Run No. 1922

Monday 10th May 2021

Venue: Eight Bells

Beers: Farr Brew

Location: Hatfield

Hare/s: Mr X

Runners: 12

Virgins: 0

Visitors: 0

Newies: 0

Après: 0

Hash Hounds: 0

Total: 12

Membership: Descending Jacob’s Ladder


            Fingers crossed this will be the last week of the ‘Sitting outside in Pods of Six’ Trail?  Though the consensus later on was that the weather would improve & probably be a heatwave to have us all wishing to sit outside!  At least some of the Pubs will now open & no doubt restrictions on some Pubs closing early after food orders will be lifted.

            The Hare was found sitting in the Pub Garden, though unfounded comments about him being sitting there all afternoon were dismissed [Some people have been working all through the pandemic & the Hare is one! – Ed]  So, the Pack were soon chomping at the bit to get on with the Trail, probably for the first time under lock-down rules the Pods started out before 19:00Hrs!

            My Lil’s earlier assumptions about the Trail not heading up the hill beside the Pub were proved unfounded, as Mr X marked the start to head up & away to the southeast on an olde worlde street that could be a setting for Dickens’ Oliver Twist.  The Pace was only a walk as the Hare’s words of wisdom of a part of the Trail being a steep decent rang in the Pod’s ears, if anyone didn’t feel up to this then they could by-pass it by taking Church lane!

The Eight Bells gets its name from the

            The Trail would lead up into the grounds of St Etheldreda’s Church, named after the East Anglian Princess & Saint Æthelthryth, who became the Patron Saint of the Bishops of Ely, the Bishop of Ely had a Palace that still stands in the grounds of Hatfield House.  Buried within St Etheldreda’s are the Cecil Family, Lord Robert Cecil being Queen Elizabeth I’s Spy Master & First Lord Salisbury.  Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s First Prime Minister & Lord Salisbury, her last Prime Minister are both buried there.

            The Trail turned southward, through the wrought-iron gates & on through the Churchyard to emerge out by the old timbered building that was once the Baker’s Arms, the private house still has the name of its former life painted on the outside wall, now on to Church Street the first CHK was found.  It took some time for the Keenies to find the Trail a short way down to the west on another of (Old Hatfield’s) Historic streets, here arrows pointed the way down through a gap in the old red-brick wall & on to Jacob’s Ladder, the steep decent on flight of stairs has no hand-rail & so care was needed by those who came down these.

            Jacobs’ Ladder gets its name from Abrahamic Religions tale of Jacob’s dream of ascending to heaven, this ‘ladder’ was a steep climb up from the now demolished cottages to go to St Etheldreda’s.  For years the steps were in a state of disrepair, but about 6 years ago they were restored for those who aren’t snowflakes & can take responsibility for their actions in taking to these steps.  Thankfully, neither Sparky or TBT OBE were present to take a tumble down the ‘Ladder’

My Lil’ led, Philippa, Howard, Tent Packer, Lobby Lobster & Mark E Mark on the wimpy Trail avoiding Jacob’s Ladder.  Milf, Loud F#cker & Sparerib were the first to descend the steps & come out through the 1970’s builds & over to Batterdale, the area of homes next to Hatfield’s own ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ as the 1970’s extension looks like a smaller version of what Scousers call Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral.

It wasn’t far to a passageway where the Trail turned to lead down under the Great North Road & emerge toward the west to take to French Horn Lane, passing under the main-line Railway to Kings Cross.  Then after a few more yards the Trail turned northward onto Beaconsfield Road to lead onto the next CHK by a passageway through to Cranbourne Road, the other options were to continue up the road, or search over the railway bridge to the east.

A Falsie lay straight on to the north, while there were no Trail markings over the footbridge, so just through the back-passage [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed] arrows were discovered behind a low, triangular hedge at the start of Cranbourne Road, running the 170 Yards to where the route joins Old French Horn Lane, Shame Pebbledash wasn’t there today as Mr X thought "I bet Pebbledash would like a bit of the Old French Horn?  The Trail continue westward for another 60 Yards before reaching a CHK by the cut-through to St Alans East Recreation Ground.

Nothing lay ahead, but northward through the nicely kept green space the Trail was found leading out on to St Albans Road East, out on to the main road to turn westward, as the road turned slightly the Pods were led down into the underpass through the hollow roundabout, no CHK here, as arrows led the way onto the opposite St Albans Road exit to come up the ramp outside of the old unused dilapidated St John’s Ambulance building & St Luke’s Church, a small 1893 Chapel for the Cemetery behind.

The Hare, after going back to check the car park behind the Horse & Gloom for any late comer, in case 50 Shades had turned out for her first Herts Trail, sadly she wasn't there! (There's always St Michaels?) He now caught up & saw Pod 2 of Mark E Mark, Lobby Lobster, Howard, Philippa & now Zing-along-a-max, so indicated the route of the Trail for the CHK, but his gesturing was misconstrued & they went Off-Trail through Lichgate into the cemetery. 

Having gone over & marked the CHK, Mr X called them back to join him on taking to the footpath running along the north-eastern edge of the cemetery.  On the way Mr X pointed out to Mark E Mark the eerie sight that one of the names on the Memorial was Colin Monk, Mark E Mark asked if Junior knew about this?  Doubtful, as the Hare only spotted this the day before while setting the Trail.

By this point Milf, Loud F#cker, Spare Rib, My Lil’ & Tent Packer had pulled away from the other Pods & were no longer within sight on the long path of 250 Yards by the hedged-in cemetery & the homes with fronts onto the wide tarmac path.  Pod 1 may have been out of sight, but one of them had Scouting talents coming out as the CHK by a footpath running away to the southwest was marked with a couple of sticks to make up a one-sided Hash arrow, the Hare went over this with flour to make it more obvious.

Along the 140 Yard trot out to Wellfield Road, Zing-a-long-a-max learnt from the Hare why he had placed flour on a dog turd on this tarmac path, this is a way of stopping civilians from kicking out the Trail, they normally only do it once!  [Charming! – ED]

Once on to Wellfield road, the Trail turned north-westward, away from where the old Workhouse used to be, passing by a NHS building & then L Kahn Manufacturing to reach a set of arrows directing the way over to the Alban Way, while Pod 1 took to the southwestern stretch of the former Hatfield to St Albans Railway.

The Hare marked a short-cut straight along Wellfield Road, taking Pod 2 away from the 800 Yard loop along the former railway, then from a CHK to drop down through Oak Close to Lemsford Road, this ended after a run through a hedged-in alleyway back out to Wellfield Road.  Pod 2 arrived at the CHK just before Sparerib & Loud F#cker emerged from the alleyway.

            Philippa, Lobby Lobster & Howard followed on behind Mark E Mark as he searched the back-passage [Carful Pebbledash! – Ed] through between a couple of the homes & out o to Crawford Road, there Philippa misread the Hash markings of an arrow pointing the way directly over to another passage, so the Hare pointed out her faux-pah to get her onto the next leg out onto Birchwood Close.  Faux-pah number 2 for Philippa as she stopped & waited for Mr X to mark the Trail from the CHK at the end of the passage, even though Mark E Mark was coming back from the western of the only two possible options!

            Lobby Lobster searched the eastern option & found Dust strategically placed upon the trees leading to the grass island at the eastern end.  A CHK was found by the ‘Private Parking’ area of a new estate of a few houses squeezed into a little patch of ‘Brownfield’ site that covers the old passageway, Pod 1 had already gone through, but 'Tonto' had now run out of sticks, or Boy Scouts to mark the CHKs with. [Several dog's eggs were available in the alleyway but not utilised for 'elf & safety reasons!  However Howard searched this & picked up the Trail as the old path turns to the east & to come out by the entrance to Birchwood Nursery.

After the short trot out of Birchway, the Trail passed through another snicket to arrive back on the Alban Way, where the Trail took a turn to the north-east.  Zing-a-long-a-max now caught up, after going wrong in misreading the Trail crossing Wellfield Road & carried on to the Fire Station before realising he had run out of Dust! 

The Hare asked if he had seen Milf, Tent Packer, Ketchup & My Lil’, he hadn’t, & he wouldn’t have seen them as they were now ahead of everyone else in Pod 1 & again out of sight on the dead straight former railway line for 250 Yards to Homestead Road, no stopping at the road, it was straight over to continue for another 430 Yards on the last section of the Alban Way, this section curves to the south as it was the route the branch-line took to join Hatfield Station.

It was quite a pleasant route, as bluebells brightened up the wooded sides to the old line, before it rose up to turn by a distance marker & the Pods passed by the 12 foot erection that represents Hatfield's past [Erm! - Ed] It’s an eclectic Artwork of various metal objects to represent Hatfield, it includes train wheels, aircraft wings & other objects associated with Hatfield, the aircraft relate to de Havilland, where the World’s First Jet Airliner, the Comet was built.  With Wheels & Pistons it sounds like it could be from the "Engineer's Song!" 

Up on to the dead-end of the Great North Road, a Held CHK was found, right by the footbridge over the Railway, which replaced the old ‘Wrestlers’ road bridge that collapsed on to the railway in 1966 & never replaced to cut off this section of the Great North Road.

Milf, Tent packer, Ketchup & My Lil’ waited as long as they could here, but with the Bar calling they set off to the Great North Road & Guess in what direction?  Yes, away to the North, running opposite the Wrestlers Pub, they now embarked on the longest single stretch of the Trail, over a Kilometre (3,881 Feet)  from the small industrial units beside the railway line, then on by the Isuzu, VW, Seat, then Audi & Lexus dealerships to turn eastward on Mount Pleasant Lane.

Fortunately it wasn’t too long on this busy section of the A414, as once over the railway the Trail took to the old lane as it peels off by what was once a local Council Depo but now a new housing estate, this section was rather village like, with established Oaks & a hedgerow sheltering the homes from the traffic to & from Hertford.

The next CHK was found by another snicket, this one leading between the newer homes & out on to the more established ‘The Ryde’ [Not named after the London Harriette! – Ed] for the likes of My Lil’ with ‘Local knowledge’ there was no other option but to head off down the south-western alley to the Ryde, he would also know that there would be another couple of Back passages that might need exploring [No Pebbledash! – Ed]

Back at the Held CHK & the Hare now put in a short cut for Mark E Mark, Lobby Lobster, Howard & Philippa, who jumped at the chance as they were allowed to cross the footbridge & then beyond the Three T’s [A Sludge Trap! – Ed] to Great North Road, for them it was a case of heading due south to the Red Lion Lights.  For the others they had to make their way southward through the Ryde, then down the southwestern alleyway that cuts through to Bull Stag Green Road & up to the Old Great North Road.

Once over the lights, the Trail led by the Red Lion, as Pod 1 came in by the Red Lino, a young girl was having some difficulty with her & as she moved position, it became clear she had a flat tyre.  The Pod were up for offering her some roadside assistance but a far more youthful, Adonis like boyfriend appeared on the scene, nullifying any offers Sparerib was going to put forward.

The final leg of the Trail was On down to the ornate gates at the entrance to Hatfield House, Milf requested a photo shot of Pod 1 outside the statue of Robert Salisbury, Three times Prime Minister, passing beyond the statue the Trail then cut down through Arm & Sword Alley, by the shut Great Northern Pub to an alley by the closed Horse & Groom Pub to Park lane & On Inn to the Eight Bells.

The Eight Bells was originally the Five Bells, named after the original number of Bells at St Etheldredas, in 1739 three more bells were added & so the Pub changed its name to the Eight Bells.  In 1929 two treble bells were added in memory of Rupert Edward Gascoyne Cecil who was killed at Ypres in 1915, but the Eight Bells pub was not renamed, supposedly because the Rector at the time refused to allow it because it was not a ‘church pub’.

With Dickens having stayed at the In, the Eight Bells also claims to be the Inn mentioned in Oliver Twist after Bill Sikes brutally murders Nancy!  In Part 21 (January 1839), Chapter 48, "The Flight of Sikes," the housebreaker and his dog (Bullseye) travel through Islington, up Highgate Hill and down the other side, skirt Caen Wood, cross Hampstead Heath, and arrive at evening at "a small public-house" in the quiet village of Hatfield — undoubtedly the Eight Bells, which already had associations with the notorious highwayman Dick Turpin. 

After taking a pint and paying his bill, Sikes panicks when Harry the peddler, obviously a local character, insists upon trying to remove the stain (which he speculates may be a blood-stain) upon Bill's hat: "The man got no further, for Sikes with a hideous imprecation overthrew the table, and tearing the hat from him, burst out of the house."

The Eight Bells used to have lots of caricatures & photos of famous Thespians adorning the walls, sadly these all disappeared a few years ago, a loss of character for the Pub.

On the subject of literary greats, the old Hash Scribe then realised that he hadn’t packed the weakly Trashes, Sparerib said he wasn’t fussed as he wasn’t there the week before & so wouldn’t get a mention!  Now the Scribe knows why London R*n Reports have Hash Names like SPARERIB are highlighted in capitals & in bold to massage the old egos?  On the subject of Hash Names, Philippa wanted to know when she would get hers, patience is a virtue & we do need to have a circle to perform the ritual properly!

 So this led to talk coming around to "When are we having a Circle again?" Mainly from Sparerib who probably has something on our cuddly RA?  Not wanting to rush in to it, we may have a limited Circle (Now groups of 30 can meet outdoors) until we get to Tent Packer's Sausage Sizzle [Steady there Pebbledash! - Ed]

Perhaps we should start with rotating the Down-Downs Sludge Short Cutting/TBT OBE What3words all cars in on one 3 Metre squared space?/Sludge Short Cutting/ TBT OBE Tripping up/ Sludge Short Cutting/ Then hopefully Sparky will be back at the end of the month to take the pressure off of these two & give them a break?

Mark E Mark reckoned that Mr X should be a postman, since he was still wearing shorts after the temperature began to drop, Mark E Mark should know by now that it’s always Shorts weather!  Meanwhile Zing-a-long –a-max was more interested in adding a Farr Brew Bottle to the collection in his house, something that sound like he lives in the Plough at Tyttenhanger?

Mr X would elaborate on the previous day’s reconnoitre to the Eight Bells, via an earlier stop off at the Horse & Gloom, that a couple of NHS guys came in to the garden & Mr X thought that this would be about the Covid App?  But it was not, these had the initiative to ask if anyone was in need of a second Covid Jab if they were eight weeks after the first?  Before they closed up at the nearby Catholic Church.

With the average age being 70 in that Beer Garden, Mr X & My Lil’ were the only two to raise their hands!  But after the Barmaid had nipped over for her, they supped up & went over to Paddy’s Wigwam before the Covid Team closed up at 15:00Hrs.  So, after a quick “Knife, fork, spoon, mug!” it was all done & dusted, then it was over to the Eight Bells to celebrate this good fortune, though My Lil’ grumbled still about his prick hurting [The covid needle prick! Pebbledash!- Ed]