Despite the weather forecast, the rain had finished for the day as we gathered in Lane End car park for the evening's jollities. After the usual chit-chat and late arrivals, Roger's shrill whistle announced the start of the traditional "Ignoring of the hare" and GM ceremony.
As usual I started by going in the wrong direction before taking up my standard racing position of way behind everyone else - they had already disapeared from the car park before I even got back after checking the wrong way.
We ran towards the motorway bridge before turning off down the steps to the mile-long check (it seemed longer) besides the motorway and back to the road. There wasn't much chat going on so I guess people were struggling a bit for breath, despite the near walking pace along much of this section.
A quick left and right took us into Fining Wood and the first of the four-backs - which became somewhat of a hallmark of the evening. Passing through Long Copse (replete with numerous four-backs) we discovered five young Jersey cows standing motionless by the path – all looking very friendly and taking no notice of us. My second (of seven) on-backs of the evening took me straight back through them, though still they didn't move or even seem to notice the Hash. All was well until the arrival of Jo with her cow phobia – which should be called Moophobia, but sadly is called the Bovineaphobia.
Question: What steps would you take to overcome Bovinaphobia?
Jo's answer "very long, very fast ones"
Matt and a few others, with some difficulty, eventually encouraged the cows to dawdle slowly and apathetically away from the path and Jo streaked through.
Halfway down the big steep hill to Fingest Lane Naomi properly corrected her non-moosing status with a forward pitching dive into the dust. To be fair it wasn't a high scoring moose, owing to its low difficulty rating, but it was a good way to break her moosing duck (which I assume she was carrying around for the purpose).
Having gone down a big hill I guess it was only fair to go back up a big steep hill straight afterwards – though the four back just before the check at the top was mean (the definition of "mean" is that you got caught, the definition of "entertaining" is that you didn't!).
At about this time (8.20) Anthony arrived at the start car park, he was 35 minutes late and it took him just over a quarter of an hour to catch up! (Ed's aside, I think it is time we called another meeting of the Hash Kneecappers society.)
Comments on the Hares consistent use of four-backs prompted some speculation. Some believing he was counting on the fingers of one hand and somehow kept forgetting his thumb, others felt he was practicing his golf calling, but the most likely solution was that he was simply indulging in forplay.
On-through Mousels Wood, (home to at least 77 types of Mushroom / fungi including the rare Russula faginea member of the Xerampelina group – which you can tell by rubbing its stem with a Ferrous Sulphate crystal to see if it turns green instead of the normal dirty rust colour), and over to Fingest. Then down the hill (where I checked the wrong way again – this time on the sadly mistaken belief that the hare would be kind to us and take us back the flat way instead of the longer and much hillier way!)
Back in the pub we were treated to some remarkably tasty Indian Food (Ed's aside, I eat at this pub reasonably regularly and their food is consistently the best in the area – and by quite a way!) and Roger made a speech, the content of which has sadly faded from my memory or I would share it with you now.
Many thanks to Ian for the hash and the nosh, though somewhat fewer thanks for catching me with all of the on-backs.