The grey leaden sky and cold north wind had hashers rummaging through their draws for their winter running gear before finding their way to the noisy parking area alongside the A27 near the old Oaks restaurant. The early arrivals spotted the hares returning along the road from the south and Dr Blood displaying the mud and bruises acquired from an argument with a slippery stile or two.
As we neared the appointed hour it was clear that more than the usual number of hashers had turned up and that there were no new faces in this pleasantly large pack. Just in time, a mystery rider buzzed into the parking area on a scooter, the waterproofs and helmet were removed to reveal Snake Charmer doing her Mod impression (if you understand that reference you are old).
The hares told us that it was flat etc etc and also to avoid the archery practise areas, and then we set out. After finding that all the attractive directions in which to start were false we found a trail east just inside the Armco barrier of the westbound lane of the A27.
What happened next will be remembered by some for a long time.
The going was tough, with lots of concealed stumps and roots under long herbage. Suddenly, Hairbrush who already had a weak knee, was down with his leg twisted painfully beneath. The hash medic team quickly established that an ambulance was needed and everyone wanted to help, too many really. Eventually six volunteered themselves to assist with Hairbrush's extraction while the rest with heavy hearts continued on the hash.
If Hairbrush had only made it another fifty yards he would have found the bridleway south into Barn's Copse and the trail over to Old Scotland Lane, even he would have moaned about the true trail off of a false trail that held us up.
Sureshot, Snake Charmer and Olive Oyl formed a female team of FRBs as we continued east into Pinewoods. Then as we approached Binsted Lane we comprehensively lost the flour, even the hare was flummoxed. Only the olfactory expertise of Old Faithful was able to sniff a way out, across the lane and across Torington Common. It was along here somewhere that we lost contact with Splasher although we did not realise this until we had reached the road to Tortington and turned west to return through the common along the southern footpath.
Shortly we met the emergency hashers coming in the opposite direction, they having done the trail in reverse but not running backwards, that would be silly. They had watched the ambulance pass eastbound and then after a million years it arrived westbound. One lane of the carriageway had been closed and Hairbrush had been shoehorned on to a collapsible stretcher, lifted over the Armco and whisked away to A and E.
Digesting this news we continued to hash, however as time was marching on and some now knew the way, we ended up running through the checks directly home, not passing GO or collecting £200 to reach the chariots after one hour and forty minutes of eventful hashing, and in case you are worried we found Splasher waiting for us.
At the circle we naturally discussed Hairbrush and also young Tom who was seen several times resting on benches. The Hash-It was presented to Snake Charmer for being the girl on a Piaggio. The hares were thanked both for the hash and also their medical expertise before the rush to the Holy Tree.