A Hash from Wilton

I love it when there’s a bit of colourful distraction on a Hash. Kathy led the way with her exquisite summer clothing, Anne looked well in two-tone and a fetching hat and Kay stood out in a pink top with matching grey. In fact I could fill the mag with detail on all the women – all of them exciting and colourful and smiling. It was like Ascot on Ladies’ Day.

David Burley wasn’t there and Mike wasn’t running because of his scraggy knees so the general thrust of menswear wasn’t too bad either.

The elite runners took off first after Brian’s briefing on obstacles and distance. He said the long run was less than five miles and we all chortled. Brian holds the record for the longest and the shortest hashes of the modern era and it’s fair to say that he didn’t plan them that way. They just happened.

I have to say something about the weather. It was glorious and has held up so for the past several weeks. Today was in the high 20s and expected to tip over 30. Clear blue skies, a few puffy little cumuli thrown up there for fun but down below it was tropical. The grass verges were off-green heading to brown and the cottage plants were drooping like a romantic who drank too much and couldn’t get it up. We’re not used to such heat in England but we have to be stalwart about it, global warming is doing everything the whisperers said it would do. We might as well enjoy it in our elder years and leave something for the next generation to worry about.

Jeremy and I led the way uphill to the Wilton Windmill. From there we could see along the Pewsey Valley in all its glory. Often on these hashes, when we take a few minutes to admire some special view, I feel very little has changed in the rolling countryside. We could be in any age doing what so many have done before. A miserable person might say: We are born, we blink and we die. I don’t see it that way and I know my fellow hashers would always put a positive spin on how lucky we are to be running or walking out of picture-postcard villages into this beautiful country.

Brian made us run around a field beside the Windmill which added no value other than he thought we needed more mileage. Everyone, except Jeremy and I, took the shortcut despite Jeremy shouting at them that they would get the shorts. We don’t have that many shorts, Jeremy, as Diane Abbott would say.

Then we met Brian with his car boot open and several bottles of water that he had kept in his freezer overnight. We were becoming dehydrated and they were welcome. Viv said she didn’t want to drink out of a bottle that I had used, but Brian had brought disposable cups so there was no exchange of body fluids and Viv was able to relax. She can get quite uptight sometimes. I wondered about that outburst and decided she was upset because her top and shorts didn’t match and all the other women had got it spot-on.

Did I mention Sue? That woman is getting younger and fitter. On a hash you can say: God, she’s fit, and not be misunderstood. Sue was in fine fettle and led us on through the fields of wheat and barley. We really felt the heat when we were out in the open fields. Then the hare gave us a breather through the dappled shade of zippy woodland paths.

Brian was waiting with water at the canal turn and we needed it. We set off on the final stretch with a kick in our step along the shaded towpath back to the Swan Inn.

The walkers said afterwards that they had enjoyed the route so much that several decided to take the long course and arrived back around 1pm. Fair craic to them. The pub staff were lovely and attentive and we sat outside and had a lovely time.

Kathy gave the bugle to Joe, a new recruit so we won’t see the bugle again. Keith presented me with the shorts. Why, you might ask? Well, I’m still trying to figure it out. He asked me to stand up and then said I looked like Dave Burley with my white hat and scraggy beard. I think he was getting back at me for saying on the run that he was the only one of the runners with a Santa Clause waist. Men can be so brilliantly bitchy!

For the record the running route was 5.6 miles which was within a good guess of the “less than five miles” that Brian had said in the briefing. But there can be no slagging of Brian here. He was the water-carrier, and we needed that. It was a great hash, Brian!

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