The eager marshals standing in the road nearly persuaded me to visit the Stansted garden show instead of hashing on this breezy bright morning with cloudy intervals. At the village hall Treefeller and Soapbox were busy assembling a brand new giant grill as the chariots gradually packed into the small car park and the occupants tried to find somewhere to deposit their raffle prizes and food items.
Bye and bye Flash and Jon returned from trail laying to open up the hall and bring us the news that Panda was at home nursing an extremely painful tooth abscess, Jon had volunteered to stand in for Panda.
Miraculously everyone seemed to be rowing in the same direction, setting up tables etc until Flash called us together to remind us that there was a trail and that we had to run it before we could have any food. Apparently this trail would have lots of falsies and a few Bikaesque fish hook marks to challenge front runners. Soon a big pack departed, leaving a rearguard of kind souls to continue preparation for their thirsty and ravenous return.
We headed south on that little track that run parallel to the road and Beerpump was already moaning about having to skate over shiggy when we could be on nice dry tarmac. At track end a sharp right across the road brought us into the north east corner of Stansted forest and the first serious check. On the OS map there no local place names for this area to help describe our route and I must thank Spiderman for providing me with a GPS track showing where we went, or at least where he went. The track looks like the outline of the Bordeaux region and the Iberian peninsular below with Gibraltar at the southern edge of the forest and the main long open forest ride just where the Pyrenees would be, or a little bit like Texas, or if you squint you can just see a profile of Bruce Forsyth..... weird or what?.
Anyway, early on, Mussolini and then Snake Charmer were tempted down the falsies while Old Faithful chose all the right options to find himself way out front on the northern coast of Spain before coming to grief on a long falsie to San Sebastian, leaving Dr Blood to lead the way to the first fish hook on the back of Brucy's neck.
The number on the hook was 4 but in true hash fashion 5 people and a dog ran to the back, Dr Blood, Snake Charmer, Bika, Beer Pump, Iggy and The Ref. Nice to see The Ref out after a busy season during which he red carded 5 players... coincidence or what ?.
As we proceeded under the canopy of the western limit of the wood we saw Splasher get whacked on the leg by a large dog carrying a long stick and there was discussion (you know who you were) of how you could kill your mother in law using one of the foxgloves that grow in profusion in this area, after all what did mother in laws ever do for us?. Then as we got to the Gibraltar area Beerpump and Bika started on the walking into a bar jokes which were to continue for the rest of the run, a big incentive to look for the longer checks.
Turning north up the Mediterranean coast of Brucy's chin and nose the second fish hook caught Olive Oyl, Snake Charmer and Bika, this time the maths was correct. A final flurry of excitement was provided by Pancsi's and then mussolini's attempts to push Splasher into one of the large puddle ponds that had been left by the recent torrential rains. The village hall came into sight after one hour and fifteen minutes of most entertaining hashing.
Tom and Matt were quickly presented with the Hash-It for talking their way round, a case of all gassing and no Hashing. Then we settled in to the traditional BBQ activities.
It's difficult to thank individuals in case someone feels left out, however, thanks to Treefeller and Pru for sweating over the grill, Olive Oyl and Snake Charmer for selling/folding/etc the raffle tickets, Hash Flash and Jon for the trail and then Flash for all the other things he did, all those who helped clean up (especially after the kids food fight), Pink Flamingo for the hot pancakes, the washer uppers, I could go on, sorry if I left you out, trip me up on the next hash if you can catch me.