|02 Apr 2017||Margaret & John||Maurice|
There were smart remarks from David at the outset. He said out loud that we should have taken our passports to this event. So unfair, it wasn’t that far from Wiltshire, though it did get us on to a discussion as to whether economic migrants would be able to choose on which arm to have their registration number tattooed in the future when we have hashes outside Wiltshire two years from now.
And that was the kind of hash that it was – discussions on philosophy, politics, religion, Mike and psychology. You might think the runners are so fast that they are incapable of being aesthetes but with Mike back with us the pace has slowed down quite a bit and we have become conversational again but as David might say: What is impressive is the way that our dialogue, often callow and maladroit, is callow and maladroit in precisely the right way.
Which brings me to the hares, Margaret and John. On a beautiful day they took us to a pub, The Green Dragon, that we hadn’t run from before (I love firsts) and someday I hope we are allowed inside that pub. A Wiltshire pound has less value in this part of Gloucester and they only wanted us if we bought lunch. So we settled for the use of the car park and later went to a very welcoming pub but more about that later.
We got off to a good start and at the first circle we gathered around, having clearly decided that the trail would go off road into a lovely wood – but we were wrong. We stayed on the road, passed a man building a dry stone wall and pulled David away as he started giving the man some advice as he, David, had once spent a day with the National Trust.
Around the corner we were stopped by a breath-holding view of Cowley Manor with its magnificent lake in front. We imagined Kathy quoting Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice: My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me.
We envisaged Darcy swimming across the lake to detect with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. And not to be outdone Kathy acted the part later in the pub. What a sport!
We left the road and up a hill to where the Churn Valley opened out. It could have been a scene from The Sound of Music. David visualised Lynn in a nun’s habit. Probably, though with Philip, her new boyfriend in tow, we had visions of the habit taking to the wind.
And then we met the sheep with their little lambs and David spoke of an early Spring BBQ. Viv tut-tutted from a great height and chose to hoosh a lamb back to its mother. Viv has quite amazing long legs so we watched the legs with our arms on the fence and straw in our mouths and discussed the weather and other fantasies until Viv came back to us.
And so the trail went through delightful country, England at its best in early Spring, the pace heating up as Mike had taken the short route; the conversation heating up as David passed stinging observations and Sue heating up to give back as good as she got. I tried to keep the peace by bringing up rugby and Ireland’s last match but nobody was interested.
Then David had the conch back while he told us about a dog he had had some years before that only barked once a year. We discussed how the dog knew it was the anniversary date and what the build-up would have been like, and maybe staying at home for the big bark so nobody would miss it.
We came to cross-roads where it all went horribly wrong. First of all, we met Mike coming from the wrong direction as if he was on the right track, which I suppose he was as he was no longer lost. Margaret and John had told us there would be one T on the route. When we split up to find the right direction, I ran down the steep hill and found the one T and called everyone down to have a look at it. I might have been the only one who appreciated the beauty of it.
There was no sign of double dots on the other routes at the cross-roads. Mike was adamant there was no flour on the route he had been on so we spoke about Margaret being Welsh and always parsimonious about flour and that her memory was going and somehow she had an aversion to double dots. David said he would settle for even one dot. Mike was still standing with his arms folded guarding his route where there was no flour until someone distracted him and several ran along that route and found the two dots. Dear oh Dear, it might be time for Mike to start walking again.
We had an animated conversation about the Crimean War (1854-1856) and David’s great-great-grandfather who fought at the Peterloo Massacre, though I missed on which side, and Mike came into the conversation late and said that reminded him that he thought he saw me copulating in the woods. I still don’t know what to do with that. If only.
Mike really wants to be with the grown-up runners. He said later that apart from a small bit in the middle he had been with everyone the whole way. Ah Bless! But it’s our own fault for encouraging him to run again and for listening to David who said we should get Kathy to recruit him back as a runner, though you have to hand it to Kathy that she succeeded. Maybe we should focus her on Ainsley now as she looks fit and she looks like the type of kindly soul that wouldn’t mind running with Mike.
The last part of the run was pretty muddy. Typical of Gloucester County Council to concentrate on the paths around the pricey pubs and to care nothing for the remote muddy paths. They could do something about some of the stiles as well. Rocky got over ok but poor old Rosie struggled. We passed the Girl Guides Headquarters but there were no guides around. We pulled David back from jumping the fence to have a closer look.
But there is a God and she wasn’t happy about David’s jokes. While running on the stony, muddy track near the end of the hash his foot struck some rock. His momentum propelled him forward and for a split second all four limbs were airborne, flailing around before he managed to recover balance and land on his feet. He continued jogging and talking. It was some catlike agility for a man at his stage of life. Then again, maybe he didn’t even notice – such panache!
We were back in the car park and hung about for a while but there was no phone communication with the walkers and we thought Margaret and John would wait for them while we searched for the Highwayman pub, but they were the first away. The runners decided it was only fair to leave Keith as he is the GOM and would prefer to be anxious on his own.
The Highwayman pub was very welcoming and they made a fuss of us. The walkers pitched up as we were leaving so we stayed a bit longer so Keith could thank Margaret and John for a great hash and it certainly was. They plan to have another hash from the Highwayman in the future and I certainly look forward to that.
Thanks Margaret and John, it was a great hash!!
Otherwise …. two ex-GOMs were elsewhere.