Run No. 1927
Sunday 13th June 2021
Venue: Chez Mallet et Tent Packer
Beers: home-made hooch (Well Woodfordes Wherry Kit)
Hare/s: Mr X
Hash Hounds: 0
Membership: Circled up at last! [But only when suitable! - Ed]
Wot a scorcher of a day lay ahead for the Hash, it would be as hot as Satan’s testes in a Sauna in Hell!
The two who got the Train to Harpenden found Hash Trail leading on along the narrow Bower’s Parade that runs parallel to the High Street, one advantage of the Covid restrictions is that this shop-side lane is now closed to traffic & parking to give users a wider walk.
A little later when turning off the High Street, they found the On Inn, of course immediately My Lil’ immediately jumped at the chance & claimed “We’ve reached the On Inn, that’s the end of the Trail!” Arriving at Chez Mallet et Tent Packer, the host has supplied for the Hard of thinking a wooden plank with Tent Packer & Mallet written upon it to lure them off of the hot streets.
The Pack circled up to hear the news from the RA that Lofty’s faithful pooch, Henry, is no longer with us as he gone to the great Hash in the Sky. Tent Packer’s Spiel was interrupted by Philippa, who was complimenting Mr X on his dress-sense! [Cough! – Ed] Tent Packer began to inform those gathered that the Trail would was around 4 miles, which seemed long enough with the building heat, he added that there was also a short cut, something that came as a relief to half the Pack!
Without further ado it was away & up Townsend Lane, just as 3D & Slug pulled up outside. The First CHK was found on the crossroads with Douglas Road & Salisbury Avenue, Zing-a-long-a-max now drove by ojn his way to Chez Mallet et Tent Packer.
Milf & Howard chose Douglas Road away in a nor-nor-westerly direction, while Mr X & My Lil’ searched further along Townsend Lane [Not to be confused with Townsend Road! – Ed] none were in luck as “On!” was called back on Salisbury Avenue in a sou-sou-westerly direction.
It soon became clear that there weren’t going to be too many of the Pods running all of the time on this Trail as they made their way along the old suburban street, which must have had the footpaths added at a later date as the avenue of trees sit in the tarmac of the road, they may be away from the pavement, but the trees did offer up some welcome shade.
TBT OBE was one who was up for a run, he was soon on to the CHK at the crossroads with Kirkwick Avenue, a road that’s name gives away the influence of Harpenden’s Scottish settlers as it leads down to St Nicholas Church. TBT OBE was drawn to check it out toward the Kirk but he was called back as “On!” was called further along Salisbury Avenue. Mr X commented on TBT OBE running back ‘uphill’ to get back on Trail, to quote Mr T like some ‘Crazy Fool!’
Milf & Howard were also up to putting in some effort today, they were now leading the way as they ran out on to Rothampstead Avenue, where they turned north-eastward to a CHK by the start of Avenue St Nicholas. While TBT OBE went wrong again in his search toward the High Street, the other two were soon on to the Trail down to the T-junction with Amenbury Lane, where they were soon on arrows pointing the way down Hay Lane, which runs by the car park & then down by the Leisure Centre to come out on to the Rothampstead Park.
Here there has been some work going on after the last time the Hash were here. TBT OBE stopped to take a couple of pics, one was of the newly built ‘Eric Morecombe Centre’, named after Harpenden’s most famous former resident. When Mr X caught up with TBT OBE, he asked the only question you could at this point in the Trail & that was “What do you think of the Trail so far?” to which he got back a “Rubbish!” from My Lil’ & Whatevershesays!
It was suggested that the Trash should be written in the style of an Ernie Wise Play, perhaps titled “A Hash what I set!”? [Erm! – Ed] Or is it already written in such a style? Which led to a few more quick Morecambe & Wise one liners culminating in an “Arsenal!” cough from Mr X.
Thankfully the Trail in the park would lead between the avenues of trees, a nice long shaded trot of 200 yards up a gentle incline to the southwest, to the west most of the shallow green vale had been cordoned off. Mr X went over to inspect what a sign on the fencing had to say. Apparently the soil removed from the Eric Morecombe Centre construction is being used to fill in hollows & added to the landscape, the sign said it had been passed fit to be used on the open space.
This leg of the Trail would stop at a CHK in a fork, TBT OBE was still in ‘falling for the Falsies mode’ as he went to look on the Rothampstead Park Trail footpath that hugs the contour of the western edge of the sports park. Meanwhile Mr X & My Lil’ started to search the shaded left hand split in the path, but they would soon find Howard & Milf running back toward them.
This only left Whatevershesays to be on the correct right fork & there he found the Trail on the old ‘Coach Road’ which is nothing more than a stony track. It is certainly a route you would not want to take a coach ride along!
Out of the cool shade to take to a fenced in, wide, dusty & hard underfoot almost cobbled Coach Lane, with only the odd tree offered a little escape from the full blaze of the sun, even Milf & Howard’s pace dropped to a walk for the 650 yards to the southwest until reaching a CHK near to the Elizabethan Rothampstead Manor, with its ornate walled gardens.
Meanwhile back with the Walking Pod, Philippa was still keen to find out when she was going to get a Hash-Handle? By now she should know that it’s normally once you do something stupid that you get named, but since the fall in Baldock she certainly ticked the box to meet that criteria. Paxo would have a couple of suggestions, which he kept to himself until later on at the Circle!
Back to Pod 1, Milf & Howard went wrong on a path to the west, but Whatevershesays was like a bloodhound & still on form, Mr X took a photo just to prove Whatevershesays was an FRB in leading the way as he picked up the scent of the Trail through a small enclosed field to the southeast, this would lead out some 300 yards to reach the Tarmac drive to the ornate Manor House.
Zing-a-long-a-max caught up with the FRB Pod on the 670 Yards away for the Manor House toward Hatching Green, Mr X was happy that the Trail would not head out over the fields to Harpenden Rugby Club to the south of the Manor House, as there was no shade through the open crop fields.
On the way the Pods would pass by the Rothampstead Experimental Stations research fields to the north, here there was a large metal structure that stood out amongst the green crop in a restricted area, it was that or the sign meant no entry to people with one large black hand? This Part is now monitored by a series of sensors that hang from what looks like a much smaller, silver version of Belfast’s Harland & Wolff’s Sampson & Goliath gantry cranes.
Later, Mr X would explain to Milf & Howard that Rothampstead is home to the World’s longest, continuous experiment, the ‘Parks Grass Experiment’ is older than Sparky, for it was begun in 1856 to test the effects of fertilizers & manures on Hay crop yields, it is still running to this days some 165 Years later, it covers soil acidity & climate changes as well as Hay & soil samples that show atmospheric pollution & even nuclear fall-out!!
It was also along his section of the Trail that there were protests were staged way back in 2012 & a large police presence located there, lots of CCTV installed, after the Government allowed a Genetically Modified Crop to be grown, the wheat was meant to produce an aphid alarm pheromone but results in 2015 showed it had no more deterrent than normal wheat! One protestor managed to get in & destroy some of the crop, he was arrested & fined £4,000!
Back to the Trail & after two long stretches the Pods were now getting spaced out a bit, with Paxo, Pebbledash, Philippa being near the rear with Flanders, Sludge, Slug, 3D, Little Hole & Skip who were escorted by the Hare, all while Mrs Mallet remained on duty back at Chez Mallet et Packer. Which was lucky for Crusty Ring, who arrived late & was shown the way up Townsend Lane* to the first CHK. [*Not to be confused with Townsend Road! – Ed]
There was talk from some of the FRB Pod to explain their lack of effort, that the exaggerated camber of the drive was not conducive for healing knees & that running in the centre of the road would be only a hazard to road users, albeit one mini being driven slower than a poorly electric milk float at the end of its round!
Trail came out beyond the red sleeping policemen in to Hatching Green, here Whatevershesays went wrong at the triangular green as he headed beyond the northern tip, as he was lured away having seen a green footpath sign showing the way back on to the Rothampstead Estate.
Whatevershesays was soon called back as Mr X & My Lil’ followed the Dust over the green toward the White Horse, an old white 1600’s building on the Redbourne Lane [Not to be confused with Redbourne Road – Ed]. Mr X said he thought that Marco Pierre White once owned it, turns out the Chef trained underneath the TV Chef.
Just beyond the Pub’s car park is a zebra crossing & here markings indicated that the Trail would split, with the longer Trail crossing the road to the south, here Whatevershesays held up the traffic as he stood on the very edge of the crossing but not moving while questioning My Lil’s decision to take the shorter option, not knowing that My Lil’ had already been to work that morning & who said he had been on his feet long enough! [Not that the couple of Pints of Tring’s (Was that the phone then?) Death or Glory the afternoon before had anything to do with it? – Ed]
The Beatles [Sparky - A beat-combo! – Ed] had a similar issue on Abbey Road when taking the Album cover photo, anyhow, Whatevershesays then apologised to perplexed pedestrians & mystified motorists as he finally crossed over to find the Trail would lead a short way toward Harpenden Common, before turning southward on to West Common road.
Milf, Howard, Zing-along-a-max & TBT OBE were off on the long Trail, with Whatevershesays now in tow, the Keenies Pod being taken away down by the large exclusive, expensive looking detached homes to the right & the long wooded area on the left, acting as a sound-break from the traffic on the main & busy St Albans Road.
A CHK was found at the elbow of the road, where the bottom of the L-shape turns eastward to the A1081 St Albans Road, but the Hare had other plans as the Trail would not take that obvious route, instead it would continue southbound on a narrow footpath through the edge of the woodland & out on to West Common Way, it was on this northeast bound road the Trail would now lead up through the wood to the St Albans Road, a dash straight over for the Pod to a footpath on the western edge of Harpenden Common.
The Trail turned northward to run up along the edge of the fairway for 200 yards, that’s 70 yards further for TBT OBE to run than he can drive a golf ball, normally just like his golf drive he gets lost, but finally he was on staying Trail as he crossed Cravells Road to take a diagonal desire-line over one section of Harpenden Common to reach a CHK on the outside corner edge of Prickle Dells Wood.
The obvious nor-nor-east horse ride route was a Falsie, instead the real Trail took to the narrower footpath on a north-eastern direction under the canopy of the broadleaf trees of the St Johns wood section of this plantation, the Trail emerged out onto a footpath that creates a green triangle of grass as it runs from St John’s Road to Walkers Road, a CHK was found but this didn’t hold up the Trail for long as the search up to Walkers Road had the real Trail, keeping the Pods away for the Engineer’s Arms.
Across Walkers Road & the Dust led on the over the section of Common to the south of Harpenden Cricket Club, the trot on the path mown through the wispy tall grass, the wild flora was now turning brown. It would keep the Hash far enough on the common to be a safe distance from the Skew Bridge pub, eventually it changed direction when it was safely far enough away from the Pub to head toward Queens Road.
The Trail didn’t make it to the road, but instead took to the path leading into the wood on the eastern side of the northern end of the Common, also this made sure the cricketers were not disturbed as the route meandered its way by the brook & onto the nice Southdown Ponds with in the broadleaf woodland. Time for a photo shot in the welcome shade before coming out of the end of the wood.
There would be little shade now as the Trail led on out over toward Bull Road, probably the shortest road in Harpenden at 46 Yards? Now the Pods were on the last stretch as the Keenies Pod headed up by the Harpenden Hall, then the Harpenden Arms Pub & over Station Road, no dithering from Whatevershesays at this pedestrian crossing.
Meanwhile the short cutting Pod would follow Leyton Road on the western side of the St Albans Road, passing by the Silver Cup, Shambler’s [Late of this Parish – Ed] Favourite Pub in Harpenden, then by Fire Station where Pebbledash no doubt cast here eye over the station on the off-chance, finally the entrance to Rothampstead Park to go by the George Pub.
While the FRB’s Pod made their way up Bower’s Parade, following arrows that seem to be set on the regular, old General Post Office telephone cable covers, putting Hash markings these seems to get less attention from civilians
This was the last leg of the Trail, leading by the Wheatsheaf, lots of other shops & a Supermarket, a Church or two. Plus a Barbers that deserved a photo stop with the most unlikely customers who didn’t stop for a quick buff & polish! The Cross Keys, was soon passed by, some noticed an A-board outside advertising its large Garden & small Landlady. Mr X now wondered if Pebbledash back on the SCB Pod would be able to get by the Cock Inn on the western side of the road? [She did! – Ed]
Not far after the Bowers Sensory Garden the Long Trail crossed over to join the others on the west side, passing by the local Kwik Fit to cross the end of Kirkdale Road, then a short way up the Luton Road the Trail turned, the On Inn was found on the old Post Office Telephones cover.
Mr X & My Lil’ were first back, thanks to the short cut he welcomed after driving back from Kent that morning. They soon found the barrel of free beer, they also discovered that Tent Packers home-made Woodefordes’ Wherry was a bit lively, Mr X suggested that they pour several glasses out for those behind but My Lil’ convinced him that the others should have the same fun in attempting to pour a beer in one go! He also set a challenge to drink as much ‘homebrew’ as possible to prevent Paxo filling up his take-away bottle, something that was the thirsty succeeded in & depriving Paxo of free beer at home!
The other Pods came back & settled in to the garden in their groups, thankfully the hosts had placed the seats far enough apart, but crucially undercover from the sun on tis sunny afternoon. Crusty arrived back, having arrived late & going around the whole Trail on her own, which she was happy to have found was well marked by the Hare.
Some explored the well-kept garden, even discovering the hidden wooden Wendy house, Mr X said that he thought it was an outside toilet & apologised, for which he got a group “Urgh!” from those around him!
Having settled down with a Homebrew, there was a surprise as the sacred Book was back, 3D was a shocked like the rest of us, to find that the Keeper of the Book had filled out, each week, the Hash Names. The RA said that these looked like the work of a Master Forger, but on the plus side it would save the likes of TBT OBE spending hours licking their fingers & thumbing through the ‘Sacred book’ to put down their ‘John Hancock”** & in the correct places on the page!
Thankfully being Covid compliant there was hand-gel available for those who didn’t have their own pen! **[No Pebbledash, it’s not what you’re thinking, its American slang for a signature as John Hancock’s exquisite stand-out signature is the largest & at the top centre of the signatories on the US ‘Declaration of Independence’ so King George could be able to read it without his spectacles!
sausage Sizzle was soon underway, there was plenty to go around, with Paxo
clucking marshalling the Pods to go & collect their grub! After his
culinary duties, the host got back to selling Hash merchandise, all of which had
Philippa was still keen to learn when she would get a name, well she wouldn’t have to wait too long as there was going to be a Circle, as the location was considered suitable. However, it was soon to become obvious, & painful on the ears that the Pack are slightly out of practise with the fineries of the Circle!
TBT OBE Forgot he had to toast the Hash, as well as what R*n number it was, a little prompting from the RA helped, he would get a Down-Down to go with the clues!
So, the hosts of Mrs Mallet & Tent Packer were awarded for their hospitality & the day’s Trail, but then as Mr X was about to carry on My Lil’ interrupted the Circle to announce that the RA should be seen wearing some proper regalia, he then produced an ornate gold braid stole, which as you all know is sign of his Liturgical Role (A body of Rite prescribed for Public Worship)
So, Mr X had a down-down for his new regalia, while My Lil’ joined him for obtaining this (possibly purloined) fancy item, [Hopefully the stole is not stolen! – Ed] later on at closer inspection it revealed it needed some re-stitching & a wash, so it was probably cast out, but you may not see this apparel around a certain Village Parish! But also My Lil’ was in the Circle for a Down-Down after his expert copying of Hash Handles.
Crusty Ring finally received her welcome Drink to Herts Hash, then it came around to Philippa naming, though she didn’t expect that it would involve Ale, Flour & Shiggy. On her knees each was added to her head, a Mr X recited Hallowed Hash words after the consensus of the circle had decided upon Roadkill!
It was a great day, with great hosts.
Later during the week one of the Pack received a ‘Self Isolate for 7 days’ message on the NHS App. Even though the risks to us were low as we were outside all the time on the Hash, the Trail didn't have any physical barriers or people to avoid, once informed the H4 Covid Contact protocol swung into action:
All the others present this day were contacted & all have come back with no App ‘Self isolate’ message, those who have taken lateral flow test since were also negative. The Covid App alert may have been triggered Wednesday, it was probably via close contact within a shop to another mobile! Milf was tested after this alert, for work, this came back negative as well.
If anything, it was a good exercise, which worked pretty well - even if TBT OBE has lost his mobile phone (called his landline) & Paxo left his outside in the car for over an hour! Everyone was contacted & replies were in within 3 hours!
However, it would have been appreciated if Farcebook comments were just from those who were present on Sunday’s Trail & not from those who were not present & a couple of hundred miles away (Henry Root - self-appointed Covid Witch-finder General & doesn’t Hash with us) these posts were distracting from our response to our Covid issue, after a hard day’s work the extra hours were pretty grinding without these.
It was also good to see that most of the Pack have regular lateral flow test, although not 100% accurate they still help. We recommend that, if you don't have any, you can order them for free: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests