Escape from Lockdown

Date Hare Scribe
31 July 2020 Keith Keith

Kennet Valley Hashers hit the beach (nearly).

After a spell of unseasonably cool, wet , grey July days, I spotted that we were to have a sunny warm day on the last day of July.Having been to Portishead with Kay recently, and enjoyed the fresh sea air and good food at The Royal Inn, I hatched an idea to revisit with a few hashers, if any were up for it.

After a few false starts, a group of 6 were finally signed up for a walk (socially distanced of course) around Portishead, on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far. A roasting 28 degrees with no breeze to speak of. Our group comprised; James and Lynne, Caroline, Hilary, Soma and I.

We’d meet at 10.30am and set off Westward along the coast beyond The Windmill pub and circle back round enjoying views over the Severn before walking through the Lakeside seafront area, Battery Point and on to lunch at The Royal Inn for 1pm.

I left home in good time and headed down the M4 but my heart sank near Chippenham as overhead signs warned ” M5 long delays Junctions 16-18″. I had no idea where 16-18 was and hoped forlornly it might be in the opposite direction to where we were going. But no …. we ground to a slow crawl in Avonmouth adding around 30 minutes to the journey. We were lucky really it was only 30 minutes.

When we all did meet it was around 11am and everyone was in great form and ready to enjoy the day. 

James revels in winding everyone up but nobody minds. His ‘hearing loss’ is played to maximum effect, (well at least I think he’s playing on it but you can’t quite tell with James.) He insisted at one point that he thought we were in Wales and took some persuading that we weren’t. I think that one may have been genuine confusion but I can’t be sure!

We walked in two’s or threes mostly, chatting away and hopefully keeping a safe distance between us but I suspect quite often we lapsed into less than 2m apart. All groups I have been with seem to act the same way as it seems difficult for most of us to adhere to the 2 metre rule in a group. I took the opportunity to discuss how we might get the hash up and running again (pun intended) safely.

The walking itself was not difficult but in the heat was hard going in a few places where we had to climb, but it was worth it. Caroline and Hilary had brought their swimwear hoping the Lido would be open but sadly it wasn’t a casualty of Covid. Beyond there we climbed into the woodland and walked the shady ridge towards lunch.

We reached The Royal Inn just before one o’clock and sat outside under canopies at two separate tables (3 to each table) in an attempt to maximise the distance between us but the trestle tables didn’t make that easy. The experience of dining out under Covid is I think a better one the few times I have done it. Much calmer and relaxed and with greater distance between fewer tables. It’s not so good for the businesses I know.

We all enjoyed the food and then agreed we would press on to the Marina for a further hour or so of easy walking there. There were many people around walking and dining but the seafront is spacious enough here that it never feels too busy, even on a day like this one.

Maybe the pebbly beach keeps some away.

Our meander round the Marina was topped off with a coffee in La Marina and lots of laughter- particularly when James made a ‘funny’ quip about a sheep that wasn’t really funny as none of us got the joke but had us laughing at how unfunny it was (I know, you needed to be there).

After that we took the easy route along the lane back to the Lido and then to our cars for the journey home, just in time to meet the Friday rush hour traffic. Actually it was ok.

My thanks to everyone who came along. I thoroughly enjoyed your company and humour and hope we can do it again sometime. Keith.

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