Arriving at the car park of the changed venue was a bit disconcerting.
Firstly, there were four specky youths bashing hell out of an old Escort van which seemed to have upset them somewhat. Then there was the realisation that, apart from GM’s chariot, there was no sign of any other “hash mobiles”.
My fears were shortly allayed however as the specky’s did a runner and then a steady flow of hashers turned up, as is usual, at the last minute.
Jo dished out the usual sermon, detailing the estimated length of the long and short runs together with other salient facts designed to keep us on track and in check and then we were off.
Now, it is here that I have to confess to not knowing where we went on the first half of the short (of course) trail. Jo’s map was, like Jo herself, very stylish, a terrain style view showing a sea of dark green on which the route was detailed in blue apart from the shortcuts which were in yellow.
The map was, however, declared by several experienced personages to be totally unreadable and was passed from one quizzical hasher to another more unsuspecting one, all of whom came to the same conclusion.
Anyhow, I do know that we started by crossing the A404 and heading up onto the large area of open space between Terriers, Four Ashes and Widmer End which has somehow escaped the property developer.
It was here that Kerry imparted the secrets of life, or how to not feel totally knackered within 100 metres of starting a hash. Apparently, some sage at JAWS had passed on the following – “breathe deeply, fill up on oxygen from the stomach up and “shuffle” rather than run until your body gets acclimatised to the fact that you are going further than across the lounge for the remote.
Shuffling and sucking in vast quantities of oxygen, probably together with a bucket load of volcanic ash, we ran across the common to an early long/short split where us shorts turned off, I think, towards or near Grange Farm.
After perambulating several fields, and admiring Ryan’s seeming unending stamina as he charged back and forth like a demented bull looking for a matador to stick it to, we turned right into some woods and followed a trail which brought us out at the bottom of the hill from Hazlemere towards Holmer Green – the one with the nasty speed camera on it.
Here we discovered that the trail led, yes you’ve guessed it, back up the hill passing very close to where we had been ten minutes ago. Kerry proceeded to storm up the hill and even do an “on back” whilst those of us who had been forced to go to Wetherspoons earlier in the day, I own up, crept up the hill somewhat more slowly.
At the top we passed the parade of shops notable for containing the very worthy Santorini Greek Restaurant. Mike and Judy confessed to being thrown out of this establishment or to put it more gently “losing their loyalty card” after Mike asserted that the Greek coffee was really Nescafe (and probably that there wasn’t enough chocolate in the mousaka).
We ran on after several checks past The Three Horseshoes and on to The Crown where, after much deliberation, we took our life in our hands and crossed the A404 to run down the track opposite.
This lead downhill, crossing roads containing most salubrious housing. GM was in front and finally came to a couple of lines of flour which we interpreted as “ it ain’t down here chaps”. We, therefore turned right uphill passing more pricey houses, one of which is apparently where Jo’s parents live (and there wasn’t even time to drop a begging letter in the door).
At the top of the hill Janet, who by now had the map and actually could make some sense of it, declared that the trail lay on back down and away from the pub. After much wailing, we complied running back down past even more fancy housing until GM declared that the trail must go right and promptly headed off up someone’s driveway.
The owner of the house in question soon put him straight and lingered until we had gone in case further incursions into his property were made.
At the bottom of the hill we found the other end of the path with the two lines of flour and another long/short split which we followed down into King’s Wood and on to a crossing track where a right turn took us along the valley bottom and on in.
Back at the pub, Barney, whose birthday it was on Wednesday, came up trumps with a huge tub of sour cherry flavour marshmallows. These were well supplemented by the provision of not only chips but also onion rings. Another calorific disaster for those of our number dreaming of losing a few pounds!!
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Well done Jo.