Hash 599 – Cold Harbour @ Blundson

DateHareScribe
6 June 2021Kevin & JulieMaurice

Here we were in Blundson a second time within memory, courtesy of Julie and Kevin again. The poem “Addlestop” rattled around in my head: Yes, I remember Addlestop:

only the name
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

Edward Thomas – Addlestrop

And on both Hashes I was very impressed. The view from the A419 colours the view of the passing motorist. Blunsdon seems lost as another suburb of Swindon. In fact, the main settlement is the village of Broad Blunsdon, with Lower Blunsdon nearby and the hamlet of Broadbush is now contiguous with Broad Blunsdon. Julie and Kevin present it so well they should be on the Blunsdon Welcoming Committee.

On the last Hash we focused on the old centre of the village and on this Hash we were taken on a circuitous route into the country. We started in the suburbs, heading west parallel to the A419 and then into country lanes with some delightful houses. David, Mike and I walked together and ensured the locals bid us good morning, returned our smiles as if we were pilgrims, or maybe they just felt sorry for David and I misinterpreted. 

It was a lovely day and we were good company until we got to the long/short divide. Mike had been under orders from Annie to do the short route. Well, we could hardly abandon our joyous eighty-year-old leader at that stage, especially as the walkers were a good mile behind us and we’d only walked a mile and a bit. Mike didn’t need much encouragement and we headed out on the long route.

And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth …

Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken

We expected the runners to have kicked out the circles for us and in fairness they did, though we could have done with a few more circles. Mike grunted so we expected Kevin would be having a word in his ear later. Mike as a Montessori teacher sounds scary, but this time he was sweet and even did a little drawing:

I’m still getting counselling from my first hash when Jeremy as GOM in those days and Mike immediately after him told me hashes need circles. I put a circle on the bridge over the motorway but they didn’t think that was funny. It felt like that scene from the movie, Airplane!, where people queued to bash the nun. Annie came to my defence that day and told Mike to back off. She’s been a saint to me ever since.

We decided it was Kevin who set the long route as Julie is too lovely to criticise. Yes, Kevin used lots of T signs, it’s just that they were right beside the circle and the arrow, except for one major turn where he put a T down the road but forgot to place the circle. I said I had done that myself in the past to assuage Mike’s disquiet and possible heart failure, but it wasn’t true. I would never do such a thing.

As the bird is to the air
And the whale is to the sea
So man is to his dream.
His world is just the glare
Of the world’s utility
Returned to his eye-beam.

Don Paterson – The Error

David was his usual self, explaining the landscape to us, pointing with spectacular certainty where the other villages were located beyond the hedge or the small hill. As the route went around in a complete circle and we never saw a village church or building all I can say is that David’s villages must have been on wheels as they kept the same alignment with our walk. I always say if you are going to be wrong, be wrong with conviction and you may win the point. It was too hot for Mike and me to divert him so we had a surrealist lesson in vernacular geography.

Touch each chak
rain turn and say,
“Nothing shocks me.”

Rae Armantrout – Geography

The panorama was spectacular and being walkers rather than runners we stopped to admire the views. We are so lucky to live where we do, such amazing walks and beauty around us.

We neared the pub and the welcome flour “On Inn” and then we had to have a moment to reflect. We thought we might leave Mike outside and pretend that he’d gone on the short walk. Bit unfair on Annie really, so we agreed to say that Mike had been bullied into the long walk. Bit unfair on David and me really. So we left Mike to tell the truth and Annie said nothing. That was a worry.

The big excitement for the runners was losing Debjit. Apparently, his runner had come apart and Soma had gone back to carry him on her shoulder. No, that’s not true – but she really shouldn’t have gone back for him. Teenagers nowadays, honestly. In our time we would have slashed some bark and made a sole, killed an animal and used the guts as laces – or not come home and starved. Either would have been fine, character-building.

This said, he left them, and return’d no more —
But rumours hung about the country-side,
That the lost Scholar long was seen to stray,
Seen by rare glimpses, pensive and tongue-tied,
In hat of antique shape, and cloak of grey,
The same the gipsies wore.

Matthew Arnold – The Scholar Gypsy

In the pub garden I sat with Sebastian, Jeremy’s son, who I haven’t seen for a long time and he shook my hand. Bloody hell, I wasn’t ready for that. He’s down from Manchester where Delta variant has wiped out half the population. I wouldn’t mind but Mike, David and I had discussed the issue of distance and that we wern’t ready yet for intimacy. On reflection as I write I wonder were they talking about intimacy between the three of us. Next hash I’ll be running.

It was a nice table, John and Viv, Jeremy and Sebastian, and David at the far end which helped. We had good craic and like all ageing adults who think memory is for recycling we regaled poor Sebastian with all the stories that he heard the last time he visited.

GOM gave a nice thanks on our behalf to Julie and Kevin, and it was well deserved. He then announced he would be handing over the GOMship to Kevin but not yet. He felt obliged to wait until the corona virus was over. 

That we should all live so long!  

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