Brian ‘Sloppy Seconds’ Yates
29th March 1953 - 29th June 2018
Sloppy joined us in Herts after Hashing in Africa with the Kalahari Hash in Botswana, perhaps that is where his liking of the colour yellow came from?
Africa was a continent he loved after his plans after leaving school didn't pan out as he hoped & was placed in to Pensions with Thomas Cook. He did travel eventually & found himself working in Botswana.
He was extremely knowledgeable about African nature – speaking for myself - he
gave me invaluable tips when I was lucky enough to be
through Uganda & Kenya to the Migration Hash Weekend in in Mombasa a few years
I also recall seeing some of his photos when he was out there, including when visited Rouke’s Drift as well as Hashing with Pretoria Hash while in South Africa. He also Hashed when he went out to see his son Lee & his grand-children in Australia, also when he visited Hailey in her gap year in New Zealand. He also tried out a few of the local Hashes down in Devon where he had plans to retire to (Sadly not to be).
Sloppy was always visible on the Hash, for he normally wore yellow, he always wore a yellow cap, in fact after he requested it he was the only Herts Hasher to have a specially embroidered yellow 200th Run cap, to have his, instead of the normal green the rest of us wear.
With Herts Hash House Harriers he would become our Curate, the deputy ‘Religious Advisor’, a job that is rather like Dawn's (The Vicar of St Mary's) in having to keep our 'Hash flock' from straying from the righteous path though this one would always lead to the Pub!
It involved handing out the punishments to those who had deemed to have committed any misdemeanours on the Trail, normally trumped up charges it was here his dry sense of humour & his keen eye meant that the Pack had to be on their toes for the Circle at the end of the Trail.
Sloppy’s Circles were funny, his style was to rather akin to a Ronnie Corbett's long monologues which would go off on tangent to lure the unwary in to a false feeling of getting away with their misdemeanour before eventually revealing the identity of the perpetrator & their ‘On Trail crime’
He also set some very good Trails for Herts Hash & the First UK Full Moon Hash. On Herts his St David’s Day Trail was one that those who took part would always remember, with a regroup that included Leek & potato soup, most warming on that cold sunny spring day. It also had a couple of water crossings, where the Pack had to wade through a very long cold ford at the very start of March!
If he was available, he would always make the Hash, once he drove all the way in the falling snow from Sawbridgeworth to Watford, in conditions that were made worse by the overnight snow that had settled. His efforts boosting the pack numbers from three to five, all just to pick up a Newie on the way through so she could undertake her first Hash in the UK!!
He also set a Trail in Sawbridgeworth, where again there had been several inches of snow making travel extremely hard, though it was a good two foot where it had been formed in to drifts over the farmland. This wasn’t an easy Trail to set as he had to walk backwards, change shoes & even use a branch to cover up the Trail for the Pack to discover, that Pack was just myself & My Lil’ – the advantage of this was that with only three of us at the regroup there was more hot Mulled wine & Carol’s excellent mince pies for the three of us to consume.
Some of his favourite Pubs to set a Trails from was the Queens’ head at Allen’s Green, & the Gate in Sawbridgeworth – the latter one taking us up or down the splendidly named Bonks hill, which always appealed immensely the immature humour the Hash! He always set a good Trail that would always be followed après Trail with a few decent Ales.
In February 2017 He particularly enjoyed the taking part on the Gispert Memorial Trail, marking the 75th Anniversary Trail of founder of the Hash House Harriers who died in Singapore in 1942. The Trail was set around Brockley & the surrounding area, taking in Gispert’s Birth Place & the Gispert Family memorial in Brockley. (Sadly there is no grave for ASI Gispert) Just two memorials, one in Brockley & Ladywell, the other in Singapore.
Sloppy was suffering a bit with his hip problems but was determined to go around this Trail as it took in an area where he grew up having been born in nearby Lewisham – again he was a font of knowledge as he explained how the area was a mix of old & new homes like his, due to the V1 & V2’s that hit the area in the Second World War. He even got to run by his old school & see the views out from a top of Blyth Hill Fields, a splendid panorama as it overlooks the Thames. Later I would put these facts in to the Hash Run report to make it a bit more interesting.
Although the Hash is supposed to be Non-Competitive, we do have a few idiosyncrasies, one of which is our annual Conker Competition. Sloppy became our Conker Champion after a Trail from the Pig & Whistle in Aston, to top off his win Ewok make a crown of horse-chestnuts by stringing together the unused Conkers. Sloppy was so happy with this award adorning his yellow cap that he wore all afternoon, he even drove home wearing it this new trophy with the top of his MX5 down.
Another of the laughs we had with Sloppy was his cars, often old & mostly misbehaving jalopies there was normally an inspection of these vehicles by other members of the Hash, & rightly so as with his old 'Hair Dressers Car', as we named British Racing Green MX5.
One time he had the Hash in stitches as he told of his drive back in this British Racing green sports car, of how he was contorted in the driving seat & kept slowing up to put on arm out of the window to move the nonworking wiper to clear the screen – it was a long journey home. It also managed to retain a lot of the rain water
As Sloppy Said about his MX5 "Don't knock it until you have tried it - there's nothing like driving along with the roof down & feeling the wind in your scalp!"
Often after the Hash Pack & others of the Hash would engage in talk of Football, though being a lifelong Millwall fan the banter would often be one way! He did get to see them at the Old Wembley in 1999, when he & his daughters Hayley & Sophie went to see Autowindscreens Shield Millwall play Wigan Athletic. They could only get tickets for the opposition end. So, surrounded by Lactics (Wigan) Fans they had to endure them scoring in the 90th minute to beat Millwall 1-0!
The longest running joke with Sloppy’s on the Herts Hash was him being the last to pay up his subs, it was somewhat of a long running game, a mock battle of wills between himself & our Hash Cash. Though this wasn’t an issue when we had his last Trail as Hare from his House, a Trail that Manu helped him set, for the après Trail Beers there was an honestly pot for the Drinks consumed.
It was a great Trail, that by this time he was having the issues with his hip, so Manu had to assist him laying the Trail of flour for the Pack to work their way around.
The Hash were spoilt after this Trail as we were treated to a magnificent feast laid on by Carol. So delicious was the food (The day in general) that Mark E Mark suggested that we should Hash there every week!
Sitting in the sheltered Garden we learnt of his pride in its themes of representing different parts of the world he had been to, plus his ‘therapeutic fish ponds’ with mirrors that allow you to sit there see the fish without disturbing them
His last Trail with us was sadly just an Après Hash appearance at the Cock, here in Sheering on the May Bank Holiday. Carol said that he had looked forward to meeting up with us all week, as we wanted to meet up with him. Unusually it was a sunny bank holiday Monday & we had several beers while catching up.
It is a measure of this man that we never saw him upset or become angry on the Hash, even after a joint Run with London at the Black Horse in Chorleywood when he had left his shoes out on his car to dry, he was not even upset when he found them later on hanging underneath the car.
A great father to his kids, who sometimes called him Mr Grumpy at home (Aren't all Fathers?), the nearest any of us on the Hash could recall ever seeing him even slightly miffed & take on a look of disappointment - was the rare occasions when the Pub didn’t sell his favourite cheesy delights of Mini Cheddars, packets of which he would order with his pint & would share with the rest of the Hash! Next time you have a packet of Mini Cheddars you'll think of him!
There will be plenty more stories to tell of Sloppy’s time on the Hash to tell after the service
All in all, you were a thoroughly decent chap - On! On! Our Friend, enjoy Checking it out on the celestial Hash among the stars with Gispert.