Date = 13th November 2016
Run Number = 1705
Venue = The Swan
Beer = GK ABBOTT, IPA, Oakham Inferno, Bishop’s Farwell
Hares = Mr X
Runners = 15
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Apres = 1
Hounds = 0
Total = 15
Membership = Paying our respects!
It was a bright, sunny morning, the type of day that would have people taking to the sunny side of the street to keep out of the cooler shady side. Most of the Pack arrived at the venue with plenty of time before the High Street is shut for the annual Service of Remembrance to take place outside of the War Memorial set into the wall of the grounds for St Helen’s Church.
Even before the Service started there was an almost reverent silence, with just the solitary bell peeling away to mournfully draw those going to pay their respects as the Pack joined the various organizations associated with the village & the good folk of Wheathampstead. of course you’ll always get a few impatient tw*ts driving their cars, who in their ignorance sounded their horns as they can’t drive through & getting irate by the simple-minded who get easily confused & cannot fathom out how to get around the village by using the by-pass. [Perhaps they have Sparky’s Tomtom? - Ed]
The Service took place, two minutes of silence was observed, then after the final Prayer had been recited, the Hash walked back up to the Swan, back at the Pub & Mr X was asked by Whatever She Says & No Eye Deer if they would be more comfortable wearing gloves on the way around the Trail, the answer was “No!” as once out of the shade the weather was quite mild for the time of year.
There was no GM or JM this week, so Sludge stepped up to the plate & he got the Run Number spot on & he didn’t have to call Ewok! [Well, not that we know of yet? – Ed] The Hare was then called forward & he would explain that the Trail was normal Herts Hash Markings, of one-sided arrows & Dust, there were a couple of roads to cross, but there were lots of Short Cuts, then without any more to add, the Hash were sent over the roundabout junction directly across the road as the time reached just after 10 past the hour.
Having made it over the roundabout & the following zebra-crossing the Hash were on the north side of the Marford Road, there Porky Pie, Where’s Wally?, Judy, Tent Packer & No Eye Deer all took to running along the grassy verge to avoid the public who were leaving the Service, dodging the established road-side trees along the way.
The Hash were heading eastward by St Thomas Moore Catholic Church & then on to the first CHK at the junction where Brocket View heads of by the west edge of the local sports fields. Porky Pie continued along the Marford Road to find a T beyond the local Parish Council & the Library & Hall.
Porky Pie came back to find that some of the others were also off Trail by heading down Brocket View, meanwhile Sloppy Seconds hung about on the CHK, he was still nursing a bandaged forearm like he was the Hash’s own Keith Lemon! The only other option from the CHK was to venture over the car park, where an arrow was partially obscured by a few of the vehicles parked there since the Trail was set earlier that morning.
The Dust took the Hash between the wooden bollard posts & then on to the tarmac path that heads down through the centre of the green Playing fields, the next CHK would be found by the tree near to the fenced off multi-sport hardcourts & the separate tennis courts. My Lil’ & Sludge were some of the first to head toward the heart of the green space, but no Dust would be found there, instead it was picked up on the eastbound path that passes the tennis court & then heads over by the solitary building of the old changing rooms.
Porky Pie, Milf & ARP were soon on behind the old changing rooms & heading eastward to the corner to take to the hedged-in footpath that runs behind the local allotments, down there they would find the First Bar CHK of the Trail. My Little & Sludge would now take advantage of being further back as they saw the Hare mark the Trail up the short alleyway through to the bottom of the square U- shaped Necton Road, there the Dust would led up to the Marford Road once again, Where’s Wally & Judy would also make up lost ground to get ahead of those other FRBs who went wrong by the allotments.
The Hash obeyed the double arrows to cross the road, where 2-1-2 Maureen was short-cutted along to the CHK by the start of Conqueror’s Hill Road. Where’s Wally & Porky Pie were soon heading southward up this residential road, but only far enough to find a T, this only left the option to head eastward once more along by the Swedish Houses on the Marford Road. Having been caught out earlier by a Bar CHK so soon in the Trail, most were wary of passing by the unmarked uncapped footpath leading southward between the houses, they had good reason to be on their guard as ahead on the Marford Road lay another Bar CHK!
Once up the muddy, hedged-in path the FRBs came to a CHK at the junction with an alleyway path that joins from the west, there was only a Falsie a few paces further south on to dead-end of Tudor Road. The Trail was along the alleyway back out to Conqueror’s Hill, emerging just beyond the T Porky Pie & Where’s Wally? discovered earlier. Then it straight over the road & on to Offa’s Way, this west bound road splits in to two, but the Trail would stick to the lower west bound section, there at the corner just where it turns southward was a CHK.
Porky Pie, ARP, Tent Packer, Kylie, Milf, Sludge, Judy & Where’s Wally all headed off the few paces on Garrard way to pick up the alleyway that leads out through to the aptly named ‘The Hill’, Sloppy Seconds was found dithering around the start of the alleyway, playing the old sympathy card in claiming he was injured, which must have worked aa the Hare sent him on the short cut up that My Lil’, 2-1-2 Maureen & Whatever She Says had been sent up. Just as the Hare was about to follow on, No Eye Deer then appeared from down Garrard Way where she had a fruitless search, she would take to the loop out to the Hill.
The Trail headed up the ‘Hill’ as it rises to the south on the old side road that sits above the main road, the next CHK was located near to the alleyway back through to Offa’s Way. Some looked over the Hill, to the footpath on the opposite side, but the Trail would be picked up by Tent Packer as he came through the passageway, ARP followed on & found the Hare waiting at the next section of footpath as it becomes the Saxon Road footpath, which judging by the red street warning signs was about to be closed off.
The Hash followed the footpath over the end of one section of Saxon Road, the next section of tarmac footpath turned from southward to eastward weaving is way to the south to come out on to Allen Way. The Pack would make their way around to the next CHK around on Hill Dyke Road, there Porky Pie & ARP seemed to be keen on checking out the footpaths on the opposite side of junction with the road down to No Mans Land, but a couple of the Pack had sussed that behind the corner wall of the end house on the south side of the terrace had a footpath running behind it.
Again Sloppy Seconds was dithering, seemingly unsure that this was the correct route, but “On!” was called when the Flour was picked up again, as the path continued between the fenced off rear gardens of the homes on Beech Crescent & the tree line for the farm fields to the south. This trot would emerge out in to the open fields on the long southeasterly trot down through the seedlings of a winter crop to come up to a Held CHK on the edge of Dyke Lane, there a Held CHK was found in the field’s entrance opposite the drive down to Beech Hyde Farm.
No Eye Deer told the Hare she was disappointed that there were no sweets forthcoming at this point in the Trail, the Hare said that there would be a sweet stop later, but not at this point. With 2-1-2 Maureen now in sight & being escorted at the back of the Hash by Whatever She Says, the Hare allowed the Hash to start Checking again.
How happy was the Hare when he found that the two main options were searched & he knew there was no Trail down either? More so was the answer, especially as My Lil’ hadn’t headed back toward Wheathampstead on Dyke lane where he would have known about the footpath a little way along to the north.
No Eye Deer & Judy went up Dyke Lane [Thankfully Pebbledash wasn’t there! – Ed] & found the Trail, Sloppy Seconds shouted out “Hang on I’ll join you!” in reply to their “It disappears in the hedge!” on the footpath that weaves its way among the trees before dropping down to the ‘Devils Dyke’ which was one section of the Belgic Oppidium, the deep tree covered ditch that was dug out by hand to create the fortifications of the Settlements in this area that were constructed about 50 BC by Belgic invaders.
The Belgic Tribes moved up the rivers Thames & the Lea from what is now Belgium, [So, Rustler you’ve closer connections with Herts then you knew! – Ed] Evidence of this was found in the Devil's Dyke, at the eastern end earthworks are part of the remains of an ancient settlement of the Catuvellauni, it was believed to be the tribe's original capital. This moved to Verlamion (the Romans would rename Verulamium, which in turn would become modern St Albans) circa 20 BC. The Devil's Dyke is reputedly where Julius Caesar defeated Cassivellaunus in 54 BC. The dyke was part of the same defensive rampart as nearby Beech Bottom Dyke some 4 miles away, making the area one of the largest and most important British Iron Age settlements.
Anyhow back to the Hash, not that far into the Dyke’s southern end & a CHK was found by the set of steps back up to Dyke Lane, Judy went off up these but had to return when “On!” was called below on the leaf-littered floor of the earthworks. The going wasn’t too bad in the bottom of the Dyke, slightly slippery in places, but really pleasing on the eye to see the bright sunlight’s dappled effect through the leaves of the canopy of the beech trees. Even Fartin Martin’s trip hazard has now been replaced with a section of duckboards to keep the Hash out of the Shiggy!
The Trail left the Dyke by way of the red brick pillared gate, with its dedication by Lord Brocket for the use of the people in honour of coronation of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth, Milf & No Eye Deer had a quick look at the information boards by this, before running on down to the Marford Road. Care was taken in crossing this busy road, Sludge confessed to the RA that he had spotted the Arrows here on his drive to the Hash.
The next arrows were across by l’olivo [Formally Hashed from by H4 when it was the Nelson! – Ed] the Trail would run down the nice gentle incline of the rustic Sheepcote Lane, passing ‘Little Acres’ [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed] the Keenies would be led on by the footpath in between two ends of separate hedges & this leads off to the west, the Keenies led by Porky Pie would continue northward all the way down beyond the farm to cross the ford in the river Lea & on to a Bar CHK! So, it was a trot all the way back to the footpath back up Mill Lane.
My Lil’, Sloppy Seconds & Tent Packer would now take up the Front Running, as they arrived just as the Hare marked the way on the footpath toward the back of the allotments! Here ‘Hash Hush’ was obeyed as on the first part of this path has horse paddocks on either side, the southern ones had a series of jumps & fences in, on the other were a couple of horses.
The Trail change direction from heading directly back toward the Recreation Grounds, it would take to the northern path between the paddocks & the tree-line, this would turn through a kink from northeast to northwest. A series of kissing gates would slow the Pack on the path littered with Shiggy, horse dung as well a few nettles & brambles across the route. Dust led on between the stables & paddocks of a lot of Thelwell ponies, or as Mr X called them ‘Ewok sized Horses’.
Arriving back at the east end of the Sports Ground, arrows pointed the way over the picnic area in the northeast corner & over to a river-side willow tree with a swing hanging from one bough, beneath the willow’s cover an arrow pointed the way across to the north bank of the River Lea.
Yes, there was river crossing, the Pack waded through after the Hare, but the Hare’s ascent on the opposite Bank was hampered by a large hairy sheep-dog who thought that it was all a game & jumped up Mr X, eventually the pooch was calmed down by his owners who were enjoying sitting in the sunshine, at the bank-side bench. Back I the water & here was a lot noise in a bit of a commotion it was here that Milf got her ‘Pussy’ splashed by Porky Pie [Thankfully Pebbledash wasn’t there! As it sounds like an episode of ‘Are you Being Served’ – Ed]
ARP was also splashed & refused Porky Pie’s offer of a shove up the bank-side [I said bank-side Pebbledash! – Ed] The RA offered a hand up from above on the bankside & this was accepted, leaving him to believe that Porky Pie was one of those responsible the splashing! The civilian couple were intrigued at the Hash wading through the river to get to the last Held CHK, which to No Eye Deer’s joy that it was the sweet stop.
Time to move on, as 2-1-2 Maureen & Sludge were both missing, Whatever She Says came in to view & he was directed by the Hare to make his way along the south side of the river & back in to Wheathampstead. The Pack however, were led a few degrees north off of due west to run the footpath which follows on what was a part of the former railway line from Welwyn Garden City to Harpenden & Luton beyond, this leads behind the newer homes around Wadding Lane to the north, a CHK was thrown in but it didn’t hold the Pack up too long as they ran in to Wheathampstead near the north end of the High Street.
The Trail crossed over the High Streets & led up the small passageway by the local bakers, this runs behind one parade of shops on an old route that looks down over the channeled Mill Stream running by, the On Inn was found just before emerging back on the High Street.
Back at the car park of the Swan 2-1-2 Maureen was found, whole already inside the Pub Sludge was already imbibing, “Oh I cut off the end as I wanted a Beer!” was his reasoning to the RA when Mr X pointed out that the whole Trail took just under an hour to get everyone around. Then it was shepparding the Hash around to the function room at the back of the Pub.
As the first round of chips & onion rings were about to come in, so did Sparky & he removed the Hashit he was wearing only to discard it on the dining table, all to an abhorrent chorus of "No Sparky!" Sparky then went on about his delay in not making the Service & the start of the Hash, apparently he had an incident where two cyclists masked an object jutting out in to the road, Sparky's wheel hit this with some force, enough to put a considerable dent in the rim [No Pebbledash! – Ed] & Sparky’s tyre went flat. Looking at it afterwards a new tyre could be in order as the wall would have been damaged!
Sparky went off to change, so as the Hash gannets descended on the food, someone placed some on a plate for Sparky, & just as well they did as Kyle picked up the foil platter of chips & with uttered an unconvincing surprised "Oops!" as the lot fell on his & Milf's plate!
There were another couple of rounds of chips & onion rings, Sloppy Seconds didn't partake as he was so hungry after the Trail that he had a Roast Dinner almost as soon as he came back Inn! [Is Carol not feeding him? - Ed] The RA noticed that Sloppy Seconds didn’t have any problems with his Keith Lemon ‘injury’ as he fed himself pretty well using both hands!
Sparky returned & he was quizzed on whether he did the water crossing, it turned out he did & amused the couple at the bench as he waded through on his own! All of which was a far better subject that the previous one of Sparky chewing the gristle on some old bone the week before, the photos of which didn't please No Eye Deer when Kylie subjected them to her.
More very hot chips & onion rings arrived thankfully it killed off the previous conversation, then silence was broken by a now familiar sound of "Oops!" as again many more chips 'accidentally' slipped off of the platter! Kylie was lifting up! "I am sharing a plate with Milf!" was his rapid response to the jeering from the rest!
Mr X said that after the last couple of Armistice Day Trails from here, when the SCBs & walkers came in some 30 – 40 minutes after the FRBs, “I took a leaf out of Sparky’s book, then screwed it up & chucked it on the fire!” Mr X wanted everyone around in a reasonable time, for the Hash were having Chips & Onion rings in the back function room. This was also the ideal pace to have the Down-Downs, for no seats would be lost to the General Public!
When it came to the Down-Downs Sludge got things going with the Hare being rewarded for setting a Trail that the Pack all agreed was a good one for this day. Mr X then took the Circle, stating that there was a good respectful display of Poppies worn by the Pack at the parade & service. Now it was time for him to call Kylie up for his 'Oops moment', the RA said with that many of them Kylie should get some Always pads!
My Lil' was awarded his Hit for an incident on the train on the way to the Full Moon the previous day. A father, a grandmother & a daughter sat opposite Mr X & My Lil’, so, to keep the kid entertained the father began to read from Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, Mr X then looked at My Lil' next to him & saw that he had nodded off listening to the tale, My Lil' tried to say that he had seen the film & knew the ending so shut his eyes!
It happened that Judy & Where's Wally? had both celebrate back to back birthdays this week & a chorus of 'Hashy Birthday' accompanied their Down-Downs. The Hashit went to Sparky, for his wrecked wheel, going through the river on his own & dumping the Hashit on the dining table!
Sludge had a Pint reserved & it was pretty obvious by the childish smirk on his face that this Down-Down was heading Mr X's way, the spurious reason was 'Lost property' of a beenie hat left in Sludge's car boot, Mr X wasn't going to argue the toss that Sludge was in a hurry to leave the previous week & he didn’t want to hold Sludge up, as he was in such a rush he didn't even go to the Pub! He just downed it, taking his punishment in true Hash style!