Date = 20th December 2015
Run Number = 1653
Venue = The Orange Tree
Beer = Royston Red, Trisselspalt, GK IPA, XXMild; & lots Ales & Ciders!
Hares = Fliptop
Runners = 28
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 6
Newies = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 34
Membership = Merry Crumble!
Yes it was the first of the Herts Hash Christmas Celebrations with a Festive Trail followed by a Christmas lunch, there were a few early birds there due to the Train times arriving at Baldock, Pepé le Pew commented on the state of them when he rolled in to the car park on tis bright & ftairly mild morning. It was more like a spring day than the day before the Winter Solstice begins!
The car park soon filled up, as a few faces that had not been seen for a while came out of the woodwork for today’s meeting, including Fireball & Stand in Shit. Vigorous Screw Balls was also making an appearance this day, as were Skip & Party Animal who were almost literally driven in to the Pub by Psycho.
Meanwhile Fliptop went through the usual festive motions of pouring of the pre-Trail drink, the moans & groans with the prospect of turning down of the proposed ‘Traditional Sherry’ soon subsided as the bottles Fliptop produced had ‘Tawny Port’ on the label. To accompany the Port, Tent Packer was offering around pork scratchings [You’d have thought that he had a franchise in pork scratchings? – Ed]
Not everyone had the Port & scratching at the top of their list, Max Factor & Alfa Male seemed more interested in trying to steal the one Santa Hat was brought along by them off each other’s head. Milf had brought plenty of spare Santa hats & Santa themed pinafores to go around. Although the wearing of Santa Gear was not stipulated for the Trail, it seems that the majority took to the Festive Theme without any cajoling, one exception was My Lil’ who bemoaned that Santa Hats looked too much like Arsenal colours! [Bah Humbug! – Ed]
There seemed to be a plethora of hipflasks at hand offering an alternative for the Port, Pepé le Pew & Paxo had Single Malts, while Tent Packer had his Quince Gin & Kylie was offering around his double barrelled hipflask of Port in one side & Brandy in the other
With the Port gone & Tent Packer having been through his welcoming speech, nothing this week about him going to see a Pantomime with Paxo playing the Part of ‘Twidow Wanky’ on stage! [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed] The time passed 11:00 hrs as Fliptop then took centre stage.
The Hare explained what the Hash would expect to encounter out on the Trail, the main part of his spiel seemed to be aimed at the absent Sparky as there would be horses on parts of the Trail & that some of the options from CHKs didn’t have a T to stop him running too far off Dust!
The Pack were shown the way northward up the Norton Road toward the left hand branch that leads up to the railway bridge, but the Dust was spotted just a few yards along on the right-hand option that has a footpath leading off between the fenced off factory units to a dark, brick foot-tunnel in the railway embankment to come out to a CHK on the north side of the tracks, near to the small but rather smelly sewage station there.
The Trail was picked up on the path that runs parallel at the bottom of the Railway embankment, with Tent Packer, Milf & VBS leading the way out to the edge of the open common land. The option to carry straight on over to North Road never materialised as the FRBs carried along to a CHK just up beside the local Allotments. On the way the Keenies had to get by a couple of dog-walkers out & about exercising their pets to reach this halt, the pooches thought that it would be good fun to join in but they weren’t allowed.
Sludge was now on form, as he picked up the Trail as he chose to go through the kissing gate in the wooden coral like fence that encloses one part of the common to the north, the rest of the FRBs had to come back from the other option of the eastbound drive out toward North Road.
The Hash crossed the common to take to a path through the wooded strip of leafless trees that separates the top of the common from the equestrian centre that sits below the A1 (M). This meandering path made its way beside the stream with its managed reed beds that is the River Ivel, before this path reached North road there was a CHK at a fork in the footpath.
The majority continued running eastward among the trees toward Black Horse Farm on North road, but on the third of the three possible attempts in the Trail to reach that particular main road the FRBs were turned back by a T, they would have to make their way back to the alternative path that run between the electric fence of a horse paddock & the north side of the bare wooded strip.
Hash Hush was observed in order not to spook the horses in the paddocks, on his way over the RA over-heard Stand in Shit explaining to Spotted Dick that he used to Hash with Herts when he & Fireball moved to Hitchin, Mr X added that after Stand in’s first experience of the (Infamous) Albert that they soon moved away again!
Sludge was well ahead of the rest as he found the Trail on his first attempt & was soon out through to the tree line as the Trail turned through 90° to head toward the A1(M) at the motorway’s litter strewn embankment the Trail footpath would head to the north & out on to the side of Norton Mill Lane.
On the quiet narrow rustic lane & Sludge was seen heading away under the A1(M) bridge to the west, on the other side of the overhead motorway there was were two options at the CHK on the elbow of the lane, at the point where the road changes from Norton Mill lane to Norton Bury lane.
Sludge was soon off on the footpath over the fields toward Radwell, which lies in the distance northeast of the lane, but he would actually come back from that route as he failed to see any Dust down there, even at the point where another ‘lower’ footpath peels off around a small field beside the stream of the Ivel’s course.
Meanwhile My Lil’ & Mr X were wandering further down the lane, passing by the Mill House, but there was not much in the way of Flour to show that they were on Trail. These two went so far along the lane, the likes of Milf, Alfa Male, Max Factor, Pepé le Pew, Ewok, Pebbledash, Vigorous Screw Balls, Skip, Spotted Dick, Custard, Stand in Shit, Fireball & Kylie all followed on down the lane, they thought this would be the right route as Sludge had come back from the other option.
Mr X & My Lil’ knew that there was footpath that cuts across the field from where Sludge had been earlier, they came across the worn CHK at the end of the field & stood there looking across to see if they could see Sludge in the distance but little did they know he would be on the lane behind them with the rest!
Was this Trail laid in two parts was a question raised at the impromptu regroup, for this section looked to be a little weathered &was pretty faint in places, a reason that Sludge may have missed the Dust over in the opposite field, so he set off over toward the Radwell paths to have a look & satisfy his curiosity.
While Sludge scuttled away over the fields, the rest seemed to make the most of the respite & another round of hipflasks went around the Circle. A few recognised this picnic area up by the stables, just a short way from the CHK, as the place where the picnic was held for the joint 50th weekend in May.
The Pack slowly wandered up by the Norton Bury Picnic Area, some wondered if Fliptop was on the loop out toward Radwell with 2-1-2 Maureen, Psycho & Sis? They were not to be seen in the distance & so the Trail resumed off up by the corner of Nortonbury Stables with Mr X & My Lil’ leading the way up the footpath that runs along by the tree-lined embankment high above the narrow Norton lane below, they thought that the Trail may head down to the lane & then up through the Church at Nortonbury? Wrong!
The wayward two failed to see the slightly degraded Bar CHK up this route & the had to be called back by Milf & the rest who were following on behind them, & you could tell in the tone of their voices that they were glad to have been just far enough back not to be caught out so badly as the RA & My Lil’.
So, it was back down to the edge of the Stables to get on to the gravel path that runs around the outside of more fenced-off paddocks, these to the west of the A1(M) & it was now obvious that the Pace for most had dropped to a walk. The Trail made its way around the north-east & east sides of the field to come out of the southern corner, then via a wooden gate out on to the Norton Road, on the road side an arrow directed the way straight over the road.
By the time Mr X & Tent Packer had made it over to the west side of the road, they saw the ever keen Milf & Sludge making their way back from the long False Trail over the fields that run over to the Jubilee Industrial Estate on the very northern most tip of Letchworth.
Going back to the road & Underlay was already on his way down the side of the Norton road & over the road bridge spanning the busy A1(M) below, at the end of the bridge another arrow showed the way back over the east side of the road & on to the Footpath back by the drive to the Equestrian Centre at the top of the Common.
There was some barking from the various hounds that live at the Stables, one a large Swiss Bernese had a boom woof as saw the Pack pass by the ‘On Inn’ & then away up over the short embankment & on the southern footpath over the common land behind the football club grounds, a couple of walkers were surprised at the Pack approaching from behind them & then the sudden drop off of pace. On guy tried to encourage Mr X & Milf, but the RA pointed out that they had passed by the On Inn & were now only walking to the Orange Tree, plus he didn’t have the Car Keys & the Pub wasn’t quiet open yet! The guy said “Oh you’re off to see Rob then?”
The Inn Trail joined the Out Trail as the Pack came back via the foot-tunnel they had started on. Sparky was found loitering in the Pub car park, he didn’t run due to having too many commitments that day, though in hindsight it wouldn’t have taken him that long to get around of a short Trail that was now marked all the way around.
After a quick Pint, it was time to get changed in to the glad rags, well nearly everyone as Pepé le Pew took great joy in pointing out Alfa Male’s outfit, all while wearing a pair of trainers with a DJ! But at least neither of them had to rip of a couple of the small silver-bauble like Christmas Decorations & use them as Cuff-links like Tent Packer did!
After a refreshing respite of a pint or two in the Public Bar, the dropping off of Secret Santa Pressies was organised by Paxo, who was ‘Mother Henning it!
Kylie was amongst those who were impressed with the Heath Robinson remote door opener so the Bar Staff can pull on a weighted the Pack slowly gathered in the Conservatory, where the meal was to be enjoyed.
Somehow as the Down-Downs were being organised, Kylie got the Ales wrong for one he was buying for Mr X, the two from the Buntingford stable, Royston Red & Trisselspalt being at different ends of the colour spectrum & the RA couldn’t find the Ale that was left for him on the Bar. A Barmaid said that they had put a pint behind the Bar, but this was a dark ruby RED & not a pale hoppy one like Trisselspalt! Kylie now bought Mr X the right one while My Lil’ had the Red!
Once Psycho, Skip, Party Animal & Sludge were all back from changing at home! And Mark E Mark, Lobby Lobster & Ketchup had all arrived, the Down-Downs took place outside of the Conservatory, there was a plethora of Down-Downs & here are just a few: The Hare for setting the Trail; Ewok for getting her 400 Run Hipflask, though she was missing the bottle of a spirit of choice to put inside it, the Haberdasher claimed ignorance in the supplying of a bottle of the rewardee’s choice! Ewok will have to let him know her poison.
Stand in Shit & Fireball for returning to the fold, if only for a week! Pepé le Pew & Alfa Male for their dress sense, while on the subject of dresses Max Factor for out ‘Out-boobing’ the other girls with the low-cut LBD she was wearing.
There was a Gorbachev moment with Ketchup being a called out having a large red mark on his head, TBT OBE joined him for having more red marks on his head! TBT OBE was also out for the tale about his falling off of his electric bike no less than three times, the second one was the best as he was actually stopping at a pharmacists to get some plaster after his first time of toppling over!
Kylie as Beer Master not being able to tell the difference between a Ruby Red Ale & a light Summer hoppy one! Mr X & My Lil’ for leading the majority off down the lane & missing out a loop of the Trail around toward Radwell & back.
Back inside & the meal of locally sourced produce was ready to be served, between the courses the RA did his usual Speech of the previous Year where H4 have been active, it began with Mr X reading out a Christmas Card Sparky had brought along from the absent Grease Lightning & thanks for the Charity Braai for her Charity.
He moved on to losing Winston, gaining VBS, then having her go off again, losing Foxy to Manchester!
The events included; Jan: Yorkshire AGPU, Norfolk Christmas Party; Feb; Friday 13th (The first of three this year, which also included March & November) March; Saracens v Quins at Wembley, April saw the Easter Full Moon in Faro Portugal, also there were the first of the Joint 50th Birthday Parties & Weekends for Mr X & My Lil’ leading in to May with the 130th Weekend, which was My Lil’s 60th, Mr X’s 40th & the Hash’s 30th!
April also saw Ryde & Tablewhine’s Hen & Stag Run in London, followed by their Wedding Reception in May; June & the annual Braughing Wheelbarrow race again saw a couple of entries form Herts, this proved to be a tough race for some! June continued with 19th Holes 60th (Where Junior couldn’t get out of bed to come down from the Hash Hotel to the main event, 10 minute walk down the hill!) this event was back-to-back by being followed by Splash’s 60th in July.
The EHMR running weekend, & EuroHash in Kraków, Poland, was followed by the Full Moon Nash Hash at Writtle agricultural College in Essex to take us from July in to August; Isca Roman Away weekend saw Mr X reach his 10th Yearly Weekend with them & earn his Isca Tankard! UK Nash Has, hosted by Oxford brought August to an end!
Mersea Island took place again in September, then there was the Charity Braai for Greased Lightning’s Charity, with a bit of World Cup Rugby thrown in as well! As the Year began to close, there was the Oostende visit with the X-CHHHannel Hash in October, at the end of October was the Dia de Muetos (Mexican Day of the Dead) which had fancy dress theme & was the third of the weekday Trails followed by a meal at ‘Spoons – which seemed to be quite popular.
After the Meals it came around to the Secret Santa, after Santa’s knee had been worn out, it was good to look around the tables at the opened Pressies & it was great to see the usual standard of £5 or less can still be achieved! The Day faded in to the evening & the RA even got to see Star Wars that evening!
The Christmas Card Charity Money was collected & this will go to Grease Lightning’s Charity, the RA was hoping that you’d be able to read these in the minutes of the last meeting, but looks like you’ll have to wait until the AGPU in March?
Merry Crumble Everyone & a Hash New Year! On! On! to the Herts/EWSH3Christmas Weekend in Jan!