Tuesday, 26 June 2012

26/06/12 - Looking for Adventure in Surrey

Distance - 5 Miles
Geocaches - 3
Pubs - 3
Nightlife - Minimal
Walk Inspiration

Godamling to Guidford



Working down in Surrey and looking for somewhere interesting to stay.  So I settle on Godalming.  I have never been here before.  It looks like it might be better than Guidford, where my customer is, and tonights walk will allow me to compare.

The walk is vert straightforward along the River Wey and its navigation.  Very flat walking.  as I don't arrive at the Royal and Kings Arms Hotel until late, its a very quick change into walking gear and find my way down the high street to the river.

Lots of canoists at first and then solitude.  Just the usual artifacts that accompany a river/canal.

Come on Surrey Vandals - where's your Y
Nothing of any interest to report really, apart from a quick cache on a bridge.  Walk into a field of horses that has a sign saying that if they are not removed by 11/7/12, they will be sold at auction and all costs will be claimed by the national trust.  One of them strangely reminds me of the boy.
Boy

Horse
Find a place for half time refreshments.  The stratching are stale.  But then again, we are a long way from Tipton.

Take me to the Black Country
Head off and find cache number 2 at a WWII Pill box.  You have to say that if the Nazi's had made it this far into the homelands, then we would have been done for.

Public Image Limited

More canal and then we reach the civilisation that is Guidford, passing the world's most rubbish bridge.  I mean, what is the point, I could have leapt it.

Too small for a troll.
Guildford proper.  Stop at the Navigation for Tea proper, served by a student with low slung jeans revealing stripey pants.  Pity he had a beard.  Text home to get the train times and theres one in 10 mins, so hot foot it to the station for a £3.10 return back to Godalming and a cache at the station.

Then I look for night time entertainment.  There is latina music blaring from the 1st pub on route and its salsa night.  Unfortunately, there are just the two dancers and I am unsure if Surrey operate a "gentlemen's excuse me".  Next pub has no music.  And no punters.

I am forced to go home and order a last pint of doom bar and blog.  As I order, I hear the story of a man who was found asleep in the bar, asked to go home and was then found dead.  I hope he wasn't drinking doom bar.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

23/06/12 - Tous les jours il pleut

Distance - 8 miles
Caches - 1 out of 2
Walk from - Trail Magazine - Nov 2006
Lunch - Chips, shared on a bench with a dog

Long Mynd Classic



Checked out the weather forecasts for the weekend.  Saturday is fine, Sunday is a wash out.  Need a hill fix, so decide to dust of the Long Mynd Classic.  This has been completed many times before and is the closest hill walk that I can get to.

Leave basecamp with glorious sunshine.  I very nearly didn't bother with my rain coat.  In quiz related musical inspiration, I listen to Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, singing along to
"What a life" as I head through Hopton Wafers, Clee Hill Village and Onibury to park up at the Cunnery in Church Stretton.  Feel that the intriguing name needs some investigation and it turns out to mean "an ancient field with rabbit warrens".  Not what they are saying at the Urban Dictionary.

Just as I am pulling up in the car park the heavens open.  Proper big chunky rain drops and driving wind.  It's awful.  This is getting a bit too repetitive.  I cannot remember the last time I walked when I didn't get soaked to the bone.

So I decide to sit it out.  Noel skips onto Nouvelle Vague on the iPod.  These are a French lounge band that cover alternative/punk songs in a jazz styley.  I haven't heard them for ages and there is something a little surreal hearing a french lady doing the dead kennedys in a breathy singing style.


"I went to a party, and danced all night
Drank 16 beers and started a fight"
If this rain doesn't let off, I may follow her lead.  After confusing the dog my staying in the car for 20 mins, I decide to wrap my camera in her poo bags and head off into it.  What is the worse that can happen?  I'll have to flick it with a stick.
The walk is an absolute classic.  Stiff climb and drop to Townbrook Valley and then pick up Carding Mill Valley.  I love this spot.  The first part of the path, where you overlook the road below is a classic.

Carding Mill Valley
Turn left to go to Ligh Spout Hollow.... Shropshire's only waterfall.  Take a couple of photos and then find the only cache of the day - one of the Little Quest series of caches in every county in the UK.  That's two I have - here and London.

Dog's had enough of Photos and Cache hunting
That's the climbing more of less over.  Its a gentle walk up to Pole Bank.  As always, there are goretex clad teenagers doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award.  In the main, they are cheerful.  In the main they are lost.  I can impress them with my sat nav wizardery.

Second cache is at Pole Bank.  Its somewhere in the heather, but there is a lot of heather.  They is a cacher's trail, but no bounty at the end of it - but its no doubt just my inability to find it.  Always a good stop for lunch here.  Wish I had packed some.

You bought a camera and no Sarnies?

Drop down to Pole Cottage and then the winding path through Round Hill, Grindle, Callow and Nills.  Classic walking and views.

She's now that grumpy, she even sheep don't interest her
But she's not bad with the camera
 
Down into Little Stretton.  Rain starts again.  Past the campsite and families are pretending to enjoy themselves by playing cricket.

The usual path back is over the fields through the owlets, but I can't be bothered to hoike the dog over a large stile.  I walk back along the old ludlow road, admiring but not stopping at the Ragleth Arms.

Get back into Church Stretton and go to the chipper.  If you are lonely and want to meet people, sit on a town bench with a dog sat looking at you while you eat out of chip paper.  I had no end of requests from strangers to "go on... give her a chip". 

She only likes them with ketchup on.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

16/6/12 - Snooze and you lose

Geocaches - 16
Distance - 6.9 Miles
Weather - Biblical

Droitwich Canal Caches



Start of the weekend - I love them, but why are they so short?  Always going to be a lie in after the england game last night and original plans were to go up Stagborough Hill.  Booted up PC and saw that a new trail of caches had been placed down near Claines on the Droitwich-Worcester Canal.

It's 9am... am I going to be early enough for any FTF?

Quickly download the GPX and head off, parking at Hawford layby.  Drop down to the 2nd cache on the trail.  Its an initial DNF. Why do I always struggle with the 1st cache on a series?  Decide to leave it and move up to Cache 3.  Find it, open it up unravel the log and there it is.... a previous find 30 minutes before! 

Shouldn't have had that last pint last night.

Knowing that I am not going to be FTF leaves me to concentrate on keeping my feet dry and avoiding killer swans.
Armada is coming up the canal

Cache 4 is an off set multi.  Find the first part and then can't find the path to the 2nd part - so think that I will save this for the way back.  I did this with a number of caches, to break up the walk up and down the canal.

Work my way through 5-10.  In my haste to get out this morning, I do not take my Geocaching Utility Belt (TM) and as a result do not have any tweezers on me.  You would not believe how long I stood in a monsoon, trying to extract a log from a nano.  At one point, I am using the end of a broken fishermans float.  In the end, I give up and hope that photo evidence will suffice.

Found it - Honest

Then I get to cache 11 and I get what I wanted!  A nice blank piece of paper.  I don't usually chase FTF but having changed plans and survived mud paths and weather more suited to rainforests, I am glad that I record them from 11-15 and then pick up number 10 on the way back.  If I could have got the damn log paper out of number 9, I may have had that as well.

Claim to Fame near Claines
Turn back at 15, picking up any ones that I deliberately missed.  Finish off the Multi from earlier.  This involved negotiating a field of cattle but worth it for the views of the Salwarpe.  The rains have made it impressive.

You've upset the swans, you can leave the cows alone
Get back to GZ at Cache 2 and fully zoned into the mindset of the cache owners.  Very cheeky hide here.  Liked it.

Then moved to where the canal meets the river for Cache 1.  Not been here before - nice but I am soaked through to the bones.
Camera on GZ. 

Great caches and happy to get 100% with 6 FTFs.  Cheers Chickowee.



Sunday, 10 June 2012

10/06/12 - There's just too many

Caches - 23
Distance - 9.1 Miles

More in Quatford



After a week of beautiful and planned coastal walks in Cornwall, it was time to just catch up on a few local caches in the area.  I know from doing the Seven on the Severn series that new ones had been planted around Quatford.  I had no idea just how many.  Last night on downloading the GPX and plotting on a map, I decided that I would just go and get as many as I could.  Stopping when either a) it started to rain b) I got bored or c) the GPS ran out of juice.  It was point C that put an end to the day!

Woke to glorious sunshine.  Attempted to get the geohound interested.  Last week has obviously done her in, as she hid upstairs and even a strategically placed boot up the backside failed to get her to move.

Solo caching today.

Park up at the Danery again and walk down the road to pick up the last of the seven on the severn series that I missed out last time to walk past Quatford Castle - where some of today's new caches are.

Cache number 2 and the first on the new trail, causes me no end of problems.  15 minutes of hunting and a DNF will have to be recorded.  Cache number 3 is no easier and it takes me an age to decipher the clue and then find the cache.  Going to be a challenge but enjoying the paths around the castle again.
Caching in the woods - no one can hear you scream

Turn left on Chapel Lane and then over the A458, popping into Stanmore Country Park for an off series caches.  The lane has the first great views of the Shropshire Countryside today. 

Now in unchartered territory and turn right to start on the "Pools and Up" series by the same cache owners.  Past a couple of pools, complete with fishermen.  I've asked it before and I'll ask it again... "Why do they do it?".  I am yet to meet a happy fisherman.

In a hamlet called barnsley and across farmland where I meet some baby cows and get hassled by the abundance of bite me hurt me's that are plauging the cowpats.

One in the eye as the shutter closes.
Record my 2nd DNF - which is a nasty nano.  Also work out that whatever I am allergic to grows in these fields, as I serenade the cows with a sneezing fit.  Superb views from the top of the hill here.  The cows are lucky.

The views (and caches) continue down the lane to Upper Farmcote.  Caches are easier here, and made even easier by the distinct cachers trails through the undergrowth.

Emerge at the big blue cup of joy on the OS Map.  It may be one of the cider houses in the area, but to be fair, it looks like someone's house!  Too early for a drink anyway and despite wanting to get 5 a day, fruit based drinks are for the ladies.

Has a pub sign - but do you need to be invited in?
Realise that I need to plot a way back, so I return to the A458 for a cache that will make you smile if you do it.  Fortunately, the log is easily found.  Then have a stupid bit of road walking - maybe I should have plotted the route a bit better.  Its only a short while before you can dive into the woods at Burfe castle and find yet another series contained within.  I don't do them all - only a couple.

Then its lane and into the grounds of Dudmaston Hall.  This is the home of FMF and the cache is never going to be easy.  Could have done with a small child to help out.  After reading previous logs, and fashioning a tool out of something placed near by, I was disappointed that I came up empty handed.  Then I found it on the floor.  Had to re-assemble tools to put it back where I think it belonged.

GPS bings that the battery has gone and the last possible one of the day is up a tree, so I call it day.  There are pubs open that sell fine continental lagers and those need to be my next finds.

Thanks again to blokiebloke.  The caches are always well engineered and never the same.  I shall be back for the other - maybe applying some more logic to the walking.

Friday, 8 June 2012

8/6/12 - (No More) Living in a Box

Distance - 5.1 Miles
Geocaches - 3 Found, 3 Not so Found
Walk from - Country Walking Magazine

Yesterday
Regular blogfans will know my wheel related dramas on this holiday.  Having lost one front tyre on Sunday, I asked Kwik Fit to check out the other one.  400 miles on it they said.  I had a look on Tuesday and ran my hand on the inside of the tyre and felt the whole tread coming away in my hand.  New tyres were ordered for Thursday, so I literally just make it over the line in St Austell after my Mevagissey walk when this one goes - limping into Kwik Fit with one dead tyre and a punctured spare.

The news ones are due at 11am. At 4:30 pm, I have had them fitted.  If you ever want to study humanity close up - spend the best part of 5 hours in Kwik Fit.  I had the pleasure of the Golightly family for 2 hours, who went from all out family rows to taking the pee out of the harassed Kwik Fit man in the wink of an eye. 

I have also worked out what is wrong with Kwik Fits model.  They need a receptionist.  One bloke spent all day running to answer the phone and then back to his job.  Not surprising mistakes are made.

5 Hours in St Austell is not an experience I want to recreate to be honest.

Get home for the Storm.  Its bad enough for the Readings to head on home.  Its bad enough for the Onions to batten down the hatches and lock themselevs in with a DVD.

We have to make our own entertainment in our shaky shack.  Reteach Sonia Crib.  How do we start she says?  We have to get 31, I reply.  She stares at her cards for 10 minutes and then says that she doesn't have a 31.

Its going to be a long, long night.  But at least I have Stella and Wine.  We then take turns to pick our favourite tunes.  I start with the Black Keys.  Sonia's go.  She knocks it up two to Blur.

Its going to be a long, long night.  After a bit of TV, we go to bed.  Mainly to listen to the gales.  There is a cup by the side of my bed and its shakes like an approaching dinosaur from Jurassic Park is coming.

It was a long, long night. 

The Walk

Pentewan - Black Head



This is a cracking walk.  We park up at Ropehaven Nature reserve and make the choice to do the inland based park first.  Head downhill to the few house at Trenarren and instantly get into a discussion with the land owner about rights of way.  He said "there has been some discussion about them" and tells us that the path past his house is not a ROW.  He is wrong, as I have GPS and OS maps and its clearly marked.  Still, he points out the alternative.  On paper, its great but at GZ, its leaves Sonia less than impressed.

Where's the Sythe?
The posse from Trevithick wade through the undergrowth and get to the farm called Trevissick.  Again, we are met with a wall of nettles, so take the farm track to meet the Pentewan Road.  1st Cache of the day is a familar one to us.

At Pentewan, we meet the coast back and then have a superb rollercoaster of a route.  Pick up cache two down by the rockface overlooking the sea.

Gonna miss the SWC Path next week

Highlight of the walk is at Hallane Mill, which is right on the beach.  After a discussion about how they get their shopping delivered, we aim for a cache but are thwarted by high tide.  Never, mind, we continue on to Black Head. 

Tide is High, record a DNF
This is a fine headland, two caches here.  First, I am convinced has gone.  It hasn't been found for a while and surely somewhere as popular as this would have many fines.  Next one is right out at the end of the headland.  I go with the dog and get closer and closer to the sea.  With the wind and a dog that will follow me anywhere, I decide to call off the hunt and return to Sonia, who has been crouching low to avoid being blown off.

Monumnet to a DNF near GZ.

Then its a quick return through Ropehaven Nature Reserve.  Ask Sonia if she has enjoyed it.  She described it as Challenging.  To keep the numbers even, there is a drive by cache 200 yards from where we parked. 

The Final Afternoon
Weather forecast has been spot on.  Around 10am, we had blue skies.  Knocked on the Onions Storm Shelter and told them it was safe to come out.  Their field is strangely empty.  We decide on Fowey for a walk around, pub lunch, ice creams and the like.  Final look at the sea on Par Beach.

That just leaves the left overs to demolish before our return home tomorrow.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

07/06/12 - Holidays from Heligan

Distance - 3.75
Caches - 2.25
Walk Inspiration
Weather - A new phrase has been invented - Squallish

Yesterday
Well the afternoon really picked up.  I may be the only man in the world who is suffering from both hypothermia and sunburn at the same time.  With glorious weather we hit Gorran Haven beach.  Dog friendly, fish and chip shop on the front and enough room for both football and cricket.  After a post match wind down, I sat in the sun and burnt to a beautiful red hue. 

Home for the weather reports.  Our fellow holiday makers have packed up in anticipation of the incoming force 8 storms.  No word of a lie, the weather report suggested that it was "bad enough to blow down a small tree".  Then Friday looks good again, so they had an about turn.  Party night at the Mapp's where we drank and ate everything that remained, whilst playing retro games on a console.  I can still do Pacman.

The Walk

Mevagissey & Heligan



I have a date with Kwik Fit.  The saga of the tyres runs on.  So I decide on the shortest planned walk of the holidays today.  A quick blast from Mevagissey to Heligan and back down the coast path.  The weather people are spot on - its fierce.  I goretex up, top and bottom, and head for the carparks of Mevagissey.  It is lovely - very narrow roads and a nice drive through Port Mellon.  High Tide at 8am and the waves are onto the road.  Park up and looks for the first cache - a DNF on a road sign.

Find Cheesewarne Lane to take me to Heligan.  There are a few caches up here - first is a DNF, Second one found and third is missing its bottom half of a dog tag.  But I am still going to claim it.

Hit the roads and a horrible bit of road walking.  This is not the weather to be on a country lane with no escape path and a high density of large vehicles.  Really pleased when the coast path is picked up at Pentean Sands.  The GPS then gives up and I have no battery to find the rest of the caches.

Meet my only two other walkers mad enough to be out in this.  We try and pretend that what we are doing is normal by giving extra hearty hellos.

At Polstreath, I walk through a field of young cows.  The wind is that bad that I don't hear them following me until I get to the gate.

Moove Closer
The coast path is good, but to be honest, I am looking forward to getting out of the weather.  A few ups and downs and Mevagissey comes into view.  Sea looks angry.  There are a few hardy souls prentending to enjoy themselves by eating pastry based snacks in a monsoon.  God bless the British.

Any port in a Storm
Then I hang around Kwik Fit for 5 hours.  You can read about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

06/06/12 - At least the Van is watertight

Distance - 6 Miles
Geocaches - 2
Walk from - Jarrold - Cornwall.

Yesterday
The more astute blog readers will have noticed that there was no walk yesterday.  The weather was simply too bad.  Pre lunch time, even popping the dog out for a wee ended in a right royal soaking.  Things improved in the afternoon enough for a game of football and the evening entertainment was made up by a 2 mile round trip walk to the Barley Sheath pub in Gorran Churchtown.  We could not have been looked after better, with 14 humans and 2 dogs taking advantage of their two courses for a tenner offer.  Excellent Stuff.

The Walk

Dodman\'s Point



In a post pub wind down that involved hallucinogenic stilton cheese and red wine, Sam and Paul agreed to come walking with us and to meet at 6:30am.  I know that the cheese had special properties because I dreamed that I was playing alongside John Terry in the Euros and had to make a goal line cleanance.  I kicked Sonia.  She kicked me back.  We hugged each other listening to the wind and the rain.  Not great.  An hour later than expected it cleared for a glorious day.

However, the campers have had enough.  With gales promised for tomorrow and Friday, they were pakcing up camping vans rather than worrying about walks.

Sonia and myself headed down to Hemmick Beach to take the coast path in the opposite direction to a couple of days ago.  This involved a stiff climb up to Dodman's point - which is like a mini Christ the Redeemer, with its prominent Cross on the headland.

More Man Knee-ery
First cache of the day is up here and worthy of a TB Drop. Thats it - all my TBs from my country tour three weeks ago have now been placed.

Walk continues past the wide arc of Vault Beach.  The headland comes complete with wild ponies.  Paths and views are superb.

Vault Beach - heading east

Vault beach - looking west


Next and final cache is at Pen-a-Maen point - a short clamber off the coast path.  Just in time before two muggles we saw in the pub last night come around the corner. 

Soon, Gorran Haven comes into view.  A perfect Cornish village and worthy of more investigation in the afternoon.

The walk continues inland now, taking in different sorts of paths as we climb to Treveague Farm house and eventually the lanes that took us to the pub last night.

With the weather looking increasingly dismal - this may well be my last walk of the week.

Monday, 4 June 2012

4/6/12 - 16 Legs, the coast and a castle

Distance - 4 Miles
Geocaches - 1
Walk From - First half of a Jarrrold Cornwall Walk

Yesterday
Family Reading recreate the olympics by organising any number of sporting activity.  Quick Cricket - the game of kings.  They don't even let the rain stop them - it just adds to Rocket's ability to slide tackle teenagers.  Family Onions have made good use of their list for packing.... Wet Suits and Surf boards I can understand, but guitar tuners and ludo maybe could have been left at Trevithick.

As night falls, we shelter from the elements under an awning.  A new cockatil is created that the ladies love.  We will call it the "Dark Frenchie".  But you will never catch me drinking Hot Chocolate and Brandy when there is a single malt going.  Not sure how many more Isle of Juras that Rocket had, but when he calls for us on today's walk, his opening line is that "he doesn't remember going to bed".  Xy does.  It was 6:30pm when she put on the bottom half of her pantomime outfit and disappeared.

The Walk

Boswinger to Caerhays Castle



Sun is shining today.  Fantastic.  We have company, as the Rockets and Luca come along with us and Molly.  Nice steep drop down from the campsite at Boswinger to pick up the coast path at Hemmick Beach.

Ebony and Ivory.  Perfect Harmony.

Xy's gone looking for Luca's Stick.

Another classic stretch of Cornish Coastal walking as we head west.  Usual fantastic views and steep climbs and drops.  We quickly realise that Xy doesn't like cows.  We find this strange as her night time attire are half cow.  A few shrieks as we head through the first field and the inquisitive youngsters express an interest in us.

First and only cache is half way along our coastal route.  Nice find by a big rock with tremedous views.

Ladies Man
The highlight of the walk is as we drop steeply to Portlune Cove.  There is a lovely beach and a Caerhays castle in the background.  A perfect spot.

Britain at its best
As we climb through the grounds, Rocket spots the sheep and needs to get Luca on the lead.  He shouts Xy and informs her of the hazard.  Xy replies that "Oh don't worry, I am fine with sheep".  Good job, otherwise she would be going on the lead as well.

The original walk is 7 miles and inolves inland walking through Goran Haven and back around the coast at Dodman Point.  All the talk of breakfast curtails the full walk, so we find a handy short cut back to the campsite.

The second half can be saved for another day.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

3/6/12 - Sir, that is the hub nut

Distance - 6.75 Miles
Geocaches - 12
Walk Inspiration

Polkerris



Yesterday
Like the rest of the country, we drove down to Cornwall.  Left at 6:30am and the M5 was showing signs of clogging from Worcester.  Struggled down in a 6 hour epic, that involved the use of the Internet to find a decent pub for lunch.  Checked into Father Ted's caravan and Sonia went around tutting.  For a £30 post dog clean up, you would expect no dog hairs.  Or bean juice on the bin lid.  Checked weather reports and decided that we are all now republicans.  Whit week was last week, when it was mid 20s.  Because the Queen has been on the throne for a long time, it has been moved and we are now in subartic conditions.  With wind.  Still, the fire works in our van.

The Walk
Furthest drive and one of the longer walks for this holiday.  The weather looked terrible, so I thought we would get it out of the way.  The plan is to get out and back before a 14 year old boy wakes up and realises he has been balancing the night on a bed that is narrower than his hips.  I set a mental alarm clock.  4:30am, I am shaking Sonia to ask what time it is.  We are out at 6am.

This is a classic walk - out along the coast and back inland.  We park up and drop down to Polkerris which has everything a man needs - a pub and a cafe.

Polkerris Pub

Technically, dog not allowed.  But it was early
Pick up the south west coast path, heading south.  First four Geocaches require a boat to retrieve, as they down below the cliffs, shoreside.  This means we concentrate walking through the intermittent miasma.  The walking isnt helped by the overgrown triffids that are soaking wet.  Its not too long before wet boots and trousers are commented upon with  the same disdain as a beany bin lin.

We are doing three sides of a U shape by the coast, around Gribben Head with its disused lighhouse.  At one point, just as though god is delivering us an angel, the sun comes out.  A euphoric experience.

Getting Brighter

Hallelujah
We do have some stunning views of Fowey from here.  One of our favourite places and no doubt a visit will be in order this week.  Molly gets what she comes on holiday for - a swim in one of the isolated coves.

Joy, Unbound

We work our way around to Foy Estuary.  This is where the caching starts properly, with a nano on the roof of turreted building.  Molly gets to play with Charlie the Labradoodle, who comes complete with a very odd curly tail that reveals his chocolate starfish to the world.

There is a house here.  If it was for sale, Sonia would make me work harder.

To get back to the car, we come up on the Saint's way.  This is a long distance path that runs from North to South Cornwall.  It is also properly loaded with caches and there are loads to entertain and distract us.  This is nice walking through farmland that eventually gets us back to the car. 

The Cafe is open.

Laughing now - they didn't know what was coming

Post Walk Drama
Tyre looks a bit flat on return to the car.  Decide that I will have a good look when Sonia is in Tescos for the third supermarket related visit of the holiday.  On the way, it is apparent that its gone.

Park up.  Flat as a panacake.  OK - time to put into practice a lesson my dad gave me back in 1988.  Get the boot open and find all the secret compartments that hide the tools in an audi.  The red triangle is not the jack.  The jack is hidden by the subwoofer (I know where this is).  Break the tension on the wheel nuts first.  So far so good.

Use the jack.  Attempt twice, before realising we are upside down.  Get it the right way up and like a phoenix from the flames, the car rises.  Get the five wheel nuts off.  Pull at the wheel.  No joy. 

Time to think about it.  Sonia says maybe there is another nut behind the centre cover.  Low and behold, there is but our joy is short lived as we have no Socket that meets the shape.  Oh no.

Phone the AA.  After a long and frank discussion about who I am, my mileage and what my reg number is, they promise me someone in 2-3 hours.

We have been having calls off Alex.  The crumpets are too fat for the toaster.  This is an emergency.

I decide to phone St Austell Kwik Fit.  I explain the problem.  Have you ever heard someone from the south west do patronising.  Its not pleasant.  On describing the issue, I get.

"Sir, that is the hub nut.  If you remove that the driveshaft will fall off".

Turns out brake dust and alloy can fuse the wheels on.  I needed to kick the wheel repeatedly, like Basil hitting his car with a twig, and eventually it dropped off.

I now feel quite good about my manual labour attempts.

Next time, it will be like an F1 pit stop.