Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saltimbanco - Cirque du Soleil

A wonderful afternoon spent watching Saltimbanco. Cirque du Soleil never disappoint. This is one of their older shows and it shows in that it is less overt, but it is none the worse for that. It is beautiful, more beautiful than any of the other shows we have seen, with the possible exception of Allegria.  And it is the simplicity that makes it such a visual feast.  I was enthralled by it all.  If you get the opportunity to see it, then don't miss it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lightspout Hollow - A Geocache Story

Well todays geocache turned into a bit more of an epic than I was originally planning. It was only supposed to be a quick break to my journey. Instead, well read this epic description:

I parked in the National Trust car park. The co-ordinates seemed slightly off, as they seemed to be pointing to parking up near some holiday cottages, but never mind. I then realised that I didn't have my National Trust member sticker as I have changed cars. So I walked up to the shop and explained. I hoped that they would just take my details and that would be that. Instead they wanted to be more helpful and give me a new sticker. So I had to walk back to the car and put the sticker in the windscreen. Now start heading back up the path again. Only to realise I didn't have my camera. So back to the car again. OK, geocaching bag - check, phone - check, camera - check. Here we go. Oh bother, wrong lens on the camera. Back again. So I haven't even got out of the car park and already half a mile added to the trip!

I walk up the path, passed the holiday cottages, and then find an ADDITIONAL car park. Which would be just where the co-ordinates were!!!!!! So I've added even more distance to the trip. But here we go, finally getting into the hills. Arrow pointing up the valley, and let's stretch the legs. Interesting, it seems that the National Trust are taking some PR pictures. Don't stop, not much time. Nice walk, valley is quiet, lack of muggles. I feel positive. Or at least, I feel positive until the GPS arrow starts swinging to the right while the valley starts swinging to the left. It starts to dawn on me that I might be on the wrong side of the hill. Walk a bit further and yes, definitiely the wrong side. OK. There's a path going straight up, I'll use that. Only the path turns out to be a sheep trail. And the sheep trail turns out to not even be that and my route is blocked. On the plus side I get to see a nice little reservoir. I keep on walking for a bit in case there is a path over the hill, but no, it is not going to happen. Time to retrace my steps. Luckily I spot a path that will loop around the bottom of the hill and I don't have to lose the height I have already gained. But that's another mile or so added to the trip as well.

I round the valley head and am faced by hordes of people. Hmm, obviously a bit more popular this side. For a moment I consider stopping there and then, but I decide to hope that the muggles aren't around the waterfall. Onward and upward. And it's looking good, the path divides and it looks as though most people are going right. But very soon I find a bunch of school children coming down the path - or more accurately, the stream as they've decided it is clever to walk down the middle - towards me. That's fine, it's good for kids to get out and meet the countryside. I grew up walking places like this, and I am pleased that they get a chance. Talking of growing up, I didn't used to get this out of breath, how far up is this waterfall anyway?

The distance ticks down on the GPS. Ah, it's got to be just around this corner. Hurray there it is, but oh no, another bunch of school kids all camped out at the base. This is not looking good. I'm not turning back though. And I climb the rocks to the top of the waterfall. Sit down at what appears to be GZ (ground zero)according to the GPS. I start looking from my position to see anything suspicious, all the while hoping that they will go and I can start searching. Good, they're going. But here come another lot. I soon realise that this appears to be muggle central. A school have decided to have a day out. Not just a class, the whole school. And they keep coming in waves. And unfortunately most of them are unruley and very loud. No chance to enjoy nature. Any self respecting animal or bird has now high tailed it out of here. I manage a little search, then another lot coming, and the cheeky blighters shout out something about me needing the RAF rescue! OK, so I was off the beaten track and scrambling a bit, but this was an unneccessary observation. So I sit down again and wait. But they keep coming. I'm now very conscious that this is no longer a quick trip. And I haven't seen anything around GZ that might be a cache. I'm beginning to think that I will need to call it a day. But there is one more place I want to check. The GPS thinks otherwise, but I would kick myself if I didn't try. A short break in the flow of children, and those nearby are more interested in trying to drown each other under the waterfall anyway, carefully and studiously ignoring the instructions from "Miss" who seems to think repeatedly shouting "Connor" will get him to stop acting like a mountain goat! No-ones looking. Leap, jump, scrabble slightly (me, not Connor). What's that. Does that look slightly wrong? I believe it does.

Hazzah. Cache in hand. It needs some maintenance, can't explain exactly what as it would give the game away. But I have it. And I have the Little Quest numbers. Take the crocodile TB, leave sigitem.

All that remains is the walk back, negotiating the children.

This could be a beautiful spot. It could be somewhere to contemplate life. To admire nature. To simply "be". Unfortunately not today. I want children to experience nature, but this lot needed to be locked up, no respect for their teachers or the beauty around them. Sadly, much like golf, this was a good walk spoiled.

Monday, July 12, 2010