Thursday, 23 December 2010
Needless to say, we failed to reach the Gaia start point as a complete convoy, Family Jewels having strayed at some point, but when we were together, we set off for a prolonged circuit of the park beside which we had left the cars. Re-emerging at the entrance, debutant Alex Mutter (8), having hurtled about so far, checked whether it had finished already, only for the withering response of big sister, Anna, veteran of one hash, along the lines of 'no, of course not - there's ages to go yet, stupid.'
Well, you can't buy that sort of knowledge, and she was right, and we advanced (pretty slowly, it should be said, and armed with a treasure hunt-style quiz - 'pair up,' said Snorter, 'a briton with a Portuguese', which was tricky given the presence of only about three of the latter) through the east side of Gaia, around the suburban streets, a half-constructed road, probably already tolled, and up a vertiginous slope that appeared to have been constructed out of household rubbish. Nice. At the top we found ourselves in the yard of a block of flats and required to climb over their garage gate to reach the street. All was without incident until Horny had straddled it and a kind resident opened it from above to let us out - and to give Horny a Christmas bonus - the earth really did move for her, she said.
On we went, past El Corte Ingles and into the west side of town, reaching a little park in the middle of which Squirrel and Gnasher awaited with white port, tonic and a selection of nibbles. When we were eventually persuaded to shift ourselves once more, the route, surprisingly, took us away from home and towards the port caves. Okay, we thought, having reached the new Yeatman hotel, it'll be on up here, staying high and heading back, but no, amid much gnashing, wailing and grumbling, we were sent down, and down again, to the river front, and then left, yes, west, in the opposite direction from the cars and with the clock reaching two hours' running time. Past the bars and restaurants of Cais de Gaia we went until rounding the corner to see Squirrel and Gnasher once again, providers of alcoholic sustenance, in this case the down-downs for a linear hash that no-one saw coming.
Snorter received the vote for best costume as King Herod, complete with babies to be decapitated; Horny won the award for most ludicrous moment, having had a particularly stimulating hash; Francois was named Ballswinger after several demonstrations of his favourite sport, which basically consists of, well, swinging his big balls and is, we were assured, highly satisfying; Gender Bender was nominated Hasher of the Year; and the younger Mutters put their mother to shame with their down-down techniques.
Eventually, we repaired to the British Club for Christmas Dinner, plentiful lubrication, the prsentation of awards and Tim Chambers' excellent Christmas quiz (well, not that excellent, actually - rather flawed I felt, with silly questions and stupid aswers. No, I didn't win. I blame it on my team mates).
2011 will begin with Tichy Percy and me shaking off your cobwebs somewhere outside town. See you all then.
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
In time, though, we re-assembled beside the fast-flowing, swolen Rio Ave and a splendid old stone bridge, watched over at either end by water mills. We headed off beside the river, through sodden fields, an overgrown copse and to a steep, slippery bank which brought us up, in typically pointless hash fashion, to the road we had parked just down from. We crossed the river over a high road bridge before heading into village streets, back alleys, fields and woodland. Amid one of the first woods, I found myself left behind at a checkpoint (okay, I might have taken the opportunity for a quick pee - I think it's safe to own up now) and completely unaware of the direction to take. After some shouting and scrabbling, I followed the trail of Pussy/Oliver's fur on the gorse and brambles (why is he moulting in December? the question was raised; the down-down was awarded) and caught up.
Shortly afterwards, Mrs Slocombe took a mud bath, or at any rate, one leg did; then Spin Doctor ludicrously tried to construct for herself a bridge over a muddy field using a four-inch twig. We pit-stopped beside some surprisingly late fruiting vines, bursting with red grapes, then followed the hares' route the previous day down to the river bank and back up when they could not find a way over the river. A long but satisfying run-in took us back over the old bridge, finishing at around two hours, after some determined running all round for twelve and a half up-and-down kilometres. We were wet, but well set up for the Jingle Bells hash...
Monday, 22 November 2010
Bunbasher took us for a trot near Serzedo, starting from the gates of the riding stables past which we have run on a few occasions. The first hash was the circuitous route taken to avoid the newly-installed SCUT charges, but eventually we got to do some running, Bunbasher leading us away. As a somewhat impatient hare, he repeatedly called the way before the checkers had doen their job, but it kept things moving, everyone running at a decent pace. We revisited the rather eerie site of a planned but long since abandoned housing estate, running along the cracked and weed-strewn tarmac of its roads and the occasional shell of a building begun but left. We worked through the usual mix of fields, woods and lanes, moving about a very tight area before reaching home only to be so assailed by flies at the down-downs that we moved quickly to the bash without the usual degree of quaffing, but after arriving at the name Spin Doctor for Maria do Carmo.
The next time we were again south of the river, in Aguda, for a Horny/Flasher production that was initially notable for the fact that it featured - for the first time in PH3 history, we think - three generations of one family running, Anna Mutter joing her mum and gran. On a fairly short, urban run, on a bright, cool day, Anna did extremely well, sprinting away to lead us all home at the end. It was almost all done on roads, one short stretch through a patch of unpaved ground having been deemed sufficient 'forest' by Flasher. The sight, later, of a ten year old girl drinking in the middle of a ring of singing, beer-toting adults might have caused some social-service style concern to passers-by, but fortunately the alarms and sirens that sounded seconds later were for the local bombeiros, not an announcement of our imminent arrest.
Most recently, yesterday in fact, Big Stick and Walkie-Talkie took us north, to Labruge, familiar territory for many of us, and the setting for another good run, with all the expected features - sand, fields, brambly woods, country lanes and the well-known castro beside the sea. The weather, which had been so poor, and had nearly removed some of the signs, was good for us, the rain not arriving until we were firmly ensconced in the retaurant. We took a pit stop where the hares had the day before, in a little café, and it was noticeable how the signing deteriorated after what had clearly been a thorough reseaching of the café's ability to host a pit stop. The first checkpoint sign looked like it had been drawn by a two-year old with co-ordination issues, the next one had a smiley face inserted, and thereafter they clearly had decided that signs were an outmoded concept and that a do-it-yourself hash was the way forward. So we did it ourselves, winding up and down from the beach until emerging at the cars for beer in the sunshine and cool sea breeze.
Next up is in December, the first of two before a four-week Christmas break. Hopefully, the numbers will pick up over winter and we can bring them back up to the levels we've seen most of the year.
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
There was a good variety of terrain and the fifteen remaining maintained a reasonable pace, albeit drawing into two groups towards the end. In the end, a small group splintered off for a short cut, whilst the rest of us meandred round Crestuma, most spectacularly passing through the abandoned carcass of a huge old, brick-built, factory perched above a rattling stream like something drawn straight from an old school textbook or the pages of a nineteenth century realist novel. The finish came between an hour fifty-five and two hours five (pit-stop-free) and was followed by a bash at the local watersports club.
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
A roundabout drive - equated to about two curcuits of HK - in time brought us to the familiar environs of Jovim from where we set off, inevitably scrambling through wooded slopes as well as padding through fields and village streets. Droopy had seated himself onthe roadside during the lengthy wait to start and, as I made my way back after checking the wrong way initially, he remained in place, like a leftover, or an artistic installation by someone with a sense of irony, however, I managed to coaxe him into running and we were all off. Later, he was given a down-down for RA-ing like Jack Dee without jokes.
We crossed the route of about five previous hashes on our way, although it was always its own run, but, most amusingly we (unbeknownst to the hares) ran right past Boozy Woozy's house, and round the back, via the picnic and barbecue area due to be used on the following hash. Pit stop was down by the river, with French cider the surprising bevvy of choice, just sugary enough to fuel us back up to the cars by way of the aforementioned casa do BW and some overgrown woodland.
At the down-downs we saluted the birth of Chloe Boogaard, the passing of veteran hash hound, Shagger, to the happy shagging ground in the sky (let's hope he can manage it more successfully there than he did here), and were entertained by SOS's time in the circle. Finding the bash venue took about as long as the hash itself, with the hares last to locate it, but it was a pleasant do in the end.
Friday, 24 September 2010
We set off down the river bank before heading through the town and towards Ofir, banging along the boardwalk for a while before passing the shrine of St Michael - otherwise known as Hard Drive's summer house - and hitting the sandy woodland that leads to the centre of Ofir. Obligatory beach work spread us out but gave ample opportunity to disrupt the beachlovers' peace. Soon afterwards, we sort of convened for a pit stop, only moments before some local picknickers made off with the stashed goodies, just to discover that we had no corkscrew with which to open the bottles of vinho verde. Fortunately, half the Minho had decided to have a picnic in that half a square mile of sand and pine trees, so we were able to get some assistance.
The return saw about four different routes taken, three separate ones by the hares themselves, but at least we were there, for leisurely down-downs including one for her 190th birthday.
With trepidation we then acknowledged that the next hash is to be by Brunei Babe and Inaction Man around Valongo again.
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
It was a Friday evening, and a reverse pursuit was the plan - that is, I would set the hash a little bit ahead of time, the group would set off without me and had to try to get round before I caught them up. The trouble is, this is PH3, so there was lateness and people convening in the wrong place to contend with, before everyone rushed past the first checkpoint and the unexpected confusion of some signs left over from June. It all meant that as I headed back to the start, a little on the weary side, who should appear but Horny, the Hot Pants, then Tongue Fu and the rest? Going the wrong way, many leagues from where they should have been at that stage.
Anyway, nearly an hour behind schedule, we were on track, heading through the back streets of Cedofeita and Lapa, a soon strung-out group that took some co-ordinating to keep together. Having re-joined everyone, I had to join them through the stinking, rubbish strewn field behind Lapa metro stop, something I had had no intention of repeating on my catch-up run.
Leaky bladders were a feature of this one, Brunei Babe, Tongue Fu and Wundermuff all stopping for relief on the way round, and Titchy Percy got his titchy percy out with minimum discretion beside the road. Curious old ladies lined the route, but at least they were out of scaring range when we arrived at an OAPs' home for the hash viewpoint (a rather pleasant vista of the Arrabida bridge), which wasn't the case when I had come by earlier. For a moment I had thought I had seen Bunbasher and Wally chewing the fat, but I was mistaken.
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
It went at a pleasing pace, everyone running hard throughout, meaning that we were at the pit stop a good ten minutes earlier than Spanker and I had anticipated. Fortunately, young Molly had reached the spot at a pond in the Parque São Pedro with the refreshments (and she brought along Pussy Galore for good measure). Shortly having begun, whilst most were waiting at a checkpoint, a car had pulled up and the driver asked, 'Parque São Pedro?' A confused couple of minutes ensued with both she and me (with contributions from other hashers) trying to explain to each other the way to the park, when in fact neither party wanted directions.
Calamity/bravery mention of the day goes to Pretty Vacant's young nephew, Rex, on his virgin hash, who managed to tumble over on a rock-strewn downward path cutting his knees and then, having gritted his teeth, cleaned up the mess quickly and carried on only to fall flat into a barrage of brambles two minutes later. He kept on running, though, determined not to be out-run by his brother, Diggs. I can't move on, mind you, without reference to the highest on-on call this side of Mont Blanc Hash House Harriers.
Shortly afterwards, Droopy and Whippit threatened to roll around in the long grass in mortal combat, Droopy's offence being to nag Whippit about getting on with it only to stand around in front of him admiring the meadow plants. The dopey moment of the hash came from Pretty Vacant, standing on the old railway line that visibly led to the end of the metro line, a view enhanced by a train sitting there with its lights on, saying aloud, 'which way is it? If only we knew where the metro was we could get it. Hmm' before trotting off in another direction.
Down-downs were leisurely thanks to the good time achieved by all (home in an hour and a half plus pit-stop time), something that Spanker took somewhat to heart when doing hers. Deviant celebrated his tenth birthday and Family Jewels nursed his knees. Then it was all off to the marvellously named Mr Churrasco for a good value bash, leaving Droopy and Boozy Woozy in the car park finishing off the crate of beer.
So, we are back into it. Everybody, get volunteering to hare please, as the onus could do with being spread out a bit further. That's not a spelling mistake, by the way.
Saturday, 24 July 2010
Hash No. 360 on Sunday 4th July
Leca de Palmeira
Hares: Tongue Fu/ Dutch Cap
Proceedings got off to a good start with Dutch Cap arriving 20 minutes late at the Club for her own hash. By this time Droopy and Snorter had just about recovered from the injury caused by forcing down scalding coffee in the Club Bar when Hard Drive insisted everyone was waiting to leave at 10.30am.
Eventually the convoy arrived at the pre-designated start point outside Exponor, and hashers massaged and lubricated themselves with sun oil (calm down, Droopy) as protection against the blistering temperatures forecast for the whole of Portugal – with the exception of Leca, as it turned out, which was favoured by a cool breeze wafted in from the Atlantic, mingled with pungent gas fumes from the Galp Refinery.
The hash got off to an enthusiastic start with Snorter immediately sniffing out the trail and urging the following pack to advance at speed. It was at this point that Tongue Fu interjected “Slow down, Snorter – we will be finished in 40 minutes at this speed!” Needless to say, said Hare received a well deserved down-down later. Debate will rage for years whether the motive was to lengthen the hash or to conserve the worlds dwindling supply of natural resources by a very efficient use of chalk. Whatever the reason, the postage-stamp-sized arrows spaced at one km intervals certainly had the effect of slowing down the hash and turned what would otherwise have been a 40 minute affair into a very respectable 90 minute run. As confusion reigned at every checkpoint, Dutch Cap was heard to malign the hashers for not checking properly!
Despite the difficulty in finding the arrows, the hash progressed rapidly down to the beach, (as hashers rushed to get upwind of the Galp Refinery) and then, more sedately, along the promenade as walkers, skaters and cyclists all dived for cover as the hash pack advanced.
After twisting and turning through the residential streets of Leca, the hash approached the Exponor start point, only to find a sting in the tale in the form of an extended loop through the dockside park. Unfortunately, this was missed by Mrs Slocombe, Pussy and Snorter who, while valiantly checking for miniscule arrows inadvertently became lost, and were very fortunate to stumble across the cars some 10 minutes before the rest of the pack arrived.
There then followed a lengthy circle as down-downs were handed out by RA in celebration of birthdays, initiation of virgins, and in punishment of the many offenders. A show of hands was taken for those attending the bash at OBS which doubled as an American Independence Day Party. Bunbasher was seen to rapidly take his hand down again when it was learned that only soft drinks were being served.
Monday, 5 July 2010
Eventually, we set off down a rustic little path that led past HD's in-laws' place at which we pit-stopped the last time we were in these parts. Familiar paths were trod for a while thereafter, but largely in reverse, as we climbed through a wooded hill to emerge onto village lanes. Beyond that it was mainly new territory in and out of the rural margins of the village, with some charming areas and beautiful scenery, not to mention the rather delicious cherries to be plucked. Bunbasher and I felt it to be an opportune moment to allow others to check whilst comparing the relative merits of the red and the black varieties.
As between them, HD and WT appear to have a hold on much of the village, we were able to wander (Sorry, did I write 'wander'? Surely I meant 'bound', 'hurtle', 'power' or some other verb far more fitting to this group of athletes? All right, 'amble' then, or 'pootle') through someone's lovely property to enjoy a pit stop with a view in a quinta whose gates one might more ordinarily drive past sighing.
Virgins Vitor and Laurent acquitted themselves well, although Gabi and Laurent were unfortunate to be sent by W-T to find stray hashers late on, with the only effect being that they became the strays instead and needed to be found. Whether it was my shouts or the smell of my beer that brought them back, I can't say, but I think I can say that they were not entirely unhappy to be lost in the woods together.
Gabi was named during the down-downs. There were only two of Beavis and Butthead, but we had a line of snorting schoolboys who were determined that the word 'muff' was going to feature and nothing was going to get in their way, hence the bizarrely marvellous epithet Wündermuff which which she is now landed. The bash was a wonderful, lazy repast underneath a vine in Walkie-Talkie's quinta with his mother, as ever, a delightful hostess, a great end to another excellent hash supported by another big turn-out.
Unfortunately, I missed the next hash, by Tongue Fu and Dutch Cap, but I hope to get something up in due course. If anyone would like to add their own comments, or posts, whilst I am away, thta would be great.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
From the start, a checkpoint outside the gates, we spread out and managed to lose Inaction Man immediately; probably his military prowess enabled him to slink away like a panther on the prowl, but whatever it was, Big Stick missed him as he led the assembled throng off in the opposite direction. Down the road we headed, wary of the impending ups and downs, rightly as it turned out as the next move was up, through a field, then down a road, then up another, then down again. And so it continued.
Through wooded paths and fields we moved, at a decent pace. At one point I found myself treacherously tipped over by a mound of earth, for which I was inevitably punished later. The heat began to rise as our sweat began to pour, so it was a relief after another steep climb to find a pit stop with beer, water and white port with tonic, not to mention a fine view of the area. Hard Drive's sorry attempt to look helpful for the video camera involved trotting alongside Big Stick and the cool box waving a hand vaguely in the direction of the handle but he fooled no-one.
The biggest talking point came later, towards the end, when Big Stick decided to short-cut, pragmatically acknowledging that trying to get Snorter to stick to the route at that stage would be a fruitless effort, and taking two-thirds of the hash with him. This left a group of about eight of us - the real men and women, the true hashers, this noble band of ... sorry, I came over all Henry the Fifth for a moment - well it left us to find our own way back, which we did, eventually, and by the correct route I'll have you know. Rather indignantly, but with an air of, shall I say, indomitable superiority, we reached the quinta to find the evil hare and his henchmen sunning themselves with beers in hand.
Down-downs were duly completed, with Guiseppe named Castrato and Irena Flashdancer. The bash was a cracking barbecue punctuated by the unusual feature of sessions of granite-shifting. It was a late arrival back in Porto, but a great way to finish the Triple Crown. Well done everyone on another big turn-out, and especially to those who made all three.
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Eventually we hit the road, a remarkably prompt mere twenty-five minutes late, turning left out of the Club to the first point at which most groups could miss answers. And did. We wiggled around Massarelos for a while, running behind the Club then back to the Rotunda da Boavista, back to Campo Alegre and, inevitably, down, down the old cobbled lanes and passageways to the river front. Naturally, once there we would have to take the steepest path straight back up, a route that induced some language and sentiments of the sort to make a GM blush. Eventually, via the old back streets of Arrabida, we made it to the Bairro do Aleixo, and, my, wasn't the hash moving quickly at that point! After some surprising little suburban streets, seaside-themed and the cause of some quiz-controversy (I was right!! Anyway, 'who's queen, sorry gm?'), we headed through the pleasant Parque da Pasteleira, to Serralves then back to Campo Alegre and home to the Club, in all a long run, taking two hours for front-runners (without a pit-stop).
I said at the time and I'll say again, by gum, you all ran very well for a bunch of clapped-out hashers. Back at the Club we had draught down-downs on the field with waiter service and went through the answers. Brunei Babe, Inaction Man and virgin Vinay won, impressively getting just one wrong (and it was wrong - we've been through this!). I know with whom I'd want to be stranded in the wilderness. With a bash at local eating icon, Franganito, part two was complete. On line for the Triple Crown were Spanker, Horny, Squirrel, Snorter, Tongue Fu, Mrs Slocombe, Hard Drive and me. Nerves and knees were quivering with excitement.
To be continued...
Friday, 11 June 2010
We began with Horny and Spanker's hatted affair up from the river bank near Gondomar. A fine sight we all were, resplendant in bizarre headgear as we assembled at the Club. It was a warm morning, which meant that, after the short drive, the decidedly pungent aroma at the start point was enhanced. Walkie-Talkie swiftly denied having anything to do with it, pointing instead to the sewage centre beside which we had brilliantly parked, but I wasn't so sure.
The hash was a good old slog up and around the semi-urban areas looking down over the river, with a remarkable pit-stop on the first floor of a three-quarters built house, with white port and tonic (and a sprig of mint plucked from one of the pleasant fields through which we had just come) the beverage of choice. Full marks for the pit stop, but a D for the French grammar!
To be continued...
Monday, 17 May 2010
Well, we had a nice little jaunt around Afurada with Squirrel and Snorter. It was interesting going through the old bacalhão factory (again, for those with hash memories that extendback some nine years), but by that time we had already had the big drama of the day when Hard Drive launched himself at the Afurada pavement in a flagrant attempt to draw attention to himself; not that I knew anything about it - I was waiting at the next checkpoint huffing and tutting impatiently. On a warm day, the long run-in was heralded by a splash through the sea's edge - like 'Chariots of Fire' Spanker rather optimistically observed. The bash was great as well; just as well the booked restaurant had not bothered keeping us a table and showed no inclination to find one - the alternative we found served wonderful vats of fish stew.
The next one I missed in favour of football, but I gather that Bunbasher and Walkie Talkie's Ancara hash was well worth the journey up the coast, with beautiful scenery, and even a clean river, something PH3 doesn't get to see very often! Mark Macedo's name of Gump appears to have pleasingly annoyed him - he'd have preferred the alternative of Pole Dancer.
Then we came to hash 355, hared by Titchy Percy and Tongue Fu. It was a gorgeous day and we set off from Mindelo metro stop on a wide loop through the villages, woods and fields, down to the seafront for a chilled pit stop, along the boardwalk and back into the villages, woods and fields. It was a good running hash, with some long stretches finished off by a great bash. It was good to see Dutch Cap back, and surely no-one will forget her Dutch hashing outfit - top to toe fashiontastic! Poppycock, too was back for the first time since Christmas, which was good to see.
So, on to the Triple Crown - three in a week, beginning with Horny and Spanker's hash on Sunday the 30th and followed by Friday the 4th and Sunday the 6th. I am trying to get t-shirts done in time, and if I do, anyone who does all three will receive one free.
The first of them will be themed: hats. We will be Porto Hat House Harriers for one day - headgear is mandatory, and the most imaginative/interesting will win a prize. So, on, on!
Friday, 16 April 2010
On the 28th of March, Mrs Slocombe and Gender Bender (on her first haring) took us to the margins of Maia on a good length run that was part suburban, part rural. On the initial stages we kept together, which was as well when we crossed a field to find the way out, through a gate, was locked, requiring a fair detour. This came shortly after Horny had had a moment with her invisible friends, who appeared to number in their thousands as she raised her arms in salute, like Paula Radcliffe finishing a marathon, the only, slight difference being that she had gone off checking a hundred yards down a road from a checkpoint and in fact she was saluting (or airing her armpits, perhaps?) a couple of old women and a scabby dog.
By the end, it had become two groups, with the runners getting in at the end of a long run-in after a couple of hours and a small group (who had spent far too much time walking!!!!) skulking back some time later. At down-downs, Dave Noon was awarded the fabulous name of Titchy-Percy for reasons into which I will not go here.
Next stop was Campanhã for hash 352, which I set shortly before we ran it. Lengthwise, it was one of the shortest hashes I've set, at about an hour and a quarter, but for a hard-running, up-and-down run around the city it seemed about right. We had an almost-complete Donnelly contingent (come on Squirrel, get your kit out!) for this one even though Gnasher and Tintin nearly fell off the end.
The bash was memorable for Liverpool's thrashing of Benfica, to Snorter's delight, and the menacing moustache of a rather aggressive Benfica fan seated alongside us. Oh, and the company of course - you're all wonderful, marvellous people.
On, on to 353.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
A small group made it to Sabrosa on Friday afternoon, with time to relax in the very pleasant hotel. Sadly, Inaction Man and Brunei Babe had had to cancel Friday and would be up the next morning. It was noted that hash accommodation has definitely moved up-market in the past couple of years. There was time to wander around the village (not difficult, really, as the time required was little more than five minutes), drink a coffee (yes, coffee - restrained bunch, we are), then get the beers in (ah, that's more like it), before realising that we had little time left for a shower before re-assembling to go to dinner. That was in a tiny tasca, in a village to which we would return the next day, but whose name I have temporarily forgotten, with a kitchen so small that, as Andy pointed out, you genuinely would struggle with the cat-swinging, were you so inclined. After a cracking meal we headed back to the hotel to test the bar and pool facilities - all in the name of quality control for the benefit of those coming the next day. After the slowest game of doubles pool this country has probably ever seen, featuring me, Never-a-Fokker, Whippit and Dave, everyone had lost the will, if not to live then to remain awake. So we went to bed.
The next morning afforded a leisurely rising, breakfast and various means of whiling away the time before everyone else arrived and we set off for the walk. Once complete, give or take a Big Stick or two, we drove off amid stunning scenery, to Quinta Nova, on the banks of the Douro about a winding hour away. Sadly, Inaction Man and Brunei Babe had had to cancel this part, and would join us later. Getting out at the Quinta we were reminded that Andy had suggested we be discrete with our packed lunches whilst there, as the owners had wanted us to eat in their restaurant. It was then interesting to hear the history of the place from one of the owners as we chomped on sandwiches before setting off on the marked trail. We got about half a mile and decided we'd found an ideal place to eat after so much hard work. Half an hour later we hauled ourselves up and carried on, up and down the terraced hills until we were faced with the dilemma of 'that way for half an hour more walking' or 'this way for five minutes more walking and on to port tasting'.
Half an hour later we arrived at a fabulous old solar for port tasting. Sadly, Inaction Man and Brunei Babe had to cancel this part and would see us for dinner later. The house, owned by an old friend of Walkie-Talkie's late father, was like a museum piece, a wonderful old place, colder than a witch's whatsits, and with a room laid with home-made meats and nibbles to accompany the wine. Dodger and Whippit led procedings and we all followed enthusiastically, supping our way through a range of fine ports from Nieport (thanks, Nick), Taylor's and Graham's. We listened dilligently to the expert information, wafted, sniffed, gazed sipped and rolled it over the tongue, then guzzled merrily. Those who wished to taste but not drink it all had a jug into which the dregs could be collected. At the end I poured it all into a bottle, which Liam, Monica and Allan (yes, he'd managed to make it for the booze) tucked into, sagely expounding its balanced qualities. What remained became the GMs Blend, for use at down-downs the next day.
We met for dinner a few (very few) hours later. Sadly, Brunei Babe had to cancel dinner, but would no doubt see us the next day, but Inaction Man appeared (hooray!). Dinner was another pleasant affair, and the rather unfocussed pool afterwards a highlight for those able to remember it. Several hashers burnt the midnight candle to its end, although, once again, my pool was the cue (sorry) to retire sometime before the hard-core.
The next day we emerged at the frighteningly early time of nine-thirty to leave for the main event, the hash (remember that?). Sadly, Inaction Man and Brunei Babe had to cancel and they would no doubt see us at some indeterminate time in the future. Squirrel was discouraged in her theory that Inaction Man had secretly 'done away with' BB whom we would actually never see again. Down we wound once more round the curves and contours of the valley, driving towards the Douro beside which we were to start.
Eventually, after the inevitable Varanda-related delays, we set off from the river beach at Pinhão, on a sometimes challenging but beautiful run/clamber that took us through the town and quintas, with fine views, steep ascents and descents, stories of fearsome dogs and a pit-stop for port and tonic at a chapel clearly reserved for hashers in distress. Running up and down schist paths proved quite tricky at times and more than one person felt glad to be doing it now rather than at the height of summer. When we made it back, after a good long run-in, Squirrel, in her car the whole time, awoke in time for down-downs that saw Harry Davis named Gender-Bender. We also said goodbye to Alan Never-a-Fokker Roberts, returning to the UK almost immediately. Your hash avoidance down-down is in storage, N-A-F.
Monday, 22 March 2010
Friday, 5 March 2010
"Honestly." Tongue Fu and I rolled eyes at one another, tutting. "Ridiculous." The rain began to drip from my eyebrows as my feet sunk into the mud. Far better to do something mature and sensible, like us.
We set off at a clip, following Snorter's encouraging "0n, on" only to be called back after a hundred yards. Apparently, "on, on" meant "checkpoint" and in the end we headed in the opposite direction. It was a tight course, winding round and around the area, crossing itself a couple of times and showing Snorter's experienced touch. It was running at pleasing pace, without the need for a single re-group, and we made it back, after a wet pit stop, in about an hour and a half.
Having managed to lose Hot Pants and Hard Drive - and thosae following them - when they followed Monica back to her house on the way to the start, they managed heroically to repeat the feat on the way to the bash, at Monica and Liam's regular chicken place. This came after incurring the mandatory down-down for the crime, after Snorter had been recognised for his 170th.
So, now we get ready for the big one - the 350th. Let's all take it up the Douro!
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Friday, 5 February 2010
When Spanker and I arrived, with Dave and Harry, after a circuitous approach due to the hotel's own sat-nav co-ordinates which took us to a field on the edge of a desolate village about twenty-five kilometres from Guarda, we were impressed by the room and facilities. After a beer in the bar, we set off for the city only to discover that there were no taxis after eight o' clock, there or back. Anyway, we had a good meal and brought back a substantial quantity of rustic wine from a bar which we worked on back at the hotel. Mrs Slocombe's non-appearance the next day was firmly blamed on 'the quality of the wine, not the quantity, honest guv.'
Spanker and I involuntarily opted to eschew breakfast the next morning in favour of sleep, and were woken by Boozy Woozy on the internal phone. The only one I could find to answer was beside the toilet - I had always wondered why they put phones there. He informed me that everyone bar Sanath had gone in search of snow so we got ourselves going and set off as well.
After an hour or so we reached Torre in the Serra da Estrella, and found it covered in snow, with loads of people skiing and snow boarding, and, more interestingly, falling off the chair lifts. Repeatedly. The sky was clear and the sun out - all most pleasant. Then came the phne call from Monica and Allan, who had just arrived.
"Are you coming?"
"We'll check into the hotel first."
Later: "Hi, are you on your way?"
"Well, no, we're having lunch in Guarda."
"Okay - see you for tennis, later?"
"Um, possibly not. We've just ordered a litre of wine."
Later: "Ello. Are you back from the snow?"
"We're on the way."
"We're on our third Maciera!"
"See you later, then."
"We'll just have another l'il drink first."
At about six fifteen we came in from the tennis court, via the bar, to find them there, to our surprise. Monica was grinning, telling us about the five, or was it six Macieras, and Allan was trying to tell the local barman that he lived in the Dão region, not Beira Interior, and so he wanted a Dão wine. The wine was the crucial thing, though, and we went up to have a shower and brief lie down with them declaring the sleep was for wimps and that hashers are not what they used to be.
An hour and a half later, we returned to find Basil Fawlty and Joan Rivers at the bar.
Eventually we got them into dinner, and food seemed to have a calming effect. Eventually.
After a cracking repast and more wine at the bar we all headed to our rooms rather early for a hash weekend, but it was all for the best as it meant that everyone was up and ready for a ten o'clock (yes, in the morning) hash start the next day. We gathered outside the lobby, which doubled up as the first checkpoint, in the chill morning air, before heading swiftly out into the hills and fields nearby. It was akin to moorland at times, ribbed with black skeletons of trees and bushes that left their mark on your clothes and skin. The harsh hillsides merged into small fields and winding lanes crossed here and there. At one point we descended a frighteningly steep slope and gathered at the bottom waiting for the back markers speculating on what would happen were it to be an on-back. Then it was pointed out that so far back were Walkie-Talkie and friends that had the rest of us run down then back up they would be none the wiser. They in turn were (apparently) peeved to find, having put in a spurt at the bottom to join us running when they rounded the last corner, that we had all gone anyway.
Steve - Dodger - Rogerson, on his return after three and a half years, zipped about in spurts as of old, and led us all home, on an hour and three-quarters after an invigorating - if shockingly pit-stop-free - run. Mrs Slocombe, it was pointed out, runs at a rather more sedate pace without his Pussy pulling him by the wrist.
After down-downs and the luxury of a shower, we headed to Guarda for the bash, before a dozy (for non-drivers) return to Porto. Well done Boozy-Woozy and Mrs Slocombe for a great weekend.
Monday, 25 January 2010
Anyway, on to the last hash. What a splendid one it was, too, around the dunes and woodland of Furadouro, thanks to Spanker and Tongue Fu, rain-free and lengthy. Measured by GPS at seventeen kilometres, it was a fair distance, and run at a reasonable clip, without even any hashing moaning - what is happening to PH3? It would have been different if Snorter had not been taken out with an overnight bug - he knows how to hash-grumble all right. I think, though, all agreed that it was a cracker, made all the better by the port and home-baked biscuits beside the marina two-thirds of the way through. The bash - ultra-cheap rodizio served by men in cowboy hats for some reason - was equally good, if unusually sober (perhaps reflecting the lack of Snorter again - just a thought!).
So, this weekend we have our first away weekend of the year. I'm excited already, waiting for the Friday afternoon bell to go and it's only Monday. We should be able to give Miguel Pais Clemente his virgin's induction this time, after he was forced to retire early last time out, heading back when he realised we were turning away from the cars again and he would be likely to be late for work (on a Sunday afternoon!). The arrangements appear impressive and I know that Mrs Slocombe and Boozy-Woozy are hoping for snow, if only for sadistic reasons. I will report in due course, complete with photos, hopefully.
Monday, 11 January 2010
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Fifteen of us managed to haul our festively full carcasses out on Sunday, for Hard Drive and Walkie-Talkie's cobweb-blower round Lavra. Given the amount of torrential rain I believe Portugal was blessed with over the Christmas period, we did pretty well to get a clear and even occasionally sunny day. Naturally, the beach featured, for which we were, of course, hugely grateful. It was possibly the first time a hasher has made his virgin appearance after being a co-hare, although Mrs Slocombe and Boozy Woozy rasied eyebrows at Anthony's description of himself in that way. It was good to welcome a visiting hasher, Tom (Sperm-something or other - sorry, I can't remember the full hash name) all the way from Beijing. He made the mistake of telling us what beer monsters the Beijing hashers are, thus bringing on a double down-down.
It was good to hear from one of the first GMs, Creamy (see the comment attached to the previous post), known to many of you in civilian life as Adrian Wilkinson. He makes a very valid point about our new superman, Mark Macedo! Perhaps we need to think of extra ways to help him get rid of all the excess energy he appears to have.
Don't forget to reply quickly to Sanath about the weekend away at the end of this month. It should be an ideal warm-up for the 350th.
In the meantime, I am looking into the possibility of an away hash in the Netherlands, courtesy of Ryanair. If it works, perhaps we can look at other ways to make use of some of the cheap flights we can get from here these days.
Hope to see loads of you for the next one.