“You have remembered?” said Roger at the first check.
“Of course” I replied confidently.
Now what could that loaded question have meant? Buy Dave's birthday present? Maybe! Feed the cat? Haven't got one! Wear a Poppy? That was last weekend! Get the car serviced? That is next week. Buy a new boiler? Done! Set the hash? No, that was last week! Ah! of course, it meant to do the write-up, so here we go:
So this week we were assembled on a balmy November evening outside The Crown pub near Burnham Beeches.
What a contrast to the wet and muddy hash last week, which incidentally took the longs to Winchmore Hill. Glennfiddich seemed a bit confused as to his whereabouts as was Jo (sorry, Chicken-Licken), but hey, so was I tonight, even with Cartwheel's beautifully hand-drawn map.
Budgie (I think we have to use hash names now we all have them) told us the flour was on the right except when on the left, it was flat except when there were hills and it was long except when it was short… you know the usual spiel delivered as dogs bark with excitement ready to be off and no-one listens. I meanwhile was making the acquaintance of Iola, a rather large and beautiful 18-month-old ‘hound’. Not sure if she was a virgin hasher, I may have missed her previously?
Off we went down a road, across a stile, across a field, down a footpath, you know the sort of thing, only to meet two ‘short walkers’ who had strolled down from the pub. Once we got to the edge of Burnham Beeches it got a bit tricky. We had to creep past the Keeper's cottage as runners aren't allowed in the wood and there would be little or no flour so we could remain incognito. A long stretch of tarmac, a cattle grid and gate and we were well on our way. So well in fact that our hare missed a check whilst discussing false nails and eyelashes! Ummmm!
Back on track I was prevaricating over long or short; I was told the long had to be a fast 3 – 4 miles after the split to get them back before the shorts ate all the chips and the shorts would only have about a mile or two. My resolve to go long and do my best scribe duty failed and short it was.
After a long unmarked stretch we found a check and turned left up a hill just as the hare had hinted and Cartwheel confirmed with the route map on her phone. Technology takes a bit of the fun out of hashing as we no longer get lost! But...
Our young co-hare/leveret started saying we were going wrong according to the phone map but as shorties do, they go on regardless. It was a nice path following a fence with no other paths off it so what could be wrong? Finally we believed poor Izzy when we found ourselves back at a familiar gate!
After some discussion, map reading and phone searching we retraced the ‘out’ route, quietly past Keeper's cottage and took the most direct route back to the pub, down the aptly named Crown Lane. We clicked 3.75 miles by 21:05 so we felt we'd done alright. Apologies to our hare who had carefully put some flour down for us, and well done Cartwheel for coping with eight oldies in difficult circumstances.
Back at the pub she quietly sat and read her Harry Potter—yes, quietly—as she anxiously waited for the longs to return and more importantly her father, Daddy Hare.
It seems the longs had quite an eventful time with Door'Matt and Aa'Ron going AWOL, with Helles and Crazy going in search of them, somewhere in the vicinity of the Blackwood Arms/Dropmore. When they finally were found I think they had all caught up with the pack, or so I’m told.
All safely back, we were treated to a handsome spread of food, very upmarket with toast and dips, onion rings to die for, chips and sausage rolls and to cap it all birthday treats for Cartwheel's birthday. So a birthday song for Dave (that's an original hash name!) and one for Cartwheel who is 73 years younger than Dave! A magneto for Sooper for walking on water and a reminder to check the website for bike bash etc.
Thanks for a good night out Budgie (why?) and Cartwheel, we shall certainly return for lunch one day.
PS I will return Cartwheel's treasured hand-drawn map, next week, on condition you wear false nails and eyelashes with your silly hat!