Skidding into the car park at hash o'clock (about 7:50pm), I caught the tail-end of the introduction, which was instructive as always - 'blobs on the right....unless they're on the left' - with the short announced as 'about 4 miles', and the long as 'more than 4 miles'. This prompted a lively Q&A session from certain nervous hashers (such as those with children starting school in the near future) seeking reassurance that these were indeed good old-fashioned imperial miles, rather than the new-fangled Kenometers. But then when have hares ever lied ?
Owing to a skittish torch, a broken GPS, and a woeful sense of direction, I really couldn't describe any landmarks on the run, other than there were ups & downs, lots of woods, and more roots than I'd care to mention....having tripped over most of them.
To be fair though, this wasn't for a lack of enthusiastic calling from some of our younger hashers, as we set off along a narrow track in the fading summer light, 'Roots.....Little Roots.....No roots.....Field on the left.....Wasp in front...no, hang on it's behind....actually it wasn't a wasp after all." Unfortunately Eve had gone quiet about an hour later, when I bashed into a bridge, tripped over an 'uncalled' obstacle, and landed in a holly bush - she has yet to develop her father's stamina on the verbal front.
Perhaps to celebrate the fact that it would be our 'younglings' last hash for a while, Kev kindly let two of them lug around his huge, hand-held torch, swapping it for one of their more petite Barbie princess versions, figuring it was dark and nobody would notice.
Another trusting sort was Andy, who in a rather involved discussion about the growing problem of modern man getting fatter, Darwinism, and type II diabetes, loudly declared, "If that is the case, then I am the Pinnacle of Man !", shortly followed by, "Damn, you're doing the write-up this week aren't you ?"
At the top of the next hill, we paused to examine Helen's glowing cleavage. Aaron declared she was actually sweatier than she looked, countered by Helen's protestations of 'But I'm just glowing.....look at me glowing' (the afore-mentioned cleavage was then brought out as Exhibit A....or maybe it was B, I'm not very good on sizes these days...if Ken had been around, it would have probably been a D).
Given that my headtorch was by now putting out less glow than Helen, I took to running behind those hashers with bigger and better lights, stopping briefly to help the two younglings, by now struggling badly under the weight of Kev's man-torch (he still wouldn't give the Barbie wand back). Unfortunately, the human lighthouse (Hawkeye) had gone short this evening, to protect his ravaged body ahead of a forthcoming cycle beer ride (spot the irony), so I had to settle for the next best thing, Red Dragon Gerry, sporting his new evil eye / red tie-dye t-shirt combo. Gerry was feeling a bit frisky though - perhaps he sensed a particularly juicy earthenwork around the corner? - and I soon lost his trail. This is when Mark's spoor tracking skills would have come in handy, but he was at the back of the pack, helping his sobbing daughter carry Kev's man-torch.
The hash was getting rather strung-out by now, requiring all the hare's considerable efforts to keep the disparate pack together, as Regroups started to be ignored with gay abandon....or just abandon, given that Roger was indisposed this week, apparently undertaking an examination of some new toilets over on Clapham Common.
Back in the Yew Tree, the Shorts had displayed a previously unseen turn of speed, busily polishing off all the bowls of chips in sight.....until the hare pulled off his final trick, no, not a rabbit from the hat (that would have been classy), unveiling the ultimate cheesy, tomatoey nachos. It's a shame - this was the one occasion when Des's Mexican outfit would have been entirely appropriate, maybe even with a little Mariachi dorito song thrown in - but such is life, and the poncho will have to live to fight another day....whatever the fancy dress theme might be.
After scoffing all the food (apart from Andy 'The Pinnacle of Man' who now claimed he was watching his weight), and commiserating with Achilles Ian, who had turned up on crutches with his own personal physiotherapist in tow (to be fair, it was his wife), we thanked Steve (and Aud) for a most enjoyable run, and then proceeded to ignore the various announcements about the coming Much Wenlock Hash Weekend. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?