Date = 22nd April 2019
Run Number = 1849
Venue = Chez No Eye Deer
Location = Letchworth
Hare/s = No Eye Deer
Beer = Hobgobin, Old Speckled Hen
Runners = 30
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 5
Après = 1
Hounds = 0
Total = 36
Membership = Celebrating Eostrae, Pesach & a Crufixtion
Time for this year’s annual celebration of Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring & fertility, Hares (Not the Hash type) Bunnies & Eggs are all symbols related to her. A few asked where My Lil’ was, he was out in Malta with the F.U.K. Full Moon Hash on their Easter Break. Having been asked before why a Full Moon is always around Easter, here’s the answer: Easter, as decreed by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, falls on the first Sunday after the Vernal Equinox (March 21) With the Christian Church linking the date of Crucifixion with this Full Moon, it means that it will be on, or a day either side, of Passover, since the Jewish Calendar is based on the cycle of the Moon. So, Mazel Tov! There was lots to celebrate this weekend!
With every indication that this Easter break was going to be the hottest weekend so far of the year, add in the mix of food & chocolate after the Trail & it didn’t take a genius to work out that there would be a decent turn-out.
This week saw a good turnout of Horrors (Children) which considerably lowered the average age of the Pack, well until the arrival of 2-1-2 Maureen & Sparky set it back up a bit. 2-1-2 Maureen was having an issue waiting for her Bus to arrive, from which Paxo was picking her up in Ware. So Ewok, who arrived on her own, asked for the Circle to be held up. This meant that the early arrivals of the Pack took advantage of sitting in No Eye Deer’s back garden & enjoy the sun, but the peace & tranquillity were soon gone as Tent Packer arrived & immediately began hawking his wares. Amazingly the T-shirts & hats were soon being purchased from TP’s Hash Bazaar by Jenny, then Gemma, to name a few!
While managing his Hash Bazaar, Tent Packer noticed that a former Herts Haberdasher was present at today’s Trail & he was not adorned in any kind of Hash wear. When pointed out to the RA, Mr X said that he would give Pepé le Pew the benefit of the doubt & see what apparel he would be wearing après Trail?
Finally 2-1-2 Maureen arrived with Paxo, someone said that she was concerned about 2-1-2 Maureen getting around the Trail, Mr X added that she does well having to put up with Paxo! With our Hash Matriarch now present, No Eye Deer could now get ready to explain what the Pack could expect to encounter in & around the Letchworth area.
Once TBT OBE had made a dog’s dinner of the introductions, No Eye Deer was called forward, explaining to the Newies of Veronique & Richard, as well as Jenny’s Partner Mark & kids Elizabeth & Isabelle, not to mention Ketchup’s Grandson & Prince Garmin’s Nephew Freddie all about Herts Hash Markings. Some wondered on Sludge’s input on this, as how could he know what the flour signs meant as he seems to ignore many of these? [Especially T-shaped ones! - Ed] Then there was a sudden, piercing silence followed by a heavy feeling of dread when No Eye Deer mentioned that most evil of Hash Trail devices, normally the reserve of & used by The Hare & Hounds, Fisk-hooks!
Anyhow, the Hash Terrors soon subsided with the mention of a jelly baby stop, short cuts, a longer Trail for the Keenies & of course an Easter Egg hunt before the end. Then the Hash were directed out on to Aubreys to find the Trail leading southwestwardly down toward the Willian Road, but the Pack were not going to cross this just yet, for arrows took the Keenies around into one of the cul-de-sacs situated on either side of the horseshoe shaped Aubreys.
For the Newies information, there were comments about there being ‘No Rules on the Hash’, which led Mr X to quote Mr Mackay in Porridge “There are only two Rules! Don’t write on the walls & obey all the rules!”
Two options lay ahead in the small dead-end street, with Mr X going wrong through the northern cut-through, taking Tent Packer & Sludge with him. It was down to Jamie to pick up the Dust as it led away through the north-western cut-through to another cul-de-sac & then out on to Aubreys’ northern arm, then running out to where it joins Letchworth Lane.
The Keenies of Tent Packer, Jenny, Sludge, TBT OBE, Pepé le Pew, Milf & Ewok all followed the old road around the elbow near to the entrance of Letchworth Golf Club, it was on the way up toward the A505 that they found the first Bar CHK of the Trail. Mr X was just far enough behind that he saw the other FRBs turnaround, so he crossed over & searched up Garth Road, which was marked as a ‘Private Road’ but open to the Hash (& Public walkers) to trot along as it arcs around to the toward the north, terminating by a large bush that Mr X claimed was Easter egg shaped.
The RA now noticed that Sludge was wearing a very large plaster on his forearm, seems that he’s been taking a leaf out of TBT OBE’s book [The Hash’s very own Selwyn Froggit! – Ed] & somehow removed a large path of skin while out gardening. He wasn’t sure how he done it, but it looked painful.
Behind the egg-shaped topiary was a cut-through to Pasture Road & from this back-to-back dead-end the Keenies would run up to the junction with the A505 Baldock Road, there the next CHK was found. Sludge was quickly away to the southwest, while TBT OBE milled about just over the adjacent crossing, leaving Jenny, Gemma, Milf & Ewok to check it out to the northeast. When “On!” was called by the Harriettes the likes of Mr X, Tent Packer & Pepé le Pew all came back from the southwestern option, only to be stopped in their tracks when they saw the progress of the girls was halted by a T!
Off again down the main road toward Hitchin in the southwest, Sludge, Tent Packer & Pepé le Pew ignored the option of searching down Briar Patch lane over the road, but instead crossed a bit further along to pass through the hedgerow & into the open nature reserve. They would not find any Flour Down there & calls of “On!” came from Ewok, Milf, Gemma & Jenny, with Mark, Rose & Jamie who all remained on the southern side of the road & picked up the dust.
Tent Packer, Sludge & Pepé le Pew were soon back over, while Mr X had to wait for the traffic to ease before he could cross back over, this delay was of benefit to the RA as the rest were heading down the hill toward a Bar CHK. Of course there was one exception to those Keenies finding the Falsie, & that was Sludge who had nipped away down the footpath that Mr X fancied the Trail to take to.
As Slug, Jamie, Mark E Mark, Ketchup began to catch-up they too benefited, they were soon behind Mr X who was in turn following on well behind Sludge. Strangely as soon as the RA called out “On! On!” to those behind him, up ahead the ‘Lesser Spotted Sludge’ was now heard calling “On!” as he ran on by an adjoining footpath by the allotments, then on by the edge of a couple of fairways of the local golf course. The route turned the corner in the bend of the dirt path, then to pass through the hawthorn hedgerow to catch up with Sludge in this enclosed field covered in daisies & dandelions. Milf commented on these to Mr X, claiming that she had been digging them out of Kylies lawn, Mr X said that she should have put them in a salad, as we used & they still do in France. [Mind you they eat snails & frogs legs in France! – Ed]
The quintessential garden and lawn weed, dandelions have a bad reputation among those who want grass that looks as uniform as a golf course, but every part of this common edible weed is tasty both raw and cooked, from the roots to the blossoms. Dandelion leaves can be harvested at any point in the growing season, and while the smaller leaves are considered to be less bitter and more palatable raw, the bigger leaves can be eaten as well, especially as an addition to a green salad. If raw dandelion leaves don't appeal to you, they can also be steamed or added to a stir-fry or soup, which can make them taste less bitter. The flowers are sweet and crunchy, and can be eaten raw, or breaded and fried, or even used to make dandelion wine. The root of the dandelion can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute, or added to any recipe that calls for root vegetables. [Personally I use Dandelions in a Keith Floyd Salad, you know, the one that includes two bottles of Red Wine, one to enjoy while making the salad, the other while eating it! - Ed]
Anyhow, Jamie, Pepé le Pew, Ewok, Jenny were all soon on their way out of the enclosure & back to the dirt path as it heads south-westerly down toward ‘The Orchard’ where a CHK was found. With the other Keenies going wrong, it was down to Mr X to search the shorter route down to the Willian Road, where Dust led over this & along the front of the nice homes fenced in at Longwood.
Now the Trail took to the wide green track running eastward on the farmland side of the hedge along the southern side of the Willian Road, this was a nice gentle downhill trot to the point where the first Held CHK was found by corner of the dusty harder capped track.
Ewok wasn’t happy to see the neglected memorial by the road’s edge, Mr X explained that there used to be a name on the plaque, but this has now weathered away & sadly the tree planted in memory of the lad that died there, was broken many years ago by some numpties, the snapped & dead sapling still remains.
The Pack began to regroup, here was a wait for the middle order to arrive, Jenny’s family of Mark, Elizabeth & Isabelle were up with the likes of Mark E Mark, Ketchup, Prince Garmin, Freddie Veronique, Richard & Slug, who all came down the hill with the Hare, it was soon noticed by the eagle-eyed amongst the Keenies that No Eye Deer was missing the bag of Jelly Babies! The sweets were all with Whatever She Says who was way back with Pebbledash, 3D, Paxo, Slip, Psycho & Flanders.
A call of “Bike!” went up as a guy on a flash mountain-bike went cycled through the waiting pack as they stepped aside, this was soon repeated as he came back from the wide capped dirt track to take to the grassy path up along by the Willian Road. This led to talk of Bash that took place using the ‘Greenway’, which ended with “We ought to do another Bash!” [A bash is a Cycle Hash, which tends to have a few Pubs along its route & normally TBT OBE falls off!
Where’s Wally? was dispatched to run back along the Trail to relieve Whatever She Says of the Jelly Babies & run them back to the rest of the Pack, but all of this had passed No Eye Deer by. As she saw Whatever She Says come up to the gathered Pack she noticed that he hadn’t got the bag containing the sweets, putting two & two together & coming up with ‘He’s left the sweets at home!’ There was a sigh of relief from No Eye Deer when Where’s Wally? produced the said bag of sweets.
There was a choice of Wine Gums & Jelly Babies to munch on, Kylie was among those who wanted to grab a photo, Milf & TBT OBE being the others. As it was Easter, Mr X suggested ‘Rabbit ears’ which meant more than one shot had hands in the shape of a shadow rabbit were placed behind the head of the persons in front. [Childish behaviour like that does belong on the Hash! – Ed]
Hash Test Dummy said he didn’t know where he was? [Reminds me of today’s Hare! – Ed] So, Mr X pointed out that in the west was the Purwell end of Hitchin, while to the south was Great Wymondley.
Skip & Flanders arrived, just as the Keenies were allowed to Check out the Trail, the obvious continuation along by the road was ignored, even after the Hare had said that there could be an option that way, this was going to be the Short-Short-Cut. Everyone would take to the Track as it headed away sou-souwest, along by a brook that feeds the River Purwell on the edge of Hitchin.
A CHK was found by a footpath off up the hillside to the southeast, Sludge went off up this but was called back by the Harte, after Pepé le Pew had called “On!” from further along the by the Brook, this was to be the Shot Cut for Paxo, Lobby Lobster, Mark E Mark & Psycho.
Sludge caught up with Mr X & both slowed up as the RA was convinced that the Keenies hadn’t seen the end of the Hare’s Trickery with Bar CHKs being very popular this morning. Sure enough those ahead stopped & indicated with one out-stretched arm that it was a Bar CHK!
So, the grassy permissive path passed by a little earlier was now where the FRBs would run, coming up the hill beside a windbreak hedgerow, which meant that they couldn’t see Whatever She Says with the SCBs making their way at the other end of the field behind the hawthorn bushes, they still wouldn’t see the SCBs as they came up to the north-western corner of the Lower Planation of Wymondley Wood, for the FRBs would be led into the woodland to follow the paths within around on a loop.
The Keenies made their way through to the small open area between the Lower & Upper Plantations, it was noticeable that all ran on through the area of picnic tables, for there was a rather large audience of picnickers & their pooches [Some could call this almost competitive? – Ed] Then once beyond the picnickers the pace slowed, Sludge reverted to type & cut off the corner on the hairpin bend that Jenny, Pepé le Pew, Tent Packer, Milf & Ewok were coming around, at least he did this right in front of the RA!
Out of Wymondley Wood on the Track that heads due north from the North-eastern corner, another wide stony farm track would lead up to a CHK at the T-junction with a northwest to south-easterly farm track, Mr X was tempted to search to the northwest, but his progress never got under way as a couple of dog-walkers told him that “The Walkers” were up head of the Pack to the Southeast! Sure enough, up ahead of the FRBs Paxo’s head could be seen gleaming away in the sunlight.
The Trail would now take to the long straight track along the northern edge of the farm field, this was long stretch & it was the first place that a Fish-Hook would be found! Even if they hadn’t encountered a Fish-hook before Jenny & Gemma followed on with Milf, Ewok & Pepé le Pew in running back down the Trail to where the rest of the Keenies were following on behind. However there were the likes of Sludge, who continued on regardless & not heading back to the Hare. In Sludge’s defence; A) there was no number next to the Fish-hook, to indicate the number of FRBs who had to turn back? B) Most of the Walkers were now well ahead of the rest.
The Trail turned north-easterly in direction, running along by the Wymondley Road, there most passed by a small memorial in the hedgerow, & further along the road is the First Stone Memorial raised by public support for military service men, for the two Service Men killed in an Air Crash.
On 6th Sep 1912 two early “heavier than air machines” took off from Wallingford Berkshire. This operational flight was part of the 75,000-troop manoeuvres taking place in East Anglia at that time. Flying conditions were not ideal but they were not the worst Captain Hamilton had encountered – he had already survived two crashes in his short flying career, including a narrow escape from death while flying in America, when his aircraft crashed after being sucked into an air pocket.
The Deperdussin aircraft was approaching the ‘alighting’ area, which was part of a 100 acre field in Willian (owned by Mr Walter Brett, then landlord of the George and Dragon public house in Graveley) which had been prepared for its arrival. There was some excitement locally – these astonishing machines still created a stir everywhere just by flying over a town or village, and now one was going to actually land here on the edge of the new Garden City. As a result, when Capt Hamilton passed over Stevenage and began his descent, hundreds of eyes were upon him. There were many, therefore, who witnessed with horror what happened next.
Nearly all estimated that the aircraft was at about six hundred feet when the trouble began. Some claimed to have seen one of the aviators fall from the aircraft to his death some time before the machine began its final dive. One said it ‘plummeted to earth like a dart’, another that it ‘fluttered to the ground like a bird shot on the wing’. However, most agreed that the 60hp Gnôme rotary engine, capable of producing speeds of 70 knots, was giving the pilot trouble well before the crash dive. It was clear, too, that the port wing folded and collapsed while the pilot, his engine having cut out, was desperately trying to reduce height for an emergency landing.
Instead, his aircraft virtually disintegrated in mid-air and fell into a thick hedge at the bottom of Mr Brett’s meadow. “I saw the aircraft wobbling about,” he was to tell the coroner later. “It dipped and then came a report like a gun: Then the aircraft seemed to collapse altogether. I was too horrified to look any more … I ran down and found the officers lying with the machine on top of them.’ Both had died immediately upon impact.
The official accident report is somewhat more sparing and unemotional in its language. In summary it said that at 0710 hrs as the aircraft passed above Graveley it suffered a fracture of the engine’s valve operating gear. This in turn caused the flailing push rods to dislodge the bonnet, which normally protected the aviators from the generous spray of Castor oil. This in turn severed the monoplane wing bracing wires causing the port wing to fold, and the aircraft to plummet to the ground – instantly killing both aviators.
Leaving the memorial behind the Pack headed in to the Manor Wood Arboretum, there the Easter egg hunt began, while Skip, Sludge & others sat it out on the bench, the rest weaved in amongst the scratchy pine trees to find pictures of Easter Eggs, which would be exchanged for the real thing back at the On Inn.
The use of Easter Egg cards was explained to the newbies at a Herts Easter Egg Hunt, as on previous occasions the eggs have been stolen, most notably on Letchworth Common where the lack of chocolate Eggs was put down to “Being stolen by the Black Squirrels!” these clever ‘tree-rats’ knew how to unwrap the cling-film, then the foil covering, then put the lot in the nearby rubbish bin!
The Horrors of Prince Garmin, Freddie, Rose, Elizabeth & Isabelle were soon rummaging around & seem to have the upper hand on the adults, as most did find more than one Easter Egg card, Rose had the most uncurbed enthusiasm, meanwhile Ewok was at a stand-still (quite literally) as she saw one slightly higher up & really had a job to reach for it [The Easter-egg hunt was supposed to be designed for kids! – Ed].
The Pack spend some time looking for dome shaped objects, then one shiny dome suddenly appeared out of nowhere as TBT ventured in among the scratchy pine branches & as he enquired from the RA “What’s happeniiiiinnng!” as he tumbled in to a leafy hollow that everyone else had managed to avoid. [TBT OBE is nothing but value for money & at least was a soft landing in the leaf-litter! – Ed]
Whatever She Says was concerned that the Pack hadn’t discovered all of the hidden cards, so there was a count up & it seemed that there were a few missing, until it was pointed out that Jenny & her family had to move on, having a dinner date with the in-laws [Or was it out-laws? – Ed] & they had several of the cards with them. Fear not, Elizabeth & Isabelle would receive their Easter Eggs later.
Time to move on, plenty of time had been spent rummaging through the section of pine wood. There were two options, one was to follow No Eye Deer back on the short cut, Rose was tempted by this but wasn’t as keen on the clause that she’s have to help with getting the food prepared!
So, most decided to take the longer route, leaving the Arboretum, passing by a large wooden carving of Telford Morton, a local Letchworthian artist 1916 – 2001, who appears to be emerging from a large plant or bud? Anyhow, no one seems to have heard of him & so the Pack moved on. Telford Morton has a slight Lowryesque style of painting, see ‘Duncan Johnson – Street Cleaner’ at the end of the Trash!
The Pack round to head northward a short way along the end of Roxley Court, a convent, & then taking the westward track up over the rising farmland, they were embarking on a loop around the farm at Willian Bury, turning northward to pass through a couple of empty enclosure, with obvious yellow cattle warning signs. Emerging for the unoccupied cattle enclosures the Trail now dropped down another farm track to come out by the Church on the Green
Tantalizingly the Pack were led out by the Fox, which was very busy with a full garden, but things continued westward to run over by the pond, which is more like a small lake, with platforms for fishing pegs. Just on the west side of the pond & arrows directed the Hash up the dry track in a north-westerly route by the Cattle Field of Punchardon Hall, a grade II listed house.
Out of the corner of the tree line to pass through a series of little back alleys through the Greenway to come out to the On Inn. The Pack soon settled into the back garden. While No Eye Deer got the food started, Whatever She Says brought out the nibbles, in the process he spilt his nuts over the garden table [Steady there Pebbledash, they were peanuts! – Ed] But this didn’t stop the usual crudités from being uttered.
The Pack managed to set up seats in a circle, with a horseshoe of shade around most of the garden, the rest utilizing the parasols for shade in the sunny afternoon. Also the Chocolate eggs went around the Circle, Sparky arrive just in time for this. The conversation turned to the fact that you can’t sell Kinder Eggs in the USA, as they contain small parts that could be a choking hazard, also you can’t sell Lawn-Darts, as these are deemed also to be a danger to life! As for a semi-automatic though, well that’s a different matter.
Eventually a call of “Children & Women first!” went up, no it wasn’t the Titanic sinking, but time for the food. When it came to the Men’s turn, well, Mark E Mark showed his ‘Alan Partridge Travel-Inn breakfast’ skills by balancing a high stack of food on a normal sized plate that a juggler would be proud of, Lobby Lobster was not impressed at this sight. “Ah, there’s plenty of it!” said Mark E Mark but behind him in the queue was Kylie, a combination that would gave those at the end of the queue the thought that a biblical plague of locusts would give these two a run for their money! However, with somethings being depleted near the end, there were lots of Chicken legs, Jamie seemed to have a perchance for these, Hash Test Dummy kept hinting a possible Hash-name that included Chicken legs.
Down-Downs were awarded after the Main-Course, though the Assistant Hash-Beer Master preferred sitting this out, rather than setting up the Drinks! He would receive a Down-Down for this later! The Hare & Whatever She Says (As hosts) awarded their Down-Downs for a great Trail & a decent nosh.
There was no sacred Hash book, so there was some speculation on a couple of R*n Numbers but these will have to be sorted out next week. It came to the rest of the Hash, with Pepé le Pew not sporting a Hash Shirt on after changing, he was out for not wearing Hash gear, though he did purchase a new toucan designed T-Shirt. Of course if one Haberdasher Drinks then all Haberdashers drink, which meant Slug, 2-1-2 Maureen & Tent Packer were out for a Down-Down with him! This would happen again a little later, when Tent Packer was out for flogging his wares & 2-01-2 Maureen didn’t fancy another beer so she threw it over the RA!
Sludge was called out for nipping off to find the Trail but calling when he found the Trail until others were following on! This day saw a Birthday bonanza, Mr X started with missing Gemma’s one a couple of weeks ago, he was also in the Circle with Mark & Milf as these three all have birthdays over the weekend!
Finally Where’s Wally? was awarded his Hit for questioning whether Fliptop’s Band were playing between 15:00 – 17:00Hrs, as rave music tends to be between midnight & silly-o’clock in the morning!
Time to chill out for a bit, it was noticed the fleeting glance of Jenny, who had briefly popped back to swop the Easter Egg Cards the Girls had collected & they wanted their Easter Eggs, she was handed a bag of eggs & set off again.