Date = 21st January 2017
Run Number = 1717
Venues = The Doctor’s Tonic
Beer = Greedee King
Hares = Mr X
Runners = 12
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Apres = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 12
Membership = By Wisdom & Design, just what the Doctor ordered!
A glorious morning awaited the Hash, the sun was out the temperature in the sunshine was a balmy 10°, so it was rather surprising at the low turnout, considering at the previous weeks damp & cold weather there were far more. The type of Crisp morning that made Ewok want the Pack to sing the theme tune to Frozen, or like Mr X if you haven't seen the movie, its the one used in the Meerkat Compare the Market advert!
The GM did the honors before it was time for the Hare to take the Circle, it was normal H4 markings, there were short cuts & roads to cross, so caution needed there, then there was one last bit about the possibility of Police cars, a Mercedes & a Fiat 500 still being on a CHK at a crossroads where an accident had happened just as the Hare was walking back to the On Inn after he had set the Trail earlier that morning.
Things began with the Pack heading northwestward out of Church Road to turn southwestward on to Parkway, the green avenue thorough-fare & center-piece of the World’s second garden city.
The long stretched out green colonnade lay ahead, but the FRBs wouldn’t be on it that long as the Trail would take Wanktlers, Tent Packer, Sparky, My Lil’, Milf, Ewok, Sloppy Seconds, Paxo, Ketchup & Prince Garmin off to the left on to Parkfields a double opposite elbows through two alternative 90° turns to emerge out on to Longcroft lane, there they would run southward down to a CHK at the dead-end where the street is now split in to two to prevent it being a ‘Rat-run’. Meanwhile Mr X led TBT OBE straight down Parkway on a Short Cut.
The third road that used to join this junction is Birdcroft & it was along there that the Trail was picked up & the Pack moved on to find the SCBs would meet them there back where it joins Parkway near a local NHS Clinic, on the way passing by a bench dedicated to the RA’s late best friend at School & his Parents, beyond this the Trail led to where the Parkway changed from two one-way streets either side of the green center, to become a single bidirectional road by what was once Parkway School but is now a housing estate.
Arrows directed the Hash across the road used to be lined with Horse Chestnuts, where Mr X & his school pals used to get conkers from each autumn in the days before ‘Health & Safety’ went mad but now only three of these large trees remain, beyond them are rows of saplings on either-side of the road.
The Trail led up to a CHK by Fearnley Road joins the Parkway, while My Lil’ continued on down Parkway, it was Sparky who picked things up once again up Fearnley Road. The Trail led up this normally quiet residential Street echoed with the sound of Sparky’s horn & calling of “On! On!” the short way to Turnmore dale & the Next CHK.
My Lil’, Ewok & Milf all went wrong from the CHK, it was Sparky again who turned to the south to find the arrows & the FRBs were back on Trail as it turned southward then to take to Colgrove & around on to the entrance of the local Welwyn Rugby Club on Hobbs Way.
The trot around beside the Club house through two 90° turns would then run along the northern edge of the sports ground which enclosed on all sides by residential homes would come out through a narrow alleyway that leads a short way out by one of the homes to come out on to Handside Lane, named after the former Handside Farm that used to be found a little way up the road to the north.
A sneaky short diversion for the Keenies lay in store as they were led up a passageway to the roundabout on the dead-end of the old Drive, then down the alleyway ay by an old cottage that predates the 1920’s new builds.
The Trail passed by the Backhouse rooms, another pre-Garden City building of black shuttering a flint walls, this part of Handside lane is met by Applecroft Road & Barleycroft Road at a Crossroads about 100 Yards further along. This was the spot where the Cars had collided early, but by the time the SCBs arrived at the CHK, only the Mercedes was left parked up down the road. The Hare had to call TBT OBE out of road as he was intent on clearing up the broken glass but the Hare was more worried that he FRBs would see the SCBs form when they emerged from the Rugby Club!
My Lil’ didn’t hang around as he almost instinctively knew that the Trail would come up to Meadow Green, the site of the Daily Mail Model Village, which is a bit of an anomaly as it is not a site of very small buildings, but the area of a competition run by the Daily Mail to create ‘Ideal English Village’ though some with their flat roofs & white washed walls look like they belong on the coast in the Mediterranean, or Spanish costa! But they were cheap to construct & easy to build.
On the opposite side of the road from the Model Village is the Barn Theatre, the buildings here were once the Model Dairy for the town. Site of Handside Pond, which was later filled in for environmental reasons.
The Trail now continued along Handside lane to a CHK at the crossroads with Guessens Road & Youngs Rise, from here My Lil’ continued down Handside Lane & out of sight where there was no Trail at all, he would cut through to find the SC marked up to the Held CHK.
Sloppy Seconds had now given up on his running to join TBT OBE with Mr X to head off down Youngs Rise to the west & on to a CHK at the junction with Valley Road, when Welwyn Garden City was being built there used to be a 2ft gauge light railway running throughout the town & one branch was down this road as it fetched the clay from the local pits, including the one that is now the venue for the Gosling Stadium, this clay was used to make the bricks for the local houses, many of the earlier homes have WGC stamped in their frogs!
This light railway used to supply other goods from a siding, as the nearest Stations were Hatfield or Ayot until WGC Station opened in 1926, this also marked the start of the end of the light railway as trucks could deliver the goods from the new station & it was completely removed in 1936.
Mr X thought that Paxo, Kylie & especially Ewok & Milf would have caught up by now but they spent some time reading the information board about the Daily Mail Model Village of 1922 & then looking at these homes as they passed by them.
Sparky, Wanktlers & Tent Packer were now straight over the junction to take to High Oaks Road, here the first Garden City Blue Plaque was spotted on the opposite side of the road by TBT OBE, it was for Dr Albert Mansbridge Educator and founder of Workers Educational Association, there ae 11 of these in the Town & most relate to the designers, architects & first pioneers of Welwyn Garden City, though one that bucks the Trend is the one for Dame Flora Robson, the actress.
Back to the Trail, after wandering over toward the road Welwyn Garden City Golf Club sits off of, Tent Packer joined Sparky & Wanktlers to run on to a Bar CHK further up High Oaks, they came back to search off on the seemingly dead-end of Dognell Green, at the far end of which is a footpath through by the Tennis club & on to Dellcott Road.
A CHK on the opposite side of Brockswood Lane at the junction where Dellcott Road joins it, saw Wanktlers come back from the east after Sparky blew his horn to indicate that he had discovered the Trail westward down on to Brockswood lane, a few paces on the very edge of the tarmac lane & passing the Scout Hut grounds the Trail came on to a CHK in the Brocks Wood section of Sherrards Wood. Brockswood Lane, with Handside lane made up the two pre-town roads the earliest builds were built along, the new home owners even had Of course these early residents had a handbook to abide by when they purchased their new homes.
Tent Packer had already been briefed by the Hare as to where the Trail would go & to mark the CHK once it was found, for Mr X waited back at the previous CHK to wait for the back-markers & offer them a Short Cut of the Long Trail.
The FRBs clambered up the wooded embankment by the Scout Hut to come up on to the former Railway Line that led from Welwyn Garden City to Wheathampstead & Luton beyond. A turn to the east now led on down through the southern edge of Reddings’ Plantation, a nice gentle curve as the line runs behind the homes on Brockswood lane & then when the road becomes Bridge Road, how nice it was to run along with the sunshine breaking through the trees.
The SCBs made their way down toward Bridge Road to a point where an SC & an arrow directing the way beside the former Vicarage was found, this led a few paces up to the Held CHK on the old rail line, at a point that was once a level crossing, here there was a Held CHK were there was a sweet stop. Kylie pointed out the gradient, adding that the engines would have strained along this stretch!
Here the Pack were treated to a Sweet Stop, while waiting for Milf & Ewok to arrive, Kylie, Ketchup & Prince Garmin decided that they would read the information board about the Ayot Way. Ketchup was impressed that in the 1960’s you could get a train from Hertford to Luton, he added that it was a shame it was axed as it would be handy to get this to the Airport.
Ewok & Milf came in to view & were offered their dip from the sweetie bag, the others were now keen on continuing with the Trail, especially after the Hare said that the Pack would be at the On Inn by Noon! My Lil’ used his local knowledge to continue along the former railway line. Mr X said it was lucky that Where’s Wally? Wasn’t here this day, for a lot of trees in the woodland had been sprayed with white dots that he could have mistaken for Trail! TBT OBE reckoned that they had used the same marker that he has, but Mr X reckoned that this probabnly had a much lesser half-life than the stuff TBT OBE sprays a Trail with.
At the steps & then the ramp to the Hawthorn Theatre (name after Sir Nigel Hawthorn) & its car park, Mr X laid down an arrow, Kyle noticed that Prince Garmin had topped & was going to change the arrows direction, but he didn’t in the end as he was aware of the eyes watching him. It was along this stretch that Ketchup told those around him that Prince Garmin took his Herts 100th Tankard in to School the day after he was presented with it!
The Trail led on to the ‘White Bridge’ a bar CHK was on the opposite side where the line continues under Digswell Road, but My Lil’s local Knowledge meant he & the other FRBs would not go that far, but instead would take to the set of steps on the west side of the bridge & up to the end of Digswell Road as it joins the Campus, which was known as Horn’s Siding when the light railway stopped there.
Arrows led over on to the large semi-circle of open space that makes up the campus, here the Trail would take an anticlockwise route on a path leading on to the only Ladies CHK of the Trail, which was found by the trees on the west side of the green space. Ewok said the cartoon boobs in the Circle (to indicate it being a Ladies CHK) were more in Milf’s league!
A photo shoot was in order for the Girls as the CHK was near to the bronze statue ‘Ad Astra’ (To the Stars) by Kathleen Scott in 1938 (Wife of RF Scott of the Antarctic), while they were admiring the stretching youth, Mr X said you could tell it was chilly as the statue’s appendage was not as big as it would be in the warmer summer weather. Of course there were jokes now at both Paxo & Sparky’s expense.
The Hare was determined that the Trail would be completed on the Hour & so he marked the CHK to direct the Pack over to the crossing in the centre of the base of the Semi-circle. The SCBs just walked down the centre to meet the Keenies just as the lights went red. To stop the traffic. A dash over Bridge Road & then arrows directed the Hash toward John Lewis, where the lights weren’t red, Sparky then asked if anyone knew what John Lewis was called before they took over the building, Mr X & My Lil’ both said they could recall when it was called Welwyn Department Stores.
The Pack were on the final stretch of the Hash, with the Keenies running along the side of John Lewis, which was supposed to lure the Harriettes over from the Ladies CHK. This final stretch passed down the Parkway, crossing the two Howards Gate roads, between these is the huge medal of his bust in the grass at the start of Howardsgate.
To the right, in the centre of the Parkway is the Coronation Fountain, celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s ascent to the throne. Mr X would later show then the impressive pictures of the Fountain when it is lit up & has pink dye in it for Breast Cancer awareness Month. There was also a noticeable contrast in the temperature as this last bit was in the shade cast by the large shops of John Lewis & the Sainsbury’s.
Sparky, Mr X, My Lil’ & Tent Packer made it back by the On Inn beside Sainsbury’s to reach the Pub a mere 60 seconds past the Hour! The Pack soon settled in to enjoy the hospitality, & even Sparky only took 15 minutes to get changed, shaving at least half an hour off of his previous best!
When it came to Circle, Ewok did the honours & then it began to fall apart as The Curate seemed to be in a trance that left him mumbling away to himself, was he speaking in tongues? Anyhow, he managed to get some kind of speech together & the Hare was rewarded for a fairly good & historic Trail.
Normal Service resumed as Mr X summoned TBT OBE up for last week’s frightening the life out of Paxo & Mr X when he produced what they thought was Prince Garmin’s Tankard & poured a Beer in to it, it turned out to be his own one that he keeps in a box! Ketchup was out for letting Prince Garmin take it to School to show his teacher!!
The two Harriettes of Ewok & Milf were out for spending too much time at the naked statue, instead of checking things out so the Hare could get everyone back under the hour!
The Hashit went to the Curate for his lackadaisical attitude to his job, must try better next time!
Prince Garmin whiled away the time drawing various pictures of the Hash, you had to admit that he got Sloppy Seconds down to a Tee! The others discussed various things from the real song the mice sing in Bagpuss, to the fact that the Hash aren’t celebrating either Burns Night or the Chinese New Year this time around in the upcoming week. We’ll make sure the Hare Raiser is on the Ball for Next Year!