Herts Hash Runs Nos. 1772/73/74 Herts Christmas Weekend, Garden House,

Stamford, Lincs 5-7th January 2018

 

Friday evening & the Pack began to arrive at the Garden House, most were surprised to find that it wasn’t the shithole that TBT OBE had picked up on via his trawling of old TripAdvisor & posted the thoughts of ‘Not so Happy Campers’ on to the Herts Farcebook page, fortunately Mr X’s on-line research was far more comprehensive!  Mr X deleted TBT OBE’s posts in order not to scare of the rest of the Hash from attending. [Most posts on these tend to be negative ones, for if people have a crap time they often write it up there & then, while people who had a good time tend to do it later, or forget!  Like the R*n Reports, a pinch of salt is always needed when reviewing – Ed]

The venue itself is ideal for the Hash, having gone from being a Hotel to become a Sport Academy for Young Footballer, each time it is rented out over half terms more money goes back in to repairing the old stone built listed building.  Inside the building the floors are on slightly different levels, this was explained by Anne by the fact that one section of the building was once a separate home to an old Sea Captain, when this was incorporated in to the large neighbour it was discovered that the floors were slightly on different levels!

No Eye Deer had drawn up the sleeping plans & left these out for the Pack to sort themselves out, surprisingly she had billet Whatever She Says with her [Hope she had a jar of Humbugs at the ready! – Ed]  Going up the boarded-in stair case (for protection) it soon became clear that there were rooms on all different levels, with one off of the staircase itself.  Having scaled on flight of steps in this fairground like ‘Crooked House’ some had to venture right up to almost the top, where the air was thin & the water pressure less than a trickle.  However, what do you expect from a 17 Century Building?  Anne said that the very top rooms were really only suitable for Ewok sized civilians.

                Mr X & My Lil’ arrived back at the Garden looking knackered with legs & Hash boots covered in Shiggy from setting the Trail, on the way around they had also tested a Pint or two in Saturday’s On Inn [Just for Quality Control Purposes you understand! – Ed].   There was also a need to check on the Pub where the Buffet was going to be held on the Saturday afternoon.  With everything being A-OKAY it was back to Garden House.

Before setting off on the Pub Crawl, these two Hares just had enough time to shower & have a quick ‘Test Pint’ of the Stony Ford Bitter that Tim from the Brewery had set up on the small Bar in Garden House on Thursday, allowing it to could settle in time.  Very nice it was too!

                The Pub Crawl began with the few who were ready at 19:00Hrs to follow My Lil’ & Mr X down through the St Martin’s area of Stamford to cross the River Welland & weave their way through a few side streets, wandering up Scotgate to find the Green Man, here the Pack would meet up with Canary Boy, Her Fault, Bummer, then Walkie Talkie & Careless to name the few of the Rutland Hash who were venturing out to join Herts on the Pub Crawl.

                An enclave of Hashers soon formed at the far end of the Bar, Mother & Lemming, Alfa & Max Factor amongst the early birds who were soon enjoying the evening, Fliptop & Sis arrived, as did Wanktlers, Ewok, Paxo, Pepé le Pew & Pebbledash. Before long it was time to move on as a “Five Minute!” warning went up.  By now Mr X & My Lil’ were feeling the effects of their day out setting the Trail, as well as the Ales they had sampled on their way around to check out a few of the Pubs for the rest of the weekend.  Careless & other Rutland Hashers were now placed firmly in charge of the plasterboard for setting the Trail

The Pack moved on over to Broad Street & headed up to the Lord Burghley another excellent Pub & again the Hash made their home at one section of the dining area.  The Pack were informed that the Lord Burghley is Canary Boy’s favourite Pub, & you can see why, it’s a quaint place, with a small courtyard garden with outside gent’s toilets.

It is named after William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, KG, PC (13 September 1520 – 4 August 1598) a local politician he became the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State he began a political dynasty that has a connection to Hertfordshire as his son was Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC (1 June 1563 – 24 May 1612)

Robert Salisbury was an English statesman noted for his skilful direction of the government during the Union of the Crowns, as Tudor England gave way to Stuart rule (1603).  Salisbury served as the Secretary of State of England (1596–1612) and Lord High Treasurer (1608–1612), succeeding his father as Queen Elizabeth I's Lord Privy Seal and remaining in power during the first nine years of King James I's reign until his death.  Elizabeth I gave the lands of Hatfield House to him for service to the Crown.

                With the Weather being cold & slightly damp in the air, those with their Herts Tallinn appreciated the headwear for Max Factor & Alfa Male's Shag Weekend.  Moving on again & the next stop was only just around the corner to the Tobie Norris, not the cheapest of the Pubs but the most historical.  

Dating back to 1280, the building was once owned by a bell-maker named Tobie Norris, it was a bell foundry.  It has 3 floors & 7 rooms to be explored.  The upper levels were even older, with the brickwork & beams exposed.  19th Hole spent a long time down at the Bar as she was chatting up a group of Lads.  Would she persuade them to try Hashing, or put them off for life?

By this point in the Pub Crawl Mr X hadn’t noticed that his Tallinn hat was now missing as the Pack approached the last Pub of the Crawl, for most!  The Golden Fleece, located outside of what was the town’s Sheep market, with a distinctive needle like stone & bronze pinnacle that was erected in 2008 in recognition to Stamford being the site of one of the 12 Eleanor Crosses marking the Stages of the funeral cortege’s of Edward I’s Queen on route back to London in 1290. 

Being an Everards’ Pub it wasn’t thought of by the two original Hares, but to be fair their preconception of dull Ales was soon put to rest with a winter warmer & also a Band were playing Live Rock music.  Much to Max Factor & Alfa Male’s embarrassment, Mr X soon had his jacket off & singing shouting along to Thin Lizzy’s Whiskey in the Jar. [I can hear it as an Earworm now! – Ed]

Her Fault did Herts a big favour at this point in the evening & marked the way back up to the Garden House before coming back down, however, not everyone went back at closing time, as Where’s Wally? was lured off with a few of the Rutland Hash to a night club, where he partied away until the early hours of Saturday morning.  For the rest it was more sedate stagger back over the river & up the hill beyond the George Hotel.

                A nice continental breakfast was in order to prepare for the day ahead, some of the Pack [The Hares! – Ed] had a quick Hare of the Dog, something that shocked 2-1-2 Maureen, but it was need to get revive & invigorate.   This simple self-service breakfast was ideal, except for Sparky, whowas befuddled at having to break from his usual routine of measuring out his Oats (Porridge oats Pebbledash! - Ed)

Mr X put out Herts Trashes for all & sundry to pick up & read, even though the Friday Night on the itinerary was over with.  2-1-2 Maureen asked him later why the Trash has to be so rude?  Mr X’s defence was that most of it is all in the readers mind, like Pebbledash’s!!!

Before getting ready for the Trail sofas were move to make the space in the living room for Strutty to set up in the evening, creating Space enough for the Hash to strut their stuff.  Then before anything further happened Porgu Pie, ARP & Baby Aofie arrived, with Porgu Pie looking like he had just flown in as he was wearing his work outfit.  But they were in time for the Trail!

Unknown to most of the Herts Pack, Mr X & My Lil' had arranged with Rutland Hash that this would be a joint R*n.  This became apparent when the svelte figure of Bummer came up the uneven stone slab path within the walled garden, Canary Boy & then Her Fault with Maggie the greyhound arrived.  Soon it was time to move around into the car park, there more of Rutland H3 were found, & so it was time for the traditional Herts Christmas circle, which culminates in a toast to the Hash with a shot of two of Port, all if which was rather nice & warming.

Just in case that wasn’t enough warming booze, Tent packer had his hip-flask of Bramble Whiskey, while Pepé le Pew had his port based infusion, while Kylie had his Port & Brandy combination flasks.   Mr X had a shot from each & wondered if he’s managed to get around the Trail?

The Hares couldn't believe the contrast in the weather from the end if setting the Trail on Friday.  This morning wasn't bad & the sun was even out at times to break up the overcast sky.  It was going to be a nice day to start the Hashing New Year, but the Hares’ Hash boots gave away the conditions of the footpaths the Pack were yet to encounter, even so Mr X warned the Hard if Thinking that there were tracts of deep Shiggy that no one could avoid on the main Trail.

There was also a mention if Short Cuts before this Hare got around to the serious bits about there being two Pub stops before reaching the On Inn of a Pub with Mark E Mark's effigy on the exterior signage?  Also there was something about a busy road & a level crossing. 

Then Mr X set off his Elf Christmas Hat with big ears on the side of it, which moved about to Jingle Bells theme before what looked like it was having a fit!  It was all rather loud & annoying [Especially if you were wearing it! – Ed]  But it wasn’t as embarrassing as wearing a Bath RUFC scarf, like Ewok our GM was this morning.

Sparky was called forward by Mr X, who then produced several lengths of bubble-wrap which he wrapped around Sparky’s Arms & Legs until he resembled Bibendum (The Michelin Man), as he did so he explained that Sparky had a couple of weeks on the trot when he had taken a tumble on Herts Trails, the first when he tripped over a tree root, to which My Lil’ said “A tree root, what do you expect to find in a woodland?”  Then the second time he tripped over a kerb, to which My Lil’ said “A Kerb, what do you expect to find on a roadside?”

Herts Hash markings explained & the Trail began with the Pack all leaving via the car park to emerge on to the Kettering Road.   Just a short way to the west & then the Pack left the road to find the first CHK of the Trail.  There were two options, the one heading southward being the main Trail that My Lil' chaperoned the Keenies on, while Mr X marked the Falsie to the southwest as a Short Cut, making sure 2-1-2 Maureen was safely guided over the slippery Shiggy of the first enclosure, crossing a narrow single board footbridge over a stream. 

Things didn’t really improved underfoot as the SCBs reached the uncapped alleyway section of the footpath between the gardens of the larger properties on either side.  Meanwhile for the Keenies, they would complete a clockwise loop, firstly crossing the sheep field to come out on to the tarmac of First Drift.  This ran south-westerly before turning north-westerly to join the rest at a CHK. 

On the way around the Trail, the Keenies got to see the oddity of the Scandinavian style, Ikea like, open plan glass carbuncle which failed to blend in with the other new builds that were constructed of local stone to have a sympathetic appearance to blend in with the olde worlde town.  The owners must have some money to get away with that at the planning stage.

While Milf chose the wrong option out toward London Road again, meanwhile Fliptop was on form as he & some of the SCBs went back over the steps that some of the Keenies look briefly at before giving up on this option.  The Trail now left the upmarket estate, moving up the ridge by the new Wothrope House, this southbound rise would soon drop down to approach the A1, Great North Road, where it turned to the west to run down beside the motorway embankment which was a slippery old route before it turned to pass under the motorway, where a feeder steam rising on this hill feeds the River Welland to the North

A short steep climb up a slippery mucky rise beside an old stone open-fronted outbuilding that is used for a livestock shelter, now the Pack crossed the lush green undulating paddock to take to a gravel drive from the Nursery & on to the hazel lined path that run behind the old Wothorpe house, whose hollow ruined remains look like it has long since been abandoned, yet part of the back of this skeletal edifice are being restored!

                Wothorpe House was built as a lodge by Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, the eldest son of William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley the great advisor to Elizabeth I.  By the mid 1700’s it was no longer in use & a deliberate dismantling began.  The whole historic site including the Towers was purchased from the Burghley House Preservation Trust in 2004 by Janet & Paul Griffin.  They have carried out a painstaking programme of repair and consolidation of the Towers.  As a result the building has been removed from the national At-Risk register. The Towers structure has been gifted by them to the Wothorpe Towers Preservation Trust, which is now responsible for the future care and upkeep of the building.

A CHK caught a few out on the option on a farm track heading north-eastward back toward the motorway, the Trail would run south- westerly between Pit Holes wood & Wothorpe Groves.  The Keenies of Lemming, Mother, Milf, Tent packer, Pôrgu Pie, Mark E Mark, Ewok, Wanktlers, Where’s Wally? Her Fault, Alfa Male & Max Factor were led on a north bound trot up toward the local Nurseries before coming around on an arc to head toward a layby where the burger van sits, then turning back southward to join on the wide farm track as it emerged out of the plantations to head south-easterly to the eastern tip of Easton in the Hill.

2-1-2 Maureen was safely being chaperoned by Paxo, who was also carrying a map with the Trail marked on it, so at any time they could take a short cut.  The Hares marked the Short Cut on the Track to avoid the loop through the plantation, the SCBs were now ahead of the FRBs, but eventually Whatever She Says, Lobby Lobster, 19th Hole, Walkie Talkie & Bummer were caught up about three quarters of the way along on this long stretch before emerging back out on to the Stamford Road.

A slight diversion from the eastern side of the busy road briefly had the Pack running on the opposite side as there was a footpath on that side, then on the almost blind bend the Pack had to play chicken to cross over to the Exeter Arms, with one Hasher over they gave clear instruction as to when there was a break in the blatantly speeding traffic to cross safely.  The Hares originally wanted to take the Pack down & around by the Polish Parachute Regiment war memorial, but the footpath from this was closed due to repair work going on.

Once in the Pub the Pack could choose between the excellent local brews from Grainstore or Stony Ford, the latter being the choice at the Garden House for the Herts Christmas meal.  The Exeter Arms had a nice flag-stone floor, so there was no need to worry too much about messing up any carpets, even though it seems to be an eating Pub, the staff were more than accommodating to have the Hash stop by & sample their range of LocAles. [Local-Ales! – Ed]

Now reinvigorated it was time to dice with the traffic on the busy road to cross over to run by the local school & then turn off to find the next Beer Stop at the Blue Belle, again there were Grainstore & Stoney Ford on offer, this pub also had some nice ciders toboot as some of the Hash settled in to the games bar.  The day before, while setting the Trail, the Hares got to meet Lady Hunt with her social soiree of elderly widows & one widower living it up in the Blue Belle.

The Hares were surprised that none of the Pack took to having a ride on the toy peddle car in the Pub Garden before departing to follow the Dust out if this picturesque limestone village, passing by the Church & Priests House in the North if the village.  

Here there would be a split in the Pack, with Bummer & a few of Rutland utilizing their local knowledge in taking to the Macmillan Way from the Church, this would cut off a sizable chunk if the Trail.  Though there was another early split as Paxo & 2-1-2 Maureen hired a chariot to assist their return to the On Inn of the Jolly Brewer.

Meanwhile the Keenies would make their way over to a wide by-way leading down Eastern Hillside.  It was just on this decent that Fliptop realised that he was now gloveless after he had stopped to scare the squirrels in the nearby wood, he went back to retrieve these.

A level crossing has to be negotiated & Mr X jokingly said he hoped that Sparky wouldn't follow the spray painted engineering arrow which pointed the way up the tracks toward Stamford?  Later on Mr X would ponder in these words as Sparky disappeared from the Trail!

The Keenies negotiated deep Shiggy before coming out over the edge of a field of brassicas & over the river Welland to follow a loop around the village of Tinwell, where the spectacular old forge could be seen with its large stone horseshoe façade around the doors for Ewok’s benefit & other Horsey types.  Sadly the nearby Kings Arms is no longer a Pub.

Cutting through the graveyard of All Saints Church the Keenies soon realised that they were on a loop & once through a sheep enclosure behind they were certain of the fact as they came out of the hidden end of the footpath at the edge of a large hedge.

Arriving back at the CHK on the River Welland the FRBs found the Trail marked eastward along the muddy & sometimes waterlogged river bank.  The slippery Shiggy increased for the Pack to slide along, most couldn’t run on the way to pass under the motorway bridge. 

Some staggering along with Canary Boy, who as Hare may have noticed that he had a small back-pack.  However no one, including Canary Boy noticed how heavy it was, nor did he see that Bummer had place a lot of old rocks in to it, it was only back at base that he got to unpack his ‘exercise weights’!

A Falsie over the bridge by a Pumping Station on the northern bank slowed a few of the Keenies up.  This pumping Station on the edge of Stamford Meadows is used to supply a reservoir.

The Trail continued on by a point where Milf & Mr X ventured down the river bank when she wondered what the flat onion shape edifice was, it turns out that this little oddity was the Stamford Spa which was brought in to use in 1819 & was much sought after by persons by various ailments, in the belief that the water had beneficial properties.  [Perhaps TBT OBE, with all of his ills, should have stopped off to sample the waters then! – Ed]

The Trail now joined another path of the Hereward Way leading on to the river’s edge, the Hereward Way being named after the East Anglian Saxon Nobleman Hereward the Wake (Watchful) who lead local resistance against the Norman Conquerors.  The Hash finally crossed the river by way of the Broadeng Bridge to take a diagonal route over the Stamford Meadows on a path that is the Jurassic Way, ironically Sparky disappeared around this point!

Remains of a Roman Settlement were associated with this part of town.  The Trail crossed over the Mill Stream of the Welland at Bath Row & then took to Kings Mill Lane, once up this old stone cobbled narrow street, the Trail crossed over at the T-Junction where it joins St Peter’s Street to climb a few stone steps on an even smaller passageway of Foundry Lane.

At the end of the Lane the Pack were pointed the way over to the Jolly Brewer, of which the Pub Sign had a cartoon brewer astride a horse made of barrels, this character in a hat look similar to Mark E Mark, though he & Lobby Lobster were the only members of the Pack who didn’t see the resemblance!

Soon a large amount of muddy Hash boots pile dup outside of the Jolly Brewer, Tent Packer met up with Mrs Mallett, one of those who sensibly went shopping than struggling through the Shiggy on Trail.   At either end of the Pub there were real fires going, so many made their way to sit by these & warm their Cockles [Clam down Pebbledash! – Ed]

In the Jolly Brewer the Pack enjoyed the Après Trail Buffet, which was laid out in a side room as one end of the Bar, this was where the Circle would be held!  Fortunately Sparky called Mr X & eventually he managed to find his way back on Trail & join the Pack, Sparky arrived & caused a ripple of laughter as he was sporting blue plastic covers over his dirty Hash boots.

Mark E Mark was called outside for a photo of himself leaning on the Pub Sign, in order to capture the likeness between the cartoon on the board sign & himself.  Of course when it came around to the Down-Downs, of which there were many Mark E Mark would receive one for his Doppelganger image, he didn’t believe there was any resemblance, with only Lobby Lobster agreeing with him.

When it came around to the Circle, the Herts RA had arranged for it to be held inside in the warm, informing the Pack that the Hash songs should be sung quietly, which would be preferable to standing outside in the cold for ages, for there were plenty of Beers to get through that the Herts Beer Master had set up in one corner.

So, having two RA’s there would be twice the laughter in a funny Circle, starting with the Hares were called forward for their efforts in setting the Trail.  Then followed by (Just a few of the guilty)

Her Fault was called out for her misdemeanours, believed to be canine related, though she had to take her Down-Downs from out of a dog bowl!  [Hope it wasn’t Maggie’s?]  Of course for Rutland the other usual suspects of Bummer & Canary Boy were called out, maybe something to do with having a backpack full of rocks.

TBT OBE was out for Pooh-poohing the venue without actually doing any proper research, still after the debacle later in 2018 in dealing with the menu, Teebs will organising the 2019 X-mas Weekend & Christmas Dinner in 2020!

Milf & Ewok were out for getting some of the Male Herts Hashers excited with the way they were carrying on, with Ewok sitting on Milf’s knee, the RA said he wouldn’t be able to sleep later that night!  Then 19th Hole replaced Ewok on Milf’s knee, with a now dampened resolve Mr X then thought that he ought not to have any cheese before bed that night!

Sparky was out for his off Trail antics, while TBT OBE was called out for his negative.  Max Factor & Alfa Male for being embarrassed at Mr X cat-o-wailing in the Golden Fleece, no one else was haunted by such a noise.  Where’s Wally? was out for his early morning partying, & so was joined by some of his cohorts.

Ewok was out for sporting a Bath RUFC scarf around the Trail, but after she had accepted her Down-Down she kept the floor & suggested some of her own, beginning with the Herts RA losing his Tallinn Hat!

19th Hole was out as the Down-Downs being held inside, the Herts RA had asked if the Pack would sign the Hash songs quietly.  Pôrgu Pie for arriving in uniform for his employment!

There were plenty more Hits but the addled mists of time, combined with the strong Ales being drunk in the Jolly Brewer, haven’t revealed them yet for this scribe to cobble this Trash together in time for this Christmas weekend!  Finally the Circle came to a close.

On the stagger back to the venue, Where’s Wally?, Mr X & My Lil’ where joined by Bummer, Canary Boy & Her Fault decided that they would stop off the Historic Melbourn Brothers ‘All Saints Brewery’, although owned by Sam Smith’s, this old Steam Brewery produces Organic Fruit Beers, in what could be described as ‘in a Belgium style’ but have been in production for almost 200 Years (193 to be precise). 

As time was edging around to the Herts guys to move on for their Christmas Meal there were a couple of other Beers to have, the Taddy Porter & the Imperial Stout (Suitable for Vegans & Faketerians alike), these strong Ales sure slowed things up!

Parting with the Rutland gang, the Herts guys crossed the river & climbed up the hill to St Martins, with only minutes to spare for a very quick wash & a change before coming down for Secret Santa & the Christmas Meal!   Again the Pack showed that they can scrub up well, though Sparky arrived suited up & wearing a bow-tie that was so big it rather looked as if he was wearing a fruit bat around his neck.

Well, what can you say about the food?  It was superb, of a standard the Hash would never have expected, it was of a quality that you’d expect in a top class restaurant.  After three wonderful courses, cooked & served in an almost silver-service style by just three or four staff, everyone satisfied!  Including our Faketerian who was now suitably bloated on Turkey & trimmings of Roast spuds cooked in Duck fat!!  This deserved a whip around in appreciation.

 

During the courses the RA went through the events that the Herts Hash have attend over the previous 12 months:

January: Oulton Broad for the Herts X-mas Party Weekend; Fri 13th; Chinese New Year Buffet

February: Gispert 7th Anniversary Memorial Run in memory of the Hash founder; a Sportsman’s Dinner at Letch RUFC

March: St Piran’s Day (With Hot Pasties); The combined Stag & Hen do (Shag-Do) in Tallinn; A trip to the St Albans Organ Museum to celebrate Sparky’s Birthday

April: Saracens v Quins at Wembley; Sludge’s delightful Run around Silkengrad (Stevenage); Our first Breakfast Trail run from Ware to Eat; Full Moon Easter in Lisbon; Our Easter Egg Hunt; Mr X on a R*n with Ashford Loco H3

May: Another Hen & Stag do for Max Factor & Alfa Male, with the Girls going to Marcorato for a Take That Tribute, while the lads went to the Dogs!  Followed by their Wedding Weekend near Matlock in Derbyshire.  Others also went to Bustripper & P-Rick’s Wedding on the Isle of Wight.

June:  Our first ever visit to the Chipping Sausage Tossing Contest, which resulted in Ewok become the Champion Tosser!  Gibberd Garden Beerfest Trail; as well as a splendid feast, by Carol, at Chez Sloppy Seconds.

June: EuroHash in Vienna; another entry in the Braughing Wheelbarrow Race & the EHMR in the same day!  Isca Roman Away Weekend.

August:  Banana Bednder’s Shed R*n; one of the best UK Nash Hashes with the Ancient Britons in Norwich; White Water Rafting experience at Lea Valley Park

September:  The arrival of Baby Aofie; A Hash that visited the Royston Caves; Conker Contest where Prince Garmin beat every one with ‘Bill the Beast’! [Steady Pebbledash it’s the name of His Conker! Oh I give up! – Ed]

October; Friday 13th in Hertford; Sparky came out as a Transformer with all of his padding.

November:  Mark E Mark’s Weekend in Lanzarote; Ewok’s Bungey Jump for stray animals

It was also the year we lost Dragon Lady, Boggers, Auntie

Pebbledash corrected the RA as Gispert is pronounced as Jizzpert, then she had to comment on the trip to the Organ Museum & the Sausage Tossing kept her amused!

Ewok then took time between courses to hand some pressies out to Mr X, for his organisation on the weekend, though he did have help from My Lil'. Mist of these little pressies were chilli themed, chilli sauces, chilli chutneys, chill pork scratchings, Afterburner bottom wipes & a far too small pair of Bawbag pants!

Secret Santa this year saw a change, the normally Jolly Fat Man was absent due to sickness, so My Lil’ sat in to fill Sludge’s shoes.  Adorned in his black ‘Bah-Humbug’ Santa Hat My Lil’ had to endure his knees being sat upon by the Hash, as he handed out the pressies, of course as per usual there are always ones that are set up for certain Hashers to receive, like the Pin the ‘Cucumber on the Hunk’ which was Lobby Lobster's Pick of the Pressies.  It’s still amazing what you can get for £5 for the Secret Santa.

After Santa had emptied his sacks [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed]  Pepe le Pew & Porkie Pie both seemed more interested in getting back to the Pool-table, it was all a bit serious though they spent most of the frames slagging each other off [Luckily it was only in raucous jest! – Ed]

Strutty arrived & had set up, unfortunately for him there was still a large contingent of the Pack who seemed to prefer hitting their balls on the green baize [Oh I give up Pebbledash! – Ed] as they continued playing Pool rather than listening to his talents, he did notice this & mentioned it.  It took a couple of the Girls to go out & stop the pool tournament [Next time we’ll get the Girl’s to grab their Balls & lock them away! – Ed]

                Strutty was at his best, fortunately he was not fazed by the sight of the ‘We Love Strutty’ placards the likes of Ewok, No Eye Deer & Milf had pinned to the front of their dresses.

Of course there was the usual clammering for 500 Miles during a break in every song, Strutty teased the not just the girls with the old opening chords to 500 Miles, before changing the tune, but eventually even porkie Pie, Paxo, My Lil’ & Pepé le Pew’s balls were left on the table as Strutty started this Hash anthem for real.

The music now got everyone up, which was good for Kylie, Tent Packer & TBT OBE who had all slumped in to the comfy sofas & once they had extracted themselves, a Homer Simpson style outline of their body-shape indentations remained behind.  Music was good enough to get Sparky up on the Dancefloor, though some doubted he knew of any of the music by various 'Beat-combo's'?

This year also had Strutty threw in Delilah, which went down well with the Hash, although some members of the Welsh Assembly want it banned at Wales Rugby matches, with claims of it being misogynistic!  However sensible people who aren’t jumping on any old PC Bandwagon realise it is actually a song about a mental breakdown due to an affair!

It wasn’t exactly the Tom Jones’s Delilah the Pack were singing, for some reason most seemed to add the Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s Version with the extra bits of “Da, da, da-da’s!”  Once Strutty had finished, Fliptop provided the music for the wee hours.

Sunday Morning & another great breakfast.  After which it was time to tidy up the Secret Santas presents that were still left out, rearrange the furniture back as it should be, decamp from rooms & then to decanter the last of the Ale for the Circle.

The Sunday Trail was an early than normal start for H4 as it was set by Rutland & fits in with their normal start time, so this meant the Hares of Her Fault & Canary Boy had to explain the ‘Rutland Markings & R*les’ to H4 which meant that that every CHK with a X inside it is a regroup, which for some of the Herts Pack was hard to comprehend. [Blame it on the Ales! – Ed]  Still, it was another cold but dry day.

In the opening Circle Mr X would called out Walkie Talkie & Careless so they could demonstrate the Tittens, a combination of a woollen Bra with hand-warming mittens made in to the cups!  Knitted by Milf’s fair needles.

The Trail started by taking the Pack up Pinefold Lane to the south, this narrow access road of a dead-end street behind the Garden House, then turned to the left to lead out a few feet out on to the High Street St Martins.   A south bound trot along the main road out of Stamford was then curtailed as the Trail crossed over to take the Hash through the ornate Gate-houses & Iron Gates to Burghley House.

                The pack were soon making their way along the east bound drive in the Park, which is famed for its annual Horse Trials, as well as a Deer Park in an estate that was landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.  A CHK was found at a spot where there was a fork in the path.  This was the first regroup CHK point, the correct Trail was found on the left-hand fork as drive passes the Cricket Pitch on it way toward the north.  

Mr X broke away from the Trail to look at the information board to see what the round wooded area just off of the drive to the north, this turned out to be the Princess Diana Memorial Gardens.  He would later be falsely accused in the Circle of going over there for a Pee, when he was reading the dedication plaque.

The Trail came out on to the B1443 Barnack Road, Falsies to the east were straight on northward, with the correct Trail heading out to the east, passing by an industrial estate before taking to a rough old track footpath between the fields to the north, firstly after passing through a gate the Trail crossed over the railway line & then up a set of steps to cross the weir in the Welland.

                 A CHK held everyone up on the Uffington Road, with the Trail being picked up on the southwestern direction toward the roundabout by a superstore, keeping with the Uffington Road arm of the three road option.  The Pack made their way back toward the centre of Stamford, with Mr X still bleating on about trying to find his lost hat.  It was Tallinn Hat from Max Factor & Alfa Male’s Shag Do, the one with the extra N added so Tallinn was spelt correctly!            

A few Short Cutted now, following Walkie Talkie around & down to Warf Road was named due the trade on the Welland a river that was used as a navigable in-land waterway for transporting goods.  While the Pack made their way through St Pauls & St Leonards area, using the alleyways linking the backstreets of the Market area, Mr X sneaked off & had due to the pressure building in the call of nature in an attempt to get back to the Garden House, he wouldn’t make it & instead found refuge in the Swan & Bull.

Having dropped the kids off at the pool, & feeling a lot lighter, Mr X managed to enjoy a pint before he would managed to do the last hundred yards up to Garden House, where on the Kettering Road the rest of the Pack were coming through toward him.

In the Walled Garden of the old buildings the Circle would take place.  H4 didn’t expect Rutland to bring along a veritable picnic, with cheeses, pasties & all sorts of festive Fare, including proper veggie bites!  This feast went down well with the last of the Stoney Ford Ale.

The Circle was called & after the Hares were awarded their Down-Downs, of course if one Hare drinks, then all Hares drink & Mr X & M Lil’ found themselves out in the Circle.  They didn’t get very far as they would be back a little later for organising the weekend!

Lots of Down-Downs & it seems that everyone received one, fortunately these were only small shots.  Of course we used have a Hashit back in when we had this weekend & for some reason Ewok whipped her top off in the Circle even though it wasn’t there, it turns out that her display in the nippy weather [Pun intended! – Ed] was to receive a Rutland T-Shirt awarded to her.

Hats were mentioned in the Circle, there were some awarded for numbered R*ns for Rutland, while Mr X was called back out to join them for losing his Tallinn Hat!  He was hoping that this woud materialise in the Circle, but it didn’t  [It’s only taken a year, but it seems that Mr X has come around to the realisation that he will never see it again! – Ed]

Again it was the usual suspects in & out of the Circle, again this scribe doesn’t have time to reminisce & to go through them all [One year why don’t you write this just after the event instead of waiting nearly a whole Year? – Ed]

Most were Full of food & Down-Downs by the time the Circle disbanded, probably still were by the time the remaining Hashers reached the London for a Sunday Carvery.

                Some couldn’t finish their ‘Kings Sized’ roasts, while Sparky had his replaced as the meat was too chewy – something that surprised the rest when they have witnessed what he’s eaten in the past.  Finally the weekend was over, as per usual it goes so quickly when you are having such a great time, & even more so when you are organising it!

So, after such a great time, in a great venue for us, having a great laugh with the Rutland Hash in a new area for H4 to Hash in, it’s a shame the venue wasn’t big enough for the to join us.  But it’s the reason you are all back this year!