I should have known better. A person of my experience. The clues were there, why didn't I see it coming? Did we not witness the difficulty some had in driving to the start of the run. The faint sound in the air that many mistook for the wind, but I swear was someone singing "The hills are alive, with the sound of NUTCASE YOU BAS*!$* D" I have long suspected that Nutcases father was a mountain goat. But no. We ignored all the signs & in truth we only have ourselves to blame. So off we set, our hearts anticipating some joyful exercise. The trail led down the hill, round the corner & Oh my gosh, what's this, we are back at the chariots. I see now that this was a further clue as to how bad the run was going to be. We cannot blame the hares, they gave us every opportunity to abort the run and we ignored them. So off we set, led by children for heavens sake (yet another clue) up the slope, that turned into a steep hill that turned into a mountain. And not just any old mountain, oh no, the north face of the bloody Eiger no less. "Climb every mountain" Bloody Julie Andrews & the Sound of soddin' Music. We got to what we hoped was the top. At least bits of us got there. I left an awful lot of me half way up. (Sorry to whoever was following me!) I never knew grass was so sharp. "Holt de Czech at de top" yelled Nutcase. In my condition I held on to anyone that was anywhere near upright, I wasn't about to ask nor care his nationality. We gathered round in a huddle too scared to move in case we fell off the mountain & in desperate need of oxygen. Before we had time to recover, the hares led us off again & immediately we found another check. (Two checks within sight of each other, what is this hash coming to, or was this a further clue) "Der beer czech is up on zat hill" Oh the Scandinavian sense of humour! Nutcase steered us all away from the homeward path & took us down hill. Who needs barbed wire when grass has the same effect. The path at times came closer to the edge than most of us would have liked, but at least at the bottom their were two stout men helping us through the last 1 in 1 slope. To my mind they did seem a lot keener helping the ladies than the lads & an almost carnal grunt of satisfaction whenever a pretty young thing fell into their arms was a bit worrying. If we thought things couldn't get any worse, we were in for a nasty shock. "Go down zat wey" said Nutcase to the religious adviser. And he did. And he found a circle with an X in it. And he was not a happy man. As we struggled back up the hill, I asked the R.A. why he went down there "Because Nutcase told me to" was the reply. The Lord help us. The R.A. received his punishment in trying to explain to a little ankle biter why he had led her astray along with the rest of us. OK so its not that way. It CANNOT be the way we have just come down, so that only leaves this track to the left, right. Wrong. It's the first time in living memory that the walkers were the first to find a false trail. The prospect of reclimbing the mountain we had just descended from, only to climb back down the other side was contemplated by all. "What a wag" said one. "Oh they are naughty boys" said another & "Wait till I tell his mother" said a third. So it was on on up, followed by on on down & the best tasting Red stripe I have supped for a long time.
The circle recognised Penny DeLeon, Desiann Chai, Sandra "Sunshine" from Jersey (where they lay their trail using crisp new 50 notes) Nicola Faherty aka Wiff n Poof, Sonia James & Austin (her horror) & Dawn Johnson. All new runners who we hope wil come back, but who must clearly think they joined a mountain climbing organisation by mistake. Steep & Bushy was named & if I had my way would have been hung, drawn & quartered. Our stalwart dray departed & the other announced his 50th birthday. The R.A. punished those who got themselves into the newspaper by name & then realised he was one of them. The hares were eventually called up, awarded the substitute idiot hat, which was suitably blessed before being worn. On a more serious note a gross & flagrant abuse of hash schreddie & the sacred Red Stripe was dealt with in the appropriate manner. As were those two women drivers who falsely accused a Jamaican bus driver of damage to their vehicles. Fidel (just call me Timmy) Castro even made a merciful brief appearance. The children had the last word & summed up the mood of the crowd perfectly when it was revealed what they gave one of the hares for Fathers Day. The whole disgraceful episode is best forgotten & we should pretend that run 41 never happened. Put it behind you & look forward to the next run. Now that will be a run to remember & set by some very nice people I understand.
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