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. 😉
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….
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.
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. 😉
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.