I was sitting in the office watching the rain falling into the Thames having, as dear readers you would expect, the best desk position with a superb view. Shame that the barge and pleasure cruiser traffic has slowed though which means less relief from the daily computer drudgery.
My thoughts turned to our hare, Gerry, no doubt stoically braving the elements to deposit flour of which little was going to be left come the run. But more of that later.
Turning off of the M40, the world seemed to change with the light mist swiftly turning to fairly thick fog. Arriving at the emporium there was the usual battle to find a car parking space in the small area which remains after the vast, and on a damp autumn evening totally unused patio.
I snugged in next to a 96 year old Probe, yes that unfortunate offering from Ford of which few have survived the knackers yard. The owner, a lady who I don’t think had stuck to lemonade, lurched out of the boozer and into the Probe with a swing of her door which succeeded in leaving or removing paint on or from mine.
Remonstrate as I might, it was no use as she failed to see the error of her ways and why I was annoyed, and duly wobbled off down the road in the old tub.
After Gerry had explained the rules of engagement and that the flour might by now have gone AWOL, and that he had donated our chips to Africa, we set off right along the road back towards the motorway and civilisation.
After a reasonable trot, we turned right down a footpath which led increasingly steeply into Hartmoor Wood. Nice to start with a “downer” but, being hashers, there was much mumbling about the size of the eventual hill which would be necessary to get back up to Base Camp.
We emerged from Hartmoor Wood and continued downwards alongside Commonhill Wood to a level probably only matched by the Dead Sea – or so it seemed. A right took us even lower and on to the edge of Penley Wood where that joyous thing, a short/long split was announced by our intrepid hare.
Now Gerry had also warned yours truly that the long took in a “right pig of a hill” and that at the lung busting end of the ascent ----- you had to come back down again. Nice eh, and not at all tempting to us hashers of a short persuasion. Glee at the thought of leaving the longs to their Eiger like fate was, however, tempered when Gerry announced that the short trail also had a considerable up bit which, whilst not as steep, went on longer than my does missus when I’ve come home a bit Hiccius Doccius.
The famous five, namely Abbey, Tom, Des, Barney and me set off on the short trail. It was quickly apparent that the white stuff was not too much in evidence due to the precipitation and we cautiously loped along the edge of Penley Wood checking just about everywhere but happily always eventually managing to find flour.
After a long pull through more woods, we found a long/short split and, as we found out, the beginning of the looooong hill up out of Twigside Bottom. It was generally agreed by all 5 of us that hills are totally unnecessary and that Buckinghamshire should be completely flat.
Eventually emerging past Twigside Farm and onto the road, we quickly realised (us ‘ashers ain’t as dum as you fink) that if we turned right we could leg it straight back to the grog shop but, rules is rules, so we dutifully followed the trail left and, boo hoo, away from the pub.
Now, theoretically, there is a footpath not far along the road which short cuts the long loop past the well named Hellcorner Farm. Anyhow, the combined talents of the Famous Five couldn’t find it and so we ran on until open country started to loom up where, at last, a footpath was discovered which took us right down a narrow track into more woods .
It was hear that a seismic event took place – Tom moosed. A superb backward plunge into the shiggy. Fortunately he was not hurt. Indeed, being built like a brick outhouse, I think the ground came off worst.
Having checked left up what was the right footpath per the map, Barney then checked up what was the wrong one and called us on up to a lane which ran alongside Ibstone Common. We spotted flour leading off left up a very muddy track out onto the common on which we promptly lost the trail.
After milling about a bit we found a track which took us out onto the main road after which a left turn gave us a run back to the pub where some of the longs were already ensconced having pared a bit off somewhere on the way round.
So what do I know of the longs adventures? Well there was some talk of ankle deep mud, I think someone said that Phil moosed and Aud was assaulted by a bird which flew directly into her.
Many thanks to Gerry for an eventful run and for donating the chip money to a worthy cause and also to Elayne who made some very yummy rum truffles which were very well received.
Great to see Dick Staines and Helles Belles, what a hill to miss !!