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!