|20 Oct 2013||Margaret & John||Kathy|
Today’s hash was extremely pleasant, though uneventful, but certainly none the less enjoyable for that – so a big ‘thankyou’ to Margaret & John for a very scenic and clearly marked trail. Firstly, it was perfect hash weather – a dry morning, bright skies throughout, and several long spells of unseasonable warmth – so that we all started to strip off our outer layers within the first ten minutes. Secondly, it was on the flat, with only one stile to cross, so that – apart from one stretch along a very muddy narrow path (which necessitated looking down all the time to avoid tripping on huge gnarled tree roots) – we were able to stride out, and look ahead with confidence and enjoy the warmth and our surroundings.
And there was much to appreciate. The autumn colours were truly spectacular, the pathways were mostly wide and easily navigated so that hashers could huddle and chat two or more abreast*, and the countryside surrounding the renowned Cotswold Waterpark was nothing less than inspirational. There were lots of old stone agricultural buildings and homes to envy, unusual-looking sheep to admire, and the various lakes glittered invitingly in the sun. These beautiful man-made lakes are the venue for several popular watersports, including windsailing and canoeing, and are surrounded by groups of splendid, newly-built holiday villas positioned right on the water’s-edge. These homes and sports facilities form the nucleus of this highly successful sprawling leisure complex, complete with upmarket hotels and eateries. (All right on Swindon’s doorstep, pessimistic cynics please take note.)
Thirdly, what marked this hash as a happy one was the number of young children (not to mention pet dogs) who clearly enjoyed the occasion too. I lost track of so many charming youngsters, though I do recall Laura’s children and step-children being aged 4, 10 and 11, and beautifully turned out…. though, despite my pathetic hints, I didn’t get a share of the giant Toblerone bar the young man held aloft!
However, I did get happily acquainted with young Bella (aged 5, nearly 6) whom I fondly nick-named “Bellowing Bella” ‘cos every time she saw a blob of flour she excitedly yelled out “there’s another one”! She was really delightful, chatty company and, despite tripping over at one point and getting her jeans quite muddy, never complained once – even though the route was a full four miles for the walkers. Her mum and dad were at the hash (a big welcome to Laura and Matt) as well as Laura’s parents, and we sincerely hope they turn up for many more in the future. It certainly was a lovely day.
* Brian and scribe had an ‘interesting’ conversation in which she described the new feel-good film about the ‘dreams really do come true’ life of Britain’s Got Talent’s first winner, opera singer Paul Potts. Brian patiently listened to my enthusiastic description (though I was getting no response), then admitted he couldn’t quite understand why a film about Pol Pot could possibly have a happy ending!!
(GOM’s response – In my defence, there is a new film (called ‘The Missing Picture’ (which won a prize at this years’ Cannes film festival)) about Pol Pot the communist leader of the Khmer Rouge, who in the mid 1970’s seized power in Cambodia and, in attempting to impose a peasant farming society, caused the death of over 2,000,000 people mostly from the educated classes. All of Cambodia’s cities were forcibly evacuated and its inhabitants became farm slaves (the infamous ‘Killing Fields’) dying of overwork, malnutrition and disease. All businesses were shuttered, religion banned, education halted, health care eliminated, and parental authority revoked. I will admit….I did consider for while…why Kathy thought this was a ‘feel-good’ film. Oh…and I’ve never watched Britain’s got Talent or have any idea who Paul Potts is.)