Date = 25th January 2020
Run Number = 1896
Venue = The Garden City Brewery/Dragon King
Location = Letchworth Garden City
Hare/s = Flying Solo, Elizabeth & Isabelle
Beer = GCB Mad Squirrel Black/Tsingtao
Runners = 16
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 4
Hounds = 0
Total = 19
Membership = Kung Hei Fat Choy, yer ken!
Yes folks the moon calendars & historic birthdays aligned for Herts to have a combined Chinese New Year & Burns celebration all in one, come on you all must have had Chinese Burns before as kids? Bad pun over & for a change the regular Herts Hash would be Run on a Saturday, which brought along its own problems for those who were travelling by Train, for it was the first weekend of major railway engineering works on the Eastcoast line, with minor works & skeleton train service running for a month between the two major weekend closures where travel was not recommended.
The likes of Wanktlers, My Lil’ & Mr X chose to brave the replacement bus service, which made a 15 minute Journey to one of just over an hour. Lobby Lobster & Mark E Mark decided that they weren’t going to even try as their bus links would have been even longer. Would this effect the turn out?
Whilst most of the Pack gathered outside of the Garden City Brewery, some had to be winkled out of the Bar from enjoying an Ale or two prior to the start time. It was good to see that there were dashes of tartan or Scottish on show for the Trail. Wanktlers wore a Hibernian FC Shirt, a football team that Oral Sex used to work for.
Mr X & My Lil’ both sporting tartan Tam O’ Shanter’s upon their heads, these old caps once being known as CU Jimmy hats a few years back were a souvenir from an Aberdeen Hash weekend many years ago. While all of the Pack managed successfully wear something Chinese, since nearly all t-shirts & other sports clothing is produced in China these days.
The start time was then further delayed as FWB arrived just as TBT OBE was about to kick the proceedings off. Finally time came around to the welcome speech from TBT OBE, he got the number correct, which surprised the gathered Pack.
The virgin Hares were introduced, with Flying Solo explaining what the Pack could expect to find out on Trail. Important bits to remember were that the Trail was marking on two different colours, most would be the same with the two coloured arrows side-beside, with Yellow Arrows splitting off to indicate the long Trail for the Keenies & Red arrows off in another direction for SCB short cuts.
So, without further ado the senior Hare pointed the way south-eastward out of the car park but as Mr X, My Lil’, Wanktlers, Sludge, FWB & other Keenies trotted off, they soon discovered that they had fallen for a crafty Falsie around on the access road. A good start then!
Back up to the car park to follow arrows out to the north & emerge out on to Station Road, where the arrows pointed south-westward, Whatever She Says was already on his way & as the Pack went to cross sides he decided that he would play with the traffic. No one was knocked down, mainly due to the fact they ignored Whatever She Says & instead took the safer option of using the Puffin Crossings, to make their way up by the station’s small car park & Taxi rank to follow the route around the edge of the two roundabouts to reach Bridge Road.
Once on the north side of the tracks arrows had the Hash passing by the local Police Station & up to the Icknield Way, where a CHK was found on the ancient route from Wiltshire to Norfolk used as a prehistoric trading route & later to become known as one of the four highways of Medieval England. Here the FRBs split into three groups, with two groups searching either way on the ancient ‘road’ that pre-dates the Roman times.
Off of the Icknield Way Mr X picked up the Trail heading up Cowslip Hill, but he was not the first to search this route as Hippie Hunter had already run this & was far enough ahead to be out of sight of the rest. Those behind were deluded in thinking that they were first to cover the Trail up Cowslip Hill, neither would they be first to find the Short Cut off to the east through an access road on to Letchworth Common.
The likes of Wanktlers, Milf, Mr X, FWB, My Lil’, Sludge, TBT OBE, No Eye Deer, soon caught Mr X as the Trail came up to a CHK by the main western entrance into Letchworth Common, with Whatever She Says bringing up the rear, well not quite for Tent Packer was on his way after a late start.
On the western edge of the common My Lil’ set off to search the path over the Pix brook, that desire line which runs from west to east along the northern end of broadleaf woodland on the common, but he was called back to join the rest as “On!” was found on the wide arching hard-capped route that runs toward the centre of the common. On the way Milf explained to some local dog-walkers what the flour markings were, just to alleviate any Social Media panic stories & saving us from posting the Rosie & Jim video of the ‘Flour Trail’.
A CHK was found at the convergence of paths running up through the centre of the open area of the common’s centre. Hippie Hunter, Sludge, Milf & Wanktlers chose to search the main nor-nor-east direct route up to the northern edge of the common, but they were soon coming back after finding a T up between the two sections of Broadleaf woodland.
My Lil’ was still grumbling about not continuing earlier when he set out to cross the Pix, for he would have arrived out on the narrower Shiggy path on a due north course, he grumbled as he joined the rest of the Pack in running by where the path from the Pix joins the desire line up to a Held CHK by the iron railing gate in the north-western corner of the woodland common.
Time to regroup as here the Sweet Stop was to be had. A nice section of wine gums & jellies were enjoyed as the Pack awaited Whatever She Says to come in to sight, for he hadn’t taken the short cut. Before Whatever She Says came into sight, another figure was spotted bounding along toward the Pack, it was none other than Zing-a-long-a-max.
Once Whatever She Says was in view of the Hares, the Pack were allowed to set off searching again, with Mr X crossing over the Willbury Road, which lies along the north edge of the common, he searched the few yards over to Grange Road & on this T junction where it heads away northward from Willbury Road another CHK was found.
Mr X headed off up the road, but didn’t see any markings & he wouldn’t, for a call of “On!” came from back on Wilbury Road away to the west, so he now turned back & was now trying to catch up with the rest.
A change of tact was had when the Trail reached Childwick Way, a narrow single lane that has bollards blocking access off at its southern end. Arrows directed the way up this route between the backs of the homes to arrive on to Southern Way & by the time Mr X arrived here the CHK had already been marked through by Flying Solo to the northeast, then form the end of Southern Way over the junction to Western Way.
Looking up ahead to the north, Mr X could see the rest of the Pack were way ahead of him, the Hares seemed to be making good progress as well, especially Isabelle & Elizabeth who were out on their new speedy scooters. Strangely this was new ground for Herts to cover, on a long stretch up along by the rows of flats on the western side of the road.
A CHK at the roundabout was swiftly dealt with by the like Hippie Hunter, Zing-along-a-max, Milf FWB & Sludge as the Trail continue along by more flats these being more distinctive, having white panel frontages on the upper two stories while the bottom flats had various colours under their front windows.
At the junction by the a fork in the roads the majority of the Pack were already well on their way toward the end of Western Way, meanwhile there was an option to take a short cut off of the junction to the east on the Northfield route, Wanktlers was seen heading off this way first, with My Lil’ following on & Mr X who had now caught up. A little later Whatever She Says took the same SCB option.
The Keenies would turn off before the bend in the road before the end of Western Way, here the Hash would be led off through a footpath alleyway between the homes lining the west of the street. The Keenies were now on a firm purpose made track that leads around the outer edge of the Northern top end of Letchworth, this route would turn from northward to head a few degrees off of due east, passing through the front of the Grange Pavilion on the way, with its associate playing fields behind it.
The Keenies, especially Hippie Hunter & Zing-a-long-a-max, made short work of picking up the Dust as it led out through a gap in the hedgerow where the sports field gave way to farm land on the opposite side. The Trail turned south-eastward on the loop out between the farm land & the orchard area, this would bring the Hash down to a CHK at a meeting of paths, here there were around four other options to choose from. Back on Trail & the Pack were led on down to Croft Lane, which runs from Norton Pond on the edge of Norton. Arrows were picked up as the lane leads westward back in toward Letchworth.
A CHK was found on the bend in Croft Lane, where it becomes Cashio Lane away to the south, a short alleyway with a kink in its route had already been visited by some Short Cutters who were in need of a spot out of sight to scare the populace of resident Black Squirrels! The Keenies soon found their way out through the alleyway to emerge out on to Eastern Way, there the Trail was picked up once again.
A southern trot along the suburban road would cross over to the western edge, continuing southward until reaching the Held CHK & Beer Stop on Eastholm. The Pack regrouped, Mr X disappeared in to the garage to adorn himself in suitable Scot’s regalia for the Toasting of the Haggis (Pasties) but just as he donned his kilt, his phone rang & it was Tent packer asking where the Hash currently were?
Seems Tent Packer had already gone by the Held CHK, not being at the ‘Chalk-talk’, he didn’t know that there were two colour options & so had taken more short cuts to unwittingly get ahead of the rest! Since he thought the Pack had moved, with no sign of any activity when he arrived. He was given direction back & so he set off to return & join the rest. Flying Solo & the Girls had set up a table at the back, with shots of Scotch laid out, they had gone to the trouble to procure tartan napkins & paper plates with a tartan trim, which added to the Burns’ theme.
Mr X has prepared Haggis Pasties the day before, since these have been done before on BRAS & Pants Hash (Breweries around Scotland) a couple of times. He confessed that the Haggi & the pastry were shop bought, with the vegetarian pastry costing more than the normal one?
Then with all gathered he explained who Thaine’s bakeries were, that Olymprick used to own them with his brother up in Aberdeen, & they produced the infamous chilli pie! TBT OBE recalled eating these spicy delicacy’s before he turned Faketerian, which ranged in the Scoville scale (the scale for measuring heat of Chillies) with one hole in the top being hot, two hotter & three being on the scale for Mr X to enjoy!
Mr X now suitably attired, took one of the meat pasties & recited Hoggy’s ‘Tae a Haggis pasty’ which was written in a Rabbie Burns like lowland Scots dialect. The first time Mr X had to do this was in the BRAS & Pants prelube to UK Nash Hash last year, where he only had a 20 minute warning before stepping out in front of the Circe.
So, Mr X recited the following two verses, which is a lot shorter than Burns’ six of the original Address to a Haggis, he carried this out complete with actions including the use thrusting actions [Steady Pebbledash! – Ed] with his sgian-dubh:
TAE A HAGGIS PASTY
Afore ye lies this pastry delight
There’s nae denyin’, it’s a glorious sight*
A finer example, ye’ll nee’r see
Than this wee humble pasty that lies afore yee*
Nae baker a job could better return
That’s includes yer Ginsters, and Hall’s ‘o’ Broxburn*
Thus isnae yer garbage, yer high street dreg’s
Ye’ll noo see this pasty, on display in Greggs*
But one could equal, get yer taste buds excited
In the baker’s game, Thain’s are equal tae yer Man United*
(At which point Mr X stopped & add this dates the verse)
But what lies beneath this crisp golden shell
Warm, reekin and, ooo’ tha smell*
Al tak ma knife, and wi thrust a sudden
Al plunge ma blade in this wee pastry puddun*
Ah, bit look inside, at what riches await
Livers, kidneys, guts, intestines’, tae grace yer plate*
Clear yer heed o’ stress and strains
Indulge yer sell’s in tha taste o’ sheep’s brains*
Fu yer bellies wi this Haggisy beasty
Rejoice in the eating o’ this offal feasty*
Tae finish, ye might think this ‘o sounds a wee bit nasty
But relax, chill, sit back and enjoy yer pasty
Having broken the pasty with his fake sgian-dubh (small knife from his sock) it was time to get stuck in to the option of traditional meat Haggis pasty, or the veggie version, accompanying these were Orkney Cheddar & Oatmeal Biscuits, as well as the Scotch. Strangely both Elizabeth & Isabelle had previously asked Google what was in a Haggis, but they were not put off by what they were told & tried the proper Haggis, preferring this to the vegetarian version, as did TBT OBE!
The veggie version wasn’t that bad, it had a more onion taste than the peppery meat version, the veggie version was also harder to form in to balls for the making of the pasties. Tent Packer had arrived with his set of pipes, but he had a bit of an issue with these & so abandoned his playing of the pipes as he has done at the Harpenden Highland Gathering, seems that bagpipes made in Pakistan are quite as good as the real thing.
All enjoyed the pasties & cheese, just enough to tide them over until the Chinese later that day, then it was time to move on & Tent Packer offered a lift back for those who wished to get back first, the girls took him up on this offer. Meanwhile the rest set off southward once more, with some taking the Shiggy option to run through the eastern edge of Norton Common, or stick to the road of Norton Way North, both options would come out to the slight kink in the second section of Norton Way from the crossroads with Icknield Way.
It was a straight forward trot down to the railway bridge, where the On Inn was found after the Trail had passed beneath the railway & turned south-westward on to Station Road & over to the car park. The Pack settled in to the Garden City Brewery, enjoying the Ales on offer. Praise was heaped upon the Virgin Hares, all agreed that they had done a sterling job. Flying Solo thanked Mr X for his tips, which gave her an idea of how long it takes to set a Trail for it to be an hour’s running, or walk if you utilise short cuts.
Hippie Hunter left early, as he wasn’t going to attend the Chinese, no doubt saving his money for the parking ticket he got for leaving his car partly on double yellows, also missing out on the Chinese meal were Tent Packer, Wanktlers, who was off to an Evening Burns Supper where he wouldn’t get any Pasties!
Time soon came around for the Down-downs, the Hares were rewarded for a most excellent Trail. There was not too much in the way of misdemeanours on the Trail. Zing-a-long-a-max was out for the Hares had found him a Brewery that creates Vegan Beers! And Finally Tent Packer was out for his Pakistani Bag-pipes not work as he wanted!
Ewok, Pebbledash & Paxo arrived at the Brewery, they were here for a drink before joining the rest for the short walk around to the Dragon King for the Buffet. Before setting of Mr X went to the loo, wearing a kilt he used the only free option of the one with the symbol of a figure with a kilt on. Flying Solo caught Mr X red-handed as he emerged from the Ladies!
Time to move around to the Dragon King, which just happens to be Isabelle & Elizabeth’s favourite restaurant. We wonder if the Chocolate Fountain has anything to do with that? The Hash had a nice area reserved up in the corner window, prepayment seemed to be the order of the day to avoid anyone going off without paying. Mr X wished the owners “Kung Hei Fat Choy!” (Happy New Year) before joining the rest in going up several times to choose from the extremely wide range of selections of great food.
Mr X found that one of the management took a fancy to him in his kilt, she wanted a photo taken with him, for which he obliged, & then she proceeded to pile up his plate with a huge heap of shredded duck for his pancake rolls. After the Hash had been around for the umpteenth time, Sparky arrived after flying back from Tenerife, a cheer went up when he came through the restaurant door, just as the restaurant filled up with lots of civilian families.
All in all it was a great day, great Trail, great Ales, great food & excellent company.