Ahh Tuesday, always a good day. I was looking forward to a pleasant evening – but changed my mind and went to hash anyway on the grounds that it was close to home and I would, for once, know where I was going. Arriving at the pub the confusion started.
The hare announced he wasn't the hare but really the deputy or assistant hare and the previously un-associated Peter, who it transpired, was formerly the assistant hare, or heir apparent, was actually the real head hare that would hare around here and hare. The cries from the confused hashers of "who's hare", "hare-hare" and "I can't hare what he's saying" did not help greatly to clarify the situation.
As the hash degenerated into its usual state of bewildered confusion the run lengths were announced to general rejoicing. Not primarily because the lengths were shorter than expected but rather more as the previous expenditure of hash brainpower had exhausted us all.
The evening's peregrinations began with a few of the more contumacious hashers checking in the wrong directions despite the hare's announcement that the route was over the road and into the field. He had even pointed. Duh!
And so it began. Over the road and across the field towards Juniper Hill followed by a swift left and right and before pressing on towards Marlow Bottom - which no sooner appeared than it was history. Around to Munces Wood (which was bought by local residents back in 1992 and is now a Chiltern "Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty" (AONB") and also, from memory, was the site of the first of the wildly over-plentiful "eight-on-backs" of the evening.
At around this point a hasher, who will remain nameless, tried to annoy me with bird puns, but I realized that toucan play at that game. On past the top of the gardens along the Marlow Bottom valley before we headed North towards Wymers Wood and down the steep road towards High Heavens Wood (a name which actually pre-dates the smelly tip by at least several hundred years). Checking into the wood I failed to hear the long-short split called but went long anyway, on past the Swaley's grave to yet another series of eight-on-backs, followed by a long and somewhat muddy up-hill drag through Hillgreen Wood. At the top we arrived at an entertaining little steep-sided quarry so, naturally, the route took us down one steep side and up the other. I was somewhat peeved at this as, just the weekend before, I had planned to do exactly the same thing when next I next took the hash through those woods. Grrrrr!
Into the field at the top we ran by the unusually named wood "Reading Shaw" before hanging a right and heading down the dirty great hill to Hollyhill Wood and the highlight of the evening. A right along the valley bottom and a steep left up the hill took us along a tranquil path to a secret series of Buddhist monuments (stupas).
Stupas are the oldest of all Buddhist monuments, actually predating Buddhism by several centuries when they were mounds of stone and earth to mark the burial of (it is claimed) a king. Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha's real name) asked for his relics to be placed under a stupa at a crossroads to remind people of the awakened state of mind. After this time stupas evolved into monuments that honoured the living and offered them the seed of enlightenment (they are also said to have developed into pagodas, with the stupa acting as a finial on top).
As the hash received its Buddhist seed of enlightenment it decided to use it in an hashing manner and head up the hill and straight back to the pub. On the way we passed within a hundred or so yards of a castle (Ragman's castle - if you don't believe me about the castle check it out on a map!).
A long downhill following a much overgrown path (which the hare and his assistant insisted that they bashed with sticks to improve, though I wondered if this was Hash speak for they planted extra nettles and brambles to maim the hashers) and the on-in eventually hove into view. Sadly the pub didn't hove at quite the same time and it was another trek across a hilly field before we regained our Nirvana.
The beer was good and the chips plentiful to the point that several hashers approached bursting point. Roger made his usual speech and the main hare, who had previously became the assistant to the original assistant hare, was awarded a 550 T shirt for all of his Trekking (see the T shirt if you don't understand). On the way out I overheard a somewhat disgruntled lady telling her friend "Thieves broke into my house last night and stole everything except my soap, shower gel, towels and a deodorant. Dirty Swine".