We all met on a very mild and dry November night at the Wash Hill car park where our hare's brief intro was swiftly followed by the instructions to "check it out". Jonesy kindly called the on-on-left just before Anthony (checking right) had reached the top of the hill that lead up to Farm Woods and we all set off past two ardent tennis enthusiasts who were enjoying an unseasonal floodlit game, before carefully crossing the A4094 and onto the footpath that ran along the valley heading westwards . Anthony certainly had a springier than normal spring in his step, no doubt detonated by the news of his impending fatherhood, which he and Sarah had announced the previous week. Or maybe he simply wanted to join in with the spaniels who seemed to be everywhere - either in person (in dog?!) or in conversation.
We followed the footpath that ran along the bottom of the fields parallel to the A4094 before crossing the road again and took the bridge over the stream up Millboard Road by which time there was much sweating, perspiring and glowing amongst the throng as we all agreed that it was way too warm for November and that we wished we'd worn fewer clothes.
A bit further along there was the usual long-short split; I don't think that there were any mooses, it wasn't too muddy and the going was good. We headed back East, around Hedsor and into a stretch of woods and I remember one very long deep wide puddle where it was just possible to pass unscathed along the left-hand side. I braced myself for the cold splashing as I heard Andy running behind me, expecting him to splosh through the middle any second but fortunately he was too busy talking to make the most of the opportunity to drench his fellow country-folk.
Coming out of the woods we soon crossed over a stile where the wooden signpost showed 1/4 mile to Wooburn Town but it was like running the wrong-way on an escalator because it took us another 25 or 30 minutes to get back to our cars so could this be the slowest/longest 1/4-mile of the year (Coops?)? After this teasing signpost we ran up Wash Hill and along Kiln Lane to the top of Farm Woods were we encountered a curious gathering of parked cars, hounds and Barbour-clad loiterers who turned out to be chums of Markie, being the local dog-handling arm of Search and Rescue who were out on a training exercise for the dogs. Markie paused and chatted briefly (yes, I know, this is the first time that "Markie" and "chatted briefly" have appeared in the same sentence) before catching-up to encourage us all to hurry through the woods so that we didn't put the dogs off their game by "ruining the scent" - a futile request given the warm evening, hills and (from what I could gather) pulse-based evening meal that some of our crowd had enjoyed sometime before leaving home!!!
We ran through Farm Woods, back out the other side, over a stile and through an odorous field where the remains of some sort of sprouting legume crop were further "ruining the scent", then back down through Wooburn Park to our cars. Some of the hashers didn't know where the pub was but we all managed to follow our noses to find heaps of chips and enjoy a drink accompanied by un-abashed dodgy comments (Roger!) which I'm not going to repeat here but please see Matt's Hummery on the Hashalator (certificate 16+, warning, this write-up contains saucy language which some readers may find offensive) if you really want to know. Then Phil was re-rewarded his 500th hash tankard bearing a pun-y poem by bard Palmer. Big thanks to Mick Jones for a lovely hash, loads of chips and for ordering such balmy weather.