"I've laid a nice, short run...well a nice run...well a run...or a walk." So hare Ringer announced to the assembled hashers in the busy public car park in front of the pub, after the Count had opened the proceedings in the usual H5 manner. "Are there any hills?" asked Fat Controller. "The geology hereabouts is predominantly late Lutonian-period chalk, so make sure it's actually flour you're following", was about the only hazard the hare noted. And so the pack set off through the underpass, led by the usual suspects: Depth Charge, Rapid, Submissive and Capt F. Ducking down a few urban passages led us quickly to a large playfield – Mentmore Park – that would feature more than once in the trail, and would become close to Pecker's heart.
Depth Charge clearly had extra Marmite on his toast that day as he was off up the slope like a gazelle, only to fall for the first of the long false trails – justice done. At the bottom of the hill he encountered a selection of the local youth out patrolling their 'manor', who gave him some vocal encouragement as he retraced his steps back up the hill, by which time the rest of the pack had caught up. Continuing uphill we passed the covered water reservoir that provides the head (who said head?) for the water supply to this part of Dunstable. Lady P ventured into the woods only to be called back by the hare, to which Pecker said "Go on...you know we're going to anyway at sometime." Wrong Pecker, or at least not those particular woods. What we did venture up to was the view across the massive chalk quarry, of a scale where the excavators look like Dinky toys. As Fat Controller reminded us, you never see any of the extract leave the quarry in a lorry. The excavated chalk is crushed, mixed with water to form a slurry, then pumped underground to the cement works at Rugby, where the chalk is removed and the water returned by pipeline to the quarry to be reused.
Some of the Knitting Circle were discretely advised of the right direction to go while the rest of the pack followed a long false trail in the opposite direction, passing the only patch of shiggy to be found at present for miles around. The 'T' found, we caught up with them again when they stopped to examine a rather nice wild orchid (anacamptis pyramidalis) that grows abundantly on the chalk upland. Many more of them were to be seen later. Soon the pack found themselves once more on Mentmore field; "we were over there earlier" said Pecker, "we can't get away from it." Down the slope we went, the FRBs missing the discrete path into the woods. A testing tangle of steep footpaths led up and down the hill and through the woods. "Good grief, you need crampons for this" said Catch-it, a statement misheard by Capt F (I think) as "you need strap-ons".
Exiting the woods we were at the top of a large sloping bowl of wild nature that to my knowledge has not been touched for more than 30 years. Here those wild orchids really flourish. At one time the bottom of the bowl was a permanently boggy area, now only marked out by the marsh reed plants that fill it today. Down, round the bottom (pardon, oh I see...carry on) and back up the other side the trail went, and oh how the pack enjoyed it. Catch-it took the short cut across the top and watched the others labour up the far side. Passing by the golf course, more woodland was encountered (Pecker: "will we ever get away from that field?") till we eventually emerged back in urban Dunstable and the On Inn. The front runners arrived in just under the hour so a definite result.
Back at the pub, a free bar was on offer for the first round (now you wish you'd turned out don't you?) – served by our very own Legs11 – together with a cake from Capt F's own birthday event, and another made by Lady P for mine (thank you very much Lady P – delicious as always (and so was the cake))! The pub generously provided a couple of pizzas (thanks Craig) that the hash demolished in almost no time. Forking had arrived too late for the start of the run (the w*** thing interfered) and tried to second-guess the hare – he failed so was only classed as apres.
On-Out and a two-part down-down for the hare and birthday boy. RA Rapid observed that most if not all the male hashers were guilty of callipygous appreciation when running behind Subby. Not sure that 'guilty' is the right word to use here, butt (sic)... Kisses joined the 100+ club and got a comfy warm hat, just the thing for a balmy summer evening. Someone (?) was (electrically) charged with getting Double Entry 'turned on'. She incidently had once again slipped away quietly before the circle. Anything going on here we'd like to know about DE? There were other D-Ds but by now, the tired legs of an aging solo hare and a couple of pints or so of some rather drinkable Proper Job were coaxing my memory cells into gentle amnesia, so details have faded. Something about FC being in pink (or was it puce?) is vaguely recalled.
PS. More PJ was consumed post-run until long after sensible hashers had wandered back to their soft, comfy beds.
OnOn to Custard & Spotted Dick's run next week from The Rose & Crown, Sandridge.