The Holly & Mistletoe Christmas Frolic, Dec 14

More fun, running and socialising at the latest Forumite gathering

Posted: 17 December 2003
by Fat Buddha

Brr...whassat? My alarm clock going for it at 6:45am on a Sunday morning! Just had two nights on the beer/wine/armagnac/gin and you want us to get out of a warm comfy bed in Eastbourne and drive to Reading to run around some muddy tracks in cold weather? And it's not even a race? Madness, pure and utter madness! Oh well, better get up and get sorted then. (Undoubtedly the same scenario is being played out in various bedrooms in the South of England and Wales.)

For a change the M25 is a pleasure, with little traffic, and we arrive in Reading just before 10am, and heave to in a car park next to Reading Rowing Club on the Thames. As we walk into a very sunny but chilly car park there's an explosion of greetings from all these strange people with even stranger names: Ratbag, Spans, BK, Dr Nic, Fraggle, Gavo, MM (and his dog, XT) Shambler, richk, Two Dogs (and his two dogs, Megan and Phoebe), Jon, Smitch, Lamby, Multi, Phoenix, Fat Buddha, Petal, Angelis, DD, George , Blond Dog (Mr Blond Bird), Debster, Chaos, Snail, Mr Snail, Muttley, Evil Pixie.

Yep - it's the forum Christmas social - gathering for a run and a few post-run shandies, where the following few non-running forumites will join in the festivities: Barkles, Sam Panther, Blonde Bird, Venom, Susie Bee Snoop, (arrived much later after getting a pass-out from Mrs Snoop) Suffolk Punch, Tired Legs, Tiger, Juliejoo, N(s)icko, Mo.

After much pfaffing around and getting cold, the runners head off for a gentle 10-miler near the Thames on tracks, footpaths and bridleways. A few brave souls decide on shorts and bare legs - most are in tights. Ratbag nearly doesn't start after attempting to fondle Spans' rear when she is bending over and coming close to having his lights punched out by a female rugby player (retired).

Well, not everyone runs as MM decides to do it on his mountain bike, throwing some old excuse of a "knackered achilles" as justification. Blonde Bird (who is a redhead) claims shin splints as an excuse. So what about the rest of us with hangovers (both of the head and belly)? Do we complain? Of course we do!

A gentle 10-miler is a myth. Angelis heads off as if he's on drugs. He's followed by Dr Nic - she says she’d never normally hit this kind of velocity but is being dragged by MM’s enthusiastic dog. TwoDogs (and his two dogs) is close behind, with a few other speedsters (Jon, Phoenix, DD et al), and the mid packers hanging back doing what mid packers do i.e packing the middle. Evil Pixie and Fraggle bring up their rears (oops - the rear). Lovely, if chilly, weather for a run and a chatter - well, for those of us who could breathe, anyway.

Richk is wandering back and forth with his camera and keeps missing shots, so has to keep sprinting forward again to have another go - he must have covered twice the distance of everyone else.

Eventually we stop (absolutely no idea where), turn around, and head back to Reading. What a really pleasant day for a run! Fat Buddha decides to go 'a over t' on a very muddy bit - and about five minutes later (no sense, no feeling says Petal) wonders what’s running down his leg. It's blood! EEK!! MM and Multi add water to wash away the mud to discover a mere flesh wound - amputation can wait till Monday.

We all get back to the car park after a very pleasant 9.3-miler (according to MM's bike computer), get changed and head off to Pipers Island pub for some rehydration/food/beer/beer/beer and... beer. The non-runners join and more names and faces are put together. Barkles storms in wowing the girlies with his purple fleece and weird jeans; Jinglin’ Juliejoo is there looking nothing like a l'il leopard; and the forumite engagees - TiredLegs and Suffolk Punch - turn up.

Mingle mingle, chat chat, natter natter... nosh nosh and slurp slurp... the pleasing sounds of a bunch of like-minded people who have met through the RW forum as they while away a Sunday having a jolly decent time making new friends and renewing old acquaintances.

Eventually, tired (and no doubt a few emotional) forumites head off back home after a great day out.

Thanks to BK for organising it, richk for the pictures ( - for those interested), and Fraggle for the labels so we knew who we were talking to.


Can anyone explain why TwoDogs, Jon and Shambler were singing "Grandma" on the way home? Answers on a postcard please!

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Discuss this article

Those of you around last year may remember an event named the Ratbag Run held at Windsor. The idea is you meet up go for a ten mile run/jog and then go for a pint or two.

Well this year we're doing it again and we'd like YOU to be there

When : Sunday December 14th
Where : Thames run north of Reading
What : 10 mile run/jog followed by pub
Your hosts : Ratbag, Barkles, Spans & BK

I'll supply more information regarding meeting place and pub in a few weeks.

Hope you can be there
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 08:01

If im not bloody well on call(as i always seem to be for social events)
id love to be there!

any plodders going?
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 08:10

Will I be able to plod ten miles by then ?
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:11

If I start at five miles, I can meet you at the end!
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:13

if you wait...
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:13


With the darksiders chasing you you'll be amazed at how fast and far you can run.

GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!! (Fire, smoke, sulphur)
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:15

I'd love to be there!
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:18

ooooooh! DB!

[excitable skitter]
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:21

Be excited!

he is an icon..
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:29


You know *me* Barkles...
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:30

Can you just come for the pint or two?
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:53

Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:53

I think I might be able to make this
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 09:54

I'll be there although if it is slightly later than last year that would be spiffing.
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 10:34

I'll be co-ordinating transport from the London area cars / trains etc, so if anyone has a car etc, let me know!!

Gavo - how much later is later?
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 10:38

two weeks knowing him!
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 10:52

I was thinking of slightly later in the day - getting to woods in the middle of nowhere (as it was last year) took a bit of time. No nonsense 9am starts or owt like that.

Mind you, we have to co-ordinate to finish by the time the pubs are open otherwise what's the point.
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 10:55

It wasn't my driving, it was the Girl's map-reading!

Posted: 10/09/2003 at 10:57

Posted: 10/09/2003 at 10:59

it's TRUE!
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 11:12

Not sure about this one fellas...
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 11:13

we'd be pleased if you came.

but you clear up your own mess.
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 11:34

this little plodder can make it, if i'm not rostered on duty (shall request it off today).
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 11:36

Those going so far

Dr Nic


Plodding Hippo (work permitting)
Plodding Gorilla
Blonde Bird (yes you can just come for the beer)
Alan D
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:12

A bit advance but is the plan to get to Reading and then wait in the rain for Barkles to pick everyone up at the station then lose our way getting to the start?

Or is that just me & Jon again?
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:16

Sorry, is this is an actual race/event..or just a run together?

Not that I mind either way.
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:17

It was a plod last year followed by a bev sesh. It was 'won' by Jez pushing his son in a pram.
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:18

Can I win it this year riding backwards on a miniature pony whilst waving my hands in the air?
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:20

Only if you do it Lady Godiva style.
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:22

I'd like to come along...hopefully

I'll be riding a midget unicycle using my hands to peddle whilst juggling 8 bowling balls with me feet and reciting the complete works of shakespear in swahili
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:23

With or without the dogs Dennis?
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:23

i will only come if i can leave my dinner and go straight to dessert.
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:23

Tee hee hee :)
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:24

Is XT on that list?
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:24

That was in response to two dogs post! Sorry.
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:24

I've asked him, and yes, XT will be coming... (and his rope!)
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:33

and the soap that once formed a great partnership with it?
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:34

Once its come out the other end yes....
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:35

I'll bring the mutts I expect...
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:36

Ah... A dog's version of colonic irrigation?

Note to self: When XT runs at you, run away...
Posted: 10/09/2003 at 13:36

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