|26 Dec 2021||Maurice||Kathy|
Greetings dear hashers, and I want to kick off the final mag of an unforgettable year with some positive news! I quote from a recent article in The Daily Mail “a transfusion of blood taken from runners could be a ground-breaking treatment for slowing down dementia. It’s thought a cocktail of chemicals released in the blood after running has rejuvenating and protective effects on the brain.” Yay! Of course some people may argue that anybody who says they enjoy running up and down hills in freezing rain, squelchy mud and strong winds is already on the slippery slope (no pun intended), but that’s a debate for another day. So perhaps you could all do your bit by offering a pint of blood at the same time you get a fourth Covid jab next year…. not only helping the NHS to run more efficiently, but if you jog to the venue as well, your donation may be even richer. You heard it here first.
Fortunately the weather was reasonably kind today, and the mud and mist didn’t deter a solid core of regular hashers, plus friends and family members, from showing up at this Boxing Day hash which, for once, actually fell on a hash Sunday. Some stalwarts even made the effort to come in fancy dress as is traditional on Boxing Day, including the ever youthful Viv who appeared in a fetching fairy costume. The actual prize, however, was awarded to Mike who – dressed as a jaunty pirate – wore a preposterously pristine outfit, which remained spotless right to the end. Seriously, you almost needed sunglasses just to look at him – see these shots of him during the last leg!
A special mention here must go to Julie, though, who looked really fabulous dressed very imaginatively as a Christmas tree, complete with real working fairy lights. Sadly, our GOM Kevin had to break the news to her that she couldn’t actually compete, being married to said GOM, but today’s hashers were unanimous that Julie looked terrific, and had really entered into the spirit of the occasion.
As we gathered for GOM’s intro, Kevin had to break some other sad news too…. Maurice, who had generously volunteered to be our hare for today, had to absent himself having just tested positive with the horrid ‘vid. But, bless him, with Olly’s help he still managed to lay trails for us, and primed GOM with some helpful notes – what a trouper! So, in fairness, I will quickly gloss over the strange incident of their 2.8 mile short walk morphing into one that was actually over 4 miles long (take comfort David, take comfort). We lament instead the fact that Maurice, who it transpires had kindly planned to offer us some Gluhwein & Mince Pies by Folly Farm on the way back (how great would that have been!), could only leave us with a cunningly cryptic clue to solve.
His presence was nevertheless felt, though, as the runners assured me they did indeed all regroup halfway round at Maurice’s Favourite Picnic Spot which he’d urged them to do. This was found on a patch of hilltop woodlands accessed along a permitted path, and I’m told the runners here rested, reminisced and put this strange new world to rights. Quite right too.
With apologies to the hares, several walkers didn’t quite complete the trail – in fact I think only Helen and Julie walked the full four-and-a-bit miles (2.8?, 2.8? – sounds like pirate Mike’s missing parrot!). But all the walkers did make a valiant effort, especially as there were a few steep climbs involved, and nevertheless enjoyed it very much, despite the murky, damp weather.
I understand the runners enjoyed quite a scenic if somewhat slippery trail all told (but bizarrely about the same length as the short), which included some of the hilly ground opposite the Three Trees Café at Chiseldon. Hashers will recall we’d gathered there for one of Des’s hashes earlier this year – a great contrast in the weather, though, as it was exceptionally sunny that early April morning.
The main thing, however, is that everyone returned to The Bakers uninjured and in good spirits, although with very staggered timings, depending on which routes were taken. It was lovely to relax in such a well-organized pub in a good space reserved, reassuringly, just for us. The efficient and cheerful staff served surprisingly good, piping hot food, and most of the hashers enjoyed a very tasty meal. No easy feat on a Boxing Day blighted by Covid.
So a huge thank you to Maurice & Olly, and we all wish you a very speedy recovery, Maurice. Lastly, I wish to make a special tribute to Lilly, one of the most well behaved little dogs I’ve ever encountered. On all the indoor apres she’s attended, I’ve never once heard her yap, bark or run around trying to trip everyone up. In fact you only ever know she’s with us when someone says “where’s Lilly?” This was in complete contrast to several other dogs in the pub yesterday who seemed to be competing to drown out our banter with their excessively loud, non-stop barking! Or perhaps the dogs thought WE were too loud? On on!