I started to fill in some of the gaps in my 366 grid about 18 months ago. I wasn't taking it all that seriously at the time and left loads of gaps (I must've had about 50).
However I did make sure that the gaps I left in the the winter months of 2011/12 were mostly at the end of the week. That meant that by the time the winter of 2012/13 came round those dates would turn into Saturdays and Sundays and I'd have all day to find the cache even if we were snowed in. Ok so maybe I was taking it seriously after all.
I had a DNF near the end of April last year, and I had a look at what I had to do from that point to fill the grid. I filtered my GSAK database to just show puzzles and found that there were only about 30 more gaps on that than on the standard 366 grid. So I decided I might as well fill up the grid with puzzles.
It turned out that my mate Richiecactus was also trying to fill up his grid and our last empty dates were just one day apart. So that spurred us both on to complete it. There were some weekdays over the past year, when it was particularly dark and wet, that I'm sure I wouldn't have bothered to go caching if it wasn't for that.
I had loads of solved puzzles to fill up the gaps, and my careful caching of the previous year now came into play. It meant that I only had to take a handful of days off work over the winter to ensure that I didn't miss that day.
There were a few occasions when I couldn't find the cache I was looking for and had to go for a backup, but they were mercifully few. Of course there were the unavoidable non-caching engagements that would take out most of a day, but I always managed to find a reasonably easy cache near a road.
Filling the last few slots was very satisfying. I finished my standard 366 grid on April 20th when I ran a CITO at Lakeside Park. Then a few days later on April 25th I finally completed my 366 of puzzles. I took a day off work to make sure I didn't fail even though at this time of the year it isn't really necessary. The day after that Richiecactus finished his 366.
We arranged to meet up at this cache at 4pm today to mark the achievement, but we our plans were stymied. Richiecactus got lost on the way here from Woking and ended up going round and round various housing estates in Bracknell - I think part of Nine Mile Ride was closed. I was here on time but my daughter needed to be in Camberley by 5pm so I couldn't wait.
The cache was an easy find. I signed the log and left a toy soldier. Then I took a few photos to mark the occasion - my son had made a tiny banner for me saying "366 days of Puzzle Caches - A Puzzling Year wasted".
A lovely spring day today, but one thing that has struck me about this year is how late it is. Today there were bluebells just starting to flower on the bank next to this cache. I've just looked at a cache I did on April 5th last year in Binfield and I saw that I was commenting about the bluebells. Exactly a month earlier - what a difference a year makes.
I rang home on the way back to the car at 4:30 to confirm that I would be back by 5pm. I was interrupted by another call coming in from Richiecactus: "I'm here now. Where are you?". I looked around and saw I was standing right next to his car: "Err - I'm standing right next to you". So we did meet up after all.