Run Report 1535 The White Horse, Hascombe

It’s a jungle out there…every man for himself!

Scribed by Spark(l)y

Battling one’s way through thickets of nettles and briars is to be expected at this time of year as they reach their full harming potential – but it’s a bit rich when you get stung before the run has even started! Needing to answer the call of nature before the arrival of the masses meant I had to pay dearly for the sense of relief. Nursing my stings and awaiting the arrival of said congregation, I heard the sound of squealing which was being emitted by a little rabbit running for its life. I’d seen similar occurrences many times years ago and suspected it was being chased by a weasel. Sure enough I spotted the slinky little brown beast, which, fortunately for the rabbit, espied our throng and gave up the chase – so Flopsy lived to tell the tale another day! Have you ever seen a rabbit absolutely paralysed, petrified, by the stare of a weasel? It’s a sad sight, but I guess that’s the law of the jungle!

Those who successfully hacked their way around the inconvenience of the major road closures due to the London 100 Cycle event were Wally, Sparkly, Moondance, Robic, Panda, Blonde Party Girl, Heavenly Blonde, New Steve/Black Cat, and Secret Squirrel, followed by Nat the Hat who assured us that Billy Graham was on his way by bike. He soon emerged nonchalantly from the undergrowth, concealing (he later confessed) the fact that he had just executed a POSH manoeuvre (Posterior Over Stationary Handlebars)! Shame we missed the entertainment! Cutting it too fine were Tea Cosy and Billy Elliot, who made a mighty effort to attend as they had to take a big de-tour around the road closures, and TIFM. They all missed the start and had to play catch-up.

The freshly showered and fragrant hare mentioned that some filming was taking place en route and assured us that it would be a beautiful run despite the dread of “that hill” The last run from here was memorable for it being truly awful weather, very muddy, and er… – very hilly. Nat the Hat sought personal assurance that there would be no buffaloes or cows, and issued a stern warning to Spark(l)y the cow-scarer not to repeat the actions of last week should they appear!

We set off across the road and inevitably uphill past the pub. Not having seen each other for a while the party girls had to catch up on the latest gossip; one of the topics of conversation was overheard by Heavenly Blonde who deemed it highly x-rated and not suitable for general consumption, (spoilsport)….so we’ll never know. All this was going on whilst we made our ascent – I don’t know how they have the breath to spare! ‘It was a b***** steep climb up Hascombe Hill’, observed Billy Graham. Isn’t it always a b***** steep climb up Hascombe Hill? Whilst not exactly ‘suffering’, his legs wouldn’t do as they were bid for a while – they had yet to make the transition from cycling to running, (perhaps he was even a bit ‘winded’ from his mishap earlier but we would not expect him to ever admit to such nonsense!). Only he & I decided (correctly) to take the right hand route at the top of the hill – everyone else went left, then, according to BG, they all took an outrageous short-cut to re-join the correct route. Shameful! I was oblivious, busily tracking spoor – I mean sawdust – and looking for the evidence of a previous visitor, not realising at the time that I was Stanley, and I presume Billy Graham was Dr. Livingstone!

We enjoyed the lovely view at the re-group and waited a long time for certain hashers. This time it was not cows which were the diverting influence but dogs, and not a wolf-scarer in sight to help! I’d say watch out for the wild horses next time but we encountered the same group of horse riders twice during this run, and on both occasions they were cheerful and polite to us – most unusual for Surrey riders!
As we set off again from the regroup there was much vandalism thereafter – Spark(l)y and HB were following BG who couldn’t say if he was On or not but made the decision to turn back. He swears he told us that the sawdust had been vandalised or disappeared, but I didn’t hear this, and unconvinced, we pressed on for a short while, then came to the same conclusion, but it put us a long way back from the pack for some time. I was saved by a flying wild man in a loincloth and it was soon after this we espied Tea Cosy for the first time, then Billy Elliot, but not long after we were sympathising with TC whilst he nursed a sprained ankle (again!).

Billy Graham called Billy Elliott and Black Cat back after they had run through a cross before the 2nd part of the Hascombe ridge, then, having caught up briefly, I followed him up yet another falsie. Meanwhile Secret Squirrel stole a march on us, despite this being his first run since sustaining an Achilles heel complaint. By his own admission he had an unfair advantage because he used quite a lot of this route for his first venture into trail laying (in February 1988), although on that occasion it was littered with fallen trees, being a few weeks after the infamous Michael Fish non-hurricane. It has recovered amazingly well since then! It was (deliberately, on his part) quite some time before we heard his distant ‘On On’ call from the adjacent mangrove and whilst I dutifully retraced my steps, BG, much to Secret Squirrel’s chagrin, un-stole the lead from him by running Mary Poppins like (no, not the hasher of the same name) through the field and the film security guards to come out at the pond above Tilsey Farm, then deliberately ran through a cross to save a big loop up in the woods about 2/3rds of the way around. It doesn’t do, folks, to give too many clues out at the start of the hash – BG has proved time and again he will use it and his considerable local knowledge to his advantage. Secret Squirrel has called for a drive-through penalty at the very least next time, but…er…SS – remember the short-cut early on ascending the hill? Oh dear, pots and kettles, boys, pots and kettles!
According to our resident security expert Wally, and given the amount of security men in vans, the filming activity was actually filming activity for a porn film. Where is Wally, by the way? Last seen masquerading as Tarzan – looking for Jane!
Jonno Groans and Cinderella were on hand soon after at a virtual oasis, offering to quench our thirsts, themselves having had time already to partake of breakfast since seeing us off. I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite such a cool, calm and collected hare.

Verdict: This was a marvellous run and although a few of our number know the area like the back of their hands, it still felt to me as though we were intrepidly using paths not previously explored. Jonno Groans promised us beautiful and it really was. The vandalism didn’t detract too much from a very well set run. I have no idea who romped home first – let’s just say it was all about the survival of the fittest, but I can still claim line honours – as far as I can tell I was the only person to run the whole route correctly, including the circuit around the village pond!

At the pub: PP was missing but Black Cat seemed eager to take over his mantle for wacky stories – including one, whilst he was at university, about performing role play to school children to demonstrate what to do with …ahem….johnnies! This earned him a 2nd new name of Johnny Black. Secret Squirrel declared that New Steve/Black Cat/Jonny Black (whatever he is called) has something to learn as he didn’t mind what he drank, whereas in this group you have to at least pretend to be a real ale expert to have any credibility. ‘I am not sure he was enjoying the pint of Doombar which I bought for him, but he couldn’t name the lager he was drinking before that – tut tut!’ BG declared the Shere Drop lovely; Wally came out of his jungle hide to enjoy his Otter, whilst Heavenly Blonde supped a fine Italian brew. These all served to wash down some mighty fine chips in the White Horse garden, accompanied by chatter about warehouses, holidays in Ibiza and pirate DVD’s (allegedly, m’lud!).

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