"It was the best of hashes,
it was the worst of hashes,
it was the hash of swiftness,
it was the hash of sluggishness,
it was the hash of checking,
it was the hash of chatting,
it was the hash of on-on,
it was the hash of on-back,
it was the hash of cracking on,
it was the hash of dithering about like a bunch of lemons,
we had blobs before us, we had checks before us, we were all going direct to the On-Inn, we were all going direct the other way— in short, this hash was so far like last week's hash, that some of its noisiest authorities [i.e., me] insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
In other words, for those of you who prefer plain talking to a weak pastiche of a Dickens' classic, how in the blazes did you lot manage to take one-and-three-quarter hours to meander around my hash last week, then cover a similar distance over similar terrain in not much over an hour this week??!
Having got that off my chest, I turn now to a different topic - Zoology, or more precisely, the Tubulidentata. As any fule kno, the only extant species of this order (and indeed of the family Orycteropodidae) is, of course, Orycteropus afer, or the aardvark, a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. Whilst its common name derives from the Afrikaans for 'earth-pig', the aardvark is not closely related to the pig. Nor is it closely related to the South American anteater, despite sharing some characteristics and a superficial resemblance.
By now you are probably a) using your copy of the Hash Trash as a chip-wrapper, and/or b) wondering why I am banging on about aardvarks. The reason, of course, is plain to anyone who has taken the trouble to look at a route-map of this hash, which - at least to the fevered imagination of our hare, Hawkeye, who was named thus for his well-deserved reputation for ocular astuteness... Some might carp that he had clearly been a little over-enthusiastic whilst sampling his home-brew before arriving at this opinion; I do not presume to judge. If that's what Hawkeye thinks an aardvark looks like, then who am I to question?
As to the run itself - excellent. Like a perfect egg; well-laid. Like an imperfect tyre; flat. Like Mummy Bear's bed; not too short, not too long, just the right length. [That's enough spurious comparisons. Ed.] All these circumstances resulted in rapid progress being made by the Longs, who managed to catch up with the dilly-dallying Shorts, and - despite the GM's best efforts at throwing down numbers - overtake at least some of them.
As is often the case when we run in this neck of the woods, the hare gave us the opportunity of paying our respects to the late Mike Gilby, the co-founder of HWH3, who, whilst on a hash in April 2004, sadly collapsed outside a pub - The Blackwood Arms - and died from a heart attack. There is a small brass plaque on a telegraph pole near the pub commemorating Mike, who I'm sure would have been delighted to see the hash in fine fettle and flourishing almost 15 years after his passing.
Back at the pub, the selection of beers - as ever - was excellent, and the chips done to perfection. A couple of old gits got given t-shirts (or are they self-assembly marquee kits?) for their 650th (Sooper) and 700th (Yours Truly) runs, and a grand time was had by all. Many thanks for another top-notch hash, Hawkeye!