Spring was struggling to start but couldn’t quite decide between drizzle and sunny intervals. One thing, though, the wind was noticeable atop Portsdown ridge, but that didn’t stop the JMs from detaining us for the usual preamble. Vixen checked her phone and announced that Bambi had just passed the 5km mark on the Brighton Marathon. And there were some new faces to be welcomed – Ali and Natalie, a pair of modern young mothers who were letting their husbands look after the babies while they ran, and Pat and Jennie who had come for a walk.
Bika explained that this had been advertised as a joint run with Hursley, but in fact it was a joint run with Portsmouth! We looked around for the Portsmouth faces. “They are running it tomorrow evening!” he explained, “but I’ve laid it with Portsmouth markings because you lot are intelligent enough to cope!”
As Bika gave us no clue which way to set off we were soon spread out all across the down. Eventually we found the trail off to the west along the ridge. At the next check Kinky found the first of many false trails he over-ran – the rest of the pack running down the other side of the hedge. Kinky won out though as the rest of the pack were faced with a barbed wire fence at the end of the field. Several hashers risked being skewered before Bika raced up from the back bellowing about the gap in the barbed wire a few yards further alon. Ali and Natalie were settling in very easily and were observed at one point practising the time honour custom of anointing the undergrowth – a good job the JMs didn’t notice.
A little later we came across the best shiggy I’ve seen in several years, lovely and deep and oozy, and with barbed wire one side and a thorn hedge the other, impossible to avoid. The only consolation was that Splasher wasn’t here to kick it about.
Bika’s use of flour was interesting, often nothing at a junction when you might expect at least a blob if not a check. And when hashers stood around looking confused, he advised, gnomically, to look around for a stile for a clue. Needless to say this didn’t always help. Another trick he pulled a couple of times was to run off from a check, luring the rest of the pack to follow only to find it was a falsie. Bika explained he was checking the flour was still there ready for the Portsmouth hash on Monday. Yeah, yeah.
Then we came to the fishhooks. The first caught Old Faithful, Dr Blood, 2 Ferrets Fighting and newbies Ali and Natalie. As the pack was fairly well grouped at that point it didn’t hold up the FRBs very long, and the second fishhook, a few moments later, caught Old Faithful, again and Pink Flamingo. As Bambi wasn’t present, Old Faithful had been taking lots of photos, and as the pack was still closely grouped at the next checkpoint he went for the group photo – making sure he included the fly-tipping heap in the shot.
Time was getting on, and the young mothers began worrying about getting back to feed their babies, but we were nearing the end, just climbing back up the ridge and round the back of Fort Widley to the chariots… and the pub. But not before the circle, of course, convened hastily while Kinky was half way through changing his shoes. He was hauled in, hopping, for artistic short-cutting, but there were worse sinners… Hairbrush for getting lost, the new mothers just for being new comers. But the lucky winner was Vixen for being observed practising applying “lubricant” as she will need for the London Marathon next Sunday. (I wasn’t sure what happened next but Prancer ended up on the floor. That’ll teach him to give Vixen the hashit!)
On inn to the Churchillian for some welcome lubricant of the alcoholic kind.
On On! Kinky