It's a lovely warm evening, I've just enjoyed a tasty meal and a couple of glasses of wine and I'm feeling very comfortable. So completely the opposite to Tuesday night then! We gathered in the gloom and mist at the Lions of Bledlow as the drizzle tried (unsuccessfully of course) to dampen our enthusiasm. Kevin greeted us all, promising a flat run, which would be significantly shorter than last week if considerably more muddy.
We set off across the first of many long and muddy fields with Kitty, Sooper's young daughter making good pace. I did hear Sooper say to her quite early on "now Kitty, you start crying and we can both turn round and go back to the pub"... but no, young Kitty Cooper is made of sterner stuff than that! Shame on you Mr Cooper.
After a while we looped down through the centre of Chinnor and paused for breath at the bottom of the hill. We headed across the recreation ground to reach the Ridgeway path, and waved a fond farewell to the shorts. The remaining long-cutters all knew what lay ahead but tried to cling on the vain hope that our hare might have taken pity on us and taken an easy route back?
Of course our hare had not chosen a wimpy route for us so we set up off the hill. I made the mistake of following Ian who is making a strong recovery from his Achilles difficulties. Testosterone and male pride took over at this stage as both of us had to keep running up the hill. Eventually, sense took over and we both started walking but only, of course, because the visibility became so poor (we are both sticking to that excuse) as we headed into the tropical rainforest of the Chilterns.
In the looming dark and low hanging cloud it did feel as if we might see some strange creature emerge from the woods. And yes, there was Helen (even she was walking by this stage), heading back down the hill annoyingly enthusiastic with her cries of "there's a five back at the gate!!"
At some point I recognised we were back on the Ridgeway (clever those signs, eh?). I remembered here, trying to run the Chinnor 10k some years ago with a terrific hangover – that was many years ago of course, before I became the paragon of health and social responsibility that I now am!
After that we started to head back toward the pub thinking of the beer and chips waiting for us. Helen said "this path leads directly back to Bledlow" leading us all into a (it proved) false sense of relief as Kevin decided to take us on one final loop across fields, down and up dell, before reaching the welcome "on inn".
The grinning shorts were waiting for us in the pub, where we were treated to generous portions of isotonic recovery food (otherwise known as chips).
We all thought we could relax by that point, but no, our beloved GM had other thoughts. In his ultimate wisdom he decided it was time for another fabled naming ceremony and I think (after his random ramblings) gave a selection of hashers the false impression that they had some vague input into the chosen name. Gerry was appointed in some capacity or other, to decide on the chosen name and poor Andy was forced to kneel on the ceremonial carpet while various discussions and arguments took place. Eventually, (I think) Andy was given the hash name of "Pandy" and manfully drank the remaining 1/3 of his pint (claiming it was his turn to drive and it was all very unfair) as a token gesture towards a down down (being too tall to put the empty glass on his head afterwards due to the low ceiling in the pub).
Thank you Kevin for a good run and good hospitality, and also to assistant hare Aud, who laid enough on backs for the rest of the summer.