Fantastic running weather, cool breeze crystal clear air with laser sunshine and Spring has arrived in the Downs. Coming out of hibernation, Mussolini joined a nicely sized pack of the usual suspects to listen to the now regular "this day in history" spot from Thumper with no sign of Kinky who was still depositing the ground grain and most likely to be hiding somewhere, not wanting us to see the direction of his return to the chariots.
We set off east, without Thumper, on the bridleway to Upper Norwood Farm, as some have many times in the past, and again musing on the possibility that we would soon be toiling up the looming edge of Graffham Down.
The first check seemed to provide an answer as Swollen Colon found a southerly trail into the fallow field east of The Rec, however the guesswork continued as the FRBs ran out of flour leaving Dr Blood to sniff out a way north back to the bridleway at the cross path to Upper Norwood.
Pancsi and Mussolini disappeared east on the bridleway, Old Faithful disappeared south, the rest disappeared north, while Kinky appeared from somewhere munching on an apple.
All but OF were soon back at the cross paths and setting off south in pursuit. After a gentle climb next to a primrose blossomed hedgerow we skirted three sides of a corral containing three frisky colts, if they could they would have joined us as we sped past on our way to the woods at Bushy Pieces.
We lost the plot here, lots of no calling, lots of wandering aimlessly around, everyone failing to notice the blobs east into Parson's Copse.
A directional nudge from the hare and we were on our way again south on Norwood Lane, passing through smart new residences to reach a regroup in Seaford College. Flash lined us up for a snap and then shock, horror, the hare pointed up hill.
I chickened out and joined a select band of amblers to make a way west on The Drive, passing a massive lime tree (according to Canman) full of mistletoe and enjoying the haze free view to the hills north of Midhurst and Petworth. All of the time we could see and hear the pack making its way in the same direction, above us, appearing and disappearing in the trees.
We converged at West Lodge where to much rejoicing we found Thumper with an open hatch, dishing out Advocaat and chocolate eggs, an exceptionally healthy mix of egg yolk, cream, brandy, sugar, and cocoa, mmmm.
Before getting lost in a sugar induced coma, I noticed the first of the hashers that appeared out of the trees, Pancsi, Hairbrush, Flash, Panda and Helen. Later a search party was sent for Snake Charmer and Dr Blood who were absent from the feeding frenzy.
There was very little staggering left now as we quickly found the way north by St Giles past the school and Calloways to find the On-In after one hour and thirtyeight minutes of bright and breezy hashing.
The circle thanked the hares before suffering a few almost funny jokes, then Soapbox said that he had been hashing for forty years (probably one of Dr Blood's hashes).
It was revealed that Snake Charmer and Dr B were the only ones to complete the whole route, as all others had made a short cut on the slopes.
The Hash-It was presented to Kinky who had forgotten to bring the HHH signs.
Helen was given a Hash name, she will go by "Bush Baby" from now on.
We then walked round the corner to The Foresters where the barrel was being changed, the cider was only in bottles, but who cared?, the garden was warm and sunny and the Hares treated us to many dishes of chips with all the trimmings.
On On! Bambi.