Even though Phil’s daughter set the trail, Sue’s catering took pole position at this event.
True, the short trail barely nudged 3 miles, with the longs well exercised at just over 6 – now there’s an incentive for your trail on the 21st, Ken: true, the trail meandered gently o’er Christmas Common’s farmland, fields and forest (wherein Summer found the most stagnant, stinking pond-puddle for a mud-laden frolic). Also true was Maggie’s trip to ground level to examine horizontally the tree stump that so rudely interrupted her progress and unkind but true, was Alex’s consignment of his daughter to the scintillating company of the old buffers (Livy and Judy excepted of course) on the short trail as he shot off with Hector and the Hughenden Ladies on the Long.
Barely 3 miles brought the Shorts unhurried and unsweating to the “BS” point: not, as some suggested, “Bloody Stupid”, nor, as even more opined, “British Standards”, to the truly lavish Beer Stop, set out under the gentle awnings of Phil and Sue’s 12 bedroom flint cottage, sporting more extensions than an Afro hair-do: so attractive was the BS that even Peggy, the household’s high IQ dog, had hightailed it back to base well within the first mile.
The banquet laid out before us surpassedeth much of man’s understanding: crisps au sel, crisps sans sel, crackers dans le style de prawns, chunks massives de gateau au chocolat, all washed down with petites bouteilles de la biere francaise.
Had we (sorry, I) not scoffed so much, there might well have been a quick plonge dans la piscine outdoors: a second chance to do so will need to be taken up in haste, given Sue’s imminent plans to convert the pool into a primeval swamp in which Summer will delight in hunting down the odd plesiosorus or two.
Small wonder then, that the long wait for the pub’s mini-chips barely raised an aggrieved murmur from the Shorts, giving rare preference therefore, to those on the Long who’d groped around in the pitch-black woods, but missed, the “BS” sign.
For those (many) who cannot stand the smell, taste or even sign of Breakspear, this was not a cruel anti-British gesture on the part of our German publican: Reine – for that is his name – had warned Phil that the pub’s beer delivery was due the day after the Hash. Since the warning included no reference as to the marque of beers to be delivered, a lorry load of Breakspear delivered even a day late, would have brought little comfort to those faced with the single choice available on Hash Tuesday from the three taps.