Hash 581 – Calley Arms @ Hodson

Date Hares Scribe
26 Dec 2019 Keith Maurice

Here we were on Boxing Day (or the feast of St. Stephen in every other country) with the annual visitors: Sebastian (Jeremy’s son), Chris (Val’s son), Matt and Becka (Des’s kids) and several keen runners from Shin Splints. It was a very good turnout on a very wet day.


The regulars sought out familiar faces, gave Christmas hugs and firm handshakes. I love the eagerness of that, the community that is our Hash.

We met early for the Fancy Dress Parade. John wore his cowboy gear again and it looked a bit shiny as if he played with it regularly during the year. Viv looked fetching in angel wings as she did last year in the same outfit. David dressed in rags as usual, I mean as usual in that they were the clothes he normally wears. I’ll allow that he had black marks on his face so we could tell he was an un-homed poor person.

Des looked really silly holding the stuffed alligator that he got as a kid and he keeps under his pillow. What was he thinking? No chance he’d do well in the competition. Brian had a big open smile which looked like something from a toothpaste advertisement. Jeremy came as Santa. Actually, once you got over the shock, he was a very good Santa but the baggy clothes aged him. If that’s what he’s going to look like in twenty years I think la bella donna, Catherine, should start making arrangements.

The women could’ve made more of an effort. They looked great but where was the fancy-dress sense: pole dancers, sleaze, bathing costumes, nakedness? Helen was totally over-dressed but had made a big effort dressed as Cruella de Vil. She was clearly going to be a winner.

As was I. I wore an anorak with a pouch in front so I could’ve been a kangaroo. However, Des beat me on the animal front with his alligator and his Crocodile Dundee gear. So I changed tack, stuffed hats and clothes into the front pocket of my anorak so it bulged and I looked pregnant. The landlord, Rob, who was judge, asked me what I was. “I’m a Des-lookalike,” I said. He laughed and laughed. Clearly, I was a winner right there and then!

Keith was dressed as a convict which was a bit of a worry. Was he telling us something? He held a convict card in front of him. It said he was 6 feet 1 inch. Clearly a lie as we looked down on him and clearly devious with hidden messages. Also, the word “larceny” was on the card which could mean theft of money or theft of person. He needs watching, that lad, and then he got all coy with his imprisonment explanation on the card which said he was imprisoned for GTA, which everyone and their aunt knows means “Grand Auto Theft.”

In his role as GOM, Keith addressed the walkers first and explained the markings with vivid hand gestures instead of using flour as we were in the pub. Makings of a great actor there!

The Toblerone Winners

He sent the walkers on their way, after Kathy had asked the obligatory Kathy-question, like which foot should one use to kick out a flour circle. When they left, he ran after them to give additional directions. This is what happens when an actor is distracted.

He addressed the runners with exactly the same information, plus told us there were several options, Short, Long, Extra Long and possibly XXL but I missed that as he moved on to Alt Routes which I gathered meant there was a hard-core route if there was a lot of water and one couldn’t swim.

Within twenty paces the walkers got lost. Kathy phoned GOM who was in his car on the road and said she couldn’t see any flour. GOM said he could see the flour from where he was and he was fifty metres away. Kathy realised she was standing on it.

The Shin Splints were away quickly leading the runners but Colin and Eleanor were in fine fettle and ran with them, did false trails, ended up last and then ran to the front again. Brilliant!

GOM had said it was wet underfoot. I don’t know where he was when he dreamed that one up. It was wet on the knees, thighs, back and head as well. A few of us stuck to the XXL route and ended up ahead of the other runners by Coate Water. They had taken an Alt Route in case they got foot rot, led by Viv the Angel, no less. She should have gotten the funny knickers or the horn for that.

Santa with his Helpers

Des, Sebastian and I decided to be pace setters for Jeremy but he spoiled it by running in front so he could scare the kids. He was a funny Santa. As a little group we were still in the Christmas spirit so we said “good morning” in a loud hearty voice to everyone as we passed, even though most of them were rather grumpy. One woman had a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp but we drew a mumbling response even from her.

Part of the XXL, non-Alt route was around the lake but there was no flour. Sebastian, who has good hearing, said GOM had said there was no point in having flour there. In fairness we didn’t get lost.

I ran along the cycle path and over the curly bridge with Des who wasn’t impressed that we looked like twins. We discussed floods and he lit up. The last flood in the Midlands showed where the current and next disasters would be and his company will be sending Des to avoid floods there in the future so they can appear somewhere else. The floods will see him in work until his retirement.

At the top of the hill we met Henry who looked lost even though there were walkers in front and behind him. For a laugh we asked him which way we should go and he gave us the wrong route. Walkers, honestly! Keith would later give him a lift . . .

Back at the Calley Arms we were met with plates of mince pies and Des, bless his soul, bought us all pints of beer. GOM announced the winners for the year, starting with Fancy Dress. Helen, as Cruella de Vil, was the female winner as I had predicted. Well deserved, and she got a bottle of wine. I have to say I expected to win the male category with my “Des” impression but GOM announced Des as the winner. The bloody landlord obviously got the names mixed up.

First up was a special award to Jeremy for supporting GOM during the year. Jeremy is a “behind-the-scenes” chap who just gets on and does things. In particular he manages the web site which is a great window from the big outside world into our little world. Well done, Jeremy!

Next was Hash of the Year. GOM said the “Wootten Rivers” hash was one of the best this year. I had set that trail in the snow of February and later in the torrents of November so clearly “one of the best” meant I had got first and second prizes. But no, GOM awarded it to John and Viv for their Hash on the Isle of Purbeck in March. A well-deserved win indeed so I didn’t ask for a recount.

Colin, who was wearing a singlet and the Hash shorts with funny bells and ribbons, took off the funny shorts to award them. Someone should have told him it was normal to wear underpants under them, but there you are. He’s not really perfect you know. Then he goes and makes a ridiculous gesture. He gave the shorts to one of the Shin Splints who we all know we’ll never see again and Val or Margaret will have to make a new pair. But being Colin, he saw the danger immediately and recovered quickly. He warned the recipient: “If you don’t come on the next Hash wearing the shorts, I know where you live and I’ll be around.” Crikey, she’ll be back so, or else a large policeman will be calling on Colin with a word in his ear about harassment.

Des awarded the bugle to me for some trumped-up reason but, in reality, it was because he knew he had won a prize by default when the judge thought he was me.

We all know GOM can set great trails, and this hash was one of them. It must have been pretty miserable setting the trail that wet morning. I can imagine him quietly giggling to himself as he added confusion on confusion with S, L, XL, XXL and Alt so we could all get lost, but in truth we had a great day. Thanks Keith, cracking Hash!

When we had stopped clapping, Kathy phoned to say she was still lost and David was with her so she must have been truly lost. They found her in time for lunch and she later told me it had taken twenty minutes to remove all the mud, leaves and stones from her wellies and then she drove over her new brolly and broke it in two. Dear oh dear, that woman knows how to get attention!

That’s it for 2019. Happy New Year, Everyone!

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