Run report 1515: The Jolly Farmer, Worplesdon

The Wrong Trousers?
Scribed by Hawkeye

Snow, sleet, icy winds and TIFM setting the run might have been the uncharitable thoughts that went through a few prospective runners’ minds first thing last Sunday. But it didn’t deter the numbers if maybe the enthusiasm of the pack that assembled in a brisk breeze in Worplesdon.

Putting health above warmth were Pis’t’man Pat, Secret Squirrel, Sparkly, Wally, Robic, Moondance, Scooby Doo, Heavenly Blonde, Virgil, Venus, and Heavenly Blonde. Nat the Hat made an early start, Cinderella a characteristically late one. Man in Black made an even later start, but more on that later. PP and I were the only ones choosing short rather than long-legged clothing – surely the wrong trousers as we were informed.

In normal circumstances having nipples flashed at me on a Sunday morning makes for something of a red letter day. But the mammary papilla in question were PP’s, made even less charming (if that’s possible) by the addition of a couple of strategically placed lint plasters. Think Janet Jackson in reverse.

This rude awakening forever burned into my retinas, I was keen to set forth and sample the mud free and dry trail that awaited us. Any doubts as to the veracity of that statement were dispelled by the state of the hare’s footwear and our first 100yds. Wet. So with wet feet from the off we proceeded to traipse through a few bogs for good measure. I’ve never tried bog snorkelling but this is about as close as I’ve ever come. Virgil came closer after tripping his way into one of the larger puddles.

As is often the case, but particularly in such slippery conditions, the occasional walkers we came across were startled by our tenacity, our brazen disregard for traction, our sanity. After all they had a reason to be out – to walk the dog, why else would you venture forth of your own volition. Which brings me to Man In Black – who when enveloped into the pack at a fairly late stage confessed that he got to the venue and was preparing to run when he received a phone call from Woman in White to enquire “haven’t you forgotten something….”, I can only imagine that he quickly discounted the usual wedding anniversary, birthday, mother in law coming for Sunday lunch until he was reminded that the reason he was out for a run was to take the dog out. The dog (Moss) who was still sat snugly at home! He dutifully turned tail and scurried home and returned somewhat late but canine assisted.

The pack was also being canine assisted as our own two footed bloodhound Scooby Doo set the early pace with Secret Squirrel. Losing the trail allowed us to regroup at Worplesdon churchyard and in hindsight we were all to easily shepherded away from a direction whence the route would return later. But not knowing that we plodded onto the main road and up toward Foxes Corner. We never made it preferring to swim across another paddock and slurp our way up a slope past some bemused looking highland cattle. Bemused by us or bemused by being in Surrey, but surely they must be-used to the weather.

Merrist Wood was next on the agenda and a further regroup occasioned by an overly helpful elderly gentleman. No not the hare, another of those pesky walkers. The agricultural college lived up to its name and we were watched warily by an ostrich, some llamas, alpacas and a Tasmanian devil. Okay I may have imagined the last one. Onto Holly Lane and the second coming past the church.

Whitmoor Common was to provide the swim in. We probably guessed it was going to be wet but not how wet. We made several attempts to cross the common directly which helped regroup the pack but it was as we eventually abutted the railway line that the majority chose to head for home and a path that became an impassable horizontal bog with knee deep sections of mud and water. PP had spotted the correct route first and verbally encouraged by SD and others he plodded and waded his way to line honours. That I managed to place second is not noteworthy save to record that the only people alleged to be wearing the ‘wrong trousers’ – had out strided the long-legged laggards?

VERDICT: I once inadvertently named this place the Jolly Sailor and on this occasion the terrain was more suitable to seafarers rather than those landlubber farmers. TIFM set us a trail that did keep us pondering and for once praising rather than puzzling over his use of tarmac. In the end we covered 5 nautical miles and were back by 50mins – 1hour. More than enough in these conditions and the ‘free’ ten minutes allowed me to wash my legs – not something my fully trousered compatriots had to worry about. Many thanks TIFM.

AT THE PUB: Warmth was of the essence and this was achieved by huddling together in the smallest alcove available. PP explained to us the meaning of the prior weeks’ RR and our hare tried successfully, then unsuccessfully but finally successfully to secure us some chips from the kitchen which turned out to be potato wedges. It being a Fullers pub there were plenty of ales to choose from with London Pride and Spring Ale being the most popular. TIFM acted all flummoxed by a ‘spare’ set of car keys until on cue Cinderella popped into to claim them. Yet again it showed all the signs of turning into a pleasant way to spend a cold afternoon where all outdoor chores would be postponed…..but we buckled down and headed off to a well earned hot bath. On on.


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