"Liiiiisteeeennnnnn, this is important !" Hang on though, David wasn't here - seems like last week's double bluff had so confused him, he'd gone straight to next week's venue, thinking that Gerry was triple-bluffing him. Or maybe it was because he'd promised to buy beers for the all Longs last week after they'd caught up with the Shorts?
Either way, there were going to be no fireworks from David tonight, and it was looking wetter than a haddock's bathing costume out there in the gloom. However, Barney did assure us that it was perfectly dry, not hilly, and there was plenty of flour around (well, 1 out of 3 ain't bad).
We hadn't even reached Naphill Common before the first moosing, as Zorro went over, and keeping in character, even had the foresight to make the sound of a falling moose whilst doing so (http://moosetique.com/moose-sound/). The second moosing didn't occur until sometime later, but Maggie did get a big pat on the back for her sterling efforts.
Shortly afterwards, we ran down towards Bryony's bottom (at least, I think that's what it said on the map that Mike handed me back in the pub), which may have accounted for the vast amount of shiggy around (cow pat + shiggy) - evidently something had been badly amiss Down Under.
Barney had thoughtfully laid on 3 routes - Shiggy (S), Muddy (M), and Lumpy (L), and as the hour mark ticked up, even some of the most reluctant checkers were found doing their bit, to speed up the return leg.
"Was that Whipping Boy I saw, running up that path?"
"I've only seen him standing around at checks before - I thought for years he was surrounded by a white halo" (presumably chalk rather than celestial light).
The long hill back up to Walter's Ash Die-Back saw the level of conversation drop further, "I only look at the legs and bums"(Roger - continuing his UK Survey of WCs), and then plummet further still, as another one of Barney's mysterious 7's appeared at the top. Matt tried in vain to argue this was in fact an upside-down 'L', before Roz told him to shut up and get back down the hill.
Scrambling up through Courns Wood, Ken came to a couple of shuddering stops, one for a fallen tree (not that dangerous - its bark was worse than its bite), and another for an on-back, which he insisted that he didn't have to do, as he had a doctor's note.
After a final splash back through Naphill Common, we reached the sanctuary of 'The Wheel', where we were granted a room of our own, especially for the presentation of this month's Toscas. These were scooped by Paul, courtesy of a double-moose back on Tash's hash (or would that be an elk?), although Mark did make an early bid for next month's Toscas, by conducting a Self-Search 'n Rescue Mission, finding himself just in time for the chips, speaking of which…..
…..whilst drinking my beer, I suddenly felt a tap on my shoulder. There was the sound of a chair scraping, as somebody sat down behind me.
"Don't turn around - I haven't got much time, and can't be seen talking to you. Do you remember a couple of weeks ago, when the longs went short of chips?"
"Because the shorts went long?"
"No, because the shorts went short, but long of chips."
"So the longs went short?"
"Yes, because the shorts had had their chips."
"That's terrible, who died?"
"Nobody, the shorts had their chips, and had those of the longs as well, but now we're onto them and they're in hot water."
"What do you want me to do about it?"
"Well, you're doing the write-up this week, so put the word out, they're going to have their jackets felt."
"Do you mean their collars?"
"No, it's November, and we're going to be having jacket potatoes next week."
"Who do you think it is?"
[somebody approaches the table] "I can't talk now" [whispered aside],"but we have the Usual Suspects - I'll talk more next week…please don't look round, nobody can know who I am" [sound of chair being moved back, and a door slamming].
TO BE CONTINUED