|30 Oct 2016||Margaret & Caroline||Maurice|
It was John’s fault. I love the way Swindonians say about someone: “Ah Bless” when what they really mean is “Bloody Eejit” which has a more grounded sound to it. Yes, definitely John’s fault.
Now John wasn’t the hare. Oh no, he had tried to cut his leg off a few weeks back and should have been the hare with Margaret, but instead Caroline jumped in and the two women formed a committee to set the trail. World War II would still be going on if they had been in charge.
It started badly. Margaret introduced Mike as founder as if moving from runner to walker was something special. Very odd. She explained the signage because we had around 30 walkers with us which was great, although I doubt we will see them again. She had examples on the ground and explained what a circle is, and a T, and single and double blobs – with regular corrections from Caroline.
Then she tried to explain what an isosceles triangle was. A few smart-asses at the back said all the angles should add up to 180, but before it got out of control Caroline said they represented “Hazards” to which Margaret said “Oh, yes, that’s right” as only an ex-teacher could. However, Caroline wouldn’t say what the hazards were, which was disconcerting, and I heard Annie say “cows” and go white, and Kathy say “wet and mud” and go pink, and someone else said “but we have those on every hash, so it must be something awful.”
Anyway, you can see where this is going. The five fast runners set off only to be blocked at the exit by Mike with his big elbows out on a fast walking pace. Mike, you were walking for goodness sake. That man is going to be a bloody nuisance until he starts running again.
We worked our way around him and were off. Up a leafy lane, an arrow and some single blobs and off we went, and then nothing. We thought about turning back but we could see the walkers panting to keep up with Mike and decided we would go on a bit more. Then we had to turn back, down a few unobvious trails like sniffer dogs but no sign of flour. Mike hailed us to the Church and said he had found the trail. He was a bit too pleased with himself actually and muttered about “saving the day” which was a bit much.
Through the grounds of the church and on we went until we came to a single blob followed 30 metres later by another single blob and then nothing. We scoured the place. Mike had caught up – that bloody man was everywhere – found an arrow going back on a parallel path and headed off. We ended up back at the church. Ok, we were definitely confused and retraced our steps straight into Mike: “God forgive the righteous,” I intoned, “for they have little strength” to which the other runners answered “Amen.”
We kept going out into the country as Richard Liseome would have said and found another trail of blobs. Some were on the left, some on the right, some in the middle, some were circles, some were dashes . . . but at least we got away from Mike and there was no turning back now. Margaret has been setting trails for twenty years. We all know she wants to bake cup cakes when she gets home and is skimpy about the flour but Caroline has no one at home so she should have brought two bags. We need a new Guidance Manual for hares.
In fairness, the run through the turning leaves on a beautiful autumn morning was uplifting and we did have a lot of fun. Until, that is, we got lost again in a field with two hundred jet black cows and bulls and calves. A bad combination and NO hazard sign. We kept to the electric fence, the blokes on the inside so they could help the women over if the beef attacked.
We got to end of the field with a huge lake of mallard and there we were without a shotgun . . . oops! I divert. So we went back along the same track and now the animals were getting jittery and a bull was running parallel to us egging them on. We made it to a gate where we saw a single blob of flour and over we went as the tide of black ran at us. Right trail or not we were not going back. In the middle of the field we found a single lonely arrow and followed that to a hazard (an electric fence) followed by another hazard (an electric fence). In the inquisition afterwards Caroline would insist we had run the trail backwards. If that was the case how come the arrow wasn’t pointing the other way? And the hazard signs would have been after we electrocuted ourselves on the fence? Not good, as Trump would elegantly say.
We eventually got back after 7.87 miles when we were assured it would be 5 miles. We were clapped in (Ed: I guess you were also clapped out) – fair dues – although Mike standing there pompously telling us he had corralled the walkers and got them back safely sat badly with us. Hard to believe that in one hash he has already gone native. He will be wearing pink slippers next.
He did give a good speech though by using words like “challenging” and Kathy gave the bugle to a newcomer so we won’t see him or the bugle again.
Over a pint, the runners agreed, as did Mike, that there should be an upper age limit for bunny hares. And yes, John, it really was all your fault.