Oh Deer! A trip to Mildenhall Woods.

  

When it comes to caching I must confess to being a being clumsy. A bit chaotic. Maybe even calamitous. In the rest of my life I’m cool, calm, collected, and maybe even just a little bit normal. Ok, maybe not.

Send me after a cache however and I’ll likely drop it, break it, fall over, recover my car keys from the side of a ditch, or randomly call strange men with my phone in my back pocket. Sometimes all these things at once. 

Drama seems to be my geocaching bedfellow.

Sunday found us enjoying a quiet family day. 

We only had the girls for the afternoon and they had the grand idea that they wanted to drink hot chocolate in the woods. 

A lovely day, and a fantastic idea. We have some wonderful Forests situated nearby in Mildenhall and I figured we could combine a trip to one of our favourite woodlands with picking up an outstanding cache I had left to find nearby. 

A previous DNF, stuck right out on the remotest point of the area. Somewhere I could hardly just nip to to grab a cache but perfect in this situation, if you want to be boiling up Hot Chocolate in the woods – well you want to be a little off the beaten track. 

The spot we had in mind was a good 1.5k away from the nearest parking point, but with the recent wet weather there was plenty of puddle stomping opportunities to keep the girls amused and trekking forwards.

  

We took the route beside the river Lark, simply because it’s a lovely way to go.

An idyllic Sunday afternoon, woodland stroll.

  

Arriving at our familiar destination having scoured it extensively on our last visit, for a cache which turned out to be missing.  This time spotted immediately. Hurrah! 

Now for the serious buiness of hot chocolate making. Mr Muddy soon had the Hexi stove blazing and water boiling. Operation hot chocolate was good to go. 

 
  

The biggest problem we faced was of course where does one sip ones cocoa in a damp, cold forest, so off we went in search of a log to perch on. The girls had spotted one near the cache so we wandered back over to retrieve it. 

Being the selfless mother I am, I happily let the small person lift the log first to ensure no creepy crawlies lurked beneath. πŸ˜‰

 With the coast clear I hauled up the log with the sudden feeling I was being watched. 

Sure enough right in front of me sat a stunning Roe Deer. A doe. A female deer…Go on sing the song, I know you want to….

  

Finished? Ok, 

I’m suddenly concerned by the fact that this magnificent girl in front of me hasn’t moved. In fact not even flinched at the clumsy, calamitous woman tussling with a log in front of her.

Something must be wrong.

A closer look reveals a nasty hind leg injury. 

By now the brew is up. The great excitement of forest hot chocolate however tarnished. My daughter weeps into her cocoa, she’s a far kinder soul than I. 

Whilst not the emotional type, I am however practical. Leaving this poor girl to suffer alone, awaiting a miserable fate is not an option. 

Given the fact that I am in the middle of nowhere, unsurprisingly I have no data so have to call upon old fashioned methods and actually dial for a number. Google, where are you in my hour of need? 

I’m soon calling the RSPCA and edging my way through the system. Understandably a triage system in place to assess the greatest need. To my surprise when I mention I have an injured Deer I’m suddenly top priority. An officer will be with me ASAP, (which means a good few hours.) if we can just determine where I am.

Come on. 

I’m a geocacher. 

I can tell you exactly where I am. 

Given that I am by no roads or landmarks let alone distinguishing ones surely it’s perfect that I give my GPS coordinates?

Clearly not. The operator has no idea what I’m talking about. I try to talk her through how she can use a bunch of numbers to find me but it’s not to be. A frustrating conversation as I describe how isolated we currently are. Hopefully someone will get back to us soon.

Thankfully it’s not too long until the officer herself calls back, she’s on another job but will be with us ASAP. Again I explain our isolation and press on her the fact that it’s now mid afternoon. Darkness isn’t far off. Oh and by the way where are we?….Argh! 

But in true mud and nettles fashion, we don’t do things by halves. Oh no. By now my phone battery is nearly dead. Having not brought back up as we only nipped out for a sodding hot chocolate. I also need to be home to meet the boy child so need to navigate back to our car. 

Poor, long suffering Mr Muddy gets the short straw and stays on deer watch to await the RSPCA. Us girls cover the 1.5k back to the car in record time. 

Back at the car, the phone charging and I realise that even if I give Mrs RSPCA the coordinates it’s very unlikely she will find the deer, or my husband, in the forest, in the dark. 

With a huge amount of faff I get the collection of the boy rearranged and the reality that we have to head back into the forest in the dark. Mr muddy being of the ‘be prepared’ camp has a torch with him. Myself more the ‘lets wing it’ type, have a pen and a kit-Kat. 

Which the girls promptly eat. 

I have a pen. Crap.

Fortunately I also have a super friend with new wheels which she is desperate to drive and so heads over to bring us torches. As darkness starts to fall my friend and the RSPCA arrive with impeccable timing. 

With a bit of light on the situation we now head back once more into the depths of the woods. My usually wimpy girls absolutely buzzing at this exciting situation. 

At last we reach the man camp Deer, in the few hours I have left him mr muddy has unleashed his inner caveman. 

Turned truly feral. 

A fire is burning, a shelter built and a cup of tea has been consumed. 

In fact, I reckon he’s had a whale of a time. πŸ˜‰ 

I usher the girls away as Mrs RSPCA checks over the deer. With epic timing it suddenly starts to pour with rain. Seriously. Cut me some slack!

A moment later I hear a shot. Oh dear. Poor deer.

Whilst the others take care of business I start to prepare the children. I’ve never shielded them from life’s pain and so we talk about the compassion of putting animals to sleep. We’ve lost a few pets recently so it’s a sadly familiar topic.

Eventually mr muddy and Mrs RSPCA emerge.

Miraculously a steroid injection will enable the Deer to regain her strength and heal her sprain. *Ahem*

I shoot mr Muddy one of my looks.

‘Please. Just this once, let them have a happy ending.’

Tired, cold and hungry we trudge back once more to the car. The girls jubilant with our happy ending. 

Unless of course you are the Deer. In which case you had a kinder ending. 

 

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37 thoughts on “Oh Deer! A trip to Mildenhall Woods.

  1. Oh my word! You really don’t do things by half, do you?! Was there a jealous brother in the house after hearing the story?
    Poor deer though but good on you for seeing it through and not letting it suffer. Had to laugh at Mr. Muddy’s ‘man-time’. As long as there’s a brew on, everything is fine with the world πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The boy was AWOL for an hour. I didn’t have the number for the lady who had taken him out so played Chinese whispers on Facebook (seems it does have some uses!) although with limited success.
      I guess if random things didn’t happen I’d have nothing to write about. Every cloud eh!

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  2. Aww well I’m sure you will be rewarded for your generous act of kindness. I love these tales of adventure.

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    1. Thanks, I didn’t even consider it an act of kindness, I’m just practical. I’m there in that moment and it needs to be done. (My husband calls me the Ice Queen – he’s only half joking! πŸ˜‰)
      How are you? The New year being good to you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you! I’ve been fighting against the need to stay cocooned in my duvet for the last month or so. Finally managed to drag my backside to the gym last night. Managed not to collapse too. πŸ˜‰

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  3. Thanks for commenting on my blog earlier – it helped me to find yours!

    Oh the poor deer 😦 But that is life and it was definitely kinder that way.

    Hubby and I have a geocaching for dummies book and sadly that is as close as we have ever got! Must try harder x

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  4. Leave a man alone in the woods with time to kill and he’ll either freak out or make himself comfortable. I like Mr. Muddy’s style. Hexi stove? Hexamine fuel tabs?

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    1. Yes, more commonly known as a solid fuel stove. (In the UK) He always has it in his backpack. I think he was thrilled to finally use it!
      A long time ago he was in the Army reserves so has spent a lot of time in the woods nearby.

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      1. Haven’t used solid fuel stoves. Have a couple of canister stoves but use homemade alcohol (meths) stoves more often than not when out backpacking or playing in the woods.

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      2. Ace! I’ve seen homemade ones with drink cans, they are a great idea. His HS is tiny, and cheap as chips so just lurks in his bag all the time. I’ll have to have a go at making a homemade one.

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      3. Yep, drink can it is. I make a few dozen every now and then to give away. Super easy to make, few tools needed. Maybe an excuse to play with the GoPro and make a video.

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      4. Clare, I’m finally getting around to making a stove video today. Would you mind if I mention you, your adventure, and give a link to your blog in the description?

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  5. Well, well, well… doesn’t it always just seem to happen to you! Now that is most definitley what I call a geocaching adventure. Starting to forget what they feel like, colds, weather and general life shit has reallly blown our geocaching to bits lately… feeling like a caged animal 😦

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    1. Oh no! Life does get in the way sometimes doesn’t it?! Hope you are all in tip top health and ready for some (drama free) adventures soon.

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  6. You weren’t kidding when you said there was drama. Although….it wasn’t the kind of drama I was anticipating. I give you props for staying through to the arrival of “help” for the deer. I don’t know if I’d have been able to be that patient. I can hope I wouldn’t be thinking of venison steaks and tacos and burgers…lol. What I want to know is…how can the police not have a way to look up GPS coordinates. Seeks silly to me.
    It was nice of you to give the girls a happy ending! A happy ride hope is much better for you all than a car full of sad crying girls! Quite the adventure as usual!

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      1. But you did it and your kids minds…you guys are heroes who saves the deer! Only you and he will think about the shot and know…. At least it’s not suffering anymore!

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      2. Indeed, we were told how miserable the end would be in quite graphic detail 😳
        Thankfully I’m not too much of an emotional person, but luckily I’ve raised humans who are! πŸ˜‚

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  7. I have just discovered your blog via Lisa and Stella and what a find. It is so sad that the deer met her maker that day but better that than a lingering death from starvation. I once had to kill a buzzard that had a broken wing/back and with no refuge in France to take it in it was the kindness thing to do … but still horrible. I wrote a poem about it but I will never forget the look in it’s eye. I’m off to feed my pigs now but will be back later for more of a read.

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    1. *waves* Thanks for the follow. 😊 I’ve added you to my reader feed too. Will pop over and have a catch up on what I’ve been missing out on when I’ve got time to sit and savour with a cup of coffee.

      The RSPCA gave us quite a detailed description of how the Deer would have ended up so as brutal as what my husband got to witness was, it was absolutely the best of a bad situation. Full respect for you for doing that, I’m not sure I could do it myself – I’m such a wimp, but absolutely the right thing to do to prevent suffering.

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