Retro BBQ and mass Geocache haul

Started off yesterday with an early breakfast and dog walk. We only had limited time so she had just over an hour, but to her disappointment we never quite made it to her favourite field. I loaded up the car with larger and off I trotted up to ‘Tring’, which is somewhere by London. Uneventful journey right up until about the last five miles where sat-nav did what all sat-navs do and start sending you down really tiny roads. Anyway after turning the wrong direction on the final road and doing a quick town tour I made it to the hotel. Found Mark already there, he’d come from Newcastle, so about twice as far as me. Checked in when they found someone for reception. Hotel and room is uninteresting, unspectacular but overall cheap.

We gave Andy a call and twenty minutes later this 1970 something white Ford Escort turned up. We loaded in, the rear seats had me and the beer on it. This is pre seat-belt days. I was going to regret this when we got close to Andy’s house, when he demonstrated how light it was on the back end and good for sliding…this was on a roundabout on an ‘A’ road. I’d always wanted to go round it sideways, but probably in a roll-cage, not while clutching on to twenty pints of Foster’s. We made it.

Whole afternoon was pretty fun, there were quite a few of us there. Lots of children playing on the trampoline thing and dog tied up under it. Much beer and wine was consumed by all. I stayed on the beer as it was going to be a fairly long day and I can drink that almost constantly and still stand up. Andy has an amazing house, he’s taken the alternative approach to me….loads of debt to have everything, where I have no debt but still quite a lot. I don’t have a swimming pool or a hot-tub though. But he only had a gas BBQ, if you have one of those you may as well just cook in a bloody oven. Anyway, he also has the most amazing play room, with all these old arcade cabinets in (well they are mame emulators, but just as good). Plus the biggest collection of retro computers I’ve ever seen. There were various games throughout the day, mainly with two overgrown ‘boys’ trying to get the highest ‘Donkey Kong’ scores. I played ‘Space Harrier’ which I haven’t played for about twenty-years, and completed it, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before. It wasn’t a bad attempt after about ten pints. Andy’s wife vanished, I think was down to a bottle of Prosecco. Some other people were getting there. Mark and I were pretty much fine, he’s a Northerner and stuck to cider and I can drink my own body weight in larger. It was a good job two as we had about a half hour journey back in the taxi as every main road the driver tried to take was closed. He got us there though and it wasn’t too pricey.

Mark took his key with him which was a good move. I waited by reception for over twenty minutes for someone to come. There was a wedding party there but bugger all staff. I even phoned them several times and got no answer. It wasn’t like it was 4AM, it was about 10:30PM. In the end I stood there, drank another can of larger (yes, I took the remainder back with me) then dived behind the reception desk and retrieved the key. I had a shower, a cup of tea and watched some telly, not a very good nights sleep, the room was very hot and I could hear some fucker snoring all night. Still, it was cheap.

So this morning I got a text from Mark to say he’d woken up early and had breakfast and was going, so I lade in bed for a bit then went down to breakfast, which I can only describe as unorganised chaos. There was no where to sit which wasn’t a table for fifty, I ended up sharing a quaint table for two with an Australian bloke, we made pointless small talk about tea pots. I went to get toast, there wasn’t any bread, I went to get cereal, there wasn’t any bowls. Coffee, no cups. You get the general idea. I managed to obtain toast, cereal and coffee within about twenty minutes. Still, it was cheap.

So I’d already loaded up the GPS with about 400 caches within 10Km of Tring. What I should have down was put in the location as the hotel, if I’d down this I wouldn’t have had a twenty minute walk before I found the first one. Still, started at about ten-thirty and then finished when the GPS finally run out of juice. I found 15 with 3 DNF’s. I dropped off the ‘Good luck tiki’ travel bug and also stored my own ‘teddy bear’ (In dedication to Natalie Govier (Nee Green) travel bug. It’s mission is to try and get over to Martin in Sophia, Bulgaria.

So as the battery gave up I was on the home stretch back to the hotel. Put the air-con on as it was boiling (I’d been pretty luck with the weather, only a few spots and it was baking). Then started the drive back home, managed to avoid really tiny lanes this time. Again the journey was thankfully uneventful, other than for an accident on the M4. I was using the car GPS which has the traffic management thing in so managed to avoid it by it sending my through Reading. I was going to divert to ‘Westonbirt Arboretum’, but the heavens opened so I carried on home.

The dog was pleased to see me, she probably stands a chance of being fed now. So updated Facebook, updated Geoccahing.com, uploaded yet more Gromit’s from last week. Now it’s time to do the accounts. Will probably go for a bath and the Hungarian Grand Prix later. Overall, a nice weekend after all the calamity of last week.

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