The Runday Shag
Date: 24 December 2023
Hare: Bonn Bugle & Groinbiter
Venue: Newlands Corner
On On: The Horse & Groom, Merrow
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
This was a strange trail, but since both front runners and short-cutters arrived together at the bucket, in good humour, the verdict must be “excellent”. We began on zero flour until we had covered the entire length of the car park, after which the flour followed a little-used and exiguous path downhill, quite new to me (which is unusual from this very well-trodden venue).
So we reached the floor of the valley, and resumed well-known footpaths to the drink-stop, just before the Silent Pool. The drinks were even sweeter than the sweetmeats on offer; a rather special taste. So far so unified, fast hashers ahead of slow hashers. After the drinks we found we had to climb that long steep path from the Pool to the ridge above, where Bonn Bugle offered a choice: short cut or not? “Not”, she said, was a fair amount longer; not unnaturally most people chose the short way back to Newlands Corner. This included some of our visitors. We had greeted at the start families and couples, complete with nippers and dogs, mostly fit and fast: just what we need for our future.
Well, some of them did choose the paths of virtue, but we short-cutters met a slew of fast runners already back, including Bigfoot and Stevie Blunder, who had a strange tale of catching the hares attempting a live part of the run. This made no sense to me: Bonn Bugle was in charge of the choice on the ridge, Groinbiter had stayed at Newlands Corner, apparently disowning any share in the trail, so whom had the Blunder caught? Anyway, if the real trail was a good deal longer, how did they get back so soon?
Well, does it matter? The beer was flowing, Christmas was only hours away, all was well.
Bigfoot insisted I had his wife’s name wrong, as Miss Zing; the real handle is Missing In Action. Fair enough, my apologies, though I secretly feel my version of the handle was just as good.
One runner not back when I left was Atalanta; perhaps she had found the real full trail? Certainly she was (just) in time for the start. Another puzzle was set by J. Arthur: we had difficulty explaining to him how we reached the ridge, in which case what part of the trail had he run?
The saying “No news is good news” may be read in two ways, though on reflection they come to much the same thing. Certainly the news offered by the media tends to be disasters, murders, broken marriages, failures, but in private conversations people are as likely to offer good news as bad, perhaps more likely. In Kiswahili the standard greeting is to ask “What news?”, and courteous manners require the reply to be “Good!”, though it is acceptable to go on “However,…..” (Habari gani? Nzuri, lakini….)
“News” is nowadays in the singular; Queen Victoria wrote “The news are very bad”. Sometimes people take the word literally: “What’s new?”, as in “Was gibt?”, or “Quoi de neuf?”, but usually the strong sense is obscured, and we speak of “news” as something everyone knows already. This can come to mean “Everything right-minded people think”, these being those sharing your views on social media, whose importance to the Trump followers cannot be over-stated. (You may have heard on television people saying “cannot be understated”, when they mean the reverse.) Well, I offer you news now well established, that of Christ’s birth: may the joys of this season last all of the New Year! A very merry mass of Christ!
On On, FRB
Then it was off home to watch “The Holiday” on Channel 5 and see Cameron Diaz on the trails that we had just run!
REMEMBER your teenage pictures for the away weekend. Deadline 1 January.
It’s still Christmas…
Missing toe & wine
A merkin merchant serving the discerning pudendum since 1827 (circa 1860). Ed: So what is an undiscerning pudendum?