The Count has to admit it. This time the r*n was better organised than the pre-lube – see the print version of my 2012 diatribe. Not that Fat Controller, Depth Charge and Count Roadkill didn't thoroughly enjoy the pie and brace of pints they had at THE BREE LOUISE, indeed we did. The walk past Covent Garden and all three pints in THE HARP were equally good. We were joined there by Thongo, Capt F, Kisses Anytime and (great to see him walking well with a couple of tasty moves thrown in) Donut.
From there to THE ADMIRALTY and this is where London H3, Gawd bless 'em, came into their own. Not only was the venue superb but they found a sponsor – a hash poet looking for exposure so the story goes – who bunged £150 behind the bar, and we were there in good time to take advantage of his bounty, joined now by Nik Nak, Ringer, Rapid Withdrawal, Spotted Dick and Custard.
A stroll down Whitehall saw us arrive at the metonymically named Big Ben in good time to faff around not having a photo taken in front of the clock and nearly miss the ON OFF on the eighth bong of the real Big Ben, crossing Westminster Bridge with about 150 other hashers.
Before handing over to Deputy Scribe – much better placed to describe the hash and apres than your Scribe – a few words on The Count's Leap Year Hash. Shortly after the start I recall being approached by a distressed Spotted Dick and Custard: as I had the advantage of a few pints (see above) I felt unable to help, but apparently the Mr half of the famous pudding had sprained his ankle. We saw no more of him. I offer an unreserved apology for not helping and of course we all wish Spotted a speedy recovery.
I had asked Kisses to ensure I did not try to r*n and she agreed to do that: unfortunately she failed miserably and along the South Bank I drifted away from the Knitting Circle into that wasteland behind the FRBs. Choosing the wrong option after crossing the Golden Jubilee Bridge I ran on what Shuffle (sadly missing this bissextile) would have called chalk for far too long and was rescued by a harriet with a torch and what proved to be a good eye for an arrow. I know I'm whining here but it ain't easy without dozens of extra eyes in a maze like Central London and no held checks, so I think we did pretty well at trail following until faced by Seven Dials. We patiently checked all 12 pavement options and found nothing except two hashers who said they had done the same. So back to the pub by guesswork.
The Harriet with the Torch turned out to be Been Before the GM of Hursley H3 who had the ear of the RA, so I ended up with a down-down; probably for whining. Over to you Ringer.
The Count forgot to mention a most amusing, if unfortunate incident that occurred just before we leapt across Bridge Street to the Big Ben side. We had attempted to take the traditional arty photo of H5 with Big Ben in the background, when a passer-by offered to take it for us. He having made a blurry dog's breakfast of the job, all the H5 contingent except the Count and I buggered off to the start. I decided that a least a pic with just the Count and BB was better than nothing so I knelt down to get a low angle up to the clock face. At that moment a young couple walked between the Count and I, saw me on one knee in front of the Count, put 2+2 together and got 6 million, 4 hundred and 87. "Ah bless", said one and continued on away.
The trail laid by the London Hash hares was well marked, quite short, but a very enjoyable tour of a great part of London. It included a couple of held checks to enable at least the middle of the pack to catch up with the quick runners – and quite a pace was set. We crossed over Westminster Bridge, turned north up to the Golden Jubilee Bridge and crossed back over the river onto the Embankment, then via Charing Cross to cross over the Strand and on to Covent Garden. Out along King Street and New Row we charged before turning north up St Martin's Lane to Seven Dials for one of the held checks. I think this is where the Count lost the trail – unfortunately about as far from the pub as we actually ventured!
Turning west towards Shaftesbury Avenue, a run through the back alleys of Soho brought us to the picturesque and aromatically enticing Chinatown. I could have happily stopped for a quick bowl of soup with noodles, but the pack moved resolutely on. After a second held check by Leicester Square Garden, we soon discovered an unexpectedly early On Inn and we were back at the Admiralty pub in 35 minutes – a record for a Leap Year Hash?
The basement 'Gun Deck' bar, where Capt F fell in lurv for the umpteenth time, had been reserved for us, but for the Circle and down-downs we moved up into the bar above. Anybody who just dropped in for a Monday evening drink must have wondered WTF was happening. As always, the D-Ds were widely distributed and led by a bevvy of hash songmasters, including a down-down for our own Count – actually it was me who dobbed you in Count, originally for getting lost at Seven Dials.
And so it's OnOn to 2020 and the ninth instalment of the trilogy.