|24 Jul 2016||Brian||Simon|
For those of you who have no idea where Calshot is well it is the bit which juts out below the New Forest in Hampshire. It has Fawley refinery as a backdrop and is flanked by Southampton water on one side and the Solent on the other. Now that we have established our whereabouts we can begin to describe what a wonderful Hash Brain found and prepared for us.
On the day, a small but select group of 12 plus Rosie the dog met at the Jolly Sailor, parking in the waterfront car park adjacent to the old water mill. This was quite a remarkable old building which although disused long ago still had the river flowing through it and looked solid and sturdy.
It was a warm but cloudy day when we set off to follow Brian’s trail which he claimed would be about 3 – 5 miles depending on whether we took the long or the short route. There were 3 runners and the rest walked. The initial stage took us through some scrubland bordered with marsh on one side and the disused power station on the other. This 1970’s style station had been used as a piece of scenery in a recent Tom Cruise movie – Mission Impossible. To us it looked very spooky, like something from the cold war or from a Gulag in deepest Siberia. Hastening past this, in case we were accosted by fierce guard dogs or Stasi officers, we made it over the sea entrance to the Plant and on towards the beach.
Once into open ground the route followed the water down to the Solent. Here we could see the Isle of Wight and the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth Harbour. We were hoping to view the Americas Cup yachts racing in the Solent but it was just too far out to sea and we could only see their sails in the distance. Apparently Ben Ainslie won 2 out of 3 races, so well done Ben.
We then walked along the spit on the beach and looked longingly at the warm refreshing waters – ho ho! Rosie took the plunge and Ainslie followed by immersing her tired toes in the soothing brine. At this point we all saw, as clear as day, a seal. Oh yes I assure you it was a seal close to shore and obviously interested in the divers who were close by. Or was it a diver who was lost? Anyway, at this point, Keith, John and Margaret, the intrepid runners caught up with us and we walked on out to the Activity Centre at the end of the Spit. Certain members of the group then became determined to find a source of ice cream but none was to be located. Being an expert in this area, the writer managed to find the last three tubs of luxuriant ice cream available in the whole area and shared them magnanimously with the team.
As we left the activity centre some of the party were attracted to the Velodrome. Not having seen one before, most of our small group diverted in and sat down to finish our hard won ices. Well, what did we see but the whole of the GB Olympic cycling team (so we thought) practicing for Rio. We were impressed, but focused on our ice creams so as to catch up with the rest of the group. Saying goodbye and good luck to Sir Brad we moved out and back to the route.
Retracing our steps we never did catch up with the rest of the group so had to confront the fierce guard dogs all on our own. Fortunately we evaded both the dogs and the search lights and made it safely back to the Pub where the group assembled.
“Fag Ash Lil“ from the pub then approached us suspiciously asking if we really all wanted to eat today. Having established that we were all hungry she then proceeded to advise that we should get in quick as the food was going fast.
So we all ordered what we wanted only to be told by Fag Ash’s minions that they were really busy and the prawns were off as was the mountain goat and so was a lot of other good stuff too. As we were the only group and the only table occupied this was a mystery only Fag Ash and her minions could explain.
They did, however, have some bread and cheese and some fine fish and chips which we could have, so in the end we were all well fed and watered.
To finish the meal off we retired to the garden and enjoyed splendid homemade chocolate and lemon cakes supplied by Brian and Louisa. Together with coffee from the pub, this completed a wonderful day in the sunshine.
We departed en mass at around 3pm and made our weary way homewards looking forward to the next summer special hash. All in all it was a really lovely day.
Many thanks to Brian and to Fag Ash and the team.