I’m sitting in Starbucks typing this out, and for some reason it’s really busy this morning. I’m sat in my usual seat (I tell you, when I die they’d better put a bloody plaque on this commemorating me!), and the 3 tables in front of me have been pushed together are occupied by a vicar and what I assume is a Parish Council. 

As I went to start this entry, the vicar launched into a quick rendition of “I’m a lumberjack” for his small clergy, including the lines about wearing high heels and a bra.  I beamed a huge smile at this strange sight, he saw me smiling and carried on. Brilliant.

Well the weekend has been and gone, and it was a busy one.  Chelmsford Beer Festival on Friday, followed by a night out in Rochford and Southend on Saturday for Army Lisa (so called because she is off to join the army this week).  It was an ok night, but ending up in Mayhem on Saturday night, which is the main club in Southend, is never a good thing when you’re 31 years old.  I’m pretty sure there were people in the club that were half my age.  I stayed for an hour before finally convincing Tasha to give me her house keys so I could get back and crash at hers.  She’d refused an hour before when I’d asked to leave, saying that I should stay out as it was Lisa’s birthday and it would be rude to go so soon.  As it turned out I barely saw Lisa in the club, and instead saw her as I left as she was trying to get a very drunk friend to take a cab.

So what’s happened this week?  Not much in all honesty.  There’s been a couple of coffees with ex-colleagues, a quick trip out with Chance and Aaliyah on Thursday after Aaliyah took the day off of school with a headache and I’d already arranged to take Chance so that Mel could attend a Safety First meeting with Brooke (Don’t ask, I don’t know!)

That aside, it’s been pretty dead. 

I’ve started doing more Geocaching, which I’m enjoying, and managed to get Marina doing a couple too when she came down on Friday.  As she pointed out, it’s a bit geeky, but I enjoy it and she seemed to have fun, especially judging by the little victory dance she did when she found a cache that I had been unable to find on a previous visit.

I don’t know if I ever explained what Geocaching was, but essentially is a huge treasure hunt.  You use a GPS to find the location of a cache (the treasure), and then the clue provided to find whereabouts at the location it’s hidden.  For example you’ll enter the co-ordinates into your GPS and it will take you to a location.  Once you get there, you are generally within 10-20ft or so of the cache and you use the clue to find whatever is hidden.  The clue may be “Relax with a view of XYZ” and as you get to the location there may be a bench that overlooks XYZ.  You’ll then find the cache hidden under that seat. 

The caches come in different shapes and sizes, though most of the ones I have seen have been “small lunchbox” size or “camera film” size.  All caches contain a logbook which you sign when you find it, and often also contain small prizes or toys such as pens, rubbers, toy cars etc.  You don’t have to take a toy but if you do the idea is that you take it and swap it with something.

GPS systems are quite expensive.  I have a Sat Nav for the car, but I don’t know if it would work well off-road, and only discovered a few days back that I could enter Longitude and Latitude into it.  Instead Sam, who’s married to Derren, said that she had just downloaded a GPS application for her Nokia which cost just £30.  She sent me the link and being a bit geeky I had a poke around online and found exactly the same piece of software for free – Trimble Geocache Navigator v2.0.4.  It’s a little erratic at times, especially as you get close to the destination when it will often start directing you away from the cache, but it does the trick.  It allows you to search for local caches and gives you access to the hints for each cache as well as the logs left online by others (which is handy as sometimes the caches are moved, stolen or destroyed which means you could end up looking for something that isn’t there any more)

I think if I had to pay for the program then I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but being free it has been quite fun to look around, though the frustration of not finding a cache that everyone else logs as “an easy find” is not out-weighed by finding something well hidden!  The kids seem to enjoy it to, especially the eldest two who, at almost seven and nine years respectively, seem to be able to decipher clues and have the energy needed to run around looking for stuff.

Chance tires and gets bored very easily, and Brooke just isn’t as quick-minded as her sisters, so she tends to get bored easily too.

I haven’t heard any more from any TV companies about the script, nor have I bothered chasing them through to get some feedback.  Most companies are quick to say that it’s a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” basis when you first contact them.  When I was out with Tasha last week she said that we should write a sitcom together, and when pressed, came up with the idea of basing it on people we know.  It’s a good idea in theory, as Tasha knows so many people, and some of her closest friends are bat-shit crazy and entertaining, which would make for an interesting show.  I’m not sure how serious she was, or if either she or I would be able to sit down and write something like that, but it’s worth thinking about.

What I should do is a quick character break-down of people here so that it gives an idea of everyone, but seeing as it wouldn’t be an entirely positive reflection of each person, I think I may give that a miss.  Or write it later and password protect the entry.  Or not write it and therefore not upset anyone.  It’s easy to hide when you’ve written the story as you naturally exaggerate or make up different characteristics to enhance the character and make it more interesting, but to start with a template that says “intelligent, fat, lazy, over-fertile…” is a horrible way to be described, unless you’re doing it about yourself!

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