Well, June has been and gone with three hashes, each memorable in quite a different way. It began with the double header weekend up in Povoa do Lanhoso, organised by Big Stick and Pretty Vacant. Although there were quite a few booked for Friday, numbers limbering to start the evening's hash in the central market place were a disappointingly low eleven following a string of late pull-outs (I know we live in a catholic country, but it's a bad habit to get into). Still, it was their loss as this was a very nicely constructed run around and about the old town, in pleasant evening sunshine. Ineveitably, we ended climbing up to the old castle where we stopped for a beer and crisps at a cafe with a big open-air tv showing the European Championship match between Russia and the Czech Republic and fine views across the valley. The bags of crisps had face paints with them and Master Baker wasted no time in making himself up like a lady of the night. A very disturbing night. On the way back Mrs Slocombe's pussy was attacked by two ludicrously uncontrolled boxers and, although it left a nasty taste for a while, there was no serious damage done. At down-downs, Eva was named Burning Bush then we repaired to a nearby tasca for a superb bash, at which we were joined by some of the non-runners, shame of place going to Hot Pants for his no-show.
The next day was free, with the intention that the hotel's sports facilities could be used for a variety of competitions. Unfortunately, by the early afternoon grey sky and cool temperatures had ceded to sheets of rain, curtailing the tennis that had been taking place. This seemed to suit the sporting aspirations of some hashers, however, who had installed themselves around the two pool tables, Francois emerging as the champion after some knife-edge encounters (that's a nice way of saying that potting was not always incessssant). By the evening we delayed going through to dinner for the Portugal v Germany match, a turgid affair that ended with a just but uninspiring one-nil win for Germany. Dinner enlivened things, with a quiz as ever demonstrating the extent of hashers' general knowledge (hmm), and by the time we returned to the bar, with the wine still flowing, things had loosened up nicely. Granny Gobbler and Master Baker in particular became merrily abusive to all who came their way, perched as they were like a noisy Scilla and Charybdis at the point of exit for anyone who wished to call it an early night.
The next morning entailed a drive around the valley to the start point of a fairly long (two-twenty), highly picturesque (when the low cloud allowed) and often scrambly hash. The hotel's heavy breakfast weighed upon me at the start, but the rural charm soon allayed any rumblings from within. Goats abounded, along with wild horses and long-horned cattle, on one of which I nearly impaled myself after running up a grassy ridge at the top of which it sat unseen. There was a long climb up to a stone cross on top of a rocky peak, with views occasionally available through the swiftly moving cloud, then we returned to take a pit stop, before creaking onward. At down downs, we renamed Hot Pants Hoot Pants following one of Hard Drive's misspellings, then made the mistake of going back to the hotel for a 'ten minute' shower and change. Forty-five minutes later we headed off, minus a number of people who had not yet emerged, for the bash at a restaurant with staff grumpy at our late arrival and lower than predicted numbers. Oh well, we had fun, then headed to PV and BS's place for a few relaxed drinks before the drive home. All in all, it was a fine weekend.
Three weeks later, after postponing due to Sao Joao absences, Hard Drive and Granny Gobbler led a hash around old Porto. I missed this one due to cricket, for which I received quite some abuse from Hard Drive, who, reports told me, was the main feature of this one (and that's saying something given that it was set around the romantic routes and featured a climb up the Torre de Clerigos). I believe the mental scars are beginning to heal, but I encountered a number of people still shaky on Sunday and Monday.
Anyway, coming up is the farewell to quite a few of our regulars, with Mrs Slocombe and Bunbasher in Guimaraes. It will be sad to see them leave us, but hopefully my next entry (which could be a while off due to Spanker and my impending holiday) will report a worthy send off.