Tuesday, 27 October 2015

QH3 Run 884. King William IV, Sneinton, Nottingham

RUN #884
Date : Monday 26th October 2015
Location: King William IV, Sneinton
Hares: Too Tuf and Chicki
Weather: Dark, Dry and Mild
Pack size: 5

The King William IV is an excellent real ale pub with friendly atmosphere well situated in Nottingham with good public transport access. This, along with the fact that it was a mild dry evening, might give rise to the expectation of a reasonably sized pack. Alas just five, and two of those were the hares. 
This evening's theme was red and the entire pack was kitted out in red. A homage to the red dress event usually held at the end of October. The traffic lights joined in with the spirit of the event and the first five sets were on red when we arrived at road crossings.
Most checks had more false trails than there were hounds so Butt Plug, Malteaser and myself had to work hard at all the checks. We did actually move around the trail with surprising speed especially as flour was difficult to see in the dark amongst (or even under) leaves or distinguish from goose poo. It always takes a while for the hash to adjust to the autumn/winter dark and urban running mode.
I did actually find a car key in the leaves on the pavement along the Embankment - anyone doing an internet search on 'lost Honda car key Nottingham' and you've found this blog - I placed the key beside the tree where you dropped it.
A quick well-formed circle was held inside the King William led by RA Chicki. The first award went to Butt Plug who had been observed getting most of the checks wrong. This was attributed to the fact that Durex was out in front getting them all right and someone has to be left to check the false trails. So I got the second DD for being on 'A' team checking duty. Malteaser got the third DD for expressing interest in the claim of the gym we passed on the way in about 'cracking walnuts'. The two hares completed the proceedings with DDs for a good run. Apart from the red theme it was an evening of fives - five hashers, trail of exactly five miles and 5.00% for the run score.

On On..Durex

Trail as run by Durex

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

MH3 Run 268. Coopers Tavern, Buton-upon-Trent

RUN #268
Date : Monday 19th October 2015
Location: Coopers Tavern, Burton-upon-Trent (DE14 1EG) 
Hare: Captain Oates
Weather: Continuing Dry
Pack size: 11

Captain Oates is now an experienced hare and it's beginning to show - another excellent trail from the Coopers Tavern in Burton-upon-Trent. This is a great real 'real ale' pub with a fantastic selection of beers, good atmosphere and a range of traditional pub food though, for the majority of hashers snacking, this was pork pies of increasing sizes.
Captain Oates kept this one simple but this town lends itself to interesting hash trails with many paths at split levels crossing over one another, as demonstrated by the GPS trace below. The hare also helpfully informed us that at cross-roads, and there's lots of those in this town, the trail was always straight on unless marked with a check. With the likes of Trianal, Jelly KnobBeer & Loathing and the Artless Dodger this was always going to be a fast moving pack. 
There were plenty of excellent checks that shuffled the pack after long straight stretches that sorted out the tortoise from the gazelles. I'd love to do a hash in Burton in daylight so I could work out how all those different parks, bridges rivers and canals join up. It was certainly dark in parts with fallen leaves hiding flour blobs until you were on top of them.

The hare made use of the cross sign. On many hashes around the world this would mark the end of a false trail. As previously used by Wriggle, we use it in a self-evident way - cross [the road] here.
The circle was held inside the snug solely used by the hash. Dobber, MH3 RA, GM, Hash Cash, Hare razor and any other hash role you can think of, handed out awards as follows:
1. Jelly Knob - welcome back.
2. Trianal - who didn't actually go AWOL this time but nevertheless managed to run more than a mile further than everyone else.
3. Durex took the DD that was meant for Malteaser. She was wearing the same head torch as Jelly Knob who broke the news that it was a really cheap buy. Malteaser was devastated to learn this about her cherished present - Durex took the blame.
4. Seaman Stains - for eating the biggest pork pie of the evening.
5. Captain Oates - for again successfully laying an excellent and normal trail.

Trail as done by Durex

Sunday, 18 October 2015

QH3 Run 883. The Star, West Leake

RUN #883
Date : Sunday 18th October 2015
Location: The Star Inn, West Leake (LE12 5RQ) 
Hares: IP and Sweet Pea
Weather: Overcast but still dry (again)
Pack size: 11

Both IP and Sweet Pea have had long term sick notes and excused from hashing for many months. That didn't stop them setting today's trail in an area famed for its mad Gothamites. We didn't see any captured cuckoos or sheep grazing on thatched roofs but nevertheless this is always a pleasant hashing area. 
The awards in the circle were a good account of today's trail - hasn't our RA Chicki been lucky with the weather in recent months.
1. Butt Plug and Too Tuf ignored the directional hand waving of the hares at the start  further confirming that you shouldn't believe what the hare says (rule 5(e)) or pay attention to any hare hand signals (rule 5(f)).
2. Captain Oates was a latecomer and was spotted short-cutting through a field of young winter wheat in order to catch up. No bus lanes to misuse or shortcut along then?
3. Ballcrusher needed Malteaser's help to spot the flour at the first check. A lame excuse about there being leaves on the flour.
4. Wallington was dobbed in by Sweet Pea for short-cutting. The RA already had him earmarked for worrying the RA - something about her dog chasing the hare. I guess that's one step up from sheep-worrying.
5. Sweet Pea (1st hare) got her DD for plane spotting - apparently she loves to sit watching planes flying over and using an app to tell her all about the flight.
6. IP (2nd hare) was described as being an 'overly polite hare', heard apologising to Malteaser when she returned back from a false trail.
7. The RA likes hashers to turn out smart and appropriately dressed for trails. Durex was punished for having several days stubble. Ballcrusher correctly identified that he was doing his bit for bird conservation and saving razorbills.
8. There was a lot of discussion during the trail about hashers having dental work over the past month. As a double cavity job with root treatment, Barritone got the final DD.

Hash announcements seemed to go on for a longer duration than the circle itself. Perhaps this was because we had the unusual luxury of knowing the hares for the remaining trails of the year. The exception being the Jingle Balls run on 20th December which still needs a hare. A Father Christmas lookie-likie was suggested and Ballcrusher was an obvious candidate, or perhaps Durex should get a move on growing his beard.
Thanks IP and Sweet Pea for an enjoyable hash today. Hope you had a good breakfast.

That's the way I remember it...On On..Durex

Trail as run by Durex

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

White Powder on Public Paths

'Hounds' chasing a 'hare' or the paper chase is one of this country's oldest sports, a tradition kept alive around the world by the Hash House Harriers. However, most hashing groups out of respect for the environment will now use flour, lime or sawdust to mark their trails. The origins of the Hash House Harriers goes back to the 1930s, in what is now Malaysia, when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates felt the need to run off the excesses of the weekend, basically an excuse for more socialising and drinking. A trail is set by a hare who is chased by a pack of hounds. If you've ever watched the film 'The Railway Children' an important part of the story involves a group of public school boys on a paper chase through a railway tunnel where one of them breaks a leg. Health and safety issues have long been present!

The hare marks the trail with blobs of flour (paper, sawdust etc.) and every so often the trail comes to a check from which there are many false trails in addition to the correct route home. The more athletic hashers (hounds) spend time checking out the false trails allowing the slower ones a chance to catch up.

A bar, circle and blobs of flour are the common marking found on the
route of a Quorn Hash House Harriers trail. Find three blobs and you're ON the right way.
The sad thing is that suspicion of what the white powder marking the trail represents is increasingly generating some concern amongst the general public who have no comprehension of what hashing is. This time of year, as the daytime gets shorter, our hash trails move into the urban areas where we can use paths lit by street lights, so our hashes are more obvious and seen by many more people.

Concerns about our trail markings change according to the current public paranoia. Ten years ago there was international concern about terrorists using anthrax. The Quorn Hash House Harriers (QH3) had a  trail investigated by the police after a member of the public had reported an man looking like an Arab behaving strangely and placing a white powder by lamp-posts. In August 2005 whilst laying a trail for the Quorn Hash House Harriers I was taken by surprise by a minibus-load of plain-clothed police in a sub-urban area of Nottingham after being reported by a concerned local as someone distributing anthrax powder. With recent newspaper reports of pets being targeted  with poisoned bait, the white powder is now seen dog poison. Our flour markings are seen as a real evil. Only last month on a QH3 trail we had a ranting and racially abusive farmer who was convinced we were marking out his land as a prospective plot for a  group of 'travelling gyppos'. 

Do a Google search on 'white powder public paths' and you'll find many worldwide newspaper reports on the mystery white powder (e.g. QH3 - Eastwood & Kimberly Advertiser; LH3 - London News Shopper; AH3 - OtherAberdeen ; and recently, internationally, CH3 - The Cayman Reporter). It is unfortunate that this minority of paranoid dog owners are not blessed with an inquisitive nature or the ability to use the internet. Hashers find it incredulous that people could be stupid enough to think we would be placing toxic/poisonous substances on footpaths by hand. A four-year old could work out that the markings show a trail to be followed. It is ironic to hear dog walkers complain about a trail of flour through a wheat field whilst their dearly beloveds deposits far more toxic biohazards. 
A notice pinned to a post on QH3 run 876, part of the trail through a wheat field in the countryside, flour blobs placed regularly at 50-m intervals.
I'm not the first hasher to have spent a just few minutes of my day worrying about how we mark our trails (e.g Flying Booger). So what should we do to allay this unfounded fear of white powder on public paths?  We have to be more proactive in advertising the House Hash Harriers and what we do. Where we are going is not so predictable as the hash is a very informal event and quite often the hare makes up the route of the trail as it happens, or so many trails seem.

Never miss a chance to publicise what we do (e.g. local radio - Durex  on 'white powder on the streets of Derby'). Hares should explain to passing dog walkers what they are doing. If the On Inn has a notice board put up a poster announcing there will be a hash from the pub and what that involves - we may get some new recruits! 

Never set the trail through a shopping mall or near a sensitive security area (e.g a Power Station) without giving prior notice of what you are doing. Do a Google search to see the consequences of failing to do so (e.g Sacramento Hash House Harriers).

It's a tough job being a hare without having the additional stress of dealing with a very small minority of the paranoid public. It is always an anxious time worrying whether the flour will survive on the trail. Rain washes it away, slugs, rabbits, squirrels, birds, sheep and other livestock eat it. And so do inquisitive dogs.

Monday, 5 October 2015

QH3 Run 882. Kings Arms, Coleorton

QH3 RUN #882
Date: Sunday 4th October 2015 (11:00)
Location: Kings Arms, Coleorton ( LE67 8GD)
Hares: B*gger and Goblin
Weather: Lovely
Pack size: 8

This was an eventful hash, the kind that will stick in the memory and no doubt receive a nomination for trail of the year. It was a well laid trail in countryside that we haven't hashed in for a long while. Some highlights of today's hash:
1. Malteaser missed it because she was attending the National Fireworks Championships with Skids in Southport. 
2. Sticking to this theme, there were two guys hanging around a large bonfire in the pub car park, looking like hashers. They didn't do the trail - their time will come next month!
3. The trail passed through the Snibston No 3 mining area and down the Swannington Incline, all well documented in signs by the Swannington Heritage Trust. Hashing can be a cultural experience too.
4. One hare (B*gger) suffered injury on the run (twisted ankle) whilst the other (Goblin) got lost whilst looking for a short-cutting Wallington. A good trail is one that loses Captain Oates but to lose a hare!!!....
5. The pack got split in two on Limby Hall Lane when a gigantic potato harvesting machine blocked the road in the middle of a check.
6. Another incident of white powder poisoning dog. A dog owner reckoned it'll cost him £600 to have his dog's stomach pumped out after the dog ate some of our trail flour. I can see we have to do more to educate the public, I feel a blog devoted to this subjected coming on.
Today's trail was a cultural experience of Swannington's industrial past

Hounds checking left on Limby Hall Lane got trapped the wrong
side of this gigantic potato harvester trundling along the trail even slower than Chicki

The circle was somewhat delayed as Goblin was out looking for Wallington (who was actually the first one back to the On Inn). Then B*gger, Wallington and Butt Plug went of the look for Goblin who was never seriously lost, just puzzled by other hares' change of plan at the end to use the same route in as we used out.

When the circle got going the return of the A-team for checking duties was duly acknowledged. Durex's obsessive checking, even doing false trails after they'd already been checked, was rewarded. No surprise that this 5-mile trail turned out to be 6.8 miles for Durex. The circle delay was dealt with by punishing Wallington, who precipitated the loss of one of the hares by his short-cutting near the end of the trail, and rewarding Butt Plug who coordinated the search. The hares were thanked for an excellent trail, placed higher on the list of nominations for trail of the year thanks to those scrumptious nutty shortcake feet and blackberry pie made by Goblin. How can nuts accidentally fall in?

The final DD went to Too Tuf who was seen wearing the oldest T-shirt at today's hash. I'm going to have to get to the bottom of my wardrobe to get back to the 1980s.

...On On...Durex

Saturday, 3 October 2015

AH4 Run 63. Okeover Arms, Mapleton.

AH4 RUN #63
Date : Saturday 3rd October 2015 (11:00)
Location: Okeover Arms, Mapleton, DE6 2AB
Hares: Andean Sexbeast, Hash Puppy and Horse's Arse  
Weather: Continuing splendid 
Pack size: 5

Today we had more hares than hounds which was a shame as this was a good
The 'pack' at the beer stop
trail with a beer and food stop. Opportunities for stream crossings were taken at every opportunity as were deviations from the main path. With just two hounds running (Wriggle and myself) we had to work hard at the checks, and we did seem to be checking out most of the false trails. Horse's Arse was the 'sweeping hare' but didn't give us much help - he misled us for half-a-mile at the first check!

The beer stop (Uruguayan beer?) was followed by a steep climb out the Dove
ASB is here so Beer 's Near!
Valley rather than using the public path along the valley bottom sign-posted to Mapleton. All fish-hooks were strictly observed, easily done when there are only two hounds.

Following an enjoyable fish & chips a quick circle was held outside the pub where the hares were thanked for their effort and an excellent trail.

On On.. Durex