Date = 3rd February 2019
Run Number = 1837
Venue = The Fish & Eels
Location = Dobbs Weir
Hare/s = Where’s Wally?
Beer = London Pride or Doooombar
Runners = 13
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 1
Après = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 14
Membership = Discovering the benefits of Pomegranate Syrup?
The Day couldn’t have been much more of a contrast than the previous days, the rain & dull skies had gone to leave the sun out in an almost cloudless sky. The Pack gathered in the car park across the road from the Pub, this being a free public one & not one run by a company for the Hostelry, where a potential fine could be had. Enough to scare Kylie & Sparky in to obeying the Hare’s emailed instructions.
After some embarrassing Parking by three of the Hashers, the Hare finally arrived. This dispelled the thought that he was still out there setting the Trail as the Pack Circled up on the tow path on the eastern Essex side of the River Lea Navigation. With a lack of Herts Hierarchy again, too many off Sick with the Lurgy, left Mr X to carry out the welcome to the correct R*n number.
This week’s Newie, Beaver Bear was introduced, he would go around the Trail in Rose’s safe company. There wasn’t much for the Pack to look out for in the Hare’s pre-Trail spiel, the mention of Short Cuts & a Vodka Stop were of interest, before Where’s Wally? turned his attention to the fact that on the a part of the first start of the R*n there was a strong smell of gas, so no smoking!
The threated that the Trail may not be intact, as it was laid the day before under heavy grey skies, but two of the Pack reassured him it was still there, having walked up a part of it from Hoddesdon. A slip of “It’s the same Trail as the last one I set, but backwards & less roads!” gave away the potential route to those with elephantine memories!
So without further ado the Pack set off over the single track, narrow pack-bridge over the waterway, a set of lights controlled the traffic passing over the bridge, there was gap in the change of lights long enough for the first group to get over to Dobbs Weir & the green space around it to the west of the Fish & Eels.
Jamie, Mr X, Mark & My Lil’ all headed over the main longest weir bridge only to find at the other end a T was found, but from a different direction, which indicated that there was a CHK by one of the sluices. So, armed in the knowledge of where the Trail would lead, My Lil’ would lead the way westward out on to the Essex Road, back on the Herts side of the county border.
A turn to the left would lead a short way along to the south before the Trail returned to a westerly direction out by the corner of the Dobbs Weir campsite, a place that would bring back a few memories for those who have been hashing long enough to recall the Herts weekend there. This would be a long first stretch of Trail as the Pack made their way along the uncapped track, which had tracts of snow that had survived in the shade & cracked icy puddles in the large pot-holes.
Sparky was unsure of this being correct route, especially after passing a southbound track out by the river lynch through the reed beds out toward the old slurry pits. However Mr X reassured him that this was correct as both he & My Lil’ had seen the Trail on the bridge over the Railway line, on approaching this Mr X explained that there used to be a level crossing there before for safety reasons the bridge was built.
Up & over the high blue metal bridge & the Trail would lead along by the northern end of Admiral’s Walk Lake to arrive on the eastern bank of the New River. My Lil’ led the way north-eastward up to Conduit Lane. Having completed a short loop around by the single line of homes on Lampits My Lil' led Jamie, Milf, Mr X & Sparky around to go through an old wrought-iron gate to pass over the narrow footbridge spanning the New River, which regular readers know was built in the reign of King James I (VI Scotland) to supply drinking water from Ware to London. It was amazingly clear as the shallow bottom could be seen.
The Trail resumed sou-sou-westward on the eastern bank of the New River, none of the Pack noticing they were running downhill, albeit only a mere five inches per mile to keep the New River flowing to the Smoke.
There was plenty of waterfowl to observe along the way, but one thing that did disappear was the Lesser spotted Sludge, who had a little earlier asked Where's Wally? If there was a short cut, for a family dinner was beckoning him. So, off he went, not to be seen again on the Trail.
Arriving at the bridge for Upper Marsh Road, Milf had to point out the green chalk arrows that eluded Sparky's gaze. There two arrows pointed over the New River to Upper Marsh Road, while a SC & single arrow pointed the way to remain on the New Rivers bankside. The Hare had already informed Mr X that he would like to have some pictures of the FRBs using the exercise machines in the Park just off of the High Street on the western edge of the Spitalbrook area of Hoddesdon. The Trail took to an alleyway heading dues south, Jamie was at the front of this but was soon stopped as he ran by the arrow directing the FRBs in to the small park area.
Those who arrived there soon took to the exercise machines, with Milf taking pictorial evidence that would make the Hare’s Day! With Mr X doing his pecs, Jamie on the ski-walker, Sparky on a thigh worker on which he was heard to mutter “Oh, my back!”
After a shot with most of the devices being used, it was time to head off again & out of the small park via a gap in the hedged-in alleyway where Ewok, No Eye & Kylie were found, having missed the earlier arrow. The Keenies came out on to St Catherine’s Road where a large soapy area was found, it looked as if someone had washed their car but after the FRBs had run on to the continuation of the alleyway & found a T, it became clear that someone had taken a bucket of soapy water & a broom to the CHK that was there. He Hare would go back to see this, leaving the rest to take to the short alleyway footpath path back down to the New River.
The Pack made their way along the New River’s bank until reaching Gasworks Lane where they would be led westward up & around on to Church Fields, directly opposite the Alleyway the earlier T was found on. The next section of Trail would weave its way around the rabbit warren like back streets of Church fields to arrive at Stafford Drive, where those had run this Trail before arrived at Where’s Wally’s Dad’s House, where Gemma, Rose & Beaver Bear were found waiting at this Held CHK.
The only issue now was the Hare was not there to dish out the Drinks. Not one to stand on ceremony, Ewok went rooting around the waste & recycling area by Where’s Wallys? Dad’s house & there she found a fold-up table & the Pomegranate syrup & vodka. Whatever She Says was concerned that some of the neighbours would be awoken for their lay-ins by the noisy Pack.
Eventually Where’s Wally? arrived & joined in the regroup aperitif, he went for the alcoholic version, while Ewok & Rose went for the plain pomegranate. Beaver Bear had neither! Ewok asked if there were any Jelly Babies? Which brought a negative “Pah! Jelly Babies!” [Remember this next sweet stop & Where’s Wally dives on!
However there was someone to the rescue with some Fruit Pastels, which were Rose’s & she offered to the Pack.
On again & there was only one way to go & that was to the dead-end of the arm of this back street to pass through an alleyway leading around by the old Brick Bottle-Kiln beside Kings Close, another photo opportunity was taken of some of the Hash standing by the large brick erection [Steady there pebbledash! – Ed] beside it is a horse-drawn pudding wheel used for mixing terracotta on this site that was once the Pulhams Factory.
In 1845 James Pulham saw the demand for Italianate design, so he moved into the production of terracotta ornamental items for gardens including vases, urns, balustrades and fountains. He built a ‘manufactory’ in here to accommodate the expanding business with his younger brother, the fabulously-named Michael Angelo Pulham, joined him to help design and produce many of the items. In the years after the First World War, the Pulhams saw a gradual decline in work from large estates. The site fell in to disrepair & the factory was demolished in 1966.
On again & the Pack came out on to Station Road. Here the Trail would split, with the Keenies heading over to the Recreation ground to the southwest, this was a loop around the area where tennis courts sit, but some got lost here on the way to Mill lane & then down to where the Old Mill used to stand there, mentioned in the Doomsday Book, only the 16th Century stone floor, a couple of walls & the water wheel with its new plastic paddles & the metal gearing still exist after the rest was destroyed by fire in 1949.
The SCBs of Mr X, Kylie, Jamie, Rose & Beaver Bear made their way to here from the path at the end of the station car park. The Trail came through the old stone remains of the water-wheel, which surprisingly still has the paddles on it, then it was down to the Model Railway Club where a visit was paid. Mr X & Kylie weren’t too sure if the guy running some of the model trains understood Mr X’s EWS reference?
Anyhow, Mr X, Jamie & Rose decided to resume the Trail, going by the busy Old Mill Retreat Café, cycle hire & canoe centre, then passing under one bridge for the Railway & then over another that spans the first part of the weir & then up the steps to the road bridge over the next section of River Lea Navigation, to run down by the Crown & the on to the eastern side of the Navigation, to be back on the Essex Side of the border!
As Rose, Jamie & Beaver Bear made their way along by the narrow-boats, they were blissfully unaware that Mum & Dad were concerned as to Rose’s whereabouts. They were happy to look at a White Egret & then the waterfowl of swans, ducks, coots & moorhens on the eastward section of the New River
The Dust was a bit sporadic as they continued to turn in a nor-nor-easterly direction, the wildlife distraction, as well as admiring some of the floating homes meant that none of them saw the Trail going off on a loop to the east, like it had before.
So, they carried on back toward Dobbs Weir, at one point passing a few more moored up narrow-boats, where a woman came out with her large staffie on the loose & shouted at it in a Dickensian Cockney voice like Robert Newton as Bill Sykes impersonation with calls of “Bullseye com ‘ere!”
The pooch was given a wide berth as they SCBs, who were now FRBs made their way along to the next section where on the opposite side the green space of the ‘Almost Wild Campsite’ could be see, opposite more feeder ponds with reed beds & bull-rushes to shelter the wildlife.
Next to be encountered on this wide uncapped route were some Polish workman who were filling in some of the pot holes along this access road, Mr X said that it looked like they had their work cut out, with one guy not being able to understand why the local council doesn’t pay for this? But it’s probably supported by the few homes on the Carthage Estate, the narrow-boat mooring fees & the local Sailing club the Pack were going to pass by next.
The Trail made its way back to the On Inn by the wonderfully named Pubcrawler narrow boat moored up at the edge of the car park. The SCBs were all back, but it seems that the others had gone astray. Whatever She Says was waiting for a change of clothes, but with no sign of No Eye Deer he decided to call her & discovered that she was still back at the Railway Bridge! She also said that Mark & Gemma were worried about where Rose was!
Mr X & my Lil’ decided to take refuge in the Pub, so over to the Fish & Eels, which was once Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne’s local. Standing at the Bar waiting to get served, the two Hashers heard a call of “What are you drinking Gents!” as Stand-in Shit made his presence known. He had a delay to his start, with cancelled Trains or a Bus Replacement service which led him to decide to ride his bike to the venue, where he did the first couple of CHKs.
Eventfully the Hash were back together, sat in the warm corner where a real log fire was burning away. No Eye Deer was curious as to how there was a run report from Mr X on a Trail he wasn’t at? [The RA is omnipresent? – Ed] It could have been a case of ‘Smoke & Mirrors!’
Ewok picked up that Whatever She Says, wearing his Tallinn Hat had a remarkable resemblance to Pootle, one of the Flumps from a kids TV series from the 1977, of which only 13 episodes were made.
Time came around to the Circle, which was held in side as the place was not as busy as it has been in the past. The Hare was rewarded for a good Trail; then the RA turned his thoughts to the likes of No Eye Deer, Ewok & Kylie who all missed the green arrows to the fitness park! Gemma was out for completing her 10th Herts Hash.
Finally, Mr X may have thought he was (In a Non-Competitive way) first to the On inn, or Rose, Jamie or Even Beaver Bear but it was Stand-in Shit who was called out for being competitive in beating everyone else back!