Date = 10th August 2015
Run Number = 1631
Venue = The Sun Inn
Beer = Courage Best, Directors; Caledonian Golden XPA!
Hares = Paxo
Runners = 19
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 2
Hounds = 1
Total = 22
Membership = On a tour of the Estates of England!
There were a couple of Jaded faces at this week’s opening Circle, these two belonged to the RA & Hare Raiser after Mr X & My Lil’ had just come back from the Isca Roman Away Day Weekend, with just an hour & a bit after alighting from the Train to shower & change before getting down to the Sun Inn!
No Eye Deer was on her way that evening, but as she was going to pick up Sludge, Psycho & Skip she ended up getting a nail in her tyre in Stevenage, which resulted in a Puncture then her having to go & get it repaired, in the end Sludge took the other two to the venue.
Mr X had been given a lift from Sludge for all of the few hundred yards left to get through the lower part of Lemsford Village. But at least he wasn’t in ‘Panic Mode’ like this day’s Hare who was doing the Trail ‘Live’ but there seemed to be having a little trouble with locating the venue. He arrived & left Ewok behind to let the others know that he was out there while he was putting down Dust.
This week saw the visitors of Snowy from the Mountain Sheep Hash, as well as Vigorous Screw Ball’s Mum, Karen, both who have Hashed before & were told by Vigorous Screw Balls that from her previous experience on Herts Hashes that “They don’t really do long Trails!” [Would this come back to haunt her later on? - Ed]
Tent Packer called the Circle together & had gone through the motions of the welcome, then after the introductions of the newbies it was down to the Hare, but as he was out setting the Trail the Pack were informed by Fliptop that there would be a sweet stop at a certain point in the Hash. My Lil’ was quick to get in a “Those would be celebratory West Ham sweets then?” as the Gooners lost 2-0 over the weekend!!
Arrows directed the Pack out over to the Mill in the Village, this being the one mentioned in the Boar War song “There’s an old mill by the Stream, Nellie Dean!” the Pack crunched their way over the gravel forecourt for the Mill building that is now home for the ‘Ramblers International’ holiday company, this would in turn lead on behind the small work units to take to a footpath running from the back of these to run along the edge of part of the fairway.
The Trail soon left the wooded edge of the gold course to take to a north-westerly path across a couple of the fairways, there was no one out playing golf on this part of the course & the Pack were unhindered by any hold-up to allow golfers through. Was the lack of golfers due to the Company running Brockett Hall going bankrupt?
Anyhow, the FRBs now began to pull away from the rest of the Pack as this was a long stretch over toward Brockett Hall, the next CHK was found on the tarmac driveway before the tennis courts in the wooded finger of land behind the Hall. The Trail was soon picked up by the likes of Milf, Snowy, Sludge, Max Factor & Alfa Male, to name a few!
The Pack ran down beside the hedged in area of Brocket Hall itself, this footpath would rise again as it passed by the Golf Club Buildings & then the Restaurant Auberge de Lac in the Estate’s former Hunting Lodge, after this it to took to the edge of the next section of Golf course to lead the Pack into Bluebell Hill wood, that sits on top of the hill before the ridge drops down to the level of the river Lea.
At this point Mr X was taking it easy, Vigirous Screw Balls tried to encourage him to run, but he was suffering from the effects of a rich pastry of a Pasty he ate on his journey back, this was giving him indigestion. He wandered along with Spotted Dick, who had earlier playfully slapped Custards backside as she passed by. So, Custard would reciprocate the slapping of cheeks when she ran by him!
Spotted Dick would go on to mention that the two of them had been travelling & that they had competed in Six runs in a week, which was had the bragging rights over Mr X’s four in four days!
On the way down through the woodland, Mr X pointed out the statue of Diana that is semi-hidden amongst the trees & shrubs on the opposite side of the flattened barbed wire fence separating the ‘Private’ section of the Bluebells Hill woodland. Most would have missed this statue but some would have caught glimpse of the Flint Bridge & grotto below if they took the wrong option at the CHK at the T-junction with the footpath running off to the southwest down at the level of the River Lea.
The Trail was found in the opposite direction from Flint Bridge as the path ran out of the wood & along the Lea valley floor, as it advance toward Waterend the path came nearer to the river’s edge, finally this run right beside it as it came out to the ford at Waterend.
On their way down Spotted Dick & the RA were both suddenly stopped as the sound of a dog hurtling up behind them, & at some pace as well, but when they looked around the barking came from the opposite side of the fenced of land to the Elizabethan house at Waterend.
The Held CHK was found on the dry higher concrete platform of the ford on Waterend Lane, which the river Lea gushes under. A few like Milf went to look at the beautiful red-brick Elizabethan house, while they awaited for the sweets to arrive with Fliptop, finally Fliptop emerged from beside the house grounds & distributed the sweets, of which there were three types. Mr X would try an aniseed twist in an attempt to settle his indigestion, this would work later on as he managed to start running for the first time on the Trail.
The FRBs set off before Skip, Psycho & Vigorous Screw Balls’ Mum were up with the rest of the Pack. The main consensus was to head up North-eastward up the Waterend lane, however Snowy looked in the opposite direction toward the Marford road but would soon be back as Sludge was soon shouting out “On three!” to the east.
Mr X venture off the lane for a brief moment, as he thought that it may take to the footpath over the crop fields to Sparrow Hall Bridge on the old Welwyn Garden City to Wheathampstead line, but Sludge’s calling brought him back as well. The pebbles & silt washed down this lane showed that there was some rain over recent days, the pace dropped as the Trail made its way up the hill side on its wriggling serpentine route to head eastward & then around a small bend to find the next CHK by a gate on the north side of the lane.
Snowy, had quickly made up lost ground & while Sludge, Alfa Male, Milf & Max Factor continued along to the east on Waterend lane, he was off on the rough path from the lane in a nor-nor-westward direction, passing along the edge of Bowles wood & then descending into valley of crop fields then rise up & come out on to the Ayot Way, the former Railway line, which ceased carrying passengers in 1951 & was finally closed for goods traffic (Mainly waste runs to Cole Green tip) in 1966.
For those with local knowledge it was an easy choice at the CHK, a turn to the right had the Pack heading along the Ayot Way around to the east & up toward Hunters Bridge, just before the red brick bridge an arrow directed the pack down the side of the bridge to find a CHK on the track that crosses beneath it from north to south. Milf began searching toward the south & the Dust was soon found as the track led down in to the valley & then up through an over grown path of nettles, thistles & every other scratchy plant this area could offer up!
Luckily, as we all know, Nettles down sting this time of years but you wouldn’t have guessed that by the “ouch & ahs!” coming from Tent Packer until the path emerged out by Melbourne Stud & on to Waterend lane once again. A CHK was found here, but the local knowledge meant that even the newbies would not head back down the hill, but stay on the level in an eastward direction of the narrow rustic lane.
It was only a short way up to the next footpath off of the lane, Dust was found right on the bend in the lane before it swings around by the sawmill & in to Ayot Green. Now the Pack were heading down the footpath that is name St Peters way, passing beside one of Milf’s kissing gates that seems to be redundant. The Dust would have the pack follow the hedged-in path’s decent in to the valley by Little Hocketts wood, then beside another kissing gate on its climb back up toward the Ayot Way, there it crossed open fallow field beside the line.
Ewok arrived there & looked back down toward the Hunter’s bridge section of the old line, she would go back down to that point & mark a short cut, as she set off Lobby Lobster & Mumblehead came in to view back at that part of the Trail.
Back on to the Ayot Way & the only real option was to continue eastward as the former line gently bends around by Long Spring wood & then down steps at the end of that part of the section of the former line, where the lane intersects its continuation toward the A1(M).
An arrow was found directing the way up Little Ayot lane. There was a CHK by a footpath that crosses the lane just before it arrives in to Ayot Green, this was enough to slow the Keenies down a bit, with the exception of Milf who managed to sail through the rest of the Trail unhindered.
The rest of the FRBs made their way up in to the picturesque hamlet of Ayot Green as the Dust led them over toward the old part of the Great North Road, now known as Brickwall Close that the Waggoner’s Pub sits on. Having passed by the Hostelry, without stopping for a Beer Stop, the Trail would take to the footpath before the dead-end red brick wall, this path would cut through the remnants of what was once the woods of Cats Gallows that the golf courses of Brockett Hall now run through. It was on this part of the course that a golf-buggy was seen going around, not sure if they should have been out there but none of the Hackers were lost to join them!
The straight south-westerly path would dip down in to one fairway, then back up through the dividing tree lines to cover the more open area of Fairways back to where the Trail had come out on the tarmac drive by Brockett Hall. The On Inn was now found on the drive, with double arrows pointing back by an area that was distinctive with its patch of strange hillocks & dips that was later referred to as “Telly-tubby land” it was just by this the Trail would head back across to the fairways over the south-east.
It was on this last stretch that Mr X, Spotted Dick & Custard told Vigorous Screw Balls about Lord Brockett & the car fraud that he attempted to pull off to try & save the Ancestral Home, after he spent a fortune doing the Hall up after his Grandfather died & he became Lord Brockett. Having made out that a couple of his forty two Ferraris & a Maserati where stolen to claim on his insurance, the cars were sadly cut up & buried on the estate. But in the end he was caught out & ended up doing two & a half years of a five year sentence when convicted in 1996.
Mr X told of how, on a couple of occasions Lord Brockett presented prizes when he attended the Village Pensioner’s Party that used to take place in the Long Arm & Short Arm, an event that sadly no longer takes place as it takes up too much time. Since then Lord Brockett has been a reality TV Star.
Passing by a local family out playing football on the golf course, the Pack came back out via Lemsford Mill, where the RA informed Vigorous Screw Balls about the song the mill is mentioned in, to which she replied she wasn’t familiar with it, which Mr X said was fair as it was written during the Boar War! Across the road & down by the old Corner Shop, which is now a private residence, that was a place where Mr X used to get sweets from as a kid!
The Trail crossed the river Lea & back in to the Pub. There Sludge, Milf & Snowy were to be found waiting with the Hare. My Lil’ arrived to say that there was one too many loops put in on to the Ayot Way & back to Water End lane! The early birds back at the On Inn were given bowls of free cashews by the Pub, which was appreciated after being out for an hour & a half on average.
Vigorous Screw Balls was worried that her mum would not be impressed with such a long Trail, but as someone pointed out that if she was with Psycho, then she would be suitably entertained on their walk around. Everyone finally made it back & Spotted Dick order up several bowls of Chips, this Hash food was most welcomed after a longer than normal Trail.
Snowy had to go before the Down-Downs took place, as he had a job to do early in the morning & these were not as early as they normally are due to the late return of the tail end of the Pack. It was shame as Mr X wanted to catch up with how Sheepshagger is getting on after the two had worked on committee for InterHash in Cardiff in 2004.
The Hare was reward for setting the Trail, with Ewok joining him for being his ‘Little Assistant’ in marking the Trail for the back markers of the Pack. Mumblehead & Lobby Lobster were out for a bit of a to-do at the Full Moon Nash Hash that saw them defending themselves like something from Charlie’s Angels!
Vigorous Screw Balls’ mum Karen was out as this week’s Newie. Spotted Dick & Custard were out for bragging, as was Tent Packer for being in Anglesey (246 Miles from the Sun Inn) & still making it to the event, whereas the RA & Hare Raiser had only done 210 Miles from Topsham.
My Lil’ joined the other braggers for at the Roman Away Day Weekend he slept with his Helmet hanging out of his tent porch! [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed] a statement that made Ewok Smile!
There's an old mill by the stream, Nellie Dean
Where we used to sit and dream, Nellie Dean
And the waters as they flow,
Seem to murmur sweet and low
You are my heart's desire; I love you, Nellie Dean.
At the old mill stream I'm dreaming, Nellie Dean
Dreaming of your bright eyes gleaming, Nellie Dean
As they used to fondly glow
When we sat there long ago
Listening to the waters flow, Nellie Dean.
I can hear the robins singing, Nellie Dean
Sweetest recollections ringing, Nellie Dean
For they seem to sing of you
With your tender eyes of blue
For I know they miss you too, Nellie Dean.
I recall the day we parted Nellie Dean
How you trembled broken hearted, Nellie Dean
And you pinned a rose of red
On my coat of blue and said
That's a soldier boy you'd wed, Nellie Dean.
All the world seems sad and lonely, Nellie Dean
For I love you and you only, Nellie Dean
And I wonder if on high
You still love me, if you sigh
For the happy days gone by, Nellie Dean.
There's an old mill by the stream, Nellie Dean
Where we used to sit and dream, Nellie Dean
And the waters as they flow,
Seem to murmur sweet and low,
You are my heart's desire, I love you Nellie Dean.