Sorry folks, it’s me again [You're sorry? Think how we feel! - Ed.]. In Gerry’s absence I was delegated to do the write-up. So apologies in advance if this ends up being a re-run (re-hash?) of last month’s epistle.
The Black Horse is well known for being the nearest local to the Women’s Institute in Lacey Green and therefore has acquired a well deserved reputation as caterer to a glowing (and occasionally sweating) clientele. However, as it was well past G&T o’clock, we pretty had the car park to ourselves. And then the verges. And then the road. As you can tell, it was a pretty good turnout.
Our hares were Flamey Bearcat and her youngest male cub, the BFG (aka Nickey and Zac). The weather forecast gave a 10% chance of rain, but as it was FB’s lucky night, that 1 in 10 chance came good, falling as very fine snow. Good start.
Two virgins were offered to the group. John is the latest offering from the Marlow stable. Good fetlocks and a cocky swagger to his gait. And Zambezi Jack, part of the Staines dynasty. At this rate, Dick Dastardly will have to buy Downton Abbey in order to accommodate all his clan.
BFG had a glint in his eye as he suggested the run might be long. FB had a glint in her eye too. No, it wasn’t the contact lens. It was a tear. She was on the verge of breaking down completely as she confessed that the run would not be as muddy as last time. She knows how much we treasure our gloop.
BFG started speaking again, his eyes rolling up and down, up and down. Was he OK? I didn’t realise he was replaying, in his mind's eye, the trail we were about to follow. He smiled, knowingly. He knew he was right, as the on-on was called, right. Then right down Church Lane, which led us to path L1.
L for level you ask? Hnn-hnn. The contours flashed by. 700, 600, 500. And we had only gone 50m!
Smalldean Lane provided some respite as far as the farm, then BR1 carried us further towards the centre of the earth. Clunk. We hit the 400 contour. The BFG smiled a slightly broader smile. Not only were the views wonderful when they set the run, but the next turn would be up, still following the edge of the wood. Then down.
Oh look. There’s a path that goes back (up) into Park Wood. I wonder if that’s the right way? Silly me. Of course it was.
Oh look. There’s path BR3. It goes back down. I wonder if that’s the right way? Get the gist? Fortunately, the hares ran out of trails that were orthogonal to the contours. However, they still had plenty of ammunition. Did I tell you about the on-backs? 8. 6. 8. The hares were very generous to us. Or, should I say, to the FRBs. Trail length as the crow hops: 5.5m. Run length as the FRB lopes: 8.2m.
The Bradenham Manor House was resplendent on our left as we passed it heading SE. Then, it looked equally resplendent on our left as we passed it heading NE. Not quite heading back, but a tangential track was better than the alternative. Or was it? It went uphill (again) towards the Coppice.
I think there was a bit of improvisation around here, so as to avoid running along Bradenham Wood Lane (good plan). But eventually we turned for home, skirting the edge of the RAF base. Hello Lyndsey. Are you there?
Back into Park Wood and the going starts to get a bit stickier (promising!) You all know what Naphill Common is capable of. Like Fangorn Forest, but without the elves and Ents.
Bradenham Wood comes to an end and we reach Smalldean Lane again. A right and left take us onto Grim’s Ditch which was notable for its horses, or more to the point, the hoof-churn around their stables. (Helen confessed that her stable was just like this when she started out. That’s dedication for you.)
Then it was On-Inn, along the flat, mud-free road.
Thank you, hares. A good workout. Good chips. Good sausages. I even got to eat some.
Jokes: Category, bad puns.
“My ex used to hit me with stringed instruments. If only I had known about her history of violins.”
“Did you hear about the two silk worms in a race? It ended in a tie!”
And one for Hawkeye, who will do a great impression. “Having sex in an elevator is wrong on so many levels.”