|18 May 2014||Margaret and John||Mike|
“Where’s the hash this Sunday ? – It’s at Asthall – where the **** is Asthall ? – don’t you know anything ? – it’s near Burford – Hells teeth, I’ll have to get up at 5 am to be there on time – no you won’t – it is no more than two hours away”.
The above (fictional) conversation does two things: one, it indicates that hash 437 was a bit further away from the Kennet Valley than we are used to and two, it will, I hope, give Maurice some pleasure in his post as President of the Association for the Avoidance of Harassment of the Apostrophe S (AAHAS).
Asthall was indeed a bit further away than usual but it only took us about half an hour to get there – and what a delightful place it is. The village is small and very Cotswoldy. It is at the end of a very narrow country lane and is quiet and completely unspoilt. The 16th century church and the slightly younger Maytime pub are at the centre of the village and they are surrounded by old cottages and houses with gardens that were in their full springtime glory under a clear blue sky and in hot sunshine. There are times in life when the simple beauty of a place pleases the soul just by being there.
Enough reverie – what we want is to hear about the hash. The trail was set by Margaret and John who, sensibly, decided that Asthall was exactly right for hashing. Nice atmosphere in the pub car park as people greeted and hugged each other in the sunshine and nobody asked us to park elsewhere. John gave us a thorough briefing and then off we went down the main street towards the church. From then on the trail led over lanes and bridleways and open fields which were really lovely. The trail was clearly marked as well. Margaret has a bit of a reputation for laying a trail with about 6 ounces of flour and so I was pleased to see that John has been a good influence and there was more flour than you can shake a stick at today. We also had a drinks station about halfway round, by a river, which was hugely welcome as the sun was beating down hard as we approached midday.
It was just over 5 miles for the long so even your scribe was back in about an hour and a bit – with Keith 2 who is excellent company – and for the walkers it was just over 3 miles. There are some of the walkers however who tend to gossip and not pay too much attention to the trail markings. Amongst these were Ainslie and her sister Manda new to hashing (who will probably never go hashing again now) and Phil who got completely lost and retraced their steps to the pub and arrived about an hour after everyone else – but they still said that they’d enjoyed it.
We had a particularly relaxed and happy après. We sat out in the terrace at the back of the pub in the sunshine and chatted to each other and the children and some Australian people on holiday here. I remember talking happily about poetry with Maurice and life in general with John. We’re not just pretty faces in KVH3 you know.
Thank you Margaret and John for a really lovely hash – which must be a strong contender for the ‘trail of the year’ this year.