I think I have a mental block about the Jolly Farmer in Cookham Dean. Some of you might think I have a mental block about a lot more things. In which case, you should keep your thoughts to yourself.
After passing through Cookham I invariably turn left up Whyteladyes Lane because I see a roadsign (that I can't read in the dark) and think it must be important. Realising that the road is more prententious than the one I want, I turn around and find the correct one, Hills Lane. Then invariably I get to the village hall, think that this is the village centre and assume I have passed the pub or travelled the wrong road.
Gerry says he drove past me at this point and wondered what I was doing. Checking my map (again) then driving the remaining 50 metres to the JF.
Kerching. Straight into a parking slot right by the front door. Thanks folks.
Somewhat later our hare starts spraying flour on the ground with gusto. 5 minutes later he looks up proudly and states that there are some new symbols to contend with. Not only can we not read the symbols, we cannot decrypt them either. Which meant it was time to go before understanding deterred us.
Up the hill we trot (The Grand Ol' Duke would have been proud of us, especially as we had no training). Alan was looking particularly spritely. This is particularly noteworthy as he has just ridden his bike up to John O'Groats and back down again, all to keep Ant company on the journey. Very impressive. At the top of the hill we slung a right and headed (down) to Bigfrith Lane, crossed over and bowled along serenely to Stubbles Lane. Up followed down like day follows day until we were on Church Lane again, practically at the pub again although I was lost by this time.
Down to the common where there was -fortune. In my case good, in Jo's case mis- (soon to be Mrs). Totally against the run of play, she moosed right in front of me. Blood everywhere. OK, I exaggerate. There were bloody extremities and there was flow but nothing that wounded pride and Mark (of mountain rescue fame) could not handle.
At Choke Lane, the hare said his farewells and left (to the right) with his hangers-on while we intrepid longs left (to the left).
I cannot lie. Our progress was not fast and if truth be told, was somewhat unsteady as we struggled to find our way. On the plus side Sooper (reinstated in the absence of the real Sooper) had the map and his phone. Mark had his camel back (non carcinogenic), whistle and compass. On the downside, we didn't know where we were.
Eventually we found the "AO" sign and agreed we would follow it. Bad move, as it seemed to be a lot longer than foretold and again struggled to find our way. We persevered and fought our way out, all the way to the Golden Ball. Here Mark found a functioning back light that was added to his tool kit. I think he should be the new Hawkeye. (Sorry Old Hawkeye, circle of life and all that).
The pace picked up dramatically in Park Wood. Until Audra fell in order to save face. No, that's not right. Audra did a full moose onto knees, hands and stomach. Then leapt up crying "My face. Do I still have a face?" Yes. No blood. Boring. Jo and Audra compared bruises while we ran on.
Near Park Farm we had a problem. No flour. Where were we? Which direction is what? What time is it? Would Mike have eaten all the chips? So I made an executive decision and asked our navigator to do his stuff. Straight home. Warp speed.
OK. I lie. There was a mutiny lead by Miss Brown's live in. I had the choice to follow or be cast adrift. I chose life.
We pootled back, Alex and I keeping Jo company at the rear as she manfully fought off a stitch. And before we knew it, it was over. To be fair to our hare Mick, his prediction of 5.1 miles plus add on was quite accurate. Where the rest came from I do not know.
Thank you Mick. The run was probably calorie neutral even after all the chips.
Last but not least. An oath for Helen to swear in front of you all.
I, Hell's Bells
do solemnly swear
that I will not
book a skiing holiday
or other excursion
or make any other appointment
on the day of the Hash Xmas Bash
So help me Hash