Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sports Fans, please note: Results from last night's event at West Penno may be delayed until the computer probs experienced at the download can be sorted. Rather than wait for the usual performance (and non performance!) morsels to fall under the gaze of your race reporter, Pork Pie will overview the evening - a glass of milk and an arrowroot at the ready.


In the spacious grounds of the Grey Spence family home 'Thornton Park', acclaimed romance publisher (Western) Mills & Boon, released their latest novel last night. "It is a work of love, separation, and lost opportunity, as the young Guy Grey Spence is torn between old flame Isobell, and the alluring beauty - and points, of Merelynne from across the creek' Chairman (Australian Fiction) Sir Edward Mulherin said. A large crowd, well scented and bonneted, waited on Sir Ted's every word, and then rushed the registration table for their mint first edition.

With copies of 'The Romance of West Pennant Hills' selling for a mere ten dollars (paper back edition), there was steady work at the till - Sir Edward being well supported by (W)M&B staffers Robyn & Steve Dunlop in the rush to understand the scope of the 'story', and where the romances climactic 'points' might be located. It turns out, both early and late, for the opening chapter immediately set the scene with a dramatic meeting under the 'tower'(#28), steamy passion behind the 'east tree'(#19), and a stolen kiss behind the 'north thicket'(20).

Summer Series competitors are romantics at heart, responding to the weekly release of new, colourful and enthralling Sydney 'thirty pager' novella's, with a blind enthusiasm that has done much to sustain the (Hills) & Boon empire - and Orienteering NSW. Despite the distance to the Thornton Park event, the enticement of Darling Mills Creek and another 'throbbing' Grey Spence tear jerker was enough to bring on the fans. Many came in colourful clothing - some, somewhat scandalously, in shorts and runners! The publishers staff were all beautifully turned out in blue, attending to affairs outside Thornton's magnificent ball room, while runners disported themselves upon the well kept lawns - as they digested the book and planned their campaigns. Let's listen in.

Sir Edward worked a portrait scatter, with good scoring close in, workable beeps in the south east (where Isobell and Grey Spence first met), and more difficult scoring south along the creek and towards the western siren Merelynne. An unusual feature was the widely separated start and finish banners - the former well up to the east of the estate in a lovely glade of elms, and almost guaranteeing a northern and clockwise start. Looking up from the assembly, it seemed almost all began north to the Tower first -  although our all stations hero Glenn 'Oh Brad' Horrocks, apparently worked #9 first, before #28, and then continuing his clockwise circuit. Very few seemed to go the other way, almost certainly because of this romantically positioned start arbour.

A common beginning then was 28,19,29 (worked in-out after finding the mapped yellow edge to Peartree Circuit was quite wide and accessible), 10 (the termie seemed further in to PP),20 (again the yellow edge was wider than anticipated), 20, 30 (another thicket, with secrets) and down to the traffic at Aiken - and decision time. After crossing Aiken Road, short course specialists could then work 6 (he stole a kiss on the Spur of the moment) and then west uphill to return, medium fans worked 6,26,16 (you could 'feel' the blushing romance of Isobell and Grey Spence here), then either back to 5/3 and west via #15 - or loop east from the fence at 16, to add 24 and 4 in Bellamy Farm Reserve, to 14 (another tree where the lovers dallied), and then on to the 3/5/15 connect. Those of greater ambition and pedigree eschewed the Bellamy bundle, worked south from 26/16, past 5 and 3 to the fire trails and bush tracks along Darling Mills - probably thinking "Oh Darling" what have I done, as the climb from #1 to the western boulder at 21 and on to Merelynne tested lungs and time pieces.

The tracks on the southern bush loop were apparently much clearer in reality than appeared on the map, although a nice discombobulation is reported by Mark Schaefer on the way from 21 to 23, where the turn off was missed below #12 and he worked the indistinct path to the creek before regaining the fire trail - and #23. I think he then worked back to 12 and north via #2,25etc. Mel Cox, in the same vicinity, worked up to 12 then along to #23, continuing on west of the houses to Merelynne (I thought Mel would fall for this floosey) and home against the tic toc - not having the time to find the letter she left at the light pole (#2) in the process. Control 15 would be the one left off the southern flogsters, the stronger of whom managed to loop back from 21,12,23,2 to 13,17,7,27 (maybe missing 25?) before a final gather in the estate's western gardens.

I would guess 300 plus scoring was well to the fore, and that everyone worked the novels early chapters in the northeast. Number nine was hard to fit into a loop (Glenn notwithstanding), but I think every other romantic site would have been well 'read'. Very hard to think of a lonely pot other than #9, and as such, an excellent example of course setting (and romantic novel writing) by the master Western Hills (Mills) storyteller. Not often you don't see the obvious outlier. OM one pointers Andrew and Steve were noted on the lawn, No sign of Gill, Michael, Neil or James (6 Foot track recovery I guess) but 'King' Richard was noted in a surprising late departure northwards, after the, obviously mistaken, assumption that his SSS campaign was over following his Metrogaine injury. Not so, and great to see King Dick once more at speed - as it will be to see the scores here. Did Patrik 'The Gunboat' spoil Glenn's party? Did Richard work a win? Mmmm, much to savour across this highly competitive class - as in many others (and for Pork Pie's latest Call of the Card - after 23 rounds - see the form above this article!).

So, to conclude, to close the book, another classy evening of SSS entertainment from Ted and the WHO crew - unwitting novelists that they have become. Great work as always. Clear map, enjoyable area, well secured control units, and good looping options for the reader. Darling Mills Creek (as the lower section of this map was/is called, and as PP called this event in the SSS programme) just begged to go trashy novel, and I rather like the notion of course setter 'Tearaway' Ted Mulherin as the Barbara Cartland patriarch Sir Edward……OK, I know what your thinking. It's not milk that Rosscoe has been drinking!

Two to go in the race of the century, with Bennelong on show next week at Clontarf. Marina & Fedor are in charge, and are certain to provide entertainment in their deployment of Contour Kate and friends (who can forget their excellent setting and 'upsey' work at the Spit). This is a spectacular area, that includes the Spit end of the Spit to Manly walking track, beautiful beaches, parks and the odd stairway! All wrapped in magnificent views. One rises, and rises, and then races down again. It tends to lead to thoughts of a refreshing Reschs post race, or that could be post swim, post race. Join us as we work the toe into the Nike and the water bottle into the mouth. It WILL be a great evening of Sydney Summer Series cunning running.

But wait, there's more!

Please be aware that next week is Seniors Week. And as part of this, Orienteering NSW and organising club Bennelong Northside, are offering FREE entry for any newcomers aged over 55. There will also be instruction on offer for any seniors who might like to try out our fantastic sport, so please spread the word - and bring along the mum's and dad's, the aunties etc. And yes, even the Sir's and Lady's of title, from estates far and wide. All are most welcome.        

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