The Runday Shag

Issue 2518

Date:        21 April 2024

Hare:        RHUM & Atalanta

Venue:     Headley Heath NT car park

On On:     The Cock Inn & ‘Spoons



  Today’s flour began dramatically enough, with Simple finding the In-Trail at the first check.  Atalanta quickly countermanded his call, and sent us off to the north, with checks very closely spaced and the trail twisting and turning.  This brought us to a dramatic display of colour and beauty in a closed copse of bluebells, and not long after to the steep stair beloved of so many hares in this area.  I quoted Virgil to RHUM as we went down, Facilis descensus Averno (the way down to Hell is a doddle): he promised that the way back up would be much more gentle.

  This was only too true.  A very long straight ascent, with no checks, just on and on for ever; we failed to notice that the hares had left us.  We turned left at the top and headed for home, Huh!  We came to a check almost impossible to solve; First On thought she had heard Miss Bean call, and she and I set off that way.  We were four at first, with Chunderos and Chastity Belt, eventually coming upon Silent Knight, and made our way back by GPS, returning to the foot of those same stairs and then climbing the hill by a path.  Naturally we never found any more flour, but we were in just after J. Arthur, who had eventually solved the check which had defeated us; he reached the southern car park and then he too lost the trail.  No sign of Miss Bean at first, but she appeared in the end, on trail for anything I know: we had no hares to explain our errors to us.  Perhaps they were with short-cutters?  Though most people seemed to be back at the bucket, coming in from all directions in a very random and haphazard fashion; Petal, starting late, said he had found checks everywhere with no flour in between.

  Perhaps my memory is playing tricks on me, but I remember Surrey trails 30 years ago when the pack followed the front runners, who solved checks while the pack caught up, and we all stayed more or less together.   Short-cutting was an art form, reserved for experts. Nowadays we have lost all coherence, and hares feel obliged to set trails suited to all tastes, with short cuts marked, and no “pack” in the old sense at all.

  “What a piece of work is man!” said Hamlet in despair; it is tempting to look around and feel the same. Triumphs of literature, art, philosophy, science, engineering to be seen everywhere: then survey the political scene.  This year we shall elect either Sunak or Starmer as our PM, the Americans either Biden or Trump, when I am sure almost all those voters would have preferred someone quite different.  Oh, most people want their party in power, whoever leads them (personally I can see no significant difference between Conservative and Labour, and shall despair of either outcome: neither has any real intention of addressing either poverty or climate change).  Very few countries openly reject “democracy”: China, North Korea?  Putin is genuinely popular in Russia, but prefers not to permit real opposition anyway; other bad eggs (Orban, Milei, Modi, Erdogan) are like Trump in generating fanatical but quite real enthusiasm among voters.  So democracy is in the end as unimpressive as the ancient Greeks believed: it was a term of abuse.  Ideally, all adults would be involved in decisions; when a country has millions of voters, people should elect representatives known to them, to district and regional assemblies, not by party but on individual merit.

  On On, FRB

Letter by the editor (or what I really think)!

I was hauled before the beak for publishing the On-Sec’s words verbatim: “There is a charge, but hey, it’s a good cause!”  I think my job is to check for factual inaccuracies, so I failed.  According to the stand-in RA, there is no historical record of slavery on Headley Heath.  Well, here is what I really think (I must have got out of bed on the wrong side that morning in 2021). 

Letter to the National Trust:

21 June 2021

Dear Sir/Madam

I am cancelling my membership. I am unable to justify the expense for the level of use I may get, but more importantly I abhor the Trust’s venture into politics.

If you clean history it is no longer history. To quote George Orwell. “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute.”

Furthermore, the appearance of items such as a “Modern Slavery Statement” on a home webpage is both puerile and pointless. We have laws in this country that you should observe without shouting about it. All kinds of “virtue signalling” are extremely tiresome to me. They are usually deployed by organisations that actually have a problem with that aspect of law and which are content to broadcast facile statements, whilst not keeping their own houses in order (c.f. all organisations that proclaim, “This is important to us and lessons shall be learned from our failings”).

The requirement for staff to partake in petty acts of virtue signalling is a grotesque abuse of Human Rights.

Yours faithfully, etc.

  Incidentally, I welcome the academic study of the origins and  cultural development of our nation and its assets, but snippets of information in the wrong hands can be incredibly divisive.  The NT has since rigged its system of voting.

The RA suggested that we have visited this location many times before he berated the trail, parts of which I am sure he never saw!  We have indeed visited 20 times in the last 10 years and quite often we have ventured north over the M25 to Langley Vale.  Some examples appear below.

At least we got served in ‘Spoons!

More detailed pictures available here (Google) or here (Dropbox).

Be a patriot on St.George’s Day!
And, from one of our less sophisticated readers….
Scroll to Top