YH3 AGPU 2008, Ringwood Hall Hotel, Chesterfield, 18th-20th January 2008
Runs 1330, 31 and 32
Scribe – Jake the Peg
If you thought last year’s AGPU write-up was tardy (August), this year’s has had a full eleven-month gestation. What’s more, the weather has been even
worse in the intervening period, so brace yourself for a thoroughly lugubrious recapitulation of the weekend’s events.
After just one year’s diversion from foreign parts (Lancashire) to coastal Yorkshire, we deserted our home county once more at AGPU-tide, congregating instead in
Chesterfield on a dark, drizzly January day. The atmosphere in the hotel was cosy enough, mind you, as old, far-flung, acquaintances were renewed and we quickly settled
into our customary drink-and-banter routines for the duration of the afternoon. 96 victims this year, including 52 visitors. Just goes to show - you CAN fool most people
most of the time!
A new hotel, but a well-worn (and well-trusted) routine: Afternoon - gather in bar (and fall over); Early Evening - gentle stroll around the streets (try not to fall over);
Late Evening - gather for entertainment (fall over once more, if you must). Unfortunately, Friday evening’s hares (Flossiekins and Creamybunny) totally ignored the
script for segment two, taking us for a multi-mile woodland marathon - in the dark! Thus, the shiggiest trail of the 21st Century was visited upon the hapless throng. You
name it, we trod (and, all-too-frequently, sat) in it - wet grass, rotting leaves, stinking mud, fetid puddles, horse shite, cow shite, dog shite and maybe even the human
variety - as we fell through swollen streams that had become open sewers following torrential rain and surface run-off. The mayhem was, nonetheless, punctuated by a good
beer stop (various concoctions on offer) before we metaphorically got back on our heads to finish the job. Despite my whingeing, it was good fun - wouldn’t have
missed it for the World!
After hosing ourselves off, we got ready for segment three - food, down-downs, music from the usual guitar toting idiots (yon scribe included). The circle was soon convened
and (amongst others) the following were called to account:
- The hares (for complaining about their own trail)
- Rapunzel and P-Rick (for p*ssing about in the mud)
- Dr Ruth (for being dressed like a chimney sweep and cleaning the trail with her backside)
- Paddy O’Day (for reaching 150 runs today)
So, the night dissolved into entertainment and debauchery and eventually we all crawled off to bed to recharge in anticipation of Saturday’s excesses.
Breakfast and AGM came and went in customary fashion and by late morning we had all been shoehorned into a pair of coaches and found ourselves lurching Southwards on route
to the main run of the weekend. Our destination was the pretty village of Ashover (that really should be Arseover, by the time we’d finished with it) and were soon
scurrying around in vain pursuit of flour. In mitigation to today’s hares (Ever Ready and Love Muscle), their previous day’s efforts had all but been wiped out
by torrential rain. The lazy bastards should, nonetheless, at least have had the decency to go back out in the morning and effect some repairs! In the event they did
attempt to atone by pointing us (eventually) in the right direction out of the village, so, grudgingly, I guess I’ll have to let ’em off this time ...
We were soon out into open moorland and the weather was starting to improve, albeit that it was very shiggy underfoot. We then slithered downwards through heather,
hedgerow and heath land until we arrived, surprisingly soon, at a pleasant pub stop. After we had stunk the place out for a few minutes, we were divided into idiots and
indolents with the former doing the full trail and the latter snapping up the offer of a short cut. This second stretch was mainly through muddy fields, with a short
interlude round a reservoir. Unfortunately, the weather closed in once more and it was thoroughly p*issing down by the time we reached the second beer stop, which was
served out of a few bin bags in the ruins of what appeared (and smelled) to be an outside toilet. Beer was welcome, nonetheless.
Onto the final stretch which took us high once more and concluded with a long forested descent eventually arriving back at Ashover and the welcome retreat of the Old
Poets’ Corner - our On Inn for the afternoon. It was bedlam inside - there was plenty of beer and the sarnies just about lasted out, but the noise was deafening in
the upstairs room which had been reserved for us. Having said that, the beer was fantastic and it was a great amphitheatre for down-downs, some of which were dished out to
- Neptunus and Dr Ruth (allegedly for leaving evidence of ’sleeping together’)
- Baldrick (for misunderstanding that in YORKSHER a cross is a CHECK)
- Jack Tar (for actively discouraging downhill checking)
- FD and D’Dog (Derek and Mavis award)
- Bedsores (for carrying a GPS with him)
We were scooped back into the coaches at about 4pm and enjoyed the customary drunken-sing-songing journey back to the hotel. The hares (and a few other folk, whom my
records have missed) were immediately given their just desserts in a second circle and before we dispersed to scrub up and don our finery as a thin veneer of respectability
for the evening’s black tie dinner.
And a jolly fine event it was too. Food was good, wine flowed and we were treated to the usual treats of the Chancellor’s speech, hash awards, raffle and disco.
This year also saw the premiere of the Cheeky Monkeys Theatre Group (three anonymous individuals, playing the characters of Lick it Up, Ginger Root and Henry Root) who
performed a short (but scandalous) skit on the subject "There’s a hole in my budget, Dear Mezza, Dear Mezza". Enough said. The evening flew by all too quickly and
again we were off to recharge in advance of Sunday’s debauchery.
And what a sorry bunch we looked in the morning. The survivours limped off back into the woods once again at 11am in search of flour. It was only at this point that we
really appreciated how muddy Friday night’s trail had been. Again, we spent more time on our backsides than on our feet. This was particularly unfortunate for one
of the hares (Sleeping Bag) who contrived to fall over backwards and smash the thermos flasks that contained the mulled wine for the beer stop. Bad move. This apart, his
partner in crime (Lick it Up) had fortunately kept him reasonably in check and the trail was, overall, reasonably short and to the point. Back at the hotel, the final
circle of the weekend ensued, some of the highlights of which were:
- The hares (for only smashing half the thermos flasks on the trail)
- Flossie (555 Runs)
- Bigfoot (100 Runs)
- Heroin (belated 100 Run tankard presentation)
- Scarborough Boghopper (50 Runs)
- P-Rick (for being caught naked on various photos)
- Mongrel (for being a "flying bimbo")
- Boycie (for being too competitive)
- Neptunus (for dressing like a secret Santa)
The circle gradually dissolved, about half of us disappeared to our respective corners of the globe, and the remainder of us (a good 40-odd this year) carried on into the
evening for the now traditional AGPU Sunday night. Another great meal and probably the best booze-up of the weekend. Wheels and I (aided and abetted by P-Rick and Wimpy)
did our usual job of boring the socks off everyone during the customary sing-song and suddenly it was 3am.
So AGPU number 20 drew to a close and number 21 is now very near. It looks as if we have even more folk coming next time, so gird up your loins once more for a fantastic
As ever, many thanks to everyone who organized and contributed to AGPU 20 - we’ll see you all again very soon!
Jake the Peg AD 2008-12-28 19:05.
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