The little notebook that I use to keep track of goings on during a hash has at last dried out to form a block of papier mache with a rusty metal coil along the top. This will help you to have an idea of just how wet it was on this early autumn Sunday. Old faithful was hoping that no one would turn up so that we could avoid leaving the hot coffee and shelter of his truck to take a second cold shower. It wasn't as if it was a surprise, the rain had been accurately forecast for a couple of days so we were prepared for a bit of wet, just not that much wet.
To our amazement mad hashers started to show up and perform the usual wait in their chariots until the last moment. Sinbad was the first to break cover rapidly followed by the rest. Bika introduced a newbie by the name of Tina to distract us from what looked to be new footware while Old faithful and yours truly tried to let everyone know how flat and dry the run would be.
A short jog up the main track north west into the forest served to acclimatise the pack to the feel of cold water running down their backs and to the splosh splosh splosh sound of wet trainers.
The flour, having been laid on sheltered spots was holding up well, enough to lure Snake Charmer into checking downhill (always a bad idea) into Hudson's Copse to find the inevitable falsie. In these early stages of the hash there was light hearted banter about the conditions and an eagerness to find the trail which climbed up to Grass Piece and then on through Nightingale Bottom.
North then into Booker Down Rough where the downpour seemed to step up a notch and a largely silent bunch waited for Dr Blood, Pink Flamingo and Olive Oyl to find the falsies at the cross paths. There was plenty of opportunity to consider whether wet stinging nettles hurt more than dry ones as we waded through them on the way over to Harehurst wood.
Subtly the mood was changing as hypothermia started to set in and a certain amount of petty bickering became evident amongst the pack, Panda getting quite cross when she was mistakenly called back while charging up the true trail north east towards Round Copse. Here, in the deep wood was some respite from the monsoon which could be heard more than felt as it blasted into the canopy.
OK, here I must confess to having laid a confusing arrow on what was meant to be a large loop on the woody slopes. The result was a pack spread all over the place with Old Faithful desperately trying to get everyone back together again while yours truly raced ahead to keep track of the few that had accidentally found the true trail.
As we all emerged from underneath natures umbrella two things became apparent. Firstly that the rain was becoming even more intense and secondly that we had taken a long time to get this far with quite a bit further to go. When we reached the top of the main trail over Booker Down that returns directly to the chariots our JMs suggested that we go there directly, not passing GO and not collecting £200. Unsurprisingly there was no disagreement with this proposal and a few hashers were already on their way before Flash had finished making the suggestion.
At the very brief circle there was self congratulations for lasting one and a half hours, applause to the hares, and a presentation of the Hash-It to Bika for accidentally calling our JM back when she was in full flow on a true trail. Most then headed home for a hot shower still questioning their sanity.