At 8am a cold, bone chilling drizzle did much to dampen even the normally sunny disposition of Old Faithful, and the annoying little dewdrop of moisture that kept forming on the tip of my nose, which had already exhausted a multitude of tissues was driving me crazy.
A little later, the exertion of trying to run through the rain with a million kilos of self raising strapped to our backs had left us drenched both inside and out. Being a Hare is sometimes a character building exercise in masochism, anyway it made the hot black coffee and energy bars all the more enjoyable as the interior of Old Faithful's cab steamed up while we waited for the pack to arrive.
Bye and bye it was gratifying to see so many other die-hards turn up, even Keith from Portsmouth HHH arrived brandishing the hash-it which he had acquired on the previous run, in the Thicket.
As is customary we spun the expected story about the run being flat and dry etc before letting everyone loose to check right from the start, no pointing in a general direction this time. Soon, those with local knowledge were busy following the false trails, either along the road towards the pub or on the long climb up Walderton Hill while the lateral thinkers found the true trail through Manor Farm and up Woodlands Lane. Here, everyone except Panda and Mussolini found and used the trail on the embankment above the lane and Pancsi brought almost a whole tree with him as he used it to slow his descent.
Next we headed north into Watergate Hangar woods where the pack made halting progress through a series of checks interlinked by brambly excursions through the undergrowth rather than using the obvious trails which were invariably false.
The slippery condition of the plunge down the footpath east to the B2146 gave all an opportunity to assess the grip characteristics of their footwear, Kermit and Bika showing no fear (where there is no sense there is no fear?) had a bit of familial rivalry going on as they tried to see which could be first to break a leg.
Soon we were across the road to a regroup at the edge of the long green swathe that is, I suppose, the front lawn of Watergate House. From here we had a pleasant light run without check south east on the footpath, back towards the chariots. With so many long time regulars in the pack the final loop up the track towards Stoughton and then doing a 180° turn to return on the other side of the field fooled no one, only providing a nice squelchy jog round the north of Walderton to the On-In after one hour and fifteen minutes of cold wet hashing.
To be honest, being a miserable git, grumpy old man etc I did not walk the few feet to the Barley Mow but went straight to a hot bath, Treefeller told me that room at the Inn was found in the skittle alley. A short piece by Flash therefore concludes this report.
Someone, anxious for the comfort of home or a drink or both, decided the Hashit should be awarded at the pub. When everyone gathered at long last, Hash Flash pronounced two nominations. Firstly to Mussolini for letting Flash get the better of him at the first uphill falsie and then stating that if he (Mussolini) had been first, he would have stood on the falsie and called ?on on?. I bet he forgot that he was talking to the Hash Master.
Secondly, Splasher fell down a rabbit hole and coerced all witnesses to remain silent about it As if!! ?Anyway as it was a toss-up, a coin was produced and the recipient was Mussolini.