Exton - Woodpecker's 80th birthday - 29th June 2014

Plenty of instructions were issued by Woodpecker during the chalk talk at the beginning of the trail:  "Be careful if you are crossing a main road or a railway line", "if you are in a field of crops, please stay between the rows", "if you enter a field with cattle, make sure the gate is shut", "follow the front runners" and "it would take a genius to find mud in this weather, but there is a hosepipe afterwards if you need it".
On we went down a track and over the railway line; re-crossing the railway line a short time later.  The front runners lead the pack around the edge of a field, and the rest of the pack short cut across, just as instructed.  Following a regroup, we crossed the main road and headed into a field of sweetcorn, eventually emerging onto a lane which turned into an extremely slippery, muddy footpath.  Several hashers came a cropper, and those that didn't were coated in mud from the knees downwards.
We had a sweety stop then ran through a couple more fields; cows resident in the first and some well serviced sheep (judging by the colours on their backs) in the second.
Prior to crossing the main road back home, there was an opportunity to wash the worst of the mud off in a stream and re-discover the colour of our trainers.  The hosepipe at Woodpecker's house was well used - let's hope he's not on a water meter - before several hashers had a refreshing dip in the outside pool.
As it was a special occasion, being Woodpecker's 80th Birthday, there were no fines.  Instead, hashers were invited to make a contribution to a charity.  Woodpecker chose Help For Heros, who will be receiving £60!
Mrs Woodpecker (and other members of the Woodpecker family) made some delicious curries, followed by a selection of puddings, some of which had been provided by hashers.  Unfortunately, I had intended to contribute to this, but forgot to take the carrot cake out of my fridge.  I will think of Woodpecker when I enjoy that cake later.
Woodpecker was presented with a commemorative polo shirt by the hash.  Thanks to the Woodpeckers for their hospitality.

Chalk Talk
Woodpecker getting his octogenarian-hash polo-shirt in the circle.

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