Redbourn, and The Curious Case of the missing 5 Baah Gait!
[This week's Words by FC and pics by Shagpile: Dep Ed.].
The village of Redbourn seems to be on the southern limit of our patch. The surrounding area has a fine selection of footpaths in all directions with stiles and five bar gates aplenty, beautiful views and streams.
I cannot recall any trails being set there, except the bike bash of a few years ago, so I decided to set this trail from The Cricketers pub on the Common. A fine selection of real ales with offerings from the Tring Brewery, amongst others, awaited our delectation. We decided to park the chariots on the strip of Common opposite the pub to stop you lot parking in the cricket club car park. My co-hare Kisses Anytime, Rapid, Blowfelt and I chatted in the late morning sun as Shagpile, Underlay and the 'Peckers' with hash mutt Teah, and Gorjoyce arrived. Then at 10:40hrs, a car whizzed past – 5 Baah at the wheel.
Ten minutes later Forkin' arrived. Still no 5 Baah! For some reason, he had parked his car in the cricket club car park, and was seen lurking in the nearby heavily shaded undergrowth. We motioned and shouted to him, but he ignored us. Shagpile said: "Don’t worry. I daresay he’s up to his usual trick of going off on his own, to join us later."
He called "Circle Up", followed by a screech of brakes, and the smell of burnt brake pads and rubber: Nik-Nak had stopped in the road to tell us of her 'just in time' arrival. Then, for some unknown reason – she parked next to 5 Baah's car in the cricket club car park! We watched incredulous, as she sauntered over to us.
There next followed a loud revving of a car engine, a large cloud of dust, and squealing tyres: 5 Baah left the car park and sped off into the distance! Very odd!!
Gathering our wits, Shagpile resumed. No birthdays or any other events to celebrate, so Kisses and I were called into the 'Circle'. "There are no hills, and no shiggy. I only ask that you keep a 'studious' eye out as there is a wonderful 'beautiful view' stop awaiting; as well as the possibility of a bit of paddling." I informed the pack. And we were off – in a southerly direction to the narrow lanes of Church End. Past the other really good looking pub The Holly Tree (possible venue for one of my next runs), the trail was found through the churchyard on to the old Hempstead Road. Underlay found the trail up a narrow alleyway onto the 'Nicky Line', where all the frbs checked out both ways. But I had foiled their presumptions and laid the trail across the old trackbed and the new road up into the fields beyond leading to Dane End Farm. Reaching the Holding Check on the Beaumont Hall Lane (now a byway), I reminded the pack once again to keep a 'studious' eye out for the 'beautiful view' stop. It was here that Shagpile told me that I had struck new ground for H5. Result!
Two cottages nestle close together at the top of the lane; one a white painted cottage named the White House. All around it, and down the lane were posters announcing that the Art Studio run by the owner there was open to the public. Did Pecker, Rapid and Underlay notice them? No! Did these signs give them a clue that it could be the place to see 'beautiful views'? No! I got Blowfelt to call them back from the falsie they were checking, rounded up the rest to enter the art studio. Forkin’ asked if it was a 'Beer Stop'. No!
What serendipitous artistic delights were to be studied, including two paintings of the church at Ayot St Lawrence – my next hash venue. Then Shagpile took a photo of us all with the beautiful view of St Alban’s Cathedral, poised in the distance 'between the land and the sky'. Herds of Wildebeest were nowhere to be seen. Hey ho!
Crossing the St Albans road, the trail skirted the old watercress beds alongside the Ver river. It was here that Pecker, in school teacher mode, informed us of the difference between a stream and a river. Ask him! It could be used for the AGM quiz.
Next came the medieval Redbournbury Mill, (well worth a visit when working) and the old ford. Whilst most took the narrow footbridge; Underlay strode through the knee deep water, even hash mutt Teah had a go. Notch squealed with delight as she watched. When asked if she could follow, Hash Bike firmly told her 'No!'
However, dear reader, as is known chivalry plays no part in the hash. But, Forkin' being Forkin' ignored the rule, picked Notch up and gave her a piggy-back across the ford. Shagpile, being fully aware of this blatant travesty of unwritten hash rules promptly picked up some large stones and threw them in front of the approaching Forkin' – thus giving him a good soaking in the nether regions. What a laugh!
Turning 90 degrees, the trail followed the watercress beds back to the St Albans Road, along the Nicky Line, and back to the pub.
Down-Downs were given for the usual trumped up charges, but Underlay's was unusual as Rapid insisted on giving her a New York H3 Down–Down, by having her lifted up horizontally, turned onto her side, and then drink from the mug with the side of her mouth!
On the way round, I deduced that Nik–Nak must have frightened the life out of 5 Baah, and awarded her a Down-Down. But dear reader, was that the true reason for his departure?
ON – ON! To infirmity and beyond! Fat Controller.
As you can see, RA Shagpile is presently suffering withdrawal symptoms as he undergoes a 10-day detox programme, drinking H2O only; that means no tea, no coffee, no fizzy drinks and NO BEER for him for 10 days – water only. This is all in aid of raising money to support the RNLI. The poor chap is suffering but you can bring him some comfort by making a small generous donation.
Please visit his justgiving page TODAY. Thank you.