The traditional confusion ruled as Andy, the hash's maître d' for the evening, addressed the gathered multitude. As usual, and despite the yells for hush, the hare was ignored in the time honoured way. If anyone had been listening they would have heard that the long run was just 5.1 miles and the short 3.4. Or so he said.
Sadly he lied. The evil and wicked ways of the dastardly hare started to become apparent just six or seven minutes from the start when, having taken the hash to Turville, the trail led straight up the mountainous hill to the windmill! And near the very top there was a false trail marked! Unfortunately, also near the top, the trail splits into two routes on either side of the hedge. Now the real route goes to the right, and Andy, to be fair, had marked it there. Sadly the hash didn't go right, they went wrong, got to the top, found no flour, checked anyway, came back part of the way then turned back to the top again. Muddle, as so often happens, reigned on the hash. Fortunately water didn't rain on the hash as well.
Roger, despite having been tipped the wink that it was a false trail (on account of his lame excuse) also, we hea,r got to the top where he added to the confusion in the way that only he knows how. Andy's stated 5.1 miles didn't include the false trail, even though the hash's trail did.
Meanwhile, a brave group of six or seven hashers had actually found the correct path and plodded up between Turville's picturesque houses, through the alleyway and up the even longer hill to Turville Court, fully expecting to hear the baying of the pack in hot pursuit. All the way up the hill and all the way down the other side to the long short split they went, yet the trailing pack still failed to materialise.
Meanwhile, back with the main pack, mutterings of hanging the hare were herd (sic), along with boiling oil, skinning alive and, most heinous of all, hiding the chips from him. Eventually the main pack caught up with the shortcutters, who were still waiting for them at the split.
Noblest of all, however were the two long runners who had nosed out the correct long path. They decided to push on alone in the sure knowledge that the pack would catch up before too long. (Scribe's aside: actually the pack never did catch up and the noble runners arrived back at the pub a full five minutes before the main pack hove into view.)
Half way up the next hill one noble hasher turned to the other and commented, if I was Alex I would have called my dog "ten miles," because then I could say "I walked ten miles earlier today."
The long's trail headed south to Southend, where one geographically challenged hasher complained that the seaside wasn't what it used to be. The trail turned left on the long and pleasant (once you get past the ankle breaking stony bit) downhill path through Binfield Bottom and the improbably named Hick's Hanging Wood.
After turning right onto Dolesden Lane, you could be forgiven if the hairs on the back of your neck started to rise, as you may have been in the presence of Mary Blandy, whose ghost haunts this desolate byway. Mary became known as the infamous "Henley-on-Thames poisoner" and was hanged on 6 April 1752 for the murder by poisoning of her father. Mary and her mother were known to be visitors of Mrs Pocock who, at the time, lived in Turvill Court at the top of the hill.
Leaving all apparitions behind us, the pack took another right turn up the fourth mega hill of the evening, before circling around Coombe Wood and descending to the valley floor, the on-inn and the welcoming portals of the Frog. A sufficient quantity of ale and chips dulled the intellect enough for us to smile benignly through Roger's speech and the ensuing rendering of "He 'aint heavy, he's my husband" which celebrated the mammoth achievement of Judy putting up with Mike for forty five years of marriage. Congratulations!
And so, as both Shakespeare and Samuel Peeps would say, to bed.