|28 Oct 2012||Des||Mike|
“Who’s going to volunteer to write the mag this week ?” said Lady Margaret at the briefing in the car park of the Ivy, acting as GOM for Brian (stuck in an airport in Turkey). Lots of shuffling of feet and careful inspection of surrounding trees, but no actual volunteering – so I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with a load of old rubbish from me again.
We haven’t seen much of Des over the summer and so it was good to see his smiling face again as he welcomed a big turnout of walkers and runners, swelled by his loyal family and friends, to the Ivy Inn in the pretty village of Heddington. I thanked him for his thoughtfulness in putting up large arrows and distances-to-go through the village for us, but it turned out they were not for our benefit at all; somebody else had organised a 10k race starting at the same time as our hash. Not that we started on time as we waited for the few who bowled in late (one of whom was Hilary looking lovely with her new short hair) and Des gave quite a long brief on it being a bit muddy and that some thoughtless farmer had put barbed wire across his trail and that he’d had to create a stile out of old bike tyres. We had three varied and interesting trails too, all under five miles – this was clearly going to be a really well planned hash.
And so it was with cries of “On On” we were off – across a field and over a stile to a lane where the 10K runners thundered past us and then we began to climb up the side of a huge hill, first up the road and then out on to sweeping downland – still going up – only in mud now. Despite the mist, wonderful views at the top, Margaret and I running strongly now and revelling in the sensation of running free at the top of the world. Mood changed a bit when we came to a field full of big black bullocks charging excitedly back and forth. Without hesitation and with the adrenalin flowing we sprinted across the field at about twenty knots and reached what we thought was safety on the far side of the field where the land dropped away sharply onto an extremely steep and muddy path. Careless with the relief of surviving the bullocks I trod on a particularly steep and slippery bit of mud at the top of said path and suddenly found myself flat on my back with a headache. Memory of the rest of the trail is a bit hazy as a result but I am pretty sure we met the walkers on the short and the medium trails and that we exchanged pleasantries and that we ran the last part of the trail from the bottom of the hill across more fields and then along a track to the top end of the village. It was then just a short gallop ‘on inn’ down the slope to the pub where we were welcomed back by Des and Colin and Paul who were enjoying their first pint on a bench outside – all the other runners and half the walkers back well before.
The Ivy is a lovely old fashioned pub with a big open fire and wonderful ale from the wood: it is however so completely given over to food that there is nowhere to sit if you just want a drink – every table is covered with knives and forks and ‘reserved’ signs – and the poor drinkers all have to stand blocking the bar. I did suggest that anyone who really had to eat should be made to join the smokers and eat outside, but I expect we will have left the EU well before they ban eating in pubs. Not that that sort of thing ever worries us stoical hashers – Des, in his sensible and dependable way had booked several tables for lunch for his friends and relations and so we all sat together round their tables in a corner and gossiped and drank lovely real ale. Our Lady Margaret made a nice speech thanking Des for what was an exceptionally good hash and he got a warm round of applause. It was indeed a really interesting, carefully planned and exceptionally good hash. Thank you again Des.