After promises (threats) of torrential rain and high winds, us hardy hashers gathered in surprisingly mild and dry conditions in the surprisingly large car park of the King's Head in Cookham; goodness, it even had room for Hawkeye's recently rehabilitated roadworthy range rover. Of course such a gathering could mean only one thing: the perfect opportunity for me to disguise a plug for The Stoke Poges Players 2019 Pantomime (The Little Mermaid, since you ask) as a hash write up. This is your opportunity to see Budgie and Cartwheel on stage. At time of writing there are still some tickets available for all performances, but they are selling fast.
Oh yes, so hardy hashers in a carpark. Our Hare stepped up to share with us that Cookham was not only the home to Stanley Spencer (still must pop into the eponymous gallery) but also to a newly unsuccessful drug importer.
Mick's briefing then took on a more conventional tone highlighting the probable lack of flour (but plenty of other white powder?) and a surfeit of shiggy and also that the longs could look forward to 5.75.8 (plus or minus about .4 if one chose Fairly Long or just Long) For the shorts it was a couple of miles less. Somewhat unexpectedly, given our proximity to Winter Hill, the Hare also told us it was pretty flat for the shorts and a only a couple of moderate hills for the longs. Without any further ado, Mick sent us on our way, out the car park and left down the High Street.
We successfully navigated as far as the Chartered Institute of Marketing (it really is quite a lovely building - not sure what it says about marketeers) before the perennial winter curse of imaginary flour struck and a handful of us had to be called back. Once back on it was a gentle canter through some fields before tracking along the Strand. After about one and half miles we turned pretty much 180 degrees and headed another mile or so back up to Cookham Station for our long / short split.
Suspiciously the shorts headed off in the direction of the main road back to the pub, while the longs were sent up to a neighbourhood park featuring a fine array of play equipment (and mercifully, from my perspective, poo bins). With the obligatory whoopin' and hollerin' out of the way, we crossed Alfred Major Park and wiggled through some suburban streets. If memory serves me right it was on a right turn on those streets that Moose reminded us all how he earnt his sobriquet. Poor Ade clipped a bush and came to an unpleasantly crunchy and prone stop. He assured the caring assemblage that the blood pouring from his knee was the result of nothing more than a scratch and he'd completed hashes with far worse wounds.
Somewhat distressingly, as we clattered along Whyteladyes Lane (the clattering was mostly down to Spy's ground down spikes) we didn't yet seem to be heading back to the pub. Instead we went off road again, turning left past the Cookham Dean Cricket Club, before popping out adjacent to Uncle Tom's Cabin. Another short on road section ensued. While there was a little discussion around whether this was precisely the route Mick had intended us to follow, we resolved that if it wasn't, it did appear to be longer than the planned route and hence we were morally in the right. As we left the road for another field there was a slight incline which meant, inevitably, we were heading up Winter Hill. To be fair to the Hare, it was likely to be the most gentle approach to Winter Hill we had ever run.
From there it was back down the Hill to Strand Water again, and along Cookham Moor where we found the FL / L / S split . Past the Crown and up the high street, we were back at the Pub in plenty of time to enjoy some truly Brobdingnagian chips and veritable deluge of drizzle cake . Sadly the beers were not as abundant as the cakes, the result of the lack of delivery of cask ales. That left some hardy hashers reduced to drinking fully priced (as the marketeers down the road would phrase it) 'craft ales'.
All in all a really rather good evening. Many thank Mick
J O K E S
I won first prize in the Play a Strangers Brass Instrument competition. I don't go on about it as I don't like to blow my own trumpet.
The only thing my father left me in his will was a globe .. it means the world to me.
Did you hear about the literary criminal who Tip-Ex'ed out all the full stops? She got a long sentence.
I went on a date with an Eskimo. It started a bit awkwardly; I tried to break the ice with her father when I picked her up from her igloo.
When I sleep I always dream about trying to divide 10 by 3 .. It's a recurring dream.
Did you hear about the two ships that collided? One was carrying red paint, the other blue. All the sailors ended up marooned!
Those, and many more pantomime jokes, can be enjoyed at the Stoke Poges Players' production The Little Mermaid - 5, 6 , 7 and 8 of December. Tickets available at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/stoke-poges-players