Date =                           12th November 2017

Run Number =           1764                                                                                                                                     

Venues =                     The Swan

Location:                     Wheathampstead

Beer =                           GK IPA;  Fisherman Ale; Tring Pale + Four

Hares =                         Mr X

Runners =                    14

Virgins =                        0

Visitors =                       0

Newies =                       0

Aprčs =                          1

Hounds =                      1

Total =                          16

Membership =             Respectful!


            The Pack made it to Wheathampstead in plenty of time before the start of the Remembrance Day Service, for which the High Street is shut to traffic, in order to facilitate those paying their respects can stand in front of the Memorial set in to the wall of St Helen’s Church.  The respectful display from the Hash was pretty good, though it did depend on your interpretation of singing ‘Abide with me’?  For Pôrgu Pie’s rendition had Henry the dog barking at it, Ewok, Pebbledash & Mr X had to endure this closer up than the rest, for the GM had one of the Remembrance Day Service program they all shared.

Once the two minutes silence & Hymns were completed, it was back up to the Pub for the welcoming Circle, the now shivering Pack were eager to get on with things as the bitterly cold wind was cutting through them.  Ewok kept things short & sweat before handing over to Mr X, who was this morning’s Hare.  He was equally short with his spiel, this would have been even shorter if he hadn’t have to repeat his words that Sparky couldn’t hear, even though he was standing in front of the Hare!

The Hare alluded to Short Cuts, then a preference of having a nice warm towel & fresh socks for after the water crossings, Lemming gulped in disbelief at this, before he declared that he hadn’t a change of socks! [You can safely bet that he’d be wearing Mother’s later just as he has done with her underwear in the past! – Ed]  The Keenies were shown the way up the Hill, which as Ronseal say “Does what it says on the tin!” as they were directed up the rising road toward Sandridge.

The footpath running on the west side of the Hill would have a CHK where it meets a set of steps to one side, this was the first CHK of the day as the Hare was being kind to My Lil’ & his loathing of starting a Trail from a CHK outside of the Pub!  But My Lil’ wasn’t running after going on a Reconnoitre for the Christmas Weekend Trail he was struggling a bit.

Meanwhile back at the Pub the Hare sorted out Paxo, Pebbledash & her crutch, ARP & Aoife, who was taking part on her first Herts Hash in a Papoose, they were offered up a short cut from the start which cut out scaling the Hill.  By the time Mr X had set off after the Pack, his fears of them getting too far ahead of him were put to rest as there was a bit of a hiatus at the CHK before Ewok chose to search the steps up beside the local School grounds.  Up the flight of steps & then a quick turn to the south for the Trail to be picked up on the tarmac footpath that runs between the chain-link school fence & the wooded embankment rising above the road of the Hill below.

A young family on their way back from the Remembrance Day Service slowed the middle order up, which allowed Ewok to go wrong at the next CHK where the Footpath stops at a T junction, she had descended the steps down to the Hill, then “On!” was called on the west bound alleyway that leads out to a CHK on Wick Avenue after the father of the Family correctly advised the Hash to follow his young daughter’s direction.  Which proved to be correct as the Keenies were soon on to the Trail heading Southward.

            While Sparky, Tent Packer, Sludge, Lemming, Mother, Pôrgu Pie & finally Ewok led TBT OBE up to the south & around the shallow, crook like end in the end of Wick Avenue, none of these fell for the Falsie on the adjacent continuation of the alleyway from the CHK point.  The Hare marked a Short Cut straight over on to this alleyway, My Lil’ took this & joined the Hare in walking out through to the green open space at the north end of Maltings Drive.

            From the CHK on Butterfield Road there were those of the FRBs who thought that the Trail would head out to the Hill just before it becomes the Sandridge Road, as Sparky’s last three Trails from the Swan have done before.  However, this Hare had other ideas & it took a while before Pôrgu Pie & Sludge picked up the Dust in the opposite Northwesterly direction to a CHK on the opposite side of the road from the local School, Pôrgu Pie was the first to search down the side street of Maltings Drive to the north, where he finally spotted the Hare in his obvious bright orange UK Nash Hash Hare’s top.

Ewok, led Tent Packer, TBT OBE, Lemming & Mother around to cross the green space, with its small play area to one side, then finally Sludge came in to view.  By the time they arrived Pôrgu Pie had already gone off down the short cut-through by the CHK on the Northern side of the park, while he was off on a wild goose chase on Bart Road, the rest picked up the Trail on the footpath continuation from the Hill & the alleyways as it leads westward over the end of the green space, before emering out on through the last short section of alleyway on to Lattimore Road, there a CHK was found.

By the time Pôrgu Pie had come back from his fruitless search he would find that he had lost no ground on the other Keenies, for they were heading southward again where there was no Dust!  Pôrgu Pie would soon get by the Hare & My Lil’ to pick up the Trail as the residential road begins to drop on its way down to Wick Road. 

A CHK was found on the west side of the entrance.  Ewok seemed the only one keen on heading back up Wick Road, she had ventured far enough to find the start of the Falsie up that way, but was fortunately to be stopped before going too far as “On!” was called down toward the end of Brewhouse Hill down to the west.  For some strange reason Pôrgu Pie went up Brewhouse Lane, while everyone else chose to head down where it becomes Church Lane toward St Helen’s Church & the High Street

The Trail crossed the road just after the safety barrier on the bend, once over a set of double arrows sent the Hash off through the gap between the row of a couple of cottages & the flint walls of the Old Rectory, cut off the corner that the old Rectory sits upon to take to Bury Grove.

As the Keenies head up hill, Paxo, Pebbledash, ARP & Aoife were already ahead of them & down the Short Cut the Hare had just put in.  for those climbing the rising residential hillside the full bitterness of the biting wind could be felt as the FRBs were blown by the strong chilly gusts from the open fields where the wind was coming down through the Lea Valley & Luton in the north, all of which brought the temperature down to zero with the Wind-chill factor added in!

Sparky was first up to the Bar CHK at the top of the hill, so with the wind to their backs for the FRBs it was back down to Ash Grove’s northerly of the two arms of this U-shaped suburban street, Sparky made up ground as he was first down to the CHK on the bottom of the U, located by the footpath off through paddocks & stables on a footpath that crosses the River Lea & heads out to the Lower Luton Road. 

Now, the Hare had originally planned to go this way & up the other side of the valley, but the cutting wind made him change the Trail [For the Better! - Ed] as he wasn’t up to sweep the Trail where it was exposed to the elements.  Another reason to not go that way was to keep Sparky away from disturbing the peaceful animals.

Paxo, who was over with the Hare if he could call out “On!” since he was near the gate that the Trail would go through, leading out on an enclosed path that lies at the end of northern end of the green space of the Rectory Grounds.  Once Ewok, Tent Packer, Pôrgu Pie, TBT OBE were all up with Sparky, Paxo was allowed to call out “On!” as he passed through the gate to run by the hedged-in path that leads back out toward the High Street.

On the way by the newish builds of King Edwards Place & out through private car park area, to swing around by the café & down the back of the old Mill.  On the way Mr X & My Lil’ talked about the factory that used to sit behind here where the Homes were now residing & the fact that Junior used to work there, they wondered if this was the only place where you had to have the same character as the name of the firm?  Anyway they pondered this as they left the former grounds of ‘Helmets’ to come out on to the High Street.

Arrows directed the way on the footpath behind the Mill & the former bakery, this runs by the Mill stream that is taken off of the River Lea & then out to cross over to the eastside of the High Street leading out toward the lower Luton Road.  A CHK was found at the end of the River Bridge, only TBT OBE seemed interested in searching up by the former Abbot John Pub, sadly this decent boozer is long gone.  Teebs was called back as the other FRBs called “On!” along through Mount Place, where at the dead end the Ayot Way begins on its route of the former Welwyn Garden City to Harpenden Line, & Luton beyond.

The Keenies would now go off on a long loop out, firstly utilizing this former railway line as it arcs around the back of the Meads Dell, the low lying grassy land on the north of the river Lea.  My Lil’ had already seen one of the CHKs on his cycle ride over to the Hash, of which he complained he had the wind in his face all the way out the Pub!

With this knowledge he realized that the SCBs were going to be short-cutted over the meads, then the footbridge crossing the Lea to soccer pitches at the northeast part of Wheathampstead, so he hobbled over to join TBT OBE, Paxo, Loft & Henry, then Pebbledash, ARP & Aoife, who was still asleep even at this point!

At the southern end of the eastern soccer pitch was a Held CHK behind the pavilion, this was where the Hare produced a bag of Jelly Babies & a packet of Wine Gums, the latter for Max Factor but she wasn’t present!  The Keenies weren’t that far away from completing their loop by the time the SCBs had stopped at the Held CHK, they had been around the serpentine like former railway line, formed by the course of the river Lea, before dropping down on to Sheepcote Lane.

The loop changed southward to cross the raised ‘dry’ ford in the River Lea to pass by the old Forge & the Farm to lead up further up Sheepcote Lane to a CHK, right by the footpath in the hedgerow that shelters the line of cottages & bungalows on the west side of this old lane.  Most took to this narrow well Hashed footpath as it runs out from behind the hedges & the homes to pass between the set of horse paddocks on either side.  Tent Packer & Pôrgu Pie were the exception to searching the correct route, as they carried on up Sheepcote lane, no doubt under the impression that the Trail would go as it normally does to the Devils Dyke, until they realized that there was no Dust up by L’Olivo (Formerly the Nelson Pub).

The penultimate CHK was dealt quickly with as the FRBs found it by the fenced-in path that leads northward between the horse paddocks, this was going to be the route for the Trail to take in a River Crossing back down on meads but the Hare pinged his ankle around this point, & combined with the bitterly cold weather had second thoughts of wading through the Lea!  [Lucky Lemming! – Ed]

So, things progressed by the allotments to the South & the last of the Paddocks to the North, these one being home to the Thelwell like Shetland ponies.  Sludge’s local knowledge worked well now as he & Sparky arrived out in to the corner of the playing fields to find the Sweetie Stop.  They were followed by Lemming, then Ewok & Mother, then a little later Pôrgu Pie & then Tent Packer.

Once the Pack had snacked on their sweets, the Hare allowed them to resume the search, which saw the usual suspect FRBs all going wrong by heading toward the Tennis Courts, when the Trail was through the alleyway that leads out on to the bottom of the U shaped Necton Road, Sparky was confused when he came out on to the street of Victorian Terraced homes, for there were two arrows pointing in either direction! 

The Hare told the Pack “One could be short, one could be long, one could be right & one could wrong!”  In truth both sides were marked with arrows & both arms of the road would lead up to the Marford Road to turn westward & run by the On Inn, which was located behind the Bus Shelter.

It was now a short walk by the Village Hall, where some were parked up, beyond the Fire Station & then in to the Swan, where the Pack were joined by Mrs Mallett.  The Pack were in their usual spot in the back function room, which had a sign on the table for ‘DO NOT DISTURB - Meeting in Progress!”  This also happened to be at the head [Who said Head? – Ed] of the table where the RA had bagged the seat of the Chairman Lord Lawson QC.

Unfortunately the Hare had forgotten to check on the status of any food for aprčs Trail, when he popped in the weekend before, sadly they didn’t have the friars on for any chips, as the Pub was concentrating on Sunday Lunches.  SO, no free grub for the first time in 10 years! [Slap wrist RA! – Ed]

When it came to the Down-Downs, after Ewok had raised the Toast to the Hash, she asked the Pack what they thought of the Trail, everyone agreed the 50 minute trot around was good, then she presented Mr X with his Hit.  After dispatching his Pint, Mr X then took over the Circle, awarding My Lil’ his for completing 1300 Herts Trails, in the background the words of “Get a life!” came from the Circle!  My Lil’ replied with a “Where’s my fleece?” but TBT OBE was quiet on that one.  My Lil’ could have done with that fleece for the way home as the wind had changed direction to be in his face all the way home for him!

ARP & Pôrgu Pie were out for ‘Lost Property’ of the Wedding Glasses from Max Factor & Alfa Male’s wedding left behind after the Reception! Tent Packer was out for giving a map, intended for Sparky to set his Run from the Hollybush the next weekend, it was so old that most of Redbourn isn’t on it, it looked as if it was measured in Rods, Perches, Chains & Furlongs, My Lil’ did say that Sparky would understand these better than anyone else in the room!

Finally the Hashit went to Lemming, who was notably a lot quieter & not picking on Mr X this week as the RA wasn’t driving, two weeks earlier when the RA was teased by Lemming waved his Ale around under his nose as Lemming knew that Mr X couldn’t have a pint as he was driving.

After the Circle was finished there was an update from Mr X & My Lil’ about their day’s reconnoitre of the Herts Christmas Weekend Trails, all seemed to be going pretty well.  TBT OBE also mentioned that he had gone to see Sloppy Seconds & the Hash got an update on Sloppy Seconds’ treatment.

Pôrgu Pie noticed in the Gents of the Swan a National Pubwatch Poster that he first thought could have been about the Hash, with its “Don’t get banned” Slogan above a pile of White Powder!  Strangely When out setting the Trail the Hare did say to dog walkers he encountered that white dust they would see was only flour for a 'Paper Chase like Run' to which two of the more mature dog-walkers, individually, both said “It’s not Cocaine then?” Not expected from the gentle-folk of Wheathampstead!  But possibly down to the fact that ex-Gooner Paul Merson lived up the road in Sandridge?