Run No. 1488                10th Feb 2013

Venues:                          The Victoria, The Regal Cottage Chinese, The Albert, the Nightingale

Beer:                               GK IPA, Abbott, Hook Norton Hooky; Holden’s Valentine

Location:                       Hitchin

Hare(s):                          ARP (With a little help from Porky Pie)

Runners:                       14

Virgins:                           4

Visitors:                          0

Après                               0

Newies:                          0                        

Hounds:                         0

Total:                             18

Membership:              大吉大利 Kung Hei Fat Choy!


            The weather was cold & wet as the Pack assembled for this weeks Trail, at least things started to dry up a little as the time passed the hour, there was a lot of toing & froing to get parked around the area of the Victoria. Eventually the GM called things together & an oblong was formed beneath the canopy of the Victoria’s outbuilding, where they were going to show the 6 Nations on a big screen later on in the day.

This week saw Mark, Clare, Ethan & Jason turn out for their first Herts Trail, they would be introduced after the Hare had been called forward to explain what the Pack could expect out on the Trail.  ARP also had to explain the markings to the Virgins.   The GM was surprised to see another ‘Newie’ there this week as he ribbed Junior in turning out!

ARP added that Porky Pie was not there as his roster had changed!  Mr X said it was probably since getting married he was no longer allowed out when the Après Trail would visit the Albert!

Before letting the Pack off up Fishponds Road, ARP made sure that the Pack knew that they had to be back to the On Inn to leave enough time for those to go for the Chinese, which was booked for 13:00Hrs!

So, the Trail began with a right turn & another right, as instructed by the Hare, to take the FRBs away off on Bunyan Road, halfway up this the First CHK would be found at the elbow of the road, where it then becomes York road.  Sludge, My Lil’, one of the Virgin Horrors & Mr X all took to the alleyway leading from the elbow in the dog leg road & back out on to Fishponds Road, they would pick up the Trail once more to a CHK by a pelican crossing.

Meanwhile, the likes of Sparky, Fliptop, Tent Packer & Paxo all searched along York Road & another alleyway that headed westward out to Bearton Avenue.  It took a while before the rest of the Pack emerged out of the alleyway & on to Fishponds Road, but by the time they had come out on to this main road, they could see that the FRBs hadn’t really got away from them.  Mr X had been over the road, via the crossing, & searched on the Elmside Walk path that runs by the open-air swimming pool & leisure centre, all to no avail.

Sludge & My Lil’ had continued down toward the Bedford Road but had not found the Trail from the CHK, finally My Lil’ came back & crossed over to the south side of Fishponds Road, where he picked up the arrows on the new tarmac path cutting its way on a slightly diagonal course across the green open space of Butt’s Close [Ffnarr! Ffnarr! Pebbledash! – Ed].  Over at the southern end of the green space flashing blue lights could be seen, where they colleague’s of Kylie?  Nope!  They were from two Police cars that had pulled up a sliver Astra.

The Dust led almost right up to where the occupant of the vehicle was being arrested, the RA had a look to make sure that it wasn’t Hyena’s Ashtray Astra, it wasn’t Hyena who had been handcuffed & was now being patted down by the local Plod. 

The Trail now turned away from the incident & headed northward along the Bedford Road, across from the Bedford Arms to head back to where Sludge & My Lil’ had stopped short of joining one main road from the other!

With the FRBs clearly in sight heading northward, Sludge did what Sludge does best & led the way to short cut across the green grassy area!

Once the GM had set off on his short cut, the rest followed on like Sheep!  However, one of the flock would go through the slight hollow in the ground which was very wet.  No Eye Deer would now soak her trainers as the low patch of ground was water-logged, the RA had spotted all of this as the Trail came up to cross the Bedford road just before the roundabout.

The Pack were soon across the road & on to the alleyway of Maxwell’s Path, here a freshly reinstated CHK was discovered, as well as the Hare who had simply cut down Fishpond Road.  More trickery was discovered by the FRBs as Sparky, Tent Packer, TBT OBE, Fliptop, My Lil, Sludge, Mr X & the Virgins as they all fell for the Falsie off down the adjoining alleyway that leads northward out on to Symonds road.

The Trail was found to lead up the only other option of staying on Maxwell’s Path, that heads westward up by the boarded up old hospital buildings.  Another CHK was soon gone dispensed with as the Trail continued further westward now between the more established houses that are on one edge of the narrow, old, rustic, uncapped path before turning to the south & emerging on to where the Oughton Head Lane crossed the route, here the Pack come out to a CHK.

Dust was soon found on down Lucas Lane, leading away to the south & passing by the football pitches & Lacrosse club to the left.  A CHK was found at the junction with Gaping lane, the most popular choice was on to the old footpath heading out to the west, & down through the open fields toward Oughton Springs, since that this has been a popular route in the past. 

The RA said to Fliptop that the adjacent field to the footpath used to be home to an Old RA, but when they followed My Lil’, Tent Packer, either Ethan or Jason around the corner & down by the hedgerow, Mr X was astounded to see that what was once an Eeyore Field was now home to a Leonard Cheshire Home of the Lavender Centre!  H e was then shocked again as the Trail down that footpath was False & so it was back to the uncapped road.

Sis, Able Semen, Kylie, Mark & Clare were kept on track by the Hare, they were now up ahead where they could see the other Keenies of Sludge, Sparky, No Eye Deer, Paxo & TBT OBE all coming back from further along Lucas Lane, they now turned their attention to the tarmac road of West Hill.

The suburban road leads down the long hill to reach the edge of Old Park Road, though around three quarters of the way down the Hill a few of the FRBs like Sludge were caught out by a CHK next to an alleyway off to the north.

Junior was now leading the way, with Mr X & No Eye Deer hot on his heels, suddenly Junior stopped & laughed as he pointed out a pile of vomit behind part of the street furniture, No Eye Deer was not so impressed as she exclaimed “Urgh!” while Mr X wondered if Junior had been around on a reconnoitre of the Trail & had left his calling card?  Junior hadn’t.

Now, Tent Packer, Sparky, Mr X & Junior all crossed over the road, No Eye Deer did the same, as did My Lil’, the first four headed off down Nunn’s close & over the next part of the small ring-road, once over the dual carriageway Sparky & Tent Packer choose West alley out to come out on the High Street, while Mr X & Junior chose to look in the Arcade, once out on to the High Street neither group would find any markings!

My Lil’ managed to find a Bar CHK, but only on his way back to the main road, but then he lost the Trail completely.  Sparky & Tent Packer also failed to pick up the Trail once again, having traced their footsteps back there as well. 

Meanwhile, Mr X & Junior went to look at the Taxi cabin in the Market Square, as this is the same design & colouring as the Victorian one still used by Black Cab drivers in London.  When they tried to pick up the Trail once more they too failed to find where the Pack had gone to, the damp air & earlier rain had got to the chalk markings & the arrows were now faint to non existent now.  A wide bit of plasterboard may have stood up a little better to the elements.

These five, split in to three groups, & looked at lots of options to try & find the Pack, but they couldn’t seem to find any sign of where the Trail went to, even on what they thought would be the best option for coming back Inn!  Meanwhile the Pack of Kylie, No Eye Deer, Paxo, Able Semen, Mark, Clare, Jason & Ethan were being directed along more alleyways & back-streets to make their way out by the old Hitchin Priory, on a loop around the south of Hitchin.

This loop would take in part of the east of town including such sites as the old Telephone Exchange, Windmill Hill & Highbury Road [Was this to keep the Gooners amongst the Pack happy? – Ed], at the top of the hill Porky Pie had scribbled out some messages for the Pack. 

Having exhausted all options down by St Mary’s & the Market Place, Mr X turned his attentions to searching Bancroft Gardens for the Trail & also an open Kharzi as he now needed a pee.  He was disappointed to see that there was no Trail in the park, & even more let down to find that the public toilet was boarded up!

The other option for Mr X & Junior was now simply to make their way back to the Pub, they took shelter from the drizzle that had started to fall & sat inside the Victoria, after they followed a local in & they would soon strike up a conversation about The Cider Bar in Newton Abbott!

Tent Packer & Sparky arrived there a little later, after they too failed to pick the Trail up again, then within a few more minutes later My Lil’, came wandering Inn.  He too was ignorant as to where the Trail would come Inn, seems the drizzle had finally done for the parts of the Trail!

Considering these FRBs all managed to lose the Trail, they were put to shame by the Virgins of Mark, Clare, Jason & Ethan, as well as the visiting Able Semen.  All of whom, managed to get around without going awry!

The Pack came back, a lot of whom had to change quickly as the Circle was being held pretty sharpish, as the Chinese had been booked for 13:00Hrs, fortunately this had been delayed a bit as ARP had contacted the Regent Cottage to let them know it was all running late as most of the pack were back after midday.

The Circle took place outside, beneath the awning on the outbuilding.  There the Hare was awarded her Down-Down for a Trail which actually lost a few of the Pack who were supposed to have local Knowledge, which was a first for them!  For those who weren’t lost it was a good Trail!

Sludge was out for being the first to short cut over Butts Close, & he was joined by No Eye Deer who waded through the soggiest part of the green space!!

Junior was out after the RA had picked something up for him in the local Pharmacist, he then handed Junior two tea bags that had Drink Aware information on the outside & how drinking tea is better than Alcohol! [?] Able Semen was out for making the RA, at his mum’s 70th Birthday, turn over every ‘Happy Birthday’ confetti that was upside down so it read the correct way around!!

The Virgins of Mark, Clare, Jason & Ethan were out for their Hits after completing their first Herts Trail.

Having enjoyed a couple of Ales in the Victoria, those who were up for the Chinese moved on to the Regent Garden where everyone at the table was impressed when Sparky came out with a cheery “Kung Hei Fat Choy!” Even the waitresses were pleased to hear him say “Happy New Year!” in Mandarin

The Pack had a set meal deal, that had a choice of six starters & these first six dishes were a feast in their own right!  The Pack chose a mixed selection again for the mains & by time the main courses came around & had been finished, everyone was so full that there was no room for desserts!

The waitresses came around with Chinese New Year boxes of sweets, & the Hash was wished a Happy New Year as they headed out in to the rain & on to the Albert to watch the Ireland V England 6 Nations Match.  By the time they arrived Owen Farrell had already kicked 3 points & England had a lead.

Halftime came & the Pack moved around to the Nightingale, where they would watch the second half on a big screen & on comfy chairs.  England would come out on top & win a gruelling match in horrid conditions, Mr X could be heard praising the England team, especially the work from the Saracens players, he was just annoyed that his Gooseberry Blackberry wasn’t working so he couldn’t text or Farcebook Porky Pie or Digger!

                It was an excellent day all round, unless you were of Irish descent & having to fly that morning!