Run 1643 - 16 Jun 2019
Run #1643 – The Fear Of The Dark Run
Date & time:- Sunday 16th June 2019 15.00h
Location:- Mijas Campo opposite Mijas Golf Course
Hares:- Muzzle’Im and From Behind
Since my last run report the Mijas H3 website has been completely revamped, and now has a sort of template that hares and webmaster between them can use to fill in the information pre-requisite to getting both regulars and visitors to the runsite. It includes – most usefully – a slot for a pin-drop map image that our tech-savvy subscribers can use to find the way when traditional methods of location marking fall short – or else are just summarily ignored!
The webpage was thus replete with the appropriate information, and Just Say When had little excuse for her traditional reliance on her instincts and intimate knowledge of all hashable terrain and venues in the region to find the runsite, which, in due course, we succeeded in doing.
Strangely enough, looking back at my last run report again, it describes an unusually early start – midday for Colonic Irrigation’s birthday bash. Well, here we are less than a year later, and we have another early start,15:00h, for which I was yet again ill-prepared, hooking up with Just Say When for a lift at the last minute. We spent the journey down from Alhaurin el Grande trying to guess why our hares, Muzzle’Im and From Behind, had elected to start the run so early: perhaps the On-on would be at a restaurant that closes early on Sunday, after the magnificent Sunday roast has all been carved up and eaten; or perhaps, considering their reputation, this would be a super-long run, and they were fearful of not getting all the pack safely back before dusk.
This run had been provocatively described on the website and the fb page by the hares as the ‘Fear Of The Dark Run’. Indeed, there was even an injunction from Muzzle’Im on the Mijas HHH fb page to “Make sure you have fully charged batteries in case you need to call for HELP!!”. On reading this, the pulse quickened, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, and I thought to myself “What could this portend?!” All would be revealed in due course...
Gathering Of The Pack
GM Sir Flakey welcomed the pack and settled the vexed question of the correct run number which had somehow gotten into disarray during the previous weeks following the 30th Anniversary jamboree. The call was made for guests to present themselves, and Sheep Shagger duly stepped forward as a returnee. Then our virgin of the day was propelled into the circle and required to memorise the names of the assembled pack who called them out by turn.
David is an Englishman and artist residing in Los Pacos, a close friend of Streaky; he had obviously been well briefed before attending the hash, since (to our disappointment) he made none of the hash errors commonplace amongst new visitors. I take David to be a classic ‘struggling artist’, since – as he proudly told us – many of his more recent paintings have been ‘Streaky’. Anyway, how refreshing! - a virgin and at the same time an ‘artist’: I remain ever hopeful when visiting the massage parlours of Singapore...
In keeping with an old hash tradition, two even older hashers, Chicken George and King Knut were called in to show off their new shoes. Each therefore took off one shoe, which was filled with beer by Sir Flakey, and the down-down song sung: “Here’s to new shoes,they’re true blue...” King Knut held his full shoe poised at the ready and walloped the contents down with good German gusto, whereas Chicken George seemed altogether more... well, Chicken!
Introductions done, we were treated by Muzzle’Im to an explanation of the encyclopedic trail markings that he had so lovingly laid out for us in advance – eleven in all, by type. This concluded with the letter “G”, and Just Say When (Gwen) was called in to illustrate the meaning, on account of her reputation for fierce independence when breaking checks. She was shortly dismissed as a red herring, though, and a “D” was then prepended to the “G”, the marking referring to the presence of Dead Goats on the trail; an injunction was given to the dog-owners to keep their pets on the leash on sighting such a mark, to avoid any unsavoury revelry with the corpses.
Finally, yet another echo of my last run report, in which I wrote that the hare had offered “plenty of shade”: the hare today had omitted any mention of torches, which I had somehow inferred as being required for this run, and so I duly asked the question. Muzzle’Im’s reply struck me as somewhat evasive: he merely reiterated the wording on the fb page that we would do well to have a fully charged phone with us, ‘just in case’. (“Doo-dee doo-doo, doo-dee doo-doo” – remember the tune?) With that, the ritual hash photo was taken, and on on was signalled.
In a dubious tactic favoured by some advanced hashers, the pre-hash circle was designated as an inaugural ‘check’, and the pack instructed to fan out and find the beginning of the trail. Bloody Pinocchio set off at a cracking pace on a track going west; Just Say When sprinted away to the north; Streaky headed east and soon called “On on!” only to lead the pack smack bang into the first of many a false trail. The pack thus completed the first kilometre, including a second false trail, before it transpired that the aforementioned BP had been right all along, and so, the check finally broken, off we all merrily capered on the newly-found correct trail.
The terrain in this area is a shallow valley, quite open and undulating, with low scrub cover and many tracks cut by the local dirt bikers. The upshot was that it was imperative to follow trail assiduously, the markings being visible only when you were practically upon them. We followed along in the wake of our fearless leader and GM, Sir Flakey, until after a couple of hundred metres we ran across a second check, also graced with a false trail. True trail found, we continued another couple of hundred metres until we ran across a third check, also graced with a false trail. In case you think this description is getting monotonous, I just want to add that we continued another couple of hundred metres until we ran across a fourth check, a split trail marking this time. The correct trail then led us on to – guess what?... It sounds like an excessive proliferation of checks and ‘falsies’, but it entailed very good use of the terrain, and was instrumental in keeping the FRB’s in play, and the pack together.
Our confidence levels were kept high by the presence of our dutiful co-hare, From Behind, whom I spotted at this last check, surreptitiously scuffing out the ‘wrong’ arms of the cross – whilst the pack was still checking for trail! What a big softie! Either that or he was hungry, and wanted to speed matters along a bit to the on-on...
False trails duly found and dispensed with, the pack followed true trail along a gentle paved incline giving onto a dry stream bed overhung by canes which afforded some welcome shade from the glaring sun. I accompanied co-hare From Behind at the rear of the pack, making small talk and slipping ever further behind until those immediately ahead, Happy Daze and Insid’er, were out of sight; then at a certain point he stopped and said: “I haven’t seen any trail markings for a while – do you think we’re on the right track?” After I had picked up my jaw, I politely enquired whether he should not be able to remember or recognise his own trail. “Oh, no,” he said. “I didn’t set this part – it was Muzzle’Im.” Thus it came to light that the trail-setting had been split into two independent halves.
As it happened, we weren’t lost, and eventually caught up with the back markers, who were solemnly contemplating the next check by a stretch of asphalt road. First in line to break the check was none other than our resident trailmaster and geographer par excellence Just Say When, who called “on-on” prematurely, only to encounter a false trail. In a fit of misplaced confidence in JSW’s abilities, the check mark had already been scuffed in the wrong direction, and so hasty repairs were duly executed in local materials by resident artist Quicksand.
Further up the road a sound of tinkling bells greeted us and we were obliged to negotiate our way through a large herd of goats that were munching their way across the hillside. Some of these fine animals were sporting formidably long horns, which I remarked upon to my Nordic companion, From Behind. “Yes,” he said, knowledgeably, “you have to be old to get horns like that!” As only a true Nordic man would know...
Beer Stop The First
The herd having been passed without incident, we found our way along to the welcome shade of the first beer stop. I took a beer, and so refreshing was it that I muttered out loud to myself: “Doggus Bollockus”. For those who don’t know, this is a term of high approval in the English language, slightly modified to form the name of a character in the Monty Python film “The Life Of Brian”. At that precise moment, who should come whistling up the hill on his mountain bike but our very own Dogs Bollocks! (“Doo-dee doo-doo...” that tune again!) Life is indeed full of surprises, not least, as DB would have us believe, that he had no foreknowledge that the hash was in the area, and just happened to be passing by at the moment we were at the beer stop. Cheers all round!
On On Again!
A good quarter of an hour later, we were off on the trail again, having been advised of the two choices of challenge. I elected to walk the ‘macho’ trail with the co-hare-cum-sweeper, while our fearless leader, GM Sir Flakey took to the ‘wimps’ trail, “on account of the dog” – this latter a shy, retiring 75kg slab of canine bone and muscle called ‘Blue’. First up was a check-back that trapped the usual contingent of front runners – all enthusiasm until the check, and then all scowls on the way back – especially Bloody Pinocchio.
Weaving between us and following nothing in particular was Dogs Bollocks on his bike, perhaps fancying his chances of accidentally running across another beer stop. A good laugh was to be had, therefore, by those who observed him from a distance, suffering the ignominy of having to dismount and push his ride up a rather steep portion of track he had picked as a short-cut. Thanks Dogsy!
Shamefully, most of the pack cut short the highest of the hills on the trail, saving a climb of no more than ten metres or so, but missing the pinnacle view point so graciously afforded by the hares. I’m happy to report that I did my duty and was rewarded with a splendid panoramic view incorporating sea, townscapes, valleys and mountains, all under a pristine blue sky.
It wasn’t long before we found ourselves within reach of the second beer stop, some way before which we came across Dogsy minus his bike. The question had barely formed in my mind, when a whoop of glee split the air, and there was Speedbumps pedalling maniacally up a hill some way off. “I wish I had discovered this before!”, she hollered. I wonder what other childhood discoveries Speedbumps has yet to make... Thanks again Dogsy!
Beer Stop The Second
By this stage some of the pack were clearly feeling the heat, and could be seen sitting around on whatever sparse patches of grass presented themselves, while the two hares conferred in hushed voices – presumably about what was to come. There was no shade at all to be had at that spot, and consequently this stop was much shorter than the first, though nonetheless refreshing.
On On Yet Again!
Off we set, and only a couple of minutes down the road we came to the feature that had lent the run its chilling title. In the mouth of a rectangular concrete tunnel stood a hare, From Behind, stooping occasionally to pick up and light a candle-lamp, a number of which had generously been provided for the use of the pack. (As reported earlier in this piece, this is eerily similar to the Colonic Irrigation run for which I wrote the report, and which also included a tunnel. Perhaps I am truly living in the Twilight Zone...) As we were the last to enter the tunnel, the two of us picked up two lamps apiece, the remainder and the carry-bag being taken off to his car by Muzzle’Im, and proceeded gingerly into the enveloping gloom.
So bright was it outside that for the first few minutes there was scarcely a glimmer to be seen from the lamps, equipped as they were each with a single ‘tea-light’ type candle. For a while, voices of the pack in front of us carried back through the darkness, but gradually these faded, and we were left padding along in a cool deep-shaded quietness a world apart from the sun-baked hills and valleys above us. I surmised that many of our fellow hashers had dispensed with the dim lamps and simply used their electronic lights of various sorts to illuminate their way through the tunnel, which they could negotiate fairly speedily as a result.
As we at the back progressed, however, our lamp-light became ever more penetrating into the blackness, whether because our eyes were getting accustomed or because the draught through the lamps was making the candles burn brighter – probably both. So after a little while we could march along cheerily without worrying about obstacles ahead, which, by the by, did include one dead goat.
I have hashed through some long tunnels before, and this one was a contender for the longest underground trog in hash history, lasting more than half an hour with photo stops. At intervals along the way, there were manholes to the surface, and in the pool of light from each one was drawn an encouraging smiley of one kind or another, and at one spot, a check – ho ho. The last such point was the occasion for an unexpected treat from the hare: an akvavit stop. Skol!
Having re-surfaced into the blinding sunlight and blown out our candles, we had only a short stroll left from the end of the tunnel back to the runsite, all ready for the next cold beer.
By the start of any given Circle, your humble scribe has typically already partaken of several refreshments, and, what with two beer stops, today was no exception. It is at this point that all the fun of the Circle tends to eclipse the more serious business of recording the various goings-on, and the memory starts to become clouded into the bargain. Thus it is that I offer a few cameos, not necessarily in chronological order, but that will hopefully convey some of the humour of today’s Circle.
First bottom to hit the ice belonged, appropriately enough, to our intrepid hare From Behind, who was called upon by GM Sir Flakey to demonstrate proper use of the Sleeve, for the benefit of those that have not yet acquired the expertise themselves. With great aplomb, he succeeded in getting about 5cc of beer from the full cup into his mouth, the remainder being dispersed about his person, clothes and immediate surroundings.
Virgin David was then called in to volunteer his opinion of the run, but couldn’t take a down-down on account of driving a very high profile Mercedes cabriolet, a hot target for roaming policemen; so yours truly was called in as a substitute. I enjoyed my brief relaxation on the ice, and, unencumbered by a sleeve or other impediment, succeeded in transferring the full complement of beer from cup to mouth. In hindsight, I don’t know why David couldn’t have taken a softie on the ice: perhaps, encouraged by our tolerance, he will return, and duly oblige us next time.
Now came time for the general assessment of the quality of the run, a cock-a-mamie exercise involving a game-show style allocation of points – points! if you please – from the members of the pack. From Behind was called to grace the ice again, this time without the sleeve. The dreaded toilet seat – a universally undesired accolade reserved for the least pleasing runs – was brought out, flourished and then removed from this Circle, reflecting the palpable sense amongst the pack that it was today Surplus To Requirements. The members were polled in turn, and an ‘average’ score of 8.8 accorded to the happy hares. Thank goodness all that effort was not in vain!!
(For the record, the Colonic Irrigation run referenced previously scored 8.7... “Doo-dee doo-doo...”)
Then came the awarding of ‘Anniversarios’, a ritual involving the presentation of an embroidered Mijas H3 patch to individuals at the completion of every five runs. This frequency of award I find a very generous gesture from Mijas Hash, since these patches are by no means cheap to produce. I am always tempted to wonder, though, what could be done with the plethora of patches acquired by the more regular attendees. The usual thing is to sew them onto a hash waistcoat or jacket, though I have seen other hashers around the world sporting hash longcoats just to accommodate their burgeoning collections.
My own idea for Mijas Hash patches would be to dispense with the coats and jackets and just stitch the accumulating patches together to form a suitable hash garment or sporting artifact. Specific suggestions are appended to the names of today’s recipients listed below:
Kannot Kan – 25 runs (shoe repairs)
Chicken George – 30 runs (socks and headband)
Mega Sore Arse – 145 runs (dinner jacket)
King Knut – 155 runs (cummerbund)
Pussy Galore – 330 runs (matching bikini and beach towel)
Sweet and Low – 415 runs (business suit)
Sir Flakey – 620 runs (hammock and bell-pull)
Dogs Bollocks – 775 runs (paraglider)
Normally there is a Religious Adviser to take charge of administering punishments to the unruly and the plain silly, but in the absence of our regular RA, our GM threw open the Circle for a free-for-all of general charges, remembered only as a blur of song and merriment.
Your humble scribe Kannot Kan records having been down-downed with a group of others but by the time he returned to the edge of the Circle he had forgotten what was the charge. Perhaps he will be reminded with another down-down next time.
I recorded that someone was called in to acknowledge his or her birthday (David the artist, perhaps?), but - if it happened at all - given the average age of the hash, not much was made of this. Certainly nobody else has recalled the event in the ensuing week, and it may be just your scribe’s addled imagination. Anyway, apologies to my imaginary friend.
One of the more memorable charges was when Just Say When charged Bloody Pinocchio for climbing electricity pylons – why he did such a thing I never got to find out, but when you consider that on the surface he looks like one of the more staid and sensible members of our motley crew, you can see what we’re like when the flimsy veil of respectability is lifted once a week.
My last fading memory of the Circle was of intrepid hare Muzzle’Im tackling the Sleeve, and falling over backwards off the ice trying to get a drop of beer in his mouth – a true hashman!
Our on-on supper was at the Palmanova El Golf restaurant, on a sedate terrace facing the setting sun and overlooking a pond (that had been described as a ‘lake’ by whichever of the hares contributed to the run information) that formed the final hazard on the eighteenth hole of the adjoining golf course. (This would be akin to describing the Arroyo de la Miel or similar as a ‘fjord’.) We were treated to a fine three-course offering of Spanish-style fare and wine for EUR15, and approval and enjoyment were evident all round the table.
Stiff Fanny had joined us for dinner, and Sir Flakey was in buoyant mood, buying extra drinks to promote extension of the revelries until well after darkness had fallen. So late did we leave that I almost missed making it home by midnight, much to the consternation of my elderly parents - I’m usually in bed by 9pm! In summary, the whole event was a splendid testament to the camaraderie and bonhomie of the revered Mijas Hash House Harriers..
On On On...
Hares: From Behind and Muzzle-Im
Circle: Near a dirt road not far from La Sierrezuela/ Finca La Peseta
From Coin/Alhaurin: take the A-7053 from BP garage down to Fuengirola, past (for those driving from La Calla and Calahonda ) past St Anthony's college and Mijas Golf both on left. Go straight on at the Golf Cart roundabout.
Take 1st LEFT into Ave. Suiza. Drive past OnOn location "Palmanova El Golf Restaurant" and stay on road for 1.8kms. Turn RIGHT onto dirt road signpost Urb. La Sierrezuela/ Finca La Peseta. Watch for H3 signs on road to Circle.
From coastal areas: make way up A-7053, past Vente La Morena on left and under AP7.
Take 1st RIGHT into Ave. Suiza and follow directions as above to Circle.
OnOn: "Palma Nova El Golf"
Phone: 666 965 364
Great location on covered terrace, overlooking golf course lake.
- Mixed table sharing platters for starter.
- Choice of main course (including vegetarian).
- Half bottle White or Red per person.