|15 Jun 2014||Fiona||Jeremy|
Experience has taught me that there may be trouble ahead when we have someone laying their first hash. Perhaps the trail will be far too short or far too long, perhaps there’ll be a near total absence of flour, perhaps we’ll all get lost, perhaps, … perhaps, …
However, on this occasion I felt reasonably confident all would be well, as we had a hare who seemed generally compos mentis.
But then I started to get a little worried when Fiona arrived – by bike. Bikes are a bad sign. If the flour has been laid while cycling round, then there can easily be rather large distances between each small blob of flour; although usually not as bad as when the hares lay their trail leaning out of a car window – yes, this has happened.
Not only that, she then explained how she’d got a bit lost in the woods when checking out the trail the day before, and so had gone home to consult a map – good idea that. Next she indicated she’d had her son Tom help lay the trail, but that he’d now gone back home to bed. Back to bed or just keeping out of the way in case things went pear-shaped? And when she explained about the trail, she said the walkers’ was about one and a half miles long. Kathy didn’t like that at all, so Fiona upped it to 2 miles, but still that wasn’t enough for the walkers, so she told them ‘OK, it’s 3 miles long’, which is just what they wanted to hear and everyone was happy. Fiona is so obliging, but was she, I wondered, still compos mentis?
However, around 11:15, when John and Margaret were finally ready, Fiona provided the final briefing about orchids, weirs and stinging nettles and we were off, skirting the barricade that the landlord had thoughtfully placed across the entrance to his car park, turned right and then left down towards the river.
Now, we have hashed from the Horseshoe many times, so we were expecting to be led around well known trails, and that indeed is what happened. But the thing about this venue is that whilst there are plenty of footpaths, and even if you’ve been over them many times before, you’re never quite sure which ones you’ll be taking on the day and Fiona did indeed put together a couple of delightful trails, taking in footpaths, quiet roads, woods, forest, fields, cricket pitches, graveyards, and river views – and we even went to places we haven’t been to for quite some time.
I missed the orchid patch, but managed a detour to see the weir and negotiated the nettles with limited damage. Paul and Liam (who I found out are father and son – albeit with the comment, ‘better check with Diane for formal confirmation’ ) were first back, positively glowing – but mostly from the nettles I believe.
Last back, around 12:45, were Kathy and Annie, apparently none the worse for the stinging hazards.
We sat out in the garden for drinks. GOM thanked Fiona for 2 excellent trails and a marvellous first go, just as good as Paul on his first a few months previously. The horn or perhaps it was the trousers, were awarded to someone, ‘somewhy’, and we then dispersed home or into the pub for Father’s Day lunch.
Great trails Fiona (and Tom).