We had a limited turn out for this run which was just as well as it meant that our chariots did a minimum of damage to the lovely leafy rear lawns of Nyton Spinney. There was no danger of creating muddy ruts because the day, like many before it, was warm, sunny, dry, delightful.
Both of our JMs were absent so Treefeller waved one of his crutches in the air like a mighty wizard and magically we all circled up in front of him. Apart from the pleasure of a re-visit from Nappy Rash and Splashback the rest of the faces were all familiar and much to his (and our) surprise included Soapbox.
Canman welcomed us to his residence and gave us the traditional "it's flat and dry" routine which considering where we were could only be true, there was some possibility that snails might have devoured the trail overnight.
The molluscs had not devoured the flour heading south on the footpath alongside The Spinney and then east to the busy Lidsey Road in Westergate. A few hashers tried to find a trail up and down the road until it was obvious that Panda and our visitors were on the money east on Ivy Lane, leaving a crowd waiting for the crossing lights to change, far behind.
We seemed to be heading for a well known source of beer, however the trail in that direction ran out leaving the front runners in backtrack mode and allowed the rear-enders to catch up. In fact some humans (probably with brains the size of a snail) had tried their best to obliterate the markings. Not well enough to prevent Nappy Rash from detecting the scuff marks and tiny amounts of white stuff taking us to a check at The Wilkes Head.
With hindsight it is easy to observe that this was the point at which the trail would obviously be a right or left hander, in truth most of the pack as usual had little idea of where they were despite having been here many times before. Those that headed north (betting on a left hander) were left behind by those that found the right handed trail on the rooty path round the school, over the foot bridge and then south into the fallow fields alongside the stream.
A small pack and a large open space criss crossed with dog walker tracks makes for a lot of exploration, ask Sinbad who spent many minutes as a speck on the western horizon and Dr Blood who forged on ahead and then returned and then ahead again. So it was a while before one of the specks took the path west back to the busy road at Elmcroft Place.
A short dice with death and we were across the tarmac at Meadow Way and continued west on the narrow path between two high high hedges full of blackberry, young oak, blackthorn, hawthorn, dragon flies and spiders, with Panda having the pleasure of being the first to break the webs.
We had an impromptu re-group and said "cheese" on the emergence to Hook Lane before heading north just a few hundred yards up the lane to another re-group (the one that Canman had intended).
The closing stages of this hash avoided the direct return east towards The Recreation Ground by having us proceed in a loop north west towards Church Farm and then east alongside Nyton Road back to the Spinney over recently harvested fields of amber stubble and dusty brown soil.
The Hare was thanked for one hour and one minute of appetite inducing hashing, Bambi was complemented for his new yellow knee length socks, Dr Blood was suspected of asking a member of HM forces for directions and Spiderman received the Hash-It for going AWOL on th On-In.
We then retired to the front lawns, where Canman had generously provided refreshments, and joined some of his family and friends to wish him a happy eighty first birthday. Lang may yer lum reek!