"I can't say I was never lost….but I was once sure bewildered for three days"
Having dutifully gathered in the National Trust car park, well out of eyesight, so as not to completely destroy Phil's cosy relationship with his local pub, a couple of us were milling around, unsure of the starting location. "Look, it's a pub, just follow the bloody signs?!", exclaimed Ade, gesturing wildly around him…encompassing the two illuminated pub signs to the left and right of us, neither of which belonged to the pub we were looking for. Anyway, a quick check in the Old Crown later (no, we didn't leave a flour circle on the carpet in the Main Bar!) and we joined the rabble in the pub car park, just in time to hear Phil lay down the law for the evening:
"Now the flour is laid on the right…it's quite important that you remember that…". Looking round at the blank faces, I could see that over the half the hash had forgotten that already, so Phil (cunningly) even had a 'special symbol' ready to ram home his point, something like two arrows meeting in a flash of lightening. Or a flour bag explosion. Take your pick. By now, Phil had lost three quarters of the hash, and so sensing the collective brain dead, didn't even bother to ask us to check it out…"Look, why don't you all just go right, OK?!"
We duly did. And I duly I trotted along quite merrily behind Andy, as we dutifully followed the flour (on our RIGHT), quite a way down a narrow fenced path, before we hit an 'on back'. "I now know what it feels like being a tube driver", quipped Ade, as we dutifully retraced our footsteps down the narrow aforesaid path, only to find Phil waiting back at the top, hands on hips, looking rather truculent. "Why the hell did you go that way then?" "Erm…because there was flour on the right?" "Didn't you see the arrow on the left" "No…because we were following the flour on the right?" "Don't you lot EVER listen?!" At this point Phil ran off. We decided to give him a few seconds and followed at a safe distance….
Talking of 'safe distances', Roger was in more than his customary ebullient mood, scaring people from the off with talk of gender-neutrality, reassignment, and the like; apparently, it is now de rigeur to use 'they' or 'them' rather than 'he' or 'she'. We ignored this declaration, and decided that Roger would henceforth be known as Rogee, not necessarily gender neutral, but far more amusing and one which would represent his capacity to 'receive', rather than to 'give'! Well, he started it!
The hash proceeded to take on an even more surreal turn, as we started to lose individuals left, right, and centre. Poppy didn't even make the start, having been taking ill at home, then D4 almost became D3 on account of a hole/thorn/trip hazard (not quite sure what the Doggy call is for 'roots'?), which took Alan and Sandra out of the equation, Sarah went missing for a while, presumed lost down a hole (cue various Alice in Wonderland jokes, with Roger assigned the role of the - gender neutral - Red Queen), and finally Hawkeye went missing full stop, presumed to be following his very own 'special' trail.
As usual, if you're looking for detailed instructions on exactly where we ran, check out the Hashalator, or I hear the OS does some rather good maps now?! In a nutshell, we headed out westwards, then at some point turned round and ran back eastwards, along the ridge between the golf course and Cock Marsh (well, there are some names which do stick in the memory!) and thence to the pub. The ridge run was a particularly beautiful section, with the River Thames meandering down below on our left, reflecting the hazy light of the waxing gibbous moon [note: gibbous moon = any moon that appears more than half-lighted but less than full; waxing = expanding in illumination; waning = decreasing in illumination]
Other things I learned on Tuesday's hash:
Back in the pub, there was much amusement to be had at the trying on of forthcoming hash t-shirts for size. [To Kev] "What size is Kerry?" "How should I know?" "Well, she is your wife…" "Well, she's not overly endowed in the breast department, I know that much…." Meanwhile, Mark and Alex opted for the female stripper option (3 sizes too-tight singlet, worn just covering the top half), Kev tried to get away with a medium (yeah right!), and Hawkeye got lost in his t-shirt.
During Roger's 'thank you speech', it was decided that Sue's flour blobs (she had helped Phil to set the hash) were nicely-spaced and of a very dainty size 12 variety, whereas Phil's were just chucked all over the place in typical manly fashion……and please don't get Roger started on what a gender-neutral flour blob should look like!