Leslie said: All you need is love.
The Hash sang: She loves you yeah yeah yeah.
Ken grimaced: When I'm sixty four!!
Get the drift? Ken was the birthday boy but it was well into the evening before the news eventually reached me.
Before that, Ken had been 61 years old when he started setting the Hash. Or so he claimed. The intervening time had been spent mainly clearing away brambles and stingers from the path.
How did he do that? Did you come prepared or was it done the natural way,with tooth and nail? Notwithstanding, when we did arrive at the de-natured route and saw how wild and savage the surroundings were, we really appreciated your earlier efforts.
And for the pedants among you, I did exaggerate the time element. However 3 hours it really took was still a herculean effort.
When you arrive for a Hash from the Gate, you know that it is only a matter of time before you climb up the sides of the valley. The intrigue lies with the “when”. As Audrey will testify, we have had many a good romp going parallel and orthogonally around these parts in the past.
We were joined on this evening by a number of younger offspring. A couple of Cooperettes, Eve Bellamy and Kai(bab) Grimsdale the Greek. You might think that the parents say “If you do not behave I will take you out running with me tonight. It seems, however, that the converse is true. You must be an angel and then you can go Hashing.
Back to the run. On this occasion we went straight up Bryants Bottom (juvenile giggle) before bearing right (up hill, naturally) towards Denner Farm. On the way up we admired Ken's clearance. He had even created his own public footpath to avoid the worst of the undergrowth.
Having arrived at the top we found ourselves turning to the north where the contour lines are more clement. The SC and sprogs shot off right while for us there was an abundance of Hampdens.
First we crossed Hampden Common, then Great Hampden Farm flew by on the left, Hampden Coppice that we thankfully avoided because it is downhill and another Hampden Common (?). Bored with the Hampdens yet? OK. Let's move up a gear and enter Great Hampden Park and mount the mound. This marked the half way point of our run.
Bear right towards Grims Ditch with Hampden House to our backs.
Here I made the mistake of saying to Amber that the House/church was a beautiful place to get married. I won't make that mistake again and mention the “M” word.
In the appropriately named Lodge Wood, Auntie Helen earned her brownie badge by giving young Kai a piggy back over the shiggiest parts of the course. Normally Kai wouldn't be seen dead getting such an assist but tonight Mummy Grimsdale had forgotten to bring his normal running shoes. So needs must.
After a brief sojourn on Hangings Lane we entered the last leg of our journey. We howled through Nafan Wood and roared up the other side of the valley in a perambulatory sort of way. Past Denner Hill Farm (which is different from Denner Farm. These differences mean a lot around these parts) and down the steepest, slippiest path we had negotiated to date. And into Bryants Bottom again (juveniles, do wake up) and the climax of the evening.
Bangers and chips all round.
Happy birthday Ken. Great run.