December 28 – Paddington Bear – part 2

…Hello, Mrs Hg137 here again.

‘Life begins at Oxford Circus’: it’s a very popular place, but also the name of a cache we wanted to find. We strolled casually up to GZ (ground zero), to find someone leaning on it, smoking a newly-lit cigarette. What now? We wandered around for a few minutes, and when we returned the cache was accessible. Or was it? There was someone hanging around the cache. Another geocacher? Yes! Jesus, from Portugal, with a friend. Nice to meet you!

Paddington - Thread Bear

Paddington – Thread Bear

Paddington - Andrew Lloyd Webbear

Paddington – Andrew Lloyd Webbear

Paddington - Bear Humbug

Paddington – Bear Humbug

There are 50 Paddington Bear statues to see. They were created to publicise the ‘Paddington’ film which was released in late November. They have been placed at various interesting locations around London, mostly in the centre of London, but there is one as far away as Heathrow Airport; many are in places that Paddington would know (Paddington Station, or Bond Street, after the author of the series of books, Michael Bond). For more information, see http://www.visitlondon.com/paddington But be quick, they are only on show until December 30th. After that, they are being auctioned off for charity, to raise money for the NSPCC.

Along bustling Oxford Street we went, to find some more Paddington Bear statues. They were harder to spot now because of the crowds, but each one still had a knot of excited children surrounding it. We diverted into Mayfair – much quieter – and quickly grabbed the ‘Tiggopoly’ cache while everyone else was looking the other way at the ‘Thread Bear’ Paddington statue. Then it was on into Soho, past yet more Paddingtons, to claim another couple of caches; both of these were notable in their own ways – one because much subterfuge and “reading” the menu of an Ecuadorian (!) restaurant was needed whilst retrieving the cache, the other because of the interesting container (pictured below).

Unusual cache container

Unusual cache container


Finally we were at THE caching destination of the day. It’s a geocache with around 3000 finds and around 1200 favourite points, so it has to be something special. It’s ‘The Tin Pan Alley Band’: a noticeboard where aspiring bands and band members can get in touch with each other. Yet another cigarette-smoking muggle was nearby as we signed the cache log, which is a notice amongst many others on the board, and where you can add your caching handle / band position you want to fill (I’m going for 2nd violin, Mr Hg137 is applying to be the manager!)
The Tin Pan Alley Band

The Tin Pan Alley Band


By now it was getting colder, and we were getting tired, so we meandered back to Piccadilly Circus, via Chinatown, spotting a few more caches and a few more Paddingtons en route. Then homewards – eighteen Paddingtons and thirteen caches; a good day out.

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