The Runday Shag
Date: 7 January 2024
On On: The Frog
THE SUN SHINES ON BIGFOOT’S FINE TRAIL
This part of Deepcut is not on my OS map, nor, I suspect, on many of your satnavs if your car is, let us say, mature. At our last visit to the Frog the then hare took us south; today we went north. But first the hare talk. Bigfoot announced a 9 km trail without checks, and then described the markings for a false trail. Popeye, speaking for all of us, asked how there could be false trails if there were no checks? We had misunderstood: 9 km not counting going wrong at checks.
Deepcut is well provided with woodland to the north, and the sun shone strongly, so we enjoyed our morning very much. Bigfoot’s trail contained numerous zigs and zags, the mark of an ingenious hare; there were of course checks, but far fewer than is usual, so that inevitably the fastest runners were soon lost to the rest of us. A trail should have checks every 800 metres or so.
I found myself in a small group, CL, 3s 4d, Simple, Master Bates: we had Popeye, the Checking Chicken, with us till we came upon Wurzle, puzzled by a check. It had been marked through, but not in the direction we knew to be that of the pub, so Wurzle went off one way, Popeye disappeared, the rest of us followed flour. At an earlier check Veggie Queen had also used common sense rather than flour, attracting followers whose names escape me. though doubtless Belcher was one, and will indeed have found flour eventually: the real trail looped round to rejoin her guess.
Our little group were held up when the hare had hidden a check behind a tree, which seemed curious, and this check did indeed have a false solution, so it took us a fair while to discover where the real flour went; by the time we got in the Circle was already in full swing. “Thanks for waiting for us!” said Master Bates, [Ed: we were cold by then!] but this was probably unfair. Just before noon, by which time we had probably run 5 km, there had been a W, for “Walkers”, and their trail was said to be 6 km. So I imagine many people had got back long before we did, and had waited patiently for us for a fair while. Considering Deepcut is at the very west of Surrey there was a good turnout, including a fair few visitors.
Very talented people often behave badly; how should the rest of us assess them? Caravaggio murdered a man, but the usual misbehaviour is sexual. Picasso and Rodin were notoriously unfaithful; Eric Gill slept with his daughters; Colette treated husbands (and her female lover Missy) very badly, even seducing a teenage stepson; Dickens was a dreadful husband; Wayne Rooney is a modern example. Goethe had 10 girlfriends, getting one pregnant 5 times, but refused marriage to them all. I admit that artists are a special case; it would be strange if a painter or sculptor were not attracted to a nude model; though I know of no female artist misbehaving with male models, this may be because they are less well known. Our problem as ordinary mortals is how we react; our admiration for the immense talent (everyone I have cited is rightly world-famous) must be tempered by disapproval. When it comes to the many lecherous politicians, apart from Lloyd George, the Welsh Goat, most seem talentless, so in their case we have no problem. When the man is gifted (Oscar Pistorius?) we must use two approaches, one of enthusiastic approval, the other of condemnation.
On On, FRB
Thanks to Private Eye