Date = 28th July 2019
Run Number = 1865
Venue = Herts County Yacht Club
Location = Great Amwell
Hare/s = TBT OBE
Beer = BYO
Runners = 14
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 14
Membership = Rub a dub-dub 9 men in a Tub!
The weather was always threatening to rain throughout the morning, in places it did, but by the time the Pack arrived at the drive to the Herts County Sailing Club the omen of rain seemed to have passed. The drivers of the gathering pack were soon moving their cars to the other side of the barrier, to prevent access to the yacht club, Sparky parked his car up & then decided to let the rest of the Pack know that his car alarm works by setting it off several times before the Circle was called.
The cars were locked in & Fliptop welcomed the landlubbers & sailors alike to the Hash, then the Hare was called forward to explain what the Pack could expect out there On Trail! There were mentions of Short Cuts for Sparky & his wonky ankle, the rest would have to watch out for busy roads, an overgrown footpath & then things lightened up with the talk of a Sweet Stop! Hopefully everyone one got to hear that the Hare was up at 05:00Hrs this morning setting this Trail, for he had spent the previous day enjoying himself at the Hemel Ski Centre.
The numbers were down this week as there was competition from ‘Standon Calling’ – for Sparky’s benefit - this is a weekend event of Beat Combos’ performing popular music of various genres that had Mark E Mark, Lobby Lobster & Where’s Wally? amongst the ‘hipsters’ imbibing & gyrating to the tunes of the day in a field at Standon.
Back to the Trail & things got underway as the Pack were pointed back out to the uncapped driveway, but it was a short trot between Abbotts Lake & Banjo Lake, the name of the latter having Mr X call out “Squeal Piggy, Squeal!” in a reference to Battling Banjo’s from the Film Deliverance, thankfully no one was going to experience any of that on this Trail.
A CHK was found by the T-junction with an uncapped Track leading away to the east, this route would be marked as s Short Cut for Sparky, while the rest picked up the real Trail up to the barrier by the Innings Car Park on the elbow of the track. Around the bend to the east, the Pack were soon under the barrier & heading to where the track becomes Marsh Lane.
The Tarmac trot didn’t last for long, arrows pointed the way off of the lane & on to a path that would make its way through the wooded area to the north. The footpath moved around a green area south of the Maltings, this clockwise loop around would bring the FRBs in around a small open green space & out by the local Scout Hut to arrive back on to Marsh Lane once again. There the Hare, in his bright orange Hare Shirt, was found walking up to the end of the lane where it joins the Roydon Road.
Mr X stopped to take a picture of what looked like a CHK in the centre of the road, he wondered if the Hare had used his permanent spray paint again? But it seems that the Circle on the steel man-hole cover was nothing to do with the Hash! So, on to the north-eastern side of the Roydon Road, to head away to the north-west, there Mr X would spot a solitary yellow limestone brick set in the red-brick wall with the homes on Abbotts Rise behind it on the hillside.
On closer inspection the brick had THELE embossed into its frog, this was rather puzzling as he hadn’t heard of the name Thele before & wondered if it was from a former house named Thele sat there? It turns out that it was the name associated with one of the earlier bridges that spans the River Lea on the border between Stanstead Abbotts & St Margaret’s, well before it was widened to become the Lea navigation.
In early documents which were always in Latin, the bridge (including the area around it) was called either pontem tegule (tiled bridge) or pontis de Thele (Thele bridge). Thele was derived from the Latin word for tax or toll, thelonium, over the years the bridge had various incarnations, from a wooden structure in Roman Times, to an iron one before the current stone one was constructed, its ornate balustrade being recently restored.
Anyhow, Milf, Sludge, Ketchup & his lads went wrong at the CHK on the entrance to Abbotts Rise, while it was down to My Lil’ to pick up the Trail further around the Roydon Road as it turns to the north & ends at the roundabout at the east end of the High Street.
A CHK by Abbotts Way didn’t seem to lure any of the FRBs away into this small cul-de-sac, nor was the lure of the High Street, perhaps the fact that a few of them were keen on carrying on northward on Cappell Lane toward St Andrews Church as some knew that there are a few footpaths off of this road.
Fliptop, Milf, Sludge & My Lil’ were soon searching the footpath up beside the Churchyard, this would rise up the hillside via a set of steps to come out on to the northern end of Chapelfields. A CHK was found along by a gap between the homes where a footpath leads out in to the fields behind, Paxo disappeared down here & didn’t come back, unlike some when Fliptop called “On!” from along the tiered footpath up by the line of homes on the eastern side of the road, the access path was around 10 feet higher than the road below.
The Trail ran along the paved path & made its way around the set of next steps leading up to the homes to continue along its south-eastern route, Mr X stopped by a washing machine standing out on the path & asked the approaching No Eye Deer & Whatever She Says “Do you want to wash your socks?”
Moving on to the end of Chapelfield, where it meets the horseshoe shaped road ahead, there the next CHK was found by a small green space behind the low surround hedge, a footpath ran through this area between the houses to the west & the bungalows to the east, this was checked out, but all that was found by Mr X in the fields behind the homes was Paxo, who was lurking there after ‘Sludging’ it from the earlier footpath, so now there were plenty of excuses being made!
For some this would be an easy Check Point, as they moved on around on Trotters Gap of the eastern arm of the U-shaped Road, while No Eye Deer, Paxo, Whatever She says, My Lil’ & Mr X were all left slightly confused as the Hare directed them down the western arm of Woodcroft Avenue, only for No Eye Deer to find a T!
The hare looked more sheepish than smug, as he corrected his markings to allow them to follow on up the bank on to Trotter’s Gap to get back on behind Ketchup, Daddies’ Sauce, Prince Garmin, Sludge & Milf who had all continued “On!” Trail. The others who first took to the east bound Trotters Gap were out if sight as the others attempted to catch up.
Paxo said that there was a plethora of passageways linking the various back streets & he wasn't wrong. Taking their eye off of the Trail things seemed to grind to a halt as the Hare had vanished! With Mr X looking down an alleyway that ran around behind the homes & separated them from the Hunsden Road, from which he was called back.
The Dust now headed around the end of Trotters Gap to where it becomes Woodcroft Avenue, there the Trail would take to an alleyway, just a few yards from where No Eye Deer had been caught out by a T earlier. The Hare had used this as a short cut, & was now ahead of the Back Markers as they followed the Trail out to Thele Avenue, at the end of this south-easterly residential run was a cut-through to the B181 Roydon Road.
The Trail crossed over the road, ignoring the footpath off along by the northern edge of the nearby fields, instead after a few yards to the west, the Pack picked up the Trail taking to Netherfield Lane. Prince Garmin, Daddies Sauce, Ketchup, Milf, Fliptop & Sludge briefly came in to view as the Back Markers came around the long sweeping bend but disappeared from view as it turned a few degrees in the opposite direction to pass by the empty Factory units.
There was a hiatus for some, as they stopped to have their picture taken by Milf at the sign for ‘Wits End’ house & this led to someone commenting that it should have had a T drawn on it so the legend read ‘Twits End’ with Sludge & My Lil’ standing behind the sign. Or better still it could have been Flapper’s house name of Bell-end!
"On!" was called in the enclosed green space to the south of the CHK, just after the industrial sized greenhouses. Ketchup’s bald pate could be seen heading in to the south western corner & was soon being followed by Prince Garmin & Daddies Sauce on a route that gave away that they had followed Ketchup from being Off Trail on Netherfield Lane & had cut across from there, all of which was a shame as the Trail was found back along Netherfield Lane from a CHK they had overlooked inside the easterly corner if the green space.
Unlike some, Mr X & Milf managed not to get caught out in following Ketchup on the Falsie. The Trail was back on the serpentine track which now led them beneath the A414 to a sharp bend on the southern side of the raised dual carriageway. Here a CHK was found on the elbow of the track that over the years has suffered with fly-tipping, but not this year as all was fairly clear.
Just behind the road name sign an S & C were found with an arrow pointing westward on path beside the track which runs parallel to the A414. Mr X declared that the SC stood for ‘Sludge Cut’, but Sludge wasn't going to take this route as ‘Sludge Cuts’ are not normally marked! Sparky on the other hand was happy to be offered the nice flat, easy walking route, as was Whatever She Says & a bit later on Paxo.
The rest of the Hash now headed southward, picking their way through the brambles & nettles encroaching over the ‘overgrown’ footpath. Prince Garmin & Milf disagreed with Mr X's comments of nettles not stinging at this time of year, Prince Garmin had to have some ointment gently put on his stings!
The Pack found that after running the gauntlet of nasty plant life, they now emerged on to the Rye Road, then were directed straight over in to a meadow that was home to a small herd of rather large bovines. Gently walking around behind the shrubby bushes & clumps of trees to avoid the cattle, the Pack would end up at a gate separating the enclosed sections of meadow, but there was no sign of Dust!
The Hare arrived & seemed as lost as the rest, My Lil' pointed out that the Hare was "On Trail" wherever he was looking, if he followed his nose he’d be “On!”, as TBT OBE had dust all down his nose.
Eventually Fliptop headed far enough to the northern corner to locate the Trail, now there was an odour in the air, an unpleasant reminder of the proximity the Hash were to the expanse of the Rye house sewage works. Leaving the lush green meadow to come out to the Rye Road again, where Mr X & Ketchup pondered on whether they still take a toll on this, as the barrier seems to be permanently up these days?
Anyhow, the Pack crossed the toll-road to take to a wider hard-capped track taking a northwest bound path along by a smaller of the lakes in the Rye Meads Nature Reserve area. Halfway along this elongated lake was a seat where the Held CHK was located.
Sparky spotted the gathering halfway back from the short-cut he was on from the track beside the A414, Whatever She Says did the same, he was even caught on Milf's phone in a shot that looked like Whatever She Says was actually running! The only person missing out on the rather nice Lidl sweets, was Paxo who had carried on beyond where the short-cut passes the northern end of the lake. Paxo wouldn't be seen until getting back to the car park after the On Inn.
The last leg of the Trail took to the path parallel to the A414, with the fence & tree line separating the two. While the dual carriageway rose up, the path continued on the level with the Trail turning northward to pass underneath the fly-over to the On Inn beside Abbotts Lake. Now a light drizzle started to fall & most thought that the sailing would be called off? This was not a worry for Sludge, who abandoned ship as he left early
The Pack moved around to the Yachting Club, where they could be seated undercover. TBT OBE proved that his Barbeque skills need a bit of brushing up, or a tutorial from Paxo, who was shunning his normal duties! Now the gathered Pack wondered if TBT OBE had arranged the day with the Club. Just he had mastered the knobs [Careful Pebbledash! – Ed] on the gas BBQ, a lady member of the ‘Friendly Sailing Club’ came up & announced to all of the Pack that as she was on ’Duty’ which meant that she should have first dibs on the Barbecue, it should have been reserved for them!
Anyhow, TBT OBE had brought along enough meat & snacks that no one else needed to bring meat as advertised, so there was a large pile of food to get through. My Lil’ was particular about the cooking, for he didn’t want his ‘special sausages’ to be snagged by someone else? [Where these bangers from Hillary Bris, the butcher in the League of Gentleman? (Clam down Pebbledash!) – Ed]
The Pack munched away at the Barbequed food, with Milf up setting the Balance of the Universe by taking over the barbecue from Teebs after he abandoned his ‘Man cook with Fire’ work. Paxo & Kylie also wimped out! No doubt because there was no piny to wear?
Anyhow, before long TBT OBE was asking for help to rig ‘Mayrus Maid’, she’s a Wayfarer who with the help of Kylie was made ready for the water of Abbots’ Lake. First to have a go at sailing were Ketchup, Daddies’ Sauce & Prince Garmin, who were soon tacking out over the water. Mr X was prepared & was taking ‘Elf & Safety seriously as he put on & inflated a pair of Pink Disney Princess water-wings, last used a couple of years ago in an ‘Elf & Safety’ demonstration with himself & Digger on the Ferry to the Shetlands!
The rest of the Pack sat back, enjoying a drink & watching the others out on the lake, they were out there for quite some time & those still on terra firma believed that Prince Garmin must have been loving it? The weather conditions looked ideal for a little sailing but at the far end of the lake, Prince Garmin had enough & wanted to come back in, which they eventually did. He wasn’t a happy bunny being out on the water, he didn’t find his sea-legs.
Next out were Mr X & My Lil’, who really enjoyed it, but when they arrived back on land their praises couldn’t encourage No Eye Deer, Whatever She Says & a couple of the others to go out with TBT OBE, perhaps it was the sight of the other boat capsizing out there. TBT OBE then took Fliptop & Kylie out there for another jolly jaunt, amazingly TBT OBE managed to keep every trip upright, a success as this boat is larger than his one & slightly more stable.
The last trip came in & the boat was put away before the Pack departed for the day, taking their rubbish with them! It was a most excellent day, with a great Trail & some good fun out on the lake, so much so that the Down-Downs were put off for a week. TBT OBE did confess later that he had cleared the Hash being at the venue & having a barbecue with the Club Commodore!