Monday, 31 May 2010

Cache me if you can

I discovered something new today: GEOCACHING. The official blurb says:

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.
In even simpler terms, geeks around the globe have stashed little boxes (perhaps tupperware, perhaps a tiny film container) all over the world, and there's a nifty iPhone app giving you clues to their locations. You find the box, you add your name to the list of paper within it, you tick it off on your app, then move on to the next one.

Oh my God, it's addictive, especially for a shameless dweeb like me who loves mysteries and scrambling around in the great outdoors. We only found two today around Richmond Park (and I have the nettle stings to prove it), but I am now determined to find more.

I've always loved a good treasure hunt. 

*cue Dunlop anecdote* 

My favourite treasure hunt memory takes me back to when I was maybe 10 or 11. Us Dunlops were partaking in a treasure hunt organised as a social event by my dad's work colleagues. It was a car-based treasure hunt and the clues were quite tricky, but we were a competitive bunch and we thought we'd done pretty well. The final challenge was to draw a logo which was on the side of a building that we had been directed to.

"I think we should colour it in, Dad," either me or my little brother said from the back seat of the car, excited that we'd solved the final clue.

"No, no, no," Dad insisted, "It'll be fine as it is."

When the results were read out at the subsequent barbecue that evening we were delighted to discover that we had come joint first. "Sadly we only have one prize," said the judge, "so we've had to decide a final winner according to the accuracy of their responses.....and because they coloured in their logo we are awarding the prize to....." Well, it wasn't us, obviously.

"Daaaaad!" we exclaimed.

I am aware that I've been taking the mick out of my dear Dad rather a lot on this blog recently. But, for the record, he's a bloody top bloke :)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The hole shebang

Ok, here's an amusing anecdote from the Dunlop archive at the end of a very long week....

As we wandered through the dark Spanish residential streets on our way to the local restaurant, we spotted a conspicuous-looking black patch in the middle of the pavement. Taking a closer look, we realised that it was in fact a hazardous hole, about a foot square in size and a couple of feet or so deep.

"Well, that's rather dangerous," my dad said, shaking his head. "Someone could step into that and hurt themselves, there are no warning signs up or anything."

Indeed, indeed, murmured my mum and I, as we continued our eatery-bound amble. Following dinner, we deliberately walked on the other side of the road in order to avoid 'the hole'. "We'll just have to remember it's there," I said, putting it to the back of my mind.

The following day, as I read a book on the roof terrace, my dad decided to go out on one of his 'walks' (what is it with dads and their 'walks' when on holiday??). As he put on his baseball cap, fastened the Velcro straps on his sandals and strolled purposefully away from the villa whilst clutching his map, my mum jokingly shouted "don't forget that hole!"
*90 minutes or so later*
My sunshine-induced snooze was rudely interrupted by a never-ending surge of my mum's distinctive laughter, quickly followed by equally uncontrollable cackling from my dad. Now, we're quite a giggly family, but this was a whole new level of hysteria. So I descended from my sun trap to see what all the fuss was about.

Like a kid who'd fallen over in the playground, my dad had blood trickling down his knee. "What happened to your knee, Dad?" I asked, genuinely concerned. "Take one guess," said my mum, in between the fits of chortling. I looked at her laughter tear-stained face, then to my dad's rather bashful expression, and it all slotted into place.


Hysteria ensued for the next 5 minutes or so, until my dad could sufficiently collect himself to tell the story.

"There's not much to say, really, except one second I was walking along, and the next my leg disappeared from beneath me and I was knee deep in the pavement!"

The funniest thing about the situation was that it was probably the only hole on the face of the entire planet that he had known to be in existence. He had known precisely where it was and had even commented on its threat to pedestrians. Yet he STILL fell in it. He STILL put his foot in precisely the wrong spot on the pavement. "If I had put my foot anywhere else at that moment it wouldn't have gone in the hole," he spluttered between chuckles. "But it was the exact size of my foot, and in it went."


Sunday, 16 May 2010

Run a-mock

I don't quite know how it's happened, but I appear to have signed up to do a charity run in July with work. Yes, me, volunteering to run a distance which is longer than that between the Northern line and platform 4 at London Bridge station; a stretch I regularly find myself sprinting along for dear life.

To be fair, it's not a marathon distance or anything near it - a "mere" 5.6km through Battersea Park - but I have never done anything like this in my life. Yeah, I know I could walk it if I wanted to, but that would be a bit of a cop out in my opinion. I have no idea what kind of time to aim for, but having crowdsourced a rough estimate I've decided to go for sub 45 minutes. So let the training commence! Maybe I should ask Eddie Izzard for some tips...apparently Calippos might do the trick?