|11 Jan 2015||David||Kathy|
“Are we there yet?” and “can you see the sea yet?” were constant refrains on this rather (much) longer than average hash. As one o’clock approached we dismissed road signs pointing to Poole Harbour as figments of our over-excited imaginations, though the abundance of bucket & spade shops did alarm us somewhat… “Was the runners’ hash a ‘buy one get one free hash’ as well?” plaintively enquired one of the walkers on her return (nice one Di!).
Poor David; he really meant very well indeed. That is, he meant well from about halfway in I’d say, when the flour dots thankfully became more frequent and easier to follow, though some of the runners muttered that he must have laid several trails, instead of two. This illusion, however, was simply due to severe inattention on the part of the runners right from the off, contested our bewildered hare. NB: The walkers stood their ground at that very first tiny circle (blink and you missed it) until the correct route was properly identified by runner Chris who – despite a huge red No Entry sign, a forbidding-looking swamp and a 12’ high metal gate – sensibly veered off to the right, while the rest of the herd charged aimlessly up the hill to the left (for no other reason than the natural exuberance of pent-up runners letting off steam). “On, on” Chris cried. Did they hear? Did they heck – and then had the audacity to complain to David later!
So the walkers were confident – and rather smug – that they were headed the right way after all (er, not least because Sue, David’s wife, said so…). And so it went on (on). There was much to take in and admire, with cries of ‘I didn’t know this secluded road existed’ and ‘well, I’ve never seen this pretty pathway before’ – serendipitous discoveries being some of the highlights of hashing, of course. (I love the word serendipitous, don’t you? – and I didn’t even have to check the spelling!).
Our enjoyment on this fine but bracing morning was slightly non-plussed, however, by the frequent appearances of a lone cyclist, sensibly helmeted and high-vized (yeah, doesn’t pass spell-check, I know), who kept on approaching us then circling around us at intervals throughout the route. We did wonder whether this could indeed be our conscientious hare shepherding us toward the righteous path. But it couldn’t be, of course – after all, this stranger wasn’t wearing torn, paint-stained clothing, and actually looked quite smart … where on earth could David have got to, bless him?!
In fact, by halfway around he was totally forgiven for his earlier lack of direction (by me at least) because the route was incredibly varied and full of gratifying views. We started with a large lake glittering like lurex in the full winter sun. Then we made our way through a picturesque arboretum – which readers, please note, will soon be awash with crocuses in Spring. This led through to the Polo Ground (very cold here as it’s so open), then across Marlborough Rd, through some wonderful woodland onto a disused railway line (and here I quite lost track – excuse the pun). But we eventually navigated our way through the Town Gardens (beautifully manicured, even in the depths of winter), then ambled down through the lovely Lawns, discovering another lake whose banks were dotted with patient, though somewhat chilled, anglers. Rather them than us, we thought.
What I recall most was the enormous range of house-types and architectural styles that make up the character of Old Town – property being a passion of mine – and I also renewed a promise never to take for granted our abundance of open spaces. After all, just this hash alone took in, not one, but three areas of beauty – Coate Water, Town Gardens and The Lawns – right on our own doorsteps.
I would like to end with a triumphant note about the wonderful turnout – perhaps by default, rather than design, but who cares? I counted over twenty-five hashers, and will attempt to name the vast majority (in alphabetic order, to make my task easier): Ainsley, Annie, Billy (North Wilts’ nickname: surname Joel,) Brian plus Brian, Chris, Claire, David, Des, Di, Fiona, Jacky, Jan, Jeremy, John plus John, Kathy, Keith, Laura, Margaret, Maurice, Mike, Paul, Robin, Sue, Simon, Teresa, Tomomi from Japan, and last – but never least – Viv. (Please forgive me if your name isn’t on the list.) So, here’s a BIG thank you to David for a very successful hash, after all, and a most convivial après.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Scribe was going to show off, and try to type Brian squared and John squared… but couldn’t remember how to find the wretched keystroke whilst typing at midnight!
Did I name everyone? Is this a first? On, on!