Date =                            23rd December 2018

Run Number =             1829    

Venue =                        The Bell

Location =                    Hoddesdon

Hare/s =                        TBT OBE

Beer =                           Double Maxim

Runners =                    16                                               

Virgins =                       0

Visitors =                      0

Newies =                       0

Après =                          0

Hounds =                      0

Total =                          16

Membership =             Reciting the Lord’s Prayer at a time!


            A change of venue from the Star, the local ‘Spoons over the road brought a few questions as to whether this was a wise move?  The prospect of Greede King Ale wasn’t to the taste of some, but the ‘spoons can be rather busy, though when the early arriving RA & Beermaster popped in there before the Hash there was plenty of room.

            Anyhow, the Hare was found in his distinctive Hi-vis jacket [A Jeunes Gilet? – Ed] it looked like he had set up camp in the centre of the town, with carrier bags & bottle of Mulled Wine it looked like a homeless person had set up under the shelter of the Clock-tower’s permanent metal awning.  The arriving Pack were welcomed with afore mentioned hot mulled wine.  No Eye Deer was intrigued as to how the Hare had heated this up, the answer was to place the bottles of wine in hot water, Simples!

            As the RA enjoyed his wine his phone went off, it was Sparky who had to be called back when the signal went.  Sparky was in Burford Street, but at the other end where it is cut off by the Dinant Link Road, so Mr X advised him how to get to the Bell & he could park up at the small car park at the end of the side street where the old Matlings used to be.

Time had passed the hour & there was still no sign of Sparky & the Hare wanted to get the show on the road, so the Circle was called by TBT OBE, who then went on to explain what the hash could expect put on the Trail! Anyone requiring a Short cut was told stick with the Hare, then he drew out the Hash markings on the pavement, one of which had been turned in to a smiley face!  But Sludge wasn’t there to be reminded of what you should be looking out for on a Hash Trail.

            The Trail began with the Pack being sent away down Burford Street to the north, this downhill trot toward the ring-road soon had the Pack being taken off to one side & down the subterranean route of the subway passing under the Link Road, not the best part of Hoddesdon but short enough before bringing the FRBs up again to the surface level where the My Lil’ & Where’s Wally? led the way off Trail down Burford Street.  Then from behind a call of “On! On!” came from Sparky, who was parked up in an area that had a couple of signs declaring ‘Residents Only Parking’ & just in case you didn’t get their message it was daubed in painted words several times on the wooden fence.

            Sparky was shown the Bell, formally the Blue Bell, a large blurred white thing with the red bit on it, the red bit being the old Benskins’ Sign!  But by the time he had finished faffing about getting ready & re-parking so his car so it was  just slightly over from the ‘Restricted Parking’ the rest of the Hash were out of sight! 

The Trail was picked up along the edge of the Dinant Road, named after the Belgium town Hoddesdon is twinned with, to disappear under the next roundabout via a Subway to come up on the end of Amwell Street, where Pepé le Pew had correctly guessed the Hare’s intentions & cut out the subway sections to stay above ground & walk over to where the FRBs were emerging from beneath the roads.

            Mr X exclaimed that this had been the best Trail he had done all year as the Clock-tower could be seen just a few yards away, but it was a bit premature as the Trail peeled off to the west on Taverner’s Way & then down St Paul’s Walk, going through the car park beside the Church Hall before descending down a slippery grass bank to cross over a narrow footbridge spanning the Woollens Brook.  Apparently St Katherines & St Paul’s was built as a new private chapel of ease in 1732 by Robert Plomer, a prosperous local businessman who had inherited Rawdon House by marrying into the Rawdon Family, built a new chapel of ease after a quarrel with Phineas Rothwell, the then vicar of Broxbourne.

            Running out on to path by the babbling brook this eventually came out on to Brookside as the Trail headed westward, a CHK was found at the T-Junction where Brookside joins Langton Road, there Tent Packer was one who choose the wrong northward option here.  The Trail would instead turn southward for a few yards & then resume its westward course heading up Lord Street, half way up to the west end of Hoddesdon for the Keenies there would be a loop starting down an alleyway just before the William IV.  Pebbledash never knew that there was a pub there, a possible venue as the last rime the Hash were the report was on parchment!

            While Mark joined My Lil’, Milf, Tent Packer, Where’s Wally? No Eye Deer & Zoya on the dog-leg alleyway out to a CHK on Beech Walk path, Mr X was asked by Gemma to let Mark know she was taking Rose on the Short Cut with Paxo, Whatever She Says, Pebbledash, Pepé le Pew & TBT OBE.  The message was delivered as Mark came back from a falsie away to the east on the Beech Walk Path, both now headed westward along behind the home on Rosehill Close to the northern top end of Barclay Park.

Up ahead Mr X could see Where’s Wally? venturing off southward into the Park’s open space on a Falsie from the CHK point where the tarmac path turns northward, while My Lil’ choose the correct option through the alleyway out of the park & back out to Lord Street. 

The Trail now took a north-westerly course, leaving the home of Hoddesdon behind.  A CHK by Bramble Lane just beyond the Bowling Green didn’t seem to hinder the Keenies as the Trail ran a short way along the lane as it curves around to the southwest on the bend where the High Leigh Conference Centre sits.

Mr X found Gemma waiting for Mark & Rose to catch up, as they take turns like a relay in making sure Rose gets around the Trail safely, some of the FRBs feel that they do the same with Sparky!

The RA also noticed a sign that was marked ‘Private property, no access!’ A sign that the Trail passed Beside to cross a patch of rough old scrubland of nettles & brambles, at least as Mr X says “Nettles don’t sting this time of year!” Dust led out on to a strip of land that is being landscaped into some kind of drive.  Zoya wasn’t sure that this was the right way, but Mr X reassured her that it was, & that this Hare has a track record of going off Track & trespassing.  As they made their way over the precariously soft piles of dumped topsoil, some of the words about forgiving trespass in the Lord’s Pray came to Mr X’s mind

The Hare’s route would have the Pack carefully choosing their steps through the uneven track of top soil through the pine wood before coming down to the path of chippings that is lined with logs on either side, this easier to run on ‘walk’ runs around the small lake in the woodland & the Trail lead to the southern end of the lake where they would cross over footbridge by the small waterfall at its end.

Milf stood on top of the wooded embankment to take ‘Action Shots’ as Zoya & the RA running as they made their way around to the ascend up through the wooded embankment, after this the Trail cut through between the trees on an off trail route through the leaf litter up by the original metal fencing to emerge out in to the meadow gently rolling away to the Spital brook to the south. 

The Dust led eastward through the damp grass on the plateau, fortunately the cattle were all grazing in the lower section of meadow as the pack were now heading back in to Barclay park again, coming in through the old ‘Kissing Gate’ in the southwestern corner.

A short trot along the tarmac path leading away to the lake in the east would stop at the only Held CHK of the Trail, situated by a park Bench by the lake with various water fowl out on this fine morning.  Here the Hare would produce a small picnic of the most excellent Pork, Apple & Pickle pork pies, Chicken satays & then Pizza Pockets for the Veggies, though Pebbledash wasn’t so keen & gave hers to Pepé le Pew.  After hearing the noises of delight from the pie eaters, our Faketerian Hare decided that he couldn’t resist & would try one of the delicious Pork pies [No surprise there then! – Ed]  It was here that Sparky finally caught up with the FRBs.

Mr X said “I’ve always stood up for you TBT, & that we’ll get a great Trail out of you one day?” But we haven’t finished yet!” as TBT OBE tried to explain that Trespass is a Civil offence & not a Criminal Offence!  [Trespass under Tort law can be against a person (assault), property (Interfering with another’s possessions) or land - although previously a pure tort, the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 created some circumstances in which trespass to land can also be a crime. – Ed]

The food was accompanied with a Peach infused Vodka drink, there were also sweets, Rose took around the bag of Jelly Babies, while TBT OBE aptly gave out Cough Candy!  The Pack soon came to the attention of a pooch, who was more interested in coming over to the picnic than walk all the way over the other side with its owners, who were now busy calling it back.  The RA hadn’t noticed the white pooch until he nearly tripped over it!

Milf wondered if this was the route of the Hoddesdon Park Run, Mr X said he didn’t know, but after a bit of research it turns out that it is, consisting of three anticlockwise laps in the same direction a lot of the Trail followed!

After a series of photo’s so Kylie could see what he was missing out on [He was working that day! – Ed] in the popular Park.  The Barclays, of Banking fame, were a deeply Christian family, making a great number of charitable contributions to the local community.  In 1880 they donated a parcel of land to be used as a cricket field by Hoddesdon Working Men’s Club, followed by an additional area for use as a football ground, home to the ‘Lillywhites’both of which are still there.  In 1899, the family commissioned the ornamental lake to be dug in the park in order to give much-needed employment to Hoddesdon men.

Following the death of Robert Barclay, the family chose to donate a 7.4 hectare area of the estate to the people of Hoddesdon in celebration of King George V’s silver jubilee.  Opening on May 12, 1937 with trees planted to celebrate the coronation of King George VI.  The lake & area was improved by local volunteers & the local council a few years ago, making it a popular place to visit.

 Soon it was time to move on again.  The likes of My Lil’, Tent Packer, Milf, No Eye Deer & Where’s Wally? all followed the Trail around the lake in a clockwise direction, however, Mr X stopped & waited just over through the gap in the trees where an old footbridge spans the Spital Brook that the other FRBs had passed by.

Sure enough the RA’s instinct was correct as the Hare approached him with the SCBs in tow to make their way through the gap as well, Mr X confessed that he too had set a Trail around here years ago & used the same ploy of a loop that TBT OBE had this morning.  Just as the FRBs came back around through the elongated enclosed field,  TBT OBE exclaimed that “Great minds think alike!”, Pepé le Pew was probably more accurate when he came out with a counter claim of “Simple minds don’t know any different?”

The south-eastern run would come out of the Park, through the open wrought-iron gates in the Red Brick pillars on a bend in Cock Lane [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed]  Some of the Keenies mistakenly thought that the Trail would take to this road & head back toward the centre of town, they were soon called back by the Hare to find that the Trail was off of the small ox-bow like single track lane, to head northward back in to Barclay park by the small play area with a zip-wire & swings etc.

The likes of Milf, Where’s Wally, Tent packer, No Eye Deer, Mark, My Lil’ & Mr X were all caught out by the Hare as they followed an anticlockwise trail up into the pine trees by the all-weather tennis courts, they went wrong from the CHK there as they were led along a Falsie back toward Rose Hill Close!  Eventually realising there was no way out for them, they went back to find the CHK marked away to the east.

The Trail left Barclay Park & came out on to Park View Road, the Hare & SCBs were already heading northward beside the Football & Cricket ground on the eastern edge of the Park, they would cross over to take to Brock Road & then around Taverner’s Way to come out by the local Aldi busy with Christmas Shoppers, the RA did spot the Hare had stopped by the Car park to write ‘On Inn’ down, which puzzled him as most of the FRB’s on the Hash were already over the other side of the car park!

Back through to the town centre & the Clock Tower, which is older than it looks, being built in 1835 on the former site of St Katherine’s Chapel, it contains the bell given to the Chapel in 1510, the east & west clock faces are original.  No one knows why it has a Mermaid as a weather vane on the top.

On Inn after getting change of clothes bags.  Mr X & My Lil’ were now happy to be proved wrong when they entered the Bell, for they were under the impression that they’d be drinking Greede King Ales, however the Abbot was not on but the other handpump had Double Maxim on!  This is a fine pint from ‘Maccum & tackum’ country (Sunderland) & one of the locals asked the Hash not to drink all of his Maxim, but it was far too good not to make a dent in the barrel!  [Apparently the Landlord drives all the way to the Northeast of England to bring this Ale down! – Ed]

The Hash were going to be spoilt further as the Landlady brought out two large platters of Sausages & Roast Tatties, what with the Pork pies earlier it was becoming something of a Gourmet Hash!  The Down-Downs were put off until the following week as some had to get away early, with it being Christmas time there was lots to be done.  All in all it was a very good Trail [Disclaimer – Excluding the Trespassing! – Ed]