The inside story of AH3's real 1000th run, or how we wuz Robb’d
“O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!”
Aberdeen Hashers, this is your lucky day. God being an Englishman, as you're all well aware, and Him and me thick as thieves, I've been given the job of sprinkling insight on you from a great height. Naturally, I've used a jumble of code names to allow individual members of AH3 to kid themselves the character defects mentioned in this write-up belong to someone else. The jumble wasn't intentional; but I'm having a bit of trouble with nightmares about chilli pies and lifted kilts, Tongueys, Drillbits and Rock-it-powered bagpipes.
Before travelling up, I did a bit of research. The people of Aberdeen, according to the English Tourist Board, have long been associated with fish. Not that there's any fishing from the port, it's just a reference to their personal hygiene. This is why the city is known throughout Scotland as Auld Reekie. The city also has the country's greatest concentration of old people's homes, giving rise to its other nickname: The Granny'd City. Armed with these facts, I didn't expect to have a good time.
But I didn't rush to judgement; there was the chance of some fun at a preliminary event: the joint run with MEARNS H3 and the ad hoc Aberdeen Haggis H3 (historical note: formed for the day to stop the AH3 clock at 999). At the pick-up point the first Hasher to greet me was Olymprick, wearing a face that looked like it caught fire and was put out with a shovel - truly the Face of Aberdeen Hangover. I'd missed the Friday night piss-up and was looking all the better for it. But what about MEARNS? I'd never heard of it. The Penguin gave me some romantic crap about it being a swathe of Aberdeenshire countryside known through the ages as the Howe of the Mearns. When the bus got to the run site off Slug Road (Slug Road?) and I saw the MEARNS runners gathered there, it was obvious that M.E.A.R.N.S. was a description of the membership: Macho Englishmen And Raving Nancy-boy Scotsmen. The Howe was how the hell anyone would want to be associated with this lot.
Let's get the run out of the way - we went up a muddy track, through a pine forest, emerged onto a patch of snow, had a snow-fight, ran back into the woods, clambered over some fallen trees (no easy matter when fallen pines are like giant bog-brushes), crossed some open heath where the sun shone briefly, causing the woods on the distant slopes to take on the hues of a Crawford's Tartan Shortbread tin. All it needed was the skirl of the pipes - and blow me if we weren't piped in by Rock-it. It was beginning to feel like Scotland.
For Joy Boy it was beginning to feel like Hell. One of the spines on the bog-brush trees had pierced his scrotum and he was desperately seeking a kilt-lifter at the ON-ON to suck out the poison. The MEARNS women, and even the MEARNS men, refused; but he'd approached the wrong group, because a full 20 minutes after the last runners had reached the beer, Hippo and Chicken Shit ran down the hill together, grinning like members of the club that dare not speak its name (“If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit, join our...”)
The Penguin administered Down-Downs with time-honoured malice. To the Hares White Trash and Dutch Cap; to Tonto and Joy Boy; to reps of visiting Hashes – Guildford, West London, East Grinstead and Quorn, and finally a chilli pie Down-Down to Drillbit and Little Shit for whom Burns Night was going to come a wee bit early.
Unfortunately nothing came my way in the drinks line, and I was glad to get on the bus to the On-Inn at Stonehaven where there was at least the prospect of mixed showers and hot grub. I was sorely disappointed to find that the naked displays by our women at the EGH3 500th, so hard fought for, weren't reciprocated in the showers at the County Hotel Showering with MEARNS men, it's best to keep your eyes to the ground, which is how I noticed the shampoo suds around Olymprick's feet turn a pretty shade of yellow. Is it common knowledge he uses cheap highlights?
ON-ON The seating arrangements for that night's dinner didn't look promising. With EGH3's Leatherback at the table, our food supply was threatened by the one-man locust swarm, and with Dad Dad in the drinks rota (Dad Dad - so mean he sent the removal van back for the wallpaper), there was little hope of getting pissed. Any move to start the girly jigging-about they call Scottish dancing would just put the seal on it. And it got worse. Rock-it marched in pipes a-howling, followed by something on a plate. Well, it looked like the bagpipes had been for a shit and it was following them back in. Lone Ranger made a kind of mystical incantation over the item, using much of the Burns poem “To A Haggis”, then I was served some. No further proof was needed of the barbarity of the northern tribes. Dad Dad, fearing a lawsuit, poured single malt after single malt down my throat until I stopped gagging. This gobbledegook somehow made perfect sense. Somehow I was brilliant at Scottish dancing - inventing several new moves. Somehow I made it back to the hotel.
When you're in a foreign country, surrounded by many of the tribes mentioned in Jane's Fighting Jocks, and you have to get to a remote spot like Hazelhead Park for a very important ceremony, you don't want to miss the bus. I missed the bus. I missed the bus because members of the AH3 tribe sitting in the windows didn't recognize the sophisticated arm signals and facial expressions that the EGH3 tribe employ when approaching from the side at speed. “I thought I saw Someone waving”, Mad Cyclist's son, David, said. As in tribute? No matter, the taxi driver spoke sterling.
More than 80 Hashers gathered at the OnOn for Aberdeen H3's Real 1000th Run. In addition to the visitors from the previous day, there were Hashers from as far afield as New Zealand and Edinburgh, eager to celebrate this landmark event in Aberdeen's history. Forget shipbuilding, forget oil – it's the Down-Down industry that has made this city what it is today, and we were there to prove it. It fell to the GM 2am to open the proceedings with celebratory Down-Downs for some of the founder members: Alan McGregor, Gaye McGregor, Bob Elder and Jane Elder, the last of whom claimed credit only for immoral support. (Other founder members couldn't be present because they're currently hiding in a cave complex called Torragh Borragh somewhere to the east of Aberdeen.) Wild Local was given one for being the Almost Man - almost on the first run, almost doing the most runs, almost human, whereas Little Shit unquestionably deserved his for having completed the most runs - 648 for the anoraks out there. Failing to disguise his jealousy, 2am also credited Little Shit with having laid the most Hares, before correcting this to laying the most trails.
We were ready for the off, but first the pack had to be ritually panicked. It was going to be an A to B run, so all the car drivers were f*cked. The panic subsided when they were told the bus would be waiting for them at B to bring them back to A. A happy crowd then made a mad dash across the playing fields of Hazelhead Park, aiming to be first to the first check on this historic day. All bar one. Olymprick had decided to make sure the bus driver knew where pick-up point B was. So the driver showed him the map he'd been given with point A connected to point B by a sort of Hash trail with things called checks every few inches. Olymprick kept mum, knowing that finally his prayers had been answered - for once, and on the most important run in history, he wasn't going to be the last man in.
To me the trail seemed to go from golf course to woods, then back to golf course and more woods, offering a shop window on Scotland: buy the woods, get the tax break, then just play golf. Not much of the money is spent on education locally, as evidenced by the vast and thriving Hash membership, and the diabolical checks that could only be the product of idle minds. Thus I found myself slipping further and further behind, keeping company with the likes of Fifi and Pink Panther, and runners who hadn't worked out that the OnInn at the Waterwheel Inn must be within a caber toss of point B, so head for it. They know who they were.
I took a breather about half way round, which allowed some of the older members of AH3 to catch up. Among them was Dad Dad - a hard man to ignore, but well worth the effort. He was regaling the gang with his exploits from the old days on EGH3. Let me put the record straight: as with all things in this man's world, he received more than he gave, and this applies double to his shiggy quota. Still, I thought he might be useful for hauling us back within sight of the pack, which had disappeared into the woods on the far side of a stud farm. I thought wrong. We risked our necks sprinting along the half-mile of tarmacadam that every Scottish Hare inserts into a run as a reminder of one of the best things to come out of Scotland (i.e. the road to England); but by the next check in the woods we were even further behind. Some walkers directed us to the right, so I ran to the right. However, Dad Dad muttered “Milltimber” and veered off to the left. I thought "Nil timber” was him playing out one of his phobias, and ignored him. Suddenly I was alone in the trees and well off-trail with only the Hash anthem for comfort: “O Flour of Scotland, when will we see, your like again..." Quite soon afterwards, as it turned out. Rock-it's bagpipes were piping-in the runners at the Half-Way Sip and that's the sound I followed, dangerously close to being the last one in.
It was obvious from the dregs that the party had been in full swing for some time. There wasn't much beer left, but there were thousands of chilli pies. Hunger, and the belief that anyone who'd survived EGH3's 10th Anniversary boil-in-a-bin roadkill curry could eat anything, caused me to wolf down several of those pastry-crust anti-personnel mines. That was a mistake. What happened during the rest of the afternoon is a blur. While I could still see, I clocked the arrival of Olymprick a full 15 minutes after me. A roar went up when he appeared - Last Man to the end today of all days with the whole world jeering. For Olymprick, knowledge of the route hadn't been enough to overcome the enormous drag factor of his athletic ability.
Before we moved off I picked up a snitch. The Lum had decided to dress for the run in a short kilt and Lycra tartan tights, like a Javanese lady-boy on the pull in Surabaya. He claimed it didn't compromise his sexuality. Wild Local agreed: “Aye, there's still a big c*** underneath”. (I only report what I'm told.)
After the Sip, the walkie-talkies were pointed in the direction of the bus, while the runners were directed the opposite way into a swamp. It was of course another devilish falsie, but it had the benefit of bunching everyone for the final leg to the car park that formed point B. There wasn't long to wait after that for the Circle to form.
I began to have trouble concentrating because it felt like an alien life form had emerged from the pies in my guts and it was lighting matches to read the instructions for Phase II. I think this is what I saw:
Two Hashers shared the RA job: AIDS and Wild Local (imagine Rab C. Nesbitt with a Scottish Higher).
Down Downs went to: -
The Hares and the Pipes: Drillbit and Little Shit / Rock-it
Representing the visitors: Brewer from Edinburgh.
Virgin Hashers: Martin from NZ, and Stewart, son of Mad Cyclist.
Most runs: Little Shit again.
Birthday Boy: Mint Sauce.
Founder Members: Wild Local / Tonto / Pink Panther / Mrs T / Bob Elder (somehow a different set of Founder Members from the start of the run).
Flashers’ Award: Silver, for taking pictures of naked men with no film in the camera.
Event organizers: JC / Thrombosis / Thrapolectomy / Thrush (here Wild Local went on some kind of medical mystery tour with references to Just Conscious / A Slow-moving Clot / A Pain in the Neck / Irritating C***).
More helpers: Tongue Lasher and the bus driver (the bus driver mistook me for a reporter from The Northern Scot. “The name's Geordie, G-E-O-R-D-I-E.” Thanks, I'll make sure that gets into print. My notebook was the back of the commemorative 1000th Run Hash Sheet; the one Cannae Be Arsed was so, so proud of; the one that dated the 1000th Run as the 13th February 2002).
SAS fans: Pink Panther and Trouser Shredder, who, contrary to the menace implied in her name, switched to Not In This Mouth You Don't mood and threw the entire contents of the jar over Tonguey.
Finally it came to the Hashit award.
Wild Local hauled me out. Gawd no, the chilli hordes were at the gates; I couldn't walk AND keep my cheeks clenched. Luckily I was merely required to identify the face in the bus window – David, son of Mad Cyclist. His father was doomed. Yet there was another contender - Harley. Harley was stunned to have a fez returned to him that was supposed to have been lost for all time. I can only speculate as to why the return of a hat could have caused such consternation. Had he lost it in Cairo giving head to Big Fatima's bigger sister? Whatever the details, the issue was lost in the clamour for one of them to be chosen and the other condemned. Even under New Labour, AH3 voted Barabas, and Harley got the Hashit shirt. The offensive article was hauled out of a muddy pool with a stick, and Harley, true to the badge that bears his name, donned it. Liquid shiggy ran down his legs.
ON-ON. That was enough for me. I made a dash for the airport and an appointment with Easyjet. As I took my seat in the gents for the first in a series of easy jets, I thought of all the people on AH3 who'd made the weekend so memorable: Hippo, Farmer, Lifeboats, Wotzoff, Thrupenny Bit, White Trash, Well Laid, and many more fantastic characters whom I'll always remember as, well, people I met.
I am writing to you from a rather undignified position in the Specialist Burns Unit of Queen Mary's, my arsehole like a dragon's nostril, for which I'd like to thank the Lord of the Rings, the Olymprick rings - Masterbaker. The man has without knowing it done much for mathematics in Scotland. When you want to know the area of your circle, say "pie arse queered”.
ON ON to the 2000th.
The 1000th Aberdeen Hash (Scribe - Hillary)
This was an A to B run starting at Hazlehead Park. The hares were Little Shit and Drillbit. The walkie talkies were given a lift by the coach driver to the mid-point. However they didn't want to walk through Countesswells Forest with their loved ones and continually 'texted Little Shit for shortcuts.
The run itself was over in a flash and we all arrived at the beer check for curried pies supplied by Olymprick. Rock-it played his bagpipes. Olymprick was so delighted that he got his tash got stuck in has beer can and Penguin came to his rescue. Runners came from all over including New Zealand or hobbiton as it is now called after the Lord of the Rings. A young hobbit called Stuart was introduced as a virgin runner. In fact there were so many visitors the tight fisted Aberdeen lot decided that they couldn't afford to give them all a down-down! Little Shit got down-downs for running the most hashes at 648 and for being the most prolific hare ever. It was Mint Sauce's birthday – she got a down-down and was promised fun later! Silver got a down-down for taking lots of pictures of naked men only to discover that there was no film in the camera – or was she too frightened to get it processed? Many thanks went to the organisers of the 1000 hash. These included Sergio, Harley, Trouser shredder and Can't be Assed. The hash shirt was particularly dirty and was awarded to Harley for losing his Fez – which was found during the 1000 hash. The coach driver was offered a non-alcoholic down-down for his contribution. He then took uş to the Onn-Inn carvery at the Water Wheel Inn.
They are finally out again. You all know about the Darwin Awards – It's an annual honour given to the person who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid way. Last year's winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine which toppled over on top of him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out of it.
This year’s winner is:
The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smouldering metal embedded into the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. The lab finally figured out what it was and what had happened. It seems that a guy had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Office - actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra "push" for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long and straight stretch of road. Then he attached the JATO unit to this car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO!
The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition as a distance of approximately 3 miles from the crash site. This was established by the prominent scorched and melted asphalt at that location. The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20-25 seconds. The driver, and soon to be pilot, most likely would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners, causing him to become insignificant for the remainder of the event. However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock. Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable; however, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel. Epilogue: It has been calculated that this moron nearly reached Mach I, attaining a ground speed of approximately 420 mph