As we stood in the pub car park the pre-run announcements were complex including virgins, birthdays, engagements and a bewildering array of ad hoc symbology including T, H, BD etc. Can anyone remember them all? Virgin hasher Mike had found us online and must have been royally confused.
At the first check the tone was set for the evening with a cacophony of chit-chat so loud that no one could hear the front runners calling on. We finally headed East, Sarah proudly displaying her ring and Anthony hammering back and forth even more enthusiastically than usual. What had got into them?
At the second check we headed off up a hill that looked more gentle than it turned out to be. At this stage the pack was kept together by well-placed on-backs. After Ade returned from one of these he called for silence and proceeded to try some jokes. These later appeared in the hash trash. Did he have a preview? Anyway, they went down like a lead balloon, obviously because the pack was hungry for more running action (or beer and chips?).
At the first split, deep in Leygrove's Wood, we peered though the dark and saw "L-M" and "S" markers which, in due course, were explained by the hare. Those salivating for chips (shorts) headed West and the rest of us continued though the wood, occasional T markers having little effect. The trees were unimpressed that we didn't say we loved them; they didn't complain; they just sulked silently.
Through fields and woods we went with minimal incident except for a pack of horses who were even more confused than we were. Helen called the straggling hashers to order (they were just checking actually) and the horses could then seek refuge in a hash-free part of the field.
At the second split in Dell's wood the longs headed up and around the Wycliffe Centre. At this point your shagged out scribe and Jo soldiered on up the hefty slope and lost sight of the front runners. Ken sensibly invented a new variant (deviant?) trail that we'll call (L+M)/2.
At this point your scribe began to suspect that there had been a shortage of flour for on-backs as the pack seemed to be spread out over a mile or so. Happily the On Inn then loomed up out of the dark and Mark was on hand with words of encouragement. Another mile (maybe a record length On Inn) saw us back at the pub.
Mark was then thrown into a protracted chip negotiation. The landlord was not having any, which, we thought, was a little short-sighted. No discount was given but free apples were provided (was that by the pub or one of us?). Various sweet things that IMHO don't go with beer were also passed around.
At the pub a quiz was in progress so we were allocated a not-very-separate room and David was offered a microphone to make himself heard. This, of course, proved completely unnecessary and many Important announcements and congratulations were in order including to the newly-engaged couple, sundry tee shirt awards and the youngest hasher ever to do a long trail.