When the hare stood up to give his opening pronouncements, you could be forgiven for thinking that Sam was there, not only in spirit, but in person.
Ade is a Frog (Skirmett) man, not a Chequers man. Sam was a Chequers man.
Yet, there we were listening to Sam-like descriptions.
Bronze run, 2 hills (that Sam would not get out of bed for).
Silver, 4 hills (getting better).
Gold, 5 hills (still quite easy but would just suffice).
To those of us who were not, and are not, neutrino powered mechanitrons, Gold standard seemed a world away. Something that other people do when training to climb everest.
Before the true horror had time to trouble our minds we were off. Left towards Skirmett with St Bartholomews on our right.
We maintained a good pace for 100m that was reduced to a stumble when we bore right along a root riddled route. Tick tock as we chatted at the check before heading up the first of our hills.
According to my map there is no path up the right hand side of Mill Hanging Wood, but that is where we (according to Gerry’s GPS, so it must be true).
(Aside. As I look closely at the map, I see that there is also a Hanger Wood, a Hick Hanging Wood and a Hatchet Wood. Either the words had different meanings in olden day or they were a blood thirsty bunch).
The path lead left through said wood and then became really steep. That is when our walking pace became sloth pace as we ascended to Cobstone Mill (disused). This did not go down well with our resident dynamo. I don’t know what she was on, but suspect that it was a helping of her horses’ oats. Cajoling us to pick the pace up did not work and fortunately her crop was left at home.
Down towards Turville where the Bull and Butcher looked so inviting. But we skipped by. We were on a mission. That mission was to go even higher, to Turville Court. (Hill 2).
Half way up this climb there was a stile with an alternative squeeze through by its side. It quickly became apparent that it was a matter of pride to demonstrate that one was thin enough to negotiate the squeeze, even if it did entail on occasion that stomach be sucked up into chest. Pride was not enough for Paul T. He went over the stile, explaining later that he had always had big bones.
Left again at Turville court on our ccw tour, skirting Home Wood as we dipped down and up again before reaching Southend (Sarf end?? It was Ade’s run). (Hill 3?) Tick tock, tick tock.
The hare now urged us on to make our best pace down a wonderful farm track. Time was running even faster than we were. Nine o’clock was in danger of becoming a memory.
Back down at Dolesden Lane, Roz (M) said that there was someone behind her (not boogie woogies in the wood this time), so we went back to look. No one on the track. But what was that? A light in the field on the other side of the (thick) hedge. Paul T gets a mention again. How he got there not even he knows. But when faced with the option of retracing his steps all the way uphill (or not) he chose the “tear your clothes to shreds” option and hacked his way through the hawthorne.
Coombe Wood followed which I think was Hill 4 (of the gentle sort) and down to Skirmett where we should have started the Hash.
Hill 5 beckoned but was ignored. Even the hare was feeling the effects. For him it would have been hill 10. So we took the easy option and ran along the valley back to the pub.
There we found out that the short cutters had got lost (again. Having read last week’s trash I found out that only local knowledge lead the SCs back to the pub. The flour trail and map being completely superfluous). This they resorted to Steve P’s GPS tracker. “Oh I blush to think upon this ignomy.” How low can they sink. Anyway, for this Steve got the Tosca award.
The presentation ceremony was noteworthy not only for the quality of the chips and dips (thank you Ade) but for the level of barracking that the GM got when making his announcement. Quite out of proportion to the moderate behaviour of the hashers. What was going on?
Suddenly Helen spotted the culprit lurking underneath a table. It was a spider. An unbelievably noisy spider. If you listened carefully you could just make out a message. Something along the lines of “10% discount at Bassetsbury Balloons”. Talk about product placement. Well, Helen was so outraged at this spider interrupting the GMs most important speech that she leapt up and screamed abuse back at the eight footer, then stormed off to complain to the landlady. That shut the beast up. And the spider.
Thank you Ade for a Hash of which Sam would have been proud.