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A big Thank You

I would just like to thank all of those hashers who sponsored my 10K run and donated to Cancer Research UK. I really, really appreciate it.

If you haven't donated and you'd like to, it's not too late, just go to: www.justgiving.com/Ailsa-Emmott.

Thank you. Never Cums

Run # 670 Contessa in Bussana 29 May 2011

Such a beautiful summer day! After a morning swim (still only May, but the sea was like August) we piled into the car and headed off to Contessa's and Pedo's 6th Italian run, wondering what the surprise would be THIS time. As usual, there was speculation about accordion players and crazy old ladies with garden hoses.

Went through all the tunnels, passed Ventimiglia, Bordoghera and San Remo, exited, and started winding our way down to sea level. Then along the main road just above the sea. Sharp left and down to a narrow beach lane, with cars crammed all along it and loads of Italians in bathing gear strolling all over the place. This was Bussana (Mare). We drove carefully along this lane, watching for the designated starting point, the resto Cala degli Orsi.

After going quite some distance without seeing a Cala degli Orsi we thought maybe we had made a mistake, so turned around, drove slowly back through the crowds of people, back up to the main road and down to the roundabout . But no, we had not made a mistake. Back down to the beach road where we saw Two Cheeky and Serge pulled off to one side, calling Pedo for directions, and then Dingus zoom confidently by, following satellite instructions.

Again we made our way carefully through the throngs of beach people, past the place where we had turned back, and on until we eventually sighted hashers parking along a high wall. We managed to squish into a place.

(Meanwhile, somewhere up above, Sneaky Bastard and Jingle Balls, and their passengers Rubbermaid and Saddlesniffer, were searching for the road down to the beach.)

We saw Merrydick, Sciptease, and Confusion walking back in the direction from which we had just come, because (as it turned out) the Cala degli Orsi was right back at the beginning of the beach road - a mile or two back.

"Mum can't walk all that way with her bad leg!" cried Virgin Mouth. So we all piled back into the car, turned around, and began the slow crawl back through the crowds (for the fourth time), knowing very well that we would never in a million years find a parking place at the beginning of this crammed-full beach road. But when we finally arrived at the Cala degli Orsi, miraculously there was an empty parking space right in front!

Everybody got out. Virgin Mouth's mum and Uncle Tom set up their folding chairs. Meanwhile, Dingus's blue-eyed, eight-something-year-old dad had been left at the other end of the beach, a mile away, to tramp around and explore. And up above Sneaky Bastard was still searching for the way down to Bussana (Mare).

Now the rest of this run report may not be quite accurate because fifteen months have passed, but I PROMISED Contessa I would finish it.

The first thing we did was drink a toast to our dearly departed - Big End (who had only just arrived in Heaven) and Knicker Licker (who had been there for two years already, so was most likely helping Big End to settle in). As we drank we looked up into the clear blue sky - not a cloud in sight for them to be floating around on, but we knew they were up there somewhere.

As we were drinking our toast, many hashers could not help noticing that Two Cheeky was wearing an enormous diamond ring (it was sparkling so in the sunshine).

Then the hash began. I seem to remember that we went up some pink stairs and crossed a road - some directly, and some by an overpass - and then went around a corner, where there was a big cathedral with a cement angel in front. Most of us went inside to take a look - the inside was dark and cool, with brilliant stained glass windows. Meanwhile, Merrydick sat down on the steps outside and told Contessa, "They should bulldoze this place and make a block of flats."

What a thing to say!!

He must have got up on the wrong side of the bed!!

We went along a street between shop windows etc (this was Bussana proper) and then came out one end of the town, into countryside, on a hairpin road coming down the hillside from above. We started up this, passing houses with lots of beautiful flowers climbing all over the place, but the yards were not all perfectly landscaped like in France - sometimes there was junk lying around, and sometimes there were patches of weeds- the Italian Riviera is more human and down-to-earth than the French side. But flowers everywhere.

Dingus and Tidal Dave jogged by and Contessa cried,"What are they doing here so soon? They should be on a false trail for at least another half hour!" After awhile Cumalot called to say he was lost, and Contessa spent about ten minutes directing him over the phone, interrupting the discussion we'd been having - can't remember now what we were talking about, so it couldn't have been too exciting.

Meanwhile, somewhere to our right (presumably), Sneaky Bastard was still diligently searching for the road down to Busana (Mare), though I expect by now his resolve to attend the hash was beginning to weaken. He told us at the next run they had searched for over an hour (yes, definitely sounds like a whopper to me too), and then gone to console themselves at a ritzy restaurant in Rapollo (Cinque Terra) - several hundred kilometress away!

(What's wrong with that guy??? WE had the notorious directionally-challenged Madame Mooton nagivating, and WE found the place.)

After awhile we took a footpath that cut across the hairpin bends, so we would be on a weedy path for awhile, then cross the road, another weedy path, then again across the road, and so on, upward through the hairpins. It was very hot, but not unbearable. Spread out behind us was the sea, a nice pale blue colour, and below us to the left was a green plain with roads and train tracks and greenhouses etc, below a pale blue sky that blended nicely with the sea.

Above us we could see a village in the distance. This was upper Bussana, the old town (Bussana Vecchia, to be precise), which was hit by an earthquake in 1887. We approached it by a long level road with lots of cars parked along it, and I remember that we were watching out for the beer car and really getting curious about what the surprise was going to be. At the entrance to the town was a big sign with the names of all the victims of the earthquake.

I don't remember if at first the town seemed pretty normal, and then we began to notice ruined buildings that hadn't been touched since the earthquake, or if it first seemed like an old earthquake site and then we began to notice that some places were fixed up and lived in, but that was the case - it was partly a ruin and partly new, and later on we saw lots of very expensive artists' boutiques, but I don't remember noticing any of these when we first arrived.

We went around an old square, I remember - there was a wrecked church there - and then we saw Dingus coming towards us with a beer in his hand. (He had arrived at the beer stop so much in advance of everyone else that he had decided to go for a stroll.) We followed the trail to what looked like an old ruined building (though with a beautiful wooden door), and went up some stairs, and the next thing we knew, we were in somebody's living room. And this, it turned out, was our surprise - it was our beer stop!

Contessa had originally prepared her hash in near-by Imperia, where someone had told her about an eccentric Englishman living in Bussana, and when she'd got her trail all fixed up and was riding her bike towards the railways station, on her way home, she had passed Bussana and decided on the spur of the moment to stop in and visit the eccentric Englishman. The people in Bussana easily told her how to find him, and Contessa tuned up on Colin's doorstep (for that was his name), and he invited her in.

When she stepped into his living room, Contessa cried, "Oh, this would make a perfect beer stop!!" and Colin replied, "Fine! You can have it" (just like that, without even asking to see her papers - what a peach of a guy!). So Contessa quickly went out and designed an entirely new trail, from the beach at Bussana (Mare) up to Colin's living room at Bussana Vecchia. (And she postponed her Imperia trail until Halloween.) And that's how it all came about!

Colin's living room (full of sunlight) had glass doors all along the south side, opening onto a terrace which was the roof of an abandoned part of the building, I think. There was an impressive view - I can't remember if it included the sea (it might have been hidden by mountains), but Contessa tells me we could see down to the San Remo Flower Market. There were a lot of wrecked buildings nearby, surrounded by large patches of weeds and brambles where foxes or rabbits might live. The house next door had several clotheslines on the roof, hung with wash.

Colin has been living here since about 1965, when he was one of the first of a group of foreign artists to re-colonize the abandoned village. Italians did not start to move back until much later, after electricity and running water had been established.

Well, we had a very nice time at this place, enjoying the view, eating chips, drinking beer (which, by the way, Pedo and Contessa had lugged with much effort from the road, through the village and up the stairs), and exploring the house, which Colin had spent many years restoring. Some of the things I remember were Colin's 3-d paintings/sculptures on the walls, paintings of Colin as a child with his mother, a picture of his dad with Princess Alexandra, and a framed picture of what the dining room looked like in 1965 (a bombsite / cave). Downstairs were two very white bedrooms which Colin rents out to tourists, as a bed and breakfast. (Actually, the house has been featured in an Italian designer magazine, "Casa Antique".)

But Perpetch missed the whole thing! We waited and waited, but he never showed up. He had got lost! Imagine that - Perpetch getting lost!

Eventually it was time to leave, so we took our leave of Colin, and returned to Busanna (Mare) by the same route we had come up. Various hashers looked into some of the expensive boutiques that we were now noticing all over the place (Bussana Vecchia is actually quite a touristy joint), but nobody bought anything.

We did not expect to see any more of Perpetch, as he was leaving later that night (or early next morning) for Yorkshire to attend Big End's farewell party, but much to our surprise, he was discovered lurking on the beach, drinking beer.

The down-downs, held on a rather scruffy section of beach, were something like this:

Hares: Contessa and Pedo
For the diamond ring: Two Cheeky and Serge
Hashing by phone: Cumalot
Missing the beer stop: Perpetch

Too slow on the return trail (talking too much), making everybody wait, and forcing Cumalot to go looking for them: Madame Mooton and C More Pussy

Arriving at beer stop too quickly: Dingus & Tidal Dave
Not arriving at beer stop too quickly, and not getting lost: Supermarket Trolley, Golden Showers, Sudsucker & Fly Me

Carting beer a great distance: Pedo and Contessa
Mugless: Tosspot and Farty Bum

The shit of the week MAY have been Sneaky Bastard, for failing to arrive.

Then we all went off to the restaurant Punta mare (back at the other end of the beach again), joined by Colin and Contessa's other surprise, "Opera Tom". We ate at a very long table near the water's edge. The food and service were superb - we really, really enjoyed it.
Gnocchi al Pesto
Trancio di Pesce Spada alla Ligure
Caffe Acqua Vino

Before we started to eat, Dingus read us Sadist's farewell to Big End (as Sadist was already in Yorkshire). Our guest Colin was very cheerful and talkative (and employed a great many bad words too, if I remember correctly).
Somewhere towards the end of the meal Opera Tom suddenly burst into E lucevan le stele, from Tosca Act III, much to the delight of the Italians at neighbouring tables (and ourselves, of course), and our own Long & Hard sang (quietly) along with him, word perfect!

Thank-you, Contessa and Pedo, for another enjoyable and unique Italian run!

Run in Pontefract

We didn't expect to have a Riviera Run in Yorkshire, but Ay Up it was Big End's last hash and Riviera had to make the effort and turn up . Although the start in Pontefract was a bit off the beaten track for us, a large number of regular and past Riviera hashers managed to make it by car, train, bus and plane-we might as well name them: as well as Big End, there was Padre, Prestressed, Perpetual Motion, Whoresin, Moana, Flamin Asshole, The Bag, Sinex, Sadist, Absolutely Pathetic, Wetspot, No Satisfaction, Little Pinky, Incredible Hulk, Cumalot, Assessaguy, Saddle Sniffer, Rubbermaid, Voyeuse and Amelia, Andy and visitors Mad March Hare and AlleyCat from Milan hash and a couple of hashers from Plymouth; of course there were quite a lot of apologies for absence from those who couldn't make it.

Many of the hashers arrived early for once, so headed for the nearby hostelry for a swift pint. This group moved along to the meeting place, Wetspot and Incredible thought they were wearing bright colours until they saw Padre who's shirt was outshining all the flowers in the crematorium. There was much greeting until all fell quiet as the cortege arrived. The children and grandchildren were dressed in bright clothes as requested, with one silver heart-shaped helium balloon on a cord, making sure of the carnival atmosphere.

Despite the lack of flour, all managed to find their way inside the crematorium, to the sound of Queen, banging out a great track. The priest wore a brightly coloured stole, he took the service celebrating the life and times of of a great hasher, with excellent musical interludes. The ceremony finished with a Swing Low (without the usual gesticulations) sung with best efforts although the lumps in throats made it difficult. It was odd that most hashers held up the sheet of paper with the words, as if they didn't know the Hash Hymn. Outside in the sunshine the pack gathered, we found a Hash Flash to document this distant hash. Directions were given to the OnOn at The Podger which was supposed to be a local hostelry. A postcode was given to those with Satnav and a trail of cars headed away knowing that beer would be found at the destination. The satnav trail took us off through the town centre and then across the countryside with agricultural fields as far as the eye could see- where were we going? At last we entered the inhabited areas of Garforth and a housing estate. The FRB car decided we were on a false trail after asking a man cutting his hedge, instructing us where to find T'Pub so a check back was needed. So we all turned round and went off again trying to follow the Saddle Sniffer in the leading car which by now had disappeared . Flamin Asshole was driving the car-full, just hoping they were going in the right direction, stopping a local yokel walking along the road and asking him where The Podger was ."I thought you might ask that" he said, " you are the third car to ask me , it's just at the end of the road."

Well there was a fine spread in Big End's good tradition, the Tetley's flowed and many memories exchanged and jokes told. The Bag told one about a cock-sucking ferret which would have had Big End roaring with her infective laugh we all remember so well. Once the more sober family had left, a row of drinks appeared on the bar and Padre as RA ran a circle. The beermeister behind the bar wanted payment for each round which slowed things down a bit, but Padre continued on in his usual manner.

Down Downs for
Voyeuse and Andy (Big End's family)
Sinex and Sadist (birthdays)
Voyeuse and Mrs Andy (caterers)
Incredible Hulk ( furthest traveller)
Andy for having a bum-face
A naming ceremony without the usual flour was made for Marcel Marceau (too talkative).
Many others DDs which we forget, were enjoyed.

The pack made its way to Voyeuse house where we sat in the house and garden drinking and eating more, the grandchildren entertaining us. Then as the sun started to go down and the temperature descended, the stragglers headed of to the hotel for another beer or two and a meal (most having a good British fish & chips). The day closed, but the Hash will meet again.


Farewell Big End
In memoriam May 2011

So then Wendy we say "Farewell"
For the last time.
We have said "Farewell" before
But you always came back
If only for a visit.
This time, it's the Big End.

When you were here
You gave us so much.
We enjoyed your company
Thank you for being with us.


Swish Nash Hash 2011. 1 - 3 July
Details here.

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R*n 671: NEXT HASH 12 -Jun

Meet: In the parking opposite Chateau Tournon at the junction of the D562 and D94 Montauroux district.
1. Exit 39 A8 Autoroute Direction Fayence
2. After 8.5km, roundabout, turn right on D562 direction Grasse.
3. After 3.5km Park on right opposite Chateau Tournon immediately before the junction with the D94, signposted Tanneron.

Bring dry socks!!

Time: 13h30 for 14h00

OnIn: Les Terrasses, Quartier Grandes Terrasses, 83440 Tourettes, Tel: 04 9484 7033. €20 per head, 4 Courses including 1/4l wine and coffee/tea.

Contact Numbers:

+334 9468 4204
+336 2813 6759
+4479 0359 7104