Date =                             24th March 2019

Run Number =             1845    

Venue =                        The Eight Bells Horse & Groom

Location =                   (Old) Hatfield

Hare/s =                        My Lil’

Beer =                           Old Peculier; Hen Harrier;

Runners =                    13                                               

Virgins =                        0

Visitors =                       0

Newies =                       0

Après =                          0

Hounds =                      2

Total =                          15

Membership =             Locked out, so off to the Horse & Groom!


            The Hash has always tried to do our little bit in saving Pubs, especially contributing to those in rural parts, but all Pubs are a vital & historic part of the fabric of British life.  So, having seen an article in the local press a couple of months earlier about the Eight Bells struggling for trade, some of the Pack decided that a visit from us would no doubt help, & so the Pub was added as a venue on the Hare-line. 

No more was thought about the support of the Eight Bells, on what was a busy weekend for a few, starting on Friday evening with the successful Stand-in Shit’s Stag Pub Crawl of Hitchin, followed by the small Pub-Crawl on Saturday leading to the Sarries v Quins match & curry afterwards.  All of which left the Hare having to set the Trail that morning, as the Pub doesn’t have a car park being filled up with Hash vehicles, it wasn’t though to be necessary to pre-warn the Landlord of our arrival.

            There were a few faces missing this week, no doubt subdued by the previous two days’ adventures?  Most of the Pack gathered in the car park behind the Horse & Groom, then a txt message came from the Hare, which said that two buses had failed to turn up & he’d be late arriving, could the Circle be delayed?  Of course this was, which allowed time for Sludge to walk around to the Eight Bells where Spotted Dick, Custard with Poppy & Sparky were found patiently waiting outside before being brought around to the car park.

            The Hare finally arrived, after driving himself there he parked up, with the idea to drive back after the Trail to catch a bus & then have a drink with the Pack.  This would not go to plan as you will read later.  Fliptop called the Circle together with the correct Run number, then My Lil’ was called forward to do his ‘Chalk-talk’ which mentioned Short-Cuts, a phrase that had a few cheers from the weekend’s survivors!

            Then without further ado the Pack were ushered away through the corner walk-through into Salisbury Square, where the First CHK was located.  Soon calls of “On!” were coming from the southern end of the square, no doubt spotted by the walk to the Eight Bells earlier, & this ran through to the car-park were Spotted Dick & Custard had parked up.  They, Des Res & Wanktlers followed on behind Sparky, who was too busy blowing his horn [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed] to notice that he & they had all run on by a curving arrow by a small green telecoms cabinet, something the RA noticed as he & the Hare, who was now in the distance, called these stray off Trail FRBs back.

            The Pack would now run from by the Eight Bells & on down Park Street, passing by the Horse & Groom on the way, then running under the red brick via-duct supporting the entrance in to Hatfield House Park above.  The Dust would head northward, with Hatfield Park to the east & the homes of ‘Old Hatfield to the west, as the Trail began to rise up on the tarmac footpath that was separate from the old road, upon this rise a set of double arrows was found.

Sparky, Des Res & Wanktlers all followed the arrows around from the short alleyway & out on to Park Meadows to the west, the Hare prevented the SCBs going around this loop by putting arrows straight down the Park Street footpath as it came down the hump of the small embankment beside the road.  The Hare & the RA waited at the next alleyway for when Sparky would come back to this original route.  Sparky moaned that the others had short-cutted to reach this point before him, but Custard soon corrected Sparky by informing him that the Hare had marked this as an official Short Cut

The Pack were all back together as they headed toward the Old Hertford Road, but before getting that far another set of double arrows took the Hash out through Park Meadow & up the steps beneath the raised rooms of two maisonettes.  Sparky, who was happy that there were no horses on this Trail, was still vigorously blowing his horn, the RA said “It’s obvious you don’t live around here Sparky?” as the residents were not going to get a lay-in this morning.

The Hare was now going to lead the Hash around a series of ginnels & passages linking the small estate before coming out on to the Old Hertford Road, then back around on to Park Lane, the Pace was a fairly quick one, in case the not so happy & rudely disturbed residents got up to see what all Sparky’s commotion was about.

Mr X should have stuck to his guns as he said that he would wait to see Sparky come out further down the Old Hertford Road, instead of falling for the Hare’s spiel!  But he didn’t want to be witness to Sparky having a horn shoved where the sun doesn’t shine by the locals!

Back out on the Old Hertford Road, where it terminates beside the edge of its replacement of the Hertford Road.  There the Hash crossed over to the north side, then turned south-westerly up to the edge of the grassy bank at the side of the Ryde area of Hatfield, no doubt named after an area used by the Tudor Royals when they were in residence at Hatfield House?  Having gone up the ramp like footpath, the Trail turned off to cut-through to the Holdings, there a CHK was found.

Wanktlers headed away to the northeast, but by the time the RA & Spotted Dick arrived at the CHK it had been marked by the Hare, so Wanktlers was called back in the opposite direction around the upper half of the U-shaped road, this section being Green Avenue, & at the end of this North-easterly arm stopped where it joins Lodge Drive, there another CHK was found.

Where’s Wally? went awry, while the proper Trail was found on the curved cul-de-sac of Sunny Field, in the corner of which it took to another alleyway path.  Once through the hedged-in path the Trail came out on to the green space between the homes of Greenfield Road & the slip road down by Mount Pleasant to the A414, where the Dust lead over to the Hertford Road again.

The Trail crossed the first junction of lights for drivers accessing the A414 toward the local Tesco store at Holdings Corner, these lights sit on the southern side of the bridge spanning the A414, so the Hash crossed above the traffic to the northern side where the next set off lights regulate east-bound traffic coming on & off the A414. 

Through the lights & the Hash would run by the entrance to Bush Hall, which after 10 or 15 years of neglect & being closed is now being restored as a Hotel.  The Trail stuck with the western side of the A1000 as it becomes Chequers on its way out Mill Green, crossing the River Lea. 

The Trail then peeled off on to the old bow shaped section of Mill Green Lane for the homes hidden behind the remains of the tree-line & hedge.  It was here that Mr X reminded those around him of the time that the local Paper had printed the rumours that Dale Winton had bought the large house that is further hidden away behind security fences & trees.  No one knows how the rumour started, but the paper had to print retraction article that Dale didn’t live there, nor had he bought the property.  The RA added that we could categorical state that Dale Winton doesn’t live there!

            Mr X now admitted to the Hare that he had actually walked along this section of Trail, all while on his way to the venue, as he had missed the bus over but mainly because he wanted to get over the previous day’s exploits on such a nice warm day.  So, Mr X hung back a bit, allowing Sparky, Wanktlers, Des Res, FWB & Where’s Wally all take to the uncapped farm drive beside the solitary house.  This was going to be the longest section of the Trail as it turned slightly a couple of times on it way over to Woodhall Farm, these slight turns obscured the progress of the front of the Hash from the middle order & those at the rear.

            It was a glorious day, with no clouds in the sky, just four Red Kites effortlessly circling around up in the bright blue sky, as the Trail straightened & Sparky came back in to view as he led the way when the Trail came around the edge of the solitary farm house to continue along on what is now a part of the ‘Lea Valley Walk’.

Another long stretch along the dusty uncapped track beside the large hawthorn blossoming hedgerow to run down to a CHK by what is known as ‘Tramps Bridge’ in the embankment for the mainline to Kings Cross.  Mr X knew that the Trail would not go through the tunnel in the embankment, as he didn’t see any Trail on the southern lakes side of the Stanborough Park on his walk over.

            Those further back, who knew where the Trail would go, were amazed to see Sparky go right first time as he blew his horn on his way along the edge of the field, running northward by the fenced off railway embankment toward the outer corner of the Chequersfield estate. 

While Sparky led the Keenies around the western farm fields, the Hare put in a short cut that headed nor-nor-east up between the patchwork of farmland, as Mr X & the Hare took the Short Cut, they looked back to see Custard, Spotted Dick & Kylie were still well back on the farm drive.

Passing through the hedgerows the short cut would follow the long windbreak of a hedgerow to meet up with Where’s Wally? as the two trails joined at the south-eastern corner of the Creswick plantation.  Wanktlers commented on that he had spotted the two free-range shopping trollies at the other end of the plantation, these had not escaped from the Hatfield herd & strayed over the border, but must have been Garden City bred for they had Sainsbub’s on their handles!

            The Trail ran along the edge of the Creswick plantation, as the Hare had walked his dog while setting the Trail, it would mean that for a change the Pack wouldn’t be struggling in balancing over the narrow small concrete dam in the Creswick stream, or of course the Hare too was feeling a little light-headed after the last couple of days?

            A short trot around to drop down to the western side of the Chequer’s roundabout, before trotting through the brightly painted subway tunnels to the open centre & then out to the western arm as it climbs up the path to join Howlands, a short way up this residential road to arrive at the Held CHK.

The Hare had set up a small drink & snack stop in his front garden, with Ales, a nice Cider, an excellent cheddar Cheese, Salami, Cheddar biscuits & Crisps.  All of which was appreciated.  The Hare’s Mum came out to greet the Hash, while they tucked in.  She asked where Skip was?

Once Sparky had finished adjusting his clothing to prevent over-heating [Don’t ask! – Ed] Sparky was presented with a South Park box, inside of which was a Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Animal Sanctuary Mug, which has ‘Sparky’ the Gay Dog on one side, Mr X explained that this character was actually voiced (barked & growled by George Clooney)

            Having been ‘Fed & watered’ the FRBs were keen to move on, but it seems that Kylie & Sis didn’t take the Short Cut, instead making the best of the day & taking the long Trail, these two came in to sight just as the rest of the Pack were about to head off on the last leg of the Trail.

            The Hare could have had the Pack heading off over the road & taking to a back street or two, running several alleyways to come back out on to Chequers, but he had simply set the Trail back down to the Chequer’s Roundabout & then around to head southward along the direct route of Chequers toward Mill Green.  The Pack would near enough be split in to two sections now, with Wanktlers, Des Res, Mr X, Sludge, Sparky up with the Hare, with Fliptop with Teddy, Where’s Wally? FWB, Spotted Dick & Poppy making up the central ground followed by Custard, Sis & Kylie.

Sparky & Wanktlers would get caught out from the CHK by one of the alleyway through to Boundary Lane, named after being the former boundary between the Digswell & Salisbury Estates.  Now one final long stretch would lead all the way back along the cycleway/footpath, with the only breaks being the crossings at the start of Ascot Lane, Mill Green & finally the exit from the A414.  The first part of this wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that the water ditch by the coppiced woods were both littered with discarded trash, as were the hedges until the Pack crossed reached Mill Green.

The On Inn was found up by the A414 Bridge, before crossing the off ramp from Hertford, then once by the northern gatehouse for the Hatfield House estate, the Trail simply followed the out Trail backward, but without the loops.  This still didn’t stop Wanktlers & then Sparky mis-reading the Hare’s markings where the out Trail had been crossed out & the Inn Trail arrows replacing them.  Wanktlers quickly realised his mistake, & fortunately for Sparky the RA was on hand to call him back! 

All of these confusing markings would eventually be spotted by the disgruntled locals no doubt disturbed by Sparky, these would be wrongly posted on the wearehatfield Farcebook page as being ‘Markings Burglars use’ as spotted by Wanktlers.  Hopefully they have now been educated on what these markings really are?

Back in (Old) Hatfield for one last passing beneath the red brick viaduct entrance to Hatfield House.  Built in 1497 by the Bishop of Ely, King Henry VII's minister John Cardinal Morton, the Old Palace comprised four wings in a square surrounding a central courtyard.  

The palace was seized by Henry VIII in the reformation.  His eldest daughter, who later reigned as Queen Mary I, lived there between 1533 - 1536, when she was sent to wait on the then Princess Elizabeth, as punishment for refusing to recognise Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn.  Henry VIII's other children, King Edward VI & Queen Elizabeth I, spent their youth at Hatfield Palace.  Within the grounds is the Elizabeth oak, said to the one tree Elizabeth was sitting under when she was informed of Mary’s Death & her succession to the Throne.

Elizabeth's successor, King James I, did not like it, so he gave it to Elizabeth's (also his own) chief minister Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury in 1607, in exchange for Theobalds Palace which was the Cecils' family home on the current site of Cedars Park, Broxbourne.

From under the viaduct Sparky was pointed through to where his car was parked up, while Mr X went straight to the Eight Bells as his change of clothes was in Fliptop’s motor.  There he found Wanktlers walking around outside, he had tried the front door but it was still locked at 12:30Hrs, with the late start, combined with the drink & food stop, the FRBs weren’t back until half past noon.  Wanktlers then went around to the side, knocking on the rear windows, as someone could be heard inside, but whoever it was failed to respond to these knocks.  After a couple more attempts these two went over to the Horse & Groom, where the Pack would all end up taking their custom.

Having bought a couple of pints, Wanktlers then went out to the car park to alert the others know that the Hash would now be in the Horse & Groom, but this being the Hash & a couple didn’t get the message & went over to the still closed Eight Bells, one of which was the Hare, who drove his car back only to find that the intended Bus was still not running!  Luckily his neighbour gave him a lift over!

The Pack sat out the back of the Pub, enjoying the weather while they could.  When it came to the Down-Downs the Hare was rewarded for a good Trail, while Wanktlers & Sparky received theirs for going astray at the end, (George Clooney’s double) of Sparky downing his from his new Sparky (the Gay Dog from South Park) Mug.

            All in all a great run with good weather [Thank the RA! – Ed]