As is the norm with Helen and I, we were running a bit late and zooming along the country lanes at a rate of knots to aim to get to the pub before everyone had left, and tonight we were in luck. As we pulled into a car park the size of a football pitch there was still quite a gathering. Apparently, according to our hare, we had come the long way to pub… well, we do like a challenge, life would be boring if you did everything the easy way!!
So, as usual we missed the briefing, but I heard mutterings of a 3.5, 4.5 and 5.5, a route for every hasher! Although as you will see later on it didn't quite turn out that way in reality!
By the time we had both donned our head torches, bibs, faffed with keys, bags and the boot, everyone had trotted off right out of the car park, but tonight's hare, Roger, stayed back to point us in the right direction. The first on-on took us down a very steep field. Thankfully it was dry and breezeless night, otherwise that hill may have caused a few casualties! Running down it I heard Roger and Helen behind me talking about the write-up. (Yes, you did read correctly, that isn't a typo… Helen was behind me!!!) Roger very sweetly and pleadingly asked Helen if she would do the report to which I heard a screaming reply "not a chance in hell". Roger had got the message and I knew what was coming next…. so here I am, slaving over a hot keyboard.
Not sure I can give you all the finer details of the hash as I don't really pay much attention to where we're going (typical sheep), I'd much rather use up extra energy exercising my jaw and talking to whoever is willing to listen, or listen to other hashers stories, in particular Niffer with her interesting life in Nigeria. After we survived the steep downhill, during which time there were grumblings of 'beeping 'ell, I bet there's a hell of a hill we've got to come up after that' (we're a clever bunch), we were on up and over a couple of stiles and through a field, into another field, and another field I think!
In the last field there was some confusion as to where we should go. The FRBs had been heading for the top left corner with the rest following (typical sheep) but FRBs suddenly took a turn and sprinted across the top of the field. Now I don’t know how the confusion started but most of the hash started to cut across the field and join the FRBs on their on-back thinking they themselves were running in the wrong direction! (Typical sheep)., thankfully one of the FRBs managed to shout louder than the rest and confirm that they were in fact on an on-back and everyone else should not panic and calmly make their way to the top left of the field. Confusion everywhere and you're probably even more confused after my waffling explanation of the event!
Jumping to the end of the hash for a moment, waking into the pub and realising there was no sign at all of the medium's or the short's. There was a very eerie atmosphere inside the deserted pub, mutterings that the Nettlebed Triangle may have something to do with their disappearance. It all apparently started after we ran across Nettlebed common and came to the long/short split at a single track road that leads to a junction at the corner of Stockings Plantation.
At this point I am going to confess to blatant plagiarism and use the contents of Roger's e-mail to me with the detailed explanation of where the missing hashers went wrong…..
The shorts went left along this single track road going North east, and the longs went right and ran around a loop to Crocker End and back to the long/short split. There was a check in Crocker End where the path NE7 met a road. Ade was the last one to come back from checking up this path and he said to Roger that there were more hashers behind him. Roger figured that Ade must have seen the shorts going towards Stockings Plantation as all others were accounted for. However, just in case, Roger put another arrow down on the road pointing out the correct route, in addition to the arrow on the check circle. The longs then went back to the long/short split and turned right up the road towards Stockings Plantation.
Roger thinks the shorts got to the check where path NE7 meets this road, checked right along NE7, then decided that there was some flour on a cow pat (perhaps just a crusty bit of pat) and called it right. (Ed’s aside: The person who called it the wrong way will remain anonymous – but Kerry knows who she is). This lead the group towards Crocker End where they missed the arrow signs on the road. Where they went after this no one knows but David G suggests they went all the way into Nettlebed (not very far, really), where they knocked on a house to ask for directions. Roz said she could hear us (the longs) calling ahead of her group as they crossed a field with cows, which is consistent with Roger's theory.
Anyway, once they got back on the Soundess House road, they would have seen signs all the way back to the pub. Phew!!!!
As for the original short cutters, it is a total mystery as to where they went, even though they had a map, but they caught up with the mediums eventually. Phew!!
So the longs ended up at the pub first for a change, and the mediums and shorts coming in a close second. Well… not that close really, probably about 20 minutes later! Good to see Sarah again, with a healing ankle helped along by a frisk walk tonight. Thanks to Roger for a good hash, although according to Mike it was the most horrendous hash ever, he said as he staggered through the door! Blame the Nettlebed Triangle I say, not Roger!