|23 Jan 2022||Maurice||Kevin|
Why are plans flavour of the month at the moment, is it the government’s announcement of going to plan A from plan B or could it be when our hares have to come up with a plan B when plan A cannot be executed? In this case it was Maurice having to revert to plan B to host our hash today from The Patriot’s Arms because the original venue for today’s hash, The White Hart Inn, Burbage had strange opening hours (3:00pm) for a Sunday and wouldn’t be open at a suitable time.
Maurice on this occasion was assisted by his daughter Úna in laying the trails and they were both back at The Patriot’s Arms in good time for the hash to get off at 11:00am. There was a great turnout today with 30 hashers, including the hares and some of Maurice’s extended family. Weather was cold, dry and overcast. Maurice gave the briefing, stating that there was plenty of flour laid down (which was evident by the fact that both Maurice and Úna had plenty of on their attire), no animals to be wary of, the short trail was 3.612, the long was 6 miles and the short and long divide was approximately at 2.5 miles.
The On! on! was at the front of the Patriot’s. Jeremy and Noodle were the last to set off but as the other runners immediately went the wrong way he never saw them again. The runners, after getting back on trail were then chasing, with the rest of the walkers following as we headed towards Slipper Lane (not named after Slipper of the Yard) and the Washpool.
As the walkers got to the Washpool they came across the runners and it became apparent that the trail set by Maurice and Úna was going to be a challenge as they had laid quite a few circles which would check the runners progress, and there were a few occasions when the walkers got ahead of the runners and kicked out a few of the circles. It was noted that the walkers were so far ahead of the runners that Kathy was unusually at the front of the pack and not bringing up the rear!
The trail took us hashers up a very steep embankment as we came out of the Washpool towards the fields beyond Butts Road. All was well at this point with everyone able to follow the flour marks that had been laid. At the top of the Washpool the runners got ahead until again we all (except for Jeremy and Noodle who were nowhere to be seen) met up at Butts Road where the trail had gone cold! Runners and walkers were looking in all directions for flour until someone found some at the top of Butts Road at the Marlborough Rd junction and off everyone went. The trail took the hashers along Marlborough Road, taking a right turn onto the footpath that ran by the junior school and into Castle View Road, on through to the High Street and up May’s Lane. At the top of May’s Lane was the “On Inn” but by the time walkers got to this point they had been walking for 50 minutes and travelled about 2 miles without coming across the long and short divide. Obviously something was amiss and flour marks had been missed and where those were missed was a mystery to be solved. A phone call to Maurice and 10 minutes later he was in Mays Lane offering guidance to re-join the trail. At this point rather than re-join the trail many of the hashers decided to take their own trail around other parts of Chiseldon before heading back to The Patriot’s.
Amidst the confusion some hashers just made their way home. However most made it back to The Patriot’s for the aprés where the hot subject amongst us all was “what trail did you follow, did anyone come across the short and long divide, and where did it all go so wrong?” The amateur and professional sleuths amongst us recounted our experiences and gathered evidence to put before the hare. There was no sight of him at The Patriot’s and come to think of it no one had seen any sighting of Jeremy and Noodle. Where was Maurice in our hour of need?
One o’clock approached. Des had brought the horn with him and was keen to hand it on. GOM wanted to make his speech, and the hashers wondered whether Maurice would return to face the music. Phone calls and messages to Maurice were put out to find his whereabouts. Was he lost retracing his own trail? The gathering were considering sending out a search party. The clock struck one and in walked Maurice who got a pint and sat down, then the cross-examinations began. Maurice was late back to the aprés as he was out looking for lost souls. Mike K. provided evidence of the trail he took, where he thought the missing arrow should have been and of the overheating of John who needed to cool down but in trying to discard some clothing had a wardrobe malfunction. Maurice asked questions of where, when and why we missed the flour marks and in his defence gave the following evidence:
“I’ll put my hand up for the first arrow where the runners went into a housing estate and the walkers got ahead. The arrow could have been better placed.
The complete breakdown though was on the lane leading into Butts Road. Detective Inspector (DI) Spillane went back to the scene of the crime after the pub. The photo attached with my running shoes as proof (!) shows the arrow clearly. The second piece of evidence is that Jeremy was the first there and followed the arrow, so it was fine. My deduction is that the walkers arrived like a herd of sheep waiting for direction and stood on the arrow. Note: the other runners had decided to run around the field and came along later to join the walkers and, not knowing any better, followed the walkers for half a mile where there was no flour. I always put dots every thirty meters. Maybe they all had Covid and fuzzy brains.
Watching the group at the start was also amusing. I should have explained that two dots shows the correct route, but so also does an arrow or another circle.”
GOM thought it was time to draw a line under proceedings and gave his speech, knowing that tact was order of the day, thanked Maurice and Úna for their endeavours, as he knows Maurice is a someone you can depend on in KVH3’s hour of need, the jury responded with mix of applause, cheers and booing! Des awarded the horn to Jeremy, in his absence, for his persistence and determination to complete the trail.
At 1:30pm Jeremy and Noodle turned up at The Patriot’s. This must be a first for Jeremy being the last hasher back! The remaining hashers thought he had got lost or decided to run his own extended trail. As it transpires, Jeremy had followed the trail in it’s entirety but had decided to take a detour when in Badbury Park – since clearly no one else was running the trail – to go see his daughter for 10 mins and have a cup of coffee.
All in all quite a fun day and not so much an aprés but a good craic had by all!