|3 Mar 2019||Paul & Di||Annie|
March certainly “came in like a lion” and coming on the heels of the recent warm spell, we all took badly to having to don our wet weather gear and face the prospect of a wet and windy hash. But we’re a hardy lot and 21 of us gathered at The Bell Inn, determined to enjoy ourselves. Our hares for the day, Paul, Di and Liam looked fresh and raring to go around the course again which is always encouraging. I must mention at this point that we were all appropriately dressed for the weather, none more so than Hilary, her fur hat was spectacular and sure to stand up to anything Storm Freya would bring.
We had our briefing from Paul, not many hazards, the rare breed sheep in the next field might approach us for food and there were a few stiles. A few stiles!!! This was the equivalent of The Grand National for hashers!
We had two refusals at the first hurdle. Mike, because his shiny new knee hasn’t bedded in yet and Kathy because she’s allergic to stiles and likely to get stuck and then where would we be. But I must point out that both Mike and Kathy walked, they did their own thing (not together, no gossip please) and pottered round the village.
We all helped each other over the stiles, but a special thank you must go to Emma who was particularly helpful and patient. Sorry to bang on about the stiles but there were a lot. They were slippery, wonky, dirty, dangerous, and one was even painted pink for reasons unknown.
You could be forgiven for thinking there’s not much to see in the countryside at this time of year, and in such grey weather. But we were treated to pretty lanes with velvety moss on Cotswold stone, early primroses, catkins and the promise of spring all around us. And I always enjoy a sprinkling of desirable properties to admire.
We had excellent entertainment with the little dogs, Jess, Lily and Hazel. Hazel the cockapoo was hilarious in her day glow orange babygrow, the minute she was off her lead she was tearing around at a fantastic pace and would come speeding back towards us with a look of sheer ecstasy on her face.
As ever the crack was good, (that’s Geordie for craic) and we walkers gossiped so much, some of us missed the enormous arrows that marked the way.
The runners overtook us at a particularly muddy stretch. They did their usual thing and walked most of the time but broke into a run to pass us, probably walking again as soon as they got round the corner. And as if we weren’t wet and muddy enough, Maurice jumped into a puddle to splash us as he went by. We all wished it was like the one in The Vicar of Dibley and he had disappeared up to his neck.
The trail was very well marked but somehow a few of us came unstuck right at the end when we came face to face with the pink stile again. Who knows how that happened, maybe the rare breeds ate the flour but it didn’t matter, we were almost home.
And what a welcoming place The Bell was. We had a reserved area (luxury these days) and the landlord and landlady were incredibly helpful. Nothing seemed too much trouble. Keith thanked our hares, Margaret awarded the bags to Des, I don’t know why but he looked pleased about it, then we settled back to chattering, eating and drinking.
Thank you Paul, Di, Liam and Emma for an excellent and well marked trail and for making a miserable Sunday into a wonderful one.