Run No. 1309 8th November 2009
Venue: The Mermaid
Beer: The remaining Beer festival Ales: including Fat Cat; Farmers Boy Golden Harvest
Location: St Albans
Hares: My Lil’ Sperm ‘ead
Après Hashers: 0
Membership: Run in to the ground
There was more than a little chaos around the centre of St Albans for this Remembrance Day run, it just happened that there was a Farmer’s Market on along the whole of one side of St Peter’s street, which is the main route of the Armistice parade! With the roads leading up to the main route being closed, there were all sorts of problems in finding a parking space for those who drove to the venue!
Sludge had no problems parking as he ignored the request of the email not to use the Pub’s car park, & he drove straight in to park by the Pack as they were circling up. This year there was no field gun, up by St Peter’s Church, to signal the start & the end of the 2 minutes silence (it must be out being used in Afghanistan) so Flip Top called the Pack to order to pay their respect for those who have fallen in numerous conflicts. It was good to see that everyone present wore a poppy, even the toy giraffe was wearing one.
The GM welcomed the Hash & thanked everyone for observing the silence, it was a contrast to when the Hare was called forward as he received his usual chorus of booing, after this run it will probably be accompanied by the throwing of rotten fruit & tomatoes (hopefully removed from the tins?)
My Lil’ Sperm ‘ead told the Pack that it would be a very long run, but there would be short cuts, all the same it still sounded a bit daunting! The Trail headed off down Hatfield road & soon turned off down Upper Latimore road, the Dust ran on by the entrance of Marlborough gate & this suckered in the RA to lead the Keenies on down toward Victoria street & on to a Bar Check. Surprisingly Fartin Martin was up with the FRBs at this point, it wouldn’t last!
The FRBs & Fartin Martin came back to Marlborough gate to run down this dead-end of the raod, at the bottom of the local school grounds, a right-angle turn led the Hash off down an alley & now on to Victoria street. The Pack followed the Dust across the road toward the Robin Hood Pub, then over the traffic light crossroad junction to pass the Horn reborn, the winning Pub for the Herts Live Music venue award!
Windmill led the way up over the bridge above the quite Bed-pan line below (Bedford to St Pancras line), the reason it was quite was the fact that many of the Train drivers had withdrawn the services to work overtime on a Sunday! Windmill was found sitting on the low wall for the grounds of Victoria Square, he was waiting for the rest to catch up after they were held up at the lights back by the Horn reborn. Kylie was impressed at the sight of the large fortress like gates in the high Victorian wall, Mr. X explained that the building was once the local prison & that it was used as ‘Slade prison’ in the BBC TV series Porridge.
The Keenies led the way along the residential streets as they made their way down to Vanda crescent, short way along the un-crescent shaped crescent & the Trail disappeared down an alleyway to a CHK on the Alban way, the former Hatfield to St Albans railway line.
Windmill was quickly away up over the bridge above Camp road, some thought that he was calling he called “On!” to soon, they were proved right as he was coming back when he found it was a Falsie! He returned to find that the Hare was standing in the undergrowth, up against a concrete wall to a back garden, & scaring the squirrels!
Those who thought that they had found the correct route out on to Camp road, down at ground level, were soon coming back as well as they found that to be false as well! Skip & Half Pint didn’t return to the CHK as they had spotted someone ‘On!’ Trail a bit further along! However & somewhat unusually, Sludge did go back to the CHK as the RA was out on that route & he was going to obey the Hash code on a trot back to another of the myriad of alleyways, which was just a loop back to where Skip & Half Pint were short cutting on Dellfield road.
Straight across from the leaving the correct alley was a footpath leading up in to Park View sports ground, the Pack followed the Dust by the swearing footballer players out on the pitches. Winston showed what he thought of the potty-mouthed soccer players as he stopped & defecated! The Pack wanted to get by Flip Top as he scooped the poop, luckily for Flip Top there was a red dog poop bin by the way out of the park.
The Hare’s absence was noted on this loop around from the Park & back around the estate streets to Camp road once again. The Hash passed by the Camp Pub, an archetypically McMullens 50’s-60’s style Bar, the Hash were going to be taken back on to the Alban way once again, after the Dust had led them halfway down Sutton road.
Windmill was leading the way once again, as the Pack caught up with the Hare, to run along the former railway line to a Held beneath the road bridge of Ashley road above. The Hare offered the Pack jelly babies, the rustling of the bag of sweets was heard by T-B-T who came running up to the gathering Pack. His excuse for being late on parade was that he couldn’t find last year’s poppy to wear! What! To be fair he had just returned from Boston!
Once 2-1-2 Maureen, No Eye Deer, Sis, Party Animal, Psycho & Lucy had caught up the Hare allowed the FRBs to resume searching for the Trail, though Roger (the cabin boy) Pete & his daughter were nowhere in sight as Charlie was finding the going hard on his little legs. The Hare chuckled as Flip Top, Sludge & Skip all headed up the steps beside the bridge to Ashley road to find out that it was a Falsie, just as it was the last time he set a Trail along this part of the line! Meanwhile, Windmill had picked up the Trail further along the line to the east.
The route passed by Longacres playing field, passing by the single raised platform for the former Hill End station on the way up to the opening at Hill End lane. Windmill stopped there & was found to be looking up in to the tree canopy above, he was watching a jay up in the foliage! A CHK was found by the way out on to Hill End lane, Mr. X & Flip Top choose to look down Hixberry lane but found no Dust toward the grounds of the former mental hospital. The FRBs looked on the continuation of the Alban way but that was a fruitless search as well.
The Trail was picked up around the snaking end of Hill End lane & out on to the Hatfield road, there an arrow directed the Pack over the main route over by the gatehouse to Oaklands college. Windmilll, Sludge, T-B-T, Kylie & Mr. X led the way as the Trail ran along South drive through the quiet grounds of the college, the Dust became a little scarce as they found themselves searching around the main campus buildings.
Windmill searched the footpath out to the east, but he found nothing & came back by the large modern barns. “On!” was finally called by Sludge as he found the Trail leading away on the North drive, which was an uncapped farm track. Kylie was not impressed at the site of the wrecked greenhouses of the agricultural college, it was overgrown with brambles & saplings being partially hidden behind a fence.
On the way out of the college the Trail led by goat pens, then pig pens & finally a sheep field, there were some real country smells by the large black pigs, whose compound was just as sea of mud compare to the animals that ‘chew the cud’ & had nice grass to eat.
The Trail now led down the hill, Sludge & T-B-T were soon caught by the others on the descent on the farm track through the fields to Sandpit lane. An arrow directed the Hash straight over the road junction, the RA was hoping that the Trail would turn left & head up Sandpit lane as he was intending to watch Saracens at Watford later that afternoon.
He was out of luck as the Dust was found over the small green on the corner of the Jersey Estate (which is nothing like Jersey) here Sludge, T-B-T, Kylie, Windmill & Mr. X all wandered along the House lane northward toward Sandridge. Suddenly the Hare was heard to call them all back, but it seems that only the RA heard him to start with.
Flip Top was behind the Hare, he led the way up through the hedgerow & up a recently seed field, the going was hard as lots of loose soil clung to Hash boots on a steady climb up to Oak farm. The RA soon got by Flip Top as Winston ‘10 shits’ stopped for another one!
Through the farm yard, via several gates that were shut behind the Pack, & the Dust came out of Oak Farm, a sign on the wall by the bungalow told about nuisance motor bikes riding up & down the footpath, as well as the Police’s lack of effort in tackling this problem, walkers were informed if they saw any hooligans on motorbikes then they should call Plod!
The RA thought that the Trail would now at last turn toward Sandridge, where he believed that it would take to the Jersey lane footpath back in to the heart of St Albans from the outskirts of the village. So, you can imagine his dismay as he was called back from searching up by the horse paddock.
By the time Mr. X was back to the Farm track the Hare was away leading the way around to Hook’s wood & up to the top of Woodcock hill, Skip & Party Animal were now up with the FRBs who had come back from the House lane. Fortunately for the RA, Skip let him know that the Hare had shown him that the route Mr. X had already been up was a Short Cut. Doh!
On the Short Cut, Dust was intercepted as the Trail took to the long path in & out of a dip in contour of the open crop field to a narrow single track lane, the RA began to run this bit & he would soon be out on his own for a long time! The Trail followed the farm track out above Nashe’s Farm & then at a dog-leg in the route, on to a nice down hill trot on the enclosed tree lined path as it came down to House lane.
Having safely negotiated the road, Mr. X then had to run up another seeded field of Jersey Farm to reach the tarmac path of Jersey lane. He was now only going to look in one direction & that was to the St Albans. He followed the Trail up in to the Jersey estate & by Regents close he was intercepted by Windmill, No Eye Deer, Sludge, Kylie & the Hare as he led them on a Short Cut! The Hash could have stopped at the Blackberry Jack for a drink as it was open by this time of day, though it’s not the greatest Pub around.
The Trail would follow the ancient Jersey lane path all the way to its termination up at Marshallswick lane, which is a long old way up between the backs of the residential streets. Plenty of time for the three leading Victor Meldrews to grumble, the RA said that if My Lil’ Sperm ‘ead set a Trail on a Home Rugby match days I the future then he wouldn’t bother with the whole Trail & make sure he gets to the game!
When the FRBs of Windmill, Mr. X & Sludge came out to Marshallswick they followed it over to Marshalls drive, there they were surprised that the Trail didn’t go through the plantation of ‘the Wick’ (Old English for Farm or trading place) as there was a CHK outside of it to throw the Keenies off of the scent, which it succeeded in doing!
Meanwhile further back on the Trail, Roger (the cabin boy) Pete, his daughter & Charlie were taking their own short cut along the Hatfield road & back to the Mermaid, Charlie’s legs weren’t up to much more & he had to be carried back to the On Inn!
Having realised their mistake Windmill & Sludge followed Mr. X, who utilized his local knowledge as he endeavoured to pick up the Dust & find the On Inn. None of them expected that the Trail would go all the way out to the Ancient Britain earthworks of Beech Bottom Dyke, situated on the edge of Bernard’s heath, but that’s where it went to come in via the end of St Peter’s street, with the ‘On Inn’ just on the inside of the walled graveyard of St Peter’s Church!”
The time was now gone 13:20, so Mr. X had missed out on the bus he wanted to get to Watford, he did make a bit of an effort but then realised that neither Skip or Psycho would be at the car before him. Windmill went off to get changed at his car, which he reckoned was about a 20 minute walk away!
In fact no one was seen when he looked around, so he cut his losses & went in to the Mermaid where Roger the cabin boy, Pete & his Daughter were found sitting at a reserved table!
Pete told that they cut their losses way back on the Hatfield road, poor old Charlie was having problems with his little legs & they had to carry him on a long short cut! We have a Hyena like that on the Hash, his little legs struggle to get around the Trail sometimes!
It was seemed like an age before even the Hare arrived, he was with T-B-T, No Eye Deer & Kylie, but there were a lot still missing & he knew that some where not going to be happy when they got back, but Psycho did let My Lil’ Sperm ‘ead have some cake later.
Skip, Party Animal 2-1-2 Maureen & the Grand Monkey then managed to find their way back & some wondered why the Hare wasn’t sweeping up the back of the Pack? Seems that getting some of the remaining Beer festival Ales down his throat was of more importance! Psycho was missing in action for ages, Party Animal wasn’t happy about that, but Psycho finally rolled in with Sis, but the family Nutter still weren’t complete as there was no sign of Little Hole & Wacko.
The knackered looking Pack were finally together when Wacko & Little Hole made it back, though Wacko was rather upset & said that she didn’t feel like Hashing again if she held the rest of the Pack up! The RA explained that it wasn’t her fault that the Trail was so bloody long, even with the short cuts. Not all the Trails are like this, as the whole idea is to spend an hour out there to wear off any effects of the previous night’s drinking, then have a few more. Hopefully Kylie has learnt something for the following week’s Trail? (Probably Not!)
The RA had now missed the second Bus to Watford, he had given up on the idea of watching the Sarries play (& win) as the Circle had yet to be held! When it did take place, the Pack went out to the patio garden, minus Sludge who had departed to go home as his dinner would be well cooked if he stayed any longer.
The GM toasted the Hash, then the RA asked what the Pack thought of the Trail, well some of the comments would make Hyena blush! The Hare was not happy to be handed a pint of water for setting a marathon trail, the rest of the Pack thought that it was more than apt!
The other Down-Downs saw Skip have a chorus of ‘Hashy Birthday’ to celebrate another year of Wisdom(?) this was accompanied by a splendid chocolate cake Psycho had made, it had edible bees on it & the RA commented that the figure on top of the cake was definitely was Skip, as the poor bugger was on his hands & knees after that run!
Pete was out for bragging about being on his third pint by the time the FRBs made it back to the Pub! T-B-T was out for his athletic effort to the Jelly Baby stop, & searching out last years Poppy! The Bar Man was out for having his head shaved for a cancer charity the night before, the Hash made a joint donation as well as the individual ones put in earlier at the Bar.
According to my Microsoft route tracer, the Tail followed by the FRBs (without the False Trails) was 8.55 miles in length so some would have run over 9 miles, looks like My Lil’ Sperm ‘ead should go in for the next London Marathon!