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The Bell & Bottle


Chopstix, Effin and SlipperyNipple

The Berkshire Hunt

Iceman Hashgate TurdTreader Mother Theresa Lemming Amanda and dog Barney TinOpener Miranda and dog Emma Mafia and dog Max Honeymonster Spex LoudonTasteless Dutch ShutupWally and rat Bonnie Motox Baldrick OldDog with son Craig (OldDog shouted “Arr yeouw?” so loud next to me while I recorded his name I nearly couldn’t hear it later) and friend Charlie Twanky SlackBladder BGB The Tremblers Flash SlowSucker


Oh go on. Why not come along?” I said to Motormouth (my lad) on Sunday before the event. “You haven’t been to a Hash for a while and it shouldn’t be too long if the ladies are laying it. Last time they did one we were playing Poo Sticks half way round.” It’s said you can’t put an old head on young shoulders. Not always true. Motormouth informed me he would rather bury himself in the garden go down the local horse yard and he gave me a patronisingly friendly look that said, “Off you go and play with the other grey haired old gits Dad.” What sagacity in one so young! Had I known what was in store this bright, sunny, think I’ll wear me shorts morning (mistake – it was nippy) I’d have gone and groomed a few horses myself. Those of you who remember Greenfly can surely remember a couple of trails he set that would have put the Saharan Marathon des Sables to shame. Today’s was of a similar mien…

The reason for the fox theme is down to our three ‘foxy lady’ Hares who began the Hash wearing fox masks – for reasons best known to themselves, since they are surely too pretty to hide their faces (creep, creep, oil, oil). However, they were more wolves in (Baarkshire) sheep’s clothing than Hares in Foxes masks since they had laid a trail of Byzantine complexity and infinite length. Even Iceman, whose children go to school in Shinfield and who was running round the area on Thursday night was somewhat bemused by the trail. Along with Motox and several others who went ‘On Out’ the usual way and ended up on the ‘In’ trail rather than outguess the Hares who had sent us off in the other direction. Not that it helped us much going the right way. There was a fine early muddle when Twanky and I sped off down a fine little track off a new estate road only to find a flour ‘F’ clearly etched on the dried mud much further down. The fact that there had been no Check earlier on didn’t seem to perturb the Hares at all!

Somehow or other TinOpener and Mother Theresa had got to the front and were FRB’ing along a farm track leading to a check. Before us was a long, long, Van Gogh-style track meandering ever onwards between the rocky peaks of the bare, ploughed fields where raucous crows feathered raggedly through the wind-tossed wilderness of the sky. Oops, got a bit artistic there. I’ll tone it down a bit. After about ½ a mile with no flour I stopped to listen to a skylark soaring to my left. A presage of Spring, I thought. Jolly nice. Now where’s the bloody flour!? Another ½ a mile and a blob appeared. By now a vast distance separated me and the pack but I yodelled back an “On one” which was lost to the wind and a passing hedgehog that gave me a jaundiced look and a two-finger salute with its spiny paw. The third blob finally appeared, quickly followed by an uphill/downhill 2-way check. Rule no. 1 – never go downhill; so I trotted up left, desperately seeking flour (another ½ mile before the first blob) and eventually found a check carefully placed round a discarded and somewhat forlorn hub cap. Not a soul or sound had been seen or heard of the Pack so I thought I’d wait for the bu**ers to catch up while watching a family dig out a fir tree – quite amusing, and be watched through the hedge by their wary golden retriever who did a bit of half-hearted snarling at me to justify his lunch later on. An hour or so later, Old Dog, Amanda and SlowSucker finally appeared, much to my relief, and we set off again.

The next section went the same way as earlier with no-one but SlowSucker and BGB for occasional company. Miles we went; through deserted farmyards, over fields, along tracks, both concrete and earth until SlowSucker and I reached a little road with a small bridge over a stream. We decided to turn right, up the road and found flour on a stile, so crossed it, back into the field. After fannying about for some time we eventually realised that the trail had come up the inside of the field, parallel to the road, and we were going back on ourselves! With a rueful smile and a mental nod to the foxy Hares we backtracked and finally fetched up at the deserted Regroup where SlowSucker and BGB (knowing the area) decided to keep warm by running to the Bar-5 and back while I waited to greet the rest of the Pack who finally staggered along some time later. Curiously, Cheating joined us at this point. Goodness knows where he’d been. But then, goodness knows where everyone else had been. We carried on left and were delighted to see a group of deer bounding silently out of the bushes ahead of us, putting our foot-slapping, heavy-breathing running style to shame with their grace and elegance. The Long/Short split appeared after a fair section of foot-slogging and Iceman and I belted down it until I hit a Check and he disappeared! Weird! There I was on my blasted own again until Amanda and SlowSucker trooped round the corner presumably, I postulated, having stopped to dismember Iceman and bury him an adjacent field. Having finally reached a field full of horses (who had obviously eaten all the flour blobs) Motox suddenly appeared and boosted our confidence with a clear assertion that “It definitely goes across the field”. Despite that, we went across and found that it did indeed go that way since the likes of Spex, LoudonTasteless, Mother Theresa, Baldrick et al were trotting along the road full of the joys of Spring because they had a map! This still didn’t prevent me from being totally suckered later by a couple of huge blobs of flour on a stile even though Iceman had kindly called “On Back” while steaming by on the real trail. Another mile or so saw us gratefully back to the cars where poor Iceman shivered, waiting for me to unlock my car where his gear was stowed so he could get his warm clothes on.

In the pub I had to mentally applaud the well-behaved and wise dogs, Emma, Max and Bonnie who set themselves in front of one of the roaring fires before Iceman, ShutupWally, Cheating and I casually eased in front of them. Well, they have hairy coats to keep them warm and we don’t – apart from ShutupWally’s excessive leg hair of course. But we weren’t going to wrap that around us however cold we were.

Now there was a little consternation at the length of the trail and the occasional, shall we say, non-standard methods of the Hares. I heard Motox was so confused he expressed undying affection for Effin and offered to elope with her as soon as possible… The way I see it, these volunteer Hares started laying the trail at 6 o’clock in the morning (because they knew they don’t run so fast) on a cold, windy day and saw the whole thing through to completion. Good for them. I always enjoy a Hash amongst friends and this was no exception.

On On. Hashgate.

Down Downs

Stand-in RA Motox presented the following :-



Style points

Craig and Charlie

The latest new, young blood and excellent runners

Stunning stuff by both. You try sucking down a Coke in one go!

LoudonTasteless Spex

Loudon for being daft enough to fall over despite his broken wrist. Spex for not being fat!

Loudon whopped it down and was duly reprimanded by wife Spex for not letting her win

Effin, Chopstix, SlipperyNipple

The foxy Hares

Slippery just edged it despite Chopstix having a pint to her half

Up and Coming

Run Number


Grid Reference






The Hatchgate, Bramshill

Cerberus Premature




The Olde Leathern Bottle Wokingham (try not to park in the pub car park please)



Easter Walk – Monday, 28th March at 11:00. Gridref 633766 – Car park centre of Pangbourne. Approximately 8 mile walk with pub stop for food/drink or bring a snack. See Florence or Motox.