cache. This is it: BBH #90 Bordering on a Pension.

To make it more interesting, we’ve placed some new caches in the surrounding area, these will be published on the same day as the event, i.e. tomorrow.

At the moment I’m just hoping some people turn up on the evening!

When we placed the caches, something funny happened but that’s a story for another day…

How to lose customers

  1. Refrain from employing sufficient staff to cater for demand
  2. Run your in-store cafe with even less staff at busy periods, e.g. lunchtime
  3. Make your customers queue for a longgggg time to be served by a solitary cafe assistant
  4. Make the assistant leave their till to deliver hot food orders to the kitchen
  5. Make your customers wait for 30 minutes for “fast” hot food
  6. Have your kitchen staff serve 2 out of 4 plates of hot food to the correct customer and deliver the other 2 plates to another customer who, despite that not being the food they ordered, SAY NOTHING!
  7. Have your staff wait 10 minutes before realising they’ve f*cked up
  8. Wait for a long (at least as long as the queue) letter to hit the CEO’s Inbox

Oh, in case you are wondering, dear reader, I am talking about M&S’s in-store cafe at Westfield, White City.


I was walking along with Skye, scouting for new cache locations. We stopped by a metal farm gate and I automatically looked around the base of its substantial metal posts. At the base of one there was a small rock…

Unknown cache? I wondered…

So I lifted the rock and underneath it was the key for the gate’s padlock. I’d deduce that farmer isn’t a geocacher!

Door handles

Some of the springs in our door handles had broken and I really didn’t want to replace the handles – I’d never get them to match or cover the old screw holes. Anyway, I discovered that I could buy replacement springs off the internet. Who knew?

So today I spent a few happy hours dismantling the handles and replacing the springs.

Plus I now have a pair of circlip pliers to add to my toolkit. Happy with that.


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