Hash 435 – Freke Arms @ Hannington

Date Hare Scribe
20 April 2014 Mike Maurice

The pub’s name, Freke, didn’t bode well and neither did the web site: Bought by Arkell’s in 1892 and altered to it’s present state in 1966, it still retains much of it’s character of pubs of that era, one of it’s main attractions with customers of all ages.

How many times can you destroy the apostrophe in one sentence and get away with it. When I drew attention to it quietly with the landlord at the end of the hash he kept looking at me as if one of us was gormless. I told him in an official way that I am the President of the Association for the Avoidance of Harassment of the Apostrophe S and that I might have to drop him a note on headed paper. I could as well have said I was from the moon. He said “I know” for the sake of saying something and that the answer was in the “N” and when I retorted with a snort “K” he chuckled and said “Ah! Fawlty Towers”. I am sure if he was reminded of the conversation he would have no memory of it. I rest my case.

So what was Mike thinking? He was the hare after all, actually not just any hare but the founding hare, and when I arrived at the scene of the abomination of the apostrophe S he was the only one there. He looked a bit underwhelmed that only one runner had pitched up and we nodded as men do which I assumed meant he had seen the web site as well and thought that a discriminating group like the KVH3 would boycott a place like Freke Arms. Well, we did nod for several minutes and then everyone arrived. Dear God, no class!

The landlady was lovely and bossy. I do like a bossy woman. “Park here, don’t park there” and “Get your clothes off and beg” and “Who the fuck owns that piece of crap” and eerily “Lovely day” when we all knew she meant something else. So we doubled parked and parked on double yellow lines and we parked on entrances that were for fire brigades and even doubled parked on entrances for fire brigades.

Good to see Beck and Dom there and Beck’s friend, Grace, who, when asked if she was a runner, told us she had run the London Marathon in less than 3 and a half hours. Not bad for a girl.

Jeremy told us the last time the hash was in Hannington a mad farmer across the road attacked the runners because they were trespassing on his public path.

Mike said it was 5 and a quarter miles for runners and there was an intake of breath. That’s a quarter of a mile more than the standard Mike has set these past 100 years. This was like the breakdown of society as we know it. Add to that, he was in shorts that were too short along the calf and he was doused in flour in peculiar places as if he had had a private moment in the woods when there was a surplus of flour and he felt he could let go. Someone whispered that maybe we are a secret society so secret we don’t even know we are a secret society. But I didn’t look around as that kind of heresy could get you drummed out of the KVH3.

Jeremy asked me in a whisper to write the mag which was a bit surreal given that everything was going horribly wrong and we hadn’t even had the start yet and I thought “I could write the whole mag and not even leave the car park.”

Mike pointed across the road to the path where the mad farmer hides in bushes and said warmly in a way that he might never see us again and was happy about that: “On, On!”
We crossed the road and ran a bit faster than normal along the path and actually, as you would expect, we had a lovely hash. Well of course we had a lovely hash as Mike had set it and in all fairness I have never known a hash that he didn’t do well. We went to new territory in Hannington and before we knew it we were back on familiar territory that was Highworth. I had a déjà-vu moment several times before realising we were on a golf course that we had run along on several previous hashes. Not sure where to go with that one . . .

I ran with the elite group up front who are always good company and we chatted about a myriad of agenda items as we run slowly enough not to be encumbered by the competitive spirit that we leave to the younger marathoners who want to find the circles and speed off in the wrong direction, then catch up and pass us out. Good luck to them, but in my view the social hash is for the conversational stayers, those who feel strongly about issues and just want to vent their opinions. It was bit unsettling to find a UKIP supporter among the crew (no names mentioned) who went on and on about all those foreigners taking UK jobs but in fairness did exclude the Irish when I raised the issue about being a foreigner myself.

Des and I had a good chatty run. The rain had been threatening all morning but it stayed away although Des and I were a bit put out at the top of a hill with no cover when lightning struck. Des wasn’t as concerned as me at the time and I deduced why later. I am much, much taller than him and he obviously figured I would be reduced to a little heap of cinders first.

We met Mike near the end of the run where he had a cunning plan. We had to search for Easter eggs among bloody nettles and thorns while he chuckled away. The guy is a sadist.

Anyway, I seem to have deviated since we left the car park where all the fun was, but we got back there again. In Brian’s absence Jeremy gave the speech which went on and on as there is no stopping Jeremy when given the floor. He thanked Mike, deservedly, for a wonderful hash and as usual nobody had the shorts or all the other paraphernalia that we, in our secret society that nobody knows about, bestow on others as symbols that we don’t understand or maybe do but don’t acknowledge.

Thanks, Mike, it was a hoot of day. When we left the pub the heavens opened. Perfect!

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