It is ironic that on the first day of British Summertime we were to experience the coldest last day of March since records began, beating that in 1962 which some of us still remember, just. Hash mismanagement meant that our usual high standard of signage was not evident, with arrivals being greeted by a fluttering yellow tee shirt at the head of Duke's Road.
Again it was a hard core of hashers that turned up, those with more enthusiasm than sense. Spiderwoman had pulled son Alex out of bed to join us, in a bit of a daze and still wearing his pyjamas. Congratulations were offered to Pink Flamingo who this very morning had become a granny to a future hasher by the name of Rufus, and then we were swiftly directed by the hares to start off in a westerly direction along the road and up to the crossroad. For some of us, this was the last we saw of the hares who were conspicuous by their absence for the remainder of the run, the rumour is that they jogged over to The Spur, had a few bevvies and then jogged back for the finish.
A combination of familiarity with the terrain and (unusually) plenty of flour meant that the hares were not needed to sort out any confusions. Initially it was Snake Charmer who set the pace north up the road towards the sand pit, however she overran a small detour east into the woods and then back out on the road which kept the pack together nicely. Old Faithful and Dr Blood then took us on a longer loop west and then around the reservoirs to emerge on the Eartham road and then east back to the north west corner of Slindon Wood. A major check here saw Pancsi, Snake Charmer and Dr Blood heading north in the false hope that we were heading for the folly which from here is clearly visible in the distance.
Unfortunately for them the rest of us found a good trail east in the edge of the wood which emerged to a regroup at the familiar bench in the brick construction where we always stop for a group photo. This was no exception, with Sinbad and Splasher being the first to sit down while a kind passer-by agreed to use Dr Blood's equipment to digitize the occasion, minus the hares of course.
The next check was by the college entrance where the many possibilities kept us all occupied until Pancsi took the most direct way home by going down the road to the pond. Water always brings out the best in Splasher, on this occasion he narrowly failed to nudge Snake Charmer off the bank into the torpid depths, just as well really as on such a day as this the survival time of a wet body is measured in minutes.
For some reason the pack now fragmented into two or three separate bunches each making its own way south west through Butchers Copse towards the ever increasing drone of traffic on the A27 and each found the On-In just north of the old park entrance gates. My watch timed us as having been out for an almost perfect time of fifty nine minutes of at times frigid hashing.
By the time we circled up the hares had re-appeared to accept our applause for a well laid trail. There were a few nominations; Olive Oyl had been observed warming up before the hash, just imagine; Splasher's pushy behaviour was discussed; and then the Hash-It was presented to Pink Flamingo the fastest granny on the hash. The very popular George in Eartham was chosen over The Spur for the frostbite recovery.