Monday, 23 March 2015

In which I find a man under a very small bridge and discover the secret world of Geocaching

remnants of a forgotten summer

Photographically I am stuck.

No idea what I am working towards.

Spending more time deleting images from my hard drive than creating new ones in an attempt to regain order over my collection.

One option might be to stop making new images and work with what I have.

Which sounds great in theory, but I make images in order to relax, and without a camera in my hand I don't feel right.

So this week I tried a new tack; take only a very small, fixed lens camera with me on a late afternoon walk as the sun was sinking after a day at work, and hope that I can find something to make images of, but also half hoping that I don't. Less images = less storage. Less images = better quality. In the days when each negative exposed had a monetary cost I was much less prolific.

hedge © caroline fraser

As usual. I got a bit obsessed with the hedges. Low sunlight catching the new growth waiting to burst into new leaf.

The small camera with a 20mm lens perfectly adequate for the job.

Not quite so good for the pond, but the blue skies reflected nicely on the very still surface.


I tried to look nonchalant when pointing my camera at the top of the hedge; passers-by clearly not sure about my intentions.

But then I came across a troll, under the bridge over Kydd brook.

A troll with a white beard and a peaked cap.

His intentions were so unclear to me that I had to stop and ask him why he was 'trip-trapping' under my bridge.

At which point he became a very excited troll, and told me that he was 'GEOCACHING'.

At which point I displayed my ignorance and asked him what that might be.

At which point he got even more excited and started dancing around under the bridge in an attempt to explain.

'GEOCACHING' he said 'is the best thing ever'.

'My wife and I have travelled the world and had so much fun'

'We have come all the way from Zimbabwe to find treasure here'

'And what is the treasure?' quoth I .

In which team GBS find the treasure under the bridge

'It is this.........'

Team GBS in action

And indeed it was.

A small piece of paper hidden in a small plastic capsule under my bridge that I have walked over more than a thousand times.

He proceeded to expound on the joys of travelling to new places with the aim of solving clues, having wonderful walks in the countryside, and sharing his finds with over 2 million people over the rest of the world.

I have to say, he had me hooked. The enthusiasm was oozing out of him.

So what is Geocaching?

Basically it is treasure hunts for grown ups. The website is here

And here's a little video that explains a bit more.....

It turns out that there are many geocaches hidden in my woods.

And I never knew they were there........

Geocaches in Petts Wood and Hawkwood

It also turns out that my troll is Gavin Blair of Gavin Blair Safaris

You can see him here with his white beard and peaked cap.

I know, because it says so on his hat.

And what a delightful man he is.

And how extraordinary that he comes all the way to Bromley to seek out and photograph a small piece of paper under a bridge, when he could be out looking for elephants, lions and hippos.

What a wonderful world!

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