Jan - June 2010 Hash Trash
Hash Trash Hash Number 714,The Economic Hash, Duddington 23rd May 10
We found the hares, Swag Bag and Her Fault, sat in the back of the penis extension, next to a fly-tipping site up a country lane. Her Fault had been pressed into emergency hare service. Vidal protested against being hare, being magnetically attracted to her bed, and when asked to help, Her Fault didn’t protest enough. That’s what mates are for, I guess. There wasn’t a great deal of parking space to use at Duddington, so Bummer set about making another car park using high explosive, tarmac, and a strimmer. We were joined by Airscrew, a welcome visitor from the Hare and Hounds H3, and by returners in the interesting shapes of Dirty Stopout and Tidemark. Tidemark’s legs were checked: the tidemarks were still firmly in place. Suzanne was there, hashing for the second time and aided by her two dogs and one husband, all of whom are very fast. Lofty’s Lapdog was also there and in fine form. Oldest Swinger popped in for his 194th Rutland hash and was in tip-top form. Well Hung Over was the life and soul of the party and was in sparkling form. We were all set, and we were off. The initial legs were a bit of a struggle, being uphill in very warm weather and being scattered with back arrows. Huffing and puffing like very huffy puffy things, we all made it to the top where we were treated to a fine view over some bits of England. We played with the ridge line for a while, unwilling to give up the high ground, before the trail took us down toward the A43 through dry and dusty fields. The temperature had soared and the ground had become a bit parched – all in a couple of days. Anyway, enough of the weather-related chit-chat. We scrambled down the embankment, across the A road, and up t’other side. Shortly, a nice bit of nicky-nacky-noo took us into the centre of the village – and very nice it was too. The next couple of legs were very pleasant and included the mandatory water crossing. We went into the fields, scaring the sheep a bit and leaving Duddington well behind us. Having temporarily lost the trail we searched high and low and could only find what appeared to be a hash halt. Oh no. On closer inspection it turned out to be a checkback of 18 blobs. Pants! We made sure that Swag turned up to confirm our worst fears before we set off back, cursing the hashers who first introduced us to the checkback (you know who you are, Shorty). Before we left, there was a slightly bizarre conversation between FNL and Ballcrusher which was played out entirely in ancient countryside English, using the phrase ’Oop Yaaahnder’ a lot. I was born in a London borough and therefore didn’t follow a word of it. Anyway, eighteen blobs later we found ourselves back at the church and it was at this point we had to explain to Ballcrusher what a checkback was. He’d done the practical and now required the theory. A big tut-tut for the hares for failing to brief properly. FNL generously trotted back to accompany Lofty’s Lapdog, who didn’t appear to be particularly impressed at all with checkbacks. Duddington has nice gravelled pathways and we stumbled along most of them more than once en route to the next check. Having found the trail we set off over the A47 and along a country track to find another checkback, this time of 17 blobs. That’s this many exclamation marks: aaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Do you get the message? The rest of the trail was a breeze: nice bit, nice bit, nicky-nacky-noo bit (the same one), and along the road to the Onn Inn. Prior to the Onn Inn there was a lovely back arrow which meant that we found Bummer dragging his backside a bit and Her Fault and Dirty Stopout having a crafty fag at the back of the pack. When they saw us coming back toward them they broke into a jog, and into a bit of a sweat. On arrival at the circle we were joined by Slapper and Marky Mark Two, and also by Laughing Boy, the former unable to find the trail, and the latter unable to run it. In the circle, the hares were fined, as were the two sinners (CB for falling over and Stopout for failing to wear any hash attire). Her Fault had a birthday (one hare in the circle ...) and was deemed (via very random judgement) to be a bad parent for leaving her son with grandparents (one hare in the circle ...). Airscrew was toasted, as were the returners. Well Hung Over and Tidemark were called in for dress crimes (one member of the Keal family in the circle ...... closely followed by one hare in the circle ...) and I was called in for trying on a dress, which I didn’t think was worth a fine, especially as it happened at another hash three days prior. I think we fined the faggers too. We most certainly should. On on to Market Deeping.
Hash Trash Hash Number 713,The Garlic Hash,Southey Wood Sun 16th May 10
Our hares, Hash Harlot and Geoffrey Quiver, welcomed us all to Southey Wood. We hadn’t been there for a fair while. It had been so cold last time that it may have been in the last Ice Age. Canary Boy was there sporting unusually long and thick socks – in fact just one long, thick sock - for his varicose veins, I believe. Returning were Oldest Swinger and Knickerdorfe, fresh from a holiday somewhere nice. The hash was just grand, but not without its hazards. Bloodhound, Bummer and Happy Feet were all fallers at some point. Bloodhound proved that if he is cut, he bleeds pure flour, and lager. As a result of his fall, Bummer sported a very interesting and mud-coloured tattoo on his knee for the remainder of the run. Happy Feet was very brave, although I suspect there was lip-wobbling. At some point, garlic was discovered underfoot, and so a period of the hash was spent picking, examining, rubbing, rolling, tasting, and smelling the herbs from the herb garden. We all came over a bit French: shrugging a lot, not really caring, and smelling quite bad. Later, there was discussion (as there often is) about the demise of society at large and, particularly, in schools. “At my school”, said Fresh As, “the girls wear shirts that expose their nipples”. She meant navels, but by the time this was made clear, four of us had sat the entrance exam and were boarding the school bus. There was also discussion (as there often is) about the perfect length of the hash. Less than 45 minutes was deemed too short; over an hour and a quarter was deemed too long. “I prefer the longer ones” said Well Hung Over, causing sniggering. At some point, FNL (who may not have been her normal fit self) asked the hares which way to go. “Left”, she was told. “Which left?” she asked, although to be honest, I think this was much funnier at the time. At this point, and somewhat unusually, I’d like to skip directly to the circle, largely because my aging memory won’t let me remember anything else. Let us let the fines tell their own tale: the hares were fined; the returners were fined; the DVT sock wearer, the fallers, and the makers of rude comments as described above were fined; shortcutters (Bummer, Swag, Doggers and Fresh As) were fined; FNL was fined for premature running; Well Hung Over was fined for false calling; finally, Oldest Swinger was fined for trumping into the face of VIP, the sheriff. “I trumped too” said Happy Feet, making the sheriff’s job even easier. At three points during the singing, Her Fault loudly and clearly used the term “arseholes”. I personally thought this was inappropriate during the National Anthem, but if it gets her singing, then game on. Finally, celebrations for a glorious year of footballing triumph were marked by the popping of four champagne corks, and no, I don’t mean the World Cup. Not yet, anyway. On on.
Hash Trash Hash Number 712,The Pork 'n' Lager Hash,Southwick Sun 9th May 10
The weather seemed to be changing at last, for this was a gloriously sunny Sunday morning and we had gathered in the car park of a very fine looking establishment complete with beer garden and swings; everything we needed for a successful hash. In charge today were Fresh As and Swollen Bits and joining them were eighteen other expectant hounds and pups. Amongst them was Blakey, returning after a six-hash break and Well-Hung-Over, who had been laid off for fourteen weeks with a chronic case of laziness. With both Bummer and Canary Boy absent, we thought it possible that there would be no-one to laugh at during the trail. Despite this concern, off we went onto Southwick’s main road and on on to the first check. This was found at the very spot where Swollen, on a previous hash, had opened up his car boot to reveal a fully stocked cocktail bar, complete with staff, waitresses, dancing girls and a bouncer. No such provision this time. Not yet, anyway. The next check brought confusion. The hares were unsure whether the first, or the third, or the fifteenth blob was ‘on’. This resulted in good calls, bad calls, right calls, wrong calls, false calls, last calls and downright gutsy calls. Eventually we were rounded up by the hares and steered across the uphill field, which we found to be liberally plastered with sheep mess and back arrows (I don’t know which is less appetising). Hitting the road again, we set off toward the summit but our progress was hindered by more of those nasty arrows. A number of car drivers were confused as a motley crew of hashers were encountered, negotiated and then encountered again, going in the opposite direction. People were going every which way, some on the left and some on the right, some going up, some going down, some going plain crazy. It was carnage. We were teased by a false trail which led teasingly into a wood full of bluebells, but no – we were off in the opposite direction. What followed was an hour or so of very pleasant hashing through the particularly pleasant woods and pleasant meadows south of Southwick. I was convinced that we hadn’t been there before and commented politely to this effect. I was put right in no uncertain terms by FNL who bellowed sweetly in my ear that we had, in fact, trodden this very path on her hash only four years or so earlier. I don’t know how I could have forgotten. Lofty’s Lapdog, on his 40th hash with us, trotted along in good shape despite his recent injury. VIP was a vision in pink. Mr Meaner sat down a lot, safe in the knowledge that Mum would take care of his fines for him. Hash Harlot chatted and chatted. Her Fault didn’t say much that made any sense. Shortly, we tweaked the rules a little and did a bit of illegal hashing and, lo, at the end of the leg, who should be there but Mr Busybody the Farmer, informing us that we should in fact ‘get orrf his land’. How pleasant. We found ourselves on the main road back into Southwick, and so off we went via another one of those crazy back arrows to the On Inn. It had been a very nice hash. I had to leave prior to the circle but, as I was leaving I was tempted by the sight of jugs of cold Stella and the smell of the bacon rolls that had been prepared. As a teetotal vegetarian, I had to be strong. What a way to finish a splendid hash, though. I had to be on my way. If anyone wants to describe what happened in the circle, though, please add it here. I’m sure it was great. On on.
Hash Trash Hash Number 710, Kate Bush Hash,Burrough Hill Country Park,Sun 25th April 10
Lots of Rutland hashers, it seems, have considered setting a trail in Burrough Hill, but they’ve all discounted the place because it is too extreme. Until now, that is. Step forward Nudge Nudge and his fellow hares, Scotty and Dolly – never ones to dodge a challenge. It was off the beaten track, being in the Leicestershire Alps and, what’s more, getting there was made a little more difficult since Melton Mowbray was closed to anyone who wasn’t wearing extreme hashing footwear. Anyway, Base Camp was found as directed and there were our hares, ice picks and crampons at the ready, with big cheesy grins on their faces. Perhaps this was as a result of oxygen starvation at these high altitudes. We welcomed our virgin climbers, Suzanne and Charlotte, and our returners, Ballcrusher and Mister Meaner. A special welcome was extended to the Lincoln team of Shorty, Doctor Dave, and Charlotte, who had travelled many, many miles for this attempt at one of the highest peaks in the Midlands Himalayas. Supplies were left at Base Camp and the traditional photograph of hashers, their mules and their sherpas was taken. We made sure we had everything. High-energy food? Check. Warm clothing? Check. Oxygen masks? Check. Flag for the summit? Check. But hold on a moment – here were Canary Boy, FNL and Josh joining the party. Equipped with a spare donkey (I’ll let you work out which one), they too were all set. Off we went, heading for the North Face. I think I began to go hypoxic almost immediately since I was convinced that there was a model of a pig snuffling at what might have been the first hash halt. It got worse, and I clearly was hypoxic, since it turned out to be a real pig - a porker, a swine, a hog. This was a first on a Rutland hash, and I hadn’t seen whiskers like those since Bloodhound gave up shaving. There were some other climbers there, on motorbikes. It was probably those crazy Japanese mountaineers – always trying to outdo us. Anyhow, we checked the route out and found ourselves at the first of many summits. We could literally see the end of the earth from up there. Entire continents were laid out in all their glory. I peered into the Panama Canal and my eyes followed the Great Wall of China. I felt that I could reach out and touch the hand of God, but then vertigo set in and a little bit of sick came into my mouth, so I gave up on that idea. Prompted by our leader we snapped out of our daydreaming and plummeted down into a deep snowy ravine, only to be confronted by another sheer wall of ice and granite (with grass and sheep on it). Up we went again, and there we encountered the first setback. Doggers was confronted by the first of many personal back arrows. His morale plummeted and though he tried to hide it, I noticed that he was not afraid to cry a little bit. He was suffering – his blackened fingers were testament to the frostbite from which he was suffering (or perhaps from too many fags) and it was likely that we would have to carry him, literally and metaphorically, through the rest of the expedition. Luckily he has a BMI of only 23 and so we would be able to cope. We found a cairn at the next peak - probably a memorial to fallen climbers - on which local landmarks were thoughtfully marked – including Annapurna, the Matterhorn, K2, and Tesco’s. There was no time to rest – the car park attendant might be back from his lunch break – and so we pressed on. Josh, displaying commendable spirit for a youthful climber, sprinted downhill like a mountain goat. He would be fined for his exuberance later. We found ourselves in the foothills and took the opportunity to catch our breath and to have a pee in the bushes, like real climbers do. We looked back and through gaps in the clouds we could see the foreboding peaks, their icy caps glistening in the cold sun, and we shivered a collective shiver, knowing that we would have to scale them once more before home time. Heads dropped, particularly since we noted that for the first time on a Nudge Nudge expedition there was no stash of high-energy lager and fruit shoots at an advanced camp. Digging deep into our bag of guts and backbone (who brought that along anyway?) we set off uphill once more. Easier climbing routes were offered by the expedition leaders, “but”, they said with a sense of doom that made our blood run cold, “there is no escaping the hill”. The Hill. We feared the Hill and what she would do to us. This was Mother Nature at her most raw, her most cruel. We stared at the snowy slopes, tightened our boots, and dug deep. On and on, upwards we went, foot by foot, inch by icy inch. Our fingers bled, our eyes streamed tears, and snot flowed like mountain streams from our noses, until – at last, we were there. The summit. The top. The peak. The top of the world. The highest point in south west Melton Mowbray County Parish. We bathed in glory and in sweat. Lots of sweat. More sweat than glory, in fact. We’d done it. We’d overcome many, many personal challenges and the worst that the Midlands could throw at us. It was a triumph of muscle, strength and stamina. The rest of our lives were meaningless in this moment, and so we went back to the car park and had lager and crisps, and sang songs to the memory of those who had struggled, but failed. We were welcomed by veteran climber Laughing Boy, whose climbing days are now behind him. He could see the pain we had gone through, the suffering and the sheer terror. A simple nod and a shake of our frozen, bony hands was enough. Words were unnecessary. He knew what it had been like.
And why The Kate Bush Hash? Is it because we were ‘Running up that Hill (with no problem)’? No, this was a hash of Withering Heights. On on.
Hash Trash Hash Number 705, Lamb Sauce trail, Tixover sun 21st march 10
Last minute panic email, Lots of Sheepsssssss so no dogs please, you would of needed a lorry load of dogs to sort that lot out their was more Sheepsssssss than you could shake a stick at or several sticks. Lots of Sheepssss produce lots of now now lambs but put them all together and theirs bloody shit everywhere! Bah bah and more bah.The sun was shining but I still can’t remember who the Sheriff was again. On pres was back so step back in the circle and drink my beer quietly, good.
We gathered on a presipiss,which dropped to the river and fields beyond full of you’ve got it Sheep, lambs and sh one t. It was steep would it be the on out? No thank goodness. Up the road we went and check one into the Sheepssssssss field and up, who’s this puffing up the hill behind us Gilbert late, how unusual and welcome to Dave from the USA working with Shorty for a few weeks, still you got to meet us and come Hashing. Dave wasn’t a virgin having hashed with Shorty in the U S. At the top of the Sheepsssssssssss field we headed possibly off pist across a field to another check with fine views of the river valley below and an old church all on its own. Along the top of the hill for a bit then down and along the river to the church. We did a lap of the church and headed back towards Tixover.Through a shiggy farmyard more Sheepsssss no more than that ssssssss we were met by Walkie Talkie 1 who was claiming injury or some lame excuse not to partake. On inn along the road beer and crisps time.
Swag had promised a short one and it computed on Shorties gadget at about three miles without doing back arrows of course. Comments of the trail were asked for usual stuff too long too shiggy too short, then it was Goldies turn ready for her normal honest and scathing appraisal declared her love of the trail and all things to do with it because it was a chicks trail laid by the girls. They had their song and drinky followed several others including Shorties mate Dave to welcome him and Careless and Willkie Talkie 1 for their return a visit from their new abode in Aberdeen. Then our resident old codger Laughing Boy turned up at 11 30 hrs just to be sociable and accept a down down for his trouble, one late comer in the circle step up Gilbert. Then Step up again Gilbert its been awhile since we’ve seen you. Etc etc it was cooling off now and we had had enough of bah bah bah lovely lambs pass the mint sauce. On on
Hash Trash Hash Number 704, The Live Mothering Sunday Hash, Wakerley Woods Sun 14th Mar 10
I pondered nay toyed with this Hash all week, it being mothering Sunday On Pres away and traditionally we have presented our hashing mums with a small token to mark their day. Plants, flowers, how many, who will turn up, if their is not enough, its bad trying to get one right but a gathering of hashing mums and someone dips out could be trouble for years to come. Went for a box of Thornton’s and ordered a sunny day, both were welcomed and I can still walk.
As we gathered it was very thin on the ground and I began to dream of getting a choc or two myself. That hope faded as 10am approached and the pack grew along with several mums. Geoffrey had promised a live lay and Bloodhound was smiling through gritted teeth and agreeing so ten minute head start was agreed and off they set. I took charge and dolled out the chocs to the gathered mums they in generous mood shared them with Happy feet which produce a big smile and at least she was happy for a short while forgetting she was about to go running. After about six minutes we allowed mums and pups and Adam who was in charge of his pup and virgin Elliot to set off ,then the rest of us pursued at about the ten minute stage.
Sorry Hares you wasted some flower at the start all we did was follow the sound of chattering and the pack were together at the second check. At the fourth check our Hares got unpredictable and headed off into the trees and brambles, the on on took a little finding and the Hares had escaped with little hope of being caught. It was a well laid trail but eventually as is Wakerly wood you have to go a certain way home,Blakey had done a quick exit with the pups not that she really wanted to go back early! Trail went right down into the valley, guessing it then went left to the roadside corner; I went straight on towards the road picking up the path home towards the entrance. Hash smarter and all that, I picked up trail in the corner but the smart asses had pooped out on the road for a bit then back in at the old wooden gate. The pack was some way behind and as I dropped back into the woods and onto the path in I saw the two Hares skulking further up the path. Feeling generous and having not quite followed the entire trail I waited for the pack.
Puffing panting and finger pointing up the path they came, what had happened to them they seemed to have forgotten my name, had I been renamed Cheating B-sta-d.Dispite the abuse I ran in with them even let some of them beat me in.
It had been a success even Bloodhound was still breathing and Geoffrey looked fresh and ready for more. We circled up and awarded them a drink, followed by the virgins Elliot and Jamie’s mate who’s name escapes me but well done, he enjoyed it especially the bit after Mr Meaner went back with the pups!! It was Adams birthday the day before so we dragged him in as is only right and proper. As I right these words two weeks and a Haring later the sheriffs name escapes me, but who ever you were you must of been a liar cause I remember getting a drink, thankyou.Songs were sung, down downs drunk, mums chocs finished, how could I forget after all he did remind us at every check several times Mr Meaner hurt his ankle, bless.
Hash Trash Hash Number 702, Soggy Flour Hash, Barnwell Sun 28th Feb 10
Having worked the previous two Sundays I was looking forward to this week catching up with everyone and getting out Hashing again. The weather was promising us the remains of a Portuguese storm, not to worry I wasn’t Haring. Poor old FNL out there getting soaked for us and only Swollen for company,pull the duvet over,i'll have another 10 mins,woke up, reallity! Opened the curtains pissistanly pouring the Portuguese had arrived.
Prepared for the journey south to sunny oundle how many coats would I need how about the big fishing brolly, no too windy for that end up doing a Mary Poppins.Arrived 09.40 Hares in one car Dumplug in another that had the gate filled up so I pulled onto the verge, as more arrived they spread along the verge either side of the gate.Oh dear this upset Mr Supreme Concrete who bemoaned the state of his lush turf, he got the standard response, none at all and retreated. Squeakers turned up monies were paid list ticked pack prized from their cars few words were needed in the conditions,” on on” did the trick.FNL was looking rather damp and wind swept,Swollen stripped down and put dry clobber on, to the amusment of the ladies.About a dozen of us had gathered and set off with the Oundle two in harmony for guidance, but not just for me about a dozen hardy souls had braved the storm.
Down the road across the road into Barnwell, the old station where Canary told a tale of some old geezer leaving his bike to go to war. On his return two years later with no lock on the bike it was still there. The moral of this story, if your on the look out for a bike don’t go to Barnwell, the station shut years ago and all the bikes were crap anyway! Off the check a false call was heard, no one owned up so Dumplug was blamed and down downed later. We headed out into the fields around the Barnwell flood defences and back into the village. Out again through the organic chicken farm, free range and all that good stuff did anyone actually see a chicken out free ranging anywhere? Not a feather was their, lots of water and shiggy but the Portuguese had ceased and the waterproofs now seemed a little excessive.
Now their was gun fire and close by, Quiver spotted a red flag on the horizon, it was clay pigeons wasn’t it? Free range chickens! never saw either so no evidence. We of course set off towards the gun fire, a back arrow Canary boy pulls something of course we all stopped and offered sympathy” come on you old cripple” and other helpful comments.Whats this bobbing up the road a couple of free range chickens! No just a couple of well seasoned old birds Her Fault and Swag Bag!” Good of you to join us ladies, come on cripple, it was her fault” loads of banter going off and finger pointing.
We were heading back into Barnwell now past the castle over a ford and a road "on in” Stella time, hooray.Well done hares not too long just a nice length and a beer, can’t beat that on a Sunday morning!!! On on to Grantham and Mad March Hares!
Hash Trash Hash Number 701, In Deep Midwinter, Oakham Sun 21st Feb 10
Where, exactly, is this Global Warming thing? Doggers had got his flour out and, once again, there was deep, cold, snow everywhere. Having survived the very hazardous car journey to Oakham we put ourselves in his trusty hands. He’d laid the hash solo – always a concern in sub-zero temperatures – but we took some solace in that he didn’t seem to be suffering too much. Slapper and Marky Mark Two turned up in a little bit of Great Britain, leaving the shop-soiled Audi at home and preferring instead an Italian Job mini. Scotty and Nudge Nudge re-appeared after a winter break; Nudge claimed that he’d been out walking and doing sport on previous Sundays, whilst Scotty admitted that they’d been on a winter cruise to sunnier climes. How the other half live. Canary passed on complaints from Squelchy, who had been kept awake by ‘night-time action’. But who was to blame? There was a brief period of staring at shoes and mumbling. Bloodhound slid into the car park, nearly squishing the pack as he did so.
We were off, up the road and onto the path, desperately looking for the red and blue crosses. I helpfully slapped some green ones onto passing trees, just to keep the interest up. It didn’t really work. As she got warmer, FNL began to strip off. A steady series of people (mostly blokes, I noticed) carried her jacket for her, kept it warm, hung it up, and had it washed, pressed, and wrapped in a presentation bag. It was given back to her at the checks so that she didn’t get a chill, the poor love. I was having none of this and thought instead that she might appreciate me stuffing the sleeves full of snow. She didn’t. We continued through the housing estates, up and down the roads and in and out of the alleyways. We narrowly avoided a car crash outside the supermarket, which I don’t think we were entirely responsible for, and pressed on to the wibbly-wobbly bridge over the railway. Having gone up, and up, and up, then down, and down, and down, there was the traditional back arrow. Oh goody! We went through more houses, up sniggly little footpaths and across vast fields of snow. Some people tried to do filthy cheating by nipping over the railway line at the station, but were rightly called back to do their back arrow duties. In the middle of town there was a check beside the ladies lavs. The temptation was too much for VIP, and for Swag, and for FNL. Off they went to powder their noses, presumably whilst having a pee or a poo. The rest of us manly types, able to control our bladders, pressed on. However, just around the corner was a back arrow, so off we went to find the backmarker. She was still locked in her little cubicle, and no amount of banging on the door would hurry her up. We carried on past the church and the Green Thing, and Doggers then provided a verbal On Inn.
Back at the circle, there was our regular latecomer, Gilbert, who had arrived late and who claimed to have run around Oakham looking for us. When he could no longer find hash symbols to follow, he tracked us by our Asics footprints. Surely, he is the Great White Hunter. Things went a bit pear-shaped then. I managed to prize a flask of hot gluhwein from Slapper’s hands and passed it round. VIP poured herself some. Shortly after, Canary decided to burst an empty crisp packet. The resulting explosion startled Rooney who bolted for cover. Unfortunately, Rooney was strapped to VIP’s wrist, and in her hand was her large cup of mulled wine. Off went Rooney and up in the air went VIP and her wine. Most of it splattered over the snow, making this bit of Oakham look like a crime scene. A lot, though, went over Rooney. He was then banished to the car, where he licked his fur and got steadily hammered. CB, meanwhile, was giggling like a schoolgirl and was having difficulty breathing. A short time later, FNL introduced us to a whole new set of FNL noises as she tried to inhale an entire Jaffa Cake, losing a grip on her breathing in the process. Cue more uncontrollable giggling. It started to get a bit cool. It was deepest midwinter, after all, and so we left. On on.
Hash Trash Hash Number 700, Happy 700th Birthday, Rutland HHH, Wing Sun 14th Feb 10
Now, you may think that the hash didn’t go very well, and you may think that the hash didn’t go according to plan. Well, you’re wrong, because it was my plan for the hash to be rubbish, to be too long, to be too muddy, too wet, too cold, and to fill up too much of your precious time. On the plus side, though, we had a circle, of sorts, indoors and we chomped on our nice birthday cakes whilst seated in the warm. Luxury.
Hash Trash Hash Number 699,Early Morning Stiffness,North Luffenham Sun 7th Feb 10
I found Bummer sitting all alone in his little van, wondering if he was in the right place. He was. I knew because despite all my guidance and directions, I had once again missed the turning and had been forced to reverse into Rooster’s car in an attempt to manoeuvre myself into the cricket ground. The emergency services seemed to know the hashers were coming because an ambulance was ready for us, its engine running and its defibrillator armed. As is the norm at North Luffenham, the hares - VIP and Fresh As – were spotted walking slowly back to the cars from their advanced trail-laying, or from breakfast, carrying depleted bags of self-raising and complaining bitterly of the cold, the wet, and the mud. The other hounds gathered slowly: Bloodhound, Laughing Boy, Swag Bag, Swollen Bits, Her Fault, and Regina. Emerging as very welcome returners were Oldest Swinger, Knickerdorfe, and Rooster. Mark One arrived by bike and with Jake the dog. Very well done, Marky Mark (One). Regina had done especially well. Despite her current status as a relatively new hasher she had brought along an unsuspecting but apparently willing virgin in the shape of Marky Mark (Two). He was briefed by the hares using symbols that none of us had seen before, and would never see again. I’ve never seen a worse circle drawn using wheat-based products. How would he cope out there when it got nasty, I wondered? So, that was us ready for the off, then, was it? Apparently not, for Swollen Bits was on the old dog and bone in an attempt to reach FNL, believed to be en route. It was reported that she had something to do after the hash. As she arrived, uncharacteristically late, and with Canary Boy in her passenger seat, it was stated that perhaps she’d done it already. The purveyor of this slanderous comment (not me, I might add) was hit for his troubles. It was, perhaps, time to go. Following tradition, we mooched around the cricket ground before emerging into the houses to the northeast. We had a brief fling with a nearby field and then Swag took the lead, largely as a result of a discreet tip-off and lots of head-nodding from the hares. We left a trail of flour, false calls and destruction as we passed through the village, and then emerged at the top of the ridge on the south side. With gay abandon we opened our legs (where am I going with this?) and sprinted downhill. The old hands were more reserved, knowing all too well that what goes down at the beginning of a hash will surely need to come back up again, at the end, when we would be knackered (this is Newton’s little-known fifth law). Anyway, we found ourselves at the foot of the hill. The next forty-five minutes was a whirlwind of deep, cold, wet mud and back arrows. Random rivers seem to have sprung up out of nowhere, and they polluted our shoes and socks. The trail went through mile after mile of soft, squishy brown stuff. We were slipping and sliding all over the place, looking all gangly and unsteady, like Bambi did in that film, the name of which escapes me. If we didn’t have enough ‘fun’ on the way through the shiggy, there would be a back arrow, or two, to allow us a second and possibly a third go. I think we skirted around the village to the south, using paths previously uncharted, but apparently someone had said that it was okay (possibly Ted, as in HT number 694). Laughing Boy liked it because it allowed him to get over a bout of early morning stiffness that he told us he’d suffered earlier that day. I know the feeling. Marky Mark (One) sprinted ahead with Jake, both of them leading the field in a valiant effort to get back to the gluhwein and chocolate cookies first. Close behind was FNL, and these three showed us a clean pair of heels for much of the hash. I suspect that Marky Mark (One) knows the area too well. Meanwhile, Marky Mark (Two) seemed to be enjoying himself. He introduced himself at the On Out by stating that he liked his running but wasn’t very good at it. He was surely amongst friends with an outlook like that. What happened next? Mud, back arrows, mud, back arrows, ploughed fields and mud. Women, children and fat dogs were lifted over stiles and fences. Laughing Boy (who was on top form) looked past FNL towards a fence. “Do you think it’s jumpable?” he asked. Nothing needed to be said (no legover comments? – Ed). Shortly, we found ourselves amongst an assault course. We were confronted by long black plastic pipes, probably destined to be placed into the ground to take away the sh*t from the good folk of North Luffenham. In their current form they presented an unavoidable challenge to us, and we scooted through them on all fours. FNL asked me not to tell you that she fell over on her face whilst inside one, by the way. How ex-Army Action Man Dogplop would have loved it. There followed a steady climb uphill towards the church and the sanctuary of the cricket ground and the circle. Obviously there were a number of back arrows. These helped to prove the rule that what goes happily downhill will often skid into a turn and struggle, panting a lot, back uphill again. At the circle, and once Canary Boy had finished his new fangled stretching regime, the hares were debriefed. The hash was declared very good, memorable, lovely, and enjoyable. So good, in fact, that it had left Her Fault completely speechless. Somewhat unexpectedly, Canary Boy’s little red policeman popped out on duty, which made the Harriettes laugh a lot. Rooster was sheriff, and he declared fines for himself and Marky Mark (One) for false calling; Mudders and FNL for overachieving; and Swollen Bob for referring to the Sheriff as a ‘fat knacker’. Whoops. We took the opportunity to name Regina. For the majority of the hash, she’d sported a large slapped handprint on her bottom, and so after some debate was baptized into the hash as ‘Schlapper’ – subsequently translated into olde English as ‘Slapper’. There was no flour available, and so a flour-based cookie was crushed into her hair in lieu. Then flour was produced by magic and we did it all again. Hector, meanwhile, was frustrated at being tied to the pavilion whilst having to watch his master drinking gluhwein from his very own dog bowl and, using his substantial body strength, he decided to rip bits of downpipe off and wander over to join the fun. Funnier still were FNL’s efforts to piece the guttering back together. Don’t give up your day job just yet… On on.
Hash Trash Hash Number 698, Four Hundred Up, Ferry Meadows Sun 31 Jan 10
A small group gathered for Hash 698. Our hares this morning were Bloodhound and his new regular sidekick, Dumplug. Gagging for some top hashing were Yours Truly, Squeaks and Happy Feet, VIP, Fresh As, Geoffrey Q, Bummer, Canary, FNL, Swag, Swollen Bits and Marky Mark. Regina emerged after a bit of an absence, fresh from her skiing hols and looking far too stylish to be a hasher. It was reported that we were waiting for Swag to do her face before we could set off. Would this be a long process? Is make-up really necessary for hashing? Was it a euphemism for peeing beside her car? The brief was brief and the on-out was pointed on-out. We trotted along the street – it was quite some way to the first check and the only interruption was Rooney curling one in on the path. Luckily we were able to dodge round it but, just beyond, there was a back arrow. As we retraced our steps, there was VIP, without a poo bag, kicking the ex-contents of Rooney across the path and into the road. This meant that instead of one hazard to avoid, there were dozens, all fresh and stinky. I think most of us got away unscathed. VIP’s shoes didn’t, though, and they would need a good hosing down before the day was done. By some magical means, the details of which escape me, we went under the road and popped out beside the long rowing course, where the hash had recently hashed. We couldn’t be going along the length of that, could we? Actually, no. We went back under, across the river then along the railway track. Unfortunately, there were no steam trains for Squeakers to make note of. These were lengthy legs, but the hares were kind and they allowed us to stop periodically to get our breath back. We were now deep in Bloodhound’s regular hashing territory. Even I recognized it. We went over the railway line and rejoined the riverbank. This was a splendid trail, linking rail, road and river. It was therefore scenic, educational and interesting. It did hurt, though, and was covered in really amusing back arrows. Consequently, we weren’t going very quickly – I noticed that some birdwatchers were keeping pace with us. We managed to worry some walkers as we stomped across wibbly-wobbly bridge, nearly bouncing them into the Nene in the process. The next legs were mounted on sticks as we ran along the wooden walkways beside the river. Bloodhound and Dummers showed their funny sides here. Up the steps, down the steps, up the steps, down the steps. How we laughed. The legs were getting very short now and Bloodhound was glancing at his watch more and more. Flour seemed to be everywhere. Eventually we popped out opposite the cop-shop. An alternative was offered – back to the car park in five minutes or On On. I think everyone, bravely, went On On. Happy Feet needed some persuasion and we found ourselves quite stretched out as we crossed a bridge back over the dual carriageway. Surely the flour we could see ahead was a checkback, we thought. But no – hooray! – another back arrow. We could see no easy route back over the road but Bloodhound is just too good for us. After an all-too brief trip through the woods we found a footbridge which lead back via the On Inn into the car park. I think we had done about Laughing Boy time plus 20 mins. It had been a clever trail. It didn’t seem to go too far from the cars, but despite that was very varied and interesting. However, I kept all this complimentary stuff to myself and asked for comments. We are such a contrary bunch: too long, too short, long legs, short legs, enjoyable, pants, a nice length, hard work, too many back arrows, not enough back arrows.... Actually I made that last one up. Swollen Bits turned out to be sheriff, although I’m not sure anyone knew that before the circle, least of all himself. Fines were awarded to VIP for toilet-related behaviour, to the shortcutters - Swag, Bummer, Fresh As, and Marky Mark – and to Mudders and VIP for overachieving, I think. We presented Bloodhound with a nice new jacket for his 400th hash, and a hideous orange t-shirt for his 110th outing as hare. Squeakers, in a break from tradition and to mark 350 hashes, was presented with a thick mug to go with her other one. Yes, dear reader – me. On on.
Hash Trash Hash Number 697, The Long Horsey Trail, Helpston Sun 24th Jan 10
Scribe:FNL & Canary Boy
We were pre-warned by the hares that today’s hash would be a long one – 5 ½ miles to be exact. As it turned out, however, the hash ended up being shorter than the brief (yawn!). We were joined today by not one, not two, but three virgins. One turned up in a smart BMW…he was male…the woman waited expectantly for him to join us at the circle….and then….WHAT THE??? Was it a nappy? Those shorts will surely be remembered (for all the wrong reasons) and will definitely help in the naming process. Mark (his real name) was recognised by VIP, although she could not quite put a finger on how she knew him. We’ll save that one for another day.
Gwyneth, another virgin, had clearly been informed by certain female members of the hash, that it is compulsory to wear long, jazzy socks over one’s trousers, with an optional daft hat. She fitted in beautifully! Debs was virgin number three, and joined company with Happy Feet and Reargunner for a nice Sunday ramble at the back of the pack.
After welcoming the virgins, we were duly informed by Hare Mudplug (clearly taking a weekend out from his ‘moonlighting’ antics in France), that there would be a lot of dead animals on this trail. Now, some of you may remember the abuse that a certain Canary Boy and FNL got when animals had been seen on the hash despite the brief saying there would be none. Maybe the dead animals seen by Mudders the day before had mysteriously crawled their way back to heaven overnight, for none were spotted during this hash.
The main thing to be seen on this trail was shiggy, shiggy and more shiggy. The little boys amongst us (you know who you are!) delighted in splashing through the many puddles, usually when a blonde front-runner was nearby. The water and shiggy caused a few mishaps, or was it merely that the thought of running for 5 ½ miles prompted an early sit-down? Rooney, having just laid his own trail, back-ended VIP, who was promptly assisted back up by a knight-in-shining-armour (aka CB). Well-Hungover also had a queue of willing ‘helpers’ when she went horizontal. Dumplug, on the other hand, was stood on, walked over and left to fester and rot (and rot and rot…).
Three and a half hours later, a large troop of weary, bedraggled hashers breathed a huge sigh of relief when they came to the beer stop. Fresh As A’s relief was also in liquid form, under the euphemism of ‘inspecting the daisies’.
Soon, we were off again, faced with many more back-arrows. Fortunately, someone must have been watching over us, because two old nags appeared (listening to their Ipods on horseback). As you know, horses are easily frightened and, as caring, law-abiding hashers, we did not want to cause them any confusion or upset by continually running forwards and backwards past them. So, much as it pained us to do it, we had to ignore all those back-arrows. At least that enabled us to get back to the On-Inn before dusk.
The walkers, having arrived back some hours previous, had already set out the refreshments. Bummer then produced his own concoction of…well…anything in his drinks cabinet that was out-of-date. Still, it was hot and went down well. The sheriffs were called forward, and duly fined the sitters on the hash. Then came the call from Sheriff LRO “One hare drinks; all hares drink!”. It was clear that Bummer’s concoction was far stronger than any of us had anticipated, because neither of the hares had actually been fined for anything. Or was it, perhaps, that he had seen Buttplug in the circle and therefore was calling Squeakers to join her ‘husband’?
Finally, after officially welcoming the virgins, two more ‘senior’ hashers (Squelchy and FNL) were presented with a hoody for completing 100 hashes. This marked a clear change in young Squelchy, as he actually admitted that he had enjoyed a hash laid by the On-Pres. Then again, perhaps it was just the drink talking. On on!
Hash Trash Hash Number 696, Down-along Up-along, Easton-on-the-big-hill, Sun 17 Jan 10
How would you describe this part of the Cambridgeshire/Northamptonshire/Rutland border area? Would ‘largely flat and uninspiring’ be part of the description, or would the term Alpine be more appropriate? Would you mention the steep scarp slopes, rapidly rising ground and raging torrents? Would that deadly river, with its swirly whirlpools, get any column inches? Well, it should because this was Extreme Hashing, Rutland style. It was Easton-on-the-Mountain again, and we were once again in the capable hands of Swag Bag and Vidal Baboon. We hadn’t been in Easton for many, many weeks (five, actually) and we waited with bated breath for the off. How do you bate breath, by the way? And why would you want to?
Adam C showed up – as did a number of other returners: Geoffrey Quiver, Larfin’ Boy, Vidal herself, Mister Meaner, Well Hung Over and Tidemark. A special welcome was extended to our longest-lost hasher, Blakey, who re-appeared after an absence of 25 weeks. Not since July ’09 had we been entertained by her tales of county boundary disputes in the Greater Peterborough area. Mr Meaner, however, refused to get out of the car. This was unusual, and this was drama. We do have the odd teenage mood on the hash, but I don’t recall a refusal to leave a car. Normally it’s their beds they find it impossible to get out of. There was a great deal of persuasion, but it wasn’t completely successful. It’s fair to say that Mr Meaner was removed from the car but that is where his hash began and ended. He spent the next hour or so minding the cars for us, which was nice. There could be a regular position there for an up and coming teen. Whilst all this was going on, members of the pack engaged in some small talk. “How are things up your end?” asked Larfin’ Boy of FNL. The conversation suddenly died down. We waited for news. FNL giggled a lot, which gave us no clue at all about how things were “up her end.” I think we need to be told.
Anyway, eventually we were off and we all headed toward the cliff edge like lemmings. We were wrong, though, and we were called back to tread a well-worn trail down into the village. Our first check was at a junction which we remembered from Hash 666, back in June. On that occasion there was confusion concerning Turkeys and Eagles, about which was which, which was long and which was short, and which trail was, in fact, where? Suddenly it all came flooding back to us, for there on the ground was a dirty great big double-headed arrow with an ‘E’ at one end and a ‘T’ at the other. I won’t repeat myself, but it was a re-run, almost word for word, of the chaos that took place, right there, back in June. It ended with Swag exclaiming “Oh sh*t, I’ve got it wrong again, haven’t I?” Do you know what, Swag, I really don’t know anymore, but I sure look forward to the next time we stop there. VIP, meanwhile, was having all kinds of fun behind us. Rooney had worked out that he was about to be dragged around on a hash, and so he decided that it would be wise to empty the contents of his body onto the road. This he did, forming a curly mini-roundabout in the process. Luckily, VIP had a carrier bag with her and she needed all of its load-carrying capacity. No-one wanted to come too close to her for a while. I made a mental note that somebody else should hand round the snacks at the circle. Rooney smiled that special smile of his, since he was now ready for anything that Swag and Vidal could throw at him. Round and round the lovely village we went, ending up opposite the church from where we had started. We found not one, nor two, but three hash halts for us to ponder. The easy route was back along the path to the cars, but this was Extreme Hashing, so we plummeted off the hill. We went down and down and down into the very bowels of the earth and then, courtesy of several back arrows, we came all the way back up again. Blakey, Fresh As and Harlot had a lot of walky-talky to do, it seemed. No worries – it was only a near vertical and ice-covered slope that we had to conquer, over and over again. Morale increased noticeably when we hit the railway crossing at the bottom. We were invited to call the signalman if we needed to get wide loads across. Some people sniggered. We were also invited to call the signalman if we needed to get groups of animals across. Some people looked at me and pointed. How hurtful. Having no fear of trains, we stumbled over the tracks and along the path toward Stamford’s dreamy spires. Let me summarize the next hour: back arrow, back arrow, back arrow, back arrow, back arrow - how we laughed. Soon, we found ourselves beside the River Well Hard, or something. We stopped beside a meander, where lateral erosion was taking place before our very eyes. There would probably be a new ox-bow lake there by lunchtime. This was, explained Swag, an opportunity for Squeakers, our resident Geography teacher, to explain river erosion to Happy Feet. Happy Feet, however, was only interested in knowing where the drinks and crisps were and how soon we could be getting in amongst them. On we went, under the A1, where it is claimed that Tommo’s mum is a slag. We tweaked the edge of the extended Stamford Meadows, and then scooted back under the road. There then followed a kind of kid’s game involving what could be called Sticky Sticky Stuff. Most of the fields stuck to our shoes and we found ourselves running with enormous clown-sized mudboots on. The painful became even more painful, the difficult even harder. We slithered our way over a footbridge and began to make our way back up the hill. There was a diversion which took us into the woods, which disturbed some dodgy old bloke and made him leave his precious forest, apparently for the first time in years. He was followed by another bunch of shady characters desperately following a flour trail. We continued up the steep hill to the point at the top where alternative routes were available: long and painful or longer and painfuller. Entertainment on the longer leg consisted of Mudplug making use of a pre-circle pee-stop. How was I to know that most of the women would choose to go that way? At the circle, Her Fault was fined for cruelty to children, Dogplop was fined for running only half the hash, and Bummer and Swollen Bits were done for back arrow avoidance. Larfin’ Boy said that he had been reminded how crap these hashes could be. FNL and Squeakers were fined for racing, and Canary Boy had a drink, apparently for being quite bold, or bored, or bald - I’m not sure what I’ve written here... Shortly the mountain breezes got to us and we all got a bit chilly. Off home. On on.
Hash Trash Hash Number 695, The Sh**tty Trail,Thorpe Meadows Sun 10 Jan 10
Check this out. We started at 10:01 and 10 seconds on 10:01:10. How spooky is that? Well, actually we didn’t because, like normal, we were late off. But think how spooky it could have been, if only Rabbit had cycled a little faster. We met in the snowy car park next to the Ramada. All the blokes that drove there had to do a little skid before parking, as if they were Jenson Button sideswerving into the pits at Monza. Our efforts to get off at ten o’clock were dashed yet again. Some people were a bit late arriving which is understandable in the weather conditions. Diarrhoea, however, drove to the wrong hash location or, possibly, the right hash location but on the wrong day. Latest of all was Family Plank Rabbit Poo, who cycled slowly and carefully to meet us. I don’t think we’d had hashers intentionally turn up on two wheels before, so that was my first fine sorted out for later. We couldn’t really stay warm while we waited, so instead we started to throw hot mulled wine down our throats like there was no tomorrow. We were partying like it was 0959. If we weren’t going to start soon, we’d just go to the bar and get hammered and talk about the hash instead of running it. Reargunner and Happy Feet popped over to welcome Anya and Little Sh*t. Despite the age difference of about 60 years, they are all the same size, and so the four of them looked like schoolkids in the playground. Our hares today were Bloodhound, who has been successfully laying trails for many years, and Bumplug, for whom this was the first time. So, armed with a girly shandy, our virgin hare gave us the brief. There were metal stakes on the route. “Are they well done?” asked Mutant, and we chortled a little bit. I had images of the tank traps on the beaches at Normandy. The reality was disappointing in comparison. It was at this point that we spotted a spy camera mounted on the hare. It was all a bit secret service. Peeking out of his jacket like unwanted chest hair was a webcam thingy. It appeared that we were to be broadcast live on FaceTube, where millions of excited viewers were glued to their screens, waiting to see if Doggers would run a back arrow. But no. It was just a plain old camera, although it took random pictures when it wanted to, and of whatever Buttplug was looking at. Hence, we ended up with “a worrying amount of pictures of FNL’s backside” and several of my crotch. These are the photographer’s words, by the way, and not mine. I think this makes the contents of Buttplug’s photo album worrying, but entertaining in its own, special way. Anyway – there was a hash to do. We ran past the hotel and shouted a lot to wake up the residents, then we ran over a bridge to the first check. Beside the check there was a curly pile of dog mess. “Ooh”, we all thought, “best not tread in that bad boy”. Canary did, though, and gave it a right proper seeing to. He stank bad – really bad. In his attempts to clean the underside of his shoe he managed to spread the stuff over most of the county. His footsteps could be seen for miles. Remember that there was a covering of nice white snow on the ground. Now picture that snow with dollops of plop all over it. It was like an enormous, swirly caramel and toffee frozen yoghurt, only not quite so appealing. On we went, leaving the carnage behind. Surrounded by snow and ice, I mentioned that the previous night some poor woman had wandered out of her house to buy cigarettes and had frozen to death. “Was she naked?” was Canary Boy’s bizarre question. Have I mentioned that much of the hash was marked in ash, or h’ash as it won’t be known from now on? Our hares had also taken a leaf out of Dogger’s and Adam’s books by using snow symbols for checks. This is a great idea because instead of carrying a bottle or two of flour during the laying process, all you need is a garden spade, a rake, a hoe, an ice saw, a mechanized digger (tracked), a snow compactor and some gloves made of a seal pup’s testicles. There were dozens and dozens and dozens of back arrows. Mutant and Doggers missed most of them, though, resulting in the comment that Mutant “should’ve gone to Specsavers”. Have a heart, team, he is nearly 86 years old. Next, we ran around a lot and I got thoroughly lost. There were rivers and trees, some rubbish humour, some failed attempts at shortcutting by Bummer, a flying swan (I think it was a swan – it could have been a pigeon for all I know), some evidence of forgetfulness by the hares and, worst of all, a back arrow beyond the On Inn. Whatever next, dear reader? We eventually arrived at the circle and I asked for comments. Here they are in alphabetical order:
Just the right length
Shortly to be forgotten
Very icily done
Very nicely done
Worth getting up for
Other comments related to the challenging walk undertaken by walkers (“Two miles one way, two miles back”) and to the Poles who appear to live in tents in the area (tentpoles?) and who, we are to assume, live on nothing but swan pie and duck sauce. What’s more, Mutant, I bet they don’t pay income tax! The hash was measured by Diarrhoea at roughly 4.91km – and so he copped a fine for GPS-linked gadgetry. The hares were punished, Canary was punished for muck-spreading and Squelchy for his 14th birthday. Fresh As was sheriff and fined Canary, Mutant, Bumplug, Mudplug, Bummer, Dogplop, Diarrhoea and Happy Feet for various sins. Squelchy got fined for doing a back arrow - what sort of example is that? Finally, we had a refusal on the new shoe front. Oh well. It’s Easton-on-the-Bloody-Big-Hill next. On on.
Hash Trash Hash Number 694, But Ted said it was ok,Sun 3rd January 10 ,Polebrook
“You will NOT encounter any animals on this hash”, declared the hares. “Excuse me, Miss”, said Anya, one of our pre-school visitors, “but I’ve already seen a sheep”. “QUIET!” responded the hares, using their best classroom voices. “There are NO sheep, or any other animals, domesticated or wild, for many, many miles around”. That was us told, then - no safari for us today. It was a brand new year, and a brand new location for us. Our hares, FNL and Canary Boy, were full of holiday cheerfulness as they greeted 20 of us on this bright, cold, and clear morning. Fresh As turned up late, Careless turned up later, but F Like A Rabbit arrived latest. She was in the company of Plank and their children, Little Sh*t and Anya. FNL saw the children’s big brown eyes and was overcome with motherly desire. I think she wanted to eat them, and I am now quite concerned for her pupils. I think at that point I spotted a rabbit, but I decided to keep quiet about it. We set off up the track, through the slush and the ice and snow. The first check took us off-track into the fields. Hold on - what’s this? It looked like a horse, it sounded like a horse, and it smelt like a horse. “Excuse me, hares”, I said, “but isn’t that a h..?” “IT IS NOT A HORSE!” came the reply. Ookaay. “Horses don’t count”, we were told. Surely that would depend on the quality of schooling they receive, I thought. We continued to mince around the fields towards Polebrook village. It was chilly, and Plank and FLAR were having to carry their offspring on their shoulders. In order to help, the hares told them to stand still on a cold windswept corner for about three hours whilst the rest of us kept nice and warm by running around bits of Northamptonshire. I often say that there is nothing like a warm welcome for visitors, and this was nothing like a warm welcome (in both senses of the word) for our visitors. I’m sure I saw Plank looking hopefully back up the trail later in an attempt to see the pack again before it got dark and the four of them died of exposure. We entered Polebrook village via a lovely little nicky-nacky-noo path, and I believe I saw a cat and a dog. Fearing for my life, I kept quiet. The trail set off again from Polebrook in a large loop, making the hash the shape of a pear or, as I like to put it, pear-shaped. Leaving the village behind, we climbed up a never-ending sloping road. Because the hares are both super-fit, the road was liberally laced with back-arrows, which served to confuse the drivers who were trying to manoeuvre their cars past us. They were out in abundance, and in four-wheel drive, at this point. We were out in foolish clothes and six-year old running shoes held together with string and masking tape. We stopped beside a tree and there, in the distance, was Fotheringhay church. Canary Boy laughed. We laughed at – sorry – with him. (I apologize for the ‘in’ joke – see Hash Trash 670 and 684 for the background). Off we went cross-country. I think I spotted a polecat and, a little later, a marmoset but on each occasion I bit my lip. Runny and Mudders took to short-cutting at this point whilst the rest of the pack flogged up and down and up and down a mighty hill. How we love those back arrows. The shortcut wasn’t easy though, since the two criminals had to negotiate a barbed wire fence in order to rejoin the pack and, as FNL will testify, those fences can cause you damage ‘down below’. It was at this point that Happy Feet’s bladder decided that it had had enough hashing for one day. Mummy took her to one side. Please note that later, in the circle, Mummy - who turned out to be sheriff - fined her for it. Nice parenting, I think you’ll agree. Anyway, suitably rejoined and relaxed, the pack was invited to find the trail. One path led almost back the way we had come. I looked at it. “We thought about that path”, said Madam Hare, “but decided that only a fool would go down there to check it out”. At that point, we spotted Dumplug mooching back toward us along the path. Meanwhile, I saw a pony, but kept my thoughts to myself. We slid down the hill, and we struggled up the hill. Shortly, we were circled by a menacing-looking red kite (is that an animal? It probably wasn’t worth asking). It seemed to be looking for food, so most parents kept hold of their children whilst I held Happy Feet up to the sky, having doused her in honey and mouse’s entrails. Swollen Bob enjoyed the unexpected opportunity for some bird-watching, whilst also looking at the red kite for a while. The pack, bar one, then followed the clearly marked path that zigged and zagged across the meadows. Careless wandered off into the fields, alone with his thoughts. Luckily, Canary at this point in the laying process had felt a raindrop falling on him and had therefore decided that back arrows were an unnecessary bad thing. How we appreciated that. As we looked back at Careless, now many miles behind, a large hare sprinted across the field. Now, that certainly is an animal, but having caught that look in Madam Hare’s eyes, we looked away quickly and kept our lips sealed. There followed an interesting discussion about the characteristics of rivers, and the purpose of aqueducts and bridges, before there was a collective yawn and we set off back. Down the hill, over the river, and up the hill we went. Following the On Inn sign, and knowing that the hares were about to be armed with glass bottles and beer, I chose not to mention the weasel and the stoat that smiled at me as I jogged past. To the circle! The hash was declared to be the best of the year, the longest, the coldest, and the wettest. It was, by virtue of the date, also the worst, the shortest, the warmest, and the driest. It was “full of shite” according to one hound. The hares were duly fined. Sinners were fined as follows: Gilbert, Doggers, Dumplug and Careless for failing to note back arrows; the hares for leading the pack; Happy Feet for sitting down; Bummer, Gilbert and Doggers for shortcutting; Careless for long-cutting; Happy Feet for peeing; Harlot and Happy for racing and, finally, Gilbert and Doggers for something that I omitted to note – probably body odour or something. Swollen Bits was fined for sending a cheapskate electronic Christmas card – and a recycled one at that. Before we left, we honoured three visitors, two returners and one happy birthday boy. There was no partridge in a pear tree, but if there had been Madam Hare would probably have gouged our eyes out and denied its existence. On on.