I had planned to write a moving and exciting introduction to the Trash this week, with the late comer’s cars screeching to their various stops and parking places, followed by the exciting bubble of eager voices, the failed cries for hash hush, and the witty badinage that marks the beginning of each hash.
But I can’t, I wasn’t there. I was stuck in traffic on Marlow Hill. I know it’s a shame that I can’t write it, but you may draw some comfort from the fact that Shakespeare’s prime position at the top of literary tradition will remain unchallenged for yet another week.
I can, however, still pen a moving introduction and a moral at the end as Andy and I certainly had to “Move” to catch up with the hash which, surprisingly, had performed a long and intricate loop through the houses rather than the more expected gentle trot straight into the woods.
But fear not, gentle reader, Maggie’s trail was so well marked that, puffing and wheezing, we caught up in a field somewhere soon after the first mile had turned into history.
My memory of the next few miles is foggy, partly due to my slow recovery process, but somewhat more due to the second bottle of wine with the meal last night (well, it was my birthday).
I remember that we entered Common Wood and, according to my GPS, we ran around three sides of a somewhat squiggly rectangle before heading south(ish) towards Penn Bottom, eventually reaching Common Wood Lane just opposite Pugh’s Wood. A quick dash parallel to the road took us to a steep hill, multiple (and very tiring) on-backs and eventually to the first long-short split.
The fact that the Hare decided to go short was greeted with cries of “But we’ll get lost” from the younger hashers and “Oh, Oh that means hills” from the more experienced. Ken asked the world at general just why, as he knew that a dirty great hill was on its way, he was going long. The World in general did not answer. As it transpired the phrase “…mean hills” turned out to be particularly apt as no sooner had we found the trail at the bottom of the first hill, we had to re-climb one that would have felt at home alongside it’s Himalayan brothers.
Whipping Boy found what he described as a “Particularly boring sign” in the wood, but he still read it through to the end. There is something about the endearing tenacity of hashers that defies logic.
Atop the hill, complete with its obligatory and vicious on-backs, we found a smiling Hare Maggie waiting for us. Now I am not saying she was smiling as she knew the un-necessary pain she caused by the hill. Maybe she was just pleased to see a hoard of hairy and dirty sweat-soaked hashers appearing at her from the quietness of the night.
Maggie was kindness itself, and cheerfully marked the way forward for us, without us needing to check. However, upon examining the map on Google afterwards, I note the trail she indicated added a whole extra mile, instead of the few hundred yards it would have taken to run the other way. I will pass over my sentence about devious hares as my spellcheck didn’t recognise many of the words I used.
A flat section of the trail took us back towards the pub. Those of you who are familiar with the area will know that there is a perfectly slope-free and easy route back from here. And also a route which takes us down into a deep, steep valley, straight up the other side of a worse hill, before turning 120 degrees at the top to go straight back down yet another hill. And yes, that is followed by the very meanest, steepest hill of the entire evening.
Any guesses which way we went .......?
Eventually we re-gained the pub were we feasted upon particularly excellent and plentiful chips, along with the normal surplus of beer, speeches from the GM and chat.
And as for my moral ending there are two options. Either beware smiling hares, or double, double beware of mean, wickedly smiling hares called Maggie who set fiendishly hilly and devious trails! You choose.