Run No. 1925
Monday 31st May 2021
Venue: The Six Bells
Beers: Oakham JHB; Tim Taylor Landlord;
Location: St Michael’s Village, St Albans
Hare/s: Mr X
Hash Hounds: 0
Membership: On a chaotic merry-go-round of parking!
Finally one day before British Meteorological Summer time we get a spell of some warm weather, but as it is in the UK there was a short build up from 14°C Degrees on Wednesday to 25°C, a jump of 16°C meant it couldn’t have been a finer day for a Hash Trail, but would the Pack be able to cope with the heat?
This week’s Hare paid a visit to the Six Bells the day before, all to ensure that the Pub would be open & test the ales out! But it wasn’t long after his arrival with My Lil’ & Noisy F#cker, than they had met up with Tent Packer, who was now in Panic mode having seen a sign in the last remaining bit of Pub car-park that has not got tables on it, the A-Board had the portents of doom in white paint stating ‘Bookings essential’!!
Panic was averted when the Hare reached for the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with the words ‘Don’t’ Panic!’ flashing on the cover, actually he didn’t get that out, instead had a word with the Landlord to secure at least enough space for two Pods of Six until 13:00Hrs. He also was safe in the knowledge that there are a couple of low grey painted wooden tables with no menus that were not reserved, plus Pubs are still getting bookings where no one actually turn up!
The Trail should have begun with Pod 1 getting away at 10:45, but there was parking chaos in St Albans, let alone the restricted streets of the St Michael’s area of St Albans, which is cut off from the rest of the City to keep that air of being a rural village, with limited parking.
Finally the Hare moved off, the
sheep Pack followed him On down to the
CHK which was found by the entrance to Verulamium Park, the choices here were to
continue onward over the river Ver & the water Mill, which is a waffle shop
amongst other things these days.
My Lil’ & Noisy F had an advantage on the rest as they had walked on down from the Abbey Cathedral to show Noisy a bit of History of our only City in Hertfordshire. So these two led the way south-eastward into the green park land toward the ‘Fish Ponds’ that were once used for the Monks to supply them with ‘Fish on Friday’.
The path was a bit bumpy in places as temporary ‘duck-boards were in place where the river Ver had burst its banks & flooded the green area by Fish Ponds. Arrows led the way over the old footbridge to a CHK on the south side, with orange webbing preventing access anywhere else, the options just two, to head sou-sou-east beside the Fish Ponds or search southwest over the grassy fields that home the Splash Park, Tennis courts & the Beach Volley Ball Courts, the original sand for which came from the London 2012 Olympic games.
Noisy F# went wrong, but eventually Tent Pack got close enough to see the large blobs of flour on the couple of Oak trees! No tongues hanging out from the Hashers as there was no Beach Volley Ball taking place, so the Pack headed on Trail by the Mini-Golf & then on to the old fashioned swing rides from Sparky’s era, when a safety devices was a plank of wood with ‘Safety Barrier’ painted on the side old fashioned swing’s gondolas!
Pod 1 began to pull away & were first to the Roman Hypocaust, luckily Noisy & Tent Packer got to see it was open & look at the Mosaic & the Hypocaust (Roman under floor heating for a bit of luxury when being posted to the Roman Empire’s colder outpost!) it houses.
Milf caught up with No Eye Deer, Whatever She Says, Canny Cant & the Hare just as Mr X called them over to have a look at the Roman history where the Celtic ton was renamed after being taken over in the Roman invasion of 43 AD. Photo’s taken, it was time to move on as the Trail headed down by the edge of a cricket pitch to the east.
Now the Dust led the Hash through the wooded area to the north of the old walls for the Roman City of Verulamium, built on the Celtic Town of Verlamion, a place all those Herts Born kids had to visit on ‘Compulsory School Trips’ here they would learn the Roman City was burnt to the ground by an Icini attack led by Queen Boadicea in 61AD, she also sacked London & Colchester, excavations have revealed a thick black layer of ash that confirms the Romans’ records. Mr X noticed that on visual interpretation of Boudicca on the information boards, charging in her chariot at the Romans, she has that look on her face that Mother does when Lemming over steps the mark!
The Trail led up & over the old wall built around 144 AD& the Hare was happy to see that Tent Packer & My Lil’ had gone wrong down at a CHK by the original ditch & ramparts for the Celtic City that was incorporated into the Roman City at what was once the London Gate. Noisy F# chose to head down to the southwest, which was the correct one, this followed the tree-line out to come up over the deep defensive excavation via a footbridge on to King Harry Lane.
Once over the crossing, a CHK was found, with Tent Packer & My Lil’ leading the way straight on the alleyway, the Hare again pleased as this was a Falsie, which allowed Canny Cant to catch up from going wrong at the last CHK!
Milf would now explain that Kylie was still trying to Park up & would catch up, which would be with TBT OBE once they found a spot. Sadly the Bank Holiday Chaos had taken its toll as Fliptop & Skip couldn’t find a space & so they cut it short & headed home. As Fred Pointing used to say “Book early to avoid disappointment!” & it’s not the first time we have Hashed from St Michael’s & had an issue to get parked up.
Dust had the Keenies following the Trail on to Abbey Mews as the Hash Pods were taken in to the St Stephen’s Estate, after 200 Yards they arrived at another CHK, this being at the Junction where St Stephen’s Avenue leads away to the Southeast. A Falsie to the southwest was found before the Trail as picked up on St Stephens’ Avenue, but only for 74 yards before arrows pointed the way north-eastward into a Park behind the homes.
The Dust led along the southern edge of the green space enclosed by homes on all four sides, Pod 1 was led from the southwestern corner to the south-eastern corner, where the only other entrance was, this passageway would lead back out on to St Stephens Avenue & onto the next CHK, where there were three options, two were on St Stephens Avenue, the other was to head straight over down the cul-de-sac of St Stephens Close.
While My Lil’ headed out toward the Watford Road, Noisy F#, who ventured off down the dead-end close had more luck & found the Trail on another back-passage to one side, passing by the large No Cycling sign to head southward on a long fenced-in alleyway to lead out to Midway, it was along here that the Pack got their first smoking odours of Barbeque, something that played on the Hare’s olfactory senses all day the previous day while setting the Trail.
Arrows pointed straight over to the continuation of the snicket to lead out on Allandale, then the last short section of alleyway to find the remnants of a washed out CHK on the edge of the Netherway Open Space. [Steady Pebbledash! – Ed]
Those who speculated to head eastward on a grey gravel & up by the Scout Huts to the Watford Road were spot on, here the Trail would head southward, crossing the bridge over the A414 below, the original footpath is now cut off by the Dual Carriageway, so a slight diversion was needed to take the Pods on to a CHK above the footpath to the west. The Hare was happy to see Tent Packer, Noisy#, Canny Cant & Milf had gone wrong, having dropped down the tree-lined embankment & gone beyond the footpath marker, which had an arrow pointing back toward the A414!
My Lil fared better, as he followed the footpath indictor post & found the Trail on a footpath on a cute cut-back to follow the fence line along the southern edge of the A414 for a 100 yards before it changed direction from westward to cut south-westerly over to Westfields Farm, this route then led on a short way on the tarmac drive by the large solitary Farm, going through a gap in the hedgerow the footpath continued for a further 400 Yards to come around a kink in route, here another CHK caught Tent Packer out & so he came back to follow the rest of Pod 1 out to the end of the footpath as it rounds the end of the last home on the northern side of Ragged hall Lane at Chiswell Green.
The delightful smell of another Barbeque wafted through the air & teased the Hash, No Eye Deer said that she had already had a Barbie the day before, as did Milf & Kylie!
A CHK was found here, Milf & Noisy F# obviously didn’t work out what the two green painted steel bars to prevent people walking straight out of the footpath opposite & directly in to any traffic, which where straight over the lane, they had gone off to the east. My Lil’ didn’t have any issues & was straight on to the footpath behind the homes, it was a nice shaded footpath that changes tack a couple of times before coming to an almost due southward south course as it emerged on to Cherry Hill, here a CHK was found by a west bound footpath across from the homes on the eastern side.
To the west it was, on a nice path with high cow-parsley growing on either side, which attracted plenty of flies, then it was out to an area of paddocks to the south & woodland to the north. After 380 Yards a CHK was found at a crossroads of paths, so three options, south, west again or northward through Scrubs Wood. My Lil’ had more than an inkling to take to the path through Scrubs Wood which was marked with a ¼ mile to Ragged Hall Lane. Kylie & TBT OBE would not fare as well as they head southward, until realising the Trail had run out!
Northward for 290 Yards for the Pod to come back out on to Ragged Hall Lane, ahead lay the Park Wood Plantation, there a CHK was found & the only options were to enter the woodland, but at which point? Well, if you were Milf & No Eye Deer then you would go wrong, too much chatting to notice all the arrows to get the Pack up to the east!
The Trail made along the edge of the Park Wood pine plantation, there was still nice shade on a change to the route, due to the fenced off forestry work here, the Hare had to reconsider his planned route, which added the extra Cherry Tree lane loop instead of utilizing this section of woodland with its last remnants of bluebells in bloom.
The wide stony footpath ran northward along the eastern edge of the Plantation, after around 400 Yards the Dust led over the hump-backed footbridge spanning the A414 below to lead on by the smaller, cut off section of the plantation. The Trail made it was way around the outside of the corner, when he got back on Trail TBT OBE reached this section & had his picture taken by Kylie, TBT OBE was sat on the carved bench which is aptly called Sue’s Seat, that sits high above the panorama of the farmland before St Stephens.
Heading north-easterly down through the almost grey, dry, wide track between the crops, it was a long stretch of a 1,000 feet, it may have been downhill but it was under the blazing sun before it came back to the shade at the southern end of St Stephen’s. A change of direction as the path moved north-westerly for a few yards before coming out on to the end of the cul-de-sac of Meautys, a CHK here had two choices, a back-passage to the northeast, or search the cul-de-sac to the northwest?
The Hare had already been through here, having earlier marked the Short Cut Remaining on as Pod 1 were now taken along the curving road to Mayne Avenue, here arrows would lead westward, seemingly away from the direction of the On Inn, but a run along this serpentine like street was the correct route to take. A bit of running around the grassy end of the bend in the road would lead on to the Next CHK, there were three choices, a dead-end on a cul-de-sac to the north, a Falsie on the footpath out in to the farm fields to the south, or continue around the bend?
With this CHK having been marked, everyone went around the bend, in more ways than one, but not too fast as lots of arrows pointed the way over the road & into the Scrubby land to the west, here the Trail led on to the footpath in the long, thin green space wedged between Mayne Avenue & Bedmond Lane, there are more footpaths amongst the scrub, brambles & wild pants to explore in here at a later date.
600 Yards were covered over through the edge of green space, there were two more CHKS along here, but neither broke off the direct course to go out onto the myriad of desire lines criss-crossing the ground to the west. Eventually the Pods came back out on to the north-westerly end of King Harry Lane, where arrows directed the way over to the southwestern corner of Verulamium Park, from the corner there was a great view through the trees of the park laid out ahead & Abbey Cathedral up on the opposite hill Holywell
There would be a long straight run Inn, using the shaded tree-lined ride back to St Michaels used on a part of the St Albans Park Run route, this 600 Yard shaded route would lead back into St Michaels by taking to a short section of the Hemel Hempstead Road, before coming around by St Michael’s Church & opposite the Roman Amphitheatre, built in around 140AD it’s the only one of its kind in Britain. It could hold 2,000 Spectators.
Tent Packer had caught up with the Hare on this last leg, who ironically felt like he was on his last legs! Tent Packer knew where he was & so he led Noisy F# to take a different route to the Museum Car Park. Noisy F# was asked to order a couple of pints in for the Hare as she ran off from Mr X, but she was surprised to see that he beat her to the Pub by taking the proper route by the On Inn beyond the pelican crossing & the closed off footpath by the wonky flint wall, the On Inn was found at the start of the village & not following Tent Packer over to the car park, where Mrs Mallet wasn’t with their car or with the car keys!
Mallet, Gen & Tonic were found at a table under one of the marquees, they were
with Whatevershesays who’s back only allowed him to go part the way around the
trail. The Hash was split between two places, with the larger tables having Des
Res join them after his late start, then Paxo, Backpack & Michaela came along to
join those out under the sun, who once they had their bags were slapping on the
old factor 30
Finally TBT OBE & Kylie arrived back from the Trail, with Teebs reciting tales of woe that sounded like they would merit the awarding of the Croix de guerre for having been on a march with the French Foreign Legion in the Sahara desert, low on water & with the (unbearable) heat bearing down on the Trail, especially as they went wrong at the furthest point out, it was as if it was the Hare’s fault that they were too busy chatting to notice there was no Dust for a quarter of a mile? All of which made their Trail slightly longer than the hour & 10 most got around in.
Most expected Sparky to put in an appearance & later on TBT OBE was dicing with the idea of stopping off to see Sparky on the way home. For that he definitely would be awarded the Croix de guerre & a host of other gongs!
Anyhow, the table reserved for 13:00Hrs was vacated for the grey seats & low bench, the RA said “Bonjour mon Aimee!” to a French bulldog at the table they just vacated, but the pooch being French just did that French thing of nonchalantly ignoring him, the owner reckoned it was because the pooch didn’t speak cockney! [Sacre Bleu! – Ed]
It was noticed that some tables had reserve times on them that had come & gone with no customers taking their places, a bit naughty as most Pubs have been really struggling of late, perhaps they couldn’t get parked? So, there was no real need for any panic at the start of the Trail.
Some of the Hash soon received messages from Fliptop, letting them know that he & Skip had been over, but not being able to get parked they decided to head off home, which was a shame.
Mr X pointed out the historical Insurance Plaque on one of the old cottages across from the Pub, these were issued by Insurance Companies in the 18 & 19th Centuries, before the establishment of Fire Brigades. Each was stamped with a number & if there was a fire the ‘fire fighters’ retained by the insurers would put out the fire, however, if you were insured by another company then they wouldn’t attempt to extinguish it, unless it threaten a neighbouring property covered by them!
It was mentioned that there seemed to be a lot of Sunday Trails for this summer, some of these were booked while we are still in Lockdown so we can get a Beer & a seat in an Open Pub. Since after a lot of work calling, visiting venues & rearranging the Hareline (by some) the one change to the planned Pubs failed as it wasn’t open! So, we are sticking with the current Hareline!
The Sheldon was chosen today as its near to a vaccination Centre two of the Pack were going to feel little pricks at, after a Beer or two, it just happens that they have now been given the shots!
The rest of the Sunday’s were down to a lot of Hashers wanting to make up for the months of lockdown by hosting a barbeque at their homes, which comes with the benefits of the venue will not be closed, will not have limited opening hours or not need a reservations, even more so if we are still under the current Government guidelines of 30 outside & groups of six inside!
If restrictions are lifted on the 14th June, it would still be wise for Hares to check on venues, just in case they still have restrictive hours, being seated & number at a sitting etc, we are not quiet out of the woods yet!