The Runday Shag

Issue 2523

Date:        26 May 2024

Hare:        Fagin & Fancy Nancy

Venue:     Wellington Statue, Aldershot

On On:     Goat in the Garden


  De mortuis nil nisi bonum, we are counselled; mis-translating, don’t split hares new to Surrey.  So yes, here we were in a quite unfamiliar setting, with a vast equestrian statue of the Iron Duke glaring out at the world, and yes, we had an enjoyable morning.  A cider sip-stop, offered first to the short-cutters – it was visible from the canal bridge where the trails separated – and then to the conscientious, so that was good. Attractive woods, in parcels reached across roads. Strict respect for the new preference for shorter trails. (Little over 4 miles today). Pleasant weather. Entertainment in the form of boys kitted out like the players of American football. (You will have noticed that Rhodes scholars accustomed to that game are ready to abandon all that clobber, and play rugby well without it.)

  Our hares have handles from Oliver Twist, heaven knows why; your Committee were looking for other names from that book, and could have used Jack Dawkins, the Artful Dodger, which sounds appropriate for a hash handle [Ed – they have]. Most solutions to today’s checks were straight ahead; certainly the checks were solved very quickly.  Atalanta and Kelinchi were hardly late at all, so we had speedy expertise early on, and others doing the full trail were in small groups.  My own included Petal, Chastity Belt, CL and Fleur d’Or, as well as one of the hares’ friends, who seemed to understand the trail, directing us to a canal bank when we could find no flour – and sure enough flour we found.  The canal we got to know rather well; we crossed a bridge, ran north on the far bank on the tow path to the next bridge, and came back south through a wood with the canal still in view.  That was the loop which the short-cutters were spared.  The way back included a substantial length of road which ran next to a very popular car park full of noise and activity, but not conspicuously military.  I suppose that with today’s armed forces reduced to a dangerous minimum Aldershot is no longer swarming with soldiers. Perhaps if HMG’s cunning plan to re-introduce military service ever comes to fruition we shall see more uniforms there in future.

  When we came in – faithfully following flour! – Bigfoot was admonishing us that the real in-trail came in somewhere quite different, and sure enough other hashers did finish differently. A mystery!

  European trains forbid passengers in French, English and German to lean out of the window, but Italians are merely warned that this is dangerous.  Italian does have an imperative mode, but negative commands are expressed in the infinitive.  Polite speech in French and German is in the second person plural, but in Italian in the third person singular, using the pronoun “lei”, which is feminine.  This is from centuries of Spanish rule; we tend to forget that both Germany and Italy took their present form late in the 19th century.  Italy then had multiple languages; Tuscan was chosen for the new nation, but to this day Sicilians and Neapolitans prefer their own dialects.  The North remains viscerally opposed to “immigrants” from the South, which is so different that a book has the title “Christ got no further than Eboli” – meaning modern civilisation.  Even now, Italy is two nations, with Milan and Turin at the height of fashion and industry, as are Florence and Venice for culture, while the Mezzogiorno remains in the Middle Ages. Not unnaturally, immense numbers of Italians emigrated to the States; some do come back, and most send money.  The Italian-American link is more than the Godfather.

  On On, FRB

The virgin hares

The hash started from the Wellington Statue…

Political corner

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