|06 Mar 2016||Viv & John||Kathy|
What exactly is that magic hash ingredient that always makes us feel one notch better afterwards, time after time, no matter what? The weather was hash-note perfect: reliably dry, pale clouds with glimpses of sun, not too muddy after all – and hardly any wind to speak of, despite the forecast. So our quartet of walkers (Val, Jackie, Annie and Scribe) started off comfortably wrapped up against the initial cold, and I think we got that part just right for once, as none of us regretted the extra layers half-way around as can often be the case once we get into our stride.
Viv and John’s route immediately took us on a climb, so we had clear panoramic vistas right from the off. From the fresh greenness in the fields and hedges it was obvious that Spring was well on her way, with lots of daffodils everywhere and clusters of polyanthus flowers peeping through. Right beside this first part of the route, though, was a delightful fenced-off piece of landscape where someone had painstakingly created a miniature railway circuit, complete with sidings, signal boxes and even a station waiting-room. Clearly a labour of love.
I have to say that I spent most of the hash contentedly chatting to my three companions (no change there then), catching up with news and views on the world…. So the walk just flew by in a happy blur, but I do recall an extremely well-laid (and well-described – top marks, Viv) trail. Runners, how on earth did you manage to miss some key markers? Surely you weren’t gossiping more than us?! I loved the fact that the route was so varied, as we always enjoy looking at other people’s houses and gardens, and Chiseldon and Badbury have a wealth of well-kept cottages and quirky homes to admire. I was also really glad the trail led us through a very old churchyard, because the abundant fresh flowers on so many graves this Mothering Sunday was truly a sight for sore eyes.
Dear Annie wore her game face, and was cheerful, chatty and informative company as always, despite the debilitating back-pain which continues to plague her. What a trouper. She and Mike had just returned from a very enjoyable short break in Krakow, highlights of which included an enchanting Chopin concert (well, he wasn’t there himself, but you know what I mean) and Annie’s trip to the underground salt mines, which exhibited some extraordinary sculptures. On a very sombe note, they also visited Auschwitz.
It must have been obvious to all that I was delighted to see Val again after her three months’ stay in New Zealand visiting daughter Michelle and younger son Matt, plus her three grandchildren. Not to be left out, though, Val leaves on Saturday to visit elder son Christopher in Chile for three weeks!! Another one who lives life to the brim…. Safe journey, Val.
As always, the apres was very convivial and full of lively chit chat, despite the Mother’s Day pub squeeze. From memory, the runners comprised Mike, Brian and Brian, David, Keith, Sue, Jeremy and, of course, lovely hares Viv and John, and we all had something to contribute. Thank you SO much to the latter pair for laying such a clear and interesting trail. Apologies from Val and Scribe for not following the last few arrows through Badbury, our only excuse being that we were completely engrossed in putting the world to rights!
On a last note (see above reference to pub squeeze), when it was tentatively suggested that we could occasionally hash from a tea-rooms instead of a beer-serving pub, Mike’s face was a study in consternation and dismay – just like the fourth boy in the famous Fry’s Five Boys chocolate bar! (Now if that doesn’t show our age, nothing will….!)