This was a hell of a mixed-up Hash.
First of all it rained, which it’s never supposed to do on a Hash. Albeit, it stopped soon after we started running and started again just as the fast runners were changing out of their wet clothes. That should have been enough to tick the box about no rain, but the walkers didn’t get back until we were ready to go home because they had decided to combine short and medium routes by chatting and God, bless her, decided to send down torrents on them. More on that later . . .
Jeremy, a very wet Jeremy, who had been out since early morning in teeming rain, the kind of rain that you listen to lashing on your roof and windows and wonder from your cosy bed if you’ll bother getting up at all; well that Jeremy, who had muddy boots, muddy trouser pull-ups, a very damp jacket and an uncentred hat that was not colour co-ordinated; yes, that Jeremy, who braved the elements to give us a decent hash amongst the lakes of South Cerney, gave the briefing.
The group included our own hashers plus visitors from North Wilts. It’s always a pleasure to have North Wilts. We also had the IndoNostalgia hashers.
There was foreboding and anxiety among the on-lookers as Jeremy said there would be four trails: short, medium, long and the Indo. He recommended the medium trail, not once but several times. When it’s raining and miserable and you want to get started so you can stop shivering and the Hare wants you to know how awful it has been for him for the past few hours but being a stoic will not say directly what he thinks, keeps talking about the route which has no hazards, other than four trails, no animals, other than those that swim, and only five runners who will insist on running the long trail even though he said the medium is best, you have to pay attention. There are messages in there and too often we miss them until the mag is written.
But wait, wait. What’s the Indo trail? Who are the Indos?
It turns out that they are people who worked in Indonesia and get together for a Hash twice a year. But don’t worry, said Jeremy, they’ll start later than you and they’ll finish at the village hall so you won’t see them again. Everyone looked around but with the North Wilts hashers there as well it was impossible to identify an Indo. Maybe they hadn’t arrived yet? No, Jeremy assured us, they were there and he asked them to wait behind so no one actually saw them. It was probably Jeremy’s little joke, the kind that you dream up on a wet Sunday morning and none of us got it.
On, On! We were away. There were five runners – Keith, Sue and Maurice from KVH3 and two from North Wilts, Tim and Steve. We also had a good turnout of walkers dressed in a cocktail of dull colours with only a small sprinkling of blue and red and yellow.
I enjoyed running with Tim. We pushed each other on the long treks and his eagle eye picked out flour that I had missed. The rain had dampened the flour to a kneaded glutty brown so it was hard to recognise. In fairness to Jeremy there was plenty of flour and the trail was impeccably marked. Jeremy is no Margaret when it comes to flour.
I like a mixed trail and we got it today: lots of forest runs, some long stretches with lakes either side, not so bad underfoot and the rain stopped soon after we started. Rocky, being closer to the ground, got very muddy and very wet and enjoyed every minute of it.
Near the end, through the new houses before the village, Jeremy was there to direct us around the lake but Tim and I made our only mistake by heading straight through the houses instead of keeping to the lake shore. At the next circle we found two Ts and followed that route only to walk into an arrow pointing the way we’d come. It took us some time to accept that Jeremy had not gone ga-ga and that we were simply wrong. So back we went.
We passed Mike and James on the last stretch. Later in the pub, a very animated Mike told us it had been his longest walk yet since he had had his knee replaced. So, he’s nearly back to normal. In fact he lost and found a hearing aid on the route so he’s definitely heading towards normal. On the walk, James pointed out a car registration “GOM1” and said how fitting that would be for Keith but Mike was having none of it. He was GOM1 and Keith would have to settle for GOM6 and let there be no more said on the matter. Definitely nearly normal with a touch of normal grump.
James told me that Jeremy joined them from time to time as he put down extra flour to extend the medium trail to a long trail. You see, that explained the very long speech at the beginning about the medium trail being the best.
Speaking of normal, it was good to see Sue being normal. She usually gets lost on hashes. Well to be specific, she usually gets lost on the hashes she sets herself. Today when she came back, she ran around the car park four times and couldn’t find her car. Wrong pub, wrong car park. Might be time to get the knees done, Sue.
While all this was going on, the walkers had linked up two routes, short and medium, by missing an arrow. In the pub, Jeremy was heard to mutter you can’t hash and chatter like blackbirds at the same time and expect to see the check points. It started to get into a diatribe as long as the briefing so I assured him he had settled the argument for me.
But the walkers were having none of it. They said they were confounded by the Indo markers which we had been told to ignore except where they were on the short or medium trail, when we should have been told not to ignore them in those circumstances and only ignore them if they were not on the trail. Simon took charge and used GPS to find South Cerney. It was nice to see them as I was leaving.
And now a word about North Wilts. Tim and Steve filled me in on the Hash names they use there. They are cracking and if KVH3 had younger members who could remember their own names let alone hash names it would be great fun. Of course, if they keep forgetting we could have new names every hash. Something in that, you know. Here were the names today:
- Tim is called Flicker,
- Steve is called Rear Entry (I know, I know, but your smutty thought is incorrect. He entered through the exit of a one-way car park),
- And then you have MicroFrite, 8 and a Quarter, Utterly Butterly, Bones, Kit Kat, Mona and Dumper (that was Sue who was caught short).
Keith did the honours and didn’t mention the Indos who were never seen again. David Birley wasn’t there deliberately so he could hug the shorts, that were not from a charity shop, for another two weeks.
Simon gave the horn to Maurice for being a loud mouth as he tried to run through the runners shouting: “Elite runners coming through, all you silly walkers in dull colours four abreast on a tight path who are going the wrong way and will be dumped on by God for being so inconsiderate.” I was running so fast they mightn’t have heard all of that . . . so there!
It was great fun, a good mixture of trails, wonderful company and good chatting in a very friendly pub afterwards. Every box ticked.
Well done to Jeremy, hereafter known as GOM3, who never lets us down.