Date = 13th April 2014
Run Number = 1553
Venue = The Sportsman
Location= Croxley Green
Beer = Old Ale & four others!
Hares = Mr X
Runners = Around 40
Virgins = 0
Visitors = London Hash House Harriers
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 0
Hounds = 2
Total = 40+
Membership = Basking in the Sunshine!
With the London Marathon taking place this morning, the Hare was surprised to see so many of the London Hash turn out for this joint R*n in the leafy Hertfordshire suburbs! Which left the question of who was manning the LH3 23rd Mile Beer table stop? [Answers on a postcard! –Ed]
The Hare for the day had already been out & scuttled around setting the Trail that very morning, some F.U.K Full Moon Full Moon Nash Hash brewery stuff had taken up his time the day before to allow him time to get out to Croxley! FMNHIX registration is now open – See the F.U.K Full Moon Website! FUKFMH3 - FMNH IX
As he came down from marking the On Inn, he was met by 4 & 20, who was over from Sweden & at the venue around an hour before the start. She revealed that had abandoned her kids in London for the day & she also admitted that she had first Hashed with London quite a few years ago!
Hyena & My Lil' were also early arrivals at the Pub, while sunning himself outside of the Sportsman Hyena let slip that he has started a diet, but he was prepared to break this when he heard the Hare had brought along a couple of packets of Jelly Babies for the Trail.
As the time edged toward mid-day the Pack grew in numbers, with TBT OBE & Paxo arriving together. The Herts RA wasn't surprised to hear that TBT OBE was confused over a Birthday Invited emailed out to the Herts Hash. Somehow, TBT OBE had misconstrued things to believe it was Porky Pie & his Dad having Birthdays instead of it being ARP & Her Mum's! Birthdays!!
Anyhow, back to the Trail! Bush Tucker turned out this week, after an absence since the Herts Christmas Party! [Christ that’s one long hang-over? – Ed] But at least she boosted the Herts Numbers, though they fell far short of the LH3 effort!
Sludge, the Herts GM, waited for the Harriettes to pay a visit to the Sportsman's facilities, as well as Hyena who felt the call of nature. Just as the Herts Grand Monkey set about calling the Circle to order, Hyena went back in the Pub! It was also pointed out that some of the LH3 had wandered off up to the Green to take some photo’s!
Things finally got under way when the majority of the Hash were outside in the glorious sunshine! Sludge announced both the Herts 1553 & London Run 2173 numbers correctly before introducing the Hare!
Herts markings were explained to the visiting Hash, & Sludge alike, especially bit about Bar CHKs! The Pack were then directed straight over the busy road junction directly outside of the Sportsman & on to the beginning of the Watford road! With a sudden break in the traffic, only Paxo chose to use the crossing as the Hare had requested, even Mr X abandoned the safer option. “Elf & Safety!” shouted TBT OBE!
Less than 50 yards in to the Trail & the Pack were soon at a stand-still, right beside the start of the roughly capped but wonderfully name All Saints lane, even though there was an obvious blob of Dust on the wooden panelled fence lining one side of the lane!
Someone did have the sense to search further along this driveway & picked up the Trail. A slow tort to the start of where the lane splits a wooded area, there a CHK was found!
The Trail resumed by taking the Hash into the Croxley Hall wood side of the nature reserve, this sits on the east side of the lane. All in all it was rather a pleasant trot on an arcing path among the broadleaf trees, the scent of the Bluebells out in bloom filled the air.
The path now run along a tall wire fence beyond which the Watford Branch of the Metropolitan line is hidden at the bottom of a deep cutting. Along this bit of the Hash, the Herts RA caught up with Sludge & Paxo, he was shocked to overhear part of their conversation was about access to back-passages! [Whoa there Pebbledash!) - Ed]
The Trail returned down to All Saints lane, there on the road surface a CHK was found! No Dust was picked in the Long Valley wood, others didn't prosper much better after the encouraging signs of a Falsie along by the old cottages lining one side of Lavrock lane heading out to the west.
Trail was found over the first of the three bridges spanning the triangle of tube & rail lines below, the LH3 Keenies were leading the way off down a track to the west but as the track turned to the south a Bar CHK was found at the end of the Bridge over the Rickmansworth bound line.
With the Hare marking the way southward toward the third Bridge, the Herts FRBs now believed that the Trail would head further southward & the Dust would take them out to the Nature Reserve before the Grand Union canal, they may have run that way before but this time they would be wrong as they were simply on a loop!
The Hare trotted on by the returning LH3 FRBs, & told them to watch the fence in the smaller wooded area by the Tube line's cutting, they would soon see the Herts Keenies heading along this to a point where their path would emerge out by the Bridge to Croxley Hall Barn.
Ryde said to the Hare that they had already been down to this bridge & it was a Falsie, but with some encouragement from the Hare they all returned to find that a miracle had taken place in their absence & the Bar CHK had now been transformed into an arrow! [A trick an RA can pull off! Just like turning wine in to Water! - Ed]
Hardcore Bomber almost ran in to the private home by the footpath, he was stopped just in time & directed on to the footpath beside the west bound Metropolitan line out to Rickmansworth, the Hare out donw another large arrow to stop any wayward trespassing!
The next CHK was found further along this shady route below the tube line on the right & the school sports grounds through the fir tree hedge to the south, it located at the point where a bridge under the line leads back on to Lavrock lane.
There was a lot of reluctance with the London contingent to wade through the ford beside the wooden footbridge over the river Chess a few yards to the west, the Bar CHK at the opposite end of the bridge seem to spook them! Even the Herts stalwarts, like My Lil', wouldn't go through the water unless the Hare went in!
So, having stated that it would a long Trail if no one Checked it out over the Chess, the Hare marked the CHK & then set an arrow down showing the way through the watercourse! Mr X waded in, after Sparky had already began to brave getting George wet, as it was a lot deeper than it looked. A few ended up with damp bottoms to their Hash shorts.
Herts may have been outnumbered by LH3, but most of H4 waded through the Chess to continue westward on the footpath to where it comes out on Caravan lane. At the point where the new Buildings of Rickmansworth begin encroaching on the sticks, Tablewhine stopped to look at the small section of Ordinance Survey map pinned to the wooden fence-post, with it only showing new allotment gardens behind the new flats, Mr X quipped that this map wouldn't help Tablewhine find the Trail!
The next CHK was discovered by a Bollard where Caravan lane joins the High street in Rickmansworth. My Lil' joined a few of the LH3 FRBs who chose to cross over the road & head up the long incline of an alleyway to the local Underground station, this would be a Falsie!
Just before the Trail was picked up again, Naughty Nympho introduced herself to Mr X, since the two had been emailing each other as Hare & Hare Raiser for this Trail. Then things began to move again as another "On!" was called from under the brick railway bridge to the right.
Once on the north side of the Tube line, the Trail cut up over a verge & on to a set of steps for the high metal footbridge crossing the busier Park Road. From up on high Mr X could look down to spot that Hardcore Bomber was playing with the traffic as he short cutted straight over the busy road. Mr X called out that if there was one thing he'd say to Spare Rib for the Circle, it would be "Hardcore Bomber!" [Simples! - Ed!]
Having descended from the bridge, the Keenies soon picked up the Trail from the CHK outside of the local school entrance, they had rapidly crossed the small green space beside ‘Our Lady Help of Christians’ Church, to find a footpath in the corner. The Pack headed northward on a route between established hazel hedge on either side, through one of which the Cricket Club wicket & hockey pitches could be seen on the eastern side.
Up on the left-hand side, behind the long red brick wall of the old walled
garden, high up on the hill of manicured lawns sits the Royal Masonic school,
Sludge seemed to know a fair bit about that fact it was a school for Girls! TBT
OBE then cracked a joke [The jury is out on this one –Ed] as he said "Are female
Masons called Maisonettes?" While TBT OBE chuckled at his own joke, some
tumbleweed blew by & a distant bell solemnly rang out in the almost silence, the
only other thing to break this was a woodpecker who could be heard banging its
head in frustration
at this awful pun on one of the trees along the way!
After a 90° turn at the far corner of the sports field, the hedged-in trail headed eastward to where the enclosed path comes out by the river Chess, it was noticeable that the river level was pretty high still & that the flood plains to the north were just that, flooded! From the CHK on the riverbank, there the FRBs again made light work of it & found the Dust leading further westward along by the Chess.
As the route turned southward with the course of the river, the Keenies found a Held CHK by a bench & a footbridge spanning the Chess. The Hare arrived & handed out two bags of Jelly babies, unfortunately there weren't enough to go around & the Back-markers would loose out as declared that he was going to Sparky eat the last one. Hyena was on a diet so it wasn't a loss for him!
The footbridge had another Bar CHK across it, the Hare pointed out the blue & white 'Police Do Not Cross Line' tape on the opposite side of the Chess, where the fresh water of the old cress beds join the Chess. Further up the river, Water Cress is still grown & sold at the last such farm on the Chess. [Guess it was fortunate that Hash boots went through the Chess earlier in the trail, further down stream? – Ed]
Hardcore Bomber wanted to know what the old tape had been put there for. The Hare originally said it was placed there after the last person to go through a Bar CHK on a bridge, on one of his Trails, had been found three months later. But he then said he though it was to do with a dementia case missing person being found there, TBT OBE & Sludge both thought this statement was aimed at them!
With Hyena, Bush Tucker & Paxo in sight the Hare allowed the Pack to 'Check it out!' Just as Rambo had laid down on the grass, he claimed was suffering from 'Man-flu' lurgy after an Indian the night before. But it seems that Rambo was not alone in suffering as Naughty Nympho expressed her 'tiredness' from her night-time exploits!
The majority of the London Hash must have though another water crossing was a double bluff, it wasn't but the Hare was happy to see the likes of Sky Lark, Tablewhine, Ryde & Rambo all head up the footpath with the only Shiggy on the Trail, which took them westward along the bottom of the Royal Masonic School grounds.
Meanwhile TBT had other ideas & ventured in to the Chess for the second time, but halfway through the deeper water he soon became entangled in submerged barbed-wire. The Hare changed the Markings & now insisted that the Pack now used the footbridge.
A short way up the next footpath to the northeast & a CHK was found. Both the False Trails, firstly the footpath up the hillside further to the northeast, then followed by north-eastward one to Chess lane. Eventually Sludge sussed that the south-easterly one was the correct choice & he was seen running off in the Herts Hashit.
TBT OBE rightly pointed out that Sludge had the arse of this Hamersley shirt tucked into his shorts [He’ll probably get a rash for wearing it like that? – Ed]
Anyhow, the Pack had now reached the penultimate CHK was found where the footpath came out on to the edge of the rolling farm land coming down from Croxley Green perched up on the plateau. Sludge was not tempted to look on the path up to Copthorne wood, again he was on form as he led the way up the parched footpath between the rows of the young green crop, it took him awhile but eventually Sludge picked up the Dust & led the way to the top of the hill.
Departing from the farmland & the Dust ran through a short alleyway to pop out on to Copthorne road, there a CHK was found, though some like Mad Cow seemed to run by it without even noticing, the sight of the exclusive homes around here were of more interest than the Trail markings! Until there was talk of the ‘Peasants revolting’ in a statement which could be read both ways!
The final leg of the Trail was found up the opposite part of the alleyway, which cuts through to Green lane. Here there were more nice homes to admire, the Hare warned Paxo up ahead of him, not to loiter as the locals would be calling the Police about the Hoi Polloi possibly ‘casing their joints’!!
At the end of the dead end road is the Artichoke Pub sitting on the edge of Croxley Green, with a turn to the right the Trail would run around the Artichoke & head southward down the green, with the On Inn being written on a telecom cover near to the War Memorial made of an assortment of small boulders. The first ones back were there just under the hour.
The Herts RA had just enough time to have a quick drink before Lofty gave him a lift to Allianz Park, where Sarries were taking on the Saints in the top of the table clash. But Mr X could leave the Circle to Sludge & Spare Rib, who arrived later at the Pub.
Mr X did leave a note with Sludge explaining the Hits, beginning with Hardcore Bomber for short cutting over the busy main road; Sparky for eating the last Jelly Baby! Hyena for missing out on a Jelly Baby he was prepared to break his diet for!
As Mr X & Lofty walked up to her car, the solitary figure of Last Tango came trotting up toward them, as she had lived up to her reputation of being the last to arrive at the Hash & so was the last around the Trail.