It was a night of bosom expanding proportions when 62 hardy souls (worn on the feet of 31 somewhat less hardy hashers) gathered in the agreeable environs of the Hit or Miss for their intrepid bout of weekly hashing entertainment and mayhem.
Sadly, as Jo didn't make it to the Hash, there is hugely less scandal, innuendo and gossip to report than normal.
Julie, a virgin hasher graced our presence and five big, strong and supposedly intelligent male hashers totally failed to work out why they couldn't turn on her new head torch - until it was discovered that she had only inserted one of the batteries supplied, and had decided to leave the other one at home. Discussions turned to the hair colour of both Julie and her helpers – references to blond may have been made. (OK it's a fair cop gov, I was one of them.)
Now there is a question, in a sentence covering both boys and girls how do you spell blond? As I am sure you are aware, the word comes from the French, where it has masculine and feminine forms. As an English noun it is unusual as it keeps both of them; so a boy is "blond" while a girl is "blonde". Please note, I only said it was a question, I didn't say it was an interesting one.
Called together, Tash, our Harriet Hare for the evening, sped through the rules at a pace that acknowledged that nobody was really listening – though she grudgingly admitted that there may be some hills, there may be some mud, the short run may be 3.5 miles and the long run may be 5.5 miles. But, then again, they may not.
Heading south(ish) we ran across the field and into the Copse, where its broad, flat but gently meandering path became the site of our first on-back. Penhouse Grove came and went before we crossed over Gravelly Way into Common Wood, where I believe the short-cutters turned sharp right and headed back to the pub. Less lucky, the long-cutters didn't.
An ultimately futile but surprisingly enjoyable two mile clockwise loop through the mud and up the hills of Common Wood, past the path to Penn's elephant tree (see or click on image),and back to exactly the place where, having, the short cutters had turned off in the first place. With spirits high at having got off with relatively little shiggy, we followed the short cutters, little knowing what was in store for at least one of us.
A half mile trot (unless you were caught by a back check in which case it was further) along Gravelly Way and we veered right into the single largest ancient woodland in the entire Chilterns – Penn Wood and went up another hill. Just over the brow and round the corner we came to a lovely back check through a path overflowing with glorious gloop. Eventually we reached a short stretch of dry land followed by enough mud for a whole army of mud wrestlers.
Paul's mind may have been wandering, perhaps contemplating the finer technical issues concerning the noble sport of mud wrestling when, although he ran through the mud, one of his shoes did not follow quite as closely to heel as it should have. While the shoe was taking a rest and gently sinking into the mire, Paul (a lost sole?) stopped, hopped back and had to fish it out and return it to his now equally muddy foot.
Trotting on he seemed to see the funny side (though not half as much as the rest of us did). His sense of humour was fortunate for, in the next quagmire, he did a straightforward, flat-on moose face down into a superbly boggy and splashily squelchy bit. Worse still, he did it right in front of the evening's scribe. Never mind: the points he lost for poor moosing style (pretty basic low difficulty score, just straight over and splat into the mud), he more than made up for with a host of bonus points for creative endeavour and sheer entertainment value.
I heard later that Matt also moosed in the mud, but sadly the event was only observed by a few Hashers, and they seemed strangely reticent to share the details.
Past the war memorial, it was just a short dash across the Common before the Hit or Miss hove happily into view. In the pub the chips were plentiful and it was announced that the Halloween run in two week's time would be fancy dress. Someone, who will remain nameless, asked what the Halloween fancy dress theme would be (Duh? It's Mexican, everyone always has a Mexican theme on Halloween).