He made his way down a long windy and narrow track to the small village of Little Missenden. An eerie calm struck him as he turned the corner into one of the streets of houses. He came across an idyllic country pub called the Red Lion and it was only once he had parked the car that he noticed a rather odd bunch of people lurking outside. He jumped out of the car, grabbed a torch and was almost immediately summoned to a roadside meeting. An authoritative chap by the name of Mike started to shout instructions in a style reminiscent of days spent in the military. He had an accomplice called Judy. It appeared to be the start of some kind of run. Markings were made in chalk on the road to explain the rules. There could be dots, lines or circles of flour, a ‘T’ which represents a ‘Treat stop or a ‘D’ to represent a ‘Drink stop. Mike signalled the start of the run along the road and conversations began amongst the numerous runners. They passed a large manor house on the right with a large curved brick wall which had recently been re-pointed according to Roger then an ancient ghostly church. This will never make a novel – let’s switch to the real report:
Ken commented that this was the only church in the country with a bay window which started a discussion as to whether it was a bay or dormer window! The trail led across a field and over a stile to a dark covered track. After a left turn we waited for the on on. I looked at the dark track going uphill and decided to check. Helen had already gone up the track to check but ended up switching off her torch to answer a call of nature. I actually didn’t see her but it was noted that we arrived back from checking together. The trail led us back towards the village and a nasty uphill false trail fooled the whole group. Uphill we went again to join Toby’s lane then out into the fields at the top of the hill. After a number of checks and a regroup we found ourselves at Mop End Farm. There marked on the road was a ‘D’. We noticed a car parked in the road and decided to look in the boot. All we could see was a petrol can! Luckily Judy and Mike arrived and opened bottles of non-alcoholic ginger wine. One was ‘strong’ and one ‘not so strong’ only afterwards we all agreed that the labels must have been swapped. The long - short split was here and the longs went off around Shardeloes and past the cricket club. Having done plenty of back arrows I decided to take the short. We were told to watch out for the ‘treat’ stops. The first one came quite quickly along Mop End Lane and hidden in a tree we found a bag of ‘Squirting skulls’ especially for the time of the year! We ran on and arrived in Todd’s wood where the second treat stop was found. Hidden in the tree was another bag of squirting skulls. We continued on to join the South Bucks Way and then it was just a left turn towards Little Missenden. We passed the Crown pub where some revellers outside invited us in. They claimed the beer is better in the Crown! We continued into the village and found the On Inn. There was live music at the pub and boxes of chocolates for the hashers from Mike & Judy to make up for the lack of chips (The pub wouldn’t serve after 9pm)
Thank you to Mike and Judy for an excellent run with very welcome refreshment stops and chocolates. What more could we have wanted on an October evening
YOU COULD WELL ASK! And to satisfy your need Roger continued with the story of the long route!
Crossing the stile by Mop End farm we sighted a car to our left, where a car had no right to be. But that didn’t matter when we saw that Judy had the keys and was proceeding to offer the contents of some bottles to anyone who would listen.
“It’s ginger wine,” explained Mike, “but it is non-alcoholic”.
That proved to be as truthful as saying Sulphuric Acid is non-alcoholic.
“Which one would you like to try? The strong one or the very strong one?”
“The lesser of the two, if you please” said I politely.
Big mistake. Throat started to burn.“Why don’t you try the other,” suggested Judy. I did. It was a soothing balm compared, but by then the damage had been done.
By clever coincidence, this spot was also the long/short split.
Mike pointed past the car and said longs to go that way. I was mightily puzzled by that, as by my reckoning a left turn after the stile should have us running back towards Little Missenden.
However, I followed instructions and after 50 metres we found a check with options left and right. “What’s going on?” thought I. I know this area intimately and there shouldn’t be a check here (Obviously I was wrong). Almost immediately the group of 9 who were going long were called left and then I recognised where we were from the state of the path.
I was so intrigued by this computational error that I went back to the same area on the Thursday to replay the Hash route to Mop End. In the back of my mind was the thought that maybe Chris L was half right and that this was the first sign of senile dementia. But all was well. My recollection of the route was accurate but the assumption about the stile location was not. Memo to self, must amend database.
Anyway, back to tonight. After going a short distance down the Shardeloes’ path I realised that jogging and ginger wine did not mix. Movement just encouraged the ginger to burn through my stomach lining and intestines at a faster rate until my innards were no more than a through tube.
I opened my mouth. Air went in, compressed in my gullet and ignited on exit. I sounded like a V1 doodlebug. I felt like a doodlebug, based on the feedback my senses were relaying from my extremities.
But the Hash must go on and we did, checking private land to the left and electrical substations to our right until we popped out on the Shardeloes driveway. There, Jennifer came across a T check on the ground and a small blue plastic bag hanging off the hedge to the right. We had been told in advance that T stood for “Treat” and that there was something edible inside. However, it really was an act of faith to trust Mike, as this sort of bag is frequently used as a doggy bag by others. “T” might easily have stood for something less savoury.
The contents were devoured on the spot as each of us tried by various means to make them squirt, as advertised on the packet. As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Well, the packet did not last very long under this regime.
So, dribbling stickily we went on our way again, skirting the cricket pitch and looking for signs that were few and far between. After that we got the scent of the pub from about 2 miles out and there was no stopping us then. It was on-inn.