Wednesday 27 May 2015

The froggy hash.

#478 (May 10, 2015): A small but enthusiastic group (we were down one hare, even! - although we brought along a hound to make up for it) convened at an old bridge over the Rio Ave and headed off through the area's picturesque villages and fields. We had been promised a "froggy" area, which one American in the group (who may or may not be the writer of this little story) assumed was some British term for muddy and difficult. Turns out it actually just had a lot of frogs croaking. Just as we were all desperate for a pit stop, Hairy Fairy went over to a tree by a wall, lifted up a doily between the two, and revealed a buffet of sweet and savory treats - and, of course, beery treats - that gave us the energy to keep going to the end/beginning. After handing out a few down-downs, almost all of us returned to the last hash's bash location, where we were surprised to find that they were surprised to see us - but we were still able to quench our thirst and hunger while soaking up the sun. On on, Cheesy Baps

Saturday 25 May 2013

Rumours of the blog's demise were exaggerated

I was rather surprised to see that I had not posted since March, and even more surprised that someone noticed (thank you, Gagging Ferret!).  In the time of my silence there have been five hashes, although I had to miss two of them.

Firstly, Pimp-my-Dongle and Ladyboy took a small group from the Parque do Cidade to the Crystal Palace and back, but I wasn't there so I shall move to Hash 430, which I set for an even smaller group on a drizzly day in the Fanzares/Rio Tinto area.  With just eight running, it was by necessity a pretty constant run so that at least we felt a good smug glow as we took our soggy down-downs after a decent bit of exercise.  Greg was named Gagging Ferret before we cheerfully got ripped off in a local restaurant.  Happy Days, eh?

It was a much better day for the next, Titchy Percy and Gender Bender's  run in Malta (sadly not an ambitious away hash, but in the countryside inland form Modivas).  Here and there we revisited familiar spots in a nicely constructed hash, but above and beyond the pleasant environment the highlight came, bless his ever-relaible comedy socks, from Walkie Talkie.  The injured Master Baker had come with his bike to cycle round, but WT soon lapsed into such a pitiful state that he was offered it instead.  The sight of Wobbly Talkie trying to stay upright on the seat provided some initial amusement but was surpassed by the way he then managed still to be the slowest in the field.  In fact, I was taken back on a reverie of reminiscence to Primary School sports days and one of my favourite events, the Slow Bicycle Race, as I watched his torturous meanderings. 

That led to 432, by Master Baker and Gaelica, in Lavra, which was the next I missed, so I shall jump to 433, last week, set by Snorter and, yes, the inimitable WT.  This was in the Canelas area and was pleasantly rural.  It was as well set as you'd expect from such an experienced pair of hares, however that guaranteed nothing with a somewhat hungover WT warning us at the start that he didn't think he knew the way round most of his own hash. 

It started okay, however, with everyone more or less together and content.  I had a feeling that many of the strings were not being picked up as we ran, but little did I know that was clearly a cunning plan on the part of the hares as was discovered when, at a checkpoint, the question was asked, 'has anybody seen Spanker?'  Now, this is not the rarest of questions, of course, she being left behind after checking at regular intervals throughout her hashing career, but on this occasion she really was quite a long way back.  This was where the uncollected strings came into their own (what a masterstroke) as I worked my way back through a dense copse, past the point at which, as the last checker to return after an on-on, I had just caught sight of the back of the back-marking hare (I'll let you guess which one that might have been) disappearing down an otherwise hidden track into the copse, and back about a kilometre to where Spanker was waiting at the top of a ridge.

Well, at least that had the lost hasher moment out of the way.  Ah, but you can't jsut dismiss the Walkie-Talkie genius so easily.  There was a pit stop and, whilst I managed to pick up a leter set of signs and run on past it, the real delay (well, it would have been a delay had we not just got on with the pitstop anyway before noticing) came from the great man himself, who managed to take half a dozen hashers off in the wrong direction for about ten minutes.  By the time they reached us there was a thimbleful of white port and tonic left for each.  There is surely a lesson to be learned:  run faster than Walkie Talkie - it's not hard!

Anyway, it was a good hash, with varied terrain, and was followed by another visit to Snorter's chicken place in Serzedo, at which Deviant preceeded to get quite bladdered and all had a jolly fine time.

On now to 434, which as I write may be an evening run or the barbecue special.  With the sheer aray of numpties and buffoons that make up our number, surely I will be able to pick on someone other than Walkie Talkie next time.  Come on, lots of you are really stupid and it's time to step up to the plate ... Mrs Slocombe, you've been so quiet.  Finally, for those who know the programme, try matching hashers to Dad's Army characters - Spanker, Titchy Percy and I found it a most entertaining game last week.  Well, for a quiet five minutes, anyway.

On, on.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Slowly come, slowly go

It takes something to irritate Walkie Talkie due to lateness, but at PH3 we have just the man!  Step forward (in your own time, obviously), Mrs Slocombe, co-hare for hash 428 who followed up making WT wait to set it the day before by keeping us standing and stretching in the thin sunshine beside the beach at Vila Cha for some twenty minutes, until we decided just to go anyway.  At which point he appeared.

The start did give leeway, however, as a quick loop over the sand brought us almost back to the start for a pit stop after about five minutes - beers at a cafe just seconds after Titchy Percy, running past another place had commented, "Oh, look in there - beers at this time of day, tut."  So, noone was irritated by Mrs S any more, although by the time he had managed to tie his dog to a suitable object, give it a (surely unnecessary) drink and find a fino for himself, we were ready to set off again and he was ready to be late again.

Then we were off once again and into the wilds and not-so-wilds of the area, well-known to many of us, of course, but set so as to give variation of recent hashes in the area.  In fact, it was so well set that we split into three groups, effectively, for a while, Walkie Talkie having got lost somewhere at the back with a couple of others and Mrs S having waved on the front runners before realising that the dog had jumped over a wall from which it couldn't get back.  How it could be well-enough set to allow us at one end to run without hares through fields and woods for about half an hour, but one of the hares to get lost one of only about three roads in a village is one of those delightful hash mysteries, like how Whippit can always find the wrong direction and how it takes Horny and Spanker so long to down a beer.

The terrain was varied, with country lanes, woodland and sodden fields, the latter wet with slurry as much as water, to everyone's delight.  It was dry, a relative rarity of late, even though the ailing sun gave up the ghost in the latter stages and near perfect for running, although had you witnessed Mrs Slocombe's amble finish you might have thought otherwise.  The end offered a nice, extended run home which stretched the field considerably but at least we did not have to wait too long for a limping Snorter with the keys to our hearts, I mean the beer.  Great food and crap service at the bash, which seems to be that restaurant's signature, then off we trotted, another one ticked off.

Spanker and I will miss the next one, due to hockey commitments, so it's on on until April.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Hail the heroes!

So, where were you all then?  Not getting soaked, scratched and knackered in the middle of nowhere, that's for certain for most of you and your lives can only be poorer for the fact.

Unlike the enriched few, the lionhearted eight, who assembled in the inclement conditions, opened their lungs, breathed in the scent of the eucalyptus trees and breathed out again rapidly when they noticed the sort of deposits at the feet of the eucalyptus trees.  The valiant band, the hearty handful showed no fear, no lack of spunk (enough at the back there, Droopy) as the thin rain seeped into the sodden turf, although Snorter did show a rather fetching coat and hat ensemble that somewhat obscured that indomitable spirit. 

From the cars we plunged into thick woodland then rose like salmon swimming upstream before dropping again and then rising like Pegasuses (no, really, there was more than one Pegasus) up the next incline, descending once more like Dante and Virgil contemplating eternal damnation and rearing back at the next slope like a set of soggy Sisyphuses (alliteration-a-go-go!).  At this point you might be detecting a pattern, not to mention a degree of mental instability (it has been a hard week).

Indeed, the hash that Snorter and I set did involve a fair bit of up and down work (Droopy, I've warned you), but it was almost entirely rural and afforded some pleasant country running, even if the weather took off some of the gloss (and I'm not just talking about Mrs Slocombe's bald patch).  There was indeed, as there should be, an element of challenge but these, as I think I might have mentioned, were no fair-weather hashers.  On no, through the undergrowth they hacked heroically;  faced with water hazards they charged like argonauts leaping from Jason's ship in search of the Golden On-On; and when they saw the biggest challenge, a towering rocky escarpment to be acsended they... well, okay, some of the dauntlessness seemed to fade at that point and the stoicism was temporarily replaced by a rather different philosophical school of thought.

All in all, then, it must be clear to you by now that, if you missed it, you missed out.  On the other hand, there is a small group, an anointed few who will, one day, when young, enquiring hashers of the future see in their eyes a faraway, ennobled gaze, be able to recall when they spent a couple of hours in the woodland east of Maia getting wet and scratched for the greater glory of PH3.

All hail the eight!

And, anyway, it wasn't as wet as the Povoa de Varzim hash.

On, on.

Thursday 14 February 2013

PH3 Pilgrimage

At the beginning of February we convened in Santiago de Compostela for the 425th weekend.  Those making their way up on Friday night did so in some fiercely lashing rain but shook it off quickly in order to head for the city centre, which was some distance away from our hotel, for the much anticipated tapas crawl round Santiago's atmospheric core.  So with one of the gastronomic treats of Spain in store, we met Mrs Slocombe in the appointed ... empty comedor where the kids ate chicken nuggets and chips ... doh!   Swiftly, however, escape committees formed and before too long we were out and about quaffing, nibbling and trying to get Bunbasher to understand that in Spain they speak Spanish and that it wasn't really such an outrage that they weren't conversing with him in Portuguese all the while. 

The next morning gave ample time for recovery, except for Master Baker and Mrs Slocombe who, thanks to the magical mystery of the latter's timekeeping, had not met in sufficient time the day before to set the keynote hash so therefore had to be up bright and early with the chalk and strings.  Naturally, they were very happy about it and nothing else would go awry.

A mere twenty minutes or so after the scheduled start time that afternoon we set off, a twenty-five strong group, just as the thin slashes of rain came down again.  The weather switched season repeatedly as we ran, as the front runners repeatedly added several hundred metres to the course by charging off confidently in one or other wrong direction.  The hares had done well considering the hotel's location to find an interesting and scenic route into the historic centre that kept us guessing (or cursing, perhaps).  It was all going so well as we bounded past the cathedral and palaces like titans in trainers; even Bunbasher's sneaky morning attempt to find the trail in advance had failed.  The planned pit stop had been abandoned but given the ugly rumour that it was to have been of mere soft drinks perhaps it was just as well for the safety of the hares.  We turned away from the centre and began to head in the rough direction of home before a long on-back checked our progress. 

"Is this the longest on-back ever?" asked Master Baker eagerly, like a labrador that has just fetched a really big stick (and has spat it out, and, remarkably, can speak).

"No," I intoned like an old retriever that has seen far bigger sticks (and can also speak).  "When Spanker and I set in Ponte de Lima some ten years or so ago ..."

At this point that phenomenon that were it named might be known as the Running Sleep seemed to afflict MB (if you are not sure what I mean, think of those caught alongside Hard Drive when he has a theory he needs to get off his chest).  Anyway, it turned out that it probably was the longest on-back, but the doziness seemed to spread on our return and a dislocation resulted in Mrs Slocombe and the back runners becoming separated.  The majority at the front continued, making our way home via some steep hills and the football stadium with a finishing time of between an hour fifty and two hours.  The final six struck off on their own trail over hill and dale, obviously enjoying it so much that when they eventually came in about fifty minutes later, from a completely different direction to the rest of us, their faces were grim - especially Katy Stotesbury whose expression was the angriest I think I have ever seen on a hash - clearly reflecting their disappointment at having to stop.  Luckily for those of us who had been waiting for them, we had had a plentiful supply of beer and crisps with which to stave off our anxiety.  Phew. 

The 425th dinner that night was in the hotel.  What can I say?  Excellent hotel at a great price.  very nice breakfasts.  But.  The dinner buffet was not the highlight of the weekend, I think would be fair.  Possibly the worst food ever dished up to PH3 would be harsh, but probably true.  Nonetheless, it was a good evening and everyone chose to stay put after eating, quaffing wine, battling at the quiz and giving an exhibition of Extreme Dominoes until one by one we stumbled into bed.

Sunday morning saw us depart later than planned (would you believe it?  Hard Drive was entering the breakfast room as most of us stood waiting to go by the cars) on the hour-long drive to Valenca.  It gave us the hour back, but obviously there was no need to worry about the time because the second hash is of course the gentler of the two.  By the time we reached the pit stop this view was somewhat revised with the hares showing signs of concern.  Well, I say hares, but perhaps I should qualify:  Bunbasher showed signs of anxiety, whilst Mrs Slocombe by this stage of the weekend was in a sort of upright coma (and not induced by my reminiscences, or Hard Drive's musings given that the latter had dropped out after about two hundred yards' of the hash).  It was another very good hash, but it was long, with the front runners finishing in two hours and thirty four. 

By the time down-downs had been completed, Paula and Francisco Corte-Real christened Ball Handler and Lickaball respectively for reasons that now escape me, and the wicked suitably punished a rather late bash brought things to their conclusion.  I think we all could feel it by the time we got back to Porto.  There was certainly considerable stiffness in the OBS staffroom on Monday, but perhaps we'd better leave discussion of Titchy Percy's personal issues until after the court case.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Wet and Wild

My, what delightful weather we've been having of late, and on the 20th of January the elements did their level best to dissuade us from hashing.  Approaching Povoa de Varzim, Deep Throat, hare with Cock Plucker, suggested to me that we might wish to call it off, and, when we arrived at the start, a car park beside the metro station in the town, a decidedly unenthusiastic Snorter wafted the same sentiment in the air.  Shocked by such notions, I jumped about a bit in my shorts and t-shirt in an attempt to demonstrate that the conditions were fine and thereby inspire everyone to show some energy.  It didn't seem to work; I merely received some strange looks and shudders whilst everyone tried to amass layers of clothing and squeeze tighter together beneath umbrellas.  Walkie Talkie skulked about saying, 'no, I'm being serious, I'm not doing it.  I'm not.'  Twirlie was edging the same way.

Eventually, however, their complaints studiously ignored, a full compliment of fourteen set off, Twirly marking her farewell appearance in an extraordinary running outfit of Burberry mac, carrier bags over trainers and umbrella raised aloft (which, not surprisingly, ended up a twisted distortion that would have looked in place on a bomb site).  Unsurprisingly, most chalk marks were long-gone, but there were plenty of strings to look for, if not necessarily to see if one forgot the height of the hares and missed the fact that many of them had been almost plastered by the wind and rain to the twigs or railings to which most were tied.

A reasonably rapid pace was maintained, nobody wanting to hang around for long and the hares often needing to call on-ons quite quickly.  We wound about the margins of the town, squelching through some fields and reaching the Parque da Cidade on the outskirt near the motorway.  Clearly designed by the same people as did Porto's equivalent (or possibly the same granite merchant), it is a pleasant green space, with a lake in the middle harbouring a variety of birds.  Naturally, all the hashers were keen to stand about birdwatching and admiring the vistas, so, having run two-thirds of the way round, Walkie Talkie kindly gave us a lengthy opportunity to do just that.  Shortly afterwards he opted to turn early for home;  he duly got lost, as we discovered by phone later whilst in the warmth of a town centre cafe with a beer.  Later, he was kindly to regale anyone in range (some of us, sadly, several times) with a story about how he had struggled to entice his penis out into the cold to take a pee on his journey back.

Roughly ten kilometres had been covered by the time we reached the cars (at the same time as Walkie Talkie) and by now everyone seemed quite happy to stand about drinking cold lager in the icy downpour.  Well, for a while, anyhow.  Enough time to celebrate Mrs Slocombe's ninetieth birthday, wish Twirly well as she moves to the Netherlands and recognise in customary fashion W T's greatness.  Then it was off to the restaurant for an excellent value bash featuring picanha and grilled squid.  By that time everything was all right again.  Except for Noel's little fella.

So, next we are off to sunny, sunny Spain.  After all this wind and rain, it'll be just what we need.  So, here we come Santiago de Compostela ... ah - the city that markets itself as looking best in the rain.  Oh, well.  On. on!

Friday 18 January 2013

New Year, New Year

Bow Job and Master Baker were the architects of our New Year cobweb-shaker this year, taking us down to Pacos de Brandao for this one.  The beginning took us swiftly into some dense woodlands from which it seemed for a while we would never emerge.  Most unlike Master Baker, it seemed the hares had been possessed by the spirit of Brunei Babe as we scrambled up and down wooded slopes, tearing our legs through twisted brambles, dodging the thwack of saplings and slap of wet leaves and occasionally breaking into a brief run.  It was too tricky to be easy, but it was a slow start which at least kept everyone in close proximity in this first outing since Christmas.

Eventually we emerged onto the road on which we were parked, prompting one or two rebellious rascals to suggest a quick turn to home but instead now we found ourselves with the more expected running stretches.  The route was a nice mixture of village and semi-rural patches with some lengthy on-ons that made one suffer if checking the wrong way.  It was as well constructed as you would expect and was run in remarkably well behaved fashion.  What is happening to hashers these days?  Where has the stupidity gone?  How can we have a hash with both Walkie Talkie and Mrs Slocombe yet no lunacy?  Deviant was impressive on his first one for a while and Family Jewel managed to last rather longer than he did on the Jingle Bells.  Gaynor was particularly noticeable for her far eastern hash t-shirt that would probably be enough to have you arrested in certain countries.  Evidently not Vietnam, though.

Down-downs were most notable for the naming of Mark Hooley, desperate for something edgy and out-there, badger shagger or big cock, or something.  So we named him Hairy Fairy.  That done, it was off to scoff, a nice boisterous bash in one of the village's few restaurants.