Date =                            27th December 2015

Run Number =            1654                                                                                                                                     

Venue =                        The Gate

Location=                     Sawbridgeworth

Beer =                           Black Gold; Wickwar Bob; Skinners Betty Stoggs

Hares =                         Alfa Male

Runners =                    13

Virgins =                       0

Visitors =                      0                                        

Après Hashers =         2

Newies =                       0

Hounds =                      0

Total =                          15

Membership =             Following Blind Pugh!


            It was definitely moist out around Sawbridgeworth this morning, with a very light drizzle that in places was a lingering fog that could be seen from the Train up from Broxbourne.  Decamping from the Train were Mr X & My Lil’, then from a carriage further down Max Factor alighted & walked up with them to the Bell Street car park, where the Pack would circle up for the Trail.

            Alfa Male had caught an earlier Train, so he was out & about setting the Trail as the Pack began to grow in size, something that surprised Mr X & My  Lil’ who expected it to be the usual low turnout that occurs after a Herts Christmas Party.  Meanwhile Sparky was wandering around looking of r the Public Toilet he had just walked by.

To while away the time awaiting for the appointed hour, there were offerings of Quince Gin & Pork Scratchings from Tent Packer – a healthy start if ever there was one!  Alfa Male came back & after the GM’s welcoming speech, he took the Circle to explain what to expect out on the Trail.

The first thing the Hare mentioned was the fact that some of the Trail may have been washed out! [Didn’t think that the rain was that heavy? – Ed] there were also short cuts mentioned & there would be a Held CHK on an old Pallet for a Port & Mince pie Stop.  Sloppy Seconds, our local around these parts, claimed that he knew where that very pallet was, not everyone believed this.

The Hare said the Trail would begin just down from the Gate on that side of London Road, so the Pack left the car park, left on to Bell Street & out on to London Road.  Once over the Pelican Crossing, Mr X & My Lil’ took a wrong turn as they though that the Trail would use the alleyway footpath that leads to the local Catholic Church behind the main road.

The RA & Hare-Raiser were called back as the Trail was found down beyond the Indian & Mexican Restaurants on London Road’s slightly west off of a due south course, toward the bottom of this valley the main road climbs up Bonks Hill [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed] The Dust would not go that far as that.

Sloppy Seconds, for reasons best known to himself, was running down the east side of the main road, then when the Trail was picked up on Hoestock Road off to the west he would stay on the opposite side from the rest of the Pack as the Dust led over the ridge these residential back-streets sit upon.  The FRBs arrived at a CHK near to another footpath alleyway between the homes.  My Lil’ stated that the Trail never goes down that particular alley & he joined Mr X in heading to the dead-end of the cul-de-sac part of the road.

Mr X, My Lil’, Sloppy Seconds all followed on after Sparky as he headed down to the footpath that runs along behind the homes of Nursery Fields, but it seems that the T down to this path had been obliterated & they were called back by the Hare, but Sparky had gone too far & Sloppy Seconds’ calling of “On back!” failed to carry to Sparky’s cloth ears.

The Trail led down the alleyway that was dismissed earlier, crossing over the tributary to pass through the hedgerow & out in to a field of long wet grass to the west of the north end of Sawbridgeworth.  The Dust was a little sparse around these parts & at time the FRBs were not so confident that they were on the correct route, with Sludge, Paxo, Ewok all coming back from the westward route, even with the Hare walking up with Vigorous Screw Balls & 2-1-2 Maureen they were still unsure.

The Trail led on to a CHK near the west end of the hedged-in common area, Milf, Sludge & Tent Packer were off further on that compass point, while Ewok chose the path cut through the longer grass that leads around to the edge of the northern hedgerow, she was followed by Mr X & he was happy with this as Ewok soon called out “On! On!” as the path would wind its way back around to the East end of the common, not far from where the Pack entered the field & where the Hare had offered up a Short Cut to 2-1-2 Maureen, which she declined to take.

The Trail passed through the gap in the hedgerow over a small wooden bridge spanning the tributary & out to the farm land to the north, here Sloppy Seconds came through to find the rest of the Hash, he had tried to get Sparky back but had failed.  Sloppy reckoned that Sparky would be so far ahead of the rest of the Pack by now that he would probably be back at the Pub!

Sloppy Seconds had also informed the other FRBs that the Trail had already been found out on the footpath running below Nursery Fields, so it was out of the corner of the farm field & over another small wooden footbridge to find the Dust running by the thicket like hedge that the flowing tributary runs by behind Nursery Fields.  This path emerged out by the old wooden timbered barn of Chalks Farm & on Coney Gree, the RA wondered if the name of the residential street was a misspelt green but it isn’t.

Mr X was surprised to see that Sparky was still there & was running around here like a headless chicken.  Mr X caught up & was told by Sparky that he had lost the Trail, Mr X said that he would have thought that the Trail would go through the small fenced-off play area & Recreation ground beside West Road as it leads out of Sawbridgeworth.  Sparky said that there was Dust there but it stopped, he said that he had turned eastward & searched up the house lined street back into Sawbridgeworth, but he found no Dust there!

The RA decided that he would follow the Dust through by the swings & slide, where there were obvious blobs of Dust, Mr X knew that there was a footpath directly across from the Park & suspected that the Trail would take to this hedged-in path to the farm land over to the north. 

Out on lane of West Road, with a quick glance over to the dark, wide wooden post by the start of the north bound footpath a large splat of flour could be seen on it, large enough to been seen for some distance.  The marking was so big it reminded Mr X of a Hans Christian Anderson Story about a Dog with eyes as large as Dinner plates!

Anyhow, Ewok, Milf, Sloppy Seconds & Tent Packer were all up with Sparky & they clearly saw the Dust as they all took to the footpath out by the tributary separating the School sports fields up to the east & the farm land to the west.  Now back on track & Sparky was soon running away from the rest, only because most of them knew that there was a footpath up between the School playing fields & a residential estate.

The Hare had given a major clue that at one point in the Trail there would be a water-filed ditch to cross & this looked to be the most likely point for this to take place.  To reinforce the fact the Trail was over the ditch & this was the crossing point, a large blob of flour could be seen on the last upright concrete post for the chain-link fence that prevents access to the school sports grounds, well almost as in places there were large holes the kids use to get in & out.

The FRBs called out to Sparky to get him to come back from the north, then they turned their attention in getting Ewok over the water field ditch, which she managed in one go & avoided getting her non-Hash Boots!  Why was she wearing her non-Hash boots?  Well, Paxo was asked to pick up her Hash-shoes & instead he picked up Backpack’s Hash Shoes, which are a little too big for Ewok’s feet!

            Back to the Trail & the Keenies made their way up the long footpath as it makes its way by the various sports fields for the school & the local football ground & then the homes to the left to emerge out on to the Cambridge road Road. There was a little confusion at the start, as a few thought that they had gone wrong due to a lack of Dust, it seems that ‘Sparky’s Disorder’ may have been spreading but those with keener eyes spotted the Dust on the Trees lining the northward route of the Cambridge road.

            On the way up to the Cambridge Road, Sloppy Seconds let slip to Ewok, within ear-shot of the RA, that this was the first anniversary of his new cross-trainer Hash Shoes!  That was one thing on the Down-Down list.  Milf also let slip that her first Herts Run was from the Gate.

Sparky caught back up again & soon by the others for the second time on the way up to the Bull Pub, though called the Bull this hostelry has small golden greyhound statues in the road-side garden.  Not far beyond this & the path on the west abruptly stops, so a set of arrows pointed the way over the busy road to a CHK near to an alleyway in to Northfields Road at the top of the northern most pint of Sawbridgeworth. 

Sludge, Tent Packer, Milf, Sparky & Sloppy Seconds all disappeared down the very short alleyway to look for Dust, only Mr X & My Lil’ thought otherwise as they knew that further up the Cambridge road is another footpath off to the east.

            Sure enough, Mr X found the Trail & “On!” was relayed back by My Lil’ who was slightly behind & then on to Ewok to call the others back from the estate.  The Trail made its way up the Cambridge Road & then took to a Footpath before the roundabout in the main road near the local Cemetery.  This eastbound path was on the Farm Track for the small holdings & camping areas on the way down to the River Stort Navigation.

A CHK by a cross-roads of footpaths was ignored by Mr X, for one path would lead too far to the north & the other led back to Northfields Road.  The RA continued along further eastward, as the stony drive dropped down toward the Navigation, on the way the Hash could see in two of the fields were long horned Highland cattle, affectionately known as ‘Coos’ north of the border.  There were also sheep & goats in other pens, pigs in sties, chickens also that were ‘free-range’ the only thing missing were any turkeys! [Can’t think why? – Ed]

The Track passed by a group of Caravans & came through a litter strewn scrubby bushy area to find a Held CHK on the discarded pallet by the iron footbridge over the Stort Navigation, right by the rail bridge.  To the south of the west bank was an area of moored boats of all sorts of types & sizes.

The drizzle came down a little harder as the Keenies & the Quince Gin was passed around as the FRBs awaited the Hare, with his Port, to arrive accompanied by 2-1-2 Maureen & Vigorous Screw Balls.  The latter was walking around as she didn’t feel too good & also that she had been entrusted by Sparky to carry the Mince Pies from Grease Lightning, so the Pack could rest assured that these would be within the ‘Use by date’ but it was checked on the packets anyway.

To while away the time the conversation came around to Max Factors low cut dress she wore at the Christmas Lunch!  Paxo mentioned that pebbledash & Pepé le Pew would be arriving later on as Pepé was busy with polishing his ATC boots. [Buffed & polished within an inch of their lives no doubt? – Ed]

Sparky also took the opportunity to take a few pictures of the regroup, using his new iPhone he soon realised that it doesn’t have a photographic plate in the back, nor does he need to put a black cloth over his head but let’s try & reinstate the latter of the two connections with William Fox Talbot’s creation.

After a couple of Ports, a mince pie & a cheery wave at a passing boat, the Pack set off again & climbed the narrow metal steps to cross the black & white painted metal bridge to get on to the towpath beside the Stort Navigation.  The going along this path was quite hard work as it is well walked & the resulting Shiggy was quite deep in places, which slowed even the keenest of the FRBs.

The serpentine like course of the Stort made its way by the Lock, where there is a footpath that leads back westward through the houses of Saffron Crescent, this was ignored in favour of the correct route to come out on to the Station road by the bridge over the marshy area & tributaries that feed the Stort, all of which is not too far from Sawbridgeworth Station, the level crossing & the Essex Border.

Just on the edge of the road bridge over the Stort, Sparky dropped his red ‘doo-rag’ as he stopped to take another picture with his new phone & the fact that Milf had been flashing her top had no influence whatsoever on Sparky’s decision to take a snap there!

A CHK was found on the road bridge, from here the FRBs were going to get a split up, with some following the correct Trail over to the next section of Towpath along the Stort, then off to the west & up through Mill Lane to one of the connecting alleyways that lead up to Great St Mary’s Church, where the strong smell of snuffed out candles could be smelt after the Christmas Services.  Through the stocky wooden Church gates & it was a simple trot up On Inn to Bell Street.

Mr X & My Lil’ had a bit of a wait for Sludge to make it back to his car, where their change of clothes had been stowed, when he did make it back Sludge looked a little bedraggled & had Shiggy all down one side of his body, which gave the game sway to the RA that Sludge had fallen over!

Pepé le Pew & Pebbledash arrived just after the Hash had settled in to the Pub.  Sparky bought a couple of bowls of Chips to feed the troops, while the Pool table at the far end of the raised part of the Bare saw a lot of Action, there was plenty of ‘cheering on’ in support of Vigorous Screw Balls in her beating Pepé Pew at pool, surely this could not have been down to the fact she was still wearing lycra bottoms & bending over the pool table?

The Down-Downs took place with the hare receiving his for a Good Trail; Trent Packer was out for the Weather [Traditionally the RA’s Duties but misquoted by Fliptop the week before as the GM’s responsibility! – Ed] Sparky was out for not being able to see the large blobs of flour on Trail & lost property of his red doo-rag; Sludge & VSB for coming a cropper on the Trail, his one his side & hers on her knees!  [Whoa! There Pebbledash! - ]

From the RA, Sloppy Seconds received a 1st Birthday Card for his shoes, signed by the Hash!  [If only the Hashit was about this weekend! – Ed] Pepé le Pew was also out, for his late arrival due to his buffing of his ATC Boots!