During an endless season of tempest a window of dryness opened, kind to hares and hashers, as they gathered in the stables at Spooner Hall. There were greetings for Thumper, Kinky, The Ref and Glenn, then the hares broke the news that the Lavant had become an un-wadeable torrent. We wait all year for a flow and then...
So off we headed north east, Buddy on form by leaving a deposit for Snake Charmer to clear up and then dragging Dr Blood past the first check wiping out all in front.
At first the pace was frantic, there being insufficient false trails to delay the enthusiastic front runners. As a result a regroup was needed at the entrance to the soccer pitch after a romp past Raughmere Farm and the slope above Lavant Village Hall.
Now the pace slowed as many, Dr Blood, Popeye, Kermit, Glenn, Pink Flamingo, Tim, Clem and Sinbad for example were lured north on the pavement while Dogwhistle led the rest sedately west to Centurion Way. No one was fooled up or down CW as we continued west with a slight pause for a check at Huntersrace soon arriving at a proper check in front of Little Oldwick House.
The Ref and Kermit sampled the FP west while a bunch including Clem, Pink Flamingo, Keith, Glenn, Snake Charmer and Bika favoured the tarmac south. Meanwhile those that remembered being at this spot many times previously, the likes of Pancsi, Hairbrush and Canman correctly set off north taking the pack east round Fletchers Cottage for a hash-snap at Lavant House gate.
From here only Dr Blood risked the long path to Lavant School from where he had a good view of everyone else getting to the check under the old railway bridge on CW.
Then Keith found the way up the newish wooden ramp through the newish houses and across the road to The Earl Of March car park. Kermit spent some time investigating a falsie back to The Village Hall while the rest trickled down the hill east then alongside the raging Lavant to the road bridge.
Most now guessed that we were headed home down Fordwater Lane which is what we did after a slight confusion in the route past the Sewage Works and a bit of paddling past the ford itself, reaching the On-In after one hour and ten minutes of New Year hashing.
Meanwhile Tigger, Pru, The Chamois, The Gnu, Hash Angel and Hon Pres (appologies if I missed anyone ?) had prepared and laid out scrumptious nosh which the ravenous pack attended to without delay.
It was hard to stop concentrating on those little sausages in BBQ sauce in order to pay attention to the traditional hangover formalities. First there were nominations, Kinky and Thumper for moving to Emsworth just to be able to hash with us and then Spiderman for almost missing the opportunity to buy raffle tickets. The Hash-It went to Flash for keeping so quiet about his birthday (the previous day) during which he commenced his seventy second year.
Snake Charmer led us in a rousing rendition of "Hashy Birthday to you.." and then she was overwhelmed by being presented with the Hasher Of The Year award 2013, the commendation mentioned her enthusiasm, trail laying, event organisation and the number of Pancsi pints bought.
Drum Roll .... and the new JMs are .... Olive oil and Popeye ! who thanked the outgoing JMs and quickly settled into the raffle draw with a promising efficiency.
Flash then gave us a brief financial review, mentioning the great thirty year celebration dinner, the liability insurance premium and that our cash flow was in danger of becoming negative. He suggested that this year we invite hashers to make a voluntary contribution for each hash. It became apparent during a brief discussion of this suggestion that it was not unanimously popular, which prompted a show of hands that revealed a majority in favour of adopting a voluntary contribution. I don't think we talked about a duration.
So, all in all this was a memorable Hangover hash, thank you all.