Unusually for me I arrived in plenty of time for this week's hash but, while preparing myself physically and mentally for the rigours to come (i.e. a yawn and a half-hearted stretch), I discovered that I had left my running shoes just by the front door at home! Luckily (?) for me, Barney came to the rescue by lending me a very nice pair of Nike trainers that fitted very well. Thanks to Barney, and I promise to give them back when I have cleaned them!
The rabble assembled and we greeted Graham Quinion, a long-lost previous hasher of ours that we had carelessly misplaced until Maggie found him in the woods while laying the trail. Betty-Anne also joined us for a drink afterwards so, hopefully, both of them will join us again on a regular basis? It was also good to see Hawkeye back after his knee op, not running yet, but give him time! I had overheard Maggie telling someone before the start that this would be one of the most shiggified (is that the correct adjective?) runs of the year, a fact which failed to make it into her briefing for some reason. We were promised a long run of, very precisely, 5.6 miles and a short of 4 miles. As usual, no-one had these readings on their GPS devices when we got back, but why break with tradition, eh?
Off we plodded, finding the first check very soon but carefully laid just out of sight of the pub. The run quickly evolved into the shiggy bath as promised and we splashed our way along numerous paths through what, I am sure, is lovely Buckinghamshire countryside. I kept recognising places en route, but I had no understanding of how we got between them. The rest of the pack seemed similarly confused, with the possible exception of Keyboard Ken who has explored this area for many a long year since the days of his youth in Coleshill.
The longs and shorts parted company close to Coleshill and we long runners continued south through even more shiggy. It was here I began to fear the worst as I thought we might be heading toward Hedgemoor Woods which are deep in shiggy even during the summer but, thankfully, my sense of direction proved to be completely wrong and we emerged back onto the lane which comes back up to Winchmore Hill. I vaguely remember more fields, shiggy and gates and then we emerged by the small pond on the lane between Winchmore Hill and Penn Street. There is a very interesting board here telling of the history of the area, which once employed quite a few furniture manufacturing workshops, but unfortunately after a short regroup we had to set off again toward the pub, the time being already around 9.15!
Shortly after, we spotted what turned out to be the longest ever On Inn which was followed by two 6 back-checks. There were rebellious mutterings about not having checks after the On Inn so they were mostly ignored as the pack was pretty much together coming back into Penn Street, where we found the second On Inn, carefully placed to avoid any confusion.
Back in the pub we were treated to Maggie's fabulous homemade chocolate brownies and fudge as well as chips and rather delicious beer. We sang 'Happy Birthday' to Maggie for, I think, her 35th birthday(?) and to Barney for his birthday the following day (somewhat more than 35 I fear!). The evening's entertainment was not yet over as we celebrated 500 runs for not one, but two stalwarts of the hash, Matt (Rayner) and Sooper who were presented with their rather splendid tankards.
Thanks to Maggie (and Dave) for a good run, good beer and good food. What more could a hasher want?