On a surprisingly mild (when the wind wasn't whipping about) late November evening, we assembled in the car park of the Old Queen's Head for what was mysteriously called the Silly Hats Hash. Rose was lulling us into a false sense of security proffering pre-run chocolate truffles. Apparently we had run from here some time ago, but so long ago that it doesn't (or at least didn't by the time you read this) appear on the Chip Advisor.
Pretty early on in the pre-run briefing the Silly Hats weren't the only thing mystifying the gathered hashers, including the welcome return of the Pryors. Let me try to summarise: 25 years earlier it was not a surprisingly mild November evening; rather, it was a rather dark and stormy November evening that greeted Gerry's first High Wycombe Hash. So dark and stormy, in fact, that Gerry's inaugural hash was one of the (very) few to be cut short due to adverse meteorological conditions. In commemoration of this fact, the gods had decreed that the longs would run 3.2 miles, the shorts would run 5 miles, the short course was floured, the long course was not, there were two double-headed arrows which if you approached from one direction meant you followed one arrow but if you approached from the other direction you went a different way. To be honest, it all felt a bit fin de siècle, which is pretty good going 17 years in, but so briefed, we headed off, in all our silly-hatted glory!
The run started off in a pretty civilised manner, through some back streets of Penn, before hitting some fairly standard hashing territory; the mud was there, but didn't really deserve to be called shiggy. Pretty soon we hit the long/short split. At this point people started thinking that it was just possible the hare hadn't been 100% straight with us at the briefing, and it rather felt like it might be the longs who were due to do the 5 miles. Alright, to be honest, I don't think any of us really expected that the longs would run 3.2 miles, but hey ho, we were on on and loving it.
We soon encountered one of the aforementioned double-headed arrows... we more or less treated it like a blob and the hare didn't seem to mind this so I guess we got the gist of the briefing. The hash then carried on, more or less like a regular hash, albeit with people wearing traffic cones, spiders, cow horns, troll wigs, Native American head-dresses... actually, thinking about it, it carried on like a normal hash. Before long we ran into (Ed: Oh dear, did you really need to do that??) another double-headed arrow, although this was a two-way check, which hadn't been mentioned in the briefing.
The mud was occasionally... well... muddy. Sometimes sticky and clumpy, sometimes wet, sometimes slippy, occasionally getting into your shoes, but nothing to frighten off a hardy hasher. We had settled into a silly-hatted rhythm, with the occasional clash of headgear. Sometimes on a hash there is an interesting sight, like a house beautifully reflected in the water (if only there was moonlight), but tonight, the hare had marked an ANTS stop, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. "Why do we have a stop for Ant?" queried a hasher. "Ahh", came the reply, "this is the Absolutely Nothing..." . "To See here" chorused the hash.
Anyway, eventually along a narrow path we found a patch that was a little slippier than normal "Ooh, this is a bit muddy" commented one of the hashers. Warningly the hare replied, "Yes, it gets muddy soon". And by soon he meant that soon we would see Speed Bump, about 6 inches shorter than we are used to. "Hmm .. What's going on .. ? Oh my G... " So, while Ant was offering a helping hand as we went past, his feet were well and truly stuck in mud (Ed: Really? Come on, we expect better than this!). Now this wasn't just mud, this wasn't just shiggy, this was IGSHy Shiggy. At this point wellies would have been a better choice than a silly hat. But aside from a few people who decided they needed a quick wallow in the mud, mud, glorious mud and a broken horn, we all survived the special treat the hare had laid on for us.
Before we knew it the mud was just a distant anecdote for us to relive over a pint and some chips at the Old Queen's Head.
Did you know the third Montgolfier brother developed the cold air balloon .... It never really took off!
I once auditioned as cricket commentator, I missed out on the job after I said: "I don't want to bore you with details".
Last year I ran the Cardiff Half Marathon, it was the Devil's own job to keep up with the Joneses.
Apparently since Cadbury's has been bought by Mondelez they are localisng their product names; in Hong Kong their aerated chocolate bar is now known as Chinese Wispa.