#2204 – Royal Oak Downton
The A337 has a quaint old cast-iron signpost at the roundabout; it directs one to ‘Milton’ – not Old Milton nor New Milton, merely the place as it used to be known. Hang on, didn’t I write this last month? Yup, back to NM today, totally different route, for the WitchFest that is Halloween.
What a night, storms weren’t in it, bucketing down so confident prediction that the dust on the trail will be washed away and not so many there. Wrong, lots there and a re-laid trail.
Yes, Halloween: today was costume day: you have only to look at the photos to see the efforts made, well done everyone. We had the fancy-dress parade and winners were duly selected. Shitzoo forsook normal transport, took her excellent witch’s costume to its natural limit and flew in on her broomstick. Could there be any other winner? Puffing Billy’s wolf outfit was pretty scary too and he too got the seal of approval. And this was all before we had even started. WH3 is becoming a fun place to be.
Our hares worked the magic: arranged with the weather gods a two-hour window, no rain and much sunshine. Didn’t get it all their own way, it was a bit blowy, something called a ‘hooley’ or similar.
Circle; ‘On on,’ go left and regroup at the phone box,’ so we did. Where was the phone box? The FRBs [front running bastards to those who don’t know] looked down the road and saw nought. All of a metre from it, a bright red square item loomed happily. Regroup! These hares were PDG [again, pretty damned good]: they had put down several regroups with instructions at each. This time, how to stay safe whilst crossing a busy road. So, fields, a track then said road; all across safely onto the golf course. An unexpected group of golfers looked on in amazement as Halloween-costumed hashers took the footpath in front of them. They also kindly didn’t tee off until we had all gone. Out of the golf course and into the gale, a full-on wind that nearly knocked you off your feet. T-junction; another regroup; more instructions: Main to the right, Mini left along the cliff-top whichever way you went. Orf we went, maining.
In the interim, problems were starting. Chippendale had problems with his trainer, had a stone in it. He stopped a couple of times to fix it but could not find the stone. Miss Whip, his other half, had far more serious problems: a badly sprained ankle that made her largely immobile. PB, ever the gentleman, stopped with her and managed to call Spotted Dick to drive the recovery ambulance, his jalopy. In the interim, PB had to walk back but was lost, ended up on the A337 with two miles of busy scary road to endure. Lucky boy: SD saw him and picked him up.
Meanwhile, DeathMarch, Shitzoo and the son of the hare had ‘dropped off the radar’ – they’d wimped out of the Main and retraced their footsteps to follow the Mini.
On the Main, at the fourth attempt, Chippendale asked someone else if they could find his stone – by this point, his foot was bleeding a bit. The compatriot showed him and then removed the nail sticking through the sole of his trainer.
DM had caught up with Fursty Ferret at the back of the Mini. Ahead were BlueSox, Arseabout and Lemon Tart going well up a steep hill. Suddenly they were coming down said hill; as they passed, LT explained, ‘Fish hook,’ and continued down. DM and FF continued, blowing hard by the time they reached the crest; at the top, there was a bar with an opposing arrow. They could hear the girls’ laughter from below despite all the wind. Worse was to follow – they, and not the girls, got the DownDown for being so naïve.
On really good hashes the hares arrange a beer stop, some cheapie small bottles of ‘stuff’ that vaguely and optimistically resembles beer if only in the labelling. None of this junk for today’s hares: ‘twas Bloody Mary’s for all and sundry and no, they did not go easy on the vodka. Top side of wonderful; thx.
From there, we recrossed the ‘out’ road into a narrow path with gorse and nettles on one side and barbed wire the other – caution needed and exercised, even the Main took it gently here. Out through the last kissing gate into the open and full speed ahead up a rapidly drying track to the road; regroup; final hare’s instruction: ‘Left along the road from here; be careful.’ After the BM stop, we just floated along the road and back to base.
Back at base we had the DownDowns and a naming: Paul Wakeford is now Percy Thrush – you’ll have to ask him about what he had to do to earn this moniker.