Considering that Des hadn’t set a run for us for the last 10 years, (ie not since the last Millennium!) it was a memorable event! And, as it turned out, a really good run. We started off, as usual, by ignoring the Hare’s instructions, just listening enough to discover that the long was 6 miles and the short 4 miles, with a couple of loops where hashers could make their own mind up about where to go.
The route took us right, left and right again until we passed through the end of a wood which, I found out later is called Nicholas Spring – it is a shame I didn’t know at the time or I would have made “Boing” noises. On parallel to the Chess to the old Mill house, then a U turn back past Goldingtons House (which was where they filmed the reception with the sheep scene from Four Weddings and a Funeral ) and where the first long-short split took place.
Ken, who had been fully briefed to guide us around the long route, kindly gave up this role (i.e. copped out of running up the hill and went short) leaving Des to run it for the second time in a few hours). The view from the top was breathtaking – well something had taken my breath away, it might, conceivably, have been the hill.
Helen told us how incredibly proud she was of her two horses who had done stunningly well in a competition earlier in the day (second and third places in a professional class for the younger one – in his first ever competition!) and a performance that was nearly as good from the senior horse in his come-back after a two year injury stop! She also mentioned something about her sister Carole, who also went, but I don’t think she was placed.
Having got to the top of the hill we (naturally) went straight down it again, then back up for a second time for more good views plus a fake Neolithic stone circle and a green elephant. The elephant was the most impressive, being made from a tree and a pair of hedge cutters. It was about full size as well!
Down the hill past Dawes Common, which was one of the dullest places I have ever looked up on the internet (the only “interesting” thing I found is that it is home to twenty different species of Slime Mould. Fortunately we were going downhill quickly and didn't catch anything.
A left took us along the bottom of the valley where we came to a place marked as “Ford” on the map, but all I saw was an old Hilman Hunter, so perhaps I missed it. Another mile along the valley we came to the second long-short split .
Running along a boardwalk behind Helen and Jo I remember thinking “Ah, a chance for some salacious gossip to liven the runs report.” I didn’t overhear much of what they were saying (Helen kept running too fast and getting away!) but I did hear what sounded like an extremely kinky afternoon Helen had spent wearing long (thigh-high?) leather boots and wielding a whip on what sounded like a willing rump (for yet another story about Helen and whips see last week’s Trash).
As I write this I wonder if she was talking about her horse riding. But, remember, it is Helen and Jo so it could have been either.
On past the ruins of the 13th Century Flaunden church that had been abandoned in the year of Queen Victoria’s coronation and we gathered for a lengthy (but well deserved) re-group, before turning gratefully back in the direction of the pub.
In the pub we celebrated Zac’s 20th birthday in a tuneless fashion, ate lollypops, presented Whipping Boy with his 350th run T shirt for the second time in two weeks, awarded Yob for his 50th run and returned Jo’s liquorice whip (Ed’s aside: Jo, how are the Helen-produced welts doing?). Great run Des!