Proud Pup

This young lady’s so proud of herself! This morning, she was up in time to catch in-the-act the burglar who visits us three times a week and steals the empty glass bottles we leave on our doorstep.

Young French Bulldog, standing, looking happy, tongue hanging out.

She did such a good job of scaring him off that he left us some milk and orange juice by way of apology.


Geohashing expedition 2024-05-09 51 -1

This checkin to geohash 2024-05-09 51 -1 reflects a geohashing expedition. See more of Dan's hash logs.


Between Standlake Allotments and the Horns Way footpath.



I originally though I’d cycle out here in the evening and see if I could reach the hashpoint, but with the weather so delightful (and the dog clamouring for a walk) I opted to adapt my lunchtime plans to go to Standlake Post Office (rather than the only-slightly-closer Eynsham Post Office) to post a parcel and take the dog for a walk… and check out the hashpoint at the same time!


Success! The dog and I parked near the Post Office, and tired firstd walking through the allotments, but they don’t go as far back as I thought they might and we couldn’t really get close to the hashpoint. So we doubled back, with the anticipation of going via the churchyard, when I spotted a convenient footpath sign (for a footpath not marked on my map), so we followed that. Conveniently it turned out to be a shortcut to Horns Way, the alternative route I’d considered to try to get close to the hashpoint. Travelling along it, we found an (also not on the map) back gate into the allotments: we could’ve just come this way, after all! We’d later use this route to get back home.

Approaching the hashpoint, we needed to push through a thicket of trees and jump a ditch, but this delivered us into a delightful meadow. We reached the hashpoint at 13:44, took the requisite silly photo, and set off back. On returning to the footpath (by a decidedly inferior route) we discovered a bench (with a dedication on it) that also wasn’t listed on OpenStreetMap nor on OpenBenches. I took a photo and pushed it to OpenBenches. There should be an achievement for that.

I added the missing footpaths, gate, and bench to OpenStreetMap and we set off back to the Post Office, delivered the parcel, then returned home.


My GPSr kept a tracklog.

Tracklog showing Dan's journey through and around Standlake, then home again.


Sunny allotments.
Hard to find a way out of the allotments.
Verdant meadow.
Made it into the meadow!
GPS receiver showing 0 metres.
Dan in a meadow.
Not-so-silly grin.
Dan squints into the sunlight in a grassy field, alongside a dog.
Pretty silly pup.
Memorial bench with inscription "In loving memory of Bill Mitchell 1934-2021"
A new addition to OpenBenches!
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Dan Q found GC2BHX9 C-130J Hercules

This checkin to GC2BHX9 C-130J Hercules reflects a log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Found by the geohound and I after a brief battle with the first stinging nettles of the season. Owie! She and I came over from Stanton Harcourt this morning – from which we see plenty of Brize Nortons’ Hercules! – because many of our favourite local walks are waterlogged. Things are somewhat drier underfoot here, but after our walk through the fields the pup and I are still rather muddy! TFTC.

Geohashing expedition 2024-02-10 51 -1

This checkin to geohash 2024-02-10 51 -1 reflects a geohashing expedition. See more of Dan's hash logs.


Field between Cumnor and Appleton, West Oxfordshire



I haven’t hashed for long enough that my home graticule got marked as inactive. I’ve got a little free time this morning, so let’s fix that!


It took two attempts to reach this hashpoint.

The first attempt saw me set off around 09:40, with a plan to drive over the world’s stupidest toll bridge (paying 5p for the privilege), park up in Cumnor somewhere, then work down the Cumnor-Appleton footpath before dipping into the fields (which are likely to be fallow this time of year) to claim the hashpoint. I suggested to take the dog, and the 7-year-old child asked if he could join me too, so the three of us with our eight legs set off.

This winter’s seen heavy rain around these parts, and the stream that runs alongside the footpath had broken its banks and flooded the fields. The water had receded, but the ground remained extremely boggy. That kind of thick, wellie-sucking mud that means that if you stop walking for more than a couple of seconds, you might as well give up and say you live there now because your boot is never coming back.

The kid found the going especially-tough, especially after a particularly-deep puddle splashed over the edge of his wellies, and asked to turn back. The dog was finding it a bit challenging too! So we doubled-back and found a geocache a little way off the path. We’ve generally been disappointed by Cumnor’s geocaches and especially this series, finding them to be ill-maintained or completely absent, but it looks like the cache owner has been working on repairing and replacing them towards the tail end of last year and this one was soon found. I drove the dog and child home (back across the toll bridge), then came back out myself (paying the fivepence toll a third time). So began the second attempt:

Unburdened by short-legged dogs and damp-footed kids, I made better progress. At points, the path was completely flooded-out, but this gave me an excuse to walk along the “tramlines” of the cultivator that must’ve been working in the field last year, which put me on a better course to reach the hashpoint. By 11:06 I was well within the circle of uncertainty and declared the mission a success.

Then I plodged back through the mud, changed my footwear, and drove over the toll bridge a fourth time. The attendant, clearly sick of seeing me driving back and forth, took pity on me and let me off without paying yet another 5p piece, so that was nice.


Map showing a route from Sutton, Stanton Harcourt, over the Swinford Toll Bridge, South into Cumnor, and then out into some fields South of that.Download tracklog.


A waterlogged path alongside a field.
This “path” seems to be a stream.
Green Wellington boots in deep sticky mud.
Muddy boots
GPSr, held up in a fallow field, reading 209m from destination.
200 metres to go.
GPSr showing 0 metres to destination. A reflection of Dan's face can be seen in its screen.
Zero point!
Dan, smiling, holding up his GPSr, in a field.
Silly grin
A field with furrows and wispy clouds above.
View North from the hashpoint.
An electricity pylon stands along in a green/brown field.
View East from the hashpoint.
A field with furrows with a tree line in the distance.
View South from the hashpoint.
The edge of a field, becoming increasingly waterlogged into the distance.
View West from the hashpoint.
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Dan Q found GC82XT0 Cumnor Minions – Dr Nefario

This checkin to GC82XT0 Cumnor Minions - Dr Nefario reflects a log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Found after trying a few different hosts while out on an expedition to try and reach the 2024-02-10 51 -1 geohashpoint with the 7-year-old and the dog. The path to the hashpoint is really waterlogged and the little man said his wellies were leaking so we doubled back and retrieved this cache. Extracting the log was a bit of a challenge owing to tune container shape but we managed in the end. TFTC.

Dan, in a grey jumper, stand beside a 7-year-old boy wearing a camo jacket, in a lightly wooded area.


Dan Q found GC8X86T Crawley to Minster Loop – #5 Mirach

This checkin to GC8X86T Crawley to Minster Loop - #5 Mirach reflects a log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

A second find this morning for the boy, the geopup and I this morning. The hound was no use; she had her nose right up against the cache at one point and gave no indication whatsoever. I’m beginning to think she doesn’t understand geocaching at all! Signed “DQ” to save space. TFTC.

A French Bulldog stands on an ivy-covered muddy wooden footbridge, panting at the camera.


Dan Q found GC8X86E Crawley to Minster Loop – #4 Gacrux

This checkin to GC8X86E Crawley to Minster Loop - #4 Gacrux reflects a log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Out for a dog walk with the younger child (and the dog, of course!). We’ve come to the nearby ruins many times before but never taken the time to do some caching here, until today. Needed the hint to guide us to the right host, after which it was an easy find, although the 7 y/o‘s little fingers had to work hard to extract the cache container from its (temporary?) hiding place! Log damp, but was able to sign “DQ”. TFTC.

Dan, wearing a grey hoodie, stands in a meadow alongside a boy who's throwing "devil horns" hand signs.


[Bloganuary] New Tricks

This post is part of my attempt at Bloganuary 2024.1 Today’s prompt is:

If you could make your pet understand one thing, what would it be?

The strangers who we keep inviting into our house do not want to steal your toys and do not need to be “seen off”.

A champagne-coloured French Bulldog looks up from behind a fence, in a hallway.
“Somebody’s at the door! I’d better bark to see them off!”

Lately, we’ve had a lot of strangers in the house: builders, plumbers, and electricians, all working on some significant building works.

And even though she’s got to be starting to recognise the same old folks coming and going, day-in and day-out, our little pup still goes completely mental every time the builders turn up, each morning.

Composite photo showing (a) a white house clad in scaffolding and (b) a workman looking up at a large square hole that's been cut in the ceiling of a bedroom.
It’s been… a little stressful and chaotic for us all, here. Every few days a new hole appears in the house, and a new set of curious buried problems emerges (why does this pipe go here? who thought it was  good idea to wire these sockets like that?).

I get it. They come and go but don’t smell like they live here. They make a lot of noise and dust. But seriously, dog: these people aren’t going to bring us any harm2. Just chill out already!

Today we’re having one of the biggest bits of work done: the removal of the ceiling in the main hallway and the installation of a new staircase. So the dog’s spending the day… elsewhere! We’ve sent her off to play with her little doggy friends at our dogsitter’s house. It’s probably for the best.


1 Also, this is now my second-longest daily-streak of blogging ever. C-c-c-combo continues!

2 Some days they don’t come through the front door at all, but up the scaffolding and in through the roof: she knows they’re here from the banging sounds but not from which direction they’ll approach, and she’ll sometimes gather all of her toys into a pile and guard them… y’know, in case they’ve come here to steal all her most-valuable well-chewed playthings.

× ×

[Bloganuary] Puppy Love

This post is part of my attempt at Bloganuary 2024. Today’s prompt is:

Can you share a positive example of where you’ve felt loved?

I’m going to let this young lady answer that for me:

I’m not even much of a “dog person”, but you can’t deny how much a dog can show adoration.

I could think of countless examples of feeling loved. As a child. As a parent. As a friend. As a lover.1 But picking up your dog from the dogsitter after you’ve been away for a few days somehow distils the feeling down to its most-basic.

Dan kneels in the grassy verge of a recently-ploughed field in late-afternoon summer sunshine, a long red dog's lead hanging around his shoulders. By his side, a champagne French Bulldog looks with anticipation up at him (or possibly at his closed fist).
Sometimes the look of affection instead reflects their love of the treat they anticipate you might have in your hand, but still.


1 I feel like I’m about to break into a Meredith Brooks song.


[Bloganuary] Paws to Hear my Scents-ible Idea

This post is part of my attempt at Bloganuary 2024. Today’s prompt is:

Come up with a crazy business idea.

Smell-based social networking for dogs.

Hear me out…

A white-and-brown bulldog lies flat, his tongue sticking out, on a rug.
“Tank sleepy. But Tank listen your idea in case it tasty idea.”

I’ve tried to explain to our occasionally-anxious dog that, for example, the dog-and-human shaped blobs at the far end of the field includes a canine with whom she’s friendly and playful. She can’t tell who they are because her long-distance vision’s not as good as mine1, and we’re too far away for her to be able to smell her friend.

If this were a human meetup and I wasn’t sure who I’d be meeting, I’d look it up online, read the attendees’ names and see their photos, and be reassured. That’s exactly what I do if I’m feeling nervous about a speaking engagement: I look up the other speakers who’ll be there, so I know I can introduce myself to people before or after me. Or if I’m attending a work meet-up with new people: I find their intranet profiles and find out who my new-to-me colleagues are.

A trio of small dogs wearing warm jackets meet in a mowed grassy field. They appear excited to have recognised one another.
“Oh! Is you! Hurrah!” /buttsniffing intensifies/

Wouldn’t it be great if I could “show” my dog who she was going to meet, in smell-form.

I imagine a USB-C accessory you can attach to your computer or phone which can analyse and produce dogs’ unique scents, storing and transmitting their unique fingerprint in a digital form. Your subscription to the service would cover the rental of the accessory plus refills of the requisite chemicals, and a profile for your pooch on the Web-based service.

Now, you could “show” your dog who you were going to go and meet, by smell. Just look up the profile of the playmate you’re off to see, hold the device to your pupper’s nose, and let them get a whiff of their furry buddy even before you get there. Dogs do pretty well at pattern-matching, and it won’t take them long to learn that your magical device is a predictor of where they’re headed to, and it’ll be an effective anxiety-reducer.

A laptop keyboard with a black man's hand and a cream-coloured dog's paw resting on it, seen from above. (Almost-matching) sleeves can be seen on the limbs of both.
Seeking investors for a genuinely terrible crazy business idea. Photo courtesy SHVETS production.

The only question is what to call my social-network-for-dogs. Facebutt? Pupper? HoundsReunited???


1 Plus: I get contextual clues like seeing which car the creature and its owner got out of.

× × ×

Dan Q found GC54E29 WAG 16 – Elvendon Valley

This checkin to GC54E29 WAG 16 - Elvendon Valley reflects a log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

The poor little geopup’s only got tiny legs, and the 8km we’ve walked so-far has got her pretty tired-out, so this’ll be the last cache of the series before we go and find ourselves some lunch and go home. It’s been a very enjoyable series so far, and I fully intend to return to complete it (and perhaps find some of those earlier caches that I failed to spot).

For this final cache of the morning (well, afternoon: barely!), I found the likely spot straightaway and picked up something that looked out of place. Nope, no sign of the cache though; that’s strange. It took a few seconds to realise that yes, the cache was hidden behind the thing I’d picked up… it was just also covered with leaf little and detritus. Soon had it retrieved in the end, though.

A huge number of butterflies flocked in the field to our right: it was quite impressive. I’ve snapped a picture showing just one, so that I can later look up what kind of butterfly it is!

Close-up photograph showing a butterfly atop a purple flower in a grassy meadow.


Dan Q found GC54E1W WAG 15 – Action!

This checkin to GC54E1W WAG 15 - Action! reflects a log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Sometimes the geo-sense “just works”. This was one of those moments. I was approaching the area and checking the distance. Then I walked straight to a likely location. Then I picked up the cache. Done and done.

Dan Q found GC72TZ5 WAG 14 – Wander through Wroxhills

This checkin to GC72TZ5 WAG 14 - Wander through Wroxhills reflects a log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Turning South and crossing our own path, the sun came out at last and we were bathed in glorious warm light. Between that, and the familiarity of the trail we passed, the geopup and I completely forgot for a moment that we were out to look for this next cache and overshot it: we had to turn back to get to the coordinates and find the cache. TFTC!