Was the name of the pub ominous or what it just that Des had "come on the bus" cutting off his means of escape? As it turned out, his mexiticulous setting skills and another 9Kg of flour had ensured that, despite the rain, the pack would not get lost (even Mike) and Des would be able to catch the last train home (via Dover, that being the shortest route that public transport can achieve from downtown Asheridge).
We had to wait a while as any who had shunned sat-nav went round the long way and finally pulled in from the other direction. Then we were off!
We had not gone 50 yards when there was a call from behind. Matt had dumped his phone in the shig. The sentiment is entirely understood but next time he'd do better to dump it in a lake so the interruptions would be permanently silenced.
Then we set out towards Widmore wood, a charming little shiggy spot, and on toward Bellingdon.
Not unusually for an HWH3 trail, we passed through many fields with numerous horses giving us (as usual) puzzled looks. Humans, after all, have no need to self-propel when there are plenty of four-legged friends on hand. It was around here somewhere that Graham wanted to know exactly what the horses were wearing and why. Unusually, there was no horse expert on hand to shed light.
After a search online your scribe unearthed a facsimile so you can see what peaked Graham's curiosity.
After another stile or two advice was at hand in the shape of Helen, delayed by having go home and change out of her 4" heels. She clarified that the masks were for dressage, to keep the horses focused on the true path to winning rosettes.
After the wood we entered more fields containing, guess what, more horses. Barney must have become distracted because there was a sudden howl as he slid off a slippery style - there were plenty to choose from.
Within sniffing distance of Bellingdon we swung North West and passed several farms. I won't bore you with the details as I have forgotten them. In the immortal words of the 3 Bonzos' Rodney Slater:
"Where's my memory gone? Where's my memory gone? When I woke up this morning I'm sure I put it on." (Hair of the Dog, £10 + postage if there are any left.)
After another right turn and another 200 metres we came out on a road. At this point misplaced optimism struck as this was evidently the way back to the pub. We'd inadvertently recce'd this on the way to the hash (see above).
But it was not to be. The trail swung right towards Chartridge. Down we went and up again, missing many of the on-backs - they had been rained out.
On reaching the road the shorts departed on a presumably gentle stroll back to the pub. If they were running hard to get to the food first they were disappointed as that did not arrive until all were back at the pub (smart move).
The longs then meandered on a complex but scenic route south of Chartridge, coming back onto the road near the Bell. A road run followed, reaching an up-market caravan park. Des looked longingly at the accommodation and cool wheels parked nearby.
Des was observed to be still re-laying the trail from the middle of the pack. This is novel idea, a variation on a live hash. The necessity escapes me tho'.
The final down and up felt severe but probably wasn't really. Once again, the mud meant that it was two steps up and one down until we reached the road and the on-inn.
At the pub we found a disappointed Mark whose good-Samaritan behaviour towards a fellow motorist had caused him to miss the whole affair. He and the other driver successfully pulled the fellow's car out of the shiggy.
We congratulated Des on his mexiticulousness and the excellent and plenteous grub he had organised. The pub has great beer and gets 5 stars for hash-friendliness. The least we could do for Des was to give him a lift home.