It's Sunday morning. I was about to indulge in my usual tradition of sending a chasing email to the poor mutt (err sorry Hasher) whose turn it is to write the Trash this week. Imagin my joy when I realised it was me?!
Barney, the ringmaster for the evening, announced that the long run was about five (he didn't say five whats however) and the short about three. It transpired, checking on the map afterwards that the long was measured in miles and the short kilometres. Hmm could be a bit of favouritism there?
Then he announced that there were absolutely no hills on the short and only one on the long. Hmmm, not too bad but still somewhat partisan.
But then the truth set in. The one hill Barney mentioned was the Great North Face of the Escarpment, complete with base camp and a requirement for crampons and breathing apparatus by the time we got to the top. Then, even worse, we discovered that the hare had lied or, perhaps, couldn't count as high as two, as there were not one but two hills, both vicious, both marked "Up Hill" by hand, by the aforesaid hare, on the map he gave me afterwards!
He helpfully made other useful annotations on the map - "Muddy", "Field" and "Car Park". The car park, being at the top of the hill, is presumably a hint as to how the hare reached that altitude?
But back to the hash. We started off with a backstreet tour of Des, err I mean Oakley, before finding the first (of many) muddy bits. Actually that isn't quite true it was really only two muddy bits – it's just that they covered virtually the entire hash.
Arriving at the Ridgeway the long-short split was called with the poor longs traipsing upwards and the teacher's pets virtually turning for home along a pleasantly flat, solid and seemingly mud-free track. I remember thinking it was a shame that Jo went short as she can usually be relied on for an extra bit of gossip (OK scandal) I can include in the write-up.
Over another field, usefully marked as "Field" by the hare in case we were unsure what it was and on to Sprigs Alley. Nearby is a track way that was moderately famous in the Middle Ages - 'Acklin Street' was a much-used, but dangerous road, where robbery, rape and murder were common. If the hare had been nearby when we arrived at the top of the hill the murder bit may well have made something of a comeback.
After a steep decent and an even steeper ascent up the second of the "one hill" we arrived at a check that caused shockwaves to ripple around the pack. Panic almost set in. Poor Andy was so flabbergasted that he forgot what he was doing and ran madly off in the direction he had just come from warning people and wailing that the world must at an end or hde gone mad as Whipping Boy had abandoned his universally ubiquitous supervisory role and had checked the route out himself! Shock Horror!
A long sticky mud-squelching field or two with nobody calling a regroup saw us as a very spread-out hash along the top of the final long, steep downhill. I suddenly realised that Dan and I, who were chatting away oblivious to the world, were alone, no sign of flour, no sign of hashers. Fortunately the occasional twinkle of the lights of Chinnor far below through the trees convinced us that, even if we weren't on the right path, at least we were on a path which seemed to be going roughly in the right direction (i.e. downwards). Several minutes later we saw a strange sight of what appeared to be a ghostly apparition huddled around a tree in the wood in the eerie silence. The apparition magically transformed itself into Matt, who said he thought we were going the right way and promptly disappeared. Eventually civilisation (well Chinnor anyway) was reached and the merry twinkling lights we had spied earlier turned into an enormous Santa and an over-decorated Christmas tree.
It is the time of year when I start dreaming of a White Christmas. But if the White runs out don't worry, I have plenty of Red.
Back in the car park and pub we discovered that seven or eight hashers were missing. Five minutes later they were still missing, as they were five minutes after that. We asked but nobody in the pub had the mobile number of any of the missing hashers, even on the off chance that they had their phones with them. Much debate later (as the pub was warm and the night becoming chilly) Kev and I were heroically setting off to search when the missing horde was spotted, arriving back at the pub from the wrong direction.
It turned out that, in the elongated Hash several people found themselves either alone or in pairs. Nicki had also taken a tumble and a few people were milling back and forth trying to find the, by now, non-existent flour. Fortunately the GM's last-man sweep-up of hashers strategy paid dividends and he collected them all before presumably taking a last wrong turn.
But all's well that ends well and this is the end as well.