Give us a break………!
Scribed by Hawkeye
This week Virgil experienced a winter break. It was a winter break for his beloved Tottenham, not from setting hashes. In fact, that break (and daily testing for Omicron) ensured there was no break to the PH3 routine. Our continued running was also thanks to stand-in sidekick Uphill Gill. UG was a late substitute for the usual first team starter, Venus who spent the week marking a track to trace out ‘when can I leave this f***ing house’ in Sanskrit on her Garmin. Rarely can a hare have been so keen to leave the house (I’m referring to Virgil, not Venus 😊) to set a hash. Our best wishes to the Dorking domiciled Venus – hope you can come out to play again soon……
Denbies was fizzing with Sunday morning activity as the PH3 turned out to play. Cars were sequestered in all four corners of the carpark, but the runners coalesced in the warming morning sun to be briefed on proceedings. The ‘Hashers Assembled’ included Hawkeye, Paul Newman, Factor 30, Trip Advisor, Prince Charming, Cinderella, Pis’t’man Pat, Sparkly, Cynthia and Secret Squirrel. The walking/jogging and early/late starters were Call Girl, ITB and TIFM. Robic, Woman in White and ‘New Em’, oh….…..and Black Cat crossed our path too.
The briefing promised no regroup on account of a lack of available viewpoints, which left me depressed at the thought of a morning shaded from the stunning (and rare) sun and blue sky that wrapped around us like a welcoming embrace. I managed to lead the pack off the estate but then fell victim to one of many long falsies. So, whilst I have previously chastised Venus for this, today it was UG. But there’s a common theme here – is it that they’re both from Dorking, or is it that when setting a hash with Virgil, you want to get as far away as possible………?
Hills are Virgil’s third favourite thing behind Tottenham….and Venus and by the time I recaught the pack, they were beginning the first of many ascents ahead of us. F30 and PC tackled this head on before succumbing to an UG falsie leaving me to take up the cudgels. Emerging breathless at a circle I was almost prepared to use the cudgels on PN – who having helped reccy this run, was now loitering (not so) innocently looking on. Trip Advisor slipped quietly away and followed by SS and Cynthia led us towards Ranmore Common Road and a high-speed encounter with downhill mamils. The next section proved challenging on many fronts; it was uphill again, and it was subject to vandalism (for the first time). Losing the trail or suspecting the marks were a cross I looked for salvation to ‘in the know PN’ who summoned me back to the last circle. His thinking was right but applied at the wrong spot!
In the end we made it up to what is affectionally known (by me) as ‘hospital corner’, site of my own aforementioned high-speed down mamil incident – before meeting up with the early starters and cresting the hills near Denbies House.
What happened next was the subject of much later discussion. Cresting the Downs and preparing for a downhill on in we arrived at the last cottage on the lane and had an involuntary regroup as the first 7 hashers looked for signs of a trail where presumably a circle had existed. Post run analysis suggests that the homeowner used a cordless Dyson(other brands of hoover are available 😊) to remove every trace. Give us a break! What we did find down the hill we dutifully relocated to form a three blob turn for the walkers. A minute later we arrived at another circle (missing a cross or the cross was removed en route) and made the route up from there. Here PC disappeared uphill (why?) and unearthed the correct route, inadvertently looping round back to the cottage. Poirot would have been proud.
Emerging on to the edge of the estate and some stunning views (noting the earlier bollocks about lack of viewpoints for a regroup), SS fell foul of the honeytrap direct route home. And we retuned our vision to yet another uphill section amongst the Sunday morning strollers. Give us a break! Confusing the FRBs TA, Hawkeye and F30 – we snuck into the vineyard and were then ‘treated’ to a series of ‘3 sides of a square’ or ‘2 sides of a triangle’ hashing techniques that demoted and demoralised hashers in equal measure. Give us a break! To be fair to the hares it did keep us all together, but since when has fairness to hares been any part of a run report. TIFM returned first, but on elapsed time (and being the only person to fathom the vandalised section) – Prince Charming was crowned victorious.
VERDICT: The core route was probably more like 5-5.5miles but with vandalism and a few falsies, many ran 6-6.5miles. But in good company, on pleasant terrain this is the reason we turned up, so no complaints from my side. And in the circumstances – a superhuman effort, so many thanks to Virgil and Uphill Gill, though you’re not yet forgiven for those falsies!
IN THE PUB: Only a select bunch could make it to the pub (the Stepping Stones), where passing the initiative test of driving your car through the gazebo to access the Narnia-like car park beyond was the first initiative test. Choosing Falls Gold was a far less taxing second choice. ITB and Cynthia had secured the best seats in the garden. They say the sun shines on the righteous, but it was only weak sun, so….? Anyway, BC has recently become ‘Black Coffee’ – which demonstrates some of the worst effects of long covid. The temperature was barely tolerable, so conversation was brisk and having mentioned the upcoming marriage of Lady Chatterley and 3s4d, when I next noted – we had six people in two discussion groups, one discussing cemeteries and one bullocks! And that was that as PP left to await the expected speeding ticket, clocked on his way over. Good to see he remains fast at something….On on!