|17 Jun 2012||Mike & Maurice||Kathy|
Determination. Cheerful determination. These words best describe the attitude and fortitude of those sixteen of us who braved wind and drizzle to mark yet another interesting hash trail, with the added dimension of being on far from home turf. Val and I had a very relaxed and pleasant journey to the Mason’s Arms, where we enjoyed a very good meal indeed before sharing three superb puddings between us.
As we went back to the car to kit up we met Maurice and Mike who had just returned from laying both trails, bless them…. Maurice penitent after Mike’s corrected instruction of “that’s one blob of flour every 43 paces, not 43 blobs of flour every one pace….” which might just explain the sight of the former whose hands were completely encased in flour, which he raised beseechingly towards me palms forward, fingers spread, as though auditioning for some bizarre off-Broadway show as a White and White Minstrel, love him!
We all lined up for photos, Lady Margaret doing very well to reach us in time after a long journey from Llandrindod Wells, and so we set off without much ado. What I particularly liked about our walk was that we got to see into many cottage gardens whose colourful lupins and roses had withstood the recent strong winds, unlike back home, and to glimpse through wrought-iron gates and over high stone walls into an other-worldliness beyond, including a very intricate tree house and towards Evelith Olde Hall, now a blood-stock business.
Later on we came upon a sign which read something like “Life on the Edge” with a set of instructions, amongst others, to “look after the edges” like a forelock-tugging serf who had dropped his aitch… till I realized the sign really did mean edge, as in field boundary, though I ruefully reflected that I was dressed more like Max Wall than Lady Gaga!
When we saw a crowd of cattle occupying a corner of a field we had to cross, Annie was immediately thrown back in time to her traumatic accident, and she relived her awful experience to Hillary and me in graphic detail… I’d not realized until then quite how much pain she’d been in for such a prolonged period… six months before being back at work. What a trouper. I think her brain had been slightly addled, though, as she kept referring to “enough blue to mend a Dutchman’s britches”… til I cottoned on that this was her quaint Northern way of referring to glimpses of blue sky (not many of those today, hence her excitement).
The rain managed to hold back until near the end, so neither our clothes nor our spirits were seriously dampened. I enjoyed the varied trail (which seemed longer than usual or was our gossip longer than usual?) and the interesting buildings we passed, including some sort of mill and a thunderous mill-race, near to which was a very faded sign which seemed to say “DANCE”, on closer inspection it seemed to say “DANCER”, right up close though it actually read “DANGER, UNSAFE BUILDING”!
I can only hope the runners had an equally enjoyable trail, cos efforts of mine to elicit interesting anecdotes were met by silence (they were quite exhausted I think).
A quick cuppa in the pub followed, with a groomed and elegant GOM (that was a real quick change) expressing everyone’s heartfelt thanks to Mike and Maurice for cheerfully plotting and laying our courses in far from perfect conditions, and we set out on foot – now in quite miserable rain – to Nina and Rew’s delightful, sprawling cottage for our supper.
They really did us proud with Rew manfully sorting the barbecue single-handed, providing a continuous flow of properly cooked chicken, sausages and burgers to accompany a delicious spread of salads and breads, followed by a nice choice of puddings (with lots of help I’m sure from Annie and Viv, house guests for the weekend). Nina and Rew were very warm and welcoming to their many guests who, of course, had to occupy the cottage and not, sadly, the gardens – but they didn’t blink an eye at this onslaught, bless them….. (though I think there was a ritual beheading of someone who had the temerity to keep their shoes on but, other than that, there was no trouble at all!)
The supper was the sort of amiable and relaxed affair that can only be enjoyed by people who have been friends and companions for a long, long time, and I’m so glad I made the effort to go to Kemberton today (and a big thank you to Val for doing the driving). Long live the Hash!