Run No. 1912
Sunday 18th October
Pub: The Hare & Hounds
Location: St Albans
Hare/s: Des Res
Hash Hounds: 0
Membership: Hindered by loose black dogs jumping up!
Weather wise the day wasn’t bad, a bit overcast & a slight chill in the air. The early arrivals had a sneaky peek over from the Key Field Terrace car park to see an arrow pointing away down from outside the Pub’s front door, marked as the entrance in these Covid-19 times, it directed the way down Sopwell Lane to the west.
Now knowing the Hare was out there setting the Trail, the rest could contemplate the prospect of Sparky potentially turning up, but would he? To while away the time there was also the option to watch Kylie drive down a side street & then move the car around, before faffing around in the motor in Sparky’s honour?
Mr X went over to the front of the Pub, while Tent Packer & My Lil’ could see from the car park that Mr X was chuckling away to himself, they would later find out the reason for such amusement when the Hare arrived back from setting the Trail, he would later reveal that he had got the bus over earlier for he likes to have a drink after being the day’s Hare.
Going against his ‘’wavering Prohibitionist tendencies” Whatevershesays was impressed by the number of Pubs that surround this small area, Mr X pointed out that there is the White Hart Tap, The Grababaldi (Garibaldi) The Hare & Hounds, The Beehive, The White Lion & The Goat, a Real Ale pub-crawl in its own right but that’ll have to wait until after ‘Covid-19 Lockdown’.
As the first Pod came over to set off they could see what had amused Mr X, as at the arrows bidding they would head away to the west where My Lil’ was almost stopped in his tracks after just a matter of feet to the cobbled street corner, the Hare had unknowingly placed the first CHK point there, not quite directly outside of the Pub but just the few feet enough to make it an annoyance to My Lil & be the entertainment of those in the know!
Milf went wrong from the very start as she carried on along Sopwell lane, but with no calling of “On back!” allowed from Kylie [Due to Sport England Covid-19 Rules & Milf he’s sticking with that excuse! – Ed] as well as My Lil’ or Tent Packer forbidden from calling, Milf would have to find out for herself that this was a Falsie while the rest all headed away down Thorpe Road.
The Hare had noticed two of the St Albans Parish War Memorials, uniquely these are placed on the walls of the terraced homes the fallen lived in World War I, there being one on Sopwell Lane & the other on the end of Bardwell Road, each only having about a dozen names but that’s far too many for the few homes in each street.
There are 10 ‘Canon Glossop Memorials’ in the small Parish area of St Albans, known by the name after Canon Glossop who promoted the idea of having memorial plaques on the street the fallen lived in, in all 110 men a remembered. In one Remembrance Sunday Run (The 100th Anniversary in 2018) the Hash ran & stopped at all of them.
It was down Thorpe Road that Mr X had to pull up being hindered by pain, as the rest made their way from the CHK near the bottom of Thorpe Road to head westward along the small green space on Belmont Hill, a mix of a new estate to the south & older established homes on the northern side. A CHK was found halfway along Belmont Hill, but soon dismissed for the option of running the other 60 Yards out on to Holywell Hill where the direction of the Trail turned sou-sou-west.
Sparerib, who had brought along this week’s newbie of Noisy F#cker, now both passed Mr X as he hobbled along in some agony, then it was the Hare & Paxo’s turn to pass by the crippled RA! Des Res offered up a short cut, but Mr X was happy to try & at least make his way to Cotton Mill lane somehow before he considered turning back.
The Hash ran down Holywell Hill to a CHK by the short safety railings just by a bridge over the river Ver, right were the waterside ‘River Ver Trail’ footpath comes up from the east. This obvious route was the correct one as the Keenies made their way along by the river Ver’s bank as it heads south-eastward for a short way, before reaching a narrow metal footbridge that crosses from the south to the north bank in to a wooded strip of land between the urban estates.
For the hobbling Mr X there was one hindrance a large black lab, off the lead, that ran up & wanted to jump up & this didn’t help his cause, the owner of said dog was oblivious to the fact his hound was being a nuisance & actually thought it rather amusing!
Once beyond the black beast of Snorbens [As the locals call St Albans! – Ed] Mr X clambered the metal steps to cross the bridge & then on down through the wooded area to the south of the estate below Belmont Hill estate. The Trail took a shallow arc before heading north-eastward between the trees to move alongside the northern end of the Cottonmill Allotments & out by the St Albans’ Sub-Aqua club at the old swimming pool to emerge out on to Cottonmill lane.
Arrows pointed the way southward & then after a couple of yards to a CHK, there the Trail was picked up across the road to run back down along on the ‘River Ver Trail’ it was a pleasant trot along beside the serpentine like river as it moves along the northern edge of Sopwell Gardens, once home to a Nunnery & the ruined remains of Sir Richard Lee’s red-brick & stone residence of ‘Lee Hall’, later to become Sopwell House before the new one was built, to the south of the river.
Thankfully though the Nuns are long gone, Father Jack Hackett is now safely restrained in a Parochial House north of the border in Scotland, where it’s locked down tighter than My Lil’s wallet or Paxo’s heating!
The Trail would avoid the ruins & take to the duckboards that run over the marshy wetland area, some of Herts (Senior) regulars remember years ago when it was far more fun running this in the winter when there were no duckboards to keep Hash feet dry above the reeds.
Anyhow, the wooden way had a missing plank in its floor, leaving a hole to avoid, it looks like a few others had gone & had been replaced by raised covered wooden beams as the wooden platform comes around from east to south & then on to the earthen path by the local Sopwell allotments.
After some 110 Yards the Trail arrived at a railway bridge on the Alban Way, the former St Albans to Hatfield railway line, here an arrow pointed the way under the arch for the old line above & out on to the north-eastern corner of a green grassy sports field.
For Mr X the Trail would now change direction for just as he was ‘walking it off’ as he’s from the era of the ‘Magic Sponge’ - when a manky old sponge soaked in bucket of ice cold water could cure all pitch encountered injuries, but for the second time a black off-lead pooch would come flying up to him, his sudden stop made him wince again& stop for a bit to gain his breath back. Sadly it was a case of unapologetic owners not taking responsibility!
Meanwhile back on the Trail, Sparerib & Noisy F#cker finally caught sight of first Pod of Keenies with the likes of Tent Packer, No Eye Deer, Milf & My Lil’ fanning out to search for the Trail, which would be picked up out on Cotton Mill Lane once more, this time it would sick with this urban street to head southward.
There were several CHKs dotted along the way at the side street offering up the opportunity to break the Trail, & keep Kylie, Whatevershesays & Paxo within in sight of the rest of the Hash, as things finally turned after a CHK where Butterfield Lane runs south-westward away from Cottonmill lane which winds its way around to Sopwell House Hotel.
The Trail was found on the delightfully named Butterfield Lane, the Hare had originally planned a different route out over the Sopwell area, however the grounds of the meadows beyond Sopwell Farm House were living up to their reputation of being flood plain for the Ver, not that it bothered the bovines fenced in below the farmhouse.
So, the Trail would now head down the old lane to a CHK by the north bound Goreham Drive, but that direction back up to town would be a Falsie, with the correct Trail heading on to the short uncapped section of lane & then under the narrow but high arch of the railway bridge for the active Abbey Flier line above.
Now on the western side of the St Albans Abbey to Watford Junction line, the Trail would head out around the farm fields to the south of the St Julian’s area of St Albans, the Keenies would eventually make their way up to Holyrood Crescent with only its northern side lined with southward facing homes.
A CHK was found by an nor-nor-west bound alleyway between a gap in the rows of homes, Sparerib was one of the first to venture up the back-passage [Steady Pebbledash – Ed] as Tent Packer, My Lil’ & Milf followed on as Trail was discovered up this 60 yards of tree lined ginnel to reach Creighton Avenue, where from a CHK there the Dust was found up Mandeville Drive to continue nor-nor-west on long twitchell up to Maynard Drive.
A slight turn in the Trail as the Hare set the Keenies a task to head eastward for a short way & then to find another footpath, this one runs behind the homes below the old Gas Works site. Starting off to the east, the Hash would then turn northward up through the newer homes in Grindcobbe, named after William Grindecobb (whose name means Miller of Grain) he was one of the leaders of the Peasants Revolt in 1381. Having led the townspeople of St Albans to meet Wat Tyler & the other revolting peasants, to meet King Richard II at Mile End. We all know how that turned out with his execution after King Richard II reneged on his promises.
This Trail was now becoming an orgasmic event for Kylie, for not only did the Trail cross the Abbey Flier (St Albans Abbey to Watford Junction branch line) which is single track line here, the Dust would lead on to a CHK on a bend in Cottonmill lane. Although it had a plethora of paths to search, as indicated by the multiple blue signs on an adjacent post, this CHK was not too far from beginning of the branch line where the Alban Way (Former Hatfield to St Albans Railway) used to run off from St Albans Abbey Station & run off in a due east direction. A nice painted ‘Alban Way’ sign on the ground indicated the route of the single track’s start as a cycleway/footpath.
A Falsie up by the old garages was never going to catch Kylie out, nor the one straight back up Cottonmill Lane, as that would be too easy, but the former railway line was like the Pied Piper with its ground painted sign luring Kylie away no matter what! This also would be the more scenic option of taking to the tree lined Alban Way as it gently arcs toward the northeast, it was far more appealing, especially to Kylie!
The route rose up & to the south the Trail out over the Cotton Mill playing fields could be seen from up on the railway embankment, on the way the Hash passed by the remains of an old railway workers single person shelter. The Pack would be led back to run over the bridge they had run under around 20 minutes earlier, continuing north-eastward for around 60 yards, with the Verulam Angling Club fishery down to the south & the Watercress Nature Reserve down to the north.
A CHK was found under an old tree before another old rail bridge, the option of heading further along the Alban Way & the new estate to the northeast with the former St Albans London Road Station was a Falsie, the other option was to drop down via the narrow tarmac footpath to find a CHK, almost below the one on the railway line! This Trail had more CHK points than you could shake a (Hash Walking) stick at!
Again only two options here, down by the nature reserve, under the railway to a footpath back on to the local Verulam Golf Course, or head off down by the entrance to the small nature reserve & on by the line of coloured terraced homes? Mr X had made it this far & was well ahead of the rest as the Trail was found along by the pastel blue, purple, buff & other coloured terraced homes, with the numbers highlighted in a different colour, it was now along the nor-nor-west bound Riverside Road.
The last leg of the Trail was upon the Hash as they made their way up Riverside Road, a CHK around halfway, where the newer homes & flats are didn’t throw of the keenest of experienced Herts Hash noses, the Trail was quickly sniffed out over on the footpath just beyond the Scout Hut, here on the rising ginnel the words of ‘On Inn’ were discovered as this fence panel enclosed footpath leads out to the over start of Cottonmill Lane & just over the roundabout to the Old London Road & over to the start of Sopwell Lane.
Tent Packer & My Lil’ were the first of the Keenies back, they expect Milf & No Eye Deer to be with them, but it seems they had gone astray further back. Eventually they arrived back to find the first Pod had gone over to the Hare & Hounds where they had been seated by the helpful staff [We can get used to having table service & drinks brought to the table! – Ed]
Mr X got to play with the ‘Herts Hash Ray-gun’ [It doesn’t have any mind control powers over any ‘Half Minds’! – Ed] but is to check Hasher’s temperatures, while these IR devices cannot detect Covid-19, they can give a guide to someone who could be 37.8C or higher (Normal Body Temperature is 36.4 – 37.6C) Strangely Whatevershesays registered as being only 34.6C [Proves he’s a Cold heatless bastard! – Ed]
Noisy F#cker was welcomed to Herts Hash by her Pod, then with news that she is moving to Hitchin she was given a recommendations of various hostelries, especially the Half Moon, & of course the notorious Albert when it comes to Hash visits there, but that’s a story for another day if you don’t know about the ‘Curse of the Albert’?
Mrs Mallet joined Tent Packer as the last Pod came in with the Hare. Mr X informed the Pods that P-Rick had been in Hospital briefly with a side effect from catching Covid-19 on the Isle of Wight, he’s back out at home but he didn’t catch it on the Hash, for like us, the Isle of Wight Hash are sticking by Coivd-19 guidelines & carrying out the necessary restrictions.
The subject of P-Rick got Sparerib talking about how Bus Tripper (Mrs P-Rick) is on Sparerib’s side as both were in the ‘Royal chAir Force’ to P-Rick being a Pongo! Meanwhile Mr X recalled being privileged to have been at Bus Tripper & P-Ricks Wedding on Ventis, a classic Hash weekend it was.
Later the subject would turn to the Ryder Cup, as Des Res wasn’t surprised to hear Mr X knew of the history of the local Seed Merchants, where Samuel & his brother formed the Ryder Seed Merchant company that posted seeds at one Penny a packet, they chose St Albans due to its good train services.
The Hash weren’t that far away from the former seed merchant’s premises, their homes & most of the merchants still exist, in fact the Art Deco Hall where the Seed Packing took place is now the Café Rouge! The new homes behind these are named Ryder Mews.
In a brilliant stroke of advertising, the enthusiastic six handicapped amateur golfer, former St Albans Mayor, Philanthropist & Verulam Golf Club Captain Ryder decided to sponsor an international Golf Contest between the UK & the USA, after seeing American Golfers being backed by wealthy patrons to play in the Open.
The Ryder Cup officially began in 1927 at Worcester Country Club Massachusetts USA. The famous trophy was created by Mappin & Web at the princely sum of Ł300! Samuel Ryder would suffer from ill health in later life, he is buried in Hatfield Road Cemetery St Albans, his Samuel Ryder Foundation is still going to this day.
Some good news, Congratulations to Vicki (ARP) & Porkie Pie who had a boy, 15/10, Aidan Alexander on the 20th October - He arrived earlier than expected. But they are all doing well.
One Orange Ford Mustang for sale?