Dan Q found GCADXC6 Tour de France

This checkin to GCADXC6 Tour de France reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

My very first “ski-o-cache” was 9 years ago, down in La Tania: this was my second! Found the host easily at the coordinates and found the cache in the third hiding place I tried. It’s quite stiff and hard to extract right now! Needed to wait to return it while some other skiers took pictures of one another at the GZ, but got there in the end. Salutations d’Oxford, en Angleterre. MPLC!

Dan, in a wintery mountainous landscape, poses for a selfie by a sculpture of a bicycle marking part of the route of the Tour de France.

Dan, in a wintery mountainous landscape, poses for a selfie by a sculpture of a bicycle marking part of the route of the Tour de France. ×

Dan Q found GC82XT0 Cumnor Minions – Dr Nefario

This checkin to GC82XT0 Cumnor Minions - Dr Nefario reflects a geocaching.com 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, 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 geocaching.com 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.

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 geocaching.com 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.

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

Dan Q temporarily disabled GC9EXXX Church Micro 14129…Sutton

This checkin to GC9EXXX Church Micro 14129...Sutton reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Cache removed and temporarily disabled. The council have just started installing new signage to advise of a new 20mph speed limit around here. 🎉

When they recently did the same in a nearby village, they removed a cache of this type as a (presumably accidental) side effect. I don’t know if this cache’s host is among those that’ll be affected but I suspect it will so I’ve temporarily removed this one as a precaution and I’ll reinstate it after the works are complete.

A 20mph "repeater" speed limit sign around the corner from the cache location.

A 20mph "repeater" speed limit sign around the corner from the cache location.×

Dan Q found GC2WTGE 8~ NUDDSY MEGA RAMBLE

This checkin to GC2WTGE 8~ NUDDSY MEGA RAMBLE reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

A challenging and courageous scramble by the eldest (who turned 10 yesterday!) and I (who turned 43 today!) up the slippery wet leaves to reach the GZ. I stopped to double check the proximity and meanwhile the little one found it! Thanks for the enjoyable birthday scramble, and TFTC!

Dan smiles alongside a 10-year-old girl who's holding a geocache container.

Dan smiles alongside a 10-year-old girl who's holding a geocache container.×

Dan Q did not find GC2WTGN 9~NUDDSY MEGA RAMBLE

This checkin to GC2WTGN 9~NUDDSY MEGA RAMBLE reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

An extended search by three adults, two children, and a dog failed to find this cache. We found what we think might have once been its camouflage near the obvious hiding place at the GZ, but nothing else.

Dan Q found GC5TF25 Mystic Abbey

This checkin to GC5TF25 Mystic Abbey reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Out for a walk on my 43rd birthday, left the kids playing with their other parents in the (beautiful) ruins of the abbey or I hacked my way around to the GZ. Started searching at my evaluation of the target point and spiralled outwards, eventually finding the cache about 10m away (downhill and further from the abbey) after interpreting the hint. Good sized container in a great location, TFTC and greetings from Oxfordshire!

Dan, with his thumb up, in front of the ruin of an abbey.

Dan, with his thumb up, in front of the ruin of an abbey.×

[Bloganuary] Playtime

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

Do you play in your daily life? What says “playtime” to you?

How do I play? Let me count the ways!

RPGs

I’m involved in no fewer than three different RPG campaigns (DMing the one for The Levellers) right now, plus periodic one-shots. I love a good roleplaying game, especially one that puts character-building and storytelling above rules-lawyering and munchkinery, specifically because that kind of collaborative, imaginative experience feels more like the kind of thing we call “play” when done it’s done by children!

Composite photo showing a young boy rolling a D20 onto a character sheet in front of a tabletop battlemap, and three monitors in a dark room showing a video chat between people and a digital gameboard.
Family D&D and Abnib D&D might have a distinctly different tone, but they’re still both playtime activities.

Videogames

I don’t feel like I get remotely as much videogaming time as I used to, and in theory I’ve become more-selective about exactly what I spend my time on1.

Dan with his thumbs-up in front of the high-score table (with the top-ranking spot about to be filled) of Wonder Boy, on a generic "80s Arcade Classics" arcade cabinet.
I managed to beat Wonder Boy last week, and it “only” took me three and a half decades!

Board Games

Similarly, I don’t feel like I get as much time to grind through my oversized board games collection as I used to2, but that’s improving as the kids get older and can be roped-into a wider diversity of games3.

A girl, sat in front of an Agricola farmyard board, holds up a "sheeple" (small wooden sheep game piece) for the camera.
Our youngest wakes early on weekend mornings and asks to kick off his day with board games. Our eldest, pictured, has grown to the point where she’s working her way through all of the animal-themed games at our local board games cafe.

Escape Rooms

I love a good escape room, and I can’t wait until the kids are old enough for (more of) them too so I’ve an excuse to do more of them. When we’re not playing conventional escape rooms, Ruth and I can sometimes be found playing board game-style boxed “kit” ones (which have very variable quality, in my experience) and we’ve recently tried a little Escape Academy.

Ruth and Dan hold up an Alice In Wonderland themed sign reading "it went like a dream" underneath the sign for escape room company Escape Hunt. Both are wearing silly hats, and Dan is also wearing white rabbit ears.
Ruth and I make a great duo when we remember to communicate early-and-often and to tag-team puzzles by swapping what we’re focussing on when we get stuck.

GNSS Activities

I’m sure everybody knows I do a modest amount of geocaching and geohashing.4

Dan, outdoors in a field on a grey day and with the wind whipping his hair across his face, wearing a high-vis jacket over a warm fleece, holds up a GPS receiver which shows he's zero metres from his destination.
I’m out standing in my field.

They’re not the only satnav-based activities I do at least partially “for fun” though! I contribute to OpenStreetMap, often through the “gamified” experience of the StreetComplete app, and I’m very slowly creeping up the leader board at OpenBenches. Are these “play”? Sure, maybe.

And all of the above is merely the structured kinds of play I engage in. Playing “let’s pretend”-style games with the kids (even when they make it really, really weird) adds a whole extra aspect. Also there’s the increasingly-rare murder mystery parties we sometimes hold: does that count as roleplaying, or some other kind of play?

Guests dressed as a chef, a priest, and a librarian sit around a dining table at a murder mystery party.
A chef, a priest, and a librarian walk into a party… stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Suffice to say, there’s plenty of play in my life, it’s quite varied and diverse, and there is, if anything, not enough of it!

Footnotes

1 I say that, and yet somehow Steam tells me that one of my most-played games this year was Starfield, which was… meh? Apparently compelling enough that I’ve “ascended” twice, but in hindsight I wish I hadn’t bothered.

2 Someday my group and I will finish Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 so we can get started on Season 0 which has sat unplayed on my shelves since I got it… oooh… two or three years ago‽

3 This Christmas, I got each of them their first “legacy” game: Zombie Kids for the younger one, My City for the elder. They both seem pretty good.

4 Geocaching is where you use military satellite networks to find lost tupperware. Geohashing uses the same technology but what you find is a whole lot of nothing. I don’t think I can explain why I find the latter more-compelling.

Composite photo showing a young boy rolling a D20 onto a character sheet in front of a tabletop battlemap, and three monitors in a dark room showing a video chat between people and a digital gameboard.× Dan with his thumbs-up in front of the high-score table (with the top-ranking spot about to be filled) of Wonder Boy, on a generic "80s Arcade Classics" arcade cabinet.× A girl, sat in front of an Agricola farmyard board, holds up a "sheeple" (small wooden sheep game piece) for the camera.× Ruth and Dan hold up an Alice In Wonderland themed sign reading "it went like a dream" underneath the sign for escape room company Escape Hunt. Both are wearing silly hats, and Dan is also wearing white rabbit ears.× Dan, outdoors in a field on a grey day and with the wind whipping his hair across his face, wearing a high-vis jacket over a warm fleece, holds up a GPS receiver which shows he's zero metres from his destination.× Guests dressed as a chef, a priest, and a librarian sit around a dining table at a murder mystery party.×

Dan Q found GC2HDCZ Tom Burts Cache 4

This checkin to GC2HDCZ Tom Burts Cache 4 reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Found while walking into High Wycombe to work after dropping my canine caching-companion (pictured) off at the nearby veterinary hospital for an operation. Didn’t need her help with this easy find, luckily! Shame about all the fly tipping littering this otherwise pleasant path. Greetings from Oxfordshire!

A champagne-coloured French Bulldog snuggles up against a human's leg, wearing blue jeans.

A champagne-coloured French Bulldog snuggles up against a human's leg, wearing blue jeans.×

Dan Q found GC54E29 WAG 16 – Elvendon Valley

This checkin to GC54E29 WAG 16 - Elvendon Valley reflects a geocaching.com 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.

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 geocaching.com 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 geocaching.com 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!

Dan Q found GC54DR7 WAG 9 – Sausages & Bacon!

This checkin to GC54DR7 WAG 9 - Sausages & Bacon! reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Worra lorra porkers! The geopup is a huge fan of sausages but I don’t think she understood that the cornucopia she was looking at across the field was the same thing, just a few years off being ripe. Great cache container too. TFTC, and let’s chuck an FP in because this series as a whole has definitely earned another one in my mind by now…

A French Bulldog looks out over a field which contains many pigsties and pigs.

A French Bulldog looks out over a field which contains many pigsties and pigs.×