As soon as you see Jo's name appear on the runs list for a winter hash one of two things are safe to assume, one it will be from The Crown Hazlemere or two it will snow. This time we were treated to both.
For any of us valley dwellers Sunday's snow had pretty much cleared up by Tuesday, not so the case at the altitude of Hazlemere which still had several inches of the white stuff, this fact probably helped account for a very good turn out on another very chilly night.
The evening started with a very sad tale of woe from our hare, the only window of opportunity Jo had to set the trail had been on Sunday which unfortunately for her also turned out to be one of the wettest days for a while. So wet had become her rucksack the bags of flour inside had split open and turned into one giant ball of dough but she bravely fought on through the mud and cold to lay a trail just for the rain to turn to snow and completely obliterate her efforts. Some of the more cynical hashers muttered under their breath "likely story she got no further than the bar" but later one small flour sample was indeed found (but only seen by Jo's closest and most loyal friends …. hummmm! )
The weather conditions having dune their worst the chance of finding the trail were nil so the run became a sort of live/led hash with the use of a trusty acme thunder to announce the on backs.
The pack, eager to get going, set off diagonally across the recreation ground completely oblivious to the hare leading a few stragglers away to a path behind the tennis courts but order was soon resumed. The first obstacle was reached - a flooded ditch, now I'd like to say that the gallant hashers carried the ladies through the freezing quagmire but I would be lying, nearer the truth would be the girls were pushed in and used as stepping stone. At the next check Bryony fell foul of Roger's " why don't you check down there little girl mwahahah" while the rest of the hash carried on in the direction indicated by the hare. The next section was closer to an alpine piste and probably graded black which led us steeply down before the inevitable steeply up to Millfield Wood and all the time the hasher getting more and more piste off with that ******g acme thunder. The Cresta Run, known local as Church Lane, made for a challenging descent into Hughenden Valley, Amber took an ankle injury for her troubles so there was talk of her going short to Helen's as we could "see her house from here ". Time was pressing and we still had get up Cryers Hill - but the thought of bowls of hot chips being laid out before Mike drove the pack to dig deep and make pretty good going for such bad conditions under foot.
Once back at the recreation ground our very own Mark "Teddy Bear Grills" Bellamy appeared, rumour has it he's been surviving in the wild with only his bush craft skills since Ian's hash.
At the pub goodies abound with chips and not just one birthday cake but two ! And a naming ceremony for Bryony who from now on is lumbered with the hash handle "Crotch Slam" (the hours off funs she going to have explaining that whenever she visit's a new hash or the Aussie gay bars that Roger thinks she will be frequenting. Any suggestions for where Jo's acme thunder can be stored until next year ? Answers on a post card to Gerry please.
Good job Jo under very testing conditions (try June next time much easier)