Date 31st Oct 2019
Run Number 1880
Venue Cantinas Carnitas/ The George
Hare/s Mr X
Beer Modelo/Hobgoblin & Proper Job
And so the annual Dia de Muerdos (Mexican Day of the Dead) Trail was upon us once again, some of the early arrivals stopped off for a quick beer, with My Lil’ & Mr X going to the Spoons, ideal for cheap beers & a chance to put on face paint & then impress the locals, while Father Jack Hackett (Wanktlers) went to cheer up the locals in the Half Moon, lastly Pebbledash, TBT OBE, Paxo & Ewok popped in to the George, nearest to the Cantina.
All the above would meet in the George, some were impressed with the special themed drinks available, one was a ‘fruity’ blood punch in a Blood Donation Pack, while the Satan’s urine looked something yellowy-orange liquid in a pouch you’d expect at the opposite end of a catheter.
It was good to see that most made an excellent effort in dressing up for Halloween, then there was Sludge & Ketchup. Sludge had his scary Herts Hash sweatshirt & a mask, while Ketchup had left his spooky gear at home. At least Mark E Mark had managed to get out his old Dreadlocks again for tonight’s Trail after they were last seen on the Colour Run in Hertford.
Ketchup was handed a spare ‘Sugar skull’ mask by Mr X as the Pack circled up outside of the George, after the RA managed to drag himself & the rest out of the Hostelry.
The evening was dry, with a very slight nip in the air [No Pebbledash! – Ed] but nothing that a nice trot around wouldn’t warm up the Pack. With My Lil’ keeping time, as the RA had left his watch on his wrist which was covered by his Dai de Muertos body suit, TBT OBE stepped up & did the honours, after a slight hint to this being the 1880th Trail. Then Mr X was called forward to explain what the Hash could expect on this Trail.
Hash ears pricked up on the mention of the Trail not being a long one, allowing time to eat before the Cantinas Carnitas stopped serving food, there was also mention of Short Cuts & lastly the Hare asked (Sludge) the Hash to follow the Trail & not short cut if they thought they knew where they were going, as they’d miss out on a few of the sights, including a grave stone or two! There would be a couple of Held CHKs & a very Special Check for Father Jack Hackett!
So, the Trail got underway with the Pack heading up to the western edge of the old Market Square, the Hash would get many looks & comments on their fancy dress attire as they went around the Trail, even Father Jack Hackett got a few appreciative mentions from the general public as the Hash ran Trail!
This Market area is now home to the restored Edwardian Cabman’s Shelter, which was used until 1976 by Taxi drivers waiting for fares on the forecourt of Hitchin Railway Station, famously it is lampooned on the Hitchin Historical Society’s Christmas Cards as being designed by a Chinese designer called Lu Tein (a pun on Sir Edwin Lutyens), as well as its small size due him thinking it was supposed to be a lantern!
Hitchin has been a market town since Roman Times & probably before that, being named after the Hicca (or Hicce) Tribe, which means ‘People of the horse’. Anyhow, a CHK was found at the start of the southern end of the High Street, it didn’t take TBT OBE long to find the Trail leading north westward through Arcade Walk, The Arcade was originally linked to the Coaching Trade & early industrial use, but these timber & tiled buildings were later changed in to shops with many of the current shop fronts only dating from 1927.
The Hash followed the arrows out of the Arcade on the norther side to run out of West Alley then come up to the A505 ring road, there were two option on how to cross this, straight over the two lanes & taking a chance on no traffic coming along, or using the nearby pedestrian crossing. Whichever option was taken the Hash moved on to the road straight over from West Alley, at the end of which was the Father Jack Hackett CHK, the reason of being at this end of the short street by Hitchin Library was soon made clear as the street sign declared this to be Nun’s Close!
After some a photo shot & a lot of expletives from the mouth of Father Jack, he was left to check out the Trail. While the terror of Craggy Island went off down Old Park Road, the rest of the Pack headed back down Nun’s Close to the A505 of Paynes Park Road, the Hare now crossed out the original arrows & redirected the Hash around in the anti-clockwise direction on the inside, leading around by the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers Meeting House, built in 1958 on the old Quaker Burial Grounds.
Arrows led along by the front of the local Waitrose before taking the Hash over the pedestrian lights to the north-eastern side of the Bedford Road & a CHK by the path starting at the southern end of Butts Close open space. Flying Solo, Tent Packer, Sludge, My Lil’ & Milf were soon away in to the dark of this park, one of them marked the way like Scouts would, with an arrow of wooden made of sticks laid out on the CHK.
Here those with torches prospered better than those without, as the route was not lit but the markings were clear, especially the T found three quarters of the way along the footpath. Having turned back, the Keenies would now see the Hare had marked an arrow over the eastern section of grass to cross over, below the Hitchin Health & Swimming Centre to a CHK on Elmside Walk (Path), on the way My Lil’ was needlessly worried that this section of the Park would be its wet, it normally is on the boggy side but not today.
No one fell for the southern option on the tarmac Elmside Walk path, instead the northern option led the hash on by the Sports Centre, where the Hash could see the civilians within sweating away & going nowhere on the tedious ‘hamster-wheel’ like gym equipment, some of the Pack commented on how the Hash were out in the nice fresh air & enjoying an evening trot out in Hitchin.
At the end of the path the Pack were directed out on to Fishponds Street, there the arrows took the Hash over the pedestrian lights crossing to the north side of the street, here the Keenies of My Lil’, Flying Solo, Milf, Tent Packer, TBT, OBE, Ewok & Ketchup all followed the Trail along to the nearby Bearton Avenue.
While the FRBs ran northward up the suburban streets, the Hare marked a Short Cut along Fishpools Road to the east, he sent Father Jack (Wanktlers) that way, & he was followed on by Paxo, Mark E Mark, Lobby Lobster, Flanders, Kyle & Pebbledash.
The Hare ran the loop, which for Ketchup was fortunate as he had run on by the arrow direction the FRBs off of the road of terraced homes & on to alleyway that starts by the corner of the Ramgarhia Gurdwara Sikh Temple. Ketchup had been distracted by the amount of parents with their kids out ‘Trick or Treating’ around these parts. A few feet down the alleyway & a CHK was found by another alleyway path that heads northward behind the temple, this was a Falsie up there.
The real Trail led eastward on the second & last unlit section of this Trail, this eastward path would run along the back of the Wishere-Dacre Junior Academy sports grounds via the old narrow Duke’s Lane path to emerge out to a CHK by the entrance of the York Road Nursery. There were Falsies on both directions on York Road, Dukes Lane & Bunyan Road. Ketchup arrived & was surprised to find that the CHK had been kicked through in the direction of the alleyway heading southward, the Hare reassured him that this lit route was correct.
The run along by the red brick walled alleyway came back out on to Fishpools Road, the Hare was later congratulated on the fact that the Keenies emerged from the alleyway just as the SCBs were at this point on the Short Cut! Now, the Hash were led on by the Victoria, no drink stop here, & then over the Ickleford Road junction on the Roundabout by the old main iron gated entrance to Bancroft Recreation Ground.
Arrows kept the Hash on the A505 heading eastward, Mr X got to get in a few “!Buenas Noches¡” in to passing civilians as the Hash made it to another pedestrian crossing, leading over to a Held CHK that was located at the entrance at the northern tip of the park.
The Pack weren’t there too long, just long enough for a nip of Jamesons [Just to keep the cold off, you understand? - Ed] from Father Jack Hackett’s Hip Flask, which was accompanied by a loud “Drink!” from Father Jack, this would warm the cockles of the Hash Herts before the search for the Trail resumed, with a few heading away to the east, where there was no Trail.
The Dust was picked up by Flying Solo, Milf, Father Jack & My Lil’ on the arcing path around the inside perimeter path, which was partially lit by the street lights on the outside. On the way around this Mr X noticed two things, firstly he pointed out that the wrought Iron gates had a ‘Please shut’ the gate signs on them, some of these were permanently locked up, which was a bit odd as all of the railings that once surrounded the short stone-walled park which were all removed during the Second World War for the metal, never to have been replaced & leaving small metal stumps behind.
The other thing the RA picked up on was the shadowy figure of Sludge scuttling across the grass in the dark interior of the park, in an attempt to join the rest in following the gravel path around to the southwest. A CHK was found by the western entrance out on to Bancroft. The Hare was pleased to see that Flying Solo & a couple of others searched over toward the lit up tennis courts on the eastern side of the park, they soon found that there was no Trail there, so the Bancroft option was then searched & Trail found.
A trot along by the scenic Skinner’s Alms Houses, built in 1698 after Ralph Skinner had left £800 in his 1697 will, to build these delightful looking red-brick one story homes. The Pack moved on along by various shops, including a Fancy Dress Shop that Sludge & Ketchup should have popped in to when it was open!
Arrows took the Hash over the junction with Hermitage Road & along this until reaching the cut-through of Riverside Walk, here to the right is a conduit where the river Hiz emerges from beneath the shops, as it flows southward on its gentle journey through to the new Market Square.
The river’s name should be pronounced as Hitch, but these days has its known as the Hiz with an Z sound, as its long forgotten that in days gone by a ‘Z’ was used to represent the letters tch, just as ‘Y’ was used to represent ‘Th’ for Ye to read as The before the standardisation of English.
The Trail ran along by the water, as it took the Pack behind the Cloisters of St Mary’s, a Held CHK was found near to the small lake, all in order to get a photo of the Pack by the illuminated fountain & also the lit up Norman edifice of St Mary’s Church. Photos taken by the steps down to the waterside, no one fell in & so the Pack resumed the search for Dust.
A Few went wrong by looking over toward the New Market area, while the Trail was found on Churchyard Walk. This old path leads north-westerly back into Hitchin’s centre, along here a headstone was to be avoided on the way as the arrows came out on to turn south-westward on the section of Churchyard Walk that runs by the olde worlde little shops behind St Mary’s Church Grounds, then just beyond the War Memorial the On Inn was found, with an arrow pointing the way across the old cobbled Market Square.
On the way over the square the Hash outfits made a couple of the teenage girls there jump with surprise! The Pack were soon out the back of the Cantinas Carnitas, where tables were set up under a couple of large sails & two wood burners were blazing away to keep the chill off.
The Pack now unwound with Mexican Beers, which were brought out to the Hash in the back garden. Some found that their chairs settled deeper in to the gravel than they’d have prefered before tucking in to the excellent Authentic Mexican ‘Street Food’, it was all rather pleasant, even when the Hash got a few (jealous) looks from the non-dressed-up diners inside the small Cantina. Mr X reckoned that, My Lil’, with his mask up & the Hair down the back of My Lil’s neck [That’s been a while! – Ed], that My Lil’ looked a lot like Spike Milligan in one of his Q series Sketches. Down-Downs were put off until the next Circle!
However, on leaving after this pleasurable time, there was bit of confusion when leaving as there was an unpaid bill for a Bottle of Corona, with the finger being pointed at TBT OBE? The Hash moved on back to the George as there was an ‘Open Mike’ evening on, which was rather good to listen to the music. Ketchup’s little face lit up when Lobby Lobster said she was happy for him & Mark E Mark to go to the Bottle Shop in Hitchin, however, the smile was wiped from Ketchup face when they arrived to find that it shut at 21:00Hrs