Twas a lovely Saturday and laying the run was a real treat, with some pretty nice scenery and some lovely company. It was clearly going to be a long run. The trail comprised three loops and it took nearly 3 hours to lay. The groundsman was very friendly and made us feel incredibly welcome. Ringer's gazebo turns out to be an architectural masterpiece and well suited for the occasion.
The hash assembles and with great pleasure we all welcome some sorely missed returnees (aka Good Crack and Bell End). Ringer (or was it the March Hare) calls the circle.
"Begin at the beginning," the RA said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop". And with that we all set off.
Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to. Alice: I don't much care where. The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go. Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere. The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.
Options were a bit limited at the start of the trail, the choices being clockwise or anti-clockwise around the Whitbread family estate lake. Anti-clockwise was chosen as it seemed the more contrary option. Numbered checks were the order of the day as that is the best and possibly the only way of keeping a large group together when there are few (actually no) false trail options. The anticipated numbers attending the run allowed for double digit numbered checks, rather than the usual paltry single-digit numerals. "If you don't know where you are going any road can take you there".
It's simply amazing how the explosion in "numbered check exemption certificates" has grown exponentially in recent times, particularly when faced with a slightly longer than normal route. Bangers even manufactured some sort of wooden spoon device with bold lettering specifically designed for this purpose.
The scenery was magnificent, what with a pretty church and the large stately home with a beautiful lake backdrop with its cute bridges and boat house and so much more.
The horse flies were a complete night-mare, but at least they ensured that everyone kept going. Double Entry in particular was often seen moving at great pace in an effort to out-pace the little blighters.
A held check was located at the tri-furcation point. The Short-cutters, led by Gorjoyce, were directed towards the Hare and Hounds pub for a wee bevy (or three).
The Middle-distant semi short-cutting group, led by Tarzan, had the difficult task of walking past the Hare and Hounds pub without succumbing to temptation.
The intrepid ball breakers crew, led by Capt F, set off at great pace up the road towards the wild blue yonder. Not much to report as the numbered checks on the longer route were entirely pointless. Mathematics was one of my better subjects at school, but you would have thought that by now I would have realised that eight (a typical number check on this run) into three (Underlay, Depth Charge and Bell End) is not divisible. So the only thing to be done was to keep on going, which we did until we got back to the cricket ground.
The Hatter: Would you like some wine? Alice: Yes... The Hatter: We haven't any and you're too young.
Fortunately this did not apply and a few of us (lucky old non-drivers) were able to get splendiferously inebriated (I did in any case - hic).
"Yes, that's it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it's always tea time." and what a fine tea it was, with sausages, biscuits, cakes, pork pies - the choice was endless.
A celebratory down-down was awarded to Gorjoyce in whose birthday honour the whole event was organised extremely efficiently by herself. In comparison no one else was worthy.
The whole event was a triumph. The cricket match was entertaining. The weather was fabulous. The costumes were splendid. Everyone pitched in with the food and the spread was truly magnificent. The cricket clubhouse was lovely and all the locals were very friendly. The entertainment from that old crooner fella (aka Fat Controller) and his backing singers was truly amazing. More than anything else, it was simply a great opportunity to party and catch up with some old chums.
"Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court."
A big thank you to everyone that came to the "Mad Hatters picnic" .....
Ringer for the use of the gazebo........Fat Controller for his great singing....... Everyone for producing such very tasty food, particularly Catch It for the amazing birthday cake.
Another thank you for all the cards and presents, I hope you enjoyed the run through Southill Park and the Cricket Club setting as much as I did.
On on to the next fun event, Gorjoyce