As I shivered in a wind-swept car park in Amersham, in the driving rain, I questioned my timing of finally attending a hash. Then I realised, it was to wind down after a particularly stressful working week and to discuss the forthcoming Hash Bash.
I was therefore ecstatic to be asked by our persuasive GM to do this week’s write-up. What an honour. My name was even mentioned, in the contents of our resident script, Mr. Matt the Noble Righteous-one. As Sade would say about Roger, there "no need to ask, he's a smooth…. operator".
As Mike and Judy gathered the Hash together, you could see some cold and wet hashers were thinking of saying goodnight Mr Chips, but not I nor our two newcomers. For tonight, we were joined by a Hasher's neighbour and a sort of adopted stepson. What a lovely family Hash we are.
On-On we went, across the road and away from Amersham, which I am informed by Wikipedia, dates back to pre-Hash times, when it was known as Agmodesham, and by the time that the Domesday Book was written and flour had been invented for hashes, it had become known as Elmodesham.
Down footpaths we went, away from the railway station, which the locals know, is linked to London by the Metropolitan line of London Underground and is the last station on the Metropolitan main line. Much of this line is shared with the mainline railway service, which runs from Marylebone to Aylesbury.
Into the surrounding fields and valleys we went, before a regroup was called. Apparently, it was time to say goodbye to our shorts. Luckily this was a group of resting athletes, less keen runners or Hashers with verrucas [verrucae? Ed.] and not items of clothing.
Further north the longs went, before turning clockwise slowly back to Amersham. A town that features in the 1973 John Betjeman documentary Metro-land about the growth of suburban London in the 20th century. The FRBs tonight were joined by Maggie who didn't even slow her pace, after falling into stinging nettles.
Past Fort Knox-style security we went and into a tunnel under the railway line. The obligatory shouting 'On-On' echoed around the walls as we went. The construction of this railway line was controversial at the time and objections from local landowners prevented its construction until 1892.
As fields gave way to footpaths behind houses, we came across our 'On Inn'. With the rain welcoming us back, the familiar challenge of trying to change into dry clothes in the rain commenced. At this point a very large Mercedes Wagon opened its side door and a nice man asked if I wanted to change in with him. This question I have never been asked before and I seem to remember a talk at school a few years back, telling us not to be tempted by such offers. However, it was raining and the man in question was the unquestionable gentleman Matt who had spare room as Roz was probably warm at home watching Emmerdale.
Tonight we were partaking in the hospitality of the Mad Squirrel, who state that their company core aims are to produce the best beers possible, and to share them with the most drinkers possible.
We were here to help them. A £200 spending challenge was given to us by the Hares and was easily achieved. The Smooth Operator announced numerous important announcements in his smooth operator style and I asked if anyone wanted to canoe.
Lovely garlic bread was eaten and fresh ales were drunk. No-one seem to go for the £10 a pint offering or the £7 for a tiny bottle. I think they are aimed at another target market, namely people who would never hash and do not find the words moose or shiggy funny.
As we finished our drinks and food, after a great run, it was time to say goodbye to the Smooth Operator and goodnight Mr Chips.