I was the hare on two visits to Wootton Rivers this year. Snow came down overnight before the first visit in February and the temperatures was -14. Only a few stalwarts pitched up but we had a great run. Unfortunately one of my friends, John, broke his wrist on the ice about 100m from the finish. I was persuaded to set the course again in October. This time there was a deluge – never seen such rain. My friend. Jeremy, wrote the magazine for that one, which was a hoot:
Longer ago than many of us would care to remember, the Catholic Fathers had their eye on young Maurice our Hare. Here was a boy with potential – the potential to be a postulant in their Faith. He regularly attended their Church and soon was being invited to go off with the Fathers on Weekend Retreats. If that had continued who knows what good might have become of it.
Unfortunately for the Fathers, Maurice was acquiring an interest in the fairer sex, as well as developing an independent turn of mind which was leading him to ask many a Pertinent Question – some of which the Fathers took to be the exact opposite. Eventually there was a Parting of the Ways and one would have expected that to have been the end of it.
However, recent events suggest that all may not be Forgiven, especially if you believe in a Vengeful God, an Old Testament God.
What else, you may ask, could possibly be the cause of the Abominable Plagues of Extreme Weather Conditions when Maurice has tried to lay a trail from the Royal Oak at Wootton Rivers? Sub-arctic temperatures, ice, snow, floods, fog – clearly all imposed by someone with Great Grievance, as well as the Power and Desire to punish those that dare to now follow Maurice the Hare.
And we poor fools, the hashers, have suffered – broken bones, landslides, torrents of water, quickmud (clearly no quicksand being currently available to the Lord) and flour turned invisible by miraculous method.
But what asketh thou happened this time? Well it was Rivers of Water as we entered Wootton Rivers and I for one could but think that the village be aptly named. As for Martinsell Hill, all I could see was, well, not-see it.
But all evidence is clear that a Faithful Group of Adherents didst congregate – dressed or not so dressed, to withstand the elements.
The Runners led the way on a slightly shorter route than our previous visit, but all, Walkers included, were promised a view from on high, so we all raised our Eyes in Hope of Exultation, but no Visitation was forthcoming.
Hazards had not been foreseen, but the Lord didst conjured up many a wild beast in the fields that we were led to cross. However, like Pilgrims, we Endured and Persevered, and eventually avoided all Savagery and all Sloughs thrown at us.
And Lo, the Lord then tempted us with White Fruit and it came to pass that many were tempted, and worse still, the females of the tempted then drew upon other innocent Pilgrims, leading them also into sin by having them partake of the same White Fruit. Then all these Sinners didst covet their White Fruit and hidest them in the Grasses and no good came of it.
The Runners, didst all stick together, and there is Hope with such a Good Thing. The Walkers didst but argue and bicker and break into various Sects which went off in their own separate directions, some believing in Long Walks, some in Short Walks, some in Not Getting Muddy, and others getting lost and believing in Finding the Bloody Pub Again.
The Master met a Sorceress of strange visage, a disciple of the Devil no doubt, who tempted him yet again in a multitude of Wondrous Ways and offered him no end of potions and herbal remedy if he shouldst rest with her. The Elixir of Youth he sought, but instead he will now Run a Hash in Under Two Hours, just like Pilgrim Eliud Kipchoge whom the Sorceress met in lands afar only last moon. Our Master is without Soul.
And it came to pass, The Walkers and The Runners didst reach their Destination and didst partake of Liquid and there was a breaking of Bread and a Sharing of Belief in The Hash.
However, many were then Unrepentant of their Sins and may soon wish to seek Absolution from the Religious Adviser – but he has gone missing, and may no longer be called upon.
The Master tried to provide Comfort for All, but there was instead but a Great Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth, until The Pilgrims took to their Chariots.
Finally – a message from The Dean
“Would those wishing to contact the Lord please turn off their Phone and seek him in a Quiet Place through Prayer and Reflection. Those wishing to meet him in Person are advised to Text Him whilst Driving Home. Peace be with you.”
First published: Kennet Valley Hash House Harriers