On this weekend forget to turn back time and you live an hour ahead of everyone else. Mistakenly advancing the time means living two hours ahead. Thus it was that Canman was ready to hash at 9 am with no sign of yellow in the car park, and after waiting a while he returned home, disappointed.
We could have done with the extra man and his dog because four hares turned up, nearly outnumbering the pack on this decidedly draughty, showery and cool autumnal morning.
Successful hashing is all about not standing out from the crowd, not breaking any of the non existent rules. So more than one eyebrow was raised when Steve questioned the hares' voracity when they told us that the trail would be flat and dry. There was also something about ignoring fish hooks because we were so few, the howl of the wind as it stripped the leaves off the trees made it hard to discern anything else.
So off we went, and after sampling the usual hors d'oeuvre of two or three uphill falsies it was Flash that found the trail east then south climbing Lambdown Hill. At the first crest confusion reigned amongst the confluence of paths and cycle tracks, Mussolini, impatient as usual, interrupted the headless chicken impressions to direct us East down to Greatdean Bottom, a favoured spot in this area as it has five ways in and out.
There was no time for innuendos with respect to going in and out of Greatdean Bottom because we were all too busy checking, Steve getting lucky up the main path South East towards Stoughton Down. This climb was not to be as simple as it first seemed due to a check half way up and a bit of off piste rambling to take the Eastern trail, emerging from the trees at Monarch's Way and the viewpoint to meet the hurricane head on.
Bambi and Flash, being well ahead, did not wait here for their clothes to be torn off by the gale, and were lucky enough to take the true trail North East, sailing with the wind to wait at Blackbush House.
Mussolini was obviously carrying the remnants of a big dose of flour, those that noticed were rewarded by soon finding a way back to Greatdean Bottom where lay plenty of fresh deposits.
This time the way out was down the main path towards the chariots, and as an hour had passed it seemed safe to assume that we were headed home. Wrong! that way was false, leaving Wildhams Wood our next destination, with Old Faithful finding the obscure Western access path and the whole pack working hard to negotiate an anticlockwise loop to Coldcroft Copse before emerging on the road South East and On-In after one hour and twenty minutes of huff and puff hashing.
Back at the car park a small team was dispatched to extricate our Hon President who was taking one step forward and two back into the return headwind. Then, safely all together, we thanked the many hares and also Flash and Old faithful for doing so much of the checking before giving the Hash-It to Steve for casting aspersions over the Hares' honesty.
We retired to the Barley Mow for a helping of good grog and some still air.