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Chopper's Interhash Diary 2008

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wk 1 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

wk 2



Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday the rest


 It was 1400 on Friday 14th March when we all met up once more for the first leg of our trip. The four Cornishmen, Colin, Tony, Terry and Pete were off again, this time to Perth, Western Australia for Interhash 2008, it barely seems eighteen months since we came back from Thailand !  Flight Connections picked us up from outside the new Travelodge in Liskeard in plety of time to drop us at Heathrow’s terminal 3 around 1800. Pete had brought along a bottle of Southern Comfort plus Coke and glasses

( what, no ice ) to provide a little light refreshment on route so, mindful of the 100 ml rule in force at most airports, we had ourselves a little mobile picnic thereby solving any future embarrassment at security. Checkin progressed without any problems and we soon found ourselves in O’Neills – same Guinness different bar – enjoying a good old British dinner of Cheesey Chips.




Emirates Boeing 777-300ER A6– EMS had us airborne an hour late at 2330 and following an excellent Chicken Curry decided to bounce us around a little over the eastern Mediterranean and the mountains of Haifa before depositing us in 28 degrees of Dubai heat and sunshine. A short taxi ride soon had us at the hotel – The Ramee Royal on Dubai side of the Creek which initially seemed a good choice ( stay with me for future developments ). Our bags were quickly dumped and we were off to explore – first port of call was the City Shopping Mall where four years previously I had bought my glasses and was now intent on getting new ones. In under half an hour I had had my eyetest and opted for new lenses in my existing frames – well you don’t just dump Georgio Armani do you !! – which would be ready for collection the following day. Terry had brought his prescription with him so made his choice on the same deal and off we went in search of lunch. Who says the biggest burgers are sold in the States ? 


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The afternoon saw us take a taxi down to the Corniche on Deira side to look  at the new, and second, ‘Palm’ under construction, wander the Fish Market and and then amongst the Dhows creekside with their mountains of cargo from tyres to televisions being traded up and down the Gulf and as far away as Mozambique and India. Having savoured the aromas and gained an insight into this fascinating Emirate, we decided it was time to head for cooler climes and a few beers. It was Rugby Saturday and the hotel had a sports bar so we joined the many other expats for three very enjoyable matches accompanied by Amstel and a Rib eye steak to die for. The lack of sleep the previous night was catching up and as we had our first run of trip the next day decided to get some shut eye – and then disaster struck !

We went back to our rooms where you just couldn’t hear yourself think – to begin with we could not really work out what the noise was, but it was deafening to the point where it was making the wardrobe doors vibrate. Even the mandatory couple of G and T’s didn’t help. Colin was a little forthright with the Duty Nightmanager who eventually came up to our room and conceded that there was a nightclub on the roof  exactly above our rooms. This particular night they had a Russian Band playing whose only instrument appeared to us to be a set of drums which required hitting very hard. Not to worry he said they finish at three ! Colin reread his horoscope for him and he summoned his staff to move us to a room two storeys down which had miraculously become available – Pete and Terry followed shortly afterward. This managed to reduce the noise level by some ½ a decibel but at least allowed us to get some now much needed sleep. A long and somewhat unhelpful talk with the Manager in the morning ended with a postponement of negotiations until checkout the following day.  Today was sightseeing day so we grabbed a taxi and set off along the beachside towards the Jumeira Beach Hotel stopping on a beach on route for the mandatory pictures with the Burj al Arab hotel in the background.


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Security was tighter than on my previous visit with Sue, which meant we were not able to get out onto the beach areas or on the breakwater, but it did give us a feel for what a Dubai 5 star hotel was like.

A couple of beers for lunch and it was time to move on – the driver took us to the entrance to the Burj but entry to the hotel is not possible for visitors unless you are eating there and the same was the case at the original ‘Palm’ – we could drive out onto the ‘trunk’ in what are really the commercial / communial areas but entry to the residential areas on the Fronds is restricted. Our journey back into town was through the business centre which gave us the opportunity to see some of the spectacular buidings for which Dubai is famous including the Burj Dubai which, when completed will stretch over ½ a mile into the sky – the observation platform on the top will no doubt provide spectacular views if you’re not the wrong side of the clouds !



It was time for the Hash – Dubai Desert Hash run on a Sunday and I had been in touch with Bwana their GM for assistance to the venue  - grabbing a taxi we head out to Uptown Mirdif where he lives to meet up. This is a new development area some 10 kilometres inland – which is all built up – but what amazes us most is the continuing development – as far as you can see the area is covered with new apartment blocks and flats – he tells us that 200, 000 new residents a month arrive in Dubai whilst 80,000 leave. The run site is on Hatta Road, out in the desert, as the Desert Hash would suggest, and the instructions are to turn off the road at the Salik sign – now even if you are GM you should never take instructions at face value and we are now up to our axles in soft sand much to the amusement of the the other arriving hashers. A group push soon has us back on the road where we find the correct turn off some 500 metres further on.

The first thing we see on arriving is a Cornish flag in the back of a 4wd – this turns out to be the hares – BA and No Way BA who are from Fowey. A 45 minute treak through the sand on a circular route has us back at the cars where much needed beer is available. The somewhat elongated circle hosted by RA Nancy Boy sees the first outing of Camborne Hill whilst I get a Down Down for new shoes despite my protestations.


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As is the norm for the Desert Hash the Hares light the fire and provide a really good curry for all to enjoy. Bwana drops us back at his place where we grab a taxi for home having enjoyed our first hash event of the trip. A couple of G & T’s whilst showering means we get another good nights sleep.


At our attempt to check out the next morning another war of words between Colin and the Manager over payment for the first night results in the Manager ringing the hotel’s owners for advice – after much debate  - and I really don’t know whether the owners agreed – we knock thirty percent off the bill, pay and leave for the airport – it should prove interesting to see the credit card statement when it arrives.


The taxi gets us to the airport where, due to the conflict, we are running a trifle late. This does not seem to have any effect on checkin and Emirates gets us off on time aboard their Boeing 777 – 200 A6 – EMK for the 10 1/2 hour flight to Perth. After flying out over Muscat there is now nothing between us and Perth except the Indian Ocean – those amongst you who are geographically knowledgeable will no doubt point out that the Maldives lie in our path – well that’s true and we do fly over the top of Male but its only a pinhead in a very large puddle. Once again we are well looked after by Emirates with good food, plenty of booze and a huge selection of movies and DVD’s to help pass the time – the only thing missing is sleep.






Tuesday, we are into Perth at 0315 and are immediately interogated by the ‘welcoming committee’, where have we come from ?  have we cleaned our Hash Shoes ? – well yes obviously we scrubbed them meticulously before we left Dubai. Some seemed to know what Interhash was all about and others swore blind they had never heard of it. The final hurdle was for Terry to have his mobile phone taken away for ‘sniffing’ to see if he had been handling drugs or explosives recently – obviously the sniffer was less than efficient as it was soon retuned to him and pronounced clean. Our passports are finally stamped and we are on our way, the taxi getting us to our hotel in a little under an hour.

We find we are not very tired and all agree that going to bed at this time would be a mistake so we meet up in our room where a couple of G & T’s and a glass of Pete’s very acceptable Glen Livet gets us through to breakfast.




We wander outside on route to Gloucester Park, the Interhash venue, to find our hotel, The Crowne Plaza, is situated on Langley park, a pleasant green area adjacent to Perth Water, itself an area of the Swan River. Langley Park, as a nearby plaque pronounces, was Perth’s first airfield commissioned on 4 December 1921 when 3 Bristol Tourers departed on the first regular air service in Australia. Perth Water was also a PBY Catalina Flying Boat base during WWII. Gloucester Park is the Perth Trotting Circuit and located right opposite the Western Australia Cricket Association ground – known throughout the cricketing world as the WACA. As it turned out it was only a 10 minute stroll from the hotel through a rather pleasant little park, home to the Dawlish Black Swans Mom and Dad, which as the week progressed was to be a godsend.




Interhash registration was fairly painless and we managed to do the Red Dress Run and Fremantle H3, our destination that afternoon, at the same time. With our shiny new IH rucksacks safely stowed in our rooms we set off for the railway station to catch the train to Freemantle.

The commuter railways are very good, clean and reasonably cheap though when you qualify for the ‘ pensioners concession ‘ ticket they are even cheaper – Colin and me are dead chuffed but Pete is not so impressed - and a 30 minute ride brought us into Freemantle. We had a couple of hours to kill so decided to try and find the sea – not as easy as it might seem but eventually water hove into view. Not the magnificent beaches we had in mind, but at least it was the Indian Ocean – Pete and Terry were soon in their nics and out into the water – Pete and Terry were soon out of the water as the Indian Ocean is not as warm as the brouchures make out  - Colin and I got our sandles wet ! After a bit of a lie in the sunshine we were feeling peckish and decided a snack was needed before the run – thank god for ……… McDonalds !  well somebody has to eat there and, believe me, Aussie burgers are no better than ours! A walk up through town to the run site opposite the station showed Fremantle to be a very pleasant old city with plenty of victorian style shop fronts and balustrades.


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About 150 turned up for the run and we managed to bump into Edna from Kalgoolie – who we had travelled with previously in Laos and was the instigator of the infamous Rum Party and Purple Hash on the Mekong trip. The run took us all over town which was very good and interesting before finishing near the beach we had been on earlier for beers and plenty of healthy food – pizza’s, sausages, pies etc.


We were told we had some very special entertainment laid on and to make a space – on marched  a ‘ steel band ‘ the likes of which you have never seen, it was like Stomp meets the Rocky Horror Show and they were brilliant as they kept us entertained for almost an hour.




It was soon over and time to make our way home – a good crowd on the train ensured we had a sing song featuring Camborne Hill and Trelawney much to the amusement of the local transport police who left us well alone.


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A short walk back to the Gin bottle had us in bed to enjoy a decent nights sleep for once.





Wednesday, and we had nothing planned for the morning which meant a bit of a lie in – breakfast at 0830 was enjoyed by us all – I probably should say here in case anybody with an intention to visit Oz reads this,

it is the norm in Oz for hotels to be ‘ room only ‘ which we did not know when we booked and breakfast varied from £12 to £20 depending on your choice !! - as they say ‘ buyer beware ‘.  A stroll around to Gloucester Park to see who else was turning up revealed Nicko and Twopence Halfpenny from Kirton and Fu Manchu and Dragon Lady from Plympton and also produced a potentially embarrassing revelation for us. Whilst chatting to some Aussie’s we discover that our reference to going home for a couple of Gins – in Oz refers to ‘ Aboriginal Ladies ‘, I bet  HSBC – The Worlds Local Bank - didn’t know that!

We manage to register for our Wine and Dine trip however we are very disappointed to find that Pete and Terry are on a different bus to Colin and me; despite protestations we are not able to change – worse they weren’t able to guarantee that we were in the same hotel. How did we know you were together they asked – my reply that I had booked and paid for all four of us together and our voucher had all our names on it didn’t seem to cause any brain cells to light up – as the week progressed it becomes apparent that the tour company ‘ Discovery West ‘ were worse than useless and I definitely wouldn’t recommend them if you happen to find yourself in Perth. We also meet up with Gordon Cains, a friend of Colin’s from Looe who now lives in Perth, and enjoy a couple of beers whilst bringing him up to date with all the gossip and goings on since he left. Tuesday afternoon and run no.2 – this time it is the 100Kg hash and the meeting point is just 100 metres from the hotel at the Tattenhalls Bowling Club – we are most impressed to see on the entry board outside a list of other impressive organisations who hold regular meetings there including the Lions, the Rotary and the Hash House Harriers.

We check in and are given our ‘goodie bag’ containing patch and T shirt – our first instinct is how do they know our size ? but we soon realise that this is the 100 Kg run and therefore the shirts only come in XXL !


035  We all prepare in different ways !


Some amazing sights appear – especially amongst the Asian girls who, being smaller than most, turn their shirts upside down, put their feet through the sleeves and tie them over their shoulders. We are called for the brief by the GM ‘ Foreskin ‘ who, it is fair to say, is well versed in Aussie hash ways and, by appearance portrays their reputation very well including his orange dyed Mohican haircut so it comes as a bit of a surprise when we find that in real life he is a English teacher at a primary school in China.




A fine example of an Aussie hasher and the GM with antenna extended

The hash in full ’flight ‘

The ‘ On Sec ‘ doing as he’s told



On On is called and off we set at a furious pace – for a walk !!  The 100 Kg is a walking hash with its roots firmly set in socializing – it takes place whenever it can and we are on run no. 4 after 2-3 years. It turns out to be good fun, laid all around the parkland area alongside the river and taking some two hours which included about six beer stops. The GM has a Mitsubishi Pickup which is fully sprayed up in 100 Kg  hash advertising paintwork with a plastic lined back into which is poured many cases of beer and then driven to the ice factory to be filled with ice – we are to see this phenomenon many times during the trip.




Back to the club for big eats – Pie and Chips - as the hash slogan is ‘ who eat all the pies ‘ and into the circle which was a bit drawn out but very good. We retire to the hotel at about 1900, Colin decides bed is the place to be whilst Pete, Terry and I decide to try the Carlton Bar which is recommended to us and masquerades as one of the Hash bars. What a dump, it was as though it had been bombed in WW11 and they never got round to clearing up !! We have a couple of pints of Castlemaine 4X and when, at about 10 o’clock, the owner starts stacking the chairs on the tables and bar area around us decide Colin’s idea was better. When we get back to the hotel we find Colin is now wide awake and ready to party so its up to Pete and Terry’s  for a couple of glasses of Pete’s finest Glen Livet. Pam rings and Pete discovers he’s a grandad – again – all’s well and time for bed.



Thursday  --  Red Dress Day – post breakfast we wander over to Gloucester Park to see if anything interesting is happening – meet up with C5 and Dumper and wives from Berks who have just arrived after their trip across the Pacific and New Zealand. Pete buys Pam a necklace and after a liquid lunch we return to the hotel to change.  The meeting place is the Moon and Sixpence pub in Forrest Park – a shopping mall in the centre of town. As we take the 30 minute stroll up through the city from the hotel, it would appear that to the good people of Perth the sight of 2000 plus individuals dressed in various attires of red walking through their city is the most normal thing in the world. The cycle police stop for a chat and direct us on our way – the place is packed and, as usual, there are some wondrous sights around.










There is a mass of entertainment from chatty ‘ Kangeroos ‘ to stilt walkers, magicians and all manner of street entertainers, all being supported by a band playing a variety of instruments made from junk – it seems to be the ‘in’ thing in Oz.

The mayor turns up to address us and we are given a formal and traditional welcome from an aboriginal group. About 2 o’clock we are off with instructions to walk the first part of the hash which meanders all around the shopping mall packed with bemused shoppers, before wending its way down to the Swan River.





At least here there is a slight breeze which is very welcome as it is a very hot day and the run / jog / walk / stroll along its banks to Gloucester Park is to take us about an hour.



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 Then the serious bedlam emerges – there is no water or beer to greet us – everything is on paybar and there are only 4 staff – 2 on each counter. The girls are completely overwhelmed and tempers are rising very quickly. I don’t think I ever remember seeing people so angry, to the point where fists were flying. The same thing happened at the food counters and the committee members present were left in no doubt as to the depth of anger. There was a voucher system – we were each given 5 vouchers worth Aus$3.00 each but with beer costing $3.00 and dinner $5.00 they did not go very far plus you were only allowed to collect two drinks at a time – one for each hand !




About 5 o’clock we head off for a shower as we have the TDH3 Reunion Party this evening – it turns out to be a bit of a walk to the location at Victoria Gardens but eventually we find it and spend a couple of hours chatting to friends old and new over a few beers and nibbles. As the sun dipped the midges came out, at first just a few but they were hungry and as the word spread that there was an array of nice white legs on offer they came in their hundreds, it was time to leave. Gloucester Park was on the way home and there was a special Trotting meeting arranged for us that evening to celebrate Interhash.




It was great fun to watch and much more exciting than we had thought, so needless to say a little flutter was had by all. I won $0.60 over 4 races, Terry won $7.00, Pete won but couldn’t remember what and Colin bet on the last horse back for all races – in fact one horse was so far back it would have come last in the next race!! We wander back to the hotel for a nightcap and Pete names Colin the ‘ Chocolate Buddah ‘ for his sitting position.





Friday and an early start for the TDH3 run – fed and watered we are off to the stadium for the buses – registration is a bit chaotic and long winded, but eventually we are all aboard and off to Fishmarket Reserve in Guildford. First impressions are of a great looking venue – lots of very dry scrubland, shady woodland and an abundance of rivers and creeks. We are briefed about snakes, both the Brown and Tiger, – there are lots about and they are all nasty – and crocodiles – evidently freshwater types only grow to two metres, have rounded snouts and don’t ‘ normally ‘ eat humans whereas salt water crocs are big, vicious, fast and don’t mind eating humans, but apparently don’t live in Western Australia  --  how the hell would they know where they live – should it come to a river crossing we make sure we are half way down the pack !  We’re off – after some twenty minutes of chasing the front runner, we arrive at a riverside check – the ‘on’ is found ( remember let the first half go first ) fortunately its only waist deep with a couple of inches of mud at the bottom so we are all soon safely across.




More scrub and and a short excursion onto Guildford’s road system soon has us at a covered beer stop – luxury as its another hot day – a quick tinnie and a mercifully short trot back to the beer via an even smellier river and yet more scrub. The slaves have been busy whilst we were away and we are greeted by an excellent bar – b – q of steak, sausages and salad with mountains of iced beer. Socialising is the order of the day and we fit in well, after an hour or so the circle is called, one or two unsuspecting offenders are delt with, the virgin TDH3 hashers are welcomed into the club and following the usual chaotic melee over the T shirts we are back on the buses to prepare for that evenings IH2008 opening celebrations.

The crowds gather and excitement builds – Dame Edna Everidge is the opening show compare, we had performances from Kylie Minogue and Paul Hogan accommpanied by Line and Aerobatic Dance Troups – not quite up to the parade of the elephants but good fun nontheless. IH2010 presentations followed and we were pleased to see that this year there was no slagging off the opposition – maybe they’re learning – although there were some digs at Perth for yesterday’s performance. Entertainment for the rest of the evening was provided by one of Western Australia’s prestigous rock bands who were very good, but you did not want to be too near to the stage. Our Pixie hats had gone down well generating plenty of comment and they had made it easy to keep an eye on each other so we didn’t get lost. Being Good Friday it was a TOTAL public holiday in Oz – so no buses, free or otherwise, trains, shops and very few taxis – just a couple of beat up old buses provided by IH which did a slow tour around the city. Even worse all bars had to close at 11.00 o’clock - there are going to be some ever so slightly pissed but extremely pissed off hashers trying to get home tonight. Bed is calling – tomorrow is another day.






Saturday dawns bright and blue – Edna has told us that run C2 as described in the Hash Mag is in a good area so Pete, Colin and myself opt for that; Terry is doing the Ballbreaker ! Our run is in the Serpentine National Park out at Jarrahdale about an hours ride from Perth. Whilst waiting for the buses to arrive rumours abound, the short is ?, the medium might be ? and the long is definitely 17 kilometres. After careful consideration we decide to stick together and do the short, medium or long !  On the ride out we learn from the hares that the long is 11 – 12 kilometres so Pete and I decide to give it a go whilst Colin sticks resolutely to the short.





The brief once more covered the dangers of Brown and Tiger snakes but missed out any excitement over crocodiles and covered the fact that there were two water stops, but it was highly recommended that you carry a bottle with you and please bring out the empties. We were off, the run taking us through spectacular parkland, a mixture of woodland and scrub with wonderful views on occasions. At this time I think I should point out a few things to potential Interhashers – the thing about travelling is interpretation of familiar words – let me give you some examples, in Oz for ‘ Overcast ‘ read beautiful blue skies without a sign of a cloud, for ‘ shady running country ‘ read brilliant bright sunshine without a sign of a tree and 36 degrees and for ‘ challenging ‘ read bloody hard work. The trail is laid by tying small bits of white ribbon to bushes and at the beginning things were going well as Pete and I were pretty much together.

The first water stop was supposedly 4 – 5 k in but was actually nearer to 10 ! and I never saw a second one, by which time I was beginning to fall behind and whilst Pete was not too far in front I was becoming increasingly on my own. The biggest problem was that the hares had not marked the trail too clearly from the checks and calling was almost non existent so I was increasingly running falses. I eventually came across the water stop more by luck than anything as it was some 10 metres off the trail and with nobody else there. Whilst replenishing and getting more pissed off at no directions or horn, the sweeping hare arrived with the last two hashers – one of whom was well knackered. He tells us that we are some 2/3 way around but as he was not involved with this part of the run, has no real idea as to which way it goes and can only hazard a guess – wonderful.

Another 20 minutes and three more falsies later I pop out of the bush onto a wide track with a long steep climb disappearing off in front of me and with no sign of anybody else either in front or behind – I’m half way up the hill when a hash truck comes over the top and asks if I need a lift ? I’m hot, knackered and do not know how much further there is to go so I accept – will I ever live it down !  by the time we get to the bottom of the hill another of my fellow weary hashers has popped out and flagged us down. In my defence when back at the circle I discover that the trail was 15k but disappointed to learn that when picked up there was only 1k left to go – had I known that  - yeah, yeah ,yeah, after two minutes of scorn and ridicule I manage to get a tinny down me.

It’s the dry season in W. A. when all Bar bs are banned but the way to get around this is to invite the Park Fire Service to provide the Bar b for you so it wasn’t long before I had a steak and sausage bun and had joined the others, including Ken and Ellie, for some post hash chat. Ken was sitting rather quietly sporting blood and scars gathered whilst diving headlong onto a very hard dusty track which more than demonstrates that even though he is now of a sedate age he is still capable of living up to his hash name  --  Kamikaze. We circle up for the usual down downs which were kept reasonable and hosted by the RA from Mandurah H3 who had some fresh ideas and was generally very funny.



The buses had us back at Gloucester Park by 1730 which gave us plenty of time for a shower before the evening’s festivities. A reasonably quiet evening – dinner was the same slice of beef, mini meat pie, Canelloni and some sort of curry – it has to be said that it was distinctly cheap and boring. We eventually found a spot with a few seats were we could settle down for a few beers and a chat with the many friends who constantly passed by.


Here we go as Terry takes us thru the ‘ Ball Breaker’ experience


 I was one of the first to arrive at the pick up point at Gloucester Park where the Interhash staff diligently checked our Ball Breaker pre registrations. Some lucky hashers got turned away as their names were not on the list. All the normal suspects boarded the hash transport with the expected words of speculation and trepidation prior to what was going to be a hard hash. 

One hour later we were in the Perth hills receiving a very comprehensive brief from one of our hares.  A good luck hug ( he didn’t tell us that at the time ! ) from C5 of Berkshire H3 and we were off at a very brisk pace down a bush road and over a Dam wall. Having had a bad experience on Chaing Mai Ball Breaker with lack of water stops I had decided to carry plenty of water as the landscape looked a little exposed. The pace was starting to quicken with the faster Yank and British expat runners jockeying for position resulting in me hanging on by the skin of my teeth.  The normal Oz outback terrain welcomed us over every rise and fall. Luckily my drink stop worries were lessened by the welcomed sight of our first refreshment station offering a selection of Gatorade and water. We caught an unofficial break as the main pack seemed to stop for longer than normal as a few eager FRB’s checked out the trail.


Approximately 8km’s into the run the Dam wall we crossed earlier came back into view and we immediately noticed the rear of the pack were still crossing the upper dam wall putting them 7km’s behind us due to the hash again having a staggered start. Though the Hares were still with us we soon realized that they only had a general idea of the location of the trail as they had not laid it - “more about this later”. A quick glance at my watch revealed that we had been out for about an hour but were only a third of the way into the run. As we climbed another hill we started to venture out of the wooded area into some outback which had been cleared by forest fires, immediately the midday heat hit us and I was glad of the two bottles of water I’d optioned to carry, I felt for the hashers who had opted for Gatorade as they had nothing to pour over themselves to cool down. A steep descent back into the valley and we found ourselves negotiating secondary bush which worryingly put a large split in the pack and due to the trail being sparse on drops I again had to pick up my pace in order to keep up with the front group so as not to get lost. At the second drink stop I met with C5 who was in good form and running with the FRB’s out front, we had a brief conversation regarding my old Regiment boss who would have been angry about me being out run by an RAF ‘ education officer ‘. One of the yanks who was wearing a wrist GPS was nearly lynched by a mob when he shouted “only another 15km’s to go!!!”  

15 to 20 km’s was Groundhog Day as we followed a wooded valley, bush running is like running around in circles as one eucalyptus tree looks like any other. The fatigue and heat started to hit me like a punch from Henry Cooper and I felt like I was in reverse as I was overtaken by numerous hashers including a very large Kenyan woman. The decision to have a light breakfast was affecting my fuel reserves and I started to crave for one of mother’s homemade pasties with chips on the side.


The trail became non existent which worked in our favour as the front of the pack came back together, the hares then started to search for trail as they had also become disorientated. This was the point at which the late comers (including our friend Edna) got lost and which resulted in them running an extra 8km’s. The last drink stop handed out bananas, apples and oranges which gave me that extra boost needed to complete the final phase. I gave the large Kenyan woman another glance and wondered how she did it as she looked as if she had walked down the road and not run three quarters of a ball breaker. Suitably refreshed and drops a plenty the front runners again pushed the pace with the smell of the finish line in their nostrils. The extra enthusiasm was short lived as the run had a sting in the tail with a sharp descent into a deep gully followed by a steep scramble on all fours back to the high ground. At the top of the gully I glanced back and there were the following hashers stretched out as far as the eye could see. 

The scenery became familiar, as we were nearing the finish I poured the remainder of my water over myself and picked up the pace to try and keep up with C5 and the large Kenyan woman who had overtaken me again on the ascent from the valley.

26km and 3 something hours later we were back at the coaches, I picked up my bag and was informed that the circle and food was in a quarry up another hill. As we walked into the quarry we were greeted by the Interhash helpers handing out Ball Breaker “survivor” t shirts and a can of ice cold VB - Victoria Bitter. 

I quickly and eagerly joined the queue for a barbeque of steak and sausages, found a shady spot to sit down with other hashers and waxed lyrical with tails of woe and comparisons of past Interhash Ball Breaker runs. We all agreed that this one was one of the hardest runs due to the length, terrain and temperature.


NB.  We waited for a couple of hours before the lost hashers finally got back to the finish. It transpired that they had got lost at the point where we misplaced the trail earlier. This time they had no Hares to help them and had apparently picked up a previously laid trail. Luckily they came across a built up area and were given water and hosed down by some kind locals.

Whilst there was loads of beer and food to enjoy the anticipated circle was relatively short due to the latecomers. The normal suspects had their down downs and we were back on the transport for Perth.

Roll on Sarawak Ball Breaker 2010 !




Sunday and we all get together to do the Busselton Boys ‘ Damm Fine Run ‘ at Bungendo National Park, Wungong, up in the Darling Hills. Over to Gloucester Park for the buses at 0930, much more organised today as we were all given tickets as we arrived – we learn that there was chaos yesterday with three extra buses going to this run with all the logistical nightmares of the hares not knowing this in advance. About 45 minutes had us to the appropriate area – as the runs were A – B Terry was the first to go for his 12k battle with the hills. The weather was much kinder today, about 27 degrees and a slight breeze so we mediums were more than happy when we were dropped off for our 8k adventure whilst Colin, who had a bit of a blister problem stayed put for the start of the 4k slog. The hares had very thoughtfully brought along a giant tub of ‘blockie’ so whilst everyone covered up –


Mind, you can overdo the ‘blockie’

- they went ahead with the brief, it covered the usual snakes, water, stay on trail but with an interesting addition – Hookey nuts. These are small – about an inch diameter – rock hard nuts which are extremely prolific and the cause of most of the hashing / hiking injuries as they tend to roll your ankles when you step on them. The terrain was pretty similar to yesterday but not as challenging until we came to ‘ the hill ‘, by the time Pete and me reached the top we were agreed that we did the right thing by not choosing the long, however the views were spectacular and well worth the climb. The downside was looking across to our left and seeing the shorts climbing an equally big hill and noticing the deep valley which stretched between us. We were right and soon off in pursuit, their ‘ hill ‘ was not quite as big as ours and we were quickly over the top and down to the water stop on the side of the dam.


      A swift exchange of water bottles and we were off on the final 1.6k into the finish; this was soon achieved and we all met up for beers, bananas and sandwiches. After an hour we had recovered enough for the circle to start, chaired by their GM Headjob the gallant few were properly iced and treated to their downdown. We 4 Cornishmen had worked up a bit of a relationship with the Busselton Boys over the last few days and sure enough we were invited out to be humiliated in their own unique  way. They have a plank with 5 glasses fixed to it, operated by two of their Hares it ensures that the tallest is on bended knee and the shortest on tiptoe whilst they try to pour as much beer as possible into your mouths. Colin was called up again, somewhat of a surprise, to be paraded in his hash gear as a fine example of how your mother would never let you out of the house. He was soon back – well you can’t keep a good GM down – to relate his historic story of the sale of antiquities from Horatio Nelson’s flagship Victory. I managed to finish off the afternoon by bringing charges against the Hares – all found guilty – but when Colin and I brought the plank the situation was turned against us and we had to join them in their efforts.


A good run and a good circle but it was quickly back to the hotel for a shower and to throw our kit into the washing machine before heading off to Gloucester Park for the closing ceremonies.

The announcement came, if only to confirm what rumour control had already leaked, that Borneo for the Sarawak Rain Forest Interhash was to be the venue for 2010 so, having pre registered, we joined the short queue to pay our money – just £40 - and collect our registrations. Once again we found a spot which enabled us to see and chat with the many friends that came wandering past and to wish them safe journey with the hopes to see them in Borneo. Being Sunday everything closes early and so it was that we were back in the hotel by midnight to get some rest and prepare for phase two – the Wine and Dine.






Monday and almost a free day – in the morning we decide to go for a walk up to Kings Park which had been recommended by the Goose for its spectacular views over the city. As we stroll along Perth Water side we notice that the cranes perched precariously atop the many new buildings going up fly the flags of, what we presume to be the operator’s nationality and are somewhat amazed to see that the crane adjacent to the hotel flies the flag of St. Piran – the things the Aussies do to make you feel at home ! We stop for an ice cream at the ‘Lucky Shag ‘, the pub, which enjoys views across Perth Water from its jetty, is a popular meeting place and is also the headquarters of the ‘Barmey Army’ when they are in town. Pete leaves us here to go and spend the rest of the day with relations and we walk on towards Kings Hill which towers above us. We are told the easiest access route is via Jacobs Ladder – by two pretty young things out jogging who look at us all and enquire if we can climb – Huh. When we reach the top we rest awhile to watch the local muscle men whose favourite pastime seems to be running up and down the almost vertical steps. It doesn’t take us long to realise that this is not for us and move on into the Park. Our information is correct and the views certainly are spectacular and the park is packed with people generally enjoying the good weather and picnicking – well it is Easter Monday.



Whilst making our way back to the hotel I decide I’m going off to do the infamous Hamersly run whilst Colin and Terry decide to go off into Freemantle to enjoy a seafood meal at one of the boardwalk restaurants we had seen previously. As it turns out things don’t go exactly to plan as they meet up with Raincoat ( Roly ) and his good lady ‘ Slippery when Wet ‘ from Kalgoolie, who are previous travelling companions of ours, in the Little Creatures Micro Brewery and spend the rest of the evening there only managing mussel starters before the restaurant closes and then enjoying a slice of greasy pizza for supper on the way home. I catch the train out to Success Hill near Bassendean and join the crowd walking down to the venue at the Steel Blue Oval football ground. It seems a small group of friends who turn up at all the good runs – this time about 300 – are gathered for the issue of running vests and a few beers before the off is called. Now Hamersley’s reputation as the wild men of Aussie hashing definitely goes before them and there is much trepidation, not, as you might think, will we cross a river ? but how many rivers, how many times and how deep will they be ?  We need not have worried,  deep down Hamersley are a bunch of pussycats – the GM had decided that being as there were so many visitors and in respect of ‘Health & Safety’ there would be no river crossings – shame.

The run turned out to be an urban amble around the river banks and associated scrub lasting about an hour – very good but definitely not what we were expecting. There was a cooling down period during which we enjoyed a couple of beers and some idle chit chat before retiring into the club bar for the circle. Chaos ensues, the GM / RA and all other Hamersley hashers have absolutely no control over the rowdy circle which progresses pretty much without any involvement of the visitors. Plenty of beer flows served admirably by a fleet of topless – and not much else either – waitresses which rumour has it are the local ‘ working girls ‘ and who regularly assist on beer serving duties at Hamersley do’s. The thing I found a bit out of character was the abundance of ‘bodyguards’ they brought with them to ensure nobody took any photo’s – seemed a bit pointless to me. Edna offers to bring me and Slab home via Kings Park and South Perth so we can see the views out over the city at night – well worth the detour. We all seem to arrive home at roughly the same time so settle down to the usual G & T’s whilst discussing the highs and lows of the days activities.



Tuesday morning and the first day of our Wine and Dine tour – we meet up at Gloucester Park for the buses – we have an owner driver who has had his bus built by Mercedes to his own specification for the princely sum of Aus$500.000 – mind you it was a nice bus ! we discover during the course of the trip that he actually owns three.



Just over an hour sees us stopping at the Ocean Marina on Dolphin Quay in Mandurah for an early lunch where Colin, in consideration of healthy eating, manages to find the biggest Cheese and Bacon Croissant in the world which he thoroughly enjoys. Another 1 ½ hours sees us arrive at the Santuary Golf Resort, Bunbury; our first nights accommodation, first impressions are very good, we have a two bedroomed apartmant which we are fortunately all booked into contrary to earlier fears.


Our terrace looks over the pool which except for the hardy few is far to cold to swim in but is ideal to sit around for a beer and a chat with our fellow travellers. 1800 sees the buses take off to the Dolphin Discovery Centre on Koombana Bay in Bunbury for our first run on the week – an urban run around the town which we enjoyed and gave us a good opportunity to get a feel for the town – particularly the climb up the tower for the views!   



After an hour or so we find ourselves back at the venue enjoying a cool beer before the onslaught of a very chaotic circle of which we heard very little.



A salady type dinner including one small slice of beef washed down with some rather good wine brought the day to an end and the buses had us back at the hotel just after 10.00 – where disaster struck – the bar was closed – what are 50 hashers going to do. The bar manager was summoned but she was unrepentive however as a concession, she decided she would sell us takeaways so we could have a drink in our rooms – I’m sure the cleaners were over the moon with that decision when they came in the next day !






Wednesday and we’re off to Busselton, our base for the remainder of the tour. Its an early breakfast and we are on the road for 0930; a minor mechanical hitch sees us into the first available service station but its soon fixed and we are on our way once more. 15 minutes down the road and the driver realises he’s forgotten to pick up the rest of the party at the Quest Hotel so back we go – this puts us late into Busselton where we only get an hour to find a light lunch. A pleasant enough little town with a nice seafront which is dominated by the jetty – at 1.8 kilometres long you can’t really miss it – it used to be 2 kilometres long, but part of it was destroyed by Cyclone Alby in April1978. Built of Jarrah Wood, which is resistant to just about everything, construction started in 1865 and took 95 years to complete. The Jarrah wood was primarily used for making railway sleepers and they were exported in their thousands to India for the Indian Railway. The jetty was built for the ships bringing goods in and taking the sleepers away and as the ships got bigger the jetty got longer so they could still get in.  It closed as a commercial operation in 1972.



So, on to Abbey Beach Resort, very plush – very big and in a beautiful setting on Geographe Bay. Check in is a bit of a scramble but we are soon off into the grounds to find our apartment, this consists of a huge lounge / kitchen / diner with a large patio, one double bedroom en suite, one twin en suite and one twin with shower and laundry room – we are sharing with a couple from Tasmania so they get the double, Terry & Pete get the twin and me and Colin do everybody’s laundry for them. We discover that all the apartments in the place are privately owned but are rented out when the owners aren’t using them – bit like a timeshare.


Its soon time to be off to the run site – we going to Manjimup about 120 kilometers away – to the 4 Aces parkland in the Stirling Hills Range. Manjimup is an Noongar Aboriginal word made up from ‘Manjim’ meaning edible reed and ‘up’ meaning meeting place or place of plenty and certainly proved to be a great place to visit. We didn’t find out until after the run that it was also a ‘place of plenty’ for snakes – Tiger, Brown and Dugite – all of which are deadly ! The run site was an enormous woodland, primarily of Jarrah trees and the 4 Aces were four trees well over a hundred years old and lying in a straight line and the run was really good at 6 kilometres or just over the hour.             



We finish beside Glenoran Pool for a few beers and to cool off a little before boarding the buses to travel into town for the circle and on down. On route, Manjimup hash, which is only about twenty strong, tell us that we will be dropped off at one end of town and we need to run thru the town to the on down site for the benefit of the locals who have been looking forward to this event for some time. This is duly done and we are given a very warm welcome , we route via the tourist office where we are invited to sign up for a free draw for a bottle of whisky which is being raffled in our honour. We arrive at Timber Park, a big open grass area, but more like a living museum as it is full of old and original wooden houses and watchtowers which have been gathered together from the surrounding area. The entrance building has been taken over by about ten local vineyards who have brought their products in for us to taste -  really good and plenty of it – Pete and I settle on a very nice 2006 Shiraz called Shirazmataz from the Hidden River Estate in Pemberton – it turns out to be Aus$26 ( £13 ) a bottle and unfortunately not on sale in the UK. The bar b that followed was superb and by far the best to date, steaks, sausages and salad followed by fresh fruit – particularly the enormous blue plums – all provided by the local community and cooked for us by the primary school. At 8.00 we leave for the one hour drive home with some great memories of a great day out particularly the hospitality of the people of Manjimup.





Thursday and Colin and me have a late start with a 1030 pickup – Pete and Terry are off much earlier on their coach.  We join them for breakfast which turns out to be the most expensive yet – this must be the only place in the world where the buffet breakfast is considerablely more expensive than sitting down and having pretty much the same thing served to you ! We walk thru the grounds to the beach which is very pleasant and on the way pass a group of Aussies doing a bar b – we stop for a chat and discover that the hotel offers the bar b’s ( gas fired ) free of  charge to residents so that you can go down to the supermarket buy your bacon and eggs and come back to a breakfast party. Pete and Terry are doing the caves first whilst Colin and me are off to the shearing sheds – well if your in Oz you have to see sheep shearing – it was very entertaining with the dogs, one collie to round the sheep up and a dingo cross called a Kelpi to run across their backs and keep them in order. We are back on the coach and off towards the caves when a rebellion starts – some on the coach don’t want to do the caves but to go on to two extra vineyards – the driver takes a vote and Colin and me are the only ones who want to see the caves – but we don’t get to.



First call is to the Redgate Vineyard – not too impressed with the wines but the white port is superb, next stop is at Xanadu where the wines are much better however whilst we are enjoying these the driver takes a phone call from the tour operator who gives him a right bollocking for changing the itinerary and tells him in no uncertain fashion that he will not deviate further. This means we cannot go on to the other vineyards, but do not have time to go back to the caves so its into Margaret River for an early lunch of an excellent supermarket bagette which we enjoy roadside in the company of the village drunk who just happens to be from Ireland. That done and its onto the buses once more for the short journey out to the runsite at Wharncliff Mill where we enjoy a 1 hour run through an excellent forest area before returning to the Mill for the on down.




A few beers and an entertaining circle are the pre amble for an excellent chicken meal, served airline style in individual containers washed down with a very acceptable red wine. 

Colin determined that it would an insult to the good people of Margaret River if their kind donation of red wine was not totally appreciated and proceeded to do his best – quite successfully – to ensure that none had to return to the vineyard. A dance of sorts followed with music admirably provided by the resident GM on his guitar which all agreed was great fun and should have started earlier.




Evening chats with Pete and Terry revealed that their day had been much the same  as ours, except they

went to the caves which they said were very good – well they would wouldn’t they !!





Friday morning and its our turn for an early start – we are again doing the same things but at different times. First stop for us is the Colonial Brewery, an excellent micro brewery about 30 kilometres out from Busselton and in the middle of nowhere – how do they make it pay ? however the owner assures us that evenings and weekends the place is packed. We are given a paddle containing 5 glasses rangeing from light ale to porter as tasters which makes an interesting breakfast.                


Unfortunately, like a lot of our visits we are not able to buy anything, usually it’s the problem of the 100ml on the plane but this time it was that he didn’t produce stubbies or tinnies just 2 litre jars of draft; as we leave Pete and Terry arrive – their breakfast becomes mid morning break. We are back into Lou Weston Oval in Busselton for a couple of hours of freetime, Colin and I decide to walk the pier, again we are a little disappointed to find that at the end there is an underwater observatory but you can only go down on tours and we are between times. A quick sandwich lunch in town sees us back at the buses for the trip to the run site. The ‘Busselton boys’ had told us earlier that the site was being kept secret because they had asked permission to run there previously and had always been turned down, this time they were going to run there anyway and deal with any consequences later. So it was that we found ourselves in stunning Eagle Bay on Cape Naturaliste in the Leeuin-Naturaliste National Park, for us this was the last of 11 hashes in 12 days and it was beginning to take its toll – its not the beer it’s the runs we can’t cope with!






The off sees most of us walking across the silver sands of the bay towards the headland, we wind our way up and over the top stopping only to admires the views before decending into Meelap Bay, another stunning location where the more athletic amongst us feel the need to throw themselves into the Indian Ocean, and a brilliant place for the circle.



We had actually seen some wildlife on this run which a bit of a first, the Wedge-tail eagle with its 2.5 metre wingspan was very impressive as were the Blue winged Kookaburra’s that lived in the trees above the on down site. We had a feeling that we were going to be picked on again and it wasn’t long before our fears were realised though fortunately non of us were invited to sit in the ice tray complete with octopus ! We were invited into the centre for what we knew was going to be a repeat performance of the plank and had insisted that Tinkerbell join us as an honorary Cornishman to take the fifth glass. The plank was brought but what reduced everybody to fits of laughter was the pastie placed next to each glass. It would appear that the RA’s uncle is the town baker and he had been detailed to produce pasties for each of us !



So after a rousing chorus of Trelawney’s Army and a huge bite out of what proved to be an extremely spicy pastie, the down downs were duly drunk. Before we retire to the Brusselton Yacht Club for the evenings entertainment the opportunity arises to take ‘Hash Sox’ off for the last time – after 11 runs in two weeks I think the smile says it all !


 The club is located right on the waterfront with a large grassed area to use and beautiful views, we are treated to a good band with dancing for those who feel able and an excellent finger style buffet which is brought around to us by waitresses and seems to go on and on all evening.





1030 and its time to take the buses back to the hotel – it was a great way to finish what had been for the most time, a very good trip around the area where we had some great runs and were well looked after by the most hospitable people.






Saturday and time to head off back to Perth – it’s a late start with the bus not leaving until 1100 – our first stop is in Bunbury where we get an hour to look at the parts of the town we didn’t see on the run and grab an early seafood lunch at Nino’s on Dolphin Quay. We then make our way further north towards Mandurah passing through the Ludlow Tuart Forest in the Tuart Forest National Park, this is the last place in Australia where you will find the Tuart tree – well used in the past for boat building. We get an hour in this lovely old town, the fastest growing in Australia with its population increasing from 10000 to 50000 in just 10 years. This is a 90% retirement area, the residents of which seem to spend their time wandering the banks of the many rivers and canals on which the town is built and, like us, grabbing a pint of Swan in Murphey’s Irish Bar ! It was pleasant and relaxing, with time for a proper chat with Barefoot Betty and her partner Gringo from Townsville who we had passed the time of day many times with over the previous few days. We are back in Perth by 1630 and discover in conversation that we are the only bus to have had a collection for the driver – we certainly did well as our driver was not only very ameniable but was also a fountain of knowledge about the area which he was only too pleased to tell us about.

We feel in need of a seafood dinner so the staff in the hotel recommend the Fishy Affair in the Northbridge area – a good choice as Colin, Pete and I share an enormous Platter of just about everything that lives in the sea including local speciality Moreton Bay Bugs and Terry tucks in to scallops and swordfish. Northbridge is the clubland area so we decide to have a look around, fortunately we are not in need of a beer as the queues to get in just about everywhere would take the rest of the year to go down and you certainly didn’t need to go in to listen to the music !





Sunday and a day of rest ! – we have an early start as we are off to Rottnest Island – we catch the Rottnest Express at the Old Shag jetty for our 1 hour cruise down the Swan River to Victoria Quay Freemantle where the boat rapidly fills up with ‘tourists’ for the 30 minute journey out to the island.



On arrival we take a short ‘meat pie’ break during which, due to my L2H3 T shirt, the local bobby stops for a chat as he comes from Mevagissy and the lady in the postcard shop reveals she is from Lanlivet, before grabbing the tourist bus for a circular trip around the island. It had been our intention to walk the most westerly part of the island but discover that at 6 kilometres return we just don’t have the time so stay on the bus until stop 18 at Geordie Bay.


There are some wonderfully remote beaches on the island but Geordie Bay is by far the best – 200 metres of curved white sand around a crystal clear sea with a row of chalets for accommodation and a bay full of boats whose owners come over from Freemantle to laze on the beach with a bar b and a slab of tinnies.





We decide it would be a good idea to walk the remaining couple of kilometres back to Thomson Bay  via Bathurst Lighthouse and to see if we can see any of the local residents – the Quokkas – a small rodent like creature unique to Rottnest and the reason why early explorers called the place Ratsnest Island. We have an hour to kill so take up residence on the Tea Rooms patio where we enjoy a couple of beers at Aus $9 

( £4.50 ) each. Western Australia, as we continue to discover, is definitely not cheap. Rottnest is a great place with some fabulous bays, beaches and walks, there are no vehicles except the one bus and emergency services but there are in excess of 2000 bikes available for hire and on weekends you have to book early. Whilst Thomson Bay, the access area, is small and dreadfully commercial, it gets away with it because the island itself is stunning and you can soon be away into the scenery. 1600 sees us back on the ferry and making our way to Freemantle, we leave it here as we have decided to try again to get a seafood meal in one of the boardwalk restaurants which, as you will remember, Colin and Terry had failed so miserably to do the previous Monday. Our first port of call is the Little Creatures micro brewery – yes I know you are way ahead of us and can see whats coming ! The place is packed, we estimate well over 500 and all having a great time supping good beers. We eventually manage to get ourselves some seats at an outside table and a round of good draft Light Ales courtesy of a very helpful waitress who continuously monitors the level of beer in our glasses and manages to turn up with fresh ones seconds before we have decided we need one. The Tapas type menu looks inviting so the boardwalk restaurant goes out the window and we split  marinaded octopus, prawns, chilli mussels, kangaroo kebabs, pizza and fries for dinner. The mussels are just superb as is the chilli sauce they come in and I was ‘devastated’ to find that I was the only one who could eat them ! 2100 and time to find the station for the journy back to Perth, once again we have a long chat with the local police whose authority only covers railway property, they really are very pleasant and only to happy to pass the time of day with us.

Once in Perth we wander down St Georges Road to our refuelling stop at Finley’s Irish Bar – unfortunately we are now back in Perth and its after 2200 so Finley’s is shut – On In to the hotel and a couple of gins.





Monday – its our last day and the Aussies have arranged re-acclimatization for us – it is hammering down – what shall we do.

We had not seen one Kangaroo since we’d been in Oz – we’d eaten one but not seen one. The staff in the hotel recommended to Pete that we go to the local cemetery, are they taking the p*** out of the Brits ?  Terry needs to go shopping so we arrange to meet later and Pete, Colin and me go off to find a train out to Whitfords, some thirty minutes away to see the ‘roos – it’s still hammering down. We arrive in Whitfords and it’s still hammering down – being the sensible people we are we sit in partial shelter outside and wait for it to stop. Some 20minutes later and we may be on a winner, at least its eased and off we go, the ‘cemetery’ turns out to be Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park, a huge area of parkland including lakes, streams, bridges and memorial plaques but no ‘roos. The rain stops, we wander further in and suddenly there they are, dozens of them. They pose for the obligatory photographs and we retire to the café to dry off a little and take refreshment – it seems a little odd to us as we sit there drinking coffee and listening to pop music whilst out the back someone is making his last visit to the crematorium. We’re drying off and the sun is out – we go back out and there are Roo’s everywhere, some military planning and an agreed pincer movement gives Colin a chance to catch ‘ Roo’s on the Hop ‘ with the video function of his camera, and that’s it – been there done that – so were back to the hotel to meet up with Terry, get changed and headout to the airport.




                                                And so the sun finally sets on a great trip to Oz


Emirates have us airborne just about on time for the 11 hour flight back to Dubai and we are once again treated to excellent food and plenty of booze to wile away the time. We were due a short break in Dubai, but the late arrival of an incoming flight from Johannesburg means we get to spend about five hours there. The driver from Dubai to London appears to get himself a bit lost as we end up going out across Iran, over the Caspian sea and straight across Ukraine before turning left at the Baltic States and come in across northern Germany, all of this means that our 6 1/2 hour flight to London took 7 1/2 hours. A quick call to Flight Connections as we collected our bags – fortunately we weren’t using Terminal 5 - ensured that they was outside at roughly the same time as we were, Colin was home by 2030 with me shortly after and then Pete and Terry. Another good trip was over and done with – planning for Borneo is already under way !!!


Oh and by the way.........