Date = 11th Feb 2018
Run Number = 1780
Venue = The Fish & Eels
Location = Dobbs Weir
Beer = London Pride or Doooombar
Hares = Where’s Wally?
Runners = 11
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 2
Hounds = 0
Total = 13
Membership = A Virgin Hare’s Trail!
Getting to the venue for three of the Pack was delayed by the Welwyn Garden City 10K, which was postponed from December last year due to the snow fall, unlike the Hardier Herts Hash that did go ahead. On the way to Hoddesdon the RA received a call from Ewok for 2-1-2 Maureen’s mobile number, which he passed on as Ewok & Paxo were in Hoddesdon waiting for 2-1-2 Maureen’s Bus to arrive.
Ewok rang 2-1-2 Maureen’s mobile, only to get the answerphone message of “Blimey!” followed by a lot of background noise before the automated voice asks you to leave your message! After looking at a Bus time-table they assumed that it would not arrive until a quarter past the hour. So, they returned to the car park opposite the Fish & Eels where the Hash, with the exception of Sparky, who hadn’t read the Paxo Public Information email about this, had parked in the Fish & Eels car park, where you are charged & fined if you don’t display a ticket but if you go in the Bar & purchase a Drink the ticket is nullified!
When Mr X arrived with Tent Packer & My Lil’, they explained that on the approach to Gerald Game bridge on the Essex Road, that a silver Corsa that they had followed in to the car park had run a Red Light, as the driver was eating his sandwiches & never noticed the lights were against him, somehow the Bentley that pulled out on his green light managed to avoid the on-coming Corsa. The driver of the little silver car was still obliviously eating his sandwiches as he steered his car one handed around the full car park & then he left to challenge some other poor motorist, unless there are cameras on the lights?
Anyhow, when asked where 2-1-2 Maureen was? Ewok replied that TBT OBE had driven back to Hoddesdon to wait for her to arrive, when she did alight from the bus they sensibly decided not to go around the Trail & instead go in to the very busy little café on the edge of the car park, where our regular Faketarian* no doubt had a cooked meaty breakie.
*Urban Dictionary: Faketarian: One who pretends to be vegetarian, but is in fact not; A fake vegetarian; One who claims to adhere to the vegetarian ethos when in certain company, but consumes animal products and meat otherwise.
Milf: I saw TBT OBE at the Sausage Tossing-- but he devoured 6 sausages from the Barbeque. Isn't he vegetarian? Paxo: That's what he tells everyone, but he's a total faketarian!
The Pack Circled up, Ewok did the introductions & told that this Trail had a Virgin hare of Where’s Wally? So, he took the Circle to describe what the Pack could expect, things started ominously with “It’s a long Trail, there are short cuts to avoid a big loop, there were fisherman on parts of the Trail where Sparky was asked not to blow his horn, there are a couple of Held CHKs, one that is at a house wat which the Pack must all stop at!” Then the Hash were ushered over to the Public Loos to find the first CHK!
Kylie thought that the RA was going to go to the Ladies, but didn’t realize that the Gents was on the other side of a shared covered entrance. Meanwhile Alfa Male, Max Factor, My Lil & Milf all set off down from Dobbs Weir on the River Lea Navigation southward down toward Dobb’s Weir Lock. Just down from the Lock where an arm of the River Lynch joins the Navigation a CHK was found.
Sparky was one who went down through the gap in the hedgerow to the track on a slightly lower level, the others who remained on the higher bankside option knew that the two would meet back up a little further down the way. As the two sets of Hashers met up again, Sparky, who was moaning about being the only one on the eastside of the hedge decided that now he had found the Trail he would sound his horn, which drew the attention of the fisherman as he passed by them. Seems Where’s Wally? pre-Trail talk was wasted in the Circle.
On the way along the waterside track the Pack would pass by a couple of piles of fly-tipped rubbish that just ruined the serenity of being beside the waterway. Surely the name of the wrecked port-a-loo company can be traced back, as it had a phone number & address plain for all to see.
Anyhow, some of the Pack would get further ahead than the others, with Sparky, My Lil’, Mr X & Fliptop all followed the Trail off on a small loop, back to the bankside path before being directed eastward between the Nazing Mead lake & the Sailing club’s boating lake below this to the south.
Up the east-bound service road & just before the car park for the Sailing Club, double arrows pointed the way southward on the Cycle route that is a part of the Lea Valley Way Walk. At the opposite end of this way a CHK was found by Sparky, My Lil’ & Fliptop all chose to search the footpath off of the track that takes a Shiggy route between the shrubbery & bushes on a spit of bush & tree covered land separating the two boating lakes, they would find a Bar CHK almost back by the Navigation.
On their return these wayward FRBs checked all the other possibilities off of this route, not realizing this should have been a T to make them go straight back to the CHK. Meanwhile Milf, Alfa Male, Paxo, Max Factor & Kylie had stopped with the Hare at the ‘View Stop’ the others had missed, looking out over the lakes with only the ‘Giant Steel Ladies lifting their skirts’** spread out over the meads & marshes to interrupt the view. **Electricity Pylons
All of which & after a hint from Ewok, Mr X had picked up the correct eastbound Trail as it followed the hard capped track around toward the Nurseries that made this area famous for supply London with fresh veg. [TBT OBE would have like this bit, Mmmm, all that Veg! – Ed]
The only thing that slowed the RA’s progress up from the next CHK by way of a Shiggy Footpath between two sets of nurseries was a man walking his Japanese Akita, this humungous beast - with eyes like saucers [Sorry that last bits from a Hans Christian Anderson story! – Ed] was allowed to get up the path before the RA decide to pass by it with a wide-berth where the drive from two Nurseries comes out in to suburbia. Later My Lil’ said that these were bread as fighting dogs, Mr X said he wasn’t surprised as the hounds paws were the size of boxing gloves!
Out on to Peck’s Hill, the Trail now headed southward down this urban street as it becomes North Road, with large detached homes lining either side, this was the first really long trot of the Trail & the RA eventually made it to the Crossroads with the Nazing Road. A right turn was indicated by another set of double arrows to lead on the second & longer stretch of the Trail as the Trail headed westward on the New Nazing Road.
The long tarmac route was supposed to be broken by a CHK just after it turned toward the northwest, but nothing remained by the entrance back in to the northern section of the Lea Valley Park the Hash started in. It had vanished by the time Mr X reached this bit.
Having looked back several times before, Mr X was finally relieved to see that Ewok & then Milf were now behind him as the road crossed the Flood Relief channel. At one point he thought that he was on his own running a long loop with no one else following on.
The Trail continued along the edge of the busy road in to Broxbourne, the various different types of roadside litter broke up the monotony & there was plenty of it. When Milf reached Mr X she ask “Did you run all this?” to which Mr X pointed out that there was no other way of reaching this point without R*nning.
The Pack weren’t taken up to the double bridges into Broxbourne, opposite the Old Lid, instead double arrows pointed the way over to the west & into the Keysers section of the Lea Valley Park, not far in to this & the Trail turned northward to make its way through the trees & on to the towpath running on the southern side of the bend in the River Lea Navigation. This also being the constitutional boundary between Epping Forest District & that of the Broxbourne authority, the Trail had been in Essex the moment the Pack moved out toward the Boating lakes earlier.
The River Lea Navigation’s course turned direction as the Keenies made their way along the Shiggy towpath, passing by the moored up narrow boats, some of which were habited which was alluded to by the distinctive smell of burning coal that could be smelt wafting through the air. If Kylie wasn’t in his element here, then he would be in around half a miles time.
On the way My Lil’ explained to Mr X what had happened to him earlier on, but he had no explanation of where Fliptop or Sparky where now, the absence of Sparky’s horn was a pleasant change, the fisherman along this stretch were not disturbed by any blasts on a horn.
The Trail came up out in front of the Crown Pub, where the Lady of the Lea moors up before taking pleasure cruises when the weather is fairer, though the day was bright & sunny, with only the odd blast of the cold breeze. The Trail crossed halfway over the small, narrow single lane Pack-bridge & then came back down beside the New River to pass over the Weir by way of a footbridge near the Boat Centre.
A CHK was found on the west-bank, from here Alfa Male called the Trail leading northward under the Railway bridge to the First Held CHK of the Trail ,that was found just up beyond the local outdoor café where Paxo had marked the Short Cut Trail to there. Having so much time on his hands Paxo had a bacon sarnie & complimented on taking his plate back!
It was also on his way to this point that Paxo was asked by a couple of civilians, out walking, what the best way back to Dobbs Weir, without going back on the River Lea Navigation? Paxo advised they go up the Station steps & take to the New River in a direction against it steady, slow, southbound flow.
The walkers seemed content with this but then as Paxo marked an arrow, one of the civilians exclaimed “Oh, you’re one of them!” [Steady Pebbledash! – Ed] as the man went on to explain that he lives in Ware & not that long ago he was disturbed on a Sunday he was rudely awoken from his well-deserved lie-in by some “Prat blowing a horn!” Sadly Sparky was still not there with the FRBs to apologies to this unsettled native of Ware.
On the last few feet to the Held CHK at the ruins of the Old Mill, a few popped in to the nearby Model Railway exhibition, once in the large shed Mr X asked the guys ‘a serious question’ as he put it, if whether they had an EWS engine, it was a negative as the guy with the diesels wouldn’t be there until late afternoon.
Leaving Kylie’s paradise, Mr X said it would be a job to get him out of there, & Milf agreed as it was an impressive layout of tracks & model building etc, the Hash regrouped between the Mill & the Public Toilets. The RA wondered if this Trail had a running theme of meeting up outside of public lavs?
Then Fliptop, like the Shopkeeper in Mr Benn, appeared out of nowhere, well actually it was the afore mentioned Public Loo, before he scuttled back to get his gloves he had left inside the gents! The Keenies & SCBS waited in the ruins of the Mill, this was mentioned in the Doomsday book but was total destroyed by a catastrophic fire in 1949.
Still there was no annoying horn to be heard, nor was Kylie in sight for he too had elected to do the Full Trail, against Paxo’s advice, but with Max Factor being at this point before either of them it was time to move on as the Trail left the small green space to pass up the beside the railway line to come out in to the car park of Broxbourne Station.
The Trail would climb up to Station Road & then over the New River, after Mr X had been called back from almost being on to this point & then having to follow the rest of the FRBs back around to this point, he actually got to see a guy go for a dip in the New River, while his girlfriend held his clothes.
Mr X followed the Trail around the bend in the road the New River passes beneath, & then the Trail took to a footpath alleyway that passed by the Lottery Funded restoration of the Grade II listed brick kiln & horse-drawn puddling wheel - both were restored by conservation experts, with all iron work completed by the Heritage Blacksmiths. This brick edifice bore a Heritage Plaque that Sparky couldn’t read the lettering on when he walked by this with Kylie!
The land adjacent to the site has now been landscaped as a feature garden, with a seating area and permanent interpretation boards that tell the James Pulham & Son story. The Victorian & Edwardian firm is perhaps most well-known for its beautiful artificial rock garden landscapes, notably be found in Buckingham Palace, its invention of the artificial rock, ‘Pulhamite’ & wide range of terracotta ornaments were created in its Broxbourne factory.
Exiting the alleyway the Pack were now only yards from the House the Pack ‘had to stop at’. There Where’s Wally? in a Tommy Cooper style put out a wobbly table, but to be fair he did then produce a bottle of Russian Vodka & a bottle of Pomegranate Syrup, one was too strong on its own & the other too sweet, but together the concoction tasted rather like Port, though the surgery syrup did settle at the bottom of the shot glasses.
After two slugs of this potent ‘poison’ the Keenies were allowed to leave Where’s Wally?s dad’s home, to take to a cut-through beyond the small ornamental roundabout & in to Church Fields, there a series of two alleyway footpaths took the Keenies on through between the homes in this suburban part of the Spitalbrook area of south Hoddesdon. The last section of the alleyway had a slight diversion to the west with the Trail leading in to a small Park area, where Milf & Alfa Male appeased the Hare as they had ago on the exercise machines in the low section of the green space.
Meanwhile Fliptop was happy to continue along northward to start of Upper Marsh Lane. Before turning eastward down this route the Keenies got a sight of Hoddesdon Police Station just over at the start of the Hoddesdon High Street, Mr X said that 2-1-2 Maureen could have got off her bus there to walk this bit of Trail to the Pub. He added that it was worth keeping their eyes open incase TBT OBE hadn’t found her earlier.
The Trail descended back down toward the New River, with a CHK on the west side of this 17th Century man-made supply of fresh water to London, here the Trail would rise up through more suburban backstreets, via an alleyway into Yewlands then descending from Lampits on to the narrow footbridge over the New River, this climb was cut out for those who wanted to avoid it by Ewok, there was a far easier trot along the New river footpath along its eastern bank
Those on this long ‘short cut’ did have one obstacle to slow down for & that was a Shetland pony who had done ‘a Houdini’ & was on the bankside footpath after getting out of through the wide gap running the length of the old wrought iron railed fence of the nearby horse field, where his equine companions were.
Just beyond the footbridge was an eastbound footpath heading along the north edge of the horse paddock back down to the Railway line. After this long trot the Pack were greeted with the sight of a set of steps of the new blue footbridge, which has been put in as a part of the upgrade to remove level crossings on the line as a safety measure. So no need to have anyone do a Pepé le Pew with a bellowing “Aaargh, Aaaaargh!” sound like blast of a Train engine horn.
Once up, over & then down the steep steps the Pack only had to follow the last section of uncapped access track to come out on to the bend where Essex Road becomes the Dobbs Weir Road, this also the corner to the Dobbs Weir Campsite that brought back memories for Fliptop when he had to spend some time in convincing Sir pants not to try crossing the weir by way of a cable over the River Lea Navigation.
The last little section was over the narrow road & then through the over the green space & the series of weirs to find the On Inn on one footbridge to come back up to the Fish & Eels, where 2-1-2 Maureen was found sitting outside the front of the Pub.
Fortunately a couple of the Pack had their CAMRA cards on them,
saving 20 pence a pint, making it only £4.10 a Pint! The Pack settled in around
in the back of the Pub, Tent Packer couldn’t stay as after the late start & the
Hour & Twenty to get around he didn’t want to be late for
After a while inside in the warm, it was noticed while looking out of the window frontage overlooking the weir that Sparky was aimlessly wandering around outside, he was called in to join the rest. 2-1-2 Maureen admitted that she ought to charge her mobile phone, as this would mean it would work when outside of the house!
With the Beer being such a price, the Circle was called fairly quickly, to keep it down to two Pints before moving on! Ewok did the honours & the RA then took over.
The Hare was rewarded for a good first Trail, enjoyable with the Vodka & Pomegranate Stop which was worth the long tarmac sections to get there. Max Factor & Alfa Male were both out for each reaching 118 & 118 Runs a piece [If only we could have had some way of having 118 -118 T-Shirts made up? – Ed] Milf was out for questioning if the RA had run all of the long section.
When it came to the Hashit the RA let Paxo explain who should get it, of course it was to the man who disturbed Paxo’s Ware neighbours & also was caught shouting “Are you on?” to a bunch of civilian girls out on Trail, mistaking them for Hashers. Seems someone needs to get down to Specsavers*** [They also do hearing aids! – Ed]
***Other reputable Opticians are available.