As the hash gathered there was, as usual, too much chatter going on to realise that we should have set off some while ago.
So, called to order we heard from the hare that the short was to be around three and a half miles, with the long a whole two miles longer. We also learned a new hashing term that Rob (our hare for the evening) had just made up. He explained that the evening was to be a "Rolling flat" run - but based on his previously "Incredibly flat run" which had turned out to be one of the hilliest of all time, you could feel the collective dread as hashers shot nervous sideways glances at each other. After much girding of loins (an historical term which, according to Historyzine, was something people did thousands of years ago before going into battle) we set off.
With hindsight this wasn't entirely a wise move as Rob's "Rolling flat" turned into a battle against seeming oceans of nasty, sticky, claggy, strength-sapping mud, with the odd vicious hill and mean on-back along thorn or barbed-wire constrained footpaths thrown in for good measure.
However, the evening sky was glorious - a brilliantly gleaming canopy of star-strewn light. The Milky Way etched its gentle path deeply across the heavens and all would have been right with the world - if only it hadn't been for the hash that we needed to get out of the way before we got to the pub.
We started off with a right turn out of the car park followed by quick left and up the very long (and sticky) Midshires Way that leads up Wain Hill. It made my legs feel as if they had a hangover. Near the top we turned east to skirt around the Cop (no not a bolshie doughnut-filled constable - Aside: remember Matt on his Red Dress Run? - but the name of the hill) not going quite far enough up the Cop to visit the ancient tumuli perched on top. On around above Warren wood and we came to the long straightish Chiltern Way path.
Two miles of views along the Chiltern Way later and we turned right to skirt Lodge Hill, somewhere near the outskirts of downtown Saunderton and our furthest point from the pub. Somewhere around here I overheard the comment (but won't name the male hasher) "I used to think a woman's place was in the kitchen, then I remembered that's where the knives are kept."
More muddy fields passed underfoot, the fog came and went, and Kev and Andy also came and went, this time past me on yet another back check that had caught them at the front.
A check in the wrong direction and we headed along Wiggins Lane for half a mile or so, then turned right up the Icknield Way which rapidly turned into a very muddy way before bringing us face to face with a car stuck deep in the aforesaid shiggy. A hash full of helping hands plus several hashers' feet pushing through the mud later and the car, like the hash, was off on its way again.
A random thought crossed my mind as I briefly wondered what "Don't Touch" was in Braille?
Back on the trail and just a couple of hundred yards from where we had been at the Cop half an hour earlier, and we came to the rabbit-hole strewn path the hare had warned us of at the beginning of the run. Cursing both the gloopy mud and the hare for forcing us to go through it, we hit (yet another) on-back which added nearly a quarter of a mile of clinging clay to my run. Typically the on-back had been only a matter of yards from the on-in.
Back in the pub the beer was both welcome and spot-on. Roger announced that not only had it been a beautifully star-drenched night but (somewhat strangely to my mind) said that the hills on the run had been in "just the right places." OK Roger, keep taking the tablets.
Eventually we ventured homewards with the hope of recovering enough in the next week to enjoy the glorious mud, hills and weather that will soon become next week's hash.