Monday, August 10, 2009

Betting My Bumbershoot

In the beautiful northern end of the Sacramento Valley we are still experiencing triple-digit weather and numerous bright and sunny days. A bit warm for ideal letterboxing, to be sure, but what is ideal letterboxing weather? Whilst it is true that 70° F with scattered clouds might be idyllic, a bit of heat will certainly not take the joy out of it, so long as we stay hydrated and wear our sun block.

That said, it is the second week of August, and the industrious inner Scout has become concerned about the rain that will be upon us in forthcoming months. As a result, I have decided to add a really good umbrella to the letterboxing kit.

I have always wanted a whangee crooked Briggs umbrella! It is a gentleman's umbrella that may be carried with any garb short of dinner clothes, yet it is sportier than some more formally gripped umbrellas. If you opt for a Fox model instead of the classic Briggs, you may get it built on a heavy stick that is suitable for supporting a gentleman's weight. If you go that direction, however, you will lose the elegantly slim line of the folded umbrella, and it becomes less suitable for dress. And, because of the ever increasing price of whangee bamboo, the whole thing will cost you a great deal of money.

No, that is not the direction that I want to go for an ideal letterboxing instrument. I do want something that may be used as a hiking staff to steady myself on a muddying trail, and something that will protect my darling wife from the wet as well as me.

Sticks Etc. carries just the thing, I think. They carry a variety of Seat Stick Umbrellas – these offer the weary letterboxer a place to sit for a few minutes whilst puzzling out a clue or while swapping stamps. The canopy size varies, but even in the smallest size is generous. You may select from somber solid colors to subdued multi-colored to full rainbow multi-colored options.

While these umbrellas are not as pricy as the Briggs or Fox whangee discussed above, these are not cheap umbrellas either. They run from £75 to £105 (about $124 to $173 US at today's conversion rate), depending on the size, and if you want a rubber ferrule for the tip, it will cost you another £3.50. From my perspective, it is an investment well worth making, and it will last you many years in the field. And if you get the traditional multi-colored model, you will look like Number 2 out for a stroll in The Village.