Date =                            Sunday 21st December 2013

Run Number =            1535

Venue =                        The Mermaid.

Location=                     St Albans

Beer =                           Batemans Vintage Ale; Wyre Piddle; JHB Citra!

Hares =                         Paxo!

Runners =                    7

Virgin =                         0

Visitors =                      0                                       

Après Hashers =       1

Newies =                      0

Hounds =                     0

Total =                          8

Membership =            Losing & finding a Hare again!


This week’s original Hare was suddenly put out of action with a pinched nerve in his back.  After a bit of calling around the day before, the RA had sorted out the Pub on Saturday afternoon, he also managed to get Paxo to do an almost ‘Live’ Trail. 

Sludge was probably the first to the venue, closely followed by TBT OBE, Mr X & Hyena.  TBT OBE informed the others that Paxo had just set off to lay the Trail.

As the time edged nearer toward the start, it was obvious that this was going to be the lowest turn-out of the Year.  Mr X may have benn wearing the ‘Bah Humbug’ hat, but TBT OBE was full of the Scrooge spirit as he said that he thought it was all rather poor turnout, he then asked why the Pack weren’t receiving the ‘usual’ pre-trail mince pie & a drink for the pre-Christmas Trail.  Perhaps it’ll all happen for him at the Left Over Trail?

2-1-2 Maureen arrived, & Once Tent Packer had driven by a couple of time, then parked up around the corner to walk up to the Mermaid, Mrs Mallet then continued up the road to head off to go & have a look at the Cathedral Abbey

With Mrs Mallet out of view, Tent Packer produced a rather dented hip-flask to be passed around.  This went some way to placate TBT OBE for his Christmas Drink, for the contents were a rather nice Sloe Whiskey.  Tent Packer claimed that he had been vilified for picking the sloes on the Trail that went in to this winter warmer.  [Note to RA: Only pick on the fungi pickers in future! – Ed]

Having had their cockles warmed [Whoa there Pebbledash! - Ed], the GM called the Circle together.  He went through the honours fairly quickly as there was nothing to say about the Trail, since the Hare was out there setting it & nobody had a clue as to where he would go!

An Arrow pointed away, down & across Hatfield road to the East, the Pack ran on by hoardings hiding the former College grounds, which have had the buildings demolished ready for new homes to be built there.  The uneven cobbled path ran up away from the road before dropping back down to the roadside & on to the First CHK at the crossroads with Beaconsfield road & Lemsford road.

Mr X crossed the junction to continue on Hatfield road & went over the railway bridge, where he looked in at the wooden steps down in to the southwest corner entrance of Clarence Park, he couldn’t see any Dust & so looked back over the bridge to see TBT OBE pointing the way down Lemsford road.  Sludge, Hyena, Tent Packer & 2-1-2 Maureen were off up to the north before being led around on to Manor road to the west, this in turn became St Peter’s road where it changed direction slightly.

2-1-2 Maureen told the RA, as he caught her up, that she can’t run like she used too, the RA replied who can!  A CHK was found on the roadside by more hoardings for the former college grounds, here the RA was soon up the cobbled alleyway beside Hall Place Gardens, this old route leads in to the back of St Peter’s Churchyard, the Trail ran straight through the graveyard, passing to the north of the Church & then out on to St Peter’s Street, now the Trail would lead northward by the red brick walls of the local Alms Houses.

Tent Packer & Mr X were first up to the CHK at the opposite northwest end of Hall Place Gardens!  Here the Trail started off south-easterly down the side street, then crossed over to take them on to Townsend avenue, passing by a local School then turning the 90° to the head northwest again & back up toward St Peter’s Street.  When Tent Packer & Mr X arrived at St Peter’s Street the Trail appeared to have petered out.

These two were careful not to be seen by the rest of the Pack, who were a little way behind.  Then Mr X & Tent Packer headed back to where a car park entrance was found on the other side of Halls Place Gardens, here arrows directed the Hash through the car park to come out opposite what was the Cricketer’s Pub, it’s now an Indian Restaurant.

Mr X & Tent Packer crossed over the busy road junction to search the delightfully named Snatchup lane, an alleyway that runs beside the former Cricketers & out on to Stonecross road, but they would not find any Dust & so Tent Packer offered the RA another shot of the Sloe Whiskey to cheer him up!

Sludge caught up with the other two as they searched for the Trail over the road form the CHK, these three were all on the west side of the road & the Trail would be found by Hyena on the east side, as he had ambled down Avenue road.  Once back over the busy junction, Mr X soon caught up with Hyena & passed him by to follow the Trail straight down to the T junction where it joins Lemsford road.  There a CHK was found.

The RA dashed over the road to the alley leading on to the footbridge over the main Bed-Pan line (Bedford to St Pancras) he soon picked up the Trail on the north side of the suburban Jennings road, before being directed on to Blenheim road, which leads out to Sandpit Lane.  Mr X ran to the point where a spur road peels off of Blenheim road & as he ran around the tall curving hedge he stumbled upon the Bar CHK hidden behind there!

The Rest of the FRBs were soon following on behind Mr X, they weren’t that pleased to see that the RA was leaning on the side street’s sign around the bend, there was the RA was making out he was stretching his calves!  Away from the smell of the Bull-shit from the RA & the Keenies headed back to Jennings road, most looked further down Jennings road while the RA searched the uncapped track directly opposite the junction & through to Gainsborough Avenue.

With the sun in their eyes it was hard to see the Dust at the end of the short cut-through, from the heavy overnight rain there were plenty of large puddles covering the route over the stony pot-holed route, eventually the RA found the Trail where it lead eastward down Gainsborough Avenue & then out on to Clarence road.  A CHK on the corner didn’t slow the RA as he headed southward down toward the corner of Clarence Park.

            The next CHK was found at the Corner with York road, the RA thought that the northeast entrance in through the hedged-in Clearance Park was too good to be missed, he was soon on to the Trail as it lead anti-clockwise around the outside of the playing fields.  In 1894 this 16 acre park was built for & given to the good people of St Albans by Sir John Maple, he of Maples Store in Tottenham Court road!

It was now a trot around the outside of the green space, up behind the grounds of St Albans FC to almost below the steps down from Hatfield road the RA had looked out over earlier on!  As the RA found the Trial leading on by the ornate Victorian pavilion & down to the Tennis courts, Mr X decided that he would slow up & hide out of sight behind the chain-link fencing to keep an eye on Sludge.

The GM didn’t put a foot wrong, even with the temptation of Short Cutting across the playing field, so the disappointed RA continued out of the park at its southeast corner, by the Italian Restaurant that was once a public toilet!  Having avoided tripping over a loose, daft Weimaraner, Mr X found arrows directed the Hash across the lights at the Junction with end of Hatfield Road, then over another crossing by the award winning Chilli Raj to head eastward & away from the Pub!  The Indian won the Silver Tiffin award in 2008!

The Trail now took to Camp road, heading toward the Organ Museum [No Pebbledash! Not that kind of organ! - Ed] then down to a CHK by Breaksear road [Named after Nicholas Breakspear, who as Pope Arian IV, was Britain’s only Pope!].  The RA went up Breakspear road, to the very end but found nothing, by the time he had also looked down the alleyway off of this backstreet Mr X would now be behind the rest of the Keenies!

The Trail continued down Camp road & then took to Vanda crescent, where the Pack were directed on through the alleyway by the local School to come out to a CHK on the former Hatfield to St Albans railway line.  By the time Mr X reached the CHK, he found that it had been marked by the TBT OBE with a falsie indicated to the south & the Trail now pointing further away to the east on what was the Salvation Army siding on the Hatfield Railway, but suddenly those who had checked it out that way were on their way back!  This siding was for the large printworks that would produce Bibles & the War Cry that were then shipped off by Train!

Sludge wasn’t happy as he now had to go back to the former line & search it to the south, where he had already started exploring earlier only to be called back to run a Falsie!  Sure enough, once beyond the wooden beams of an old former platform for the Salvation Army Halt, Dust was found down the tarmac route in the bottom of the tree-lined embankments, Sludge & Mr X were first by the lad with his stocky square-jawed ‘Drug-dealer’ type pooch.  On the way the RA spotted that one tree stump had a face painted inside the hollow down one side, this made them chuckle.

A CHK was found by a new route cut up in to the Alban Way embankment, it zig-zagged up to the new homes built on what was once an industrial area.  Mr X checked it out up there but found no Dust, calls of “On!” soon led him back down the path, though he was tempted to cut straight down the embankment, but has second thoughts on this as Sludge would put this toward the Hashit he was wearing to be awarded tot eh RA!

Where the line passes under the mainline railway bridge, a Held CHK was found.  Hyena was up with the Keenies at this point but 2-1-2 Maureen was not to be in sight looking back down the straight line’s route.  After another medicinal shot of Sloe Whiskey, the RA & GM both agreed that the FRBs should start searching once again, especially as TBT OBE was still marking the Trail they didn’t feel they needed to hang around as the time was fast approaching Noon!

Out from under one bridge & the Pack soon passed beneath another, this one being for London road, it was only a short way but another CHK was found!  Mr X decided that he would search to the southeast down what looked like a dead-end beside the last home in this relatively new little estate, he took to the set of steps leading up the embankment on to the bridge for London road.  Up beside the road he found Dust up on the path but it was leading away from the City Centre, he wasn’t buying this & decided that he would look in the opposite direction & this paid off when he found the Dust leading North Eastward toward the City Centre.  However, if he or anyone else in the Pack thought that it would be a straight run back up London road, then they would be wrong.

At the point were the side street split from the main road at a fork in the route, the Dust would take the left hand option & head off down a backstreet!  Not only was the Trail veering away from where the Pub was, it would take a further turn away when it changed direction to the west to head off down through Ramsbury Court! 

Tent Packer & Mr X weren’t happy at being taken to the end of the court, but by the time they had descended the steps at the end of the court & followed the Trail down on to Riverside road, it would have been too much to turn back & cut back to the On Inn.

The Dust now led the Pack along Riverside road before taking to the alleyway behind the homes, this cuts off the corner & brought the Hash out on to the junction with Old London Road & Watson’s Walk.  The Hare now avoided the Sopwell area of St Albans, since too many Real Ale Pubs were now open around that area, instead it was up Watson walk.  Along the way Tent Packer informed the RA that his Mother-in-law used to live in these parts!

Anyhow, the Hare now took the Hash a slight way up London road & then over the road to lead on up Upper Marlborough street, near to the Plod Shop & up beside the Crown Court.  Tent Packer & Mr X ran in to the Hare, who was walking back to check on the Pack’s progress.  He didn’t sound impressed when he heard that it was the lowest turnout of the year!

Back at the On Inn & the RA was surprised see 2-1-2 Maureen was already there & eager to get into the Pub!  The Pack soon settled in & the RA had another surprise when he was handed a Christmas Card addressed to the Herts Hash by the Barman!  It turned out to be from Sparky, the RA read this out & then was accused of being rude by Paxo, who said 2-12 Maureen shouldn’t listen!

Tent Packer was the only one sample one of the fine Perries on offer, this Pub does great Cider & Perry, instead the majority stuck with the Ale, culminating for some in the 7.5% Batemans Vintage Ale!

When it came to the Circle, the Pack stepped outside, still the weather was fine & bright, if a little cold out of the sunshine.  The GM toasted the Hash, then the RA called out the Hare for a fine Trail, which at an hour & 15 would have been about the same for the Hare he replaced!

TBT OBE was out for whinging about there being no pre-Christmas Drinks & mince pies, he was joined by his savoir of Tent Packer for providing the Sloe Whisky!  The hip-flask for which was knocked over, leading to TBT OBE to desperately licking it off of the table, before the RA mopped up the rest with the Hashsit!

Ah, the Hashit.  With the GM behaving impeccably around the Trail & refusing to revert to type & short cut, the RA only had one choice as to who would receive it & for being the only Short Cutter, plus the fact she has never had the Hashit before [Note to 2-1-2 Maureen: Don’t mention such things to anyone in the Hash, especially the RA- Ed!]