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The Thatched Cottage


A single, intrepid Hare, given the weather: the appropriately named Iceman

More of a Shoal Than a Pack

Twanky Blowjob Donut Hashgate Bogbrush Fannybag Motox Posh Bomber Zebedee Florence Slowsucker Caboose Debbie Mark Angella (aka Cornish Pixie) Foghorn Spot Ms Whiplash PennyPitstop Slapper NoSole Snowballs 2Bob and dog Lucy MessengerBoy Honeymonster

Irish Weather

Not going!” Swallow pulled the duvet tightly round her neck. “It’ll be all right when you’re there. Lots of your friends” Essayed Slowsucker, wheedlingly. “Don’t care.” Came the muffled reply, as Swallow ducked down beneath the duckdown. Slowsucker teased up the lower corner of it, exposing a pyjama’d leg termnating in a fluffy bedsock. Grasping the well-turned ankle he proceede to pull gently. “Come on sugar plum. Rise and shine.” “Shan’t!” Slowsucker tugged more determindly. A pair of hands appeared and grasped the bedpost just below the pink manacles with a gripmore resolute than a Burmese python on a particularly succulent okapi. After 5 minutes of heaving at Swallow’s rigid, teeth-gritted body Slowsucker let it drop like a plank onto the mattress where it instantly assumed a foetal Michelin position, swaddled in feathers and Egyptian long staple. Her face appeared. “Have a nice run, baby bear.” She smiled and sighed satisfyingly. Our picture to the left gives us an idea of her desperate hanging on. But with more fur. And less pyjamas. (It was too cute to resist)

Frankly, I can understand Swallow’s stance. The morning had begun with lashing rain and gusts of wind where I live. Snowballs (also appropriately named) mentioned that he had seen cars covered in snow on his way down the M4. Donut and I had experienced sleet among the rain as we made our way over the rapidly rising river Thames at Sonning. I think by now you have an appreciation of the mid-March weather we were experiencing. It was truly foul and Donut and I were seriously thinking of reprising the actions which got her her Hash name. i.e finding the nearest warm café and orgying on coffee and doughnuts. However, we are nothing if not hardy (wow! Very English turn of phrase there and almost incomprehensible) and hove to in the pub car park (I know, Iceman, we should have parked opposite ) thinking we ought to at least support our bedraggled lone Hare. Blowjob sat there in her car looking by turns apprehensive and at the rain. We were all actually very lucky, since the rain eased off, leaving just the dour clouds and everywhere dripping.

Since it was St. Patrick’s Day a number of people had worn some form of green. The prize goes to Twanky and Blowjob who wore huge green, floppy top hats and T-shirts with miniature leprechauns that matched them. Slowsucker wittily turned up as a pint of Guinness - black T-shirt and shorts with white hair. I had thought of doing the same but I felt it was too damn cold. Which it was.

The two policemen who had parked at the side of the pub limited themselves to brief banter rather than tasering and pepper-spraying the lot uf us and we led off along the short tarmac (“Thought we’d get it out of the way first.” Iceman told me) before splotching off into the initial shiggy-filled forest. The stuff was unbelievably lubricious. Ann Summers could make a fortune bottling and selling it (after removing the twigs and squirrel poo, of course). Every time one pushed off with the back foot it slipped away, making running a combination of ice-skating and avoiding the almost inevitable pratfalls.

Iceman had, as ever, laid a Trail both cunning and devious, two qualities he cultivates carefully on these occasions. Trying to find the correct Trail was, to say the least, difficult. Though the fact that some of it had been rained away did not exactly help. A number of the Checks had simply checked out and we had to rely on Iceman’s ‘flour freshening’ technique to ‘locate’ them. Having crossed the busy A4 where Bogbrush had politely waved on a massive Volvo without (apparently) noticing that I was near to him and was just trotting lightly across it (thankss Bogbrush) we entered an area that was simply wet, cold and very muddy. I followed Fannybag for a bit, since she seemed to know where she was going, and then proved it. But I mistakenly ran up a longish False from a still surviving Check. Hearing the ‘On On’ from a little way off methought I’d contribute to raising marginally the forest water table for a moment or two. Bad move. By the time I returned to the Trail the entire Pack had buggered off! Surprising quite how fast BH3 can move and I couldn’t a) hear them, or b) catch up with where I thought they’d be. Hmm. Still, it was peaceful (if damp) and I sploshed off, following flour until a Check appeared. Not my day really, since I managed to find another False and had to backtrack. But then Lady Luck smiled when I saw Zebedee leading the Pack towards me! How very useful. The rain, which had held off to thi point, began to pelt again and we were very happy to reach the Regroup under the underpass where Foghorn took fully advantage of its echo characteristics to yodel, “Reeegggrooooooop!”

Setting off from here was a bit of an effort, what with water streaming off eyebrows and trickling down necks. Donut, Debbie, Angella, Spot, Iceman and I elected for the slightly shorter route, slopped back across the A4 (without Bogbrush’s assistance) and trotted down past the back of the old shire horse centre, marvelling at the triceratops and assorted other dinosaurs dripping in its field. A Long and Short split appeared as the rain began to turn to a combination of sleet and ice balls. Everyone but Slowsucker took the short cut. You could tell it was beginning to get to everyone when Florence advised us, at a sticking gate, to, “Give it a good kicking.” The sleet slanted sideways, just to give us a bit of a change and, to our surprise, thunder rolled and groaned above us – the gods waking up with royal hangovers after a night of debauchery. We were so pleased to see the rain-battered ‘On Inn’ that we almost smiled. Our raggle-taggle of semi-drowned water rats skulked drippingly into the car park, steamed up and covered with mud the insides of our cars while we struggled to drag off clutching wet kit, then sank enjoyably into the warmth of the pub.

Thanks to Iceman for his efforts to give us a happy St. Patrick’s Day. I’d like to do the Trail again… in summer

On On. Hashgate.

Down Downs

Who Got It

Why and How They Did


For ‘grassing up’… somebody

Zeb, Florence,

For their efforts in The Grizzly


Today’s Irish joke. He opined that everyone kept ‘Dublin’ back.


Wearing ‘That’ hat


Today’s hardy Hare. Well deserved!

Up and Coming



Grid Reference






Easter Sunday Run
The Black Horse
Checkendon, West Berkshire, RG8 0TE



08Apr13 19:00
* Monday *


On To - The Diamond Tap
42 Cheap Street (opposite Vue Cinema)
Meet at Wharf Car Park, Newbury, RG14 5AU
to the left of the library (cost £1).