|16 Feb 2020||David and Maurice||Kathy|
Turns out I also wrote the mag the last time we hashed here on a gloriously sunny Sept day in 2014, when Viv & John were our hares – what a complete contrast today! After two recent catastrophic storms, just days apart, it poured down relentlessly onto an already saturated landscape. In a moment of rashness at the crack of dawn – when for a brief respite the strong winds had abated and the rain had stopped – David our hare (ably assisted by “I’m game” Maurice) decided he would, against all the odds, go ahead with today’s trails after all. And from that moment on it didn’t stop raining – sometimes very heavily – until early afternoon. What a trouper! David forewarned the landlord that perhaps as few as two hashers may appear, so what a delightful surprise it was to see such a large throng of brightly attired, though very damp, hashers converge onto the pub. From memory I counted: David, Maurice, Keith, Navy Mike, Margaret & John, Kevin & Julie, Gentleman James, Henry, Viv & John, Jeremy, Des, Colin, Eleanor & Rob, Kathy & Karol (from Shin Splints) and last – but certainly not least – KVH “newbys” Sonia & Mike from Lambourn Woodlands, who were dressed like Kermit’s distant relations. So not two, but twenty-two, including scribe.
Keith kindly gave me a lift to Aldbourne which was an experience in itself as he accelerated towards, rather than avoided, every large puddle going. That was fun, but you can always rely on a scarlet Skoda, can’t you? We also overtook a large bouquet of red flowers, still beautifully wrapped in cellophane, lying forlornly abandoned in the middle of the road… so someone’s Valentine’s Day didn’t go to plan then!
Keith invited me to write today’s mag and even when I explained that, due to the adverse conditions, I probably wouldn’t actually be following either trail, it didn’t seem to put him off, so I hope you enjoy reading this work of fiction which aims to capture the, er, spirit of today’s hash. We gathered on the green at the start, some wearing pretty impressive wet-gear and many sporting colourful brollies resembling a burst of fireworks which brightened a grey, grim day. Astonishingly, however, everyone gave a very good impression of ignoring the rain, and smiled and chatted as usual. We hashers are made of stern stuff you see.
To be fair I did attempt the first part of the trail, and gave very encouraging whoops of joy to all the runners who ran past me in the centre of the village, mesmerized by the torrents of rain cascading down the slopes surrounding Aldbourne to already overflowing drains. I endured the freezing cold drips of water running off the thatches, the spumes of water forced out from overflowing gutters, the wind, the wet dogs and the muck everywhere (though I did get chatted up by a nice dog walker). Then, lo, I spied a quirky sign for a café just behind the library, which I’d not noticed before – “Time At The Forge”…. and it was actually open! Well, what a really wonderful welcome I received, and the café had such a nice atmosphere too. Brolly dripping, and with just a small collection of coins in my pocket, I enjoyed a delicious cafetiere of coffee and a slice of irresistible home-made cake (hard to choose from such an enticing selection). Kate, who was running the café today, even cheerfully disregarded the fact that my payment was a bit short (I’d left my bag in Keith’s car). When I mentioned that I was going to sit by the window and mentally start writing the hash mag, she very kindly offered me a pad and pen to jot down my thoughts.
So a potentially bad day started to turn very good…. serendipity indeed. I encourage everyone to visit this lovely place. This cosy cafe only opened in September, and everything was charmingly presented – a class act and I wish it every success. I certainly plan to return in the near future. As well as using beautiful china and offering lovely home-made cakes, they serve home-made soup and cheese scones too.
Back at the warm and welcoming pub – nice friendly staff, log burner roaring – plenty of catch-up chatter soon got under way. I was unable to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, as Colin departed early, but I have it on good authority that Colin actually ran from Chiseldon to the hash (several miles in pouring rain). Then ran the hash. Shall I repeat that? Unbelievable!
Now, at this point, lots of well-intentioned runners vied to give me some anecdotal morsels to include in the write-up. It was a little overwhelming, if I’m honest, because I – being the nice thoughtful gal that I am – wouldn’t want to leave anyone out. So where to begin? But the gist of it seems to be this: Des and some others managed to run off-piste for quite a way, then miraculously picked up the trail again. They never learn do they? Keith apparently hunted high, low and underfoot for his bobble hat which had got torn from his head during a gust of wind: it eventually turned up nestled in his hood. Duh. Then I was flashed an assortment of photos from today’s trail which suggested that many of the stalwart runners were auditioning for minor roles in Sam Mendes’ next epic film “1917 – Part II”. No-one fell over. No-one got lost. No-one returned covered in mud (well, not from the knees up anyway). There were no stiles. Bloody marvellous! Thank you so much David and Maurice for ensuring that today’s hash went ahead. It was a glorious day, after all, and a hash not to be missed. On on!