Hash 2232 The Haggis Hash 2024
 
Start and Apres:  Chez YHS (Rory)

 
A bright, near spring like afternoon welcomed the gathered throng; little wind, no rain, plenty of sun and > 10 degrees Celsius.
 
This must be why are two weeks of less than 10, we suddenly found ourselves with 17 (plus Hare) at the start; including 3 visitors from Kaiserslautern.  It can surely have had nothing to do with the coming apres fayre!
 
In any event, after a short intro to explain flour was on the right; except when it was on the left and the trail was 5.6km long without false trails; off we went – well runners went one way and walkers another.  There was also a statement that “if you thought this was the same route as last year, think again ..” or words to that effect.  Your trusty scribe did muse as to whether it was the same as 5 years ago but backwards but as I can no longer remember that far back, I fear I will never know.
 
In any event and round the streets of WSP (and Etterbeek?) we did commence our wander; every so often with the odd, even interesting, statue and accompanying epitaph to keep us entertained.  We slowly but surely meandered our way into Woluwe Park, even passing my very first residence ion Brussels on rue du Bemel.  Checks and false trails abounded and kept us well together as pack; supported by the Hare’s kindly occasional words to those who simply just did not listen or cannot see:  Come back / False train.
 
And so it continued up and down the trails and tracks of the parc.  I have to say that I am glad that I cannot run fast enough to keep up with Sasha as I think she must have done every false trail and more that afternoon.  God knows where she ended up at times; but she kept coming back, fuelled with ever more enthusiasm (Duh!).
 
Finally, we started to turn for home and left the parc for more of the streets of WSP (and Etterbeek) and then the on home – at least 600 mtrs from home – and thence to the apres festivities of beer, bread, cheese, charcuterie, soup as well as Walkers (Scottish) shortbread triangles.  All beautifully laid on by the Hare and his better half, Maire.  Then finally – there came the Haggis, with neepts and tatties too – truly splendiferous.  It was accompanied by Alison Smith kindly reciting the first verse of Robbie Burns’ eternal ode to the haggis and then I repeated the remaining two verses, as printed on Alison’s T-shirt.  And I still have absolutely no idea what it means in “real” English, but who cares?
 
And when all was done, everyone made their way home, satiated and content.
 
There were 2 Mary’s – Jackie and Hugh and it was good to see Jackie well on the mend and likely to be back among us soon.
 
The attached photos are courtesy of the wondrous Sasha; many thanks indeed.
 
Three Berties for everything.  See you all in 2 weeks.  Its just an excuse that I am off to Kenya; I just do not want to be around when the Scots stuff the English this coming Saturday.

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Hash 2231 
Date: 10.02.24
 
Start & finish:  Jezus Eik, junction of Kapucijnendreef and Tulpenlaan
 
Five hashers, three directions and zero flour summarise this week’s activities.
 
The original hares having had to withdraw for an urgent medical intervention understandably, meant that today’s volunteers were faced with a couple of choices: re-run the previous week’s Hash which had been laid by the Gunns from the same starting point or to leave it up to the free will of the day. We chose the latter option and 3 different routes.
 
Rite-On Sec chose to walk: Tony & YHS chose to jog along to the start of the Dash trail and Shirley and Julian R walked/jogged a little behind. Tony then waited for his two companions and completed a circuit via the arboretum. YHS, having missed most of the previous runs due to rehearsals (on prior 2024 Saturday afternoons and performances from 30/01 to 03/02) opted to stretch his legs and lungs by running around and along the Dash route.
 
No matter that it is difficult to describe 3 different routes while having only participated on one, all five of us managed to reach the finish in good time and pooled resources to produce a recognisable Après. All expressed satisfaction with their choices. Discussions ranged over the best way to renew passports, the best choices of cheap fares from Brussels to New Zealand and in particular whether it was possible to avoid war zones en route and updates on the medical recuperations of John F and Rowena from their respective eye and hip operations.
  
Rite-On Sec provided beers, Julian a large bag of ‘salt & vinegar’ chips/crisps, Shirley provided cubes of cheese and YHS provided this write-up. Many thanks and credits to all participants.
 
Turnout: 5
 
Weather: ‘fifty shades of grey’ but no rain
 
Distance: between 2 and 7 km. 
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Hash 2228 20.01.24
Hare: Julian R
Start and après: chez lui, Sterrebeek

The snow lay round about, deep and crisp and uneven as the Dirty Dozen (welcome to new hasher Catherine) gingerly made their way to suburban Steerebeek. The first snow of the winter had arrived some 24 hours earlier, making underfoot something of a gamble and giving the hare a dilemma: stick with flour (white on white) or use a substitute as we have done in the past (red thread, cayenne pepper mixed in the flour, bird seed, sawdust, pine needles from previous yearsʾ Christmas trees). Hashing imagination knows no bounds.
The hare chose the traditional option. Flour was sprinkled where the snow had melted – man/personhole covers and the top of wooden fence posts. He added the novelty of acting as a diligent checker pointing the enthusiastic pack in the right direction when our eyesight could not discern flour from snow (or people were too lazy to check – ed).
The out trail followed a fairly familiar route over the years, but which the slippery surface made slower to negotiate. After crossing Mechelsesteenweg, we made our way towards what used to be the Hippodroom. It is now the location of a golf course and expensive and, certainly, from the outside, largely soulless modern flats with few visible amenities in the vicinity.
The trail went past a riding stables where ponies and horses outside in the fields were enjoying the sun, clear blue skies and fresh air. Two-legged beasts were also lapping up the glorious weather. We passed numerous families, and others, enjoying the bright snow-clad landscape and trying to amortise their expensive winter clothes which get fewer outings year by year in Belgium.
Always on the lookout for interesting titbits (you mean padding – ed), to share with inquisitive and appreciative fellow hashers, YHS spent a few moments observing a couple of goats as they got on their hind legs to strip leaves off a tree to assuage their hunger. The trail went along Fokkersdreef towards the golf course, passing one of the three centres of the independent Belgian Road Research Centre (who knew there was such a place? – ed). The other two are in Wavre and Woluwe.*
The way home recrossed the Mechelsesteenweg and went through a small park attached to Kasteel Ter Meren. Given it was YHSʾs first time in the park, curiosity was aroused. The castle, first mentioned in 1381, was the seat of the lordships of Zaventem and Sterrebeek. The building has always looked tired and rundown whenever YHS went past it over the past 40 years.
It appears it had been bought by Russian oligarch, Vladimir Scherbakov. The businessman had fled to Belgium from England in 2016 to avoid possible extradition to Russia as the Kremlin was investigating him for alleged fraud. Connected to the leadership of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Scherbakov was one of the main beneficiaries of the economic reforms the FSB, Russiaʾs internal security and counterintelligence service, pushed through in the 2000s and 2010s, ostensibly to tackle the shadow economy.
Scherbakov was found dead from hanging in the castle on 10 June 2017, in mysterious circumstances. The police investigation formally concluded suicide and the castle passed to his two children.
Fast forward to late December 2023 – just weeks before Julian Rʾs hash (I was hoping there would be some reason for this digression – ed). A court in London ruled that Scherbakovʾs fianceé, Brigita Morina, not his ex-wife and children, should inherit his £100 million fortune. What happens now is unclear. But given that the inheritance includes the rights to a £12 million mansion in Surrey, that may be more appealing to Ms Morina than Sterrebeek, despite its many charms. We will try to keep our faithful readers up to date with developments in case the property comes on the market.
After the invigorating exercise, the après with its array of multinational beers and many edibles amply satisfied our physical needs. Our mental faculties were stimulated by fascinating personal anecdotes and revelations (*) which, out of respect for all those present and the EUʾs General Data Protection Legislation, remain in Sterrebeek.
Turnout: 12 + one Mary
Weather: sunny, dry and fresh
😊😊😊
--- For those hungry for more information on what we discover on Saturday afternoons:
The Belgian Road Research Centre was founded in 1952. In the aftermath of World War II, the Belgian government passed the De Groote decree-law in 1947. This opened the way for the later creation by the road construction sector of a research centre to promote and coordinate technological progress to rebuild destroyed cities, towns, bridges and roads.
It is independent and financed by construction companies. Every road contractor pays it an 0.8% fee of all road works carried out in Belgium.

(*) further information from an anonymous source:
We were looking for bio-degradable alternatives for the HHH in snowy conditions…
- Could a male dog be trained to pee artistically?
- Could one collect one’s own urine and use a spray bottle?
- Could Julian R use horse s… next time? He has access to a plentiful supply nearby.
And whilst discussing collecting your urine… have you tried using it to cure toenail fungus?
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Hash 2226 06.01.24
Hares: Pete and Barbara
Start and après: chez eux, Braine lʾAlleud
Traditional Briggs New Year Hash

The hares, thoughtfully, eschewed their usual terrain after the heavy rain of the previous days. So, instead of turning right out of the gate towards the wide open, but muddy, spaces of Braine lʾAlleud, we turned left for a rare urban hash in this neck of the woods. That novelty certainly wrong-footed Caroline who, arriving at her usual time, understandably headed hopefully in the traditional direction, but, as she told us later, all to no avail. As he sent us off, hare P urged the good-sized pack to keep its eyes open for two religious signs on the route.
The terrain may have been relatively novel, but there was a fair amount of greenery, several narrow paths which proved a challenge for Ian on his bike and no shortage of hills. In what appears to be a growing trend, female hashers were well to the fore in the checking stakes: Jackie, Alison S, Sasha and Hannah back from university for some R&R and TLC.
Intrigued by hare Pʾs challenge, YHS kept his eyes peeled and spotted a tiny Buddha in a small alcove of a house we passed, a nativity scene and an unexpected elephant in a front garden. P did not have any of these in mind. Instead, he pointed to two streets we had negotiated: Rue du Seigneur and Rue du bon petit Dieu. Appropriately, given the time of year, the flour also guided us down Rue Noël.
No New Year trip to Braine lʾAlleud is complete without some mud and the hares provided a lengthy stretch of it just before the final run in. The après was a convivial first get-together of the year fuelled by the usual fare and home-made sausage rolls and artisanal beer. Many thank to the hares for getting the hashing year off to a great start with an impressive turnout.
Turnout: 26
Weather: dry and fresh
😊😊😊 (as dry after days of rain)
And another thing
Le Soirʾs francophone word of the year is bombe climatique which narrowly beat the runner up, cyclostrade.

Screenshot 2024-02-09 at 09.24.37Screenshot 2024-02-09 at 09.24.53Screenshot 2024-02-09 at 09.25.12

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Hash 2230
03.02.24

Hares: Tony & Shirley
Start and après: Jezus Eik


A really big thanks to Tony and Shirley for their sterling efforts in providing us with a most agreeable last-minute trail and après in Jezus Eik ... and just the 8 stalwarts ( + Tinker) made it a particularly intimate gathering. 

 
The trail may have been in well-known territory, but the hares kept us together as a pretty tight-knit bunch for a spot-on hour's jog or walk of some 5 kms, with an added k or so if you did all the checking. One of the particularly cunning astuces was the (exquisitely constituted and most delicately placed) checks but no back checks or false trails  ... and our being told by Tony beforehand that this would be so!
 
Noteworthy en route was the delightful crisscrossing of our path by a well-behaved group of little kiddywinkles astride a posse of ponies and the woodpecker, heard (but not seen?). 
 
As we gathered round the solitary sodden bench for the après, it became increasingly dark and dank and the drizzle turned into larger plops from the high branches way above our heads.
 
But ... no matter ... we were all in good form after our hour of fresh air and spoilt with Shiley's very own mini pizzas and little wedges of Stollen ... balanced by some more healthy dips ... and much more.
 
A fine time was had by all. Well done, Tony and Shirley ... much appreciated. 
 
Dr J.

hash 2230
 
PS Apologies to Tony for cutting some of him off in the picture but the other one was less flattering to some of the group!

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Hash 2225
30.12.23

Hares: Philip and Rowena
Start and après: chez Coldrick, WSP
Traditional Coldrick end of year hash

Philip welcomed the assorted pack to the last outing of 2023. He dedicated the hash to his Dad, Peter, who had died earlier in the year. The route was one he fondly remembered Peter taking him on and brought back one unpleasant memory: treading on a slug. He promised lots of mud – a prospect confirmed by a quick glance at his shoes.
 
We turned right from the house, crossed Avenue Madoux and hit the first check near the WSP sports centre. This is where YHSʾs hashing skills and recollection of Peter hashes with their various tricks came into their own. While other front runners scoured all available roads and came back empty handed, he entered the sports complex. 
Sure enough, flour soon appeared leading into the lobby of the main building. Confident this was neither a false trail nor would lead to arrest for trespassing, YHS ploughed on and left through a door just opposite. By now, more hesitant members of the pack had begun to follow and we emerged to another check behind the centre on the Avenue des Grands Prix (seemingly named to recall the aviation gatherings organised on the old Stockel race course at the start of the 20
th century).
Again, familiar territory for YHS as the trail went behind blocks of flats and past the local Covid vaccination centre where some of us had received our vaccinations. By now, the pack was beginning to split up into separate groups. Runners, led by Jeanie and Isabelle W, Alison S and Pascale, included Ed, Camilla, Shirley, Tony, YHS and our shepherd, the hare (after he had lost contact with the walkers). It later transpired the walkers had splintered even further: RiteOnSec, Wolfgang and Chris went one way, while later still, Chris branched out on her own reaching home as the après was in full swing.
The front group maintained a fast pace, largely due to the two younger Watsons, but also to Pascale and Alison who found the trail when the fleeter runners went off in the wrong direction at checks (they probably saw this as a training exercise – ed). After various streets and a maze of small alleyways, we found ourselves at the Place de lʾOreé – a hareʾs delight with its range of options – almost at the far end of Rue au Bois from where we had started.
The hare took pity on us and directed the pack down the narrow Drève des Brulés past the Oreé hockey and tennis club on our left. Drève seemed an unusually polite term for a rough path that was now largely waterlogged and…very muddy. The terrain had the desired effect of slowing everyone, including the fittest, right down. Philip recalled his early memories of the drève being pushed along by his Dad. As we trudged along this particular section which is only 225 metres long, but felt longer, one of Peterʾs favourite exhortations, with tongue in cheek, to galvanise the troops came to mind: “You are not here to enjoy yourselves.”
Eventually, we emerged on Avenue de Tervuren. While some, nobly, checked left in the highly unlikely direction of Quatre-Bras, the trail went right and included yet another twist. Instead of simply descending the Avenue and hanging a right back to the start, it took what was left of the pack further away from home by going down Chaussée de Tervuren.
After 150 metres, a small, easily overlooked, path on the right took us homeward cross-country with… much mud. From the wood, the trail went up the delightfully named Avenue du Bois du Dimanche with eye-opening houses whose exterieurs méritent un détour. A quick crossing of Avenue de Tervuren, then a final uphill slog on Avenue Madoux. Another twist: a sharp left just before Rue au Bois and “On Home” from a less obvious route.
The après flowed with typical Coldrick hospitality and large helpings of festive bonhomie. Many thanks to Philip and Rowena for a great afternoon. Peter would have been in his element.
For those who may not recognise some of the faces: the two youngest are Jeanie and Isabelle. Rambo (he assured me it is his real name) in the red anorak is a Dane married to a Belgian diplomat and now living in Burundi. He has a fancy hash coat and been on a MicMac hash.
Turnout: 19 + one Mary
Weather: dry, 12 degrees
Berties:
😊😊
Photo credit: Rowena
hash 301223

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Hash 2223 16.12.23
Hare: Ed
Start and après: chez eux, Wezembeek-Oppem
The Christmas night hash

The hash about to set out carol singing – with very occasional shouts of On On, Checking, Looking, False Trail and Back Check – through the streets of Wezembeek-Oppem.
night hash 2023-2
Musical Hashers entering into the festive spirit and entertaining an excellent turnout after an invigorating hash.
night hash 2023-1œ

YHS is loath to admit this, after a professional lifetime making money from words, but photographs can capture so much.
Many special thanks to Ed, our hare and photographer, and to Norma for the familyʾs much appreciated traditional hash hospitality.
Also to be commended are pianist Roger, who was probably less cold in his shorts than in previous years given the mild weather, Clarissa, another virtuoso on the piano, Peter W on the mouth organ, all the singers (many of whom knew the words by heart), anybody who checked and all those who only stood and served.
All YHSs –there is still room for more – wish our scores of faithful readers Happy Hashing in 2024.
 
Turnout: 28
Weather: dry and douce
Berties:
😊😊😊
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Hash 2224 23.12.23

Hare/Hosts: Katie & Wim

Start and après: Bloemtuinenlaan & Leopold III Laan, Schaarbeek
It was a dry, breezy, cool day for the Hash before Christmas... and all through the streets of High Schaarbeek the sound of On-On was called. 

The small but keen group of runners (raise your hand if your name begins with J, plus Rory) very quickly joined the visiting Watsons and the escorting hare in Parc Josephat. Rory had requested that the Parc was included in the Hare's traditional street Hash, and she had obliged... but first run the streets and then enjoy the Parc. 

It is to be noted during this Hash that Jackie did the loop 🙂... the hare used nearly two bags of flour 🙂... it didn't rain:) 🙂 🙂 🙂... and Jeannie Watson can run faster than the hare can ride her bike 🙂...

Hopefully, the visiting Watsons found their way to the Grand Place and saw the lights whilst the runners drank gluhwein and tried to make a dent in the après spread sourced from the Netherlands. Host Wim didn't get the chance to push his trolley of Dutch and Belgian beers through the crowd but maybe next year!

Many thanks from the hare to all these lovely people and loyal hashers gave up the last shopping opportunity before Christmas to enjoy the delights of Schaarbeek!

And here is a picture of a famous Schaarbeek resident... and the crowd 😉

donkeyKT-hash 23.12.23

Numbers: 11
Rory (plus his brother, sister, niece, and nephew)
Jeannie (the fastest runner the hash has seen in a long time)
Julian O (always fast)
Jackie (very fast and always willing to find a false trail)
Judy (the fast walker)
Katie (hare with bicycle)
Wim (with the beer trolley)

Temperature: +10C 
Precipitation: 0%
Berties: 🙂 + 😉😉during the après
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Hash 2222 09.12.23
Hares: Harriet and Christian
Start and après: chez eux, Wezembeek-Oppem
The mud, mud glorious mud hash (and what a distinctive hash number)

Another very wet Saturday in and around Brussels, especially in the morning when the hares had laid the trail. Surprisingly, a lot of the flour, even small dollops, had survived the downpours and looked almost dry.
The pre-hash pep talk was slightly confusing. It appears the hares had had to rethink their plans while laying, because the ground was exceedingly muddy and strong winds were being funnelled down parts of the trail. This meant that at one point we would be led by the hare and flour and signs on our right should be considered as being on our left, ie right becomes left and vice versa – or something like that.
If there was a prize for the most difficult check of the year, the first one would be a strong contender. The pack scattered in all directions and took an eternity to find the flour. While almost all took the low roads, YHS climbed a series of steps and, in true Scottish fashion, took the high road. Prodded on by the hares, he eventually found the flour.
A big welcome to former Brussels hasher, Dave Parker, who left our parish in 2013, and took on a large part of the checking duties, with Pete B, during the afternoon. Dave evidently remembered the local area as the trail went past the house in which he used to live.
Everything seemed to be going true to plan, until suddenly one of the hares rushed into the lead and urged everyone to follow him uphill along a rough track. Plan B was coming into action. There was muttering about this not being “in the rules” (There are no rules – ed), particularly when we ran through a false trail sign. Some even stopped and began to turn round. A sure sign they had not listened to, digested or understood the friendly counsel they had been given less than an hour earlier. Plus ça change.
On we carried with the path becoming wetter and muddier. Suddenly, near the top, the hare and front runners stopped. Ahead of us was a wide sea of mud. To our right was a 1.5 metre high slippery grassy bank which the hare urged us to climb to avoid the obstacle in front. Some, including your intrepid chronicler, showed willing and managed, with much difficulty, to scramble up with the use of tree roots, sturdy branches and a helping hand from a surprisingly laid back and cheerful hare.
Others, at this parting of the ways, decided the mud (as opposed to the slippery bank) was the lesser of two evils and ploughed on, although post hash shared experiences of where they went were short on detail. Those who took the detour were able to see the original trail down below and agreed they had made the right decision as they traipsed along two sides of a large
field before joining a less waterlogged path down to a check. This offered a short cut home, which some took, while others loyally followed the flour on a final loop.
Muddied, but unbowed, the pack crossed Mechelsesteenweg and did a few more twists and turns before reaching its destination where home-made soup, cake and usual après fare welcomed and fortified us. No one had the temerity to wear their shoes inside the house.
Turnout: 17
Weather: dryish, windy and very muddy and wet underfoot
Berties:
😉 (because we were generally dry even if our shoes and feet were sodden)
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Hash 2221 02.12.23

Hare/Hosts: Tony& Shirley

Start and après: Hoge Heide 21, 1560 Hoeilaart

Nineteen well-insulated hashers turned up on a bitingly cold Saturday afternoon for the Gunns’ hash from Hoeilaart. Before we started, Tony told us that Hoeilaart was hilly - it certainly is - and that the hash would remain on the south side of the valley - good to know for those of us who were looking for the trail and who wanted to stay in the sun.  He also informed us, by way of cultural background, of two noted Hoeilanders: Felix Sohie, a businessman after home the Gemeentehuis is named; and Marc Sleen - caricaturist of Nero and his adventures in Hoeilaart. Some of us also subsequently remembered a Hash Christmas lunch taking place many years ago in the Cafe Nero in the village.
We were advised at the start that the false trail sign had been truncated for the purposes of this hash - so we were on the lookout from the get-go for an arrow head without a shaft.

The trail led us slowly but inexorably downhill: wending its way through modern streets, small cobblestoned lanes with done-up old houses, and a fair few grassy paths, some of which YHS ran at least three times, having been called back on each occasion by an on-on which subsequently turned out to be false. This certainly helped to keep the hash together, which is after all the purpose of the exercise. It also increased my personal mileage.

At the bottom of the hill - and yes, we all knew that this meant a steep climb back up - we ran past the aforementioned Gemeentehuis with its attractive grounds and lake - scene of an excellent outdoor apres a few weeks back thanks to Alison Smith. 
Some hashers were by this time convinced that they knew the way home - you know who you are, Christian
😀

However, the Gunns kept us guessing till the end, veering off in the opposite direction from the obvious, and taking us again through very picturesque old cobblestoned streets.  One of the hares was by this time clearly concerned about potential frostbite - probably with some cause - and so helped the pack move more quickly uphill than we might otherwise have done. From old Hoeilaart we continued into a newer Hoeilaart estate with possibly less attractive but certainly much better insulated new homes. From there it was a short run back in to the apres - plentiful German beers laid on by the generous hares, along with hot soup and mini pizzas. All gratefully received by the pack.

Beautiful day -
🙂🙂🙂high Bertie factor.
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Hash 2220 25.11.23
Hare: David Z The Turkey Trot (Thanksgiving Hash)
Start and après: chez David and Mitzi, Zaventem
The hareʾs pre-hash pep talk was a lot less gruesome than the last time we gathered in Zaventem. On that occasion, he informed us there had literally been blood on the tracks a day or so earlier as two rival gangs viciously fought each other in and around the nearby station, through which we would be running.
 
This time, the advice was more meteorological. There had been two heavy downpours in the last couple of hours. Hopefully, the flour had survived. He mentioned something about a big puddle in a park and gave some advice on what we should do when we encountered it. Obviously, no one was paying attention, since when we reached the obstacle, we were flummoxed (see below).
 
After running through local streets, some parks and along a high-rise cycle/pedestrian path false trail, we did indeed half way round come across aforementioned puddle. It stretched right across the path and over large parts of the surrounding ground. Front runners checked diligently in all directions to no avail. We found ourselves hemmed in by arrows from left, right, front, back. Think of the charge of the light brigade, but much slower. Snookered, cornered, checkmated, f***ed, whatever the hash term might be (Any suggestions? – ed).
 
Suddenly, salvation was at hand. Caroline and Veronica (both absent at the start) appeared in our midst. Caroline confided they had entered the park from a different entrance, where they had found flour and a check. She pointed us in the right direction. Off we went, retracing our steps until we picked up the trail again as it wound through suburban streets before leading us back to David and Mitziʾs. With a trail of around 4km, we had lots of time for the après.
 
This was in the finest tradition of Canadian hospitality and fine dining as David laid on a veritable feast. A big turkey, lots of trimmings, cheese and dessert with wine and beer. As people tucked in, MicMac thought it prudent to point out to first time Brussels hasher, Veronica, and Rosemary W making a welcome return to our hash after a long absence, that this was not a normal après.
 
Welcome to Veronica and Rosemary who we look forward to seeing again and many thanks to David for keeping North American traditions alive and well on our hash.
 
Turnout: 21
Weather: dry, generally overcast with some sun, not too cold
Berties: 😊  😊
PS. Mea culpa for overloading my write up of Jonny and Sashaʾs hash with too many photographs so it could not be opened. Many thanks to Katie for sorting things out. You can read the write up and see the photos on the Brussels Hash House Harriers website.
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Hash 2220 02/12/23
Hares: Tony & Shirley
Start & après: Hoeilaart

Nineteen well-insulated hashers turned up on a bitingly cold Saturday afternoon for the Gunns’ hash from Hoeilaart. 
Before we started, Tony told us that Hoeilaart was hilly - it certainly is - and that the hash would remain on the south side of the valley - good to know for those of us who were looking for the trail and who wanted to stay in the sun.  He also informed us, by way of cultural background, of two noted Hoeilanders: Felix Sohie, a businessman after home the Gemeentehuis is named; and Marc Sleen - caricaturist of Nero and his adventures in Hoeilaart.  Some of us also subsequently remembered a Hash Christmas lunch taking place many years ago in the Cafe Nero in the village.

We were advised at the start that the false trail sign had been truncated for the purposes of this hash - so we were on the lookout from the get-go for an arrow head without a shaft.

The trail led us slowly but inexorably downhill: wending its way through modern streets, small cobblestoned lanes with done-up old houses, and a fair few grassy paths, some of which YHS ran at least three times, having been called back on each occasion by an on-on which subsequently turned out to be false.  This certainly helped to keep the hash together, which is after all the purpose of the exercise. It also increased my personal mileage.

At the bottom of the hill - and yes, we all knew that this meant a steep climb back up - we ran past the aforementioned Gemeentehuis with its attractive grounds and lake - scene of an excellent outdoor apres a few weeks back thanks to Alison Smith. 

Some hashers were by this time convinced that they knew the way home - you know who you are, Christian
😀. However, the Gunns kept us guessing till the end, veering off in the opposite direction from the obvious, and taking us again through very picturesque old cobblestoned streets. One of the hares was by this time clearly concerned about potential frostbite - probably with some cause - and so helped the pack move more quickly uphill than we might otherwise have done. From old Hoeilaart we continued into a newer Hoeilaart estate with possibly less attractive but certainly much better insulated new homes.  From there it was a short run back in to the apres - plentiful German beers laid on by the generous hares, along with hot soup and mini pizzas. 
All gratefully received by the pack.

Beautiful day - high Bertie factor
😀😀😀
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Hash 2219 18/11/23
Hares: Jonny and Sasha
Start: Parking Boitsfort gare
Après: Voie 4

Another very dreich wet Saturday afternoon where a dry top for afterwards was advisable. Daughter Isabelle who was accompanying me wondered whether the elements would mean a low turnout. I assured her we were a hardy bunch who would not be put off by such trifles. My confidence in my fellow hashers was well placed as the group photo below shows.
As we gathered in the rain, Hare 2 (also known as RU on Saturday afternoons) was offering people maps of the area to prevent them getting lost. Her thoughtful generosity set off a few alarm bells about the challenges ahead. But after counting them out and counting them in, I can confirm that the pack successfully navigated the trail without mishap and no one got lost (with or without a map).
From the car park, the flour took us into the Parc Tournay-Solvay where a false trail surprised one bemused onlooker (see below). Then it was down a steep slope, made slippery by the rain and sodden leaves, half way round the lake at the bottom, up the hill, through the small allotment at the top and right into the forest.
From then on we were on forest paths, some wetter and muddier than others, but all good running surfaces and we caught possibly the last weekend of autumn colours. We met a few other brave souls, either with umbrellas or well wrapped up in waterproofs. One couple understood what we were up to. They had lived in Bulgaria and, though he was not a hasher, explained in a not unfriendly tone: “When I was there, I read about your activities.”
It was good to see Lucinda and Becky back again on a Saturday afternoon and many thanks to them for sharing checking duties with the usual front runners and Isabelle, on a flying visit from Berlin. Welcome back also to Tong who helped RU make sure no stragglers got lost.
We commandeered nearby Voie 4 for the après where a handy bench served as a table for two types of banana bread, vin chaud and the usual bread, cheese, crisps and beer. Occasional trains rushing through the station at high speed forced conversation to pause, but also led some (no names) to reminisce fondly of the Hornby toy train sets of their youth.
This is not the first time the two hares have had to organise the hash in inclement weather. But, as in the past, they did so with smiles and infectious good humour which ensured the rain did not dampen our spirits. And half way round, the rain stopped.
Turnout: 17 + Tinka
Weather: heavy rain to start, then dry and not too cold
Berties:
😊 (A hash of two halves)
Screenshot 2023-11-27 at 10.49.24 Screenshot 2023-11-27 at 10.50.40

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Hash #2218 11/11/23
Hare: Julian O.
Start and après: (newish) home of Julian and Lyn, Boitsfort

In keeping with YHS’s late arrival at Hash 2218, here a rather late write-up. Fortunately for me, it was a memorable hash, although the one annoying detail which persistently escapes me is the other spice which Lyn added to that very delicious parsnip and ginger soup... was it nutmeg? About which more later.
Thirteen doughty hashers were heading off as I and my cycling companion arrived, immediately putting our hare in a quandary, as he had to deal not only with opening the garage for our bikes, but also stopping the doughty (dozy?) 13 from setting off in the wrong direction. He dealt efficiently with both, and so all 16 of us were soon on our way into the woods, only to find the flour leading us out of the woods again a short time later. Evidently, this was going to be a tricksy hash, where we would try in vain to second-guess the hare. It didn’t help that a heavy downpour at 14:20 had washed away much of the flour: finding any at all was at times a challenge.
Thus, for example, we found ourselves heading for the (underground) Axa building car-park (couldn’t be right, could it?), and found a most unlikely-looking trail heading round the back of the building. Mercifully, the backcheck was clear enough, but the hare managed in this way to take us around three sides of the newly-refurbished Axa building, which was by then gleaming in the sunshine, as were the leaves of the trees around us. The building, I read, won the prize “des Règles d’Or et d’Urbanisme” in 1989, which presumably explains why it didn’t get knocked down when Axa-Royale Belge abandoned it. The idea is to turn it into a multi-use complex: with housing, reception and meeting rooms, a food court (already there and seemingly doing good business), a sports club and a hotel.
We left the Axa to head in a homeward direction, which again didn’t seem right (too early). Crossing the boulevard we were then sure the hare would take us into the nice park around the étangs du Leybeek, so of course he didn’t, instead we headed up the hill and into some older, quiet streets, affording us a lovely view of the church and giving us a glimpse of what Boitsfort village might have looked like around the beginning of the 20th century when the then-Souverain decided to run a boulevard through it and it became a fashionable place for the Brussels middle-classes to build their country houses.
Crossing the boulevard again, still nicely grouped together, we paused in front of the war memorial, in honour of the date, or to get our breath back, and then proceeded to get very lost in the pocket-handkerchief-sized park Jagersveld. Finally picking up the trail as we were leaving the park, the pack naturally assumed home was to the left, only to be led to the right, and up a mysterious ginnel.
Soon we were “on home” to the back gate and a chance to compare Julian and Lyn’s new residence with their previous one, and to get it appropriately dirty. A most impressive spread filled a large dining table, but I think the soup took pride of place and was most welcome, since, despite the unexpected sunshine, it had been a little nippy outside.
Many thanks to Lyn and Julian for the fun and tricky hash and the great hospitality.
Turnout: 16
Weather: dry and sunny, but very damp underfoot
Berties:
😊😊unless you were the hare and had had to lay the trail
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Hash 2216: 04.11.23 Ypres

Hares: Rory & Judy & Arthur


IMG_5711IMG_5710IMG_5712IMG_1939IMG_1955IMG_1950IMG_1945IMG_1942IMG_1952IMG_1937IMG_1953IMG_1943

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Hash 2216: 28.10.23

Hare: Jackie


On a blustery but bright October afternoon a good size gaggle congregated under the eves of the stand at the Hippodrome at 15.00 sharp (ish), shifting to keep warm in the wind. 
Our valiant lone hare explained that some of the back checks mightn’t be quite what one would expect from a back check.  YHS has never quite understood what a back check is, other than another few hundred meters to have to do again, so won’t begin to analyse what that actually meant in practice. Suffice to say the group were left with the impression that there were going to be quite a few of them and mentally settled in for the long haul.  Flour was on the right, everyone explained to a first timer Oly - younger brother of Jonny. A few remarked that Oly looked just like Jonny but littler, which you might expect from a younger brother, but that becomes less relevant in ones 50s where a growth spurt is less likely….. 
 

And they were off, clockwise around the Hippodrome. A fact that confounded certain late comers (they were arguably Marys, really) who expected this particular hare to always lay anti-clockwise around the Hippodrome, so missed the Hash altogether until right at the end. Must be a lesson there about not thinking you know the ways of any particular hare; hares are known to change direction quickly to escape predators, and why should a hash hare be any different.  After a few false trails the lively, chattering group headed off towards les Etang du Fer a cheval, where the grey heron, Siberian chipmunk, little grebe and numerous fungi are reported to have been sighted recently (the ink cap being a favourite of YHS - see photo below). The rarer group of merry autumnal hashers in diverse garb can now be added to that list.  The trail took the group up hill and down dale, with upwards of three false trails at many of the cross roads, including a few challenging ones up hill. This fact, led to some discussion from relative newcomers (welcome back Lucinda!) about whether it would be “cheating” but more energy efficient to allow the enthusiastic checkers to check each trail individually rather than all heading off in different directions at the same time. This was firmly scotched as an idea. Newcomer left a bit confused about how a no rules game could have so many firm rules. They will learn over time.  This hash was an excellent lesson in how to keep a hash together. The generous number of false trails and back checks meant walkers and runners never lost sight of each other and arrived back at the start at the same time, basically.  To avoid the autumnal chill, the hare had kindly offered her home for the après where a fine spread, and the other hare recovering from a bit of dental work, awaited. Many thanks to the hare for an excellent October afternoon! 
 
Berties: :-) ;-) (it’s all relative isn’t it? For a a late autumn day, YHS thought it was pretty fine) Turnout: 17, or thereabouts.  Marys: 1 1/2

image001 IMG_1819
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Hash 2214: 14.10.23 Braine l’Alleud
Hares: Pete & Barbara

The defining feature of hash #2214 was that the finishing-point was in a different place from the start. Only very naïve or very experienced hares would attempt such an unorthodox feat. Fortunately, we were in the flour-whitened hands of Pete and Barbara, who are old grey hares when it comes to trail-laying. It probably helped too that the finishing-point in question was a brewery.
That the brewery-finish had been advertised beforehand might also explain the handsome turnout – about 20 souls, despite an indifferent weather forecast – except that in other respects, it didn’t seem that the hashers had read the instructions, since several of them gathered in the Wrong Car Park. Amid the melée of hashers moving themselves, with or without their cars, from one side of Braine l’Alleud’s Brico to the other, Julian O made a cameo appearance. He wasn’t hashing: he’d just dropped by with a delivery for Chris: a Dutch hoe and a box of grape-nuts. Two questions came to mind, the first of which I should have put to Mariette, since she was there in person: what do the Dutch call a Dutch hoe?* The second, prompted by the old saying that he who sups with the devil must have a long spoon, was who on earth eats grape-nuts with Chris with a Dutch hoe? Answers came there none, because the hare called us to order and sent us on our way.
At the end of the hash, we were to learn that the brewery in question – La Fluviation – takes its name from the process by which water shapes the landscape. Our starting-point, however, was very much a car-shaped landscape, in one of the strip-malls that make parts of Braine-l’Alleud and Waterloo look almost American. Yet after just a couple of check-marks (and a handful of false trails), we had escaped the cars and were in an altogether greener landscape, though one still bearing the imprint of human industry. Our trail took us up onto an old railway line and le viaduc de l’Estrée, which was built in the early 1880s to carry the railway across the valley of the Hain on the route west from Braine l’Alleud to Clabecq and Tubize. The passenger service between Braine and Clabecq stopped in 1959, the rails were removed in 1988, but now the Walloon region has plans to turn the route into a RAVeL (a fancy cycle-path) that would connect with the Brussels-Charleroi canal, so it has spent a bit of money to stop the viaduct crumbling too much.
Our trail took us across the viaduct east towards the railway line that still runs through Braine l’Alleud, the Brussels-Charleroi line. There was no shortage of false trails, and I failed to take the one that might have led me face-to-face with a jewel of Braine l’Alleud’s cultural heritage: a copy of the Mannekin Pis. It stands at the bottom of the viaduct and rejoices in the (Walloon) name: El Gamin Qui Piche. According to the commune’s own history, it owes its origin to the local balle-pelote club, who went to Brussels and bought a cheap copy of the Manneken Pis to brighten up a corner of their local café, which they then got upgraded by the commune to something more durable, which was nevertheless still subject to theft and vandalism. This seems a slightly less glorious history than the Manneken Pis copy that I once encountered in Colmar, which Brussels presented to that French town in 1922 “en souvenir des souffrances communes sous l’oppression Allemande et en hommage de l’inalterable gaieté Belge à la valliante bonne humeur Alsacienne”.
As it turned out, however, El Gamin was a warning of what was to come: it was soon piche-ing down. By the time we reached a road underneath the railway-line, we were feeling the first drops of a very heavy shower. Perhaps it was this discomfort that caused a breakdown in discipline: a failure to return to the checkmark after the discovery of a false-trail sign. Who could resist the shelter of the trees in the Parc Bourdon? It was with some difficulty that Pete put the brakes on a bunch of short-cutters and whipped the pack back together. A group of us paused to admire the industrial architecture i.e. we sheltered under a railway bridge. We had paid scant attention to the delights of the park itself, which was created in the 1970s out of the grounds of what was once a paper-factory and then a textile factory i.e. industries dependent on a plentiful supply of (slow-moving) water. The site was bought by the Companie Intercommunale Bruxelloise des Eaux in 1955 and then handed on to the commune. It may have been here that we lost Dr John. Or he lost us. Either way, he was found by a late-starting (and late-finishing) Rory.
Back on the west side of the railway line, the trail followed the railway embankment, skirting a couple of upmarket housing estates. The route home was a succession of narrow paths, older than the new housing. They eventually led us down rue La Vau, past the site of a water-pumping station, built in 1859 to pump the waters of Braine up into an aqueduct that flowed via the Bois de la Cambre to the unwashed masses in Brussels.
Just beyond was the on-home sign and, a few metres later, the nanobrewery, La Fluviation, where our nanobrewers, Jean-Marc and Anne, were waiting. Their beer was soon flowing freely from the tap and co-hare Lucy helped overcome the logistical challenge of an après served somewhere other than the starting-point. While Jean-Marc was giving nano-tours of his brewery set-up, the stragglers kept coming in – albeit the walkers were compelled by Barbara’s arrows to go a longer route than the runners. It was a lovely setting and felt a million miles from our starting-point, though that was only a brief walk away. Having peeled off the wettest of our outer garments, we could see the wisdom of the brewery name: it’s not the beer but the water that shapes our ways.
Hashers: 22 (or thereabouts)
Berties: Two, most of the time. Minus one, at others.
Distance: 7km max
*Hollandse schoffel; less frequently a Nederlandse schoffel - subject to correction by MS.

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Hash 2213:
Hares: Susan & Tim

Your scribe rashly agreed to do the write up despite admitting that she couldn’t really remember the circuit in any kind of detail. Hare 1 sent a map with lots of beautifully drawn purple arrows for further elucidation, nevertheless; this hasn’t helped YHS to translate them into something meaningful in order to give a good description of where the Hash actually went.
Enough of excuses …
it was an excellent Hash starting at the entrance to the Laerbeek woods which extend over 33 hectares and are part of the Parc Roi Baudouin. Incidentally 5 hectares of which are threatened by a project led by the Flanders region to widen the ring. This is being fiercely opposed by the Commune of Jette.
We set off along a lengthy path into the woods, wound our way through many verdant tracks, around a pond, past a couple of somnolent pigs and back through the Jette Campus of the VUB. There were some fiendish false trails which worked well to keep the pack together and checks to confuse in the best Hashing tradition.
After some to-ing and fro-ing, the large open space was rejected in favour of the sunken garden below the Chalet restaurant. A plus being several benches available, a generous spread and that the atmosphere was undoubtedly better than in the Chalet restaurant itself (see a series of extremely negative reviews on Trip Advisor!)
Berties :) :) :)
Turnout: 16 1 Mary

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Hash:               2215 21.10.23

Hare:               Wolfgang
Start & après: Chez Wolfgang, Woluwe Saint Lambert
 
We gathered in the garden and started dressing for the occasion, rain jackets with hoods, baseball caps to shield glasses from rain and one hasher sporting a very smart rain hat which tied under the chin… yes, it was going wet and windy.
 
Wolfgang introduced us to Ana from Columbia (via Taiwan) who is Hashing her way around the world. She brought the average age of the group down dramatically.
 
It was also announced that the flour was mainly on the right except when it was on the right of the left. Rory and Arthur missed this announcement but made a valiant effort to catch us up, which in the case of YHS & Mr NL was no problem.
 
The run started in delightful suburbia then crossed the 6 lanes of Blvd de la Woluwe. A sheltered, wooded path took us
across the fields behind the Woluwe Windmill (which apparently some had never seen before) and then past Hof ter Musschen.
 
At this point YHS & Mr NL lost sight, and sound, of the Hashers and the will to continue, but enjoyed the rest of the damp undergrowth and ended up by the Chinese embassy. Not much to be seen behind the high fence and hedge and as the rain was getting wetter… there was a bus stop and theoretically only 2 stops back to Wolfgang’s stop. Yes, we realise that this is not done on the Hash but, as our OAPs bus passes were calling to us from our pockets, we hopped on the 42. Instant karma… we missed the right stop, went on to the next and had to walk back in the now persistent rain!
 
A brief interview with two stalwart Hashers (RW and MicMac) informed me that the trail passed the Woluwe International School, with flags at half-mast and that somewhere there were lots of step (glad we missed those).
 
The après, hosted by Wolfgang and
Irene, was in their stylish home with views of their two gardens. A choice of over-the-limit beers washed down the cheeses and meats. A beautiful basket filled with bags of crisps were temptingly display, I think for RW, but he declined… YHS did not.
 
Turnout:         16 (sorry no photos, didn’t want to get my phone wet)
Distance:         more than 8 bus stops
Weather:         0 Berties, but not that cold
 
Interesting local information (seems to be essential to all write-ups these days):
In 1990, Woluwe St Lambert granted a leasehold to SABENA for a period of 40 years. In return, SABENA would undertake the complete renovation of the farm, after approval from the municipality. On October 20, 1994, the beautifully renovated farm, located on one of the slopes of the Woluwedal, was inaugurated and SABENA established its registered office there. Since the bankruptcy of SABENA in November 2001, the future of Hof ter Musschen was uncertain. On December 19, 2006, NV Hof ter Musschen purchased the leasehold from SABENA and created an events location.

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Hash #2212 30.09.23

Hares: Alison S. & Judy

 

Hash #2212 was one of those congenial experiences that emboldens you to face up to the big questions in life, such as: “What’s the secret of a successful hash?”
Some hashers, unduly influenced by a Hugh Dow joke, might venture the answer: “Timing.” And there is surely something in that: avoid the weekends when the motorways are awash with Dutch caravans, or half the hashers are away on a walking holiday, or, to take a recent example, there’s an Asian food festival nearby.
On paper, however, Hash #2212 was not blessed with favourable timing and yet – no suspense intended – it was a successful hash. A number of regulars were away watching Scotland playing rugby. Fortunately, our hare, Alison S., was not one of them: her loyalty to Barry’s Board apparently trumped her attachment to Gregor’s Gang (aft a-gley).
Despite the scarcity of Scots, the turn-out was very respectable, swelled by a couple of visitors. Newcomers or visitors are often that magic ingredient for a successful hash: they bring out the spirit of hospitality that is at the heart of hashing, or is it just that they make that Saturday’s conversation different from the previous week’s?
“Are you familiar with the signs?” Jackie asked solicitously of our newcomers, when the trail came to an early point of hesitation. “Oh yes: we’re Czechs, so we know all about checking,” came the self-mocking reply.
More than that, it transpired that our Czech visitors – František and Teresa – had taken up hashing in the Far East, its birthplace (they had t-shirts from Malaysia and Thailand to prove it). Yet, we learnt at the après, this was their first hash on European soil. We swelled with collective pride, though some Brussels veterans were evidently unsure which was the more impressive: that they had hashed through the Malaysian jungle or that they reached Everberg by De Lijn bus.
An increasingly rare ingredient for a successful hash is a generous supply of runners ready to explore in all directions from the checkpoints. With too few runners, the risk is that – to the frustration of the hare - the first checker finds the right direction. With sufficient simultaneous checking, the false trails are more likely to be uncovered and explored. Since there were generally, but not exclusively, six of us shouldering the checking duties – the Czechs, Jackie, Susan, Pete, and I – we saw plenty of false trails. Alison had told us at the outset that she had been assisted in laying the trail by Judy, her no longer visible assistant. Their diligence ensured that the pack stayed in touch with the front-runners. Some false trails were more plausible than others, but even the wildly improbable road under the motorway (where would the return route be?) had its own rewards: an echo that warrants the creation of an Everberg yodelling club.
The first third of the trail took us south from the centre of Everberg across arable fields to the motorway. We were broadly describing a clockwise circle. From the motorway we crabbed west and then descended to the Ziptbeek and the aforementioned De Lijn bus-route, the road that runs east-west along the valley bottom from Everberg to Sterrebeek.  At which point, we must consider another, somewhat contentious, ingredient for a successful hash: an element of outright deception from the hare. Alison had told us at the outset that the trail was about 5km in length. By the time we reached the Ziptbeek, we were already at that distance and those who took her at her word were looking for a direct route back to the start. But Alison and Judy had had greater ambitions. After a counterintuitive kink west, their trail took us north of Everberg into the Warandebos. It is a wood that we might long ago have explored in hashes set by Mariette when she lived in Kortenberg, but it was unfamiliar territory to most of us. And very pleasant hashing territory it was too – soft, sometimes even muddy, underfoot, with plenty of paths. The Warandebos was once part of the grounds of the Abbey of Kortenberg.
As any early medieval historian of the Low Countries would tell you, the abbey’s great claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of the Charter of Kortenberg. The Charter, signed 711 years ago the previous Wednesday, ie 27 September 1312, was an agreement by Jan II, the Duke of Brabant, with representatives of the towns of Leuven, Brussels, Antwerp, Tienen, ‘s-Hertegenbosch and Zoutleeuw, by which he recognised their privileges and his subjects’ right to denounce officials who abused these privileges, and established an assembly that was to meet every three weeks at the abbey to ensure these rights were respected. It is the basis of Brabant’s claim to medieval constitutionalism and is often likened to England’s Magna Carta of 1215. But whereas in England the strength of a central sovereign, King John, was constrained by the barons, in Brabant the counterweight came from the rapid economic growth of the towns. (While it’s not essential for a successful hash to have a side-helping of abstruse Belgian history, I always think it helps.)
The trail emerged onto Prinsendreef, one of Kortenberg’s most handsome roads, though cyclists know it’s a rough ride. The distant sight of Stonemanor told those of us that weren’t Czechs the homeward direction, but even so late in the trail the hares had maintained a level of uncertainty with checks and false trails. We turned up a ginnel that took us behind residents’ back-gardens to emerge between the church and the old town-hall at our point of departure.
A successful hash needs a good spot for an après. Ours was the playing-field next to the car-park – a short carry for the cooler and crates, which contained a medley of beers, of which Tongerlo was the most talked-about. We had made sizeable inroads into the cheese and charcuterie before questions were asked about the whereabouts of a trio of walkers: Barbara, Peter and Martine. Their late but safe return added another perennial ingredient of the successful hash: a sense of disaster narrowly averted.
Hashers: 14 plus one hare and one invisible co-hare.
Berties: :) :) :) though the sun’s strength weakened as the après went on.
Distance: according to the hare: 5 km; 7 km-9 km for the checkers and Czechs.

tim 2tim 3tim 1
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Hash #2211 Zavelbos 23.09.23
Hare: Julian Rummins
Start & Finish: Chez Rummins

Another hash during the rentrée, period between schools re-opening and the return of the last of the Brussels ‘bubble’ personnel. [Not many among mostly retired Bruh3 hash – ED].
The sun was shining brightly as we gathered on Julian’s refurbished terrace or inside on his freshly re-laid floors. The Rite-On Sec announced, ‘time to go’ and the Hare gave us the usual ‘flour is always on the right, except when it isn’t’ plus a Wezembeek rule that back-checks were to be translated liberally. The novel information was that we were heading to new territory in the form of the Zavelbos, which he warned would be soaking wet enough to muddy any new white running shoes: Tim and YHS glanced soulfully at our ‘out of the box’ clean shoes and trembled at what might befall us.
We were off into the park just behind Julian’s house and then along unknown streets of suburban bliss or misery – who can tell what happens behind these neatly built and arranged homes – until we approached a major thoroughfare identified by the increasingly loud traffic rumble. We trogged along the edges of arable fields (while Tim sprinted ahead insisting that we follow his every footstep rather than take any obvious short-cuts) but across the multiple carriageways were the profiles of retail and wholesale sheds one of which is IKEA.
A jinx to the right, a jinx to the left and we came face-to-face with this sign:
Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 14.42.28

As we entered the dark wood, the ground under our feet was indeed squelchy, we went left, then right and finally back again to emerge from the gloom into an area planted with new saplings, less than a metre high but all thriving. As we left the newly planted area, we found another sign telling us that this planting had been supported by Toyota Europe as its ‘token’ contribution to offsetting its presumably high carbon emissions.
Back into suburban Sterrebeek, then across the impressively wide Tramlaan – rumour has it that there was not just one tram company that plied its trade along this street but two trams and presumably therefore 4 tram tracks, justifying the extra width.
Thanks to the breadth of this main street there are now two smooth and wide cycle/pedestrian paths for us to use before delving back into the park and so home to Korenbloemlaan.
The après was quickly assembled on the still sunny terrace with two varieties of fresh baguettes – one with olives and one with nuts – and the conversations rolled.
Congratulations to the Hare for finding new territory in an area where he has organised many previous hashes. Congrats also to Tim and YHS for managing to traverse the dank forest section without any visible mud on our pristine white soled shoes.
Turnout: 11
Distance: 5 to 7km depending on how many false trails run.
Weather: 21C sunny so 3 ‘Berties’.

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Hash 2210 (that’s an impressive number of hashes) 16/09/23

Hares: Arthur with Rory in supporting, distance reducing role

Start and après: Sint Dominikuskerk, by the scout huts, Kraainem


YHS was met at the start by a slightly worried looking Rory who reported that the hare had left half the beer for the apres chez lui, suggesting it would be a race for the finish and a tussle for meagre offerings. Happily the reality was quite the opposite, but it proved a motivating factor for YHS which was a bit out of shape after loafing around this summer. 

The heat of last week had abated, and a lively crew arrived in fits and starts on foot, car and by bike - a dramatic entrance by Tim and Julian O, screeching into the carpark, in an effort not to miss the 15:10 unofficial start time, performing hasty hand break turns to avoid the assembled crowd (bit of artistic licence there - Ed).

The instructions were clear, except where they weren’t: the flour would be on the right, as usual, except where it would be on the left, on the pavement. Hugh assured the assembled hashers that that meant it would always be on the right, in practice, and not to worry. He seemed confident so YHS stopped worrying at that point, and…..they were OFF!

The hash was a master class in how to keep the runners and walkers together. The two groups set off in opposite directions, the runners enjoying a trot through the woods out on to a wide and generous grassy central reservation between the manor houses of Kraainem - “this sort of thing passes for a park in Schaerbeek”…muttered one resident of 1030 Brussels. Just as we had lost hope of seeing our fellow walking hashers a familiar group came into view and we were reunited, exchanging tales of false trails and wondrous woodlands.

For those who really come to the hash because they can unashamedly shout a lot, i.e. “onon, on to check, on back, onononononononononon” whilst running through beautiful woods,- as well as chat with fellow hashers -  this hash was a dream. The hares had been generous in their frequent blobs of flour and the woods resounded to the constant cries of the hashers. That thought of what do the locals think of what we are doing always briefly crosses one's mind, but then, what the heck. There was a long route and a short route, and we found each other again amongst an interesting group of arts and crafts-ish houses which might have been social housing at one point in time. 

The après was a fine spread of cheeses and meats, and crisps abounded. Very high alcohol beer, medium alcohol, barely perceptible alcohol and none at all. Something for every pallet. YHS’s other half looked on enviously at the group of youths (former scouts?) who were sanding down and respraying an ancient Renault van in the carpark, but we had to go. Another time.

Thanks to Arthur for introducing us to hidden gems of Kraainem’s woods!

Berties: :-) :-) :-)

Turnout 23

Marys: 0 but it was great to see Mary Gow and Tony! 

hash 2arthur 16-9-23 b
hash-Arthur 0=16.09.23hash arthur


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Hash 2209 09/09/23
Hares: Tim & Susan
Start and après: Domein Drie Fonteinen, Vilvoorde

The Phew! What a Scorcher! Hash
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley
For the second Saturday in succession, the carefully researched start for the hash had to be hastily rearranged (although the actual trail remained largely the same) because of Brussels September festivities. This time it was an Asian food festival. This sounded a tempting addition to the hash, so YHS brought along some extra cash in case he felt peckish after the après (he didn’t).
The change of start caused a certain amount of confusion and much muttering as road works and a temporary road barrier appeared to some of us to prevent entry into the replacement car park – although this proved to be no obstacle to some of our more resourceful members. The various shenanigans and absence of official starter (RiteOnSec) gave time for two stragglers to join us. Before our delayed departure, the hare, who could in no way be blamed for the turn of events, apologised for “the chaos”. More importantly given the high temperatures, he confirmed most of the trail would be in the shade.
He was true to his word, with the flour taking us along the many paths and byways under the cover of cooling trees in the 61 hectare estate – one of Belgium’s oldest landscaped gardens with its historic French garden, English landscape park and Japanese garden. (More info below for those interested). The peacefulness of the park, punctuated only by our cries (yes, there was shouting) and the enthusiasm of tennis and football players on nearby courts, and the carefully maintained, but not manicured, surroundings was an eyeopener to first time visitors in our midst. “Given Vilvoorde’s reputation as a bit of a dump, this really is rather splendid,” said one.
As the après ebbed its course, one of the hash’s (many) witty intellectuals summed up the general feeing of an excellent afternoon well spent: “The chaos of the start belied the splendour of the trail”.
A special welcome to Tony Fuell who had travelled halfway round the world to join us and whom we hope to see again soon.
Many thanks to Tim for stepping in at short notice, organising such an enjoyable afternoon and confirming YHS’s opinion that inflatable sofas for outdoor eating are still a work in progress.
IMG_5701IMG_5696IMG_5699

Turnout: 13 (sorry we are not all in the photos - Katie)
Weather: sunny and very hot
Berties: :) :) :)
Drie Fonteinen
In the mid-18th century, Jean-Jozef Walckiers created the park on the edge of the Willebroek-Brussels canal. It contained a castle, outbuildings, ponds, pavilions, rolling grass plains and bridges. Gradually, it extended to include adjacent country estates. In 1956, the city of Vilvoorde bought the area which, since 2007, has leased its management to the Agency for Nature and Forests.
At the end of the 19th century, Alfred Orban created a geometric garden in the style of the classical French gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles. Successive owners of the domain added personal touches to the garden, creating what has been described as “a unique cultural-historical green pearl”. Restauration in 2008 opened up several visual axes, including those to the Lendrikkapel and from the French garden to Koningslo, which are considered among the most beautiful in Flanders, and carefully preserved several large solitary park trees.
The Japanese garden, together with the Flemish rose garden in Komatsu, is the result of 40 years of twinning between the sister cities of Vilvoorde and Komatsu.

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Hash 2208 02/09/23
Hares: Gabriella, Gorrit and Hugh
Start and après: Boitsfort railway station
The 50 years On On Hash


It was 50 years ago today
Hugh arrived to work and play
He’s been going in and out of style
But he’s guaranteed to raise a smile
So may I introduce to youse
The only hasher with tartan trews
(With apologies to the Beatles and all Scotland’s real poets and songwriters)
YHS has received many instructions for the start of the hash over the years, but this was the first one to be flagged STOP PRESS. As a former news junky, this immediately set the interest and adrenalin flowing. The possibilities (good and bad) are endless.
Thankfully, for such an auspicious hash it was simply a change to a nearby start and après. The flour was originally going to use the Bois de la Cambre, not far from Casa Dow. After the hares’ careful planning, it transpired that other successful Brussels arrivals, pre or post HD, were holding a Fiestina Latina in the same area.
The potential double booking raised several questions. Would we be able to find the flour? Would we have to be more energetic? Would we have to smile? The hares exercised wise judgement. The hash offers special thanks to Paul for drawing the clash of venues to their attention.
The hash’s sophisticated messaging system masterminded by our long-serving and much-valued IT gurus rose to the short notice challenge. There was a great turn out (+ a visitor from Boston who had tracked us down via our state of the art website).
After the usual intros, the pack set off into the Parc Tournay-Solvay, named after the daughter of Alfred Solvay (Ernest’s brother) and widow of Emile Tournay. It contains the ruins of Château Solvay which was destroyed by a fire in 1982 and is considered one of Brussels’ most beautiful parks. Unfortunately, we did not see very much of it on this occasion as it was a false trail.
Instead, the flour led down chaussée de la Hulpe to another check just at the edge of Boitsfort village. Front runners, encouraged by hares Gabriella and Gorrit who ran most of the false trails pour encourager les autres, were hit with another false trail which led to that famous seat of learning, the International School.
Retracing our steps, we followed Vuursteenweg past a picture postcard scene of a swan floating lazily in a calm lake surrounded by lush greenery and entered Solvay Park from the rear. At this point YHS was in the lead and senior hare solicitously made sure I had found flour. His concern soon became clear. The trail was a perpetual loop round the small lake. “That was Dad’s idea,” Gabriella explained with a smile and a shrug.
After that, it was a succession of lovely well trodden forest paths, on one of which YHS, to mutual surprise, ran into (not literally) long-standing interpreter and thespian Brian Holland strolling along clutching a book.  
The leisurely après took place in grassy shade under nearby trees – a far better choice than the gravel and pot hole strewn car park – where Henri eventually joined us.
FYI: Not only did the senior hare lay the hash 50 years to the day since he had first pitched up in Brussels, he is also an honorary member of the inaugural Brussels hashers group. The “honorary” is because he set out to do hash No 1, but couldn’t find the venue – not the only one to have had this misfortune over the years. He had better luck on the second hash and has been around ever since.
Turnout: 18 + Henry, a brewer from Boston on a brief trip to study Belgian techniques, who had found us via the website (many thanks Katie) and who successfully negotiated the whole trail on his own since he had arrived after we had set off.
Weather: dry and warm
Berties:
😊😊😊
One liners
For those who missed this August’s Edinburgh Fringe/like a giggle/feel they could do better here are the best one liners from the Athens of the North as reported by The Times and The Guardian.
Everyone else can look away now and continue doing serious things.
The first list is from The Times, which produced it on 22/8 – one week after The Guardian’s on 14/8. The Times explained its ranking: a panel of ten comedy experts nominated their ten best jokes and put these to a vote of 2,000 people.
 
The Times
  • I started dating a zookeeper — but it turned out he was a cheetah. (Lorna Rose Treen, 44%)
  • The most British thing I’ve ever heard? A lady who said, “Well I’m sorry, but I don’t apologise”. (Liz Guterbock, 41%)
  • Last year I had a great joke about inflation. But it’s hardly worth it now. (Amos Gill, 40%)
  • When women gossip we get called bitchy, but when men do it’s called a podcast. (Sikisa, 34%)
  • I thought I’d start off with a joke about The Titanic — just to break the ice. (Masai Graham, 33%)
  • How do coeliac Germans greet each other? Gluten tag. (Frank Lavender, 32%)
  • My friend got locked in a coffee place overnight. Now he only ever goes into Starbucks, not the rivals. He’s Costa-phobic. (Roger Swift, 29%)
  • I entered the “how not to surrender” competition and I won hands down. (Bennett Arron, 29%)
  • Nationwide must have looked pretty silly when they opened their first branch. (William Stone, 28%)
  • My grandma describes herself as being in her “twilight years” which I love because they’re great films. (Daniel Foxx, 26%)
The Guardian
 
  • Getting mythology wrong is my Hercules ankle 
  • I have an unconscious bias. I’m biased firmly towards being unconscious
  • Cats are like strippers – they sit on your lap and make you think they love you
  • The UK is so small, they’ve got to keep all their lakes in one district 
  • I have a suntanning addiction, so only go on holiday in winter. I went cold Turkey last year 
  • Everyone says your 20s are all about finding yourself. If that’s true, your 30s are about wishing you’d found somebody else 
  • What does Kylie sing while counting sheep? I can’t get ewe out of my head 
  • There’s a lot of shame surrounding sex. After I have sex with someone, they often whisper “that’s a shame” 
  • My relationship with my mum is like the evolution of payment technology – we went from physical contact to electronic only, then it was contactless. 
  • Last year, I had a great joke about inflation. But it’s hardly worth it now

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Hash 2207:  26/08/2023  

Hare & hosts: Katie & Wim

Start & après: Schaarbeek special

 
According to the introduction we were celebrating three events – the sun shining for the first time on one of the Hares’ Hashes, Katie & Wim’s 31
st wedding anniversary (many congratulations) and Katie’s belated 70th birthday (Happy Birthday 🎉).
 
The instructions were clear: trail not too long, flour always on the right and some of the flour might have been eaten by ducks – a clue as to where we were heading??  Further warning – the circuit was quite tight. This proved to be the case as having started at the back of the building we circled round the streets coming back to front– no use checking towards the back as Wim was spotted clearly on guard sitting relaxed in the sunshine.
 
Following this we crossed Boulevard Lambermont, wound our way around the outside of Parc Josaphat, in to find the ducks (flour still visible) and along a wooded path on the right-hand side of the ponds. Therein after your scribe is unable to comment on the run or circuit as most people went off in one direction, three of us in another. However, I am reliably informed that I missed an excellent well laid end of Hash with everybody beating the rain so remaining dry.
 
Josaphat was designed and laid out in 1904 by Edmond Galoppin ‘à l’anglaise’ (according to one website) in the ancient valley of the Roodebeek.  Nearly 30 hectares in size, it’s a busy park buzzing with activities, lakes with rocky fountains and lots of ducks but, where YHS was, not a blob of flour to be seen; the only solution was back to Katie and Wim’s along Boulevard Lambermont.  At which point the heavens opened drenching the stragglers but all those who followed the main trail got back before us and remained dry!
 
Numbers were boosted by two New Zealand Hashers on a tour round Europe plus one of their compatriots not seen for a while but back for the autumn carol season.
 
Great views over Brussels from the apartment, friendly and warm après which included great selection of beers as well as freshly baked bread.  Thank you, Katie and Wim, also for the supply of a towel!
 
Numbers – 13
Berties
😀😀

Katie Hash 260823

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Hash 2203 22.07.23
Hares: Harriet and Christian
Start and après: parking Nettenberg - Tervuren

It had been a long time since YHS last negotiated a check commonly known as “the stones” in Tervuren park. Or, to give them their proper name in Dutch, Zevenster. The junction contains 13 possible routes, if you count Ackermansdreef which begins a little further away.
 
Sitting patiently on a “dolmen” awaiting our arrival after we had negotiated some woodland paths, a few urban streets and various narrow arteries in Tervuren Park was Chris. She had previously left us to look unsuccessfully on her bike for RiteOnSec who had gone searching for flour at an earlier check. He had ended up off piste and not been seen since. By now, the pack had shrunk to eight hardy souls. The odds were definitely not in our favour and, with the wily hares giving nothing away and enjoying our discomfort, it took much time and many false starts to find the trail.
 
As Chris resumed her search for the hash lynch pin, the rest of us went down Duisburgsedreff and between the lakes at the bottom before eventually exiting from the small gate in the far corner of the park near the military sports complex. Checkers went left, right and up the woodland paths straight ahead – all to no avail. 
 
Eventually, a distant call of On On was heard ushering us across some waste grassland, which several metres in from the road revealed a narrow stretch of beaten grass showing the way forward. More shady paths, twists, turns and checks finally linked up with Wolvenweg and On Home.
 
Chapeau to Chris for her one-person search party. After her first unsuccessful foray, she had retraced her pedals to the car park to find RiteOnSec still absent. She determinedly went out again to scour the woods and was rewarded on her return to find him sitting calmly in his car.
 
Chapeau to the hares for an imaginative trail, clever checks and refusal to make life easier for the pack by giving gentle hints to frustrated checkers. The après, which attracted one Mary, was a leisurely affair, fuelled by homemade rhubarb and ginger cake, interrupted occasionally by wasps attracted to the spread on the table and punctuated by holiday plans. 
 
Turnout: 12 + one Mary
Weather: dry and warm
Berties:
😊😊
PS
YHS sent a greeting in Irish - Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat agus tú ag du i ngleic le saibhreas na Gaeilge – to Beth in an earlier write-up of Alison and Dr John’s hash where she had had a lengthy conversation with Tim and Susan about the challenges of the forthcoming school year in Ireland. For those who do not know what the sentence means, have no Irish speaking family/friends/contacts or couldn’t be bothered to use some form of AI, it reads:
Best of luck in mastering the richness of the Irish language.
 
IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL HASHERS
 
We have no formal rules. But we have conventions. Shouting On On is one of them. We also have a duty of care to each other. They are linked. Shouting right down the hashing train helps prevent those further behind from getting lost.
 
Front runners shout On On (hopefully loudly) to indicate the trail to those behind them. Everyone standing still at the previous check waiting for the signal – but also when moving between checks – is responsible for relaying the call loudly. The information does not stop with them. It must be transmitted.
 
On On is designed to help those at the very back, particularly walkers, or those checking in a wrong direction. Neither group can be expected to hear the front runners’ initial shouts. There is nothing more frustrating than arriving at a check to find everyone has left and no noise indicating the direction of travel.
 
Hashers have got lost, admittedly without too dire consequences, on the last two hashes YHS has done. However, we have had the occasional more serious incident. Shouting would have prevented these.  
 
So, please, even if you don’t check, SHOUT. Good Saturday afternoon exercise for the lungs and, given our finely honed insouciance, not embarrassing.
 
HASH ETIQUETTE?
 
We all have a favourite swear word when we trip over a tree root, spill a glass of wine, forget someone’s name or something goes wrong.
 
Now, it appears, the ultimate curse, according to a maths student at Kings College London feeding info into a computer, begins with a “b”, has four letters and ends in “-er”. It came up with “banger”, which has a certain familiar ring to it, or “ber” for short, which does not.
 
“Banger”, with several obvious slang connotations, could well pass muster in much polite company. It could be a useful addition to YHS’s basic three swear word vocabulary. It would certainly have been helpful when our daughters were young and asked me why I kept saying “sugar” in times of stress. Eventually, I explained: “Because it’s more polite than “sh*t”. I’m not sure what words our adult children now use. Must ask them.    
 
BELGITUDES
 
(Happy to replace this subheading if someone, especially an existing or future (trilingual?) scribe, can come up with a more appropriate description)
 
Dreef vs Weg
In researching this write-up (You don’t need to pad out an excellent hash with extraneous information – ed), YHS, to his shame after over 40 years hashing in the country, came across one proposed explanation on a web site for “dreef” (drive) and “weg” (way). It appears the former may be used by pedestrians, cyclists and horses. The latter is a footpath. Neither mentions dogs. Correct? Are we breaking any rules? Does anyone care?
 
Duisberg Dolmen
 
In further research (I warned you – ed), it appears the three large sandstones were excavated in 1883 in a field in nearby Duisburg and, for some reason, moved to their present location.
 
One observer questions the dolmen description pointing out they do not touch each other or form a structure. Another site describes the trio as the broken pieces of the so-called Dolmen stone from Duisburg with their unbroken diameter being +- 2m45.
 
The early postcard below shows them fenced off (not very efficiently) from the public, describing them as parts of an erratic stone from the glacial period.
 
Perhaps a hash photo of the pack draped over the dolmen/stones when we next visit the landmark, to bring back happy memories for all those who have faced the challenges of this multiple check over the years? We do have excellent photographers in our ranks.  
Screenshot 2023-08-31 at 10.57.28

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Hash 2204 05/08/23 Jonathan and Pascale Birthday Hash

And now for something completely different: after last week’s minimalist affair it was a pleasure to see more than a dozen hashers gathered for Jon’ & Pascale’s birthday event. No BBQ this time due to unseasonably poor weather, but in the end we only got slightly wet so everyone dried off quickly once inside the house. “On right as far as the bakery” were the initial instructions from the senior Hare (son Thomas being the co-Hare this time), so off we set towards the tantalizing smell of fresh baking and the first check by the entrance to the woods, giving a large choice of possible routes. Plenty of ups and downs through the forest to test our fitness.  It did seem that the false trails were quite long, (comparing the height of Thomas to the average hasher provided the explanation), but that kept the pack well together until the last stretch along the open road, at which point some runners accelerated towards home – propelled perhaps by the prospect of home-made soup and good beer.
Back at the house some delicious soup warmed us up, plenty of choice of beers (including De Connick’s ‘Bollekes’ – nice stuff) and rugby for the fans (what a brilliant come-back by Scotland in the second half!).
Hashers: 16 (including 2 hares)
Berties:
unknown(some rain)
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Hash 2201 15.07.23
Hare: Dr John with enthusiastic support from Alison and Beth
Start and après: chez eux, Overijse

Like the previous Saturday, there was heavy rain before the hash (prompting the hare to go out again to repair the damage to his earlier flour laying efforts – chapeau) and rain afterwards, but dry during our sortie. Well done Bertie.
The hare characterised the trail as “a round the houses hash”. And so it proved, offering us splendid views of the wealth of different types of abode and architectural preferences in the area. Many were palatial and upmarket. One which made an impression was hidden by impressive gates several metres high preventing any nosey-parkers from peeking in from the road. A cursory glance at the sign indicated that behind the Fort Knox-like defences lived a music teacher advertising private lessons. A reliable source who knows the area well vouchsafed that the size of the gate makes a statement the house can’t match.  
Among this urban opulence were odd anomalies: occasional houses appear to have been empty for some time, a car (presumably out-of-action) covered by a dirty tarpaulin for years, in one driveway an aged and battered caravan which would not have been out of place in Steptoe’s yard. A small open window suggested it may be in use, but no sign of life.
In his pre-hash rallying cry, the hare made clear that the convention false trails mean a return to the check was being applied. He was less explicit about back checks, of which there were many, suggesting that hashers who found these would have to sort themselves out. Experience revealed that these usually meant retracing steps to the last junction, not the last change of direction – a ploy that successfully kept the pack together.
Terrain the hare used in the past, particularly a nearby wood and an overgrown golf course, are now unfortunately out of bounds. But the trail included a rural feel from both a long back check down one side of the wood and the sight of lines of grapes successfully growing on a slope alongside the pavement shortly before the trail entered the finishing straight.
The basic trail, which included short and long options towards the end, was around 4km, but diligent checkers and front-runners found themselves covering just over 6km.
The co-hares had organised the usual excellent après with Overijse’s signature meat balls and cashew nuts. The more observant, scanning the birthday cards on display also wished the hare a Happy Birthday.
A special message for Beth:
Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat agus tú ag du i ngleic le saibhreas na Gaeilge (translation, if necessary, to follow in this YHS’s next write up from Co Mayo)
Turnout: 13
Weather: dry and warm
Berties: :) :)
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Hash 2203 20.07.23 - The Smallest Hash Ever (?)

The Hull – Rotterdam ferry arrived on time and as we’d paid a modest fee for ‘priority boarding’ we were the second car off and back home by 11h30, so plenty of time to unpack, suffer buyer’s remorse/guilt at the amount of shopping done (rainy weather) and then YHS was off to the Hash, leaving Mrs B to tackle the mountain of holiday washing (note – by agreement).
14h55 at Jesus-Eik RV, no sign of anyone, quick check on the phone, no change of plan. HonSec arrives seconds later, but by 15h10 no-one else. Weather forecast not brilliant, Wait another 5 minutes then set off by myself for a half-hour jog, leaving Jon to have a quiet beer by the car in case anyone else turns up. Back after half an hour, exhausted having to run with no stops for checks (note to self: must get fitter). No-one else has arrived, so share a couple of beers & packet of crisps with Jon, chat about trips to the UK (terrible traffic, food & beer much improved, people in North definitely more friendly, etc.). Back by 5pm to open bottle of good wine as reward for Mrs B having scaled the washing mountain.
Berties: :) :) no rain!

Pete Briggs

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Hash 2200 08.07.23
Hare: Ed
Start and après: Parking De Speelberg, Weertsedreef, Meerdaalwoud

For once, there were no cries of “Time to Go” from RiteOnSec at 15.10. Common sense had trumped timekeeping. As YHS drove into the car park fearing the pack had already left, 1 was relieved to spot a half dozen familiar faces wearing caps and anoraks sheltering under the occasional umbrella from the heavy rain. While happy not to have to check on my own, I thought the turnout was on the low side.
Then at 3.20, the rain stopped, the sun came out and more hashers appeared from the toilets where they had been hiding. The last to arrive were Sasha and Jonny who explained they had been hit by hail stones that were so heavy, they and other motorists had decided to stop driving until the storm was over. At 3.24, after the hare’s customary photo op (see below), we were off, running/walking somewhat gingerly on the slippery surface and trying to avoid the wet undergrowth.
The wood provide excellent terrain for hashing with loads of paths of various widths and distances and plenty of opportunities for checks. Checking was largely a family affair – or to be more accurate: a two family affair with Sasha and Jonny and Tim and Susan (who can be seen below using the scouts’ infrastructure to do a spot of acrobatics) doing the bulk of the flour searching. At the start, the hare had noted there would be a short and a long – the latter a lengthy loop going uphill and down dale marked by flour, but without checks. To his surprise, it was not just the front runners, but also many of the walkers who decided to take it.
After a couple of checks, we soon realised that despite the volatile weather, we did not have the wood to ourselves as we came across scores of scouts and their extensive camp site complete with climbing frames, high bridges and imaginative wood carvings. Thankfully, the trail skirted the site and the two very different generations went about their respective activities without disturbing the other.
As the trail exited the wood and wound its way through a field of tall grass back to the car park, the crickets were chirping like mad and the sun was overhead – a far cry from just an hour earlier.
Many thanks to Ed for the trail and pic below and to Sasha, whose photos have already been forwarded by RiteOnSec.
Berties:
😊😊
Turnout: 18
Weather: warm and dry during the hash and après with heavy rain before and after

Ed hash 080723 group




Ed hash 080723

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Hash 2199 01.07.23


Start & Après: Chapelle de Bonne Odeur/Kapel OLV van Willeriekende
Hares: Tony & Shirley Gunn
 
Too Cool to Walk?
They came by car, by bike and by foot – well done Jono for having walked from home – as a dozen hashers assembled by the Chapel on the inner side of the now smooth highway that will take pedestrians and bikers out of the Boitsfort woods and under the Brussels Ring to the then Maxi Vins site. It has taken almost two years, and is not yet officially opened, but the previous underpass that had steps and a groove on each side to push or slide your bike along has been replaced. The new brighter bigger underpass has fewer steps but longer slopes on both sides that means that cyclists can race through the tunnel while walkers will need to watch out for fast bikers in both directions. Thanks to whoever designed and paid for this expansive thoroughfare.
 
The Run/Walk
Tony and Shirley briefed us on how, in order to avoid the possibility of another hot and sultry Saturday afternoon, they had decided to locate this week’s Hash in the darkest coolest woodiest area they knew. And so, we were by one of the several chapels in the Sonian forest, just inside the Brussels Ring about halfway between the complex E411 crossroads and the almost equally complex crossings at Groenendael.
 
“Flour is always on the right, any on the left means you are going the wrong way” was Tony’s pithy briefing, while Shirley confessed that some of her “false trail arrows missed their shafts and were more like a horizontal V but that we should take time to admire the forest looking ‘luscious’ in its full greenery” and so we were off.
 
Alison quickly took the lead and correctly found the first check and false trail as we continued deeper into the cool woods. We continued to seek a turning at successive checks until Julian R finally made a breakthrough down and along a winding footpath. As the ground here is regularly damp there were small bridges and wooden slatted walkways to negotiate so speed was not required. Another check and Alison had us running up another valley only to be returned by a false trail. The group stayed well together with almost everyone jogging at some point as we wended our way back towards but not through another tunnel under the Ring. More ups and downs eventually led us safely back to the Chapel.
 
The Après
It was good to welcome Ed back from his trip with Norma to the USA.
Shirley had excelled in providing a range of freshly home-made mini-pizzas, guacamole, and other dips as well as freshly baked olive biscuits plus crisps and beers.
 
Many thanks Shirley and Tony for organising this Hash, which despite earlier and later drizzle and rain was entirely dry, but because it was indeed cooler than forecast almost all had a chance to jog a few metres and the group stayed well together.
 

 

Turnout: 12
Distance: 5 to 6.5 Km
Weather: Mainly cloudy, but no rain, so: Bertie’s :) :) :)
Photos: Shirley
2199

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Hash 2198                  24.06.23

Hare                            Julian O
 
Start                            Junction of Buksboomstraat / Willeriekendreef.
Après                          Rue Nisard 13/1, Watermael-Boitsfort 1170
 
“It was a pretty run…” Tony
 
“It was hot…” Wim
 
“I saw some nettlebeds…” Jules
 
“It was off piste and there was shade…” MicMac
 
On one of the hottest days of the year, Julian had wisely chosen to keep to the woods. He warned us that the trail was definitely not bike friendly as logs and branches had been deliberately laid across many of the paths, by the dog walkers, to discourage bikers. 
 
Setting off from near the cemetery on Rue au Bois in Boitsfort, it was very familiar territory, but Julian skillfully disoriented the pack, and frequently had to do a bit of herding as the heat took its toll; running, what running, although John Forman did make an effort.  
 
The 'On Home' sign was most welcome and we again enjoyed the lovely shady terrace of Julian and Lynn's apartment, indeed the last one in their current abode. However, they will not be going far…just a rolling beer bottle down the hill.
 
As usual Lynn had laid out a wonderful selection of Hash fare as well as strawberries and grapes. We (especially Jono) were even helping her out, by eating up a selection of pastries from her freezer. K & W particularly like the full grain baguette.
 
Turnout was 11, Julian O, Jules R, Shirley, Tony, Chris (aka YHS 1), MicMac, Jono, John F, Ian, Wim and Katie (aka YHS 2)…plus Pascale who was a 'Mary', as she was delayed negotiating the new cycle underpass on her bike.
 
Bertie’s


Photos: YHS 2

IMG_5422IMG_5421IMG_5423IMG_5420

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Hash #2197
17.06.23

Start & Après: Jezus-Eik, junction of Kapucijnendreef and Tulpenlaan

Hares: No Hare, no flour
 
Too Hot to Trot?
Thanks to the good offices of Rite-On Sec we assembled at the now well-known grass triangle half-way between the Chapel at Jezus-Eik and the start of the Dash, where we now assemble too often when there is no volunteer available to set a Hash.
 
Shirley & Tony Gunn were justifiably proud to relate that they had turned out for the 2023 annual Dash the previous night and had completed same in just under 20 minutes and were the only finishers from the BruH3 group; a young man apparently finished in 9 minutes, leaving Barry Richardson’s 7 minutes something as a long-standing record.
 
The Run/Walk
YHS, still suffering from scratches and strains incurred in a fall from his bike a week earlier, decided against trying to jog and persuaded 7 of the 8 good people and a dog to go for a walk rather than suffer the agonies of running in 28C heat and high humidity. Tony Gunn, having as he later told us just returned from 4 weeks of indulging in the traditional cuisine of Bavaria, decided he needed to lose some weight and duly jogged off in a different direction.
 
We walked along the track as far as the carpark at the Arboretum and then agreed to continue in a slightly elongated teardrop shape around the dense variety of trees mainly across open meadow before crossing the Kapucijnendreef, at about the half-way point of the Dash, before taking in a further loop that reunited us back to the grass triangle.
 
Rite-On Sec was already ‘sur place’ with a cold box of a few beers and Tony and Chris who had turned up late were sitting alongside him on a bench.
 
The Après
Pete Briggs contributed some extra beers as well as some Twiglets, which added Marmite to our diet, Julian R had also brought some crisps. Arthur updated us on the mating habits of a pair of adders that he was able to video on his property in Suffolk in the warm weather a few days earlier.
 
Many thanks again to Rite-On Sec for organising this Hash and if you are reading this account and have not set a Hash in recent weeks please also consider volunteering to lay or co-lay another Hash as soon as…

Screenshot 2023-06-19 at 18.13.59
Turnout: 8 + 1 ‘Mary’ aka Christine
Distance: 4 to 5 Km
Weather: Mainly cloudy, but no rain, so: 3 Bertie’s
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Hash 2196
10.06.23

Start & Après: Rouge Cloître
Hares: Johnny & Sasha Shipp
 
The Briefing
A good crowd of over 2 dozen assembled in the gloom and noise of the car park underneath the E411. Luckily Sasha is not one to be defeated by lack of light or too much traffic noise so quickly directed us out of the shade and into the warmth of one of the hottest days this year. She then rattled through her briefing in her best contralto:
 
Four or were there more points?
1.    Flour in blobs is simple & white; ignore any other hash colours or markings;
2.    Après is no longer where it was. Good news is that it’s not so far; but for most hashers and walkers who rarely read Hash Details, unclear where it will be?
3.    Some back-checks maybe false trails;
4.    Co-hare may have laid longer false trails than other hare;
5.    Added post run: this is Camilla’s last hash but Naomi’s first (Shipp daughter no 2) and she is wearing a red T shirt and with that we were off.
 
The Run/Walk
We were accompanied as at the Bluebell Hash by Raffy and Felix - younger and faster (over short distances) than almost anyone else - Raffy declined to stay with his sister and displayed his knowledge of calling ‘On-On’ and ‘checking’ at the appropriate moments, in between comments and questions on everything else we passed.
 
Once into the shade of the forest the peloton made good progress by the judicious use of the occasional very long false trails and back-checks. The co-hare was punctilious in running many of his own false trails and keeping a poker face and monkish silence while doing so. The difference between a back-check and a false trail became difficult to communicate to some of the first time walkers but they remained outwardly cheerful despite their apparent confusion.
 
Finally, we crossed along the trail between two big lakes and emerged onto a sunny meadow indeed close to the car park for the Après.
 
The Après
Shade was an initial concern but as the refreshments flowed runners and walkers alike relaxed in the balmy late afternoon, either sitting lying or standing.

hash 2196

Fresh fruit, freshly cut bread galore was used to mop up a mauve/purplish concoction of beetroot and herring salad: originally bought as part of Sasha’s lunch earlier in the week. Effectively it became the most popular dip of the day.

 
There was one casualty to report: apparently Lucy tripped on a cast-iron plate which was proud of the surrounding path and cut her knee, quite badly. However, a bandage was provided, and an appropriate beer consumed which served to sooth her furrowed brow.
 
Turnout 29
Distance 5 to 7 Km
Weather: full sun so: :) :) :) Bertie’s
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Hash #2194 03.06.23
Start & Après:
Kerremans Park
Hare: Susan D (assisted by Timmy)
This Hash was advertised as…
"This is another exploration of the green areas on the borders of Brussels and Flanders, in an area recently developed ("grey to green") by Natuurpunt and the Flemish land agency. 
The terrain will be a mixture of park and woodland paths, and there will be shade." 
 
And, unlike most advertisements, it was all true!
 
Susan had gone to a lot of effort to lay a Hash that suited us all… the fast, the enthusiastic, the middle bunch, the less abled and even the bikers. The EIGHT Hashers who turned up on this 'perfect weather for hashing' Saturday covered all those categories.
 
We gathered in a spacious carpark and Jamie (bike) offered the sun screen around (note to self must carry sun screen) and the group strode purposely into the shade of the trees. An enthusiastic Rory set the pace (not that the rest of us followed) and throughout the trail we were happy to let him enthusiastically run the many, many back checks and false trails.
 
The middle bunch were keen and less abled and were guided the wrong way on many occasions by the Hare. However, whilst sweetly leading us down a nettle filled path we were handed sticks to beat off the stingers.
 
If you are wondering where the "fast" one came in… Timmy was speedily editing the route to suit the group and the temperature.
 
Such considerations should be noted in dispatches…
 
It was mentioned at the pre-talk that there would be a water-stop. Part of the editing meant making that water-stop back at the carpark so that the group could choose what to do next. Rory, Judy, Tim, and Jamie went on to finish the trail while Susan, Katie, Wim and Jono unpacked and set up the après in the shade.
 
A copious amount of food, including homemade hummus and chutney, and a stunning variety of beer (alco & non-alco) was on offer, and we managed to save some for the lost biker… again considerate Timmy went out twice to try and find him but eventually he turned up.
 
We were all really happy to be in a new location and sorry that so many missed it. On-On to more Flanders locations!
 
Distance: 5.5km (according to RW) =/-6000 steps (according to KC’s new AppleWatch) – btw it would have been over 8000 on her old Chinese model).
 
Berties:
 
Turnout: 8
 
Photos: Judy & Katie (The crowd, the terrain, and our black & white friends Daisy, Annabelle, and Princess doing a ‘Mary’)
 
PS: Timmy prefers to be called Tim… YHS just wanted to distinguish between her brother Tim and Tim K

IMG_4406IMG_4408IMG_5345IMG_4407IMG_5348
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Hash #2193 20.05. 23
Start & Après: Junction of Kapucijndreef & Tulpenlaan, Jezus-Eik

NO HARE: Back to Basics no flour – Run/Bike/Walk in the woods
A round dozen hashers gathered at the too familiar green triangle between Jezus-Eik chapel and the start of the Dash for another flour-free walk or run, due to there being no volunteer Hare.
Rite-On Sec called “time to go” and off we went. Alison S and Pete Briggs set off in the lead along the track towards the Arboretum and beyond.
Little to report, apart from a relative sparseness of other walkers and bikers, it being a ‘bridge’ weekend (public holiday on Thursday). YHS followed an old Sunday morning elongated figure of 8 run down through the Arboretum and across the Dash straight and then back up from the Dash end point meeting Alison & Pete as they returned to the Dash start at a similar time.
As you can see from the photo, the Après remains intact even if there is no flour, Rite-On Sec and James, a ‘Mary on a bike’ were already enjoying their first libation. As the eagle-eyed may also observe, the Overijse Commune as adopted the “NO MOW in MAY” policy of letting the grass and spring flowers grow throughout the month of May.
It was a good 20/30 minutes later that it was noted that Martine & Peter Blackie had not yet returned. Just as a search party was being considered, they duly arrived unconcerned.
Congratulations to Rite-On Sec who provided beers, supplemented by further liquid contributions from Ian, plus crisps etc and a good time was had by all.

hsh 2193
Turnout: 12 + biker ‘Mary’
Distance: from 4 to 8 km
Weather: 20 C but felt less due to NE wind, but some sun and no rain, so 3 ‘BERTIES’.

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Hash 2191 06.05.23
Hares: Jackie, Gabriella and Gorrit

Start and après: Casa Dow, Ixelles
While many parts of the UK were lapping up/running away from coronation fever, our regular band of stalwarts calmly went about our normal Saturday afternoon business. This time it was hashing in a combination of urban Ixelles, the Fôret de Soignes and the Bois de la Cambre.
Hare 1 gave the usual pep talk. This contained some alarming information. Hare 3 would not be running with us as he was up against a deadline to finish his university thesis. However, he had laid many of the false trails. This prompted some nervous knowing looks among those who have frequently witnessed his speed and enthusiasm during our Saturday sorties.
The male member of the Dow family, while on the hash, had not participated in the trail laying activities. This was possibly because he was recovering from his late night exertions and excellent performance at the Warehouse the previous evening.
In an attempt to gauge the level of interest in the group in what was happening in London, YHS shared some breaking news on his phone before the off: the coronation flypast was being scaled back because of bad weather. The lack of interest was palpable.
Leaving by the block’s rear garden gate, the pack followed the flour through a maze of local streets. It is unclear whether the trail took us through the nearby Cours Gordon Bennett, but its very existence in the vicinity merits a mention in the write-up. Note to dear readers unaware of the significance of Gordon Bennett: it is an idiomatic English phrase to express surprise, contempt, outrage, disgust or frustration.
After negotiating urban Ixelles, the second half of the hash crossed the Chaussée de la Hulpe at Coccinelles and into the woods as far as the Etangs des Enfants Noyés. The check, like several earlier ones, included a long false trail, memorable, apart from its length, for the sound of a woodpecker hard at work.
Nearby, largely hidden from the many paths is a small memorial (photo below) to Francois T’Kint Roodenbeke who accidentally died in the area. The Roodenbeke family is one of the seven Noble Houses of Brussels who made up the patrician class. One of their tasks was to guard the walls and gates of the city. The Roodenbekes were responsible for the Namur gate.
More forest trails soon brought us back across the Chaussée de la Hulpe, into the Bois de la Cambre, Avenue du Brésil and home. The trail was long – YHS did 9km – but highly enjoyable and gave Gorrit plenty of time to work on his thesis. Plenty of people took on checking duties and it was good to see Sasha running again after her ankle problems.
At the après, there was no bunting, no Union flags and no coronation quiche (spinach, broad beans, grated cheddar and tarragon – you can google the many recipes on-line). But there was a delightfully laid-back atmosphere, the usual fare and a tasty filo pastry pie. If you ask nicely, chief hare may agree to share the recipe with you.
When the media look back next year on the anniversary of Charles III’s coronation, I’m sure we will remember where we were for completely different reasons.
Turnout: 18 (once Chris caught up with us on her bike) + one special Mary
Weather: dry and warm
Berties:
😊😊
hash 2191
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Hash #2190
29.04.23

Start & Après: Rue de l’Etat, Lasne,

HARE: Tim King
 
We were assembling in the recommended car park and just as our worry beads began to click at 15:08 or so, the Hares arrived just in time and looking fresh and ready for the off. YHS had, like several other hashers, used the Sat-Nav address kindly provided and mine offered two routes needing the same time: one via Waterloo and Plancenoit and the other via La Hulpe and Lasne village centre but both involved delays due to road works.
 
Tim volunteered that for his third hash set in this area, and the first since 2016(?), it be given the title ‘Property Porn’: given that Lasne has been and remains perhaps the richest commune in Belgium. Certainly, there was no shortage of picture postcard, well-maintained,
large cottages with well-tended gardens – even including the middle to older couples tending to their almost immaculate paths and flowering shrubs in bright spring sunshine – if you get the picture?
 
Lasne certainly belies the reputation that Belgium is a low flat country. Almost from the off we were on the ups and then the downs of one of those hilly areas that encircle the southern parts of the Brussels Capital region. The hares had used their lengthy experience of many other hash trails to lay their false trails with just the right amount of flour at just the right distances from the check that almost inevitably the leading hashers had to run at least two longish false trails before hitting the right route.
 
We were also blessed by almost perfect running weather: dry, frequent sunny periods but not too humid. Consequently, we managed to cover greater distances over a longer than usual time before there was even a hint of a small mutiny of short-cutters. The chosen area of Lasne not only has a high density of desirable residences but it has also managed to maintain a dense collection of ‘sentiers’ or little narrow footpaths. This network was sometimes hard to spot by the lead runners. Even on one occasion it was suspected that the hares had planted a decoy in the form of a healthy woodman busily chopping large logs, mesmerising the hashers, and so had us running past a well-camouflaged path.
 
It was also a treat for anyone who had missed the annual Bluebell Hash of a couple of weeks earlier, that there were several attractive sightings of bluebells – see below for photos, courtesy of Ian.
 
Tim deserves full credit for a cleverly laid, if slightly longer than usual, route as well as a generous selection of beers, bread, cheeses and spreads at the Après. Susan King, whom YHS wanted to credit as co-hare, but was corrected by Mr King as she was only a part-time hare on this Hash, will be setting her own Hash on 3
rd June, according to reliable sources.
 
Turnout: 11
Distance:   6.5 to 10.5 km, depending on routes taken and how many false trails
Weather: sunny, with a cooling breeze and no rain, so 3 ‘BERTIES’ 😊 😊 😊
Photos: credits to Ian Hamilton

Picture 1Picture 3Picture 4Picture 2

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Hash 2189 22.04.23
Hare: Chris
Start and après: Watermolen, Overijse
EXCLUSIVE: Eye-witness account of Happy Hashers
EXPOSED: Fake hashing scribe unmasked

 
EXCLUSIVE
On a fairly dismal (weather-wise) afternoon, a small group gathered a stone’s throw from the highly recommended Watermolen running shop. For those who don’t know: you have to book and it can take some weeks to get a 30 minute appointment, but it is well worth it. Eric gives excellent, professional and friendly service. Hashers get a 10% discount. It appears so does everybody else from what I have observed over the years.
 
To get everyone in the mood, the hare laid a check at the very start, forcing the pack to fan out in all directions. Soon, cries of “On On” were heard and runners and walkers headed off along Molendreef to the first check. Two false trails: one short to the left, the other, longer, straight ahead. The latter wove its magic, attracting the whole pack before the inevitable arrow forced a nervous crossing of a stream on a narrow concrete bridge to get back on track when the real trail led into nearby woods.
 
The 6km or so route was an enjoyable mix of woods, open countryside, cobbled country lanes and tarmac roads with good running surfaces apart from the cobbles. At one point we passed a newly laid pétanque strip at the bottom of a garden. A nearby sign invited players to show their skills. Every Thursday at 2pm for those interested. 
 
With Julian O, Alison S, Dr John, Ed and YHS active in checking, the pace rarely flagged as the drizzle accompanied us around the trail. We were not the only ones having fun in the rain. Two amateur football matches were in full flow and a pair of majestic (two weeks before the coronation) horses ambled contentedly around their sodden paddock.
 
The run in had familiar echoes of the start. Jogging down from the other direction of the short false trail at the first check, a right turn led back to Watermolen. The hare had thoughtfully already identified an après sheltered in the covered porch of a nearby public building to prevent the rain drops from falling on our head.
 
A refreshing and enjoyable afternoon with a trail that incorporated some previously hashed areas, but also lots, at least to YHS, of new terrain. The uplifting immersive experience was a far cry from the dismal clouds at the outset. The weather picked up during the après, but too late for Bertie’s verdict.
 
Turnout: 11
Weather: soft rain (light drizzle)
Berties: 

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INVESTIGATION
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
After the underwhelming response and total absence of inquisitiveness to the first-ever write-up by our shy, mystery scribe who penned a novel account of Wolfgang’s hash (one person asked me about it and I advised two others to actually read it), I can shed some light on our anonymous author.
An American, the contributor provided the text in about 90 seconds. I (well, youngest daughter, actually, hence the idiosyncratic final word) gave a very straightforward and succinct brief:
Draft a 300 word write up of a hash house harriers run in the Forest de Soignes on April 15th, where there were lots of anemones and the ground was quite slippy.
Step forward ChatGPT.
For those who, hopefully have read this far, and bypassed the original, it is reproduced below. I’m confident the highly valued and insightful work of our current YHSs is not under threat. But to withstand the onward march of AI, we must all be vigilant, supportive and inclusive. Otherwise, what’s next? AI lays the flour, runs the trail, organises the après and does the write-up. Where’s the exercise, fun and humanity in that?
ChatGPT’s write-up of Wolfgang’s hash
The Hash House Harriers, a social running group, set off on a run through the beautiful Forest de Soignes on April 15th. The forest was in full bloom, with the ground covered in stunning carpets of blue and white anemones, adding to the natural splendour of the surroundings.
The group, consisting of runners of all ages and abilities, tackled the undulating terrain of the forest with enthusiasm. However, the ground was quite slippery due to the damp weather conditions, making the run more challenging than usual.
As the run progressed, the runners navigated through a series of twists and turns, encountering narrow paths and steep inclines. The group leader kept everyone on track, ensuring that no one was left behind.
Despite the tricky terrain, the runners were undeterred, taking in the fresh air and stunning views of the forest. Along the way, they stopped to admire the abundance of flora and fauna, including wildflowers, birds, and squirrels, which all added to the natural charm of the forest.
As the run drew to a close, the group arrived back at the starting point, sweaty but elated. The run had been a great success, and everyone felt invigorated by the fresh air and exercise. The runners celebrated with a well-deserved drink and some snacks, sharing stories of the run and the natural beauty of the forest.
Overall, the Hash House Harriers run in the Forest de Soignes was an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. Despite the slippery terrain, the runners enjoyed the challenge, and the stunning surroundings made it all the more worthwhile.
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Hash 2187 08.04.23
Hare: Wolfgang
Start and après: Junction Tervurenlaan/Tervursesteenweg


PLEASE NOTE: WOLFGANG’S HASH HAS SPAWNED TWO WRITE-UPS. BOTH BELOW
 
YHS was just putting the finishing touches to his own belated version of events, when he was unexpectedly contacted by an enthusiastic scribe keen to submit their very first write-up. Somewhat shy, the author prefers to remain anonymous for the moment. However, with gentle encouragement and suitable mentoring, YHS is confident we will soon welcome another valued member with a distinctive style to our stable of scribes. 
 
Starting from one of his favourite locations, the hare led a good-sized pack a merry dance along a 5-6km trail through this section of the Fôret de Soignes. Not having a particularly good sense of direction, YHS had little idea of where we were most of the time. Familiarity only reappeared towards the end, when, after running along the Chemin des Etangs, instead of going straight on to Rouge Cloître, a check took the trail right, uphill and eventually back to the après.
There was no shortage of flour, usually on trees and so fairly visible. At times, the hare forsook the well-trodden paths that run through the forest and used narrow little trails, unfamiliar to many of us, that contoured the undulating terrain. These required our full attention. A careless slip could bring unfortunate consequences.  
That was not the hare’s only novelty. He also found a new use for arrows which traditionally have been used for false trails to send the pack to the previous check. On this hash, the arrows delivered an entirely different message. Positioned horizontally, they indicated the direction to be taken – an ingenious sign which certainly had frontrunners flummoxed when they came across it for the first time.
The going was mainly firm, despite some slippery, muddy spots after recent rain. Given the dry weather, we shared the woods with a fair number of other users, admiring the arrival of Spring and carpets of anemones. One question, Wolfgang: Where were the Easter eggs?
Turnout: 17
Weather: dry and clear
Berties:
😊 😊
Pasted Graphic photo Alison S Pasted Graphic 1 near YHS’s home: Hashers with green fingers?


The Hash House Harriers, a social running group, set off on a run through the beautiful Forest de Soignes on April 15th. The forest was in full bloom, with the ground covered in stunning carpets of blue and white anemones, adding to the natural splendour of the surroundings.
The group, consisting of runners of all ages and abilities, tackled the undulating terrain of the forest with enthusiasm. However, the ground was quite slippery due to the damp weather conditions, making the run more challenging than usual.
As the run progressed, the runners navigated through a series of twists and turns, encountering narrow paths and steep inclines. The group leader kept everyone on track, ensuring that no one was left behind.
Despite the tricky terrain, the runners were undeterred, taking in the fresh air and stunning views of the forest. Along the way, they stopped to admire the abundance of flora and fauna, including wildflowers, birds, and squirrels, which all added to the natural charm of the forest.
As the run drew to a close, the group arrived back at the starting point, sweaty but elated. The run had been a great success, and everyone felt invigorated by the fresh air and exercise. The runners celebrated with a well-deserved drink and some snacks, sharing stories of the run and the natural beauty of the forest.
Overall, the Hash House Harriers run in the Forest de Soignes was an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. Despite the slippery terrain, the runners enjoyed the challenge, and the stunning surroundings made it all the more worthwhile.
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Hash #2188
15.04.23
 
Start & Après: “Bluebell Hash” Hallerbos Parking No 1
 
HARES: Alison Smith & Pete Briggs
 
A new starting point for the annual Bluebell Hash - and a great turnout from new and older hashers – including Mother Amy and her 3 kids Felix, Raffy and Cara, Pauline van Greuingen, Mary Gow, Morag & Vic Day, Olivier de Saint Sernin, Jill Clarkson, Keith Brown, Lyn Wainwright, Katie & Wim & Jocelyne Gaudin – to mention a few – see photo below to verify.
 
We assembled in a recently opened field, an extension of the Hallerbos Parking No 1, which was already full of cars on a bright and sunny afternoon.
 
The joint hares gave us their briefing “Welcome all, flour on the right, but beware of a check which doubles on way in and way out due to the constraints of the paths; do NOT head for P1 on return otherwise you will come back much too early” and so we were off.
 
We headed down a couple of very rough and rocky paths, accompanied by a young boy, who was much nimbler and fleeter of foot than many of the adults. Raffy was on his first Hash and was being mentored in how to interpret the flour signs and to call out ‘on-on’ ‘false trail’ or ‘checking here’ as appropriate by Jackie, Ed and other veterans who managed to keep pace with him.
 
Olivier was one of the first to take the lead, quickly followed by Tim now running again, after several weeks of enforced walking. Susan, Jackie and Pauline were also among the willing volunteers to tackle several of the many false trails and check-backs.
 
At the beginning the bluebells were few and far between, but as we regained height we were rewarded by carpets of hundreds and thousands of freshly flowering bluebells, wood anemones and celandines among the still extensive stands of leafless beech trees.

Pasted GraphicPasted Graphic 1

YHS was jogging alongside young Raffy when challenged to a race: foolishly accepting he was quickly outpaced by this young man to his pleasure, so I promised to include his feat of beating one of the fastest hashers in this write-up [SASHA: please forward this to Amy & Raffy when convenient: NB At the après Cara also claimed to be even faster than her brother but this has yet to be proved, so hope to see you all again at a future Hash?].
 
Shortly after 4pm Barbara, Alison and Pete were busy setting up tables for the Après in a corner of the field. Half way through hashers sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Pete on entering his 80
th year, on Sunday!
 
Congratulations to the Hares for a cleverly laid trail which took the peloton through some of the best areas of bluebells while manging to avoid most of the crowds of other walkers in the woods.


Pasted Graphic 2

Turnout: 32+
 
Distance: 3 to 8 km, depending on routes taken how many false trails
 
Weather: sunny, with a chilly breeze and no rain, so 3 ‘BERTIES’ 😊 😊 😊
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Hash #2186                 01.04.23

 
Start & Après:             20 Rue Baron de Castro, 1040 Brussels
 
HARE:                          Rory Watson
 
A special Hash ‘in memoriam’ for Peter Coldrick who had passed away just a couple of days previously.
 
Rory, one of Peter’s close friends spoke as follows: “Peter was one of the most long-standing, enthusiastic, and loyal members of our Hash. He exemplified and ensured our most basic values: no hierarchy, no heavy organisation, no airs and graces. Instead, we are inclusive, supportive and have fun, without being childish. 
 
Rory said it was great that Rowena and Philip could join us and felt certain that many people would think of Peter as we hashed that afternoon.”
 
The Hare also briefed all present that this Hash would be, “like a sandwich, with an urban bit, a bit in a park and then another urban slice”. We were advised to look out as we turned the first corner where the former East German embassy, became the Brussels base for the fünf neue länder after reunification, some of which are still there (see flags as evidence). The blue plaque on a house nearby is to Altiero Spinelli, the Italian European federalist, who lived in the house when he was a European Commissioner 1970-76.
 
The next statue in the middle of the road is of Edmond Thieffry, born in Etterbeek, he was a World War I fighter ace and the first pilot, with two colleagues, to fly from Belgium to the Congo in 1925. It took him 51 days.
 
The flight of geese statue is a memorial to the one million victims of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
 
Rory says he walks “past the unnamed naked young lady on my daily morning walk. She helps to drag me up the hill.”
 
The Korean war monument is to the 106 soldiers (97 Belgians and nine Koreans) from the 3,400 combat personnel who died in the 1950-53 war.
 
It was great to see David and Alma Hosie after such a long time and Sasha also managed to bring two of her colleagues for the first time.
 
Rory brought the Scottish haggis over from Dublin in January.
 
The early runners, frequently led by Hannah and or Philip, took us quickly into and around a series of elegant roads filled with prosperous looking houses and apartments. We gradually descended along the Av Jules Cesar into the Woluwe Park. The park has been recently renovated with several new footpaths laid with generous wood chippings, which, while softer than the concrete pavements, are also slippery in the rain.
 
As we left the park we were deftly led along more suburban streets and a series of brick footpaths between the streets which neatly concealed the general direction; so that we were promptly back on to Rue Baron de Castro.
 
At the Après, after a toast to Peter, and as promised in the original Hash Details for this date, there was an offering of Haggis, which was gladly accepted by most present, plus home-made vegetable soup and a generous selection of cheeses, breads and other accompaniments. It was also a pleasure to catch up with David & Alma Hosie on one of their returns to Brussels from the south of France, looking and sounding in great form.
 
Many thanks and appreciation to Rory & Maire Watson for hosting this impromptu memorial hash with warmth and kindness on another damp Saturday afternoon.
 
Turnout: 25+
 
Distance: 5 to 8 km, depending on how many false trails
 
Weather: grey & drizzly with regular sharper bursts of rain, so 0 ‘BERTIES’.
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Hash #2185
25.03.23
 
Start & Après: Junction of Kapucijndreef & Tulpenlaan, Jezus-Eik 
 
NO HARE: Back to Basics no flour – Run/Bike/Walk in the woods
 
Eight hardy hashers (sounds like an extract from ‘12 days of Christmas’ – Editor) gathered at the too familiar green triangle between Jezus-Eik chapel and the start of the Dash for another flour-free walk or run, due to there being no volunteer Hare.
 
As we were setting off in disparate directions, Sue Bird appeared, so we were nine.
 
Little to report since YHS went for a run down the Dash route and then back via the Arboretum. Others had walked or jogged towards the Arboretum in at least 2 distinct groups. The first group of 4 to return were rewarded with beers from the back of Rite-On Sec’s car and it was some 15 or 20 minutes later that it was noted that the other 4 had not yet returned. Just as a search party was being considered, they duly arrived unconcerned as they had been talking happily and not noticed they were a little behind.
 
Congratulations to Rite-On Sec who provided beers, supplemented by further liquid contributions from Pete and Tony plus crisps and a good time was had by all.
 
Turnout: 9 [Ian, Pete, Jono, John F, Alison, Tony, Shirley, Julian O & Sue B]
 
Distance: about 4 to 6 km
 
Weather: windy but no noteworthy rain, 2 ‘BERTIES’.

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Hash 2182
18.03.23
 
Start & Après: Not the anemone hash: Speelbos, ‘t Vossenhol 2, Grevensbos near Bertem
 
Hare: Ed McGovern
 
A favourite haunt for Ed’s hashes in recent years is the wooded area above Bertem, dominated by a large radar station.
In mid-March, most of the fully grown trees are still gaunt and leafless and as he warned the anemones are not yet in flower. We gathered between the continuous scanning of the radar and an almost as high water tower a couple of hundred metres beyond the previous starts and above a crossroads of tracks.
 
The hare gave the usual advice that flour was on the right etc but then added that as the trail progressed there might not be flour laid on all the possible options after each check (mock shock & horror!); of which more later. A kindly passer-by took the traditional McGovern photo at the start (“A slide show of past Ed hashes at the next Night Hash?” Editor) and we were off.
 
The hashers and walkers set off along the cobbles of a well-worn farm track uphill until past the water tower, after which we were led by Naomi and Jonny along a further selection of farm tracks. There was a succession of long false trails that helped keep the pack together.
 
The trail then led into a curious residential area of about ten closely laid out streets some of which are asphalted, while others are un made-up. Similarly, about half the dwellings seem to be holiday homes and/or self-built whereas the rest were conventionally constructed.
 
We then emerged back into open fields and stretches of forest. After a couple of false trails, YHS boldly led the pack across a large field and then past a stand of trees; some way later as the track got muddier there was a distinct absence of flour but recognising the ‘anemone’ wood persevered YHS reached a check point again. Chris Stevens had managed to divine the correct route and so we trudged uphill and back up towards the playground and the on-home sign.
 
The Après was quickly set up by our Hare, plenty of vittles, a variety of beers including a choice of ‘Draught’ Guinness, in cans, as well as ‘Original’ Guinness, also in cans, to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, and the widely anticipated victory of Ireland over England in the Six Nations rugby final.
 
Looking forward to another McGovern hash once the anemones are flowering.
 
Turnout: 12 plus Hare
 
Distance: about 6 to 8 km, depending on false trails.
 
Weather: bright, 17°C felt like 20°at times, no rain so 3 ‘BERTIES’ 😊 😊😊.

Photo:
Chris - there were a few anemomes…

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Hash 2183 11.03.23
Hare: Ian
Start: Groenendaal Bosmuseum

Après: Hoeilart (with very clear instructions how to get there despite the road works)
An abiding memory: false trails à gogo. Three at the very start which would have helped late arrivals. On this occasion, there were none. One went past the old bakehouse opposite the Jan Van Ruusbroec forest museum. Dating from the 18
th century, its oven has been restored and is used for demonstrations of old techniques every second Saturday of the month. Anyone interested in a Groenendaal bake off should contact: lies.coosemans@natuurpunt.be
The hare explained an innovation for the afternoon: a circle with a dot in the centre. This despite being at the end of a false trail indicated a place of special interest. What Guides Michelins used to describe as mérite un detour. He tantalisingly held out the possibility of seeing some Highland cattle. Not the first time he has used this particular carrot to whet appetites and spur the pack on. More later.
After finally exhausting the complexities at the start, the pack followed the flour along lovely forest paths negotiating checks with the inevitable false trails. About a third of the way round we came across a group of young people dancing in a clearing in fancy costumes. Probably more surprised than we were, they stopped and gazed at our motley group. A polite journalistic question revealed they were making a video for a youth organisation. YHS very much doubts we feature in it.
Soon after we came to the innovative false trail. And the place of special interest? An empty field. To be fair, it was a nice undulating piece of ground pleasantly surrounded by mature trees. A peaceful spot, but no beasts, Highland or otherwise. If past experience is anything to go by, they tend to be there in the morning, as they were when the hare laid the trail, but are moved elsewhere for the afternoon. (Probably so they are not disturbed by all the hash shouting – ed).
The trail then crossed Avenue Dubois/laan and used various paths – false trails still to the fore – before turning back for home, passing the Sonian restaurant which projects itself as A Good Life. One more twist and turn and then a lengthy downhill run, across the road and the end.
The enjoyable trail was entirely in the Groenendal arboretum which contains over 400 different native and exotic trees and shrubs. Its site boasts of ‘fat Eugene’, a 6-metre thick poplar. We didn’t come across this splendid specimen, but YHS suspects a similar instantly understandable description in the UK would come under fire from certain quarters.
Chapeau to the hare. It takes enthusiasm and energy (or delicious satisfaction at seeing front runners suffer – ed) to lay so many false trails on one’s own.
Then a short drive to the après where Monique had arranged a fulsome spread. The highlight for YHS? Homemade egg mayonnaise sandwiches. It wasn’t quite a Proustian madeleine moment, but it brought back enjoyable memories of summer picnics when our daughters were younger. A lovely touch, Monique.
Turnout: 16 + one well behaved dog
Weather: dry and clear
Berties:
😊 😊 (despite the hare’s fears of rain and awful weather the day before)

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Hash #2182
04.03.23
 
Start & Après:  Gemeentehuis Pastorieplein in Vossem.
 
HARE: Alison Smith
 
 
Immaculately turned out, as usual, our Hare was concerned that the car park was surprisingly full due to an event in the town hall, but cyclists and car drivers had no real difficulties in parking in or near the square which is situated in a small park and just 100 metres from the river Voer which runs out of the Tervuren park lakes towards Leuven.
 
‘Time’ was called by Rite-On Sec and Alison explained that she had laid a simple trail with a Long and a Short near the end and that the trail started down the path towards the Voer creek. We quickly found a couple of false trails which obliged crossing the stream and up and across a road and then along a narrow footpath past the backs of houses and gardens until we emerged onto a grassy hill from where we could see a couple of other villages towards Duisburg and Tervuren.
 
Walkers comprised the large majority and while Jackie, Susan and Rory alternated with YHS as leaders we were regularly outpaced by Tim as king of the strollers. 
 
Our Hare managed to keep the pack together with plenty of false trails and the occasional back check until we were running alongside the boundary wall of the Waranda Park (aka Tervuren Park, once the hunting grounds of the Dukes of Brabant, prior to being remodelled by Leopold II as part of his African Museum domain). A break in the 2 to 3 metre high wall allowed for the Long trail to enter the park close to the main lake that is formed from the two valleys within the park. While we enjoyed brief glimpses of the hundreds of birds on or surrounding the lake the trail exited the park within a few minutes of entering.
 
The bikers members of the Hash know this territory well and consequently assumed that the route home was most likely to be back along the Voer river footpath, but the Hare (and Susan) had decided that a further loop would provide a more interesting challenge. 
 
Finally, we did return to the riverside path and then just short of the start we were deviated up past the ‘In Den Congo’ pub – which has been managed by a succession of women from the same family for the past 105 years – a favourite coffee stop for the bikers group on the coldest winter morning rides. The coffee is cheap at 1€ a cup, if slightly less caffeinated (and environmentally unsustainable via one-time plastic holders).
 
Just short of the pub, we passed through the grounds of St Paul’s Church. 
 
The intimate and cosy St. Paul's Church in Vossem forms a link in the series of Romanesque churches in the Voer valley.
The church was probably built around 1200. It was built of 
sand-lime brick excavated in the area. At the end of the 17th century, the church was thoroughly renovated in the popular style of the time: Baroque. The church received more light through larger windows, pillars were removed, walls and ceiling were plastered white, the tower was raised and a new western entrance to the church was built at the bottom of the tower. Traces of medieval wall paintings can still be found in the Romanesque choir . Other church treasures include a 15th-century oak statue of Saint Paul and a Baroque-era gilded cross.
It is barely a 200 meter walk to the Voer, a river that can be followed to the park of Tervuren or to Leuven. Text in italics: courtesy of Wikipedia.org
 
Click 
here for photos of the church and attractive features of the Voer valley walking area.
As the Hash reunited the Après was quickly set-up near the memorial to the two World Wars with a tablecloth and plenty of provisions.

Congratulations to the Hare for a novel route that tested our knowledge of the lesser frequented but numerous footpaths in this popular area.
 
Turnout: 15 and 0 Marys
 
Distance: about 4.5 to 6.5 km, depending on false trails.
 
Weather: grey, its Belgium, 8°C and felt like 6°C, so 2 ‘BERTIES’.
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Hash 2181 25/02/23
Hares: Harriet and Christian
Start and après: Wezembeek-Oppem

Dolphins suddenly woke me from my reverie as YHS ambled contentedly On Home – where beer, Christian’s home-made French onion soup and rugby awaited – ruminating on how to convey the enjoyment of the afternoon. Inspiration came from my right where YHS was instructed by a no-nonsense-voice: “If you are doing the write-up, don’t forget the dolphins”.
 
More Belgian surrealism? Dolphins in a land-locked Belgian commune and no aquarium in sight? Looking for flour on the ground, I had completely missed the three bronze dolphins leaping and frolicking in the shallow pond in the Warande park, previously a vast swamp.
The impressive work of art is by the sculptor Tom Frantzen. He describes his art as fantastique flamand contemporain and surréalisme satirique. Google him, if he is unfamiliar, and you will probably recognise some of his work, including the dog lifting his leg on a Brussels street corner (Het Zinneke).
Dolphins were not only the perfect intro for a scribe with no inspiration (with many thanks to my muse), but also lead effortlessly into the next impressive sculpture the trail introduced us to…
Straufhain statue
See photo below if you did not notice/have never encountered this strange personality. Ghent sculptor Koenraad Tinel created it in 1976. The name comes from the German village where Tinel lived during World War II. Seemingly, it is a knight, without any weapons, head covered by a bucket and owl on his shoulder, looking for adventure, but one not bent on war, death or destruction, and bringing a message of peace and joy. A sort of Till Eulenspiegel. Use your imagination.
City Hall
Hare H confided to YHS that the trail, which ended up being false, had not been designed to present us with old Straufhain on his horse, but to unveil the commune’s spanking new gemeentehuis/maison communale. And very impressive it is, as the trail took us through the courtyard and round the back where massive building works, mainly appartments, are taking place. With true Belgian diplomacy, respect for linguistic sensitivities and a touch to creeping transatlantic influence, the name of the new gemeentehuis/maison communale is: City Hall.
Place St Pierre
Another highlight, shortly after the trail took us out of the Warande Park, was Place St Pierre – one hashed through many times, but always peaceful, welcoming and a hare’s false trail delight. In the centre is the church which the commune modestly describes as “one of the most remarkable religious edifices in Brabant”. Again, use your imagination. It also refers to the restaurant on the corner, Auberge Saint Pierre, as an agréable endroit de rencontres. Read that as you will. One of the pack described it as “pricey and for diplomats”. It is now closed. So, no more rencontres.
The square gives a good view in the distance of the Chateau de Burbure, built in the 18
th century with the nearby Kapelanenbeek, which the hares used as an enticing false trail, fixing the boundary between Kraainem and Wezembeek-Oppem. On the chateau land close to the square are small memorials in different languages to mark the 100th anniversary in 2018 of the end of World War I. Another poignant memory of the past the trail took us to was the liberty tree not far from our friend Straufhain. Carved in stone at its base is the inscription: “in memory of the liberation of prison camps 1945-1975”.
Books a gogo
One final image: coming towards the last uphill dash to the après outside a modest house on our left were shelves of books free to a good home. There were four us. The fittest immediately stopped and began scouring through the titles. The donor(s) had good taste. Umberto Eco and Trainspotting were there, as were many other desirable reads. But our sleuth could not find what they were looking for: Maigret.
The hash
The Hash had been cunningly laid as you would expect from two savvy and sprightly veterans. The first check included a false trail and totally misled most of the pack sensing open countryside ahead and pressing across the tram track. Instead, the flour went left and came out further down the line. There were lots of false trails, back checks and other unexpected pitfalls to keep the large pack of disparate speeds together. To be honest, only a small minority shared checking and shouting duties. Many thanks to those who did, especially Gisèle, Ed and Tim. The latter’s walking gait comfortably holds its own against some of us running/jogging.
For posterity, it should be noted that Hare C was a good Samaritan to a total stranger on foot trying to find the Stockel metro. He gave clear instructions and each time the metro seeker looked perplexed at yet another junction, gave further advice which hopefully helped the traveller to reach his destination.   
Turnout: 23
Weather: dry and clear
Berties:
😊 😊 (a lovely fresh afternoon)
For number nerds: the basic trail was 4.8 km. YHS recorded 7 km, but did a lot of checking and false trails.
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Hash #2180
18.02.23
 
Start & Après: Junction of Kapucijndreef & Tulpenlaan, Jezus-Eik 
 
HARE: Tony Gunn
 
A favourite haunt for Bruh3 in recent months is this section of the
Foret de Soignes. Exceptionally on this occasion it was also a trail laid with real flour, and coincidentally there had been another trail laid by ‘the other Hash’ a few days earlier, which did add to the complexity. We were blessed, however, to be able to cope and indeed enjoy all this by having a willing Hare in the form of Mr Gunn, who hot foot – well after a couple of weeks – from his return from the Antipodes, volunteered at the very last minute to lay. This was the third time a Gunn had laid a trail in this area in the past six months, previously Shirley had assisted but as she had stayed in NZ for a couple of weeks more, this was Tony’s solo effort.
 
The Hare explained that “flour is always on the right” but as a result of the shortness of the preparation time the outward leg and the inward leg would be using the same track, hence an “R” would act as a false trail on the outward trail but would indicate Return on the inward leg, and so, we were off.
 
We were cleverly led on several false trails at the very beginning, always a good tactic to allow any late arrivals a chance to catch up, but unnecessary on this day. This section of the forest enjoys the benefit of multiple paths and tracks which allows lots of false trails and the ability of the runners and walkers to maintain sight of each other for much of the time.
 
We veered left, right, back, and forth passing the Aboretum car park and just as we were heading for the rear of the Ravenstein golf course we about turned.
 
Finally, we re-joined the outward track and were rewarded by spotting the R and an on-home sign.
 
At the Après, which was quickly provided, we became better acquainted with Ed, born and educated in NZ, but then emigrated and has been most recently in Ann Arbor and now a recent Brussels resident. Harriet corrected YHS about a previous write-up when it was suggested that there was an absence of zero alcohol beer. A rather underdressed Barbie doll mysteriously appeared on our bench but otherwise everything went off perfectly. Repeated thanks and appreciation to Tony G for stepping into the breach this week.
 
Turnout: 9 and 0 Marys
 
Distance: about 4.55 to 6.5 km, depending on false trails.
 
Weather: grey, its Belgium, 11C and felt like 11C, some light rain so 0 ‘BERTIES’.
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Hash #2179
11.02.23
 
Start & Après: Chez Rummins, Korenbloemlaan, 1933
 
HARE: Julian R
 
Returning to a Hash run from home was a pleasure, enhanced for the rugby followers by the prospect of the second round of the Six Nations, and tolerated by the other half who seemed content to socialise while waiting for those changing into their running gear.
 
From the outside Julian’s house was looking brighter and crisper thanks to redecoration and new balcony cladding – a lot more had been done to improve insulation and eliminate previous damp – but we could only see the bright new shutters, paint and tiles.
 
Departure was delayed by the ‘just-in-time’ arrival of Mr & Mrs King who had to change but allowed the Hare to address us from his reinforced balcony to welcome us, appoint YHS as a keyholder as he would be acting as ‘sweeper-upper’ at the tail end and YHS would be expected to be among the early finishers and able to open-up for the thirsty runners and rugger-buggers. Start was pointed out “down there” and we were off.
 
This Hash was well laid, as could be expected from one of our most regular and loyal Hares. We were cunningly led into one false trail after another as we wound our way around and through local parks and footpaths. Eventually we emerged onto and across the main road from Quatre Bras to Sterrebeek.
 
From there we zigged and zagged onto and along the edges of the fields leading towards but not quite reaching the former Sterrebeek horse racing circuit and now a popular golfing and pony trekking area. The leaders were then met by John Forman who kindly reassured us on the right route to follow – YHS failed to learn how John, who was walking as he is recovering from a recent cataract op, had managed to get ahead of the main group. Nevertheless, this helped revive our determination to follow the last quarter of the trail and the on-home sign.
 
The Après was fully provisioned with more than enough food and beverages (though I did overhear one hasher seeking a non-alcoholic beer – a cry that that might have shocked many of the founders of Bruh3 – the fans of the odd shaped ball game were largely satisfied by the second half of an often to and fro battle of kicking and scrambling by France and Ireland with Ireland eventually gaining a 32 to 19 points win.
 
However, there was a minor drama as Christian, who had valiantly led for several stretches, could not find his running shoes as we left the house. Apparently, someone with larger feet but similar looking shoes had taken his and left their own on the outside doorstep – hopefully the right shoes will be returned to the right owners before most people receive this late news!
 
Turnout: 16
 
Distance: about 5 to 6.5 km, depending on false trails.
 
Weather: grey, its Belgium, 9C but felt like 6C, but no rain so 2 ‘BERTIES’ 😊 😊.
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Hash #2178
04.02.23
 
Start & Après: Junction of Kapucijndreef & Tulpenlaan, Jezus-Eik 
 
NO HARE: Back to Basics no flour – Run/Bike/Walk in the woods
 
After some record turnouts in January, the first Saturday in February faced the extra competition of the start of the Six Nations. And so, it was a small miracle that we had 14 at the start. Warm welcomes to the two Hudsons – revisiting Brussels after an absence of 4 or 5 years and being hosted by Ed – plus a second in a row appearance of Terence Langly from Oz with his wife, Kyung-Sook, at her 3
rd or 4th Bruh3.
 
Rite-On Sec called “Time to Go” at 15:10 and we were off in our several directions. YHS was walking this week, saving his limited energies for the Racing Club de Bruxelles annual Hivernales 10 km race from the International School of Brussels on the following day.
 
It was a good opportunity to observe the Hash from the rear rather than the front of the peloton: Ed and Richard Hudson took the lead in jogging from the start – so determinedly and energetically that YHS rarely saw them again, until the après!
 
The group I followed headed for the car park at the Arboretum and then across the Hash Dash route before turning right and right again to return us to the start.
 
Congratulations to Rite-On Sec who ran a similar route but in the reverse direction and who provided most of the beers. Ed provided additional crisps and a good time was had by all.
 
Turnout: 14 [Ed + 2 Hudson’s, 2 Langly’s, Judi & Chris, Wolfgang, Ian, Alison & John, Rite-On, 2 Julian’s]
 
Distance: about 4 km
 
Weather: grey but no rain, good weather compared to Washington DC (according to Hudson family), 2 ‘BERTIES’.
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Hash 2177 28.01.23
Hares: Jackie, Hugh, Gabriella and Gorrit
Start and après: Boitsfort Hippodrome grandstand

Another excellent turnout on a fine afternoon as the pack congregated at the impressive grandstand. In attendance were many regular and some not so regular faces plus two well-behaved canines Odin and Truffles with owners Jade and Terrance. The majority who had arrived by car had to first negotiate the horrendous potholes in the nearby car park. Judging by travaux in the area, these may hopefully be repaired one day.
At the appointed hour, the starters’ (there were several of them) signal went off. The going was fair to firm as the packed field set off in various colours and silks on an anti-clockwise course round the old racetrack. Soon, there was clear daylight between a small group of cantering thoroughbreds in the lead, as they entered the first straight after rounding the second bend, and the rest trailing in their wake.
Earlier, YHS had been given confidential information that many of the backchecks and false trails were going to be quite long. They had been set by the two youthful and enthusiastic Gs (Gee Gees – geddit?). So it proved. The front runners had completed almost a furlong before they were reined up by a backcheck and had to trot back to the last junction, where less energetic and more canny members in the field were already congregating.
That set the pattern for the afternoon as the enjoyable trail meandered through the woods with clever backchecks and false trails largely keeping together the pack of varying abilities. Checking duties were widely shared between the two Camillas, Jade, Jonny, Julian O, Susan, RiteOnSec, YHS and two injured runners, but energetic walkers, Sasha and Tim. YHS, when leading the pack at one point, was scolded by a senior hare for missing the flour and a sizable loop. Apart from that, all false trails and backchecks appear to have been run, largely because the Gee Gees did them and others followed, until realising they had been outwitted. In a welcome development, there was even frequent shouting of our simplistic call signs.
Coming towards the end, the trail passed the memorial to the 32 victims from the March 2016 bomb attacks (see below). Then, up a steep bank and the old hippodrome spread out before us in all its glory under the watery January sun, with golfers, instead of horses and punters, enjoying its charms. The track’s heyday was 1880-1940. After hosting its last race in 1995, it gradually decayed until its redevelopment began in 2012 (for a fuller account of the history of the racecourse and photos of a previous hash some 30 years ago over the same terrain see highly informative write-up of hash 2075 of 3/10/2020 on our brilliant website).
One last decision before the run in with the grandstand in front of us: go left (shorter) or right (marginally longer) to the après. To their credit, the vast majority went right. All that was missing were applause, cheering and tannoy announcements as tired, but happy hashers crossed the finishing line and looked for refreshment, which was supplied in abundance.
Turnout: 28
Weather: dry and sunny
Berties:
😊 😊 (a lovely fresh afternoon after days of grey skies and drizzle)

dows 04.02.23 b
Post hash refreshment: Credit: Sasha

dows 04.02.23 a
The poignant and dignified memorial to the 32 victims from 22 countries who were killed in the Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro bomb attacks on 22 March 2016. The memorial, installed by the Brussels government, consists of a crown of 32 birch trees arranged around a circular bench made from pierre bleu.
And…
Peter C: Best wishes from the hash. Very glad you are home again. We wish you a smooth recovery after your recent fall and hospital repairs.
Judi: Many thanks for accepting the invitation to write-up the previous week’s hash. We scribes are honoured you have agreed to join our stable. We have room for many more. No experience or fancy prose required. Just a sense of fun, which everyone on the hash already has in abundance.
SCAM: We recently received a phone call, ostensibly from the Office des Pensions, on our home landline asking for bank details so we could receive €800 as a covid payment. We did not give them. After our first refusal, they called again. The pensions website warns this is now a common scam.
Lamas/Alpacas: On 4/1/23, RiteOnSec forwarded an email from Tony Fuell about other Brussels former hashers, Vicki and Alex now also in New Zealand, celebrating their alpaca Wainui’s 25th birthday and eying a world record. The Guardian reported on 29 Jan that the Guinness Book of Records has just recognised the oldest llama in captivity is a 27 year-old Albuquerque resident. Name? Dalai (of course).
Please update us on the alpaca category, Tony, Vicki and Alex.

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Hash #2176
21.01.23

Hares: Sacha & Jonny

A great turn-out for Jonny and Sasha's hash.  The meeting point was easy to find, and Julian counted 22 able hashers at the start.  We set-off together but were quickly separated into 3 groups:   runners, a small but hardy group of walkers, and a larger group of walkers who disappeared soon after the start.  I learned later that they took a shortcut.  And, as I was at the back of the aforementioned small/hardy group, I cannot say much about the hash itself. 😊  Suffice it to say that the route was quite pleasant, through quiet forest, with many long straight trails.  Weather cold but happily dry.   The hares found a picnic table for the al fresco après, where the conversation was lively.

The home-made bread cheese sandwiches and the amazing cake-made-in-a bread-maker delicious!

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Hash #2175
14.01.23
 
Start & Après: Bois de Wilder, Berchem St Agathe, 1082 
 
Hares: Susan & Tim King
 
Starters
If you do not know where Berchem Sainte Agathe is, neither did Wolfgang nor any of the other hardy hashers who turned up on the wettest day of the New Year for the Kings’ Hash. The trail had been recced 3 times in less than a week by Tim, as a late volunteer hare & host, and then carefully laid. The Place de l’Eglise was already full of cars after the first half dozen hashers had arrived, but additional car parking was quickly found in an adjoining street for the later arrivals. This small commune is squeezed in between Dilbeek, Koekelberg and Ganshoren and is almost exactly diagonally across Brussels from Overijse – about as far as can be from our more regular hashing routes and yet within the Brussels capital region.
 
Mains
Jackie and Pascale quickly led us off past the old church of Berchem St Agathe, which dates from the 12th century but was heavily restored in the 18
th & 19th centuries and since a newer, larger church was built in the 1930s, is now a cultural centre. We were quickly into a series of allotments and then the Bois de Wilder proper – see photo of pond “Is Excalibur about to appear?” asked Rory – this wood and a large grassy plain below are all is left of a medieval estate and castle of ‘hof Ter Wilst’. More recently the hill was used as a quarry and we experienced the evidence of several of the sharp ups and downs that have survived.
 
This was a Hash of two halves: first half was primarily along steeply wooded areas which have had modern wooden steps and decking liberally strewn to avoid the muddiest paths, but these acted as almost skating rinks in the wet; and a second half that was around and about a couple of large grass fields and neighbouring residential streets, that were equally inundated. The hares had cleverly laid each check that encouraged the front runners to explore at least two and sometimes more directions before finding the on-on. We were tested and tried as the rain continued through most of our time walking, jogging and running on sodden paths, pavements and fields. Nevertheless spirits remained high as a photo taken by Jackie demonstrates – note the faint outline of the more familiar Koekelberg Basilique on the horizon behind Tim’s and John’s heads in the centre.
 
Finally, we wended our way back to the start along a turning and steeply descending lane of slippery cobbles without a single twisted ankle.
 
Après
We managed to find a degree of shelter in the lee of the former church – see photo also taken by Jackie – which almost as soon as we had arrived and set up a couple of picnic tables was illuminated by a floodlight kindly provided by the burghers of Berchem St Agathe. Hot home-made soup, plenty of bread, cheese and crisps, and beer, soon refreshed any parts that the missing sun might have warmed.               

Turnout: 13 including 2 hares
 
Distance: 5 to 7,5 km (depending on false trails, 95m elevation climbed, in 55 to 65 minutes)
 
Weather: wet 10°C but felt like 5°, humidity close to 100% so no ‘BERTIES’.

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Hash 2174 07.01.23
Hares: Pete and Barbara
Start and après: chez eux, Braine l’Alleud
The New Year Hash

The traditional Briggs NY hash provides a welcome opportunity to shake off the excesses of the festive season and start 2023 with new resolutions. Given the excellent turnout, this hopefully bodes well for the months ahead. Over the years we have had all kinds of weather during the first week of January, but today we had a dry afternoon.
After welcoming first time BH3 hashers – Isaac, Hannah’s cousin all the way from the US, Judi’s friend Kyung Sook – and Mariette on one of her hopefully more frequent forays to Brussels, and warning us of some slippery, muddy terrain, hare (he/him) sent us on our way.
Out the gate and turn right as usual. While the super fit, ok Hannah and Isaac, hared ahead, the more savvy warmed up gradually, wracked their brains for the last BC (before covid) trail in the area and rightly suspected the straight road ahead would eventually be the run in. It was a wise move as the front runners had missed the flour leading into a small path on the left and had to be called back. Soon we were in a little housing development offering plenty of opportunities for false trails.
Emerging from the maze, the trail went through open country where the cold began to make its presence felt and some may have regretted turning up with bare knees. False trails at the next two checks helped to handicap our younger members, but not quell their enthusiasm. At the second check, there was a poignant plaque to an RAF bomber crew who had crashed and died after a WW II mission in March 1944. Photo below.
After the open fields, the trail wended its way along narrow paths through woods. It passed Braine l’Alleud’s parc solaire, the largest in Wallonia according to the hash’s own expert of the area. It is built on the site of a former quarry, which, after housing landfill and being grassed over, was earlier destined to be a golf course before the commune decided renewable energy was a more fitting use of the land.
The pack continued to negotiate the ups and downs of the wooded landscape, including an impressive ridge, and treacherously slippery paths covered in wet leaves. At least one hasher took a tumble in good humour and her stride. Julian O, prominent in a bright yellow top, and Tim, in walking gear using his mental hash compass, helped in checking duties. False trails and back checks kept the front third of the large pack largely in contact with each other.
As the 50 minute mark approached, YHS could not help but notice that the flour was going along the Trail l’Ermite. Intrigued, he later contacted the local commune and was privileged to be given permission to consult their archives. After extensive dusty research this week, it appears the name Ermite came after the local noble, Godefroid, 1
st duke of Brabant, gave the land to the powerful Abbaye de Gembloux in 1131. The abbey used the gift to build a chapel and a basic hermitage for a monk to help him spread God’s word in the area. Almost 900 years on, we enjoyed a small benefit from that legacy. The commune now describes the trail as “cette superbe balade”.
Exiting the Ermite trail, we came across the surprising sight of a field on our left where some contented horses were munching grass liberally peppered with daisies. In January? The flour then took us back to an earlier check where this time we turned left, instead of straight ahead as on the out trail. After passing a sign extolling the significance of Braine l’Alleud’s 17
th century wood, we arrived back at the start after a basic trail of about 5.3km, with checkers clocking around 7km.
The après was full of delights and New Year bonhomie. Martine brought two galettes des rois. These did not produce any kings, but two queens (Hannah and Harriet). Hare (she/her) provided delicious soup and her signature home-made sausage rolls, along with other usual hash fare. Hare (he/him) introduced us to the distinctly quaffable output of the local micro-brewery. 
A highly enjoyable start to 2023 hashing.
Turnout: c30 (YHS, before drinking beer, counted 32. Another keen observer logged 28)
Weather: dry with a slightly chilly breeze, with no rain forecast before 9pm
Berties:
😊 😊 (the first nice, dry day in ages although the morning sun had disappeared by early afternoon)
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Hash No 2173
31.12.22
 
Start & Après: Chez Coldrick
 
Hares: Philip
 
Starters
On the last Hash of the year, it was a pleasure to welcome back some old and some new friends – this ultimate run of 2022 was also notable in taking us through some old and some new corners of Woluwe St Pierre, and finally, the Hash being dominated by Brits or at least people with a British heritage we can’t fail to mention the weather, which at 15° C was certainly the mildest Saturday in December 2022, and possibly other Decembers as well.
 
As the witching hour, having passed 3pm, was approaching 3:10, Peter Coldrick raised his voice to announce to all present that their daughter Joelle is expecting a second child: cue for loud cheers and congratulations all round.
 
The Hash photo was taken by Ellen Sweet-Escott and then with an economy of explanation [regular Brussels-based Hares might care to take note, for this and future scribes who often try to recall and record many often irrelevant and tangential remarks] Philip announced, “trail starts on left” and we were off.
 
Main Course
We crossed the Rue au Bois, turned left, then right and so on for quite a few times. The hare kept a careful eye out for stragglers and the walkers as we followed a left-then-right-then-left pattern down and along towards but close to, but not quite as far as Stockel Square. Woluwe St Pierre is mainly populated in this quadrant by prosperous villas most with their own garages and well-tended gardens. This resulted in a brief conversation as to which is the more prosperous within the 19 Brussels communes? Some opted for Uccle, some for WSP.
YHS has subsequently carried out a Google search and finds that it all depends on how ‘prosperous’ is defined. Ixelles enjoys, or suffers, the highest average house prices. Watermael-Boitsfort has the highest income per capita; Uccle is by far the least densely populated and is also very wealthy on average. Perhaps of more concerns six of the nineteen capital’s municipalities have average incomes below the national average with Saint-Josse-ten-Noode being the poorest with an annual income per inhabitant 46% below the Belgian national average. Here endeth the 2022 lesson of trivial information from YHS.
 
Philip and former school friend Michael maintained a good pace and banter as the peloton rose and descended the hills that lead up towards the forest. Jackie and Ellen were regularly in the lead as we criss-crossed streets old and new returning past Joli-Bois and nearby Sportcity. However, the front runners were routinely followed by Alison and Judi as leaders of the walkers.
 
Après
Happy and hungry hashers were rewarded by helpings of home-made soup, lashings of cheese, bread, nibbles, and assorted beers and soft drinks. Many thanks and repeated congratulations to Philip, Rowena and Peter for another memorable hash and the prospect of a new baby in 2023.
 
Turnout:
18 hashers plus a ‘Mary’ (aka Ian Hamilton)
Distance: 5 to 6 km
Weather: mild @ 14 to 15°C, two Berties:
😊 😊 (& no rain).

coldrick hash 311222
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Hash No 2171
17.12.22
 
Start & Après: Chez McGoverns
 
Hare: Ed
 
The BruH3 ‘Night Hash’ has been a faithful tradition as far as YHS can recall.
If last week’s hash had recorded the lowest temperatures so far this winter, the Night Hash was probably as cold if not colder than a week ago. This did not deter many.
We gather in the gloom of dusk a few minutes after sunset, just before 5pm in Brussels, with headlights, torches or other means of illumination and then set-off for a Hash in the dark.
 
As usual whenever Ed is the Hare he takes a photo of the assembled hashers but into whatever part of cyberspace these disappear we are rarely informed. As he had our attention from his front doorsteps, he made the shocking announcement “flour is on the LEFT” not since Adam was a boy has such a revolutionary statement been made. So shocking indeed that there was momentary silence until Roger saw his chance to warm up by running quickly off down the McGovern drive in his T shirt, shorts, no gloves or hat towards the first deviant flour.
 
In truth, this area of suburban Wezembeek-Oppem consists of largely well-ordered and appropriately laid out houses in relatively well-lit streets and so our portable illuminations were only occasionally needed to identify the differences between residual frozen patches of snow or frost. We turned left and left again, as instructed and after crossing the 39 tram tracks, turned left a third time at which point it could be deduced we were likely to be running anti-clockwise and hence the left-leaning flour.
 
However, a McGovern hash is not ever entirely without its variations and so in the company of Alison S and a couple of others we had to retrace our steps on the discovery of a turning to the right.
 
After some further deviations and a classic and well-advertised back-check we returned to the hum of traffic on the Brussels Ring and knew that we were enroute for home.
 
As we entered the McGovern abode we were assaulted by the welcome heat from a log fire, the scent of mulled wine, decorations galore and the familiar sound of Christmas Carols.
 
After charging our glasses, and Roger took off his shoes to cool down, hashers divided into two groups: the musicians and singers and the others. Roger sat at the grand piano and was joined by Peter Willis on mouth organ and Tim King, inaugurally as far as YHS is aware, on violin. Apart from an occasional checking between the musicians as to which key would be most suitable the singers loudly and cheerfully sang each of the carols on the song-sheets.
 
Norma and Ed had again excelled themselves with a table groaning with cold and warm Christmas delicacies. Supplies of a variety of beers, mulled wine, white and red wine were more than adequate for this happy and traditional Night Hash to be celebrated in style after a couple of years of abstinence due to the pandemic.
 
We wish all our readers a happy holiday break, safe travels and best wishes for 2023.
 
Turnout: about 20 including too many ‘Marys’ to count
 
Distance: 4.5 km
 
Weather: cold @ 0 to - 2°C, one Bertie:  
😊 (no rain or other precipitation).

night hash 2022-3night hash 2022-1night hash 2022-2

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Hash No 2170
10.12.22
 
Start: Terlanen church car-park off Bollestraat
 
Après: Herberg ‘t Klein Verzet
 
Hares: Alison & John
 
On possibly the chilliest afternoon to date this winter a goodly crowd of 18 hashers were happily chatting as John attempted to brief us with the offer of “free beer” if we completed the task ahead. A couple of minutes of more banter and heckling used up the time until 3:10 when John was able to announce that he had laid “a relatively short course on account of the weather of about 4 km, although there is also a Short and a Long, but not to worry as the Long was not much longer than the short, except it was perhaps more complex to follow”!?! With these cryptic remarks we were off; however, it was immediately clear that the walkers were being shepherded in one direction uphill while the runners were directed downhill.
 
Never daunted, the walkers plodded up and the runners ran down, only of course, or indeed ‘off course’ to find that a couple of false trails quickly meant that the runners had to retrace their steps and follow the walkers. A clever tactic, if vain on this occasion, to allow any late comers to join the Hash without having to run round in circles (see later).
 
Terlanen is not one of the prettiest or tidiest villages, but it has grown and expanded on either side of the river Dyle which in turn marks the border between Flanders and Wallonia along this part of Brabant. As a result of the erosion by the river over the centuries Terlanen is also host to some of the hardest hills regularly used in Belgian bike races.
 
After a couple of false trails on walking paths up these steep hills the Hare had laid flour up Moskestraat, one of the steepest cobbled streets in Belgium, but whether out of pity for the average fitness of Bru Hashers these days or for another reason we were directed down again to and across the river. Passing along paths past water-logged fields on either side we managed to remain relatively dry if slightly muddy before crossing Abstraat and beginning to climb the wooded hills on the southern side. The sun was shining, and the majority of oak trees still had their golden leaves to provide colour above and underfoot.
 
Our visit to Wallonia was unremarkable in that we hardly encountered anyone and certainly didn’t meet any border posts. We re-crossed the river and started uphill again. Tony Gunn discovered a gentler grass covered track having abandoned a bit of tarmac and then found himself on flour again [this is known as being an SCB – talk to any older Hasher for translation]. The loyal Pete Briggs and YHS kept to the original trail and reached the Short V long divide. Pete took the Short, YHS the Long [someone has to satisfy the Hare that all his laying was not wasted].
 
As the Hare had predicted, the Short and the Long soon each had their own on-home signs and re-joined at the carpark-cum-children’s exercise-park.
 
A novel and welcome aspect of this Hash was holding the Après in the curiously named ‘t Klein Verzet [roughly translates as ‘the small rest or pause’ public house. A subset of the Hash, known as Bertie’s Bikers, regularly meet in this watering-hole for coffee and sometimes something stronger. The owners, Dirk and his wife, are good hosts and had reserved a room with a wood burning stove for our après. The walls are decorated with the widest variety of radical political posters and photos from the iconic Che Guevara, through fascist Spanish posters, Palestinian female fighters to Irish Republican Army recruitment posters. Dirk had a career with a branch of the UN Food Development agency and served in 10 or more small and remote developing countries in the South Pacific and Africa, including Eritrea. Dirk has also included some memorabilia he has collected from the nearby remains of the British run prisoner of war camp in 1944/45 in another room in the pub.
 
Serving 18 hashers plus a Mary (aka Rory, who had been late for the start and found himself running in a circle – as did we) took a little time but all were eventually rewarded.
 
Many warm thanks to Alison and John for generously guiding us round this attractive walk/run on a cold day and rewarding us all with a large variety of water, coffee and beers as well as cheeses, crisps and nuts.
 
 
Turnout: 18 + 1 ‘Mary’.
 
Distance: 4 to 6 km varying depending on number of false trails and back-checks.
 
Weather: Cold @ 0 to 2°C, one Bertie: some
😊 (& no rain).
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Hash No 2169 03.12.22
 
Start and après: Bosmuseum car park, Tumulidreef, Groenendaal. 
 
Hares: Shirley & Tony Gunn
 
We were welcomed on arrival by Chief Hare to explain that while Shirley had recovered from not feeling well earlier in the week, she had helped lay the trail earlier and would turn up for the Après.
 
As the numbers of hashers present reached eleven, Tony briefed us that, given the chilly weather, it was a relatively short trail, but hashers would have to pay attention to two back checks and even use their mental and physical facilities to follow the correct route, and then we were off.
 
We jogged gently downhill and around the Bosmuseum building only to find our first back-check, which required us to return to the main road. We ran under the railway bridge and up towards Boitsfort, only to make a U-turn along the footpath and cycle track and so past the newly extended Groenendaal station car park. [Rumour has it that the third and fourth rail tracks have been laid and certainly three tracks also have the overhead electric cabling installed – could there be a fast suburban service and improved frequencies at the main stations this decade –there were many new concrete blocks and extra building equipment and rail workers around, but the jury is still out on if and when any new trains might run!].
 
Back under the railway bridge and across the Chaussee de la Hulpe, a stop for a pee, and we were into the forest approaching the Royal Lodge overlooking the former Groenendaal horse-racing track. We twisted and turned, discovered and negotiated the second back-check and ran around three-quarters of the outside of the former racetrack without ever actually seeing the Royal Lodge, but it is still standing, we believe.
 
After a couple more checks we descended, all except John F ignoring the open-air playground, until we reached the 3 Groenendaal lakes. John rejoined the pack and we were rewarded by the reappearance of the sight of the railway bridge over the Ring and the on-home sign.
 
As promised, Shirley was present at the Après armed with a succession of small boxes of freshly-made warm mini-pizzas, gratefully and progressively consumed by all. Many congratulations were offered and acknowledged by the hares for a good Hash and generous selection of beers and vitals.
 
 
Turnout: 11 [1 Gunn, 1 Judi, 1 Chris, 1 John & Alison, Rite-on Sec, Ian, Rory, Pete, & 2 Julians + Shirley as a ‘Mary’.
 
Distance: 4 to 6 km varying depending on number of false trails and back-checks.
 
Weather: cold @ 3°C, but felt like 0° or less due to sharp wind, so Berties:
😊 (no rain).
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Hash No 2167
19.11.22
 
Start and après: Junction of Kapucijnendreef & Tulpenlaan, Jezus-Eik 
 
Hare: no hare but the ‘magnificent seven’ keep on hashing!
 
The third Bare Bones Hash in November, as once more no volunteers were forthcoming to lay a trail. However, we were rewarded by the presence of Rite-On Sec, two Gunners, YHS, the latter 3 of whom had laid a trail from the same start point a few weeks ago and we also had Alison S, Ed and Wolfgang to make up 7 hashers in total.
 
Collectively there was an agreement to skip the original false trail along Tulpenlaan and so we dived into the woods and long the first path towards Quatre Bras. We jogged almost continuously for about 750m in this direction. There was then a parting of the ways with Jon, Alison & Wolfgang turning right 50 m short of the Arboretum carpark while the Gunns, Ed and YHS turned left and down into the sylvan glades we now know so well.
 
Surreptitiously at first, we jogged for a couple of hundred metres then walked. YHS chatted with Tony and Ed reminiscing about school days and running like Baden Powell scouts, as we had, and then they described activities in the Combined Cadet Forces of their respective British schools while YHS recalled his cross-country running along the Lagan valley on the outskirts of Belfast.
 
Time and distances passed easily, Ed then revealed that he had jogged more this Saturday than in most Hashes over the past few years, Tony & Shirley have also got fitter recently by following Canadian Air Force exercises and so we finished feeling well and the rain had stopped.
 
The Arboretum trio returned at the same time and Rite-On Sec provided beer and crisps to our satisfaction. Congratulations to Jon for the essential sustenance and thanks to all who turned out.
 
 
Turnout: 7 [1 Nutter, 2 Gunns, Alison S,  Ed, Wolfgang & YHS. Plus Lyn came as a Mary.
 
Distance: 3 to 5 km varying depending on routes taken
 
Weather: wet to start, cool at 4C, but dry for the après.

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Hash No 2166 12.11.22

Start and après:
Ypres

Photo collection


IMG_3950IMG_3962IMG_3947IMG_3949IMG_3945IMG_3963
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Hash No 2165
5 November 2022
 
Start and après: Groenendael station car park. 
 
Hares: no hares but lots of Nutters and plenty of beer!
 
A second Bare Bones Hash in a week, as once more no volunteers were found to lay a trail. However, we were rewarded by not just one Nutter, the Rite-On Sec, but he was accompanied by Pascale and Tom making up over a third of 8 hashers present.
 
At the due time, plus a couple of minutes for any last-minuters, we were off into the woods which Pascale informed us had been donated by a wealthy heiress following a request from King Leopold II. Apparently, the King had promoted the idea of building the three railway stations: Boitsfort, Groenendael and Hoeilaart to encourage Brussels residents of the late 19
th century out into the woods. The main attraction of Groenendael was the horse racing track on the far side of the station, which originally had a tram track to carry passengers from the station to the racetrack but on the north-eastern side of the station the woods had been privately owned. [It is notable that today, over a century later, these woods include a bigger mix of deciduous trees, especially oak and birch, than the predominant beech in most of the main Soignes forest.]
 
After a short trail, with occasional calls (old habits die hard despite the absence of any flour) led mainly by Alison, Tony, YHS and Shirley, on our early return to the station cark park we decided to run a couple of extra loops: one via the Bosmuseum and the famous racetrack and the other also across the Ch de la Hulpe into the main woods and back again.
 
The Nutter family had exceeded our expectations by providing a full Après with plenty of beer, crisps, cheese, bridge rolls and charcuterie and a table!
 
Turnout: 8 - 3 Nutters, 2 Gunns, Irini, freshly back from Chicago, Alison S & YHS.
 
Distance: 3 to 6.5 km varying depending on routes taken
 
Weather: cloudy, cool at 9C, but no rain.

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Hash No 2164
29 October 2022
 
Start and après: Jezus Eik, junction of Kapucijnendreef and Tulpenlaan. 
 
Hares: Back to Basics: no Flour, no Hares but lots of sun and good cheer
 
Despite regular exhortations from Rite-On Sec, we assembled without a freshly set trail. Fortunately, the previous week’s Hares were present, there had been practically no rain and there were willing volunteers to repeat the run of a week earlier in a spirit of solidarity.
 
These volunteers included 2 of the 3 previous hares, Shirley & Tony, YHS having decided that running the same trail for a third time in two weeks was a step too far and so went off on his own down the Dash route and back through the Arboretum.
 
As we reunited for the more than adequate Après, contributions from everyone present, a good time had been had by all in yet another fine, dry and warm and sunny late October afternoon. The previous week’s flour was largely still visible on the mossy banks and lower trunks of trees uneaten by greedy crows.
 
Turnout: 13
 
Distance: 4.5 to 7.5 km varying depending on routes taken
 
Weather: warm at 24C, sunny, so
😊😊 😊Berties.
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Hash No 2160 1 October 2022
Hares: Mariette and Lucy

Start and après: Piscine site du Paradis, Brian l’Alleud
 
It was great to see Mariette, a former hash stalwart, back, helped by Lucy, and welcoming a fairly sizable pack to what was new hashing terrain for almost all of us. An added bonus for YHS whose navigational skills are somewhat lacking is that the instructions to the start were admirably clear: take the ring, exit 24, turn right, cross three roundabouts and Bob’s your uncle.
 
Mariette warned that not having hashed for some time (Why don’t you start one where you live in the Netherlands? – ed), she might be a little rusty. To head off any possible criticism, not only had she recced the route, but she had also walked it twice to ensure it was not too long. Then, with instructions that the trail had been tightly laid, we should not run through false trails and should stick to paths, she led us across a grassy field, with no path in sight, into the nearby woods.
 
As we exited, Ed’s strength surprised us, and him, as he flattened a tree which was not as solid as it looked. This brought us to a small road where after various false trails, the flour led in an anti-clockwise direction out of the woods and back into sight of the start. With some bemusement, and hope in some quarters, there was speculation this could be candidate for the shortest ever hash (a proud record currently held by Katie). But the hares had other ideas.
 
The trail continued across more grassy ground (I thought you were told to stick to the paths – ed) before entering a wood. This successfully slowed down the front runners led by Natasha, making a welcome appearance from London just two weeks after brother Leo had joined us in torrential rain. It was also good to see Arthur who had managed to escape from the UK for a bit and hoped he would be able to get back in, and Beth who came along for a second bout of hashing.
 
Emerging from the wood into an undulating park, we passed a large group of boy scouts and girl guides on our left standing nonchalantly in a circle. Obviously underage and unaware of traditional hash antics, they were not clutching bottles of beer or singing ribald songs, but as soon as they saw us they began vigorous chants of “Allez, Allez”. This motivated some of the pack, but others who seemed determined to have a lethargic afternoon chose to ignore them.
 
The trail followed sundry paths that snaked round various lakes and at one point took us along a narrow ledge with a pond, depth unknown, centimetres away on our left. All those who accepted the challenge, negotiated it successfully.
 
Leaving the park, we briefly ran along some urban streets before venturing into what appeared private Vivaqua property. After three recces, Mariette knew what to do. She and her female accomplices hauled on the barbed wire to create a gap which creaking knees and bones crawled unceremoniously through into a grassy field. Back on a path again and, lo and behold, the flour was on the left. But it led us all safely back to the
après.
 
A very enjoyable afternoon with the added bonus of seeing Mariette again. And rusty she was not. Overheard later, was the sotto voce suggestion from one hare to another that perhaps they should lay a trail every quarter or so. That seems way over and beyond the call of duty, but I just mention it so RiteOnSec is fully aware of the enthusiasm in our ranks.
 
As YHS for this hash, I have been asked by Natasha to record that she was very happy with her quince haul from the afternoon. RiteOnSec sent everyone her photos on 2 Oct (OK – it’s quicker to send photos than do a write up). These showed what I would never have guessed are quinces and one or two recognisable faces, one of whom, coincidentally, has a quince tree in his garden.   

Turnout: 19
Weather: warmish and dry, though slightly chilly during the après.
Berties:
😊 😊
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Photos from
Jan & Gösta

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Hash No 2163
22.10.22
 
Start and après: Jezus Eik, junction of Kapucijnendreef and Tulpenlaan
 
Hares: Julian O, Tony & Shirley

Despite the fact that only 3 days earlier, we had the prospect of a 'Hare-less' Hash, by Saturday we had not one, but three, Julian Oliver, and Tony and Shirley Gunn.  They couldn't have picked a better day.  Warm autumnal sunshine and a gentle breeze, causing Julian to reflect on the old Perry Como's 1957 song 'Catch a falling star (AKA) leaf, put it in your pocket.'
 

We welcomed Jan and Gösta from Sweden, who some may recognise from our Hash Zoom calls during C19 Lockdown.  They last hashed regularly in Brussels 36 years ago and Jan was responsible for introducing one of our former On-on Secs, notably Harriet, to Hashing.
 
Although most of us know this area like the back of our hands, the beautiful autumnal colours and falling leaves gave the impression of being in pastures new. Numerous false trails from the start (always useful to have 3 hares in this respect) enabled Ed, our one latecomer to catch up. Fortunately Alison Smith was with us too, as she diligently checked nearly every false trail.
 
The Après was also excellent for an impromptu event with even more beer than usual and  some wonderful sandwiches from Harriet (still recovering from her foot op).
 
All in all, a very enjoyable afternoon.
 
Attendance: 13 plus 3 Mary's (all with a very valid medical excuse)
Berties: 😊😊😊😊😊

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Hash No 2162
15.10.22
 
Start and après: Onthaalport De Torenvalk, Blanden
 
Hares: Arthur and Ed
 
A new venue for most of the hashers between Leuven and Wavre just off the N25 main road.
Clear email instructions to parking beside a 30-metre-high wooden observation tower meant there was a prompt turnout of a baker’s dozen by the appointed hour.
 
Rain in Brussels and a lot of spray on the E40 resulted in only a few brave souls abandoning their waterproof tops before the start. The oral briefing was equally crisp: “If you find flour on the left then you are going in the wrong direction, no whining about the lengths as there is a Short and a Long. If you find yourself on the N25 then you are “hors piste”. Arthur had been ably assisted in laying by Ed who informed us that if we failed to find any flour after 200 to 300 metres then we should return. Photos were taken by a competing group of elderly walkers and then Ed. And so, we were off.
 
We jogged off through the car park and away from the tower across well-laid paths that curved and wended their way across an open grass plain until we reached the Meerdael forest.
 
By when the Shipp family group took turns in the lead along pleasantly wide trails. The forest floor was well populated by mushrooms and other fungi. A few dog walkers but relatively few other runners and bikers. Occasionally we exited the woods but usually these were false trails which kept the peloton more or less together. We crossed the busy N25 a couple of times on wooden bridges and towards the end, after catching up with the tail Hare found ourselves running or walking alongside a heavily protected military zone. By which time Jon Forman had taken over the lead. Just before reaching the on-home sign we met a ‘Mary’ aka Caroline who had had some difficulty finding the start: "I don't read instructions very well!". She then helped us retrace her steps back to where we came across a hanging seat on which we could enjoy a swing – it appeals to the child in most of us – a nice touch before we finally exited the largest deciduous wood in Flanders and returned across the open ground to the base of the wooden tower.   
 
An après repast was quickly laid out on a convenient square picnic table near the base of the tower. Within a few minutes of the first beers being opened we heard a call and looked up to see our two hares calling and waving from an observation platform at the top of the tower.
General agreement that Arthur had discovered a new area of forest convenient for most hashers and as Bertie predicted years ago the weather gods still generally smile between 3 and 4pm on Saturday afternoons - well done to the Hares.
 
Turnout: 14 + 3 – 1 Mary plus Christian & Harriet, on her first outdoor walk after her toe op.
 
Distance: YHS recorded 7.9 km in 58 minutes, including false trails and check-backs
 
Weather: progressively clear blue sky and sunshine : so, 2 'Berties'.
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Hash No 2159
24.09.22
 
Start and après: Av d’Italie & Av du Derby
 
Hares: Jackie & Hugh Dow
 
After an initial hesitation about whether we were to meet Chez Dows in the Clos or on the Avenue d’Italie the discovery of a check mark seemed promising. A flour spattered Jackie appearing a few moments later confirmed the matter. Numbers were approaching a quorum of 10 according to Mick Mac, who knows such arcane rules [There are no rules: Ed] when we were surprised by Rory arriving still short by 5 minutes of our academic ten minutes grace period. “Perhaps we should wait for Caroline” quipped Rory, which could have been an eternity in the light drizzle that had descended despite a promise of dry conditions from 3pm. However, this minor delay of banter allowed the cycling Kings to arrive, dismount, lock bikes, change clothes and shoes and store their saddle bags in a nearby hasher’s car.
 
Jackie then explained that Hugh was obliged to stay at home to baby-sit a plumber, as a new boiler was being installed, and that by the way if anyone wanted a pee, they should consider finding a convenient tree before the Après as there was unlikely to be any water to flush in their apartment. Thus fortified by this vital intelligence the Hare continued with the classic “Flour is always on the right, I’m pretty confident. There is one major road to cross, so be careful as we don’t want to lose any hashers to a traffic accident” – and then instead of indicating any direction she said “There’s the first check” pointing to our feet and we were off.
 
As we were standing at a crossroads this last instruction sent the assembled group off in at least four different directions – as each road was quite wide hashers had to explore both sides of each road until the cry of On-On heralded us towards, along and eventually across the Franklin Roosevelt dual carriageway and into the Bois de la Cambre.
 
Our hare had worked diligently in laying a circuitous and at times baffling set of long false trails and back-checks that wound and stretched the peloton as a series of different hashers took the lead and the walkers were largely left to their own capable devices.
 
The Bois de la Cambre park contains a wide variety of roads a few with and many more without cars and busses, restaurants onshore and on an island, a bandstand that was populated by a large and fairly orderly Scout troop, some fast and some slower cyclists, and a spattering of single and groups of walkers, but many fewer than usual on a drier Saturday afternoon. We encountered all these and more: some muddy and some dry paths and tracks, a bridge and the occasional short-cuts across grass and through car parks. Eventually, the trail exited the park again, past the iconic architecture of the Saudi Arabian embassy, and finally along the Av du Derby and back through another little wood to Chez Dows. The plumber still busy finishing installing the boiler and surprise, surprise a lively and talkative Peter Coldrick (and Rowenna) masquerading as a pair of Marys.
 
Hugh was on hand to welcome us to the Après with a full selection of Belgian beers of varying strengths, plenty of crisps, cheeses and other vitals. Hugh had assisted carrying flour and some laying before the plumber arrived but fullest credit to Jackie for an energetic and stretching Hash.
 
Turnout: 15 + 2 Coldricks
 
Distance: YHS recorded 8.5 km in 59 minutes, including several false trails and check-backs
 
Weather: cool, cloudy, humid and occasional drizzle: so, ZERO Berties.

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Hash No 2157
10.09.22
 
Start and après: Molen van de Zeven Fonteinen
 
Hares: Barbara & Peter Briggs
 
We knew immediately that we were in safe hands as soon as the Briggs arrived ten minutes before 3pm looking calm, cool and collected. No last minute laying. No flour covered tops, bottoms or shoes. These are among the most experienced hashers and layers in our group.
 
Keith and Lucy were among our fewer regular participants. We were also graced by the company of the ever-youthful looking Mariette on a welcome weekend visit from The Netherlands. Christian predicted rain at 4pm and most of the pack wore or carried a waterproof top, just in case. But we started in bright sunshine.
 
“Flour is always on the right, except when for obvious reasons its not possible. There is a long and a short – the first flour is over there” – with which we were off.
 
Up the progressively steeper and one of the roughest cobbled roads still open to vehicular traffic, we passed along one side of the lake. Then back from a false trail, we crossed fallen trees along the second side, another false trail sent YHS back from completing a third side of the lake. We then began to climb mainly up and then down dales and through some mixed woods. Generally led by one or other of the Shipp family Hannah, Sasha or Jonny, who progressively stretched the peloton of walkers and runners along a trail that combined varying portions of wide, narrow, steep and gentle paths above the Sept Fontaines’ lake.
 
Almost before we knew it we were back to the lake and the on-home sign that pointed us back to the decking with its picture perfect widest view of the lake. Almost to the minute of 4pm there was a light sprinkle of rain to justify Christian’s forecast.
With a couple of helpers bags and boxes appeared and a generous Après was set up on the edge of the decking above the water. It is rare these days to find among the vitals hand-made sandwiches – but not only were these hand-made they were also individually wrapped in kitchen paper – this being further evidence of the care and attention provided by the Briggs.
 
As the Après proceeded there was an unfortunate incident when a fortunately empty beer bottle appeared to fall into the water; on further inspection it was still visible caught among some weeds. With the assistance of a long lean arm the bottle was retrieved only for an empty plastic box to slip to the deck with an almost universal concern of dreaded plastic pollution, but it too was rescued, and environmental damage avoided. Many thanks to Mr & Mrs Briggs for a near perfect Hash.
 
Turnout: 16
 
Distance: almost exactly 5 km, including a few false trails (missing the Long or the Short?)
 
Weather: mainly sunny with a light sprinkle: Berties:
😊😊
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Hash No 2156 03/09/22

Hares: Chris & Judi

Start and après: Petanque court, Guillmarde, La Hulpe

Yet another sunny Saturday afternoon! There had been a light sprinkle of rain around dawn but if July rainfall was 95% below normal, August and the first 3 days of September seem likely to match this long drought. Road works and the consequential deviations and delays entitled the clock watchers to grant an extra 5 minutes, allowing a slightly flustered John Forman to park and to join the start at 15h15.
 
Principal Hare informed us that “flour was on the right, except for one occasion when there was no space, and so it was on the left” then. We were also encouraged to enjoy the pretty countryside surrounding the trail.
 
An initial false trail ensured a pattern, that was to be repeated regularly, ensuring that the peloton kept together, with one glaring exception – see below – it also allowed Rory to arrive and even lead before the second long false trail had been completed.
 
We wended our way past bijou cottages, freshly painted and bordering a winding cobbled street, before descending and then entering a wooded area. Again, the layers had managed to entice the front runners up a long narrow footpath before a false trail brought most of us back down again. We resumed our climb through the woods along a much-deteriorated cobbled cart track until emerging on to the borders of a number of large fields populated by horses. Back and forth we went around the fields and past the entrance to a large estate protected by ESG security.
 
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” Slight exaggeration, but as we trawled our way up a long concrete path in the hot sun, checking left and right, Dr John, Hugh and YHS became detached from the rest of the pack and reached a main road. John went left, I went right and Hugh sensibly stayed put. YHS reached the church which YHS had last encountered on 1st January Hash 8 months ago, found no flour at the front, and returned to join Hugh. We could still see John further down the road and so called and indicated to him that we were returning away from the main road. As we reminisced about how easy it was to get lost in just a couple of minutes if one lost the pack, so it turned out. Hugh and YHS did find the pack but because we had lost sight of John we split up again, Hugh following the pack and YHS re-ran up to try and locate Dr John, phoned him but he had eluded us.
 
The rest of the trail was a gentle canter downhill back into the village and into the square or triangle where the legendary ‘Toots Thielemans’ Belgian jazz musician has his statue, then down Rue Cornelis and the Petanque park.
 
The Après was quickly decanted from a car to the park bench and as the first beers were being gratefully swallowed a rather hot but only slightly panting John Forman arrived having jogged an extra km or so by using Google Maps.
 
A few beers and plenty of crisps, cheese, charcuterie and home-made humus later, John having left us in his open-top red Mini several minutes earlier, returned swearing that we should never rely on Google Maps again since they had taken him all around the village and back again.
 
As the banter continued, Rory and Hugh regaled us with stories, Chris showed us her frozen coloured balls, which she used to cool her drinks! Everyone agreed that the countryside scenery had been magnificent and worth the heat and Hugh concluded events by saying how much he enjoyed a long après.
 
Turnout: 16
 
Weather: dry, warm and humid with clouds hinting at possible thunder.
 
Berties:
😊😊

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Hash No 2155 27/08/22

Hares: Harriet & Christian


thumbnail_IMG_4292 KT photo copy

Not for the first time, and most probably not the last, YHS arrived at the start a few minutes after the pack had set off due to his deficient map reading skills. This meant I missed the crucial information hares always share about the trail ahead. But nil desperandum. A false trail at the start – a not uncommon ploy by these experienced hares – gave time to catch up the pack and be briefed on the key message: co-hare 2 (he/him) would not be running with us as he had an important birthday barbecue to attend and had left shepherding duties to co-hare 1 (she/her). I was informed it was unclear whether co-hare 2, who was in charge of après provisions, would be back in time to assuage our hunger and thirst.
 
The 5km trail made clever use of the many paths that coursed like veins through the extensive wood, covering some of the terrain former hasher Mariette used to use when she lived in Kortenberg. They offered a good running surface, but required close attention to ensure roots did not trip up the unwary. Hannah, showing the benefits of a recent three week outward bound course in Wales, and Eve assumed most of the checking responsibilities, aided largely by Sasha and Jonny with input from Ed and Dr John.
 
At one point the trail climbed a steep sandy earthen hill which would not have been out of place in the 1965 British prison drama, The Hill, directed by Sidney Lumet and set in North Africa at the end of World War II. Google it to verify this is no hyperbole. Luckily for us, previous climbers had shaped some rough steps at the side to help our ascent. At this point, co-hare 1 wisely offered the walkers some way behind a less vertiginous alternative route.
 
By now, runners were on a plateau and checking in all directions searching for the trail, reckoning that the worst was behind them. They were wrong. The flour led to a stream several feet below ground level, not very deep, but too wide to leap over. A solid pipe offered one way for the surefooted to cross. Most chose the more cautious route, stepping gingerly on slippery and randomly placed stones which acted as a not every efficient and primitive dam. Some wet shoes appeared to be the only casualties, until co-hare 1 was the last to cross.
 
YHS was not present, but has it from various unreliable sources, that as she lost her footing, she fell gracefully backwards into the stream. It conjured up images of the Swedish triple jumper at this year’s Munich European championships after he lost his rhythm. Definitely worth a look on You Tube if you have not already seen it. Like him, co-hare 1 took it in good spirit.
 
The obstacles were not over. Several massive tree trunks lay across the path and had to be negotiated before emerging out of the woods into Kortenberg park where a fair was in full swing and had covered part of the trail. While searching for the flour, it was just possible to see the remains of the old Benedictine abbey (more info below for the historically minded). Once flour was eventually found, it was then a gentle run-in to the après where co-hare 2 was nonchalantly waiting with supplies.
 
A lovely challenging and widely enjoyed trail which triggered the usual positive and negative comments from the usual suspects. It also successfully ensured hashers finished within a few minutes of each other, despite the large differences in speed and age (which I calculate was about 60 years).
 
Definitely worth coming back to Brussels for after a four-week holiday.
 
Turnout: 17
 
Weather: dry, pleasantly warm and slightly overcast
 
Berties:
😊😊
 
APRES
As we savoured juicy sweet tomatoes from the hares’ allotment and what were described as “extremely good, failed biscuits”, which bore a suspicious resemblance to oat flapjacks, the word “virgin” suddenly popped up in one conversation. This prompted YHS to share some recent correspondence in The Times after its weather correspondent had mentioned the mnemonic Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain as a way to remember the sequence of colours of the rainbow.
 
Readers – the last two were women – wrote in to offer their own:
 
Real Old Yokels Guzzle Beer in Volumes
Virgins In Bed Give You Odd Reactions
Virgins In Bed Give You Outrageous Reactions
 
 
KORTENBERG
 
The name was first mentioned in 1095 when the Bishop of Cambrai allowed the Duke of Brabant, Godfried I, to build a Benedectine abbey on the Curtenbergh (‘short hill’). In 1312, John II, Duke of Brabant signed the Charter of Kortenberg in the abbey. This established the first constitution for the entire duchy of Brabant. After England’s Magna Carta, it is the second document in western history to limit the powers of monarchs in favour of civil freedoms.
 
People associated with Kortenberg include Marie Abts-Ermens who sewed the first Belgian flag on 26 August 1830 and British General Montgomery (in 1941 and 1944).
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Hash No 2154 20/08/22

Hare: Julian O


It was very pleasant weather for a Hash, sunny with some fluffy white clouds, but at 23’C, much cooler than of late.  It was lovely to see Jill again, but unfortunately many regulars were away or otherwise engaged, so the turnout was only 9. (Julian proudly pointed out that this was 2 more than the previous week).   It was their loss as it was an excellent Hash, initially through familiar territory, but with a skillful Hare at the helm, new paths were revealed which few except for Christian were familiar with.  The Hare explained that the usual rules applied, but that there would be a Short and a Long.  The latter took us along some of these wonderful sunken valleys through the woods, which at this time of year were damp and cool rather than the usual thick mud. 
As usual, Julian and Lyn, who fortunately was recovering from a nasty insect bike and neck strain, put on a lovely spread on their terrace, which even included gazpacho, mangetout and fresh mango; this is setting the bar pretty high for future Apres! (Sorry I don’t have accents on my antiquated English laptop).  Julian apologised that having enjoyed the wonderful Witlov beer last week at Alison Smith’s Hash in Kampenhout, wasn’t able to buy any, despite driving 1h 20 mins to the brewery on Thursday, only to find that it was closed.  Thank you for the kind thought, Julian.
Berties: 4
😊😊😊😊
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Hash No 2153 ‘A Hash of Two Halves’ 13/08/22
 
Hares: Alison S and Judi

 
Starters
Attracted by the prospect of a relaxing hash in a new venue with a brewery après, YHS had failed to note the Brabant weather warning of extreme heat forecast from 15h. The heat was indeed high at around 33C as a select group joined Alison and Judi in the Labo Café car park seeking the limited shade of a few trees. It was quickly agreed to delay the start for an extra 5 minutes to allow any latecomers to join. Alison then used the last couple of minutes to brief us that there would be a mix of sun and shade, the false trails were short and the whole trail is around 4km. And so, we were off.
 
Main course
Within the first 100 metres the hare volunteered that there was no need to check the first false trail, and then John Forman jogged into the lead with the rest of us following him walking. We left the village and crossed a few tracks where even the weeds were crisp underfoot as we passed through fields. Alison loyally left an extra trail of flour at each turn to enable any latecomers to follow.
 
The trail then took us into the woods, where we passed over a completely dried up stream and other areas of what had been damp and even a swamp but now was safe to cross without a drop of water. Julian R, recently returned from 2.5 weeks holiday in S E Asia with his daughter, shook off any residual jetlag and a recent Covid infection by sharing the checking of some shortish false trails with Dr J. Eventually, we had to leave the shade and the light breeze in the woods to pass through the outskirts of Kampenhout village, including a strangely large and relatively new housing estate consisting of mainly terraced boxes with flat roofs. Alison L and YHS were distinctly unimpressed by the uniformity and boring repetition of these dwellings, they looked like the proverbial “
Little boxes made of ticky tacky/Little boxes, little boxes/Little boxes all the same” sung by Pete Seeger years ago.
 
Après
Never in recent years, at least in YHS’s recollection, since Bertie Johnson used to host us in one of the breweries where he worked, has the Hash ended up in a true brewery. The Labo Café is not only a purveyor of food and conventional drinks, but it is also the site of a micro-brewery ‘Witlov’ established in 2014. On our return to the carpark, we found that a wedding party was in full swing in the front garden, but the host invited us into the inner courtyard where under the shade of parasols we were able to relax and recover from our exertions and enjoy a selection of the excellent beers: a 3%, a 6%, an 8% and even a couple of 9% alcohol beers. The hare had purchased a couple of dozen bottles in advance which were either consumed or taken home as souvenirs. Alison S had also provided plenty of water, cheeses, crisps etc.
 
If the half dozen of us who braved the heat each deserved a medal, there was general approval that Judi deserved two medals and Alison S THREE GOLD Medals for a well organised Hash of two Halves: sun and shade; in a new and charming location.
 
Turnout: 7
 
Distance: 4/5 km – according to how many false trails were completed
 
Weather:  33/34 C, sunny, dry, hot, 3 Berties:
😊😊😊



Screenshot 2022-08-23 at 09.24.21
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Hash No 2152 06.08.22
 
Hares: Jonathan & Pascale

The Hash

 
Clear but laconic instructions from the Hare plus a welcome to Saw Hua from Kuala Lumpur, delighted she was again to join us, and off we went. Left out of the house, longish trail along the road past the stables before turning left into the woods. False trail along the motorway where Tim did a disappearing act – not sure how he made it back but appeared not too long afterwards - seemingly undaunted and leading the pack onwards.   
 
From then on we were wending our way through the woods, up an extremely steep hill  (those with local knowledge took the easier path) and out by the ponds. A lengthy back check left the pack in some disarray but did give everybody a chance to get together again. Called to order by the Hare we retraced our steps, meandering again through the woods before coming out into Hoeilaart proper and the on home. Credit to the Hare for again finding surprises in the territory not too far from his house.
 
The  Après

Pasted Graphic

Liberal cold beer followed by a generous antipasti prepared by Pascale. To accompany Aperol Spritz (for those who wished to imbibe) or a select gamut of fine wines for those who preferred. This was followed by excellent pizzas from the local establishment, ordered and fetched by Pascale. Conversation flowed covering subjects as varied as how to keep a tablecloth in pristine white condition; defining steampunk;  terms of endearment  in different parts of the UK – ‘dear’, ‘pet’, ‘love’, butt, my lovely ; Alexandrian connections linked with an upcoming  exhibition in the Beaux Arts.
 
All this in the bucolic ambience of the Pascale and Jono’s garden as candles were lit and the sun went down.
A very enjoyable afternoon and evening. Happy Birthday and huge thank you to the Hare and Hostess.
 
Numbers: I think there were about 15 runners but forgot to count!   Marys: 5
Berties :) :) :) + 
                 

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Hash No 2151 30.07.22
 
Hare: Ed

‘A Tale of Two Classics’
 

Starters
Most of the Hashers assembled in Loonbeek, halfway between Huldenburg and Neerijse, in good time, but word from Christian & Harriet was that there was a bike race near Leefdael and assorted road closures, and so a 5 minute delay was agreed. Alison gradually retreated, not out of unfriendliness, but to escape the sun which was strong with high humidity and a temperature approaching 30 Celsius. Ed made reassuring noises about the trail providing plenty of shade. The Hare’s formal announcement was brief: his routine photo taken, he told us “flour is on the right, the route is up there for a hundred metres or so and then you should find a check”. And so, we were off.
 
Main course
We were led uphill and into the shade by mother and daughter, not the only lionesses being talked about this weekend. We tacked to the left and then to the right and on upwards we strode. The Hare then suggested that if anyone got lost or left behind the best tactic would be to head downhill [Is this not obvious? Ed]. Eventually we did reach a sort of plateau or at least stopped gaining altitude. We encountered a bit of tarmac but met a check-back and so found ourselves back in the woods. Peter Coldrick, former GrandMaster, would have been proud that despite the small numbers we were good shouters and the pack kept together with regular calls.
 
Jackie and Gabriella were early checkers of several false trails and a few back-checks. Ed stuck by his Wezembeek rules, whatever they are, to justify his signage despite a few challenges. We gradually, then more enthusiastically, descended through the mixed woods until reaching the valley floor where the Voer river flowed cleanly. For the regulars from Bertie’s bikers, we were back on a familiar riverside trail. There was a Long and a Short route home. YHS followed Gabriella on the Long and enjoyed running through one large stand of beech trees with practically no undergrowth which was an exception for the afternoon.
The Long and Short runners and walkers finished closely together which is a tribute to a well laid trail. 
 
Après
Ed and friends quickly set up a table: an unexpected variety of beers appeared, the hare confessing that he had collected the bottles and cans more by their colours than contents, but no-one complained. Crisps, cheeses and charcuterie aplenty were consumed as we admired two classic Citroën cars. John and Alison had arrived in his brilliant yellow and black refurbished 2CV originally built in 1982 while Christian and Harriet had come in their five-day old Citroën DS – a stylish two-tone plug-in hybrid model with more switches and buttons than the 2CV – but the older vehicle prompted many more recollections of past of both human and mechanical adventures across fields, roads and countries of Europe.
 
Turnout: 11
 
Distance: +/- 4.75 km – depending on how many false trails were completed
 
Weather: perfect, sunny, dry, not too hot, 3 Berties:
😊😊😊
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Hash No 2149 16/07/22
 
Hares: Rory & Judi


Starters
 
We were summoned to meet behind the statue of General Jose de San Martin, a liberator of Argentina, Chile & Peru, on horseback and in front of the Tram Museum. We gradually foregathered to admire this tribute by Belgium while drivers sought to find suitable car parking spaces. Almost a dozen walkers and hashers were present, including the unlikely male hare, at 15h10 but were asked to wait for Julian R who duly turned up a few moments later. Flour was “on the right, except when not, and the trail was roughly 5k” and so we were off.
 
Main course
 
Irini was eager to lead us up the hill and onto the former light railway track that now serves as a long car-free trail from the Beaulieu metro station (not to be confused with the Boileau pre-metro station) practically to the centre of Stockel. Irini pressed on towards Stockel and then turned left down towards the Wolu river and the ponds. However, she and a few of her keen followers had missed an earlier right turn so we were hauled back up most of the incline by our trusty male hare. And so we meandered down again to the ponds before climbing up again to the Chateau Malou, not to be confused with Chateau Madou, where there was a wedding party in full swing on the lawn in front of the imposing white building. We charged on through the wedding guests and down again to the lonely white stone lion that sits guarding the park from any errant shoppers from the Woluwe Shopping Centre across the tram tracks and dual carriageway. On we went past the picturesque Moulin de Lindekemale, where once the mill wheel was turned by the flow of the Wolu river, now a stream and the mill house a restaurant.
 
We turned right away from the Wolu, led now by Mic-Mac, up and then into the woods again to emerge in the almost empty car-park opposite the Stade Fallon sports grounds. Around the edge of a children’s playground and then across an elegant footbridge, that slightly reverberates to more than a couple of people running across it, and then off again into a pleasantly secluded area of social housing – white houses and few cars but plenty of open grass spaces – to descend again crossing the long former light rail track and almost past a former home of Rite-On Sec to cross Rue au Bois 0.5 k below the Coldrick home, around another sports field then along Rue Kelle and finally the On-Home sign appeared and we descended past the back of the Tram museum and arrived safely behind General Jose de San Martin, still erect on his horse.
 
Après
 
Most of us then adjourned chez Watson in rue Baron de Castro where there were plenty of varied beers, waters, crisps and cheeses etc to slake the thirst and replace some of the calories lost on the walk/run. Plenty of chat and congratulations to the hares for yet another safe and successful Hash.
 
Turnout: 12
 
Distance: +/- 7 km – depending on how many false trails were completed
 
Weather: perfect, sunny, dry, not too hot, 3 Berties:
😊😊😊
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HASH No 2141 21/5/2022
Hare: Julian R

Start and Après: Our default position in Jezus Eik
This was originally billed as a run. That probably explains the shortage of bodies. But at the last minute Julian R, who, like many on the hash knows the area pretty well, dug out his surplus flour and laid a last minute trail again. So the Saturday afternoon exercise has a number and a write up. The trail was magnificent, or that at least that was what everyone who did it said afterwards.
The apres was the usual philosophical, politically incorrect affair and, as always, stimulating and enjoyable.
Numbers: 7 (Ian had left by the time Gianluca appointed himself photographer), including one Mary (wonder who that is).
Berties:
😊😊😊
Pasted Graphic























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Hash 2145 02/07/22


Hares: Adriana & Gianluca
Another “arrivederci” hash
 
The weather was fine and the welcome warm but the numbers were slightly depleted due to some extent to the excellent event attended by many of us the previous Sunday.   (Get well soon).   Those of us lucky enough not to be infected (or affected?) were duly instructed that for anybody who needed a shortcut Adriana was on hand to guide and flour was on the right.
 
This was a masterpiece of Hash laying as the pack stayed well together until very near the on home, despite the hare’s admittance that he wasn’t entirely sure where he was when laying the trail.     Not very surprising given that there is apparently no map of the myriad of small paths around the houses of the Logis-Floreal. (see historical note below).
 
Starting off from Square de l’Arbalete we quickly found ourselves in the ‘Cité’.
Winding our way through a maze of passages between the houses, hedges and delightful back gardens, we ran (?) down steps onto the road and then up again behind the houses.       Taking a small uphill path (no sign of the stag beetles, see below) we came out near the allotments which are on the plateau and emerged behind the Trois-Tilleuls stadium by the football field and tennis courts.   From there it wasn’t far to the on home. 
 
Speedy front runners might have missed the statue by Jacques Vierset of a man sitting on a bench.  It’s called Au Soleil but never gets the sun since it’s under a large tree.

image003

Back to chez Adriana and Gianluca for a relaxed and generous aprés in the garden.   They are off to Eritrea in September and we wish them well. 

 
Numbers 14 plus two reverse Marys – the new name for those who turn up at the beginning, say hello but then disappear – in this case to the opera. 
Berties :) :) :)

 
In Belgium this lead to the creation of the Logis-Floreal in 1921.   The picturesque cottages have been classified since 2001and the houses are much sought after.  However, this comes with many caveats as all original features must be preserved and even the plants in the garden are proscribed.  One particular mound is home to a unique colony of stag beetles – hence the earlier reference.
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Hash #2145
18 June 2022
Hare: Wolfgang
In any hash, there is always a mix of running and walking. If anyone measured these things, they might have observed that on Hash #2145 a new low was reached for the ratio of running to walking. Fortunately, no one does measure these things.
The explanation for this (temporary) departure from the norm is something that is most assiduously measured: the weather was off the Bertie scale – ridiculously hot and uncomfortable. Our starting-point was a car-park at the eastern (Rixensart) end of Lac Genval. Those assembled were mostly familiar faces (albeit redder than usual), aside from Diana [or Diane?], a local, who usually runs/drinks with BMPH3. And John had brought a different car, a Citroen 2CV. With its very handsome black and yellow paintwork and somewhat primitive motor, it looked and sounded like a sluggish wasp. Maybe this was a subtle ‘Wolves’ nod to our hare, or maybe John is a not-so-closet fan of Borussia Dortmund, die Schwarzgelben.
Our hare, Wolfgang, gave some bemusing qualification to the usual “flour is on the right” and then we set off for the water’s edge and followed the bank in an anti-clockwise direction. We were not alone: the lakeside was thronged with sunbathers, anglers and dogs. At this stage, our average speed was higher than at least two of those three categories. We came to a check: the hare feigned movement away from the lake, but the trail proved false, so we resumed our circumnavigation. A few hundred metres further on, we did indeed move away from the water, but by then our course was fixed.
In retrospect, it is obvious that the hare had set himself an impossible task. The odds were against him from about the end of the 19
th century. It was then that a Brussels lawyer turned property speculator, Gustave Smets-Mondez, having bought up various plots of land alongside the river Argentine, put forward his scheme to turn the village of Genval into a spa resort – Genval-les-Eaux - the fashion for spas having taken hold during the second half of the 19th century. In 1897 he created a company to exploit the water sources which, he claimed, were of particular purity, followed by a property company in 1898 to develop the land and construct villas, in 1901 a horticultural company to shape the landscape, and in 1903 a hotels and restaurants company. The river was dammed and the lake created in the winter of 1903-04.
All of which meant that Wolfgang didn’t have much room for either ambiguity or manoeuvre. It was soon obvious to all that in the absence of a bridge, boat, or a very improbable freeze, we were going round the lake. So thorough has been the private exploitation of the land that there were precious few paths and little common ground, so we were limited in our choice of route to chic lanes that took us past one fancy villa after another.
To make things worse, the trail was entangled with the railway line, which came early to Genval (1854) and was a necessary precondition for its subsequent exploitation as a spa. We crossed over at La Hulpe station, which meant that this was a three-commune hash: Rixensart, Overijse, La Hulpe. (The linguistic boundary between Flanders and Wallonia still follows the ancient course of the Argentine, through the middle of the lake.) It also meant that we knew to look for a return crossing of the tracks. 
Long before we reached the territory of La Hulpe, the pack had slowed to a prudent amble. The pavements of rue François Dubois were scorchingly hot. The roundabout at the start of rue des Combattants provided a rare opportunity for false trails (the old horticultural school – now part of the Institut technique provincial – is a handsome building dating from the early 1900s), but there was no disguising our anticlockwise trajectory. We set off on rue du Cerf, past the offices of John Martin, sometime employer of our beloved Bertie, and the Schweppes bottling plant (John Martin for many years held the licence for Schweppes in Belgium), before taking the road under the railway line down to the lake. What is now the Château du Lac hotel was built between 1905 and 1907 as a bottling plant for Genval’s mineral water. The croquet games on the hotel lawn were wilting under the heat. 
The run-in was uneventful. We found two contrasting Marys in the car-park: Caroline, who accepts her lateness with the equanimity that comes of habit; and Mic Mac, who protested that he wasn’t late - he had been on time, just in the wrong place. 
The après featured, in addition to Maes and Hoegaarden, some Vedett IPA and a few bottles of St-Feuillien. Though strong, the latter was perhaps the most appropriate to the location: in 1536 Rixensart, Genval and Bierges were acquired by Adrien, comte de Roeulx, which, as any collector of hard-to-pronounce Belgian place-names knows, is where St-Feuillien is brewed.
The numbers: 16 hashers, mostly walkers, plus two Marys; 6.2km by Julian O’s count; an excess of Berties.
Tim
Prequel postscript: Barry’s Memorial drève dash took place on Friday 17 June, under the expert management of BMPH3. The heat-wave was already in full sweat and though the beech trees of Kapucijnendreef provided some relief, conditions were both sub-optimal and sub-tropical. Unsurprisingly, therefore, only a brave few ventured forth. I assume the Rite-On Sec will circulate times, when he gets them. The winner was wearing a Norwich City shirt - which hasn’t often been written this year. Tony and Shirley represented BruH3 among the nine participants (if I remember correctly). Susan and I watched from the relative comfort of our bikes. It was good to see André, who had made the long journey. Hoegaarden Grand Cru was consumed in honour of hashers gone before. As always, the après went on a lot longer than the dash itself.
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Hash No 2143
 
Saturday 4
th June 2022
 
Hare: Jackie & Gabriella Dow

 
Start and après: Grandstand overlooking Boitsfort racetrack and golf course.
 
Preface
Another first, as far as YHS,78, can recall, of a Hash set by a mother and daughter. As we assembled there were one or two remarks about where exactly we should be meeting: no geographical coordinates had been provided. But no sooner had the thoughts been articulated than the two hares appeared together with Gorrit and any latent scepticisms dissipated into the warm sunny full blue sky.
 
Starters
Jackie provided the briefing: flour on the right but no precision as to which way and so as she intended the pack divided into two halves one going left the other right until the false trail on the left had been eliminated. Halfway round the former horse track we entered the forest with some relief as the sun was at its hottest.
 
Main Course
Gorrit, David Zaruk, fresh from having completed the 20 Km with 4 of his students the previous Sunday and Julian R took turns at running the false trails. We veered towards the tennis courts, we veered towards the Dreve de Lorraine, we veered towards the circle of silver birch trees that commemorate the Brussels bombings of March 2016 but with clever laying and plenty of false trails we never quite reached these landmarks but described an almost perfect oval up hills and down dales and back to the grandstand. Gabriella confided that she had received some assistance and advice on the route from a friend who has lived close by longer than the Dow family, who are nouveaux arrivistes in the area.
 
Après – we were joined by two Marys and enjoyed a selection of Belgian beers, plenty of crisps, cheese and TWO cakes to celebrate Jackie’s birthday.
 
Tim provided a more than adequate quantity and variety of beers, crisps, bread and ham to satisfy the hungry horde.
 
Many thanks to Gabriella and Jackie for an accurately calculated run and walk mainly in the shade on a flaming June day – sorry that apart from Chris S there weren’t more women to enjoy this perfect Hash.
 
Turnout: +/- 12 including Lyn and Hugh D.
 
Distance: 5.5 km. excluding most false trails.
 
Weather: excellent for running and walking: 3 Berties -
😊😊😊
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Hash No 2139 Saturday 7 May 2022
 
Hare: Susan King
 
Start and après: Perk car park at junction of Kerkdreef and Sint Jannekensstraat

 
Preface
A virginal Hash for Sue as a Hare. As we assembled, we were congratulating each other on finding the correct part of Perk and the fact that despite earlier dire warnings of rain there were no longer any black clouds on the horizons. Time was passing as the numbers exceeded a dozen before Tim and then Sue arrived flushed and ready to brief us. Meanwhile our numbers had increased towards 20 but we were not alone. Another even larger group of even older people appeared along Kerkdreef to pass us by as they entered the grounds of a nearby chateau. No sooner had got out her first words of “Flour is religiously on the right” than she stopped herself to call out to the just-in-time arrival of Gianluca “You’re not supposed to be here” which he batted away with a shrug of “well I am here and so I intend to stay” body language. Sue then repeated her peroration “Flour is religiously on the right, even when on a couple of busy roads of which there are some.” And we were off.
 
Starters
Once we moved away from the car park, we could see that we were on a wide-open flat plain. YHS was walking but this was no handicap to being able to observe the progresses and retreats of almost all the runners throughout the trail. The Flemish fields were mainly arable and without any hedges, fences or trees it was easy to follow the peloton. The regular checking of the front runners was also aided by the fact that a couple of the leaders were wearing fluorescent pink tops or shorts.
 
Main Course
About a third of the way round the route we entered and then almost as soon left the centre of Perk and regained the long paths and tracks that divide the fields.
 
Gradually we circled the village and at one point passed close by a smallholding with up to a dozen Alpaca gazing into the middle distance - as far as one could tell they seemed neither bothered by nor particularly interested in the calling, running, and walking of 20-odd nearby hashers – not that YHS is any sort of expert on these lookalike Llamas [with whom they can successfully crossbreed: according to Google].
 
After a series of relatively long false trails, which largely succeeded in keeping the peloton together we passed through the residential west end of Perk. Clean, tidy, and prosperous were first impressions – quite a high proportion of homes have solar panels – the few locals appeared friendly.  YHS and Rite-On Sec were flagging a bit by this stage of the trail and were tempted to drop-in to a nearby open-air bar, but we resisted. Around another couple of corners and we found the On-Home sign and returned to our vehicles.
 
Après – provided by Tim
 
Tim provided a more than adequate quantity and variety of beers, crisps, bread and ham to satisfy the hungry horde.
 
Congratulations to Sue for her inaugural Hash, guided as she told us by her consultant husband. Longer than some but on a perfect May day.
 
Turnout: +/- 20
 
Distance: between 6 and 9 km. depending on how many false trails were completed.
 
Weather: excellent for running and walking: 3 Berties -
😊😊😊
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Hash No 2137 21.04.22 (THURSDAY 3pm)
Hares: Alison S and Pete B
The one and only Bluebell Hash, Hallerbos

Start and après: Car Park P4*

Pasted Graphic













Eleven of the 16 hashers (+ one well-behaved dog, Tinka) exploring the bluebells on the Brussels Hash House Harriers first ever Thursday hash**
Despite trying to avoid the weekend crowds by exceptionally moving Saturday to Thursday, parking was still a problem in our usual starting point, but most managed to find a place. Worthy of note is that three of the originals from that first Brussels hash over 41 years ago were present. Keith from just down the road, NZ Mary after flying halfway round the world and YHS from leafy Etterbeek.
The weather was sunny and perfect and the bluebells, almost everywhere roped off from human contact, seemed more magnificent than ever – possibly because we didn’t see them last year. Lots of other visitors of varying ages and fitness were also enjoying the scenery, following their route either with a paper map, via an app on their phone or by the large-scale maps attached to trees at strategic intervals, which the hares for some reason consulted from time to time.
Thank goodness Michael was with us as he did more than his fair share of checking duties as we followed an anti-clockwise route through the wood. To be fair, others also occasionally pitched in and at one point his Dad, Ed, was triumphantly in the lead only to be deflated by a false trail sign.
Despite losing count of the number of bluebell hashes I have done, I never have any idea of where I am in the wood until the last few hundred yards and so there will be no detailed description of the route. Luckily the hares are more savvy and kept us right. Many thanks to them for a lovely afternoon, which at times felt like a Saturday.
Turnout: 16 (missing in the photo are Steve, who took it, NZ Mary who arrived after it was taken but ran with the pack, John and Alison and Wolfgang and Tinka who did their own bluebell trails but joined the après)
Weather: Sunny, blue skies and warm, despite a slightly chilly breeze at the après
Berties:
😊 😊😊
PS. In keeping with hash tradition, there was another après on Saturday afternoon, generously hosted by the Dows chez eux. Everyone was a Mary (a term coined from NZ Mary who would frequently arrive after the hash for the après).
*We have used this starting point ever since the bluebell hash became one of the highlights of our annual hashing calendar. But it was only this year that P4 got me thinking about Italy. So, a quick google. The P2 masonic lodge, a sort of parallel state, operated from 1945 to 1981 and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – along with politicians, journalists and generals – was rumoured to be a member.
It morphed into P3 and now it appears the baton has been passed to P4, allegedly run by a certain Luigi Bisignani. There is also talk of a P5 now plying its Machiavellian manoeuvres. As if on cue, one of the pack let it be known at the après that they had come across a P5 entrance to the wood which might be better suited for parking prior to our antics. Watch this space.
**Most hashes around the world take place on Monday evenings, ostensibly to work off/sweat out the excesses of the weekend. The first BH3 hash took place on a Saturday afternoon in late November over 40 years ago and we have stuck to that formula. Coincidentally, the trail used a lot of the bluebell woods.
Two to three years later, hashers Steve and Anne-Grete introduced us to the woods in late April/early May with their delights of bluebells and wild garlic. The tradition was born. However, in the past few years, the beauty of the woods has become so well publicised that where we used to park has been closed off and the huge increase in numbers, particularly at weekends, has made parking anywhere else almost impossible. Hence, the Thursday innovation. Obviously, this does not suit everyone, but it is an effort to make the best of a difficult situation.
Several stalwarts have been bluebell hash layers over the years. Hugh Burton is one of them, often arriving with a trailer laden with beer. As one of the scores who read RiteOnSec’s hash missives, he emailed from England before this year’s outing: This invitation to run the Bluebell Hash brings back great memories.......bonne continuation
And another thing
Italians, it would seem, have a head start when it comes to flirting with the opposite sex, according to the language app, Preply. The US based company measured people’s heart rate when being chatted up in a foreign language. From a resting 65 beats per minute, the rate rose to 79.7 when Italian deployed its charms. This put it ahead of Portuguese (77.8), French (77.4), Russian (77.2), Greek (77.1), Spanish (77.0), Korean (76.2), Polish (75.8), Chinese (75.7), Hindi (75.3), German (75.2), Japanese (75.2) and Dutch (73.3).
Surprisingly, the company did not measure the heart thumping effect of English and based its findings on a sample of just ten adults. Nor did it reveal whether the guinea pigs actually understood what was being whispered in their ear.
Pasted Graphic 1
Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Pasted Graphic 2
Duo lepores: Pete and Alison
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Hash 2138: 30 April at 15.00

Hares: Harriet & Christian


Hash Number #2138 took pace at the conventional time of 3pm yesterday. The approach reminds me vaguely of the opening sequence of the Vicar of Dibley. You veer from the Brussels Liege motorway, through the unlovely purlieus of Kortenberg, past what appear to be thousands of new cars, and then you jibe a-port and into the straggly, twin-churched conjoining of Erps and Kwerps. Just beyond there lies the fairly extensive Silsombos, and so appeared the welcoming sight of some 26 hashers including one visitor - Chun from Taipei. 

(Note to self - watch out for people standing on their own with silly, hopeful grins on their faces, and go and speak to them.)
Harriet and Christian have used this spot before. And I salute them for ferreting it out. It is part of a fairly extensive re-greening of the densely populated Flemish countryside atwixt Brussels, Leuven, and Mechelen. There is something delicious about the rewilding of farmed land near major conurbations. Enhanced, in this case, by the extraordinary fertility of Flanders. (I have heard the somewhat ghoulish explanation that a populous and warlike history has led to much meat, equine, bovine, and human, being buried therein and enriching the soil.)
A word of explanation, if I may. This write up will deal with pre- and (mostly) post -hash but little or nothing about the inbetween. As a committed tail-end Charlie (WW2 reference to rear gunners in bombers and subject of an affecting poem - Death of a Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell) I saw almost nothing of the doubtless doughty checking of Tim, Gabriella, Gorrit, Julian, John et al. So anyone who wishes to add their penn’orth is more than welcome to do so. 
For me suffice it to say I had a delicious ramble, sometimes solo, sometimes gossiping, through land where nature was boldly reasserting itself. I love it! As human degradation of the planet continues apace the one hopeful sign is how quickly things go green again if allowed to. 
I caught up with my daughter only when she was voluntarily delayed by a small harras of miniature ponies eager to be fed grass. Cute alert! Cute alert! Cute likewise, and nearby, one gorgeous palomino. 
But cute or not the real joy is to see, where once there was agrarian mono-culture, wild orchids, old growth, new growth, plane, oak, beech, lime, and - I may be wrong here - sequoia. 
We did get split up. Not that that matters one jot nor one tittle. Except Jackie was the only fleet of foot in our party and thus was obliged to do the false trails solo. In her own words - “I got it wrong every time”. My guilt at not helping her is assuaged but the knowledge that, having broken two legs and an elbow in six short years, caution is my watchword. Especially as the hash has gone, rightly in my opinion, markedly ex-urban with concomitant tree-roots, mud, uneven paths, fallen logs and other traps for the unwary. I could go a little faster (maybe); I choose not to!
One of the joys of living in Brussels, and indeed the hash, is the ease with which one can shoot the breeze, and learn from, well-informed people. Thus it was, in a our field-located nach gesprach (can't do an umlaut on this keyboard AFAIK), sprung up an informed and rational discussion about the parlous and distressing situation in Ukraine. Twice I escaped to the food table for crisps and Harriet's signature oat-y biscuits; only to be drawn back to a thoughtful and knowledgeable exchange of views. People truly at their best; and a welcome antidote to a recent - “If you think that you're a f***ing w***ker” to which I was subject in a somewhat disappointing FB exchange. 
Not that the conversation elsewhere was without interest. The Worshipful Committee of the Exalted and Serendipitous Summer Bash updated its communications now Julian R is back (I considered a palace coup in his absence), the upcoming rugby World Cup in accessible France as opposed to somewhat less-so Japan is being mooted, and Harriet has promised the Dows a book of cocktail recipes.
Harriet and Christian’s usual competence and savvy location. Weather gray, a little cold, but dry. An excellent sortie for all and I do hope Chun’s chum came and got him. HD iPad

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Hash 2136: 16 April at 15.00

Hare (bunny): Katie Hosts: Katie & Wim


Start & après: Playground - Bloemtuinenlaan, Schaarbeek

Easter Saturday… 17 including visitor from the High Wycombe Hash.

Berties:
😊😊😊

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Hash #2135: 9
April at 15:00

Weather : Sunny, cloudy, rainy, windy (Bft2), 7  - 10 C

Hares: Sasha & Jonny, Camilla & Eve Hashers : 22 Berties : at least 3 !

Start: The car park at Middenhut, on the western edge of the For t de Soignes,
Sint-Genesius-Rode/ Rhode St Genese.

We gathered together in a large, eager group of 22 hashers + 1 dog - fit and ready for ‘off’…..
Nice to have some enthusiastic ‘newbies’ - I know we all extend a hearty welcome to them and hope to see Becky, Rae, Carl, Gillian and Filipe again, on future hashes…

Sasha called us together to hear her instructions – “flour on the right and watch out for the horses…”
She said part of the trail had (accidentally) been laid on a horse trail – but in fact most horses were at home in front of the Tele, waiting for The Grand National – we didn’t find any in the forest today…

The pack set off in the indicated direction, halted almost immediately at a check point –
“Where’s our trail finder ?” - was the reaction – was that him, wandering about with arms crossed, saying he was in the process of “warming up “ - could we do our own checking meanwhile…. ?

The trail led us along pretty little winding pathways, through ‘naked’ trees (for John) cushioned right and left with millions of tiny, porcelain wood anemones, punctuated with occasional blue bells.
There were plenty of ‘trickster’ tree roots ‘criss crossing’ the paths. One trusty hasher managed to
locate a ‘mean one’ with the tip of his toe, resulting in a ’full lengther’ - which would have broken the
ribs (and teeth) of a lesser mortal - but he leapt up instantly and was ‘back on track’ before you could blink – they don’t make them like that any more….! Impressive stuff…. !

During the first half of the hash there were plenty of check points, which kept the group relatively
close together – but latterly, the lovely young ladies in lycra set out after our leader and (quite unintentionally) made the rest of us look much slower than we actually were. …

A fully warmed trail finder, decked out in Hi Vis (No, not Boris!) was to be seen in the distance,
streaking between the tall, slim, silvery trunks, conscientiously checking out obscure hillside
pathways too intimidating for the flagging pack… no holding him back once fully engaged…
Once again – impressive !


Lovely scenery throughout a forest pregnant with the promise of imminent, colourful, spring leaves.
After a while we arrived at an interesting point in the forest where the trail almost verged into
Duboislaan/Av.du Haras (from Uccle to Groenendaal) , which slices across the centre of the forest.
This patched two parts of the forest together, providing a clear connection between two locations.

From there began a challenging slog left, uphill, along a lengthy, straight forest road - hard to keep
going at times…. a little (internal) ‘jazz chant’ helped me keep up an almost respectable pace -
”C’mon – let’s go - heel to toe, heel to toe, don’t be slow - heel to toe, heel to toe, here we go, heel to toe, heel to tow - clenched fists, pumping arms, elbows at a ninety… Phew……………!:


We arrived, widely separated, at the end of said road, turning left into another delightful
winding, woodland pathway, amongst giant uprooted trees – still not a horse anywhere in sight……

Emerging from the forest into welcome sunshine, we were greeted by the sight of a perfect picnic
spot - our reward laid out in full view on the table in front of us – most already partaking…
Just the one final challenge – to leap a five foot drop over a serious drain - between us and the by now, fully activated party, with the goodies disappearing fast….. !

Not a problem - with beers in sight – (not to mention alert audience) - well worth that extra effort!
Four or five different beers, crisps and cheese blokkies….accompanied by ‘improved versions’ of wild stories, for entertainment. Then the return ‘leap over the drain’ - back to the car park and home…

A good hash and satisfying apr s - except for the intensifying wind-chill, nibbling steadily through the most robust ski underwear, eventually chased us away home….

Thank you to our worthy hosts for another most enjoyable, fun hash – they never fail to delight !
Thank you also to Rae for her homemade Welsh cakes – a kind & thoughtful contribution…

On On………Shirley

Screenshot 2022-04-18 at 13.22.07

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Hash 2 April 2022 No 2134
 
Start and après: Ave de La Chevaie, Kauwberg, Uccle
 
Hares: Arthur and Rory
 
Attending: 23 runners and walkers


The layers had braved some stormy and snowy weather to prepare this interesting trail, but were rewarded with a lot of sun and tolerable temperatures on the day. Two Berties apparently.
 
Attendances were swollen by visitors from the Ukraine (Olga) Scotland (George) and Southern England (George and Julia). Sasha’s youth group from the UK Mission are making their presence felt but you can’t say they swell the numbers because they are now part of the number: welcome Helen, Camilla and Eve.
 
Hashers divided naturally on the day into the super fast, the barely managing (remember Teresa May?) and the frankly walking. Large distances opened up at times between these groups, but the time-honoured formula of bringing the back-markers together with the leaders through crafty trail-laying, checking and short-cutting would have worked perfectly if the first finishers hadn’t dashed around an extra circuit at the end, and thus ended up LATE. Other hashes have punishments for this sort of behaviour: but in this civilised community it will surely suffice to mention the anxiety which was written across the faces of Arthur and Rory at this moment: they feared they had LOST three runners, not to mention some of the swiftest and the best.
Nuff said!
 
What to say of the terrain and the trail?
 
A lot of people said they had no idea this piece of country-like Kauwberg existed so close to the centre of Uccle, and they feared the developers would find it and gobble it up. Your correspondent saw evidence that this might not be the case: lots of signs indicating that nature protection was a high priority, and work was underway to improve it. Well done in any case to find the terrain and bring it into the Hash repertoire.
 
PS. Rory adds
 
Many thanks to George Trevelyan, with input from family members, for this generous write-up, and for doing it while on a fleeting visit to Brussels. George was a regular member of the Brussels hash in the early 1980s (daughter Sasha, grand daughter Hannah and son-in-law Jonny have taken over the baton – all four, and George’s wife Julia, were present and running on Saturday. A three-generational first?). Some of us still remember having to go out looking for George’s errant dog, Samson, when he failed to follow his owner back to the après.
 
Just to comment on the write-up’s last paragraph. As we were loading up the left-overs into hare one’s boot, a little elderly (I reckon I can use the second adjective – though I hesitated about the first for fear of being heightist) male figure in an exceedingly strange coat silently drew near and watched us from a meter away. He looked like an extra from Lord of the Rings.  
 
I was just about to say the beers were not for sale (or offer) when he said, in English, he had been listening to our accents and was trying to place them. I briefly said we were Brits of various description, to which he replied he was Australian and had many years ago bought the house exactly opposite where we were parked. He did so because the commune/region/federal government – take your pick – had determined it was “unbuildable” and that really suited him.
 
As we got into the car, hare one said to me: “You do attract some oddballs, don’t you.” To quote George T, “Nuff said!”
 
I have in my possession many pics taken by the Trevelyans (many thanks to you all). Three are below. If anyone would like to see if their presence is recorded for posterity, or was not there and would like to see what/whom they missed, please contact me and I will forward them the albums.  
 
1.     Olga
2.     Jonny and three old fogies advertising Adnams beer (Last of the summer wine?)
3.     RiteOnSec being greeted with incredulity and laughter as he tries to recruit hares
4.     Jonny, Olga, Sasha and George T

Picture 1Picture 2
Picture 3Picture 4


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20220326_151214

Hash No 2132
26 March 2022
 
Hares: Ed McGovern and David Bizley
 
Wood Anemone hash in Vrebos woods.

 
Start and après: Junction of Tervuursesteenweg and Doelstraat, between Moorsel and Everberg.
 
There are entrances and entrances. Doctor John and his nonchalant co-pilot made a splendid sight as they turned up in his bright yellow vintage 2CV before the hash began. But they were totally eclipsed by Mary N’s arrival at the après, after walking on her own during the hash, in a police car with a friendly and efficient escort. More later.
 
It was a great turnout, as you can see from hare oneʾs (Ed) usual pre-hash photo. Glorious weather and an unusual sense of anticipation in the air. We have successfully hashed in this area several times before, but usually entering the wood from another starting point.
 
Hare one, in loafers, welcomed Desirea and Kenneth from New Mexico, now living in Mons and explained he would shepherd the back of the pack, while Hare two (welcome to shared duties, David) would keep an eye on front runners. To any nervous about getting lost, the advice was: keep the motorway on your left on the way home. For those still confused, Wezembeek rules: a back check means return to last junction, not last change of direction.
 
The start was distinctly lethargic, but some enthusiasts looked energetically for flour at the first check, only to find the trail just petered out after 100m. Thankfully, hare 2 was on hand to explain the false trail arrow had been obliterated by two kids on bikes. Retracing our steps, we caught up with the pack which had been bolstered by David Z and his two friends, Diana and her daughter Sophia, from Ukraine. 
 
The trail skirted round a couple of fields. Luckily, the farmer who had once aggressively accused us of trespassing (we reckoned we were not) was nowhere to be seen. We crossed a busy country road where a blind corner made it difficult to see oncoming traffic, much of it at high speed, to enter the famous woods. We all made it safely across thanks to the lollipop role the hares played and the presence of a small 100 year-old religious shrine at the same crossing point.
 
Then, for the rest of the hash, we were in the woods. The anemones were absolutely splendid, carpeting the ground and stretching into the distance.  One of our number had been here two weeks previously and no flowers were to be seen. The general view was that this year was one of, if not the, best.
 
The flour led us up and down many slopes and along several false trails as we negotiated a clockwise circular trail round the wood, negotiating various fallen tree trunks and some heavily pitted ground along the way. Somewhat surprisingly, given the lovely weather and splendid sights, we met hardly any others enjoying the afternoon.
 
The après was proceeding along its usual leisurely path when a police car (no siren) drew up and two young officers, one female, one male, stepped out. The first reaction of some of us was to expect the worst and be told off, if not charged, for drinking by the side of the road.
 
How cynical we have become. The officers were doing a good deed as we realised when Mary emerged from the back. The full facts have yet to emerge, but what seems clear is that a cyclist had come across Mary, who had walked a fair distance from the start. Either lost himself or thinking she was, he had called the police for help. Lo and behold, they quickly appeared and drove her courteously to the après in style.
 
This prompted two immediate observations from some present. How would British police respond if contacted by a cyclist in the countryside seeking help? Perhaps future write-ups should be more specific about how Marys join the après. None could rival Mme N’s entrance.
 
Special welcomes to GianLuca back after serving Europe for several years in foreign climes and still as energetic as ever, Diana and daughter Sophia, and Desirea and Kenneth.
 
Turnout: 25 (three are not in the photo, but did hash, as they went to what several of us thought was the start according to the instructions, only to realise later it was further down the road)
 
Weather: Sunny, blue skies and warm
 
Berties:
😊 😊😊
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Hash No 2131 12 March 2022
Hare: Julian Rummins
Start and après: car park by the National golf club, formerly Sterrebeek horseracing track

Preface
It is a little-known fact that of the 4 main hippodromes in Belgium 3 are now mainly used as golf courses. Only Ostend is still active as a horse-racing track and that has just 4 of the 9 holes in the centre of the track – but these are closed on race days. Hippodrome de Boitsfort, which we know well, is the only one within the 19 Brussels communes. Groenendael is the only one without a golf course, but it does have a herd of semi-wild Highland cattle instead of horses, occupying the southern section of the former horse-racing circuit. Changes in the betting system in Belgium led to the migration of most professional horse-racing to France in recent decades.
Starters
Once again this year, Julian Rummins stepped into the breach of a shortage of volunteers to lay the Hash. On yet another fine Saturday afternoon the main group (welcoming returning Keith Brown) gathered for the promises of pies and pints and briefing that flour was on the right and that the course was between 4 and 5 kms long – neither of these proved strictly accurate, but more of that later.
Main Course
Despite the dominance of golf at this location, there was no shortage of horses of many sizes and varieties. Despite the demise of professional racing the area around the golf course is now populated by amateur horse-riding stables, including the Poney [sic] Club. So, on a fine Saturday this meant we were jostling for spaces and positions with several young persons on diminutive beasts accompanied by parents/guardians on foot as we moved from the car park.
After a series of relatively long false trails, which largely succeeded in keeping the peloton together and for some later arrivals, Shirley & Tony Gunn, to join, we stretched out across the gently undulating fields between Wezembeek and Tervuren. The flora and fauna, apart from equines, are not numerous but the birds were singing and a four-legged hare was spotted by one of the front runners.
As we continued along Museumlaan we finally turned right and back into the National Golf course. A public footpath runs between the golf tees and holes and allows walkers and runners to admire the well-watered course. We then came across a new sign of a V inside a circle of flour and after topical queries as to whether this indicated the presence of Ukrainian or Russian forces nearby, we concluded that it was to encourage us up the Viewing point at the top of a 3 storey staircase and from which the picture of John Forman, Jonathan Nutter and Peter Briggs can be seen approaching.
hash 2131 120322
Après
From the top of the tower it was possible to see most of the route we had traversed and the main layout of the surrounding countryside, the new houses and appartments that now border the National golf course and the home car park.
As promised, there were pies, both pork and mince pies – all within ‘sell-by’ or ‘best-before’ dates we were assured by our qualified auditor and human hare. Pints were in the imagination of YHS but it is true to say that the distance covered by the full route was a fair bit longer than 5 k.
We welcomed the appearance of 3 Mary’s: Peter and Rowena as well as Christian, resting from an injury.
Heartfelt thanks to Julian Rummins for laying.
Turnout: +/- 20 including 3 Mary’s
Distance: between 6 and 7.5 k.
Weather: excellent for running, chilly when standing too long: 2 Berties :) :)

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Screenshot 2022-03-10 at 19.11.58
Hash No 2130 5 March 2022
Hare: Ed
Start and après:
Bertembos
The hare is one of our most chivalrous hashers. So, when he learned there was a damsel in distress, he did not hesitate to offer his services. Katie – for ‘twas she the damsel – had originally volunteered to organise the hash. When injury prevented her from doing so, she was downgraded to “après” in RiteOnSec’s first email with directions and then erased completely in the second. Despite being dropped from the organising cast, Katie managed to put in an appearance and even to negotiate, painfully, the trail.
Ed was soon in his element, lining up the troops for his traditional photograph. After hearing some muttering in the ranks – not for the first time – along the lines: “Why does he take a photo when we never see it?”, YHS sought professional advice on how to incorporate the pic into the write-up and, surprisingly, succeeded in doing so. (A thought: perhaps a picture, if available, in other write-ups – ed (not to be confused with Ed)).
The hare explained he had generally put the flour on trees so that it would not be scuffed by marauding feet or covered by leaves. Of course, all the signs had to be on the ground and if feet or leaves did their worst… the sentence petered out, but we got the drift: sort yourselves out.
The first part of the trail was a large loop which brought us back further up the main road into the wood. The tactic worked a treat. The pack had time to warm up and it enabled three short-cutting late comers to catch up the main group.
After that the trail made full use of the maze of paths in the wood. The ground was hard and undulating – good for running, but treacherous roots and broken branches required caution. While the flour was entirely in the wood, we frequently caught glimpses of open fields and broader vistas. We shared the space with cyclists, couples, families and their dogs enjoying, like us, the glorious afternoon. One of our fleeter of foot members even spied a deer.
The On Home briefly took in part of the out trail, leaving no doubt, after 4km or so, how close the après and sustenance were.
For those who have read this far and are disappointed by the lack of detail about the many different types of trees we circumnavigated or the history of the wood, I can only refer you to the magisterial write-up of Hash 2112 by another YHS when the hare used the same terrain last October. You can find it on the hash’s excellent website.
Having hashed here in the autumn and now early spring, some of us are looking forward to a summer outing.
Turnout: 24 (including Katrina visiting from the UK)
Weather: gloriously sunny with blue skies
Berties:
😊 😊😊
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Hash No 2128 19 Feb 2022

Hares: Gabriella and Gorrit with input from Jackie and Hugh

Start and après: car park under the motorway by ADEPS Auderghem


Meeting up in a busy dingy carpark under a motorway with cars whizzing overhead does not normally promise an afternoon of fresh air and exercise. But we have used this venue many times before and it is a great location. This hash, with an impressive group of layers and support staff, proved it yet again.

Two things immediately struck YHS as he arrived ten minutes before (Please note, all you calumniators) RiteOnSec did his usual: “Time to go.”

One: a horizontal trailer was acting as a table for an amazing number of yellowish pie shaped objects. After missing last week’s cheese and waffles, my thoughts turned to this week’s trail layers’ generosity and the pack’s possible gluttony: galette des rois past their sell by date, a moonlighting baker? Unfortunately, my eyesight and stomach were not in synch. They were hazard lights for when the ‘table’ is vertical. In my defence, I was not the only one to confuse road safety with Saturday afternoon delicacies.

Two: a cross was occupying a prominent place in one of the very few empty parking places. We have had checks at the start before. But this was a double whammy. The enthusiastic checked in one direction going deeper into the woods. Three of the hash’s more senior members (That covers almost everyone – ed) and pretty regular YHSs (That certainly narrows it down – ed) went the other way.

The enthusiastic hit a false trail and were forced to return to the check before hearing Dr John’s strident calls of “On, On” urging them on to the trail that led down to the lakes near Rouge Cloître.

The trail made full use of the many paths in the area. Checks were numerous and testing and false trails frequent and sometimes long. There was no doubt that this was a new generation of fit and enthusiastic hares. At one point they took the trail up a fallen tree lying at a 45 degree angle on a small hill. To their frustration, their target – Tim – missed their ploy as he had checked in another direction.

As usual, there was some discussion at the après, where Tongerlo was in great demand, about distance. YHS, still recovering from rugby fatigue clocked 4.6km. JO was overheard to say 6km and Gorrit confided that anyone who did the whole route and all the false trails would have clocked 10km. This just goes to show that the hash successfully provides distances for all abilities and speeds.

It was great to see Leo out with us and hope he will join us again soon with his uncanny checking abilities.

Turnout: 18 + one Mary (Great to see you, Jill)

Weather: overcast and dry with spattering of rain 30 minutes after the après ended at around 5pm
Berties: :)

AND ANOTHER THING

Many thanks to diligent reader Ian for spotting a spelling mistake in my last missive. I could say it was deliberate, but that would be a lie. Still, it is a thought to see who is paying attention.

I put one ‘c’ too many in Le Soir’s word of the year, showing I can neither spell nor pronounce it. I expect Ian to give a master class in pronunciation on a future hash. My inaccuracy does not affect the meaning.

The word: Ultracrépidarianisme

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IMG_2242

Hash No 2117 4 Dec 2021

Hare: Philip C (First left top row)

Start and après: Chateau Coldrick WSP


Philip hashes regularly in London and occasionally with us, but, to YHS’s knowledge, this was his first solo Brussels trail laying outing. As other hares know, and have commented on with varying degrees of annoyance and disinterest, this particular YHS (It’s great you are growing in number. Any more volunteers? – ed) often fails to acknowledge and thank the hare’s efforts from one month to the next, let alone from one year to another. Mea culpa to the hare and the Coldrick family.

Speculation is still rife whether Father Peter proffered words of advice, based on decades of his Saturday afternoon hashing experience, but Philip had his own plan. “People probably thought we would head towards the woods, but I decided to do something different,” he later divulged.

Entering Chateau Coldrick from the road, it was initially impossible to say how many had gathered as the countdown to Christmas picked up speed. No bodies were to be seen. But entering through the small gate into the back garden, there they were in impressive numbers, chatting and mingling responsibly.

The hare’s mother, Rowena, soon installed some order, asking hashers to pose on the terrace in their most athletic posture for her group photo. This graces the top of this write-up. Those who give these write-ups more than a cursory glance will immediately notice that the number of faces in the picture and turnout record do not tally. A mistake? Kremlinology? A genuine late arrival?.

Addressing the pack, Rowena paid tribute to Janet Richardson, a regular hasher with her husband Barry after they arrived in Brussels from Hong Kong – that bastion of traditional hashing – in the early 1980s. Janet’s death during covid, but not from it, had meant we, as a group, had not been able to properly remember her – or others – and exchanges stories, smiles and laughter.

Rowena shared one piece of advice Janet had given her all those years ago. On hearing that Rowena was waiting impatiently for the late arrival of her baby, she offered a one word secret to bring matters to a head: curry. It worked. Mrs C did not divulge the ingredients or spice intensity that did the trick.

After that, the hare sent the pack on its way directing us out right from the front garden. For some reason, some went left but were soon hauled back. The trail crossed the main road and tram track and past the WSP sports centre. After that, with nearby arrows sometimes pointing in different directions successfully confusing most of the pack, it negotiated an impressive array of WSP streets (You mean you can’t remember after all these months – ed). It then entered the small park with two ponds on the edge of Ave Tervuren – a relatively underused area of greenery occasionally offering a close glimpse of a heron.

Briefly back along Ave Tervuren, climbing the steep paths to some fancy flats to enter Parc Parmentier, which Paddington had told us all about during his hash on 23 May 2020, while overlooking the Mellaerts lakes on our right. An open gate and absence of any signs offered us entry. Exiting the parc on Avenue Parmentier, prominent notices proclaimed the area to be private.

Down Rue Kelle, by now I was running and chatting with the Blond (Hugh’s followers who are probably more numerous than readers of these missives will understand the reference). We were trying to keep an eye on, or at least shout to, Wolfgang who was some way behind us. We lost him. Not sure which of the three of our various senses failed. Blond and I went under the tunnel, on to the railway track and turned right on to Rue au Bois and home. Wolfgang made it successfully to the après without our help.

Après

The après outside in the back garden was a very convivial affair. Rowena had put on a lavish spread. The hare had been way over optimistic in the amount of beer that would be drunk. Peter cast an occasional benign eye on proceedings from the sitting room when he wasn’t being interrupted from watching the football by masked well wishers looking for a chat.

Chateau Coldrick’s trade union credentials were fully on view. As the temperature fell, more and more hashers crowded around a wood burning brazier on the lawn. For some reason (It’s your age – ed), this brought back memories of disputes and picket lines in the UK between both sides of industry (the continent calls them social partners). On this afternoon, there was absolutely no aggro until the wind changed direction and people politely jostled to avoid being kippered.

A special welcome to Sasha and Jonny’s friend Jo Wood and hope we will see her again on a future Saturday afternoon.

There was much discussion about the length of the trail as the front runners arrived home after some 34 minutes – just three minutes more than the Zaventem Turkey Trot the previous week. This prompts many questions:

Was the trail shorter than usual?

Are front runners getting fitter or more savvy?

Are distance measurements on watches less accurate?

Are the younger runners in our midst – you can identify them in the photo – pushing us, to our benefit, out of our leisurely comfort zones? It’s great to have them.

For the record: Jonny, who checked a lot, recorded 5.1km. Julian O, whom I thank for this valuable record, reckons 5km is a more accurate distance.


Turnout: 23

Weather: overcast and dry
Berties:
:) :) (not only did we keep dry, but heat was provided in the garden)

AND ANOTHER THING

Le Soir reports on the new word of 2021:

Ultracrépicdarianisme

Meaning: someone expressing an opinion on one or several subjects about which they have no professional knowledge.

I am confident we will never hear that said about a hasher (even if someone could pronounce it).

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HASH 2127 12 February 2022
Groenendael
Hares: Julian O and Julian B

A bright late winter/early Spring day bade well for the Berties before even lunchtime, and the day didn’t disappoint, giving the scribe pause for thought that perhaps a Berties squared category could be Introduced for those particularly spectacular days. 

The still winter bare forest at the chosen start point of Groenendaal station was a picturesque backdrop for the goodly gathering of about 20 hashers shivering in the winter sun.
The hares explained that this was a back to front hash with a short and a long, or was it a long and a short, and all soon became clear as the hash set off with the familiar, and sometimes alarming to the locals, shouts of "on on" ringing through the car park. Flour on the right, of course. 

For those hashers halfway back in the pack on the Long Trail, advantage was taken of the generous sprinkling of fine false trails to catch our collective breath, and to take in the historical sites en route. The pack cantered across the site of the Hippodrome de Groenendal, admiring the remaining royal lodge as the speedy ones went in search of flour. Waiting for an "on on" from any quarter, the air rang with calls of "are you? Well, are you?" only to be met by shrugs. The taller of the two hares chided the flour hunters for giving up too early along the numerous potential paths and with a bit of perseverance "on" was called, and the pack was off!

The text on a sign next to a fetching photo of horned wild beast promised that "Hier Grazen Schotse Hooglanders" but perhaps the excitable group had scared them off. Those with better vision thought they spied hairy rumps in the distance, but so many were blinded by the sun that it was hard to corroborate their testimony, and then there was hashing to be done, so the cows that weren’t there were quickly forgotten as the hunt for any sign of flour drove the hashers on. 

At one point we ran past a series of huge hounds held on a tight leash by their bewildered owners as hashers steamed past, shouting as they we went, and more than one hound howled with envy at not being able to join the pack.

Then right off the main track into a veritable playground of logs covering dips in the ground where the hare gave us firm instructions to follow the flour, over the log bridges. No cheating. Hashers tiptoed across the logs, and not one fell into the muddy bog below: acrobats and not just athletes in evidence today! The Hares scrambled up a steep hill back into the towering beeches, hunting for the next blob of flour. A sprightly hasher, with the name Hannah conveniently written on her back, shot off, then someone at the back thought they heard a shout of "false trail". It was fake news, we were assured and the pack set off again.

There was some debate about whether the hares had feared they would run out of flour halfway round, as the blobs became indistinct at points, but we were soon greeted with generous piles again and a clear and welcome on home sign.

One confirmed case of "doing a Mary" at the Après in the form of Sue, who’s Saturday admin had rudely prevented her arriving for the start. Hashers feasted on cheese and waffles, which are excellent combined, and a fine array of beers, many of the new modern kind which had not been within 100km of an Abbey.
Berties 😊😊😊
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HASH # 2126 05.02.22

Jesus-Eik/Tuliplaan
Hares: no volunteer(s) – a ‘back-to-basics’ hash


After the feast of the previous week, which included 28 bodies of all ages and abilities, we were a scratch crew of a dozen regulars or ‘old contemptibles’ so to speak. Some speculated that this was due to the screening of the first “Six Nations” rugby matches, others felt it was coincidence, but it shouldn’t have been the weather which had been sunny all morning though now clouding over.

Rite-On Sec wrote that it would be a run/walk/bike event and although Ian, Julian R and John F turned up on bikes (John in shorts, which is his wont) all 3 opted either to run or to walk.

At the appointed hour we dispersed in small groups onto the forest tracks. YHS had elected to walk and found himself in a group of five and consequently the most numerous. We watched last week’s scribe, Shirley, jog away out in front with a couple of others while we understood that a third smaller group lagged a little behind.

We set off at a brisk enough pace along a relatively narrow track which took us towards Quatre Bras and the Ravenstein golf course. We had a succession of third-party bikers overtake but otherwise it was a peaceful and pleasant trail. We turned right and then through the car park of the Arboretum reaching the Kapucijnendreef, the cathedral-like avenue of beech trees that lines either side of the famous Hash Dash.

As we finished our walk returning to the triangle of grass we found Rite-On Sec dispensing beers and knew that others would not be far behind. Mary Nuttall drew our attention to the recent Tervuren commune notice concerning the planting of bulbs which led to a discussion on how variable the dates and numbers of spring bulbs every year are. Barbara & Pete dispensed crisps, and we all enjoyed a good natter before, despite a few brief sunny periods, the weather began to cool before we dispersed.

Many thanks to Jono for seeking to find a volunteer hare and for ensuring that the 2126th Hash was adequately supplied with beer and self-propelled.

Distance: +/- 4km
Turnout: 12
Weather: dry but cool with an increasingly brisk breeze so :) it didn’t rain, again!


PS – Thanks to Harriet: who sent me a message to warn that the Hivernales winter 10 & 20 km race, for which I had a ticket on Sunday 6 February, was cancelled at very short notice because of the tempestuous weather predicted and endured. Harriet saved me from leaving home and getting soaked for no reason early on Sunday morning!

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HASH # 2125 29.01.22

Hares: Sasha & Jonny

Boitsfort

We were a buzzing group of 28 ‘ready’ hashers, gathered at Étang des Enfants Noyés, Boitsford on an almost warm day (11°C) eagerly anticipating the trail of our (almost) new hares, Sasha & Jonny.
The high silvery sky provided ample light with no immediate threat of rain - which was reassuring.
Good to see David back again - he assured me his wife Zoe would be coming along next time.

Sasha called us to order in a masterful way and we attempted to stop nattering and pay full attention.
She indicated that the flour was on the right but some of the checks could be on the left and not to go galloping off down any horse trails as there would be no future in deceiving ourselves of a short cut.

Apparently there was a squeak of sunshine - just as we left the car park in single file, heading down a tight track towards a lake on the right side. There we found a loud, insistent forest warden who demanded Tinkerbell put Wolfgang back on the lead, for the peace & safety of local forest deer…. (**He reminded us all that this forest is a actually a protected national park where dogs must be on the leash at all times - for the protection of wild animals - that people should stay on the pathways, horses should only use horse trails and cyclists should stick to their designated cycle trails**).

John turned up beside me - and when I said it was good to find him on the trail again – he said he couldn’t really see much - but there was a flickering image of about three Mic Macs in front of him and he’d follow that ! Who knows what he did – but he was certainly making hay at the après..

The first check was right there by said lake and hashers scattered suddenly, in all directions.
Most of them headed up a trail to the right, encouraging the rest of us to trust them and follow…
‘False trail’ and we regrouped beside the disconcerted Forest Warden, on high alert for ‘loose’ dogs. ‘On on’ and we followed a pretty, winding trail up an aboreous valley, past a series of wet lakes and dry lakes – through leafless, slender, satin trunks patiently anticipating an early spring.
Finally we popped up onto quite a steep road leading away to the right. A ‘tendon tearing’, ‘lung burning’ climb up to where the terrain levelled off somewhat to the new challenges in store for us.

By then the ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’ of the pack were widely separated and the forest echoing with distant calls of ‘On on’ in tune to the scurrying feet of hashers, dodging between innocent families out to have a peaceful Saturday walk, far away from the daily stampede of ‘week day’ life….
Katie warned that if I was presuming to be scribe I should be at the front of the pack, NOT the back – but sadly I never did catch them up…. I didn’t even see their backs disappearing in the distance between the trees – perhaps we should impose a speed limit, in the case of slow scribes !

The road led us through the forest in a wide rectangular arc between massive stacks of logs and towering piles of ‘off cut’ branches & twigs until finally we entered the park we’d left 5 kms earlier.
A ‘staked off’ corner of the car park furnished with a big welcoming log across it, provided the perfect après spot - affording us full protection from any ‘loose steering’ drivers, arriving at speed.

There we found beer ‘frothing’ from the back of Jonny’s car along with dozens of packets of crisps in every imaginable flavour, other than natural - and the socialising and wild stories had begun….

A beautiful trail, well laid and well organised – this is another one for spring or summer when it will look stunning - freshly and colourfully clothed, in the fullness of a couple of months’ time.

Many thanks to our conscientious hares for their enjoyable contribution.
Jonny said they had managed to ‘trick’ us on 4 out of the 5 checks and seemed well satisfied.
They await feedback on the accuracy of their back check.

Berties : 1 x squeak Marys : x 1

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Hash #21228 January 2022
Hares: Pete and Barbara

A visit to rue du Cuisinier has become a regular of the festive season, often on New Year’s Day, if memory of the pre-COVID era serves. When I return to Pete and Barbara’s front garden, I always savour the memory of a novel Christmas party game: Hunt for Bertie’s Car-Key. On this occasion, Bertie’s First Law of Meteorology was not observed: the weather eased only from cold and very wet to cold and not quite so wet. Despite the foul conditions, turn-out was around 25, boosted by a few walkers modelling some appropriately serious raingear.
Where Pete and Barbara departed from tradition was that the trail did not head south down rue du Cuisinier and out into the windswept fields of Braine l’Alleud. Instead, it took us east over the Chaussée d’Alsemberg. So here’s a frivolous question for you: how often have we hashed in the territory of Waterloo? You may not have noticed, but the week before Pete and Barbara’s hash we teetered on the edge of Waterloo. It was on 1 January, during Chris’s hash, which had begun in La Hulpe and ventured into Lasne. Shortly before the final run-in, the trail plunged down a deeply rutted, high-banked path, emerging onto the Promenade du Val d’Argent, where we turned right. For just twenty metres or so, we had crossed the communal boundary into Waterloo at its most easterly point. And a week later Pete and Barbara were taking us into Waterloo from its north-western corner.
While I’ve not examined the ancient myth-laden artefact that is Barry’s Board, nor attempted to plot all the locations in the Rite-On Sec’s emails, and I don’t mess with the Strava technology that I learn from De Standaard is now being used by bicycle thieves to locate very expensive bikes, my utterly unscientific assertion would be that of all the communes to the south and east of Brussels, Waterloo is the one that we have hashed in least.
Why should that be? Ask Pete and Barbara, or perhaps the Hosies, but here’s an historical insight. In September 1835, the Société générale de Belgique authorised the creation of a company to make chemical products in and around the hamlet of Le Chenois – that north-western corner of Waterloo that the trail was entering. The name suggests there were oak woods on this edge of the Forêt de Soignes.
The ‘Société de Waterloo pour fabrication de produits chimiques’ was expected to produce vinegar, tar, saturated salt, verdigris, white lead, charcoal and lots of unhealthy by-products of the destructive distillation of wood. We know this was unpleasant because the company had previously been set up as the Société de Groenendael but Leopold I was insisting that the company move out of the domain of Groenendael and set up somewhere else, lest the industry produce “emissions that would be noxious to this part of the forest”. Waterloo on the other hand was an acceptable site because, according to the official documentation, it was in the centre of woods that were either sold or for sale and the hamlet of Chenois contained only the cottages of labourers who would be very happy to see such an enterprise set up in their midst. At much the same time, the Société générale established a sugar refinery beside what is now drève Richelle. So Waterloo was probably a smelly place whatever the wind direction.
So there you have it: one reason we now hash more frequently in Hoeilaart than in Waterloo is because Leopold I and his successors ensured that Groenendael remained green and pleasant (and in quasi-public hands) while Waterloo was trashed and privatized. The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself.
The workers of Waterloo live in somewhat bigger cottages nowadays and the trail took us past a varied array of 20
th century housing. But we didn’t just get to see the front of those houses: this was a trail of what some northerners call “ginnels”, and I, being of southern stock, called alleys or alleyways until I fell under northern influence. In French, they might be ruelles, or perhaps venelles, and in Dutch, stegen. Whatever they’re called, our hares made deft use of these paths as we looped through the various generations of houses and explored successive copses and streams. A generous supply of false trails and back-checks kept the pack together, assisted by a van which parked over a check sign. A steady climb up rue de l’Escavée started out as tarmac but became progressively muddier and stonier until we were on an open field, at the end of which we were a block away from the chaussée d’Alsemberg. We shook the mud of Waterloo from our feet and re-entered the territory of Braine l’Alleud for a long straight run-in on the rue du Chateau d’Eau, of which there was no shortage.
The après gave me another chance to admire an improbably neat garage. On 26 December, Christian and Harriet repurposed their workmate table as a bar, while offering excellent endive soup, and ginger biscuits. Pete and Barbara provided fennel soup, sausage rolls, mince pies and Brugse Zot. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m finding the neatness of these garages intimidating. 

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Hash: No 2124 Date: 22nd January 2022
Hare: Sue Bird
Papenkasteel, Uccle
Start & après: sur place
Starters
At the appointed hour there was a fair sprinkling of hashers old and new. Welcome David, who had met Alison & Caroline as they were laying the trail last week and had decided to resume his association with the Hash, after an absence of time since serving with the British Army in Germany.
This week’s hare appeared and efficiently explained that it would be quite a tight hash, flour was usually on the right but given that some pavements were not continuous there was some flour on the left. And with that we were off down Rue Papenkasteel.
Despite having run from Sue’s apartment a dozen or more times over the past 15 years or so YHS has never bothered to inquire about this castle, Kasteel or Chateau. Here is a translated
link from Wikipedia. Suffice it to state that it was built in 1685 and, like many of us, is a ‘survivor’ and still standing partially visible from Rue Papenkasteel, Rue Engeland and is approached via Rue Kinsendael, all of which we ran along on Saturday.
Main course
After running downhill, we encountered the first false trail, we returned up to and along Rue Kinsendael and then down Rue Engeland to the roundabout and railway viaduct. Here there was a brief hesitation here due to a large check-point on the left which turned out to be correct but many of us had forgotten Sue’s briefing fewer than 5 minutes earlier. Then it was up, up and up again.
It was encouraging to have the hare appear just as we were beginning to flag. We passed a number of checks on the left but despite checking to left and right we eventually crossed one of the several railway tracks that can make navigating this area of Uccle complex.
Gabriella and David took turns in leading the peloton until as we circumnavigated another housing estate Tim and Sue King appeared as if from nowhere and swept past. We were now heading downhill as we glided down the appropriately name Av de la Gazelle. We re-entered some wooded territory (which presumably was once part of the Papenkasteel estate).
We then were onto the cobbles of Chemin des Puits/Borreweg when we heard the famous cry of ‘On-Home’ from Gabriella who had sprinted into the lead again.
Après
Sue produced plenty of beers, water and assorted snacks as we cooled down in her front garden. Jackie recalled that for some reason this was her first hash in this neck of Brussels and Katie regaled several of us with the aerodynamic challenges of wild swimming in the Netherlands. A good time was had by all as we gradually departed in the gathering dusk. Many thanks to Sue for a well-laid hash which once again explored another varied route in Uccle.
Turnout: 18 Distance: about 5.5 km
Weather: cool & dry -
:) it didn’t rain, again!
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Hash: No 2121 01.01.22

Gaillemarde, La Hulpe
Hare: Chris Stevens
Start & après: sur place
Starters
A new venue for the new year: the pretty hamlet/village of Gaillemarde is on the opposite side and a little upstream from the Chateau de la Hulpe. On a mild afternoon for January about 20 runners and walkers, including welcome returnees: Margosha, Keith, Nicky, Paul and Peter Willis had assembled by the due time. Mr & Mrs King arriving just after the hare had explained that the flour was always on the right, except once where it will be obvious, and we were off.
The Main Course
Jackie and Nicky were quickly in the lead but were almost as quickly returned from a false trail by which time we had started up a steep slippery hill covered with ivy and brambles. Peter Willis no sooner found himself in the lead than discovered it was yet another false trail or back check and in turning took a tumble as a foot got caught in a bramble. No bones broken he assured YHS at the end. Back to a cross-roads where the hare remained stationary before we charged off downhill to yet another long false trail and so back to see that the hare and the early walkers led by Keith Brown started again up the hill previously descended.
In the middle of Gaillemarde we passed the bust of the famous Toots Thielemans, a jazz musician who died in 2017 who was a long-term resident, without much comment as far as I could hear. The trail then rose gradually by which time Tim recognised a church where Susan had visited and practiced singing (?). Tim led us past the church buildings and down towards the valley. Paul then led for a while as we explored the increasingly marshy ground and then suddenly it seemed we were in sight of the ‘On-Home’ sign.
Après
Chris had thoughtfully included a selection of non-alcoholic beers, given that some of us had seen in the New Year only a few hours earlier (and Jackie was able to retain her resolution) as well as the real nectar and the usual crisps and cheese etc. The only regret was on such a pleasant day there were none of our recent younger runners: Gabriella and Gorrit were excused as they are quarantining from asymptomatic Covid 19.
Congratulations to Chris for having found a new venue, a perfect distance and having avoided the crowds that were seen en route at the entrances to Chateau de la Hulpe and the Fondation Folon.
Turnout: 21 + 1 Mary (“NOT my New Year Resolution” Caroline)
Distance: 4.5 km including a few long false trails
Weather: mild with some weak winter sunshine
Berties:
:) :) and it didn’t rain, again!
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Hash #2119 Ed - the night Hash 18.12.21

from Tiny Tim

‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through the hash;
Went a shout of excitement: “Tis Edmond’s night dash.”
In Wezembeek then we assembled with care,
A goodly two dozen I’d hazard were there.
The point of departure was down a dark drive
Which sheltered a secret for those who arrived:
Ed’s garage was full of both runners and walkers
Who were equally skilled as drinkers and talkers.
They’d made not a yard, but already mulled wine
Was filling the air with aromas most fine.
Some further delay must be blamed on the hare,
Who brandished a camera and made us stand “there!”
Then he wrestled a while with his options for light.
It seemed, as we shivered, we were there half the night.
At last we were off, up the drive, scrunching gravel,
The usual medley of disorderly travel.
Although we’re accustomed to Wezembeek rules
We blanched at a back-check that took us for fools,
Then picked up the scent with the flour on our left
And lost it again at a check-mark, bereft.
The hare caught us up and he gave a sly nod,
Which prompted some slackers to hasten their plod.
“On Julian! On Jackie! On Alison! On Pete!
On Gabby and Gorrit! (The fleetest of fleet)
On Harriet! On Christian! On Roselyn and Roger!
On Susan! On Jonno! On Peter, old codger!
To the end of the road, through the gap in the wall.
Now hash away! Hash away! Hash away all!”
We entered the grounds of what once was a nunnery,
Which as we passed through we rendered all runner-y.
It served, in its time, Our Lady of Dolours:
It’s now bijou apartments with bifold doors.
To the left lay Wezembeek’s church of Sint Pieter’s,
Most turned to the right for a few hundred metres,
Which, proving false, put your humble scribe in the lead:
On a pedestrian route I picked up some speed,
Made it to the avenue, a furlong ahead,
But then, for me, regrettably, the trail went dead.
Assistance arrived in the form of the pack,
With our host, the hare, sweeping up at the back.
Flour led us uphill: a lane of Flemish villas -  
All gravel landscaping and topiary pillars -
A gap ‘twixt the houses let us into a park
(Which as I remember was excessively dark).
We followed the course of the eponymous beck
Until next to the tramline we found us a check:
On up to the platform and over the track
No need of the hare now, there’s no turning back.
“On Home” was the signal and we were there soon
The light from the garage shone in the gloom:
There was beer to refresh us and food to entice
(The soup was delicious: pumpkin with spice)
And Caroline sporting a white furry hat -
A Mary of some sort, just come for the chat.
Of which there was plenty, along with some song,
For Old Codger Willis brought a keyboard along.
And Pianist Roger attired in his shorts
(a costume more fitting to seaside resorts)
Struck up the tunes to which we could sing
About angels that warble and bells that go ding,
Gifts - mostly birds - sent 12 days in a row,
King Wenceslas wandering too deep in the snow.
This carolling counts as a hashing tradition,
Preserved - just about - in this COVID edition.
The weather I recall was sleet, turned to rain,
Drying up, though the north wind a constant refrain.
In Humble Scribe terms, translated to QWERTY,
Ed’s Night-time Hash barely merits One Bertie.
That said, I am done, it is all written up,
And wishing you well, I raise you my cup:
With a thank you to Norma and Ed, as is right:
“Happy Christmas to all and to all a good-night.”

______________________________________________________________________
Hash: No 2118 11/12/21
Tervuren Aboretum
Hares: Susan & Tim King

Start & après: sur place
Starters
As requested in the invitation a massive crowd [Ed: big for this time of year, but no young runners and not quite a record turnout – where were the young on this fine afternoon?] assembled at the appointed hour and for several minutes thereafter. But we were missing the main man, the Hare! Sue stepped up and began to address the 20 odd walkers and hashers. We were told he was not far away, but that Sue would provide the main Hare’s briefing by telepathy or was it telecommunications? Katie suggested she turn on her mobile phone’s speaker but Sue preferred to relay the instructions, which she did accurately, as far as we could tell but with a wonderful addition of entertaining facial expressions, with which Sue communicated pleasure, doubt, agreement or fantasy. Thus, we concluded that there would be a Long and a Short option [agreement], after about 30 minutes [severe doubts] flour would be on the right [not necessarily so], and the On-On was over there [definitively].
The Main Course
We were indeed off across the asphalt and onto a running/walking trail. We progressively descended the Woudmeesterdreef and with the lead runners changing rapidly as we negotiated one false trail after another. The route began to rise again along the Onzelievevrouwweg where we encountered the Hare anxious to point out the options of a Long and a Short run/walk. The pack divided accordingly.
Your humble scribe is unable to comment on the details of the Short option except to note that on his arrival at the end there did not appear to be any missing persons – so mission accomplished for this option. (Web-Madame on the "short" route can add that we had a false trail over (and back) a slippery wooden bridge and a back-check!)
Those of us on the longer option had a natural tendency to prefer to turn left at each successive check, turning left would we calculated take us in a similar but possibly wider arc as we surmised the Short trail was describing. We were wrong! It eventually emerged that while the short trail had described a left-turning anti-clockwise arc back to the Start, the Long trail was progressively turning right and describing a clockwise circuit. These observations were only really apparent well into the Long option as we were running along a pattern of paths that were predominantly in a grid of longer or shorter straight lines. Consequently, it was hard to begin with to determine whether we were generally moving in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. As many of us have both run and biked along or across the Ravensteindreef and the Koninklijke Wandeling area several times over the years it was a pleasure to re-visit these popular paths again.
Full credit to the hares for devising this scheme. The only downside is that the Long option does indeed take longer to traverse, according to an electronic device YHS covered a distance of 6.92 km in the course of just over 60 minutes. Thus, about double the length and time of some recent hashes.
Après
Not just content to provide a masterclass in route planning the hares also provided a tasty and warming carrot soup; hashers who had brought their own mugs were rewarded with larger helpings than those who relied on the smaller cups provided. But as there was plenty to go round many were able to obtain a second helping. Beers, water and crisps completed a fine après.
Turnout: 22 + 1 Mary (aka Nicki)
Distance: 6.9 km Long
Weather: dry, little wind and just a smattering of remaining snow on verges.
Berties:
:) - it didn’t rain!
_________________________________________________________________________
Hash: No 2116 27
November 2021
The Turkey Trot & US Thanksgiving
Hare: David
Start & après: Chez Zaruk
As well-described in the invitation, this annual Hash has a lot to be thankful for, not only has Trump been succeeded but we were promised that after “a Joe Biden distance hash, we will return to carve our turkey and all of the trimmings as we officially mark the beginning of the Christmas season”. David also provided 4 distinct dining options from open-air to hermetically-sealed to cater for hashers’ preferences.

The Hare’s oral briefing was essentially simple but prefaced by describing Zaventem village as being increasingly fenced in by an increasingly tight series of autoroutes, dual carriageways, railways and cycle tracks, the latter wide enough to accommodate a bus, apparently. Consequently, the chosen route would be ‘Joe-Biden-short’ to avoid a fate worse than a delayed Thanksgiving dinner. And so it proved, but for one exception.
With both of the persistent late-comers on-time (you know who you are) present and correct we were off with flour on the right and good clear crosses at each check. One of the attractions of Zaventem village is that many streets are short and so we wove our way left and right and around one park after another. Not all were traditional municipal parks, as some consisted of warehouse parking areas for trucks. After passing one of the aforementioned cycle tracks, under construction, this prompted Tim to regale a story of how one old man had mistakenly driven up one of these unfinished wide tracks only to drive over the edge. We avoided this fate to descend and then cross a small stream (is this still the Wolu river? It seems to be an extension of the stream that flows along the Woluwedal) and after another false trail up an unfinished cycle lane we entered the Leonardo da Vinci park, incongruously located between six modern office blocks and the Crowne Plaza Airport hotel. Tim King maintained the lead as the peloton tried to keep up walking and running across slippery wooden decking and between families enjoying the mild afternoon in the park. After another couple of checks, we spied the on-home sign and returned chez Zaruk. At just over 30 minutes and around 3 km this was indeed a short hash but as others observed it contained a record number of checks – more than most cheque books of yesteryear!
Après
The hare had slipped away from the Hash at around the half-way mark to return to his solo culinary duties which were prodigious. Ample choices of a variety of beers, other beverages, a home-made pumpkin soup, followed by roast turkey, ham, vegies, sauces and desserts. The sole walker, although somewhat later than the rest of us, joined in and despite the gathering gloom of a winter’s evening we all dined off the semi-covered outside tables, rather than venturing indoors. Congratulations to David for his warm hospitality and a quick circuit of Zaventem village parks.
Turnout: 14
Distance 3.25 km
Weather: mild, light wind and only a pretence of rain.
Berties:
:)
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Hash: No 2114 13 November 2021
Hares: Rory & Dr. John
Start & après: Ypres hash in Kemmel
Turnout 18, :) :) Berties - as it was dry during the hash after torrential rain all morning.
Welcome to first-time hasher Tommy Trevelyan. Many thanks to all who expressed their appreciation of the outing.
______

Thanks to Rory and John for laying the Hash. Kemmel is always a nice area to visit. Chris

Rory's trail made for a lovely, autumnal hash and meant I could renew my annual pilgrimage to the Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof in Menen to visit my grandfather Georg, who died early on, 13.10.1914. Mum never knew her dad but, when she saw a poppy, would think of him and, now, when I see a poppy, I can think of her.
Dr John, co-hare
______

Hares to be congratulated for ensuring no rain throughout run. Trail well marked and very interesting with some wonderful scenic views as well as historical points of interest, eg the FR monument on top of Kemmelberg and the fortified defences built into the hillside just outside Kemmel. It was a run that certainly dispelled the view that Flanders is flat.  That is not true in Heuvelland. The fact that the old bandstand was still standing was also propitious in more ways than one; it served as an excellent apres venue too. All in all a great run and worth the journey. 
Julian R
______

A brilliant hash and a special day out. The colours in the forest were stunning, as were the views over Flanders fields from the mount. We started the day with the Zonebekke museum, remembered school trips to the same and were particularly moved by the memorial to the French soldiers during the hash.
Sasha
______

Great hashing terrain, beautiful views, combined with historical sights we may never forget.
Pascale
_______

Photos courtesy of Alison S and Maire

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Screenshot 2021-12-13 at 12.44.24_____________________________________________________________________
Hash: No 2112 02
October 2021 Hares: Irini & Ed
Start & après: Car Park off Bertembosstraat
Foreward
This was a virgin hash venue, as far as we are aware, on the high ground north of the Voer valley and the E40 between the villages of Bertem and Veltem-Beisem. Bertembos is a mixed forest of coniferous, oak, sweet chesnut, maple birch and beech trees. So, unlike much of the beech-dominated Foret de Soignes we are more used to, there is a lot of undergrowth and as a result the tracks are generally obvious. Whatever the mix of trees, the leaf colours were a perfect range, from light to dark green, yellow, orange and red on a damp but not quite raining day.
Starters
Instructions from the hares were a little uncertain: it is quite slippery and muddy, in parts; Wezembeek variant indicates that a back-check refers to the last junction rather than change of direction, flour is used, and don’t go that way or that way – leaving us a choice of two tracks and so we were off.
The Main Course
The trail twisted and turned as we gently descended. We passed along the edges of fields and then back into at times undulating and dark parts of the forest. Tim K. Christian K. and Alison S. were taking turns to lead. We crossed a couple of wooden pedestrian gates – no moving parts – so no kissing but equally effective at keeping cattle out of the forest. We did slip and slide in the muddy conditions and inevitably some feet got wet but as we kept moving and the pack was more or less compact, we also kept warm.
As we moved up hill again, we found the on-home sign passing an old forester’s house and a wooden hunting chalet. We passed a water tower of some 30 metres high and then we were home. The early finishers were closely followed by the walkers, who had been advised of a short cut and so the group was able to participate collectively in the après.
Après
Much of this forest was owned and controlled by the Brabant Duke Henrik I of nearby Heverlee who also founded the Augustian Priory of Terbank which was nearby. There were a few other walkers but seems a pleasant and suitable area for future hashes. Congratulations to the hares for having discovered this location.
A good range of beers, water, juices, crisps and mini chocolate biscuits – spoiling us all.
Turnout: 16, including 2 hares
Weather: mild, light wind and only a pretend springle of rain
Berties:
:)
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Hash 2111 23 Oct 2021 write-up HD


Sixteen doughty hashers
Parked near Park Pede
Rus in urbis a gogo
But naughty in French so they say

Judy and Alison laid it
In Anderlecht's outer purlieus.
20 past 3 we departed
In pursuit of their "piste farineuse".

Self was walking wounded
Tucked in well to the rear.
But that is increasingly normal;
Time's winged thingy I fear!

Odd fleeting glimpse of leaders
Speed of light at the front.
Tim and Gabs and Gorrit
Talley ho-ing the hunt.

Rory did it all widdershins
"Easier if you are late"
You may care to note that snippet
If arriving late is your fate.

The scenery eclectic and varied -
Golf and hockey for sport;
Brussels' very own ski slope
And a fishing pond to report.

Breuglian vistas of farms
With pollards verging on quaint
Please the eye with the prospect
And render no cause for complaint.

Apres as usual al fresco
With beer and sun quite replete
Tim 'n' Sue unblocking a drain
A task they could not complete.

Winter is out there a-waiting
With its fog and sleet and the rest.
Good to enjoy summer Injun
With which we were mercifully blessed.



thumbnail_20211023_161202_001thumbnail_IMG_0529
Many thanks to Judi and Alison S for a very interesting and varied Hash and a particularly convivial après.
 
As regards the above photo, the question is ...
 
a) are Tim and Sue looking for their two origami paper boats which were submerged by the swell of a passing car?
 
b) are they looking for a hockey puck which was mishit by one of the players from the Anderlecht Academicals Ladies Hockey Club?
 
c) are they looking for a ball mishit by one of the - senior - male members of the Royal Anderlecht Anadromous Golf Club?
 
d) are they trying to unblock a drain which has been blocked by the toxic algae which has made the local waters unfit for human and animal consumption?
 
e) are they just farting about?

Picture 2: “They also serve who only stand and wait” John Milton
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Hash: No 2109 – A Perfect Day 9
October 2021
Hare: Ian Hamilton

Start & après: Bosmuseum Car Park and nearby sunny meadow.
What turned out to be a perfect October day in terms of weather was almost upset by the large number of 4 wheel vehicles assembling in the Bosmuseum car park at 3pm. This was largely as a result of the mild but sunny day and a reduction in the size of the car park by a number of builders’ porta-cabins. In the end, most hashers managed to be upstanding for the Hare’s briefing. This included an obscure reference to Groenendaal rules on back checks, or was it check-backs (quickly forgotten by most) which also drew our attention to the prospect of many chipmunks, wild Highland cattle but mainly focused on the location of the Après, a few dozen metres from the start, but possibly the most critical information for hashers.
Start
We went up, across and finally down from the start point and along the back of the museum and right through the aforementioned site of the Après. We gradually ran through and around the arboretum that was looking splendid in the autumnal hues of yellow, orange, red and still many shades of green. Jonny led us up to a lookout point for wild cattle but it was a false trail in both senses. We were then led up another garden path - as well as a children’s playground or challenging climbing frame - depending on one’s age and/or agility. Gorrit and Gabriella were in the lead and decided to tackle a series of hurdles that escalated from a fairly innocent set of short wooden steps to large and to prove slippery rocks and ending as telegraph pole height posts with fiendishly awkward steps cut on the opposite side of left and right. Gabs was to boldly go where no normal person should venture. YHS was following only to see her slip and fall on to her posterior grazing her knee descending from a metre high rock. But she quickly picked herself up and bravely continued along the now tortuous climbing frame. YHS managed to negotiate the rocks slowly and started out along the twisting poles only to abandon the attempt much to the by now entertained family sitting nearby enjoying a spectacle of a row of humans failing to imitate the easy reach and sure balance of gorillas.
A Hamiltonian Moment
We then resumed the search for checks and there were many: was this the Hamiltonian moment we had been waiting for?
A few minutes later the peloton crossed the main road after which there was the relative simplicity of one Short route for walkers and one Long route for runners and so the Rubicon of the Hamiltonian moment had been crossed (stretching our metaphors to breaking point- ed.). Most false trails and Groenendaal or other back-checks were behind us.
The Long run took us up to the now abandoned Groenendaal horse-racing track and its impressive Royal Lodge (which can be hired for events and even overnight stays). Another search for the promised Highland Cattle drew a blank. Meanwhile Julian R in his greatly lighter self now led us at a good pace across the open plain and back into the forest. From here on the edge of the Ring road it was more or less back downhill to the lakes. We passed Sasha walking with her guests and arrived safely back at the finish.
No chipmunks spied by YHS (his eyesight is not what it was -ed.)
Après: a great selection of beers, water and snacks including crisps, nuts and home-made sandwiches (made by Monique as she proudly told me) without the crusts. The two dozen or so hashers, walkers and 2 Mary’s disported themselves in ‘Dejeuner sur l’herbe’ like poses.
Distance: 6.2 km including false trails
Turnout: +/- 25 incl “2 Mary’s” Mary Nuttall and Jackie “I know I haven’t run but I am dying for a beer”
Weather: full sun, little or no wind
Berties:
:) :) :)
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hash: No 2108 02 10 2021
Hares: Jonny, Sasha, Camilla and Helen

Start & après: Car Park off Drève de Lorraine/Ch de la Hulpe
Foreward
The Forêt de Soignes provides Brussels with its biggest green lung stretching from the top of the Av Louise in the NW to the Chateau de la Hulpe in the SE and from Tervuren in the NE to Waterloo in the SW. It is however rare that the Hash is run from this corner of the forest. It is also, alas, rare to approach the assembling runners and find that many are in their 20’s & 30’s.
As Sasha had written in her introductory notes this was a novice team of hares and trail setters, who had brought along some friends, and a first in your scribe’s 40 odd years of hashing (pace competitive interhashes) to have as many as 4 hares.
Starters
Instructions from the chief hare were succinct: here are my assistant hares, flour is on the right, and then we were off. What later emerged was that had it not been for Jonny’s foresight in opening the wooden barrier to the car park, closed in anticipation of the forecast storm, many in cars might not have managed to reach the start!
The early signs were clear and LARGE – at the beginning of the pandemic one of the first casualties was baking flour – hard if not impossible to find in most shops – that drought is obviously over as the trail was liberally doused with large dollops and inch thick crosses of more than a metre wide.
We no sooner joined part of the walking/running track around the former Boitsfort racetrack than we left it again and dived into the woods proper.
The Main Course
The trail was now becoming familiar to older hands and feet who have completed the 10k and 20k ISB Hivernales races or even the more recent hashes from Gianluca & Adriana’s house or Arthur Pooley’s racetrack hash in September. The younger novice runners were quick to shout “on-on” and were adept at each check in identifying the next twist or turn. We were soon returning from the small lakes, sadly named les enfants noyés, up hills and past the reservoir and its accompanying tennis club.
The trailing hare had kindly provided a confirmatory large V to indicate for any late-comers – Rory, Caroline & Max – however, there is a weakness in this kindness if the trail is to double as a return. So it was that experienced and even fitter young hashers such as Gabriella and Gorrit were led back onto the Boitsfort race track but by turning left instead of right they and YHS were able to wend their way back to the finish.
Après
Turnout: 25, including Rory + “2 Mary’s” named above
Weather: mild, light wind and no rain despite dire warnings of ‘orages et/ou tempetes’
Berties: :) :) (as the forecast storms did not arrive by 5pm)
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Hash 2106 18/09/21

Hares: Mic Mac

 
I could not have written this report if it were not for the forbearance shown by the hare and the other hashers, given that I arrived after the scheduled start-time. (The start was further delayed while I transformed myself from cyclist to runner at less than triathlon speed.) This write-up is therefore intended as some kind of an apology, though perhaps it’s just an apology for a write-up. An outline of the hash may be succinctly delivered. There were nine of us at the delayed start, including the hare. After a kink at the outset to cross between l’étang du Bemel and l’étang Long, and climb the steepest slope to the tennis club, we described a clockwise circuit of Woluwé Park. The trail threatened to leave the park at its eastern edge, but refrained from doing so.  It did exit briefly at the south-western edge, but soon re-entered the park and wound through the woods back to the start. Christian appeared at the après as a Mary and delivered a health bulletin on Harriet (since rendered out-of-date by her appearance at Hash #2107 the following week). The weather was sunny, and so the après was leisurely. Hugh recounted to us his one successful attempt at a pun in German: Wolfgang laughed politely and plausibly.
But this bland summary doesn’t do justice to Hash #2106 which was particularly thought-provoking. Indeed, it was the kind of trail that brings me out in a philosophical rash. The hare, in his earlier professional life, used occasionally to suffer European Union politicians wittering on about “déontologie” (in its French form meaning a professional code of ethics). Our hash has arguably done away with ethics with its twin-headed first rule: that there are no rules and therefore the hare is always right. Nonetheless, I still occasionally find myself pondering what is and is not permissible in a hash trail - and Hash #2106 was one such occasion. Listening later in the week to an episode of BBC Radio 4’s programme on statistics, More Or Less, has since given my musings a veneer of respectability. The economist Tim Harford was discussing with an American mathematician the question: how many holes does a drinking straw have? And how many holes does a pair of trousers have? (More, if you’re interested, here, 22’30” in:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000zsnj

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Hash: No 2105 11/09/21
Hare: Arthur

Start & après: Old Boitsfort racecourse
Before

Clear directions to the start; clear instructions on where to gather in the car park depending on the weather (we guessed correctly); and the clear enticement of chipmunks, logging, nettles and a beer stop to successfully encourage a good turnout.
The hare was in organisational mode. He instructed us to line up in front of the fence. Intrigued, we eventually complied. For some reason, Dad’s Army came to mind. You have all seen the photo which logged our presence and has prompted some interesting comments. Judge for yourselves. In the interest of journalistic accuracy, it should be noted that Christian, who was present, was not in our ranks as the shutter clicked and posterity was recorded
The hare elaborated on the pleasures he had tantalisingly indicated in his call to arms earlier in the week. There would be occasional S and L signs (as YHS never saw any, I can only guess how much they confused the pack). We should also keep out of protected areas and not incur the displeasure of the forest warden on duty. Luckily, we respected the first and did not see the second.
As many around the world were reflecting on the 20
th anniversary of 9/11, the hare reminded us that the last time he had laid a hash from this venue was with his frequent co-hare Janet, who sadly died last year.
During
The start took us along a main road before turning back into the woods. A difficult check – the earlier rain had obliterated much of the flour – totally confused the pack and gave an indication of what lay ahead. Eventually, directed in the right direction, we were on our way again. It was here, that YHS came across a young couple with three energetic dogs off the lead who (the couple, not the dogs) asked if we were doing last-minute training for the following day’s Brussels 20km. I explained those days were behind us and now we just ran for fun (as always – ed).
The flour then led us along wooded trails and various cobbled paths with runners sent to navigate three sides of a square, while the walkers ambled along the fourth, ensuring the pack managed to stay in pretty good contact.
About halfway round, the trail did an intriguing detour into a tennis club: the promised beer stop. In fact, the hare had arranged for a choice from the club bar: beer, soft drinks or an ice cream. It was instructive to see who chose what. As we supped our drinks or licked and nibbled our ice creams, we were entertained to some fairly high class tennis – an aperitif before Emma Raducanu’s US Open final later in the day. Granted they were lollies, not cones, but google How to eat: ice-cream cones in The Guardian on 20/8/21 to fully appreciate the thought and technique that goes into this.
Fortified, or slowed down, by the enjoyable interlude, the pack continued fairly successfully on its way until the trail simply disappeared near the racetrack. After some unsuccessful checking, the more enterprising deviated towards what is now a small golf course and eventually found some flour which led us clockwise round the perimeter home.
I can confirm a chipmunk, logging and nettles all also made an appearance.
After
Unlike the two most recent hashes from this location, the après was not in the grandstand, but in the car park. So, no bucolic scenes of golfers practising their drives, but also out of public gaze.
It was during the après that the hare asked if anyone had seen the lakes. We all looked blank except for Christian who I assume was so far ahead by the time we lost the trail near the racecourse that he had the time and energy to follow flour to the water and retrace his steps.
Many thanks to Arthur (and Sylvie) for stepping in at very short notice, especially as Arthur was preparing for a knee op a few days later. Due to YHS’s inveterate inefficiency, this belated write-up ends not with the hash’s best wishes for the op, but with congratulations on its success and best wishes for a successful and speedy convalescence.
Turnout: 19

Weather: rain earlier in the day, but dry during hash and
après

Berties: :) :)

___________________________________________________________________________
Hash: No 2103 28 August 2021
Hare: Ed

Start & après: Junction of Tervursesteenweg and Rosbergstraat, Everberg
(Or, as Mariette points out: “The single r in Tervuren makes sure that the single u is pronounced long, so as a double uu. In Tervursesteenweg, this rule does not apply when the r is not followed by en, do not ask me why. This means that Tervuursesteenweg is the correct spelling.”)
Good to hear from you, Mariette and hopefully we will see you in person one of these days.
Seeing the hare turn up at the previous week’s hash with scratches, blood and nettle stings on his legs after recceing his own hash earlier in the day should have given us a clue. The trail was not in the Bear Grylls league, but there was a lot of up and down hills (“This nails the lie that Belgium is a flat country,” said one survivor), muddy and slippery paths, nettles and brambles. (Don’t overdo it – ed).
Apart from the occasional road, the trail was along small paths, between fields and involved some new terrain. It offered great views over the surrounding countryside, while in the background we could hear the constant hum of vehicles speeding along the Leuven motorway. A reminder that despite the vast network of roads in the country, there are many pockets of safe greenery which a little imagination will uncover.
The hare was in helpful mode. At the first check, he called back YHS exploring a narrow false trail, saving him from soggy nettles. At the second check, he did the same for a small group disappearing into the distance. It was then that the first obstacle occurred: a 1.5 metre ditch with enough water to drown your running shoes.
Here, Gentleman Arthur (Welcome back - ed) with his impressive wellington boots came into his own. He plonked himself in the middle of the ditch and safely gave the more hesitant a helping hand to the far bank where they were ushered on to dry land by Julian R. This brought us into an impressive and precipitous wood which we briefly shared, thankfully on different paths, with a couple of cyclocross bikes.
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The energetic checkers for the day – Christian, Alison S, John F, RiteOnSec and Julian R – managed to sniff out the trail which took us, inter alia, past a young offenders prison. We saw no inmates or wardens, just a rickety fence.
As we drew near to the
après, the hungry and thirsty enthusiasts at the front tried unsuccessfully to second guess the hare. The first to fall into a cunning trap was Julian R who was last spotted checking up a hill we had descended several weeks before (Reread Hugh Dow’s magisterial write-up of Hash 2092). He eventually appeared at the après some ten minutes after the rest of us, as we were quietly putting the world to rights over a beer). We knew he was ok as he had been spotted by a friendly group of Flemish walkers who tried to get us to turn round and follow him, until Judi explained that it was Julian who had made a mistake, not us.
The second victims were the front group who had ignored, not heard or misunderstood the hare’s preliminary words “Wezembeek rules”, with one confiding: “I can see my car from here.” Hauling them back, the hare repeated: “Backcheck means return to last junction, not to change of direction.” The ploy worked. Front runners had to retrace their steps, walkers caught up and the On Home sign was soon in view.
Turnout: 12

Weather: heavy rain before and lighter later, bringing the
après to a quick end just after 5pm, but warm and sunny during the actual hash.
Berties: :) :)

Miscellany
The local angle
Trump
When I worked for The Scotsman throughout the 1980s, I was always told to “Put a kilt” in the intro to any story whenever possible. Local newspapers are past masters at finding the angle to titillate their loyal readership, irrespective of the global importance of the event.
Recently reading an old copy of Private Eye, I learned how the Ayrshire Daily News reported Trump’s demise:
“South Ayrshire Golf club owner loses 2020 presidential election”
This prompted me to check the accuracy of two other local headlines I, and many others, have quoted over the years.
Titanic
It turns out the Aberdeen Press and Journal (then, the Aberdeen Daily Journal) has been falsely accused for decades of headlining the demise of the Titanic in April 1912 with the loss of over 1,500 lives with: “Aberdeen man drowns at sea”. Another calumny was: “North-east man lost at sea. 1,500 perish in Titanic disaster”.
In fact, the paper’s headline of the disaster was sober and informative: “Mid-Atlantic Disaster – Titanic sunk by Iceberg – 1,683 Lives Lost, 675 Saved – Increasing Race to Rescue”. There is no mention of “North-east man” and, indeed, the preferred description of the period for someone from that part of Scotland was “North Country”.
Russia
However, the shot across the bows of Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II in September 1898 by the Skibbereen Eagle in West Cork over his expansionist plans in China is true. Under the headline: “We warn the Tsar”, the paper declared in a leader it would “keep its eye on the Emperor of Russia, and all such despotic enemies – whether at home or abroad – of human progression, and man’s natural rights, which undoubtedly include a nation’s claim to self-government”.
Nevertheless, there have also been suggestions the warning was issued by papers in Tasmania, Melbourne or even New Zealand.
But the laurel appears to rest with the Skibbereen Eagle, which in 1914 had also warned Kaiser Wilhelm. In 1946, the Southern Star, which had taken over the Eagle, published a cartoon of Ireland’s then Taoiseach,
Éamon de Valera, in one-to-one talks Joseph Stalin. The Soviet dictator murmurs through pipe smoke: “Between ourselves, Dev, Russia has never quite forgotten that article in the Skibbereen Eagle.”
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Hash 2102 21 August 2021
Hares: Tim & Sue King
Wonderful Wemmel

Tim & Susan King can usually be relied on to provide some innovation or novelty to the weekly Hash; even if they have a reputation of also setting longer than average runs. On this occasion we had the novelty of a new venue. In his directions for the location Tim wetted our appetites with “a summer excursion to Wemmel (it's closer - and greener - than you think)”. Frankly, who ever really thought about the proximity or colour driving round the Brussels Ring by-passing Wemmel en route to the coast.

We assembled in good order and good time in a green municipal park with a small stream running along two sides which provided a pleasant location. Tim addressed the assembled runners and walkers tempting us with our proximity to the charms of the gothic town hall and centre of this largely unknown commune but then undercut this by explaining that we weren’t going anywhere near these attractions. Julian R was welcomed, on a busman’s holiday, as his office is less than 1 km from the start. “Flour was always on the right” and we were off.

We crossed a pedestrian bridge and were running up a gentle hill through suburban dwellings, a couple of back checks just providing Rory time to catch up with the pack, and to designate a scribe. Another couple of false trails, one of which had been a back-check which Sue deftly amended to a back-check, and then we were off the roads and moving along sylvan glades. Once or twice we emerged into warm sunshine and a field or another unbeaten track but repeatedly came back to the woods. Then when it seemed as if we must be about to run into another commune we left the woods and started to traverse cultivated fields. At one point we enjoyed the sight of the Atomium emerging above the skyline as we climbed a short hill.

Our hare had skillfully laid alternate trails at critical junctions which helped to keep the pack reasonably together. Alison in her pristine white shoes with pink piping had managed to keep her feet out of the plentiful deep mud as we wended our way across the tracks through the fields.

The heat and humidity was rising as the hour slid closer to 4pm and the pack slowed in its enthusiasm for checking yet another false trail. Finally, we descended from the fields and re-entered the woods where we had started and found the on-home sign and sprinted to the end.

The Après was quickly put together with an innovative selection of natural crisps and Silly beers, cheese and water. The hares are to be congratulated for a memorable rural venue so relatively close to, but unseen, the Heizel complex of exhibition centres and car parks.

Distance: +/- 5km, including false trails and certainly not over long, given the high humidity.

Turnout: 20, including the almost late Rory.

Weather: sunny, muggy and warm (at last)

Berties:
:) :) :)
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Hash 2101        14 August 2021 
 
Hares: Peter & Barbara 

 
By the Beersel Bibliotheek 
 
As most of us had arrived in good time, but parked in the other carpark, there was a concern that the hares were late. Of course they weren’t they were just across the road in front the library.
The usual motley crew gathered, sorry I didn’t count how many, but I remember Mary Nuttal, Chris Stevens and Sue Bird (sporting a very nice and just out-of-the-hairdressers hair cut). J & H were there as well and our young fast Hashers Gabs and Gorrit the Frisian (picking you out as I don’t meet many ‘landgenoten’ here in BE). 
 
It was a pleasant day, the weather was more summery than previous weeks and we set off, well as it is me writing, at a slow but steady pace. We walkers had been supplied with a map…of sorts. It is generous to give the slow ones a map…however, if you don’t know were you are and you don’t have any street names on the map it is challenging to find your way. Not a problem, Google maps on my phone and Chris Stevens knowledge got me back to the apres (with a bit of a short cut). Ian H was there too as I meet him on his bike at the traffic lights about 2 km from the start. My new toy, a Huawei Health GPS watch (chic but cheap) says I did 3.65km so I guess that the real Hashers did much, much more. (BTW I do realise that the Chinese may be monitoring my movements on my watch – hope they find it exciting!) 
 
By now you think I am wittering on a bit and you are craving detailed Hash information about the terrain, the number of check/false trails/back checks etc. I am two weeks late with this write-up and, like most of us, my memory is a bit fuzzy sometimes. So sorry P & B for the lack of content! But I do know it was an excellent Hash, thoughtfully created, well laid and the apres had individually wrap BiFi worstjes, studenten haver in small packets and an interesting selection of chilled beers… we were, after all, in BEERsel. 
 
Berties: 
:) :) and a half 
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Hash #2100 7 August 2021
Rite-on Sec @70

It was a day of big, round numbers: the Rite On Sec’s 70
th birthday to be marked by Hash Number 2100. The bureaucrats in our ranks may have nodded admiringly at the administrative sleight-of-hand required to engineer such a coincidence, but the mathematicians will more charitably have contented themselves with the observation that 2100 divided by 70 produces 30 - which by some eerie coincidence (or wilful act of miscounting) is how many runners and walkers gathered for the off.
The ‘off’, it turned out, was delayed by five minutes: the hare informing me that “on such occasions”, the usual cry of “ten past!” could be delayed until a quarter past. (The mathematically inclined will appreciate the superior aesthetics of 15:15.)
But even the Rite On Sec is subject to the rules of time and tide, so after the briefest of instructions, the crowd surged south-east up Brusselsesteenweg towards the greenhouses of Hoeilaart (and the graveyard). From the outset, it was clear that, befitting the special occasion, this was not to be the usual run-of-the mill hash. The attendance of some runners whose age is less than a third of the Rite On Sec’s introduced an unfamiliar ingredient into the proceedings: speed. Gorrit, Thomas and Gabriella set off at a pace that suggested their joints and limbs crank into action on command. Behind them trailed hashers whose start-up motors are of an earlier generation.
A check-mark on Sparrenbosstraat, at the entrance to the woods, brought the generations back together. While the young went back and forth, first finding false trails and then running out of ideas, David Z found the true trail, a path winding among the sparrebomen – spruce trees. Julian R was also to the fore, in that sneaky way that comes from having done so many hashes that your ability to second-guess the hare can outstrip the innocence of youth. There followed a sharp descent to the valley floor to the string of ponds that are known as les étangs du roi. The valley, the Hazendal, contains the source of the Ijse, the river which lends its name to Overijse and Neerijse. It is a tributary of the Dijle, which it joins at Doode Bemde (see hashes passim). The monks of the abbey of Groenendael created near its source a series of ponds now bissected by the Brussels Ring. Those at the eastern end were given a makeover at the end of the 19
th century by Leopold II, hence the name.
My knowledge of what went on at the front of the hash is a bit hazy at this point. I checked left and I checked straight on and by the time I returned from those excursions the young were returning from finding a false trail to the right. So having eliminated the obvious options (or so I thought) I began scaling the escarpment in search of flour. By the time I had worked out that the Rite On Sec would not have risked such slopes, the caravan was long gone – some older hand perhaps having pointed out to the young that to the right there was a second track that branched off before their false trail. The hare was taking us, with a judicious sprinkling of checks and backchecks, along the Hazendal valley, following the curve of the ponds, switching from one side of the water to the other before emerging into the marshy middle.
Archaeological excavations in Hazendal have uncovered evidence of human habitation dating back to neolithic times and some hashers lingered respectfully at a check-mark, possibly out of fellow-feeling for an ancient civilization. The hare, however, chivvied them with a cry of “On called!”. The wisdom of three score years and ten has taught him that, just as life is full of ups and downs, so on a hash you cannot stay in the valley bottom for ever. The flour instructed us to ascend the marvellously named Varkensgatweg, drawing ever closer to the noise of the Ring, and emerging from the tree-cover in time to catch a refreshing shower of rain.
Nicky led us down a familiar horse-track that proved to be a back-check. Picking up the trail again, we continued parallel to the motorway. At the bottom of the hill was a false-trail sign. So back to the check? Or did the hare wish us to take the underpass beneath the Ring, just a few yards earlier to the left - the bridle path that links Hazendal woods with the rest of the Forêt de Soignes? We crossed under, but found nothing. Returning, we found the peloton had opted for an intermediate option: a path that Thomas had assured me was private. So much for local knowledge. Whether the hare was permitted to pick up the trail part-way between the false-trail sign and the check might on other occasions have triggered a deontological debate worthy of the Groenendael monks. But on this particular occasion, the prevailing ethos was “he’s the hare and it’s his 70
th birthday, so he can do whatever he likes”.
We were treated to a brief glimpse of the pineries and vineries of Hertenlaan and then subjected to one last climb before the on-home sign and the run-in along Brusselsesteenweg. There was still time for one last plot-twist which threw the Bertie Barometer into confusion: the heavens chucked down a bathtub of rainwater, whose force was happily matched by its brevity, thus ensuring that we all returned drenched but exhilarated.
If any hashers got lost or left behind, no one noticed, especially because there was no shortage of people, what with the aforementioned Young Ones, plus the likes of Mitzi, Nicky, Paul and Vic swelling our progress. Making no distinction between the Marys who arrived after the hash had ended and the irregulars who arrived before the hash began but might never have come under starter’s orders, it was also good to see, inter alia, Frances, Jocelyne, Leo, Lyn, Morag, Peter C and Rowena.
The après - and the work behind it - merit a write-up all of their own, but this postscript must suffice:
The naturally fragrant changed out of their running gear in the garage. The less fragrant opted for a shower upstairs. The hare, ever the perfect host, remained in T-shirt and shorts throughout so that no guest would feel under-dressed.
A prodigious quantity of quiches was consumed, along with an abundance of salads. The various desserts disappeared too quickly to be properly catalogued, but were either creamy, fruity or both at once. There was a magnificent birthday cake whose history and structure Pascale explained for all the world as if it was a still-life painting in Bozar. Wine swiftly displaced the more usual beer.
Rory had, for the occasion, commissioned some lines from Hugh, the Hash Poet Laureate. Since Hugh was unable to attend in person (or even by Zoom), his works were choicely delivered by the conscripted Peter Blackie, Harriet and Jackie: three limericks whose respective rhyming pivots were, if recalled correctly, ‘On-Sec,’ ‘Nutter’ and ‘Jonno’. There was applause – and a collective sigh of relief that Hugh had withdrawn the one beginning “There was an old man from Hoeilaart...”
An afterthought: For many of us, this was probably the biggest social gathering that we have attended so far in 2021. Setting on one side the question of whether it was covid-compliant, it seems we haven’t forgotten how to have a good time together. Another reason to be grateful for those vaccinations.
Many thanks to Katie for designing (as commissioned by Rory) an excellent
and appropriate birthday card for the hare.

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Hash no. 2099 31 July 2021
Harriet & Christian

“You need to start checking straight away to find the first flour” we were instructed by Harriet, so Hashers milled, muddled and muttered around the start for a while until eventually discovering a discretely marked entrance into Tervuren park where we spread out over a large area behind the African Museum and its modern, box-like appendage, seeking the next flour. Some (obviously very short-sighted) youngsters designated us as ‘Les Scouts’, but scouting around we certainly were.
Jogging back from a false trail yours truly heard a soft ‘thump’ behind him and turned round to see Sue King spread-eagled and motionless on the ground. Heart-in-mouth, rushed back and Tim, arriving simultaneously, found Sue to be OK, but a bit dazed having lost a fight with a branch lying across the path. He helped her to her feet, brushed her off and we continued checking.
The trail took us up through the woods on the other side of the lakes, past many old familiar places, in particular the famous ‘stones’ – a hare’s delight: 10 different paths radiating from the same point. Eventually we found the right one just as it started to rain, but we were sheltered by the trees, so no-one got really wet, and we followed the trail back to a path behind the British School (looking more like an internment camp behind its 3 metre-high wire fence), past the museum and on home.
A delightful trail and a very considerately organised ‘après’ with individually-wrapped ‘Covid-proof’ sandwiches and good beer (Palm, of course!). Conversation ranged from the increasingly incomprehensible Covid rules to the respective merits of TCP and Iso-Betadine (for Sue’s scratches) and the sorry state of the old Spoorloos building, which once housed a thriving café with jazz at the weekends.

Many thanks to Harriet & Christian for an enjoyable afternoon

Bertie :)

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Hash: No 2098 24 July 2021
Hares: Chris S and Alison S

Start & après: junction of Meutedreef and N275
The instructions for the start were just as sparse (the word is “succinct” – ed) as those for the previous week. I regularly consulted my trusty paper Bruxelles Super Plan as I nervously drove slowly along the N275 looking for signs of human life, ignoring cars behind me flashing their lights.
Then, Oh Joy, I spied a sizable group of familiar faces as I reached my destination with at least five minutes to spare. The lead hare, who is wise to hash traditions, spun her pep talk out until 3.10pm and then the pack set off.
But in two different directions. The start was a check. Soon, those conned into a false trail on the right came back to catch up the main group which had gone straight ahead.
The flour then took us along some lovely forest paths, which were new to most of the pack. At various checks there were several false trails, some longer than others, which suggested the laying had been shared between two legs and two wheels. But no one complained (really? – ed). We encountered a few walkers and the occasional cyclist, but for the most part we had the woods to ourselves, admiring the expertly felled trees and carefully piled logs we encountered from time to time along the route.
The last part of the trail took us into the grounds of the Hotel Dolce La Hulpe, which some of us remember as being an IBM property back in the dim and distant past. Now it is a luxury four star joint where a 90 square metre suite with king size bed, garden view and bathtub will set you back €438 (breakfast an extra €23) if a couple wishes to stay there this Saturday. Cheaper rooms are also available.
The hotel is described as having an excellent location. I’m not sure that is true if visitors come to Brussels for shopping or sightseeing. It certainly was from a hashing point of view, though, with lots of small paths and twists and turns in the extensive grounds which the hares used to good effect before a short run-in along the famous N275.
Some minutes into the après, where the main challenge was dodging the occasional cyclists as they sped round a corner into our midst with never a warning bell, we realised four of the pack were missing. It was some time before the quartet, who had become detached from the pack and the hare, emerged.
The incident merely underlines once again the importance of two features of hashing. The first is shouting. This is not something just for front runners, but also for everyone to guide those further behind. Secondly, while front runners have a responsibility to find and indicate the trail, those near the back have their own responsibility to anyone who may be even further behind so they do not lose total contact with the pack.
Finally, we all hope Chris had a happy birthday on Wednesday (28 July) after her Hash exertions and did not have to pay too much to the Belgian post office for any/all the presents she received from the UK.
Turnout: 20
Weather: overcast and muggy
Berties:
:) :) (as the rain forecast did not arrive, although we heard thunder at about 5pm)
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Hash: No 2097 17.07.21
Hare: Julian R
Start & après: Steenokkerzeel

I am always delighted to see Ian on his bike, but never more so than at 3.08pm this afternoon. Having checked Google Maps for the start and set off earlier than usual (a recent good resolution), I eventually found myself in the middle of the Flemish countryside with no sign of life. Stopped the car and considered my options. Urgh, another hash missed due to my deficient map reading skills.
Then, in my rear view mirror I saw a familiar cycling helmet. Ian, like the 7th cavalry, was approaching. I have to confess, to my shame, that I initially thought that, like me, he was lost. But he knew exactly where he was going and guided me into the large car park a hundred metres or so away which was well hidden from the road by tall foliage. (Probably quite a good place for a hash rave/summer party – ed).
The hare took my unjustified complaints on the accuracy of the instructions in great spirit – “Everyone else found the start ok” – and generously waited a few minutes after 3.10 (the official starting time, no earlier, for the last 30 years or so) before setting off.
The pack included a visitor – Ted, American military, previously in Jordan and now in Stuttgart – who was a very welcome addition to the small minority of checkers. It should be recorded that Jackie put in a lot of hard graft looking for flour, as did Tim when he eventually caught up with the pack.
The trail was a very enjoyable leisurely outing of some 5km on good running surfaces along paths that criss-crossed the perimeters of flat fields. Some of the runs between checks were inevitably longer than usual given the general absence of junctions, but the pack, including Susan who, like Tim, arrived after the start, successfully navigated the course at various individual speeds.
A clear blue sky, warm sun, poppies and wild flowers along the way, occasional cyclists, horse riders and dog walkers with planes overhead gave a lovely sense of wellbeing and sense, even if briefly, of normality.
The relaxed après, with its various conversations, was another ingredient, alongside the exercise and bucolic surroundings, that reaffirmed the hash’s many benefits, particularly when human contact has, understandably, been limited in recent months.
Many thanks to Julian for stepping into the breach to lay the trail for the second time in the past few months.
Given the number of hashers on the mailing list, there must be several who have not laid a trail yet this year and are champing at the bit. I am one of them. Please contact RiteOnSec for available dates.
Turnout: 14 (after two laggards caught up the Dirty Dozen starters)
Weather: gloriously hot and sunny
Berties: :) :) :)
Miscellany
Warning: Online shopping outside the EU
From 1 July, new EU customs rules came into effect (basically for the UK) for any items purchased online in a non-EU country. In my case, the original purchase with postage, cost €14.00.
I had to pay bpost €20.67 to receive my package: Frais de formalités douanières €15.00, TVA €5.67. Details of the new legislation: www.bpost.be/shopping-hors-UE
English language
The Guardian has recently had interesting correspondence on the dynamism of language change and how English evolves. This prompted the following letter:
“When a teenager from Karachi was lodging with us, he sat English O-levels. He was required to complete the following proverb, unknown to him: “People in glass houses shouldn’t…”. He completed it with “hang pictures on the wall”.
Hash Cash + photo library
I would like to advise the hash that I am now responsible for petty cash – a princely sum of €245.62.
All requests for legitimate hash-related financial assistance (ie not subsidising an après) should be sent to me. They will be adjudicated on by the Committee under Standing Orders Rule 7 (a.1). Only successful applicants will be informed, by registered letter, of the Committee’s decision.
I have the added honour of recently being entrusted with three hash photo albums, mainly from the 1980s. Please contact me if you get a bout of nostalgia or are looking for blackmail material. No fee, but all donations to hash petty cash would not go amiss.
Rory Watson, Brussels, 20/7/2021
(Belgium National Day of Mourning after the floods, before National Day on 21/7/2021 (when King Leopold I swore allegiance to the constitution as the first King of the Belgians).

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Hash 2094 26.06.21

Start & apres: Veldkapellaan parking


Wolfgang in the woods

“Have you got your rain jacket” calls non-hashing hubby as I leave the apartment. “I don’t need it, Buienradar says no precipitation expected” I reply cheerily.

Half way to the car park opposite Singelij School great dollops of rain fell…but that was it. The Bertie Bru Hash weather predictor still works.

After a certain amount of car park snakes and ladders 25 Hashers were welcomed and ready to rumble (can’t say run as the percentage of real runners was low). Wolfgang, looking very fit is matching blue outfit, said that the ‘no entry to people’ sign that was the way to start. As it was a very uninclusive symbol of a ‘man’ we decided it did not apply to us.

We ran, we walked, we chatted, we enjoyed the cool slightly damp atmosphere of the woods and overhanging vegetation. Wolfgang had used lots of flour and there were many checks. Perhaps because the route was well know to many, quite a few of the checks were run through. Your scribe, not usually up with the pack, only managed to pause 3 times!

Something I, and a much younger Hasher, noticed was a slight challenge with the checking and calling… has the collective Hash hearing gone down a notch? Calling “Are you?” got no response even when the group was less than 15m in front. Again the familiarity of the route mat have caused complacency or they were just ignoring us!

On the slippery path of the on-home there came a crack of thunder and again some big dollops of rain but, withe the shelter of the trees, one hardly noticed.

Back in the car park we had a real, unmasked, sur place apres. There was a good selection of cool beer in Wolfgang’s boot and the Coldrick’s made a welcome appearance.

Two questions – Rory… you went to park your car then disappeared out of sight. So no write-up from our professional scribe. Where was Julian O. our frequent scribe? Having mentioned this to the on-sec is the reason I am electronically scribbling this.

On a personal note, I haven’t been to the Hash very often over the last few months…but today I did the whole route, walking at a good pace and did not have any lower back pain. And the whole experience of chatting and seeing you bunch and actually getting some exercise made me feel great! So thank you to Wolfgang for an excellent “uitje”.

PS: Back home, non-hashing Hubby was laughing… he expected me to be soaking wet. Apparently it had rained stair-rods in Schaarbeek. Who knew Woluwe had its own micro-climate.

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Hash #2093 19.06.21
 
Hare: John Forman
 
Start & après: Av Charles Schaller ... where it doesn't go any further ...

 
Despite the cryptic address provided by our hare by 3pm a group of almost a score of Hashers had assembled at the correct end of the avenue on the edge of the forest. Among whom were 4 of the 6 successful Bruh3 competitors in the previous evening’s Barry Richardson’s Memorial Dash: Shirley & Tony, Susan King, Rite-On Sec and your scribe. The 6th BruH3 representative out of the 18 or so dashers was Thomas Nutter, who hardly appeared to have broken sweat as he crossed the line in first place! Young Thomas who previously honed his running skills with this Hash is now a 3
rd year student of biology at Leuven University. Shirley & Tony also deserve to be recognised as they improved their time by 25% this year over last, this year they deigned to run (having only walked in 2020) at least part of the 2.4km race!

The Hare proved indefatigable accompanying the peloton for almost every inch of the route which described a vaguely anticlockwise circuit through the variety of paths and trails in this section of the woods from close to the ADEPS building and Boitsfort cemetery. We started on tarmac, with back-checks to right and left, before narrowly missing a horse trail guarded by a park ranger, onto a bike track towards Boitsfort and then into single track paths through the light vegetation in the dappled sunshine of a midsummer’s day. We then descended some steps into a narrow gully which twisted and turned. At this point Christian and your scribe having got some distance in front managed to lose ourselves. We ploughed on and down towards the Sept Fontaines area, returned to the last flour we had seen and meandered back to the start as we faintly heard our Hare urging the rest of the pack in the correct direction. 
 
Après: we were greeted by a ‘Mary’ Mary Nuttall, who had arrived a few minutes late with Rory Watson, who in time honoured fashion managed to join the hashers by running the trail backwards.

Conversation flowed as quickly and easily as beers disappear like water through sand. Topics ranging from the centuries’ Irish political shenanigans to the self-destruction of the Unionists this week; Jackie’s new hybrid car, silly hats worn by men, new rules for the Belgian taxation of overseas properties to the labyrinths of rules and regulations applying to exit and entry for holiday destinations. Welcomes back to Pete and Christian from holidays and consequent recent self-isolation.

Many thanks to John F for organising yet another Hash and après at short notice, as well as this picture, minus Judi & Chris, who had left promptly.
 
Turnout: +/- 20 including 2 ‘Marys’ identified above.
 
Distance: 5.5 km to 6.5 km depending on which routes were followed


Bruh3 Hashers relaxing after #2093 hash on Av Charles Schaller, Auderghem - photos added to photo tab…

Weather: Warm 21/23C with sunny periods 2 'Berties'.

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Hash #2092
12.06.21

Hare: Alison & Rory

Deeply honoured when arch-scribe RW asked me to do the write up. I have attempted to obey his strictures; the FT failed to publish my letter yesterday and the prospect of being spiked twice in one weekend is more than my soul could bear.

A rational person can only suppose that the High Priest of the Hash, his face ever hid behind the skull of a newly slaughtered goat, made the appropriate propitiation to the mighty Thor. At 3pm suddenly "the sun shone, birds twittered, and generally speaking hope dawned once more" - PG Wodehouse. The brightness was 'ere enhanced by the beaming welcome from Alison Smith, dragooned in at the last moment and Judy Leitner, likewise beaming and likewise dragooned.

Eighteen or so stout hearts assembled a front the Everberg Gemeentehuis and set off un-promptly at 3.08. We rambled and cut and feinted and hid and charged and tripped and strolled, and checked, and galloped, and gossiped, and - for all I know - canoodled through the woods and fields of the smiling Brabant countryside. For about an hour. Which does me fine.

Then to be greeted by occasional attendee Mary Nuttall (welcome, after a too long absence) and Jackie - aka the Blonde - who, let it be noted, has made two recent appearances at the apres looking as fragrant and summer-dressed as Mary Archer ever did. Beer and crisps appear to be the new go-to diet and that is fine with me. We forgathered under a large and noble tree of which none knew the type. Several opined that it was NOT an oak which only takes one so far.

Newcomer Camilla, colleague of Sasha's, checked like a good 'un - or so I am told. Rear gun Charlie these days, I fear.

On a more personal note I bummed a lift there from Rory. (Thank you kindly). He took me on an instructive detour around the crack houses, drinking dens, and bonfires of hollowed out Woluwe St Pierre; there to pick up Mary since they both planned to "do" Stonehouse Manor en route. I was foolishly tempted by the British fish and chip van in the parking lot and ordered a small "poke". Then realised I was about to run and this was probably a poor idea. So I leaned against Rory's car and proffered chips to passers-by most of whom, for obvious reason, were Brits. They were astonishingly receptive; five people availed themselves and stopped to chat. One cheerful old boy in well-buffed shoes said "I do so prefer them from newspapers. Don't you?" Well, eh, no. Do you know what goes into printers' ink?

Chips as a social lubricant! Who knew?

On on.

Hugh Dow

Photos from Rory added to photo tab…
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Hash #2091
05.06.21

Hare: MicMac
 
Start & après: ADEPS Car park under E411
  
Hashers gathered at one end of the car park as Axa team runners completed their 5 & 10 km runs at the other end. The Hare explained that flour was always on the right he was also anxious to add that in laying he had inadvertently criss-crossed the trail and so to avoid any error we should look out for an “OI” sign indicating we were ‘On-in’ for home.
 
We dashed off with an enthusiastic Jackie in the lead until she realised having crossed a causeway between two lakes she had run out of flour. We retraced our way up some muddy steps and off in another direction. Uphill and down again along a wooden walkway and through muddy puddles we crossed the stream that feeds the lakes at Rouge Cloitre that long ago had fed the mill wheel and mill.
 
We then were following John Forman along a mainly flat, meandering and sunny trail until we reached another check. We split up to check-out several of the five possible ways only to find that the trail led up a long flight of wooden steps which rather foiled Chris Stevens on her bike. Chris managed to find another way back having passed horses which the other hashers had missed.
 
We continued up and around some more checks before descending once more towards the bigger lakes above Rouge Cloitre. Across a path between the lakes we were almost home. A couple of us realised that we were still short of even 4 km so we tacked on another loop to complete our run.
 
Short but sweet was the general conclusion. MicMac confessed that his criss-cross had meant that part of his original trail had been missed out. But numbers of hashers had increased from about 18 starters to 22 finishers including Caroline and Rory who, being inveterate late-arrivals, had decided to run the trail backwards, in part.
 
Après: if the trail was short, the après was enjoyably long, plenty of beer and conversations that in a BruH3 tradition lasted longer than the run.
 
Turnout: 21+ Peter and Rowena Coldrick as ‘Marys’.
 
Distance: 3.95 km
 
Weather: cloudy with sunny periods 1 'Bertie'.

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Hash #2090 29.05.21

Hares: Hugh Dow & Rory (again)

Start & après: Boitsfort railway station car park


Summer arrived after one of the cooler and wetter Aprils and Mays that most Brussels hashers can recall as we gathered in the unprepossessing surroundings of the station car park. While there was proper provision for the various bikers, car drivers found themselves competing for limited spaces by the apparently never-ending RER railway refurbishments (now well into their second decade) as well as the repair works being carried out on the nearby neo-Renaissance Chateau.

Even more surprising was to find Rory relaxed and ready to trot some 15 minutes BEFORE the start! But he revealed that he had lately replaced the indomitable Jackie, who had been advertised as co-hare with Hugh but due to her very recent 2
nd jab had decided to be the transporter of Bacchanalian quantities of Belgian beers – see later.

At the appointed hour of 15h10 Hugh announced that flour was always on the right but due to a senior moment in laying he was less confident that he might have mixed up his false trail and back-check signs – so we had been forewarned – and we headed off into the Parc Tournay-Solvay. The trail rose up from the car park towards the top of the park and within a couple of minutes our own Tim King was in the lead. The park is strewn with Déviation/Wegomlegging signs which despite pointing at times in opposite directions managed to keep us from passing or even easily observing the ruins of the Chateau which commands clear views over the steep descents and ascents we were about to encounter. Down we walked or ran to and around the tranquil lake with a statutory picturesque swan and couple of geese swimming quietly around a small tree covered island. Then we ascended the almost equally steep further hill to the formal walled kitchen garden. The trail led us under the railway and into the wood but a false trail returned us to descend along the scenic Chemin des Silex passing “A LA Petite LAITERIE de la Foret de Soignes” past the bigger lake that took us to the Chaussée de la Hulpe.

We crossed the busy road and entered the Boitsfort Coin du Balai with its smaller but mainly well-restored houses and artisan shops. The trail took us up the hill past the Boitsfort cemetery and into another section of the forest. We heard a weak cry of ‘on-on’ but then realised that Tim who was again in the lead had badly sprained his ankle and was limping back towards us and the start.

There were other intricate chalk signs which we interpreted as back-checks as we descended once more with Susan King taking her place as lead runner and caller. We were now into the centre of Boitsfort and past the famous statue of the wife of Rik Wouters entitled ‘Les Soucis Domestiques’ and a loop around another lake before tracing our way through a playground and past the town hall. A quick turn along Rue de l’Arbrevoir past the former chez Wainwright home before we climbed back up Av Delleur admiring its three parallel cycle tracks before re-entering the station car park.

A very well laid trail with multiple points of interest not to mention deviations and an elevation of 90 metres.

Après: The promise of Bacchus, aka Dionysius, and plenty of beers was duly delivered on time by ‘the blonde’ resplendent in a dress fitting her role as the bearer of such refreshments.
Many thanks to the hares and Jackie.

Postscript: Tim made it back to the start and was last seen reclining in a ‘dejeuner sur l’herbe’ posture resting his injured ankle in a semi-recumbent position prior to cycling back to Schaerbeek.
 
Turnout: 19 – plus a ‘Mary’ as poor Caroline had mistaken the start as being Watermael rather than Boitsfort station car-park, not realising that they are a couple of kms apart.

Distance: 5.5 km

Weather: continuous sun, 20 C so 3 'Berties'.

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Hash: No 2088 15 May 2021
Hare: Julian O
Start & après: Boitsfort Hippodrome
Literally at the 11
th hour on Saturday morning, the start for the afternoon’s exercise was changed from Avenue Victoria to the Boitsfort racetrack to avoid the massed ranks of the police mistaking us for Boum 3 participants in the Bois de la Cambre.
Judging from the healthy turnout (YHS counted 18, the hare 16), the message successfully got through and hopefully no one went to the original start.
This was a hash with a difference. In fact, several differences, although the après was the traditional format we have all come to love and enjoy (more later).
There was no flour (or substitute such as red thread or paprika which have been used when it snows). There were no checks or false trails. We covered the same territory two to three times. There were no shouts of “On On”, “Checking” etc (That’s not unusual – ed). No one got lost.
The hare imparted some important information in his pre-hash pep talk. The pack was being asked to walk/jog/run 5 km and to contribute to Martine’s primary school in Madagascar (details below). He explained several times how the 5 km was constructed: one lap of the outer loop (1.9 km) and two of the inner one (each 1.6 km). Misunderstanding/hearing the instructions because of all the heckling and witticisms, YHS did two outer loops and one inner, later offering to transfer any of his surplus kilometres if anyone needed them. There were no takers.
Relishing the novel challenge, the pack set off with Jackie, Alison S and Christian in the lead, followed closely by Tony and Julian R. For the next 40-60 minutes, hashers, led by Jackie applied themselves at different speeds to meeting the 5 km target, some individually, others in small groups. Around the hour, we were all safely back in the grandstand where the hare provided an impressive array of speciality Belgian beers – some going down better than others, and, to some bewilderment, a packet of Madrid crisps/chips made in Belgium.
Unlike the hare’s last hash here on 3 October 2020 (I heartily recommend hash 2075 write-up if you want to know the history of the Boitsfort race course – ed), we shared the grandstand with other users.
Just next to us was a small group of energetic young people doing impressive exercises and running up and down precipitous steps without heavy breathing, grunting, breaking sweat or swearing. Further along was a large band of revellers, for whom social distancing appeared to be a thing of the past. They were joined by a group of flag waving kindred spirits who identified themselves as “The Genoa cricket and football club”. And in front of us on the course were several golfers of varying ability. We all had something to look at and contemplate if conversation flagged.
Turnout: just under 20
Weather: drizzle when we started, dryish during second half of the hash and après, deluge when après finished just after 5pm
Berties:
1
Miscellany
Little known Facts about Belgium 1
This year is the 100th anniversary of a significant step in women’s suffrage in Belgium. On 24 April 1921, some two million women voted for the first time in local elections. Of these, 196 became local counsellors, 13 echevins and six bourgmestres.
The way was opened by legislation adopted in December 1918 introducing the principle of universal suffrage for males over 21 and to war widows, mothers whose sons had died for their country and women jailed for patriotic acts. In the 1919 general election, only some 12,000 of over two million registered voters were women.
The 1918 law gave women the right to vote in communal elections, but excluded prostitutes and adulteresses from the vote and stipulated that any married woman needed her husband’s permission before standing for office.
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Hash: No 2087 8 May 2021
Hare: Tim, supported by Susan
Start & après: car/bike park at Middenhut, St Michielsdreef, RSG
It was coming up to half way that I realised I had missed some crucial information at the pre-hash prep talk. (Interesting observation. When was the last time a hare said anything useful or informative on such occasions? – ed). Cutting it fine as usual, but not as fine as one other, I drove into the newly renovated and rather fancy car park, complete with deep ditches to catch the unwary, just as the pack was setting off.
Social distancing was not a problem as the impressive cohort ran/jogged/walked/Nordic walked and ambled its way along the 5 km or so route, enjoying the good running surface through the forest and regular sightings of bluebells* and wood anemones.
After a particularly long stretch, the front runners began trumbling (I couldn’t find the word in the dictionary, but think it has a nice rhythm to it), just as some of us further back were mumbling and grumbling the hare had missed a good opportunity to place a check. It was then that Susan, who the hare later assured me did not know where the trail led, casually mentioned that he was using false trail and backcheck signs (I forget which) that afternoon to indicate return to the last junction, not to the check or last change of direction.
Sure enough, there was a handy path on our left which began to lead us on to the inward journey. This eminently sensible innovation in these Covid times naturally prompted discussion about Wezembeek rules, no rules and other insoluble triviality.
The trail was entirely in the woods which we shared with many walkers and the occasional runner, none of whom seemed surprised by our numbers, although a few eyebrows were raised as we loosely congregated in different groups in the car park at the après.
It was good to see Jonny fully recovered from his back mishap and happy to check with the best of them and Jill nonchalantly strolling in after the après had been on the go for a quarter of an hour.
A personal memory? Coming near the end and getting a breather before a final sprint to the finish, I saw a very tall man and his very young daughter walking towards me. Suddenly, she began to run. When I said to him: “Elle est plus rapide que moi,” he didn’t demur.
Many thanks, Tim and Susan, for a most enjoyable afternoon.
Turnout: 22
Weather: dry with the sun making an appearance at the après
Berties:
:) :)
*Bluebells are easily damaged and take six to seven years to re-establish from seed. They have soft leaves that are sensitive to being trodden on and once damaged they cannot photosynthesise, reducing their ability to produce flowers (The Times, Saturday 8/5/21).
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Hash #2085 Hares: Alison Smith, Pete Briggs assisted by Barbara

Start & après: Moulin des Sept Fontaines

Date: 23rd April 2021

A new venue for your scribe but familiar territory thanks to regular rides through Alsemberg also led by Pete Briggs. Hashers arrived mainly close to 3pm as the limited number of car parking spaces and suitable posts for locking bikes were quickly diminishing. Another spectacular sunny afternoon enhanced by the sparkling water of the erstwhile mill pond did not reduce the mutual greetings and introductions to regulars and two newcomers: Sasha and partner, gathered.

Alison M-L, Judi & Chris were among the leaders from the start promptly followed by a peloton of a dozen or more running, jogging or walking briskly. We met a frustrated Jill who had had issues with directions and then we were onto the cobbled tracks that border the lake and then wend their way gently up the sun-dappled valley as the trees were quickly opening their leaves. And then, instead of continuing through the sylvan glade we turned right into a sunlight bright green meadow where the landscape widened to reveal the whole valley in its pastoral glory [Enough lyricism - which mushrooms did you have for lunch? Ed].

Caroline and son Max, recovered from their mistaken visit to the Bluebells of Hallerbos the previous week, were among the active followers of the checks. The trail got narrow, then widened into a wet and muddy section before entering another undulating section of forest. Max was enthusiastic in testing for flour and recalled the correct directions, after a couple of false starts, from a previous hash set by Pete a couple of years ago. 

We returned via a short downhill section and another winding asphalt track past both old and newer farms and homes to the on-home sign as advised by Mic-Mac, who had spotted it on his earlier search for the start.

There was a goodly group of hashers sharing the odd beer and crisps in a vaguely socially-distanced manner which passed for a traditional BruH3 Après in normal times, whenever that was?

Later arrivals included Mr & Mrs King by bikes and Rory W by the wrong route.
 
Turnout: 26 - which by my not infallible reckoning is a record for 2021! 

Distance: 5 km

Weather: continuous sun, 14-17C 3 'Berties'

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Hash #2084  Hare: Julian R assisted by R. Watson

Start & après: Car park at the end of Steerebeeklaan

Date: 17th April 2021


Arriving at the Parking Baron Brugmann de Walzinlein in Zaventem [a generous rectangle of asphalt which used to accommodate vehicles for the Steerebeek Hippodrome, which older or non-resident hashers may not realise has recently been converted into an undulating golf course surrounded by low apartment blocks and a couple of dozen modern houses]  a couple of minutes before 15h00 it was a novelty to see the heels of some hashers disappearing already. 

'New rules' for a club that prides itself on its first rule being that 'there are no rules'! Confusing but in compliance with the equally contradictory Belgian regulations on social distancing. "Leave as soon as you arrive" being the order of the hare to avoid overcrowding. 

What is also familiar for recent regulars is the briefing that there are no false trails, only the occasional back-check and that basically there is a single route with intermittent checks. 

Familiar also were the horse trailers lined up in the car-park as in addition to the Brussels Golf Club this is also the location of the
Poney Club of Steerebeek. Here endeth the history or back-story of the chosen location.

The on-time but later arrivals were given a short-cut by the hare that allowed some of us to catch the earlier walkers and runners. We were off along the mainly concrete paths that surround the golf club. 

At the far side of the golf course we turned along its fringes and eventually back around the horse training paddocks and a field full of chickens apparently enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. 

Past the last of the new homes and a couple of turns and we were back at our starting point.

Après: Prudent hashers who had brought their own beers offered a couple of spares to those who had not and socialising at distances and exchanges of vaccine experiences were articulated.

Thanks to Julian R and Rory W for laying and good to welcome back Irini, Tim King, Martine and Peter Blackie.

Turnout: about 20 

Distance: about 5 km

Weather: continuous sun, but at 11/12 C chilly when stationary, 3 'Berties'

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Hash # 2083 10th April 2021
Hares: Tony & Shirley Gunn

Start & après: Junction of Terhulpensesteenweg and Albert I Laan
We assembled wearing a variety of wet weather gear: hats, slicks, sticks, umbrellas and gaiters just off the main road in the first dip from the Ring to La Hulpe, outside a local office centre and at the beginning of Albert I Laan. Greetings were exchanged and as we grew in number to about ten walkers and runners plus dog we crossed the busy road for a briefing. Tony provided short instructions from behind his mask 'beware of slippery cobbles, no back checks and a big sign and map will indicate you are near the end'. Why we might have needed a map, near the end, became clearer later.
Led by two Julians we walked carefully up the slippery cobbles only to be shamed by Alison who overtook us running.
We reached the first check as the trail flattened and began the checks for new flour. We were joined shortly after by Barbara & Pete Briggs. Along straight paths and undulating hills we traipsed largely alone through the steady rain. The trail wove us left and right which did make navigation more complex, but we all in good spirits. Ed had just received his first jab 48 hours earlier without any side-effects and most eligible had also received a date for their vaccination.
Alison maintained a steady pace and was rewarded by encountering Tony, who had arrived from the start to meet us on our return.
The leading pack of 3 then continued on to the finish. Beers and water were imbibed, Alison informed us that she was part of a syndicate with stakes in a sweepstake in the Grand National race due in an hour or so. She headed home to join her group on zoom and your scribe also began to feel the chill after 25 minutes or so and also headed home.
Another well-laid hash, in a rough figure of 8 shape, the map in the forest was so near the end that it was of little assistance but the first 4 enjoyed the exercise despite the rain.
Therefore, I assume that Shirley and the other 8 arrived safely, with or without the use of the map and a search party?
Turnout: a baker's dozen, including one 'Mary' (aka Mic-Mac) who arrived late and who had not reappeared by the time your scribe went home, but is vouched for by the leading hare.
*** see emails for corrections!
Distance: around 5 Km.
Weather: continuous rain, but little or no wind, so zero 'Berties'.
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Hash # 2082 3rd April 2021
Hare: RiteOnSec

Start & après: Groenendaal Station
 
Regular BruH3 hashers have now settled into the new regime for the current Belgian restrictions on outdoor activities: Turn-up around 3pm, start running alone or in groups of not more than 4 persons, follow a trail marked with flour and checks, but no false trails and at the finish disperse as promptly as possible - no formal après.
 
A fine dry day with patches of blue sky meant the only important decision was to wear or not to wear sunglasses.
 
Crossed the road from the station and were quickly into the woods and around the lakes. Up and down small and then bigger hills with plenty of flour and regular checks. We criss-crossed a stream and then horse-riding paddocks and stables. 
 
The wood anemones were in full bloom again this week as we twisted and turned through the woods and returned to the start.
 
A well-laid Hash by Jono on a by then sunny Saturday afternoon meant that dispersal was less than immediate as hashers enjoyed a few chats and an odd beer or other refreshment. 
 
Turnout: about 20
Distance: around 4.5 K
Weather: sunny periods and at about 14C little or no wind, so 2 'Berties'
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Hash: No 2081 27 March 2021
Hares: Ed
Ed thank you very much for a very enjoyable trail; you managed to find some paths that were definitely new to me. The anemones and the sunshine were a real tonic. I counted a total of 10 Hashers including you, of which 5 were bikers. Chris S.

Corrigenda:  There were 13 of us including Hare:
 
Ed
Julian O
Julian R
Jonno
Barbara and Peter B
John F & Alison
Alison
Chris
Ian
Shirley & Tony
 
Trail well marked; despite rain (and that Ed laid it the day before; though he did go out and double check on Saturday).   Wood anemones in full bloom (I have pics to prove).
 
Thanks to Barbara and Peter for the beer and some snacks.
 
At least 2 Berties me thinks.
 
Julian R
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Hash: No 2079 13 March 2021
Hares: no hare, organised by On-On Sec
Start & après:
Jezus Eik, junction of Kapucijnendreef and Tulpenlaan
Not a write-up but a very warm thank you for keeping the Hash in our thoughts over the last few months (not forgetting Sue's Zoom, of course) and for the successful relaunch this afternoon.
 
The timing was impeccable after the earlier gales and extreme deluges ... not a drop, not much wind ... lots of debris on the ground though, sun streaming through the trees, not many people around ... quite mild ... rather delightful, in fact.
 
Looking forward to MicMac next week and a prompt return to the usual.
John F
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Hash: No 2078 24 October 2020
Hares: Judi assistant: Alison S
Start & après:
Jezus Eik, junction of Kapucijnendreef and Tulpenlaan

The clock of our very own Lieve-Vrouwkerk°, here in Jezus-Eik, (built in 1650, they say, following the miraculous sighting of a statue of our Mary as it hung from an old oak tree in the woods) struck a baleful 4 bells as we entered the final straight ... 

 
More turned up (was it 16 or 17, Judi?) than the Hares had anticipated ... quite a bit of the flour had lixiviated (good one, scribe: bet not a lot have come across that one before ... but does it represent a correct usage, he muses ...) and the pace was - to put it oh so generously - rather modest ... Alison S, our co-hare, ahead of the pack at many a check ... shouting ... you got it ... 'On to check'.
 
But 'Oh the shock dear ...' with apologies to Mackie Messer ... when our own dear Jono Macheath, dear, informed that both our usual, aka Julian O and Rory W, were 'otherwise engaged' and would yours truly do the honourable ... three quarters of the way along!!!
 
But the rain held off, the sun came out ... all was well with the world ... except, of course, it wasn't ... 
 
We weren't allowed to mingle ... that Tim word again ... either at the beginning or for the après ... which, of course, didn't take place ... but your hon scribe wouldn't know about any of that as they arrived late and left early ... 
 
But it was wonderful to get out ... and to breath in ... the heady up-your-nostrils, autumnal air and ... pound, crackle and pop the crispy leaves under foot. 
 
So, a humongous thanks to Alison and Judi for laying a lovely trail ... and bravo, bravo for keeping the Hash going in these particularly challenging times.
 
And, weather-wise, 3 well-deserved and not-to-be-forgotten Berties  
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Hash: No 2077 17 October 2020
Hares: Susan & Tim K
Start & après: Ravaartsteenweg, 1820 Melsbroek, Steenokkerzeel

As Tim is one of the regular hashers who is towards the lower end of our ‘middle aged’ range, a regular Top 3 winner of the Dash, and, someone who prides himself in seeking out new or unusual locations, our expectations were high.
Most of us arrived at this new site without undue difficulties, by car or by bike, in this slightly remote parish just beyond the National airport in Zaventem. Unfortunately, we were greeted by the sad news from Julian R. that Ed had unfortunately fallen and injured himself on a poorly maintained manhole cover near Nossegem and was being picked up by Norma. We later learnt that he had not broken any bones but was advised to keep his left arm in a sling and stay off the bike for at least 4 days.
As the departure time of 15:10 approached, we received electronic instructions from Tim to start, confirming Tim’s reputation for laying long hashes, but almost as soon as we shuffled off, he and Susan appeared to accompany the tail enders. We were soon close to the centre of the Floordambos nature reserve – only 3% of Flanders rates as such according to a local sign counselling us to appreciate it - we were privileged to be in “a swampy deciduous forest” where you can “spot amphibians, buzzards and polecats” according to a current Vlaams Brabant website.
Just in case we were too carried away by the natural wonders the guide adds “Back in civilisation you will pass some special historic buildings. Herenboerderij Hof ten is now a brasserie restaurant, Hof ten Boetfort castle a wellness centre.”
Your scribe missed seeing most of the beasts of prey but we did admire St Martin’s Church, on our way through the pretty centre of Melsbroek, Saint Martin is the patron saint of the poor and soldiers among others. The history of this place of worship, which was originally built in Romanesque style, dates back to the 12th century. To the right of the Church is the former chaplain's house, built in 1717-1720 by Gisberte de Locquenghien, Baroness of Melsbroek.
We re-entered the woods and came to a small chapel and an unusual rectangular lake. One of Tim’s techniques to keep the pack moving is to have a lot of back checks and many fewer basic checks. As a result, some of us found ourselves running back and forwards around 3 sides of the lake before discovering the way ahead.
Undaunted, we were then treated to a run back towards the village and then away again across open fields used for market gardening, grazing horses and dog trainers and their pets. Thence, back to the woods past more horses and stables and a small canal before passing the fine Chateau de Huyenhoven, which some of us admired through its firmly closed gates.
All arrived safely back to the start for the Après, where in compliance with the current social distancing rules we remained mainly loosely scattered. The weather was mild and sunny (as seems to be the norm for this autumn). We were about 13 persons but as we enjoyed refreshments a solitary man was spotted actively engaged in looking intently at us and then recording something on his mobile. We suspected that we might have been nabbed for breaking some rules but 5 minutes later his girlfriend turned up apparently irate with him for having abandoned her, so we relaxed into a second or third glass.
Susan and Tim deserve credit for another interesting hash and après, not nearly as long as some previous King hashes, but Tim is presently handicapped with abductor muscle pains and so was not the fastest layer this week. Approximately 15 back-checks and only 5 or so checks would have dispersed most Hashes over a wide area but the Bruh3 is a social group and managed to stay largely together.
Turnout: 12 + 1 Mary (aka Caroline McC.)
Distance: about 5 km. without check-backs or hills or noticeable elevation; 9.5 km in total if all checks were completed.
Weather: around 16/17 C sunny ‘3 Berties’.

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Hash: No 2076 10 October 2020
Hare: Harriet & Christian
Start & après: Hertedreef, Tervuren
At the junction of two suburban streets this Hash started on a corner of the Forêt de Soignes that is less familiar to most of us. Walkers, joggers and runners, some new, some old and mostly regulars, assembled, some in face masks as the changing Covid regulations for the periphery of town and country are not entirely clear, at 15h. Harriet warned us to keep to the marked paths to be in compliance with the rules, to stay in groups of not more than 4 at the Après (and since there was only one table for food to please keep to this rule) and then we were off.
It having rained frequently during the past 48 hours the paths were damp and somewhat muddy in places particularly just off the trail as some quickly discovered. We negotiated the first couple of false trails towards the lower end of the Arboretum. We then ascended and descended a series of steep but short hills, criss-crossing some of the wider avenues on often single lane paths. We progressively settled into a more or less regular routine whereby the leading runners, accompanied and warned occasionally by Christian, were regularly running ahead only to return to meet the walkers, who were being guided by Harriet. Indication of a well-laid Hash that almost all finished the course within 5 minutes.
At one point it was feared that we had ‘lost’ Terri – Barbara Briggs’ sister - who has had her stay in Belgium from New South Wales substantially extended due to Australian quarantine rules and infrequent flights back to Oz, but she turned up safely, partly rescued with Frances by Rory W who had arrived late and was acting as the ultimate sweeper-upper: see PS below for more.
Irregulars included Irini, Kathy & Kevin Whalley, Frances, Terri and Arthur and Sylvie.
The Après was appreciated by all, especially some home-made biscuits and more Adnams beer contributed by Arthur P with the sun still shining until around 17h by when it began to get a little chillier.
Turnout: 20 + 1 Mary (aka Rory)
Distance: 4.8 km. without check-backs +/- 7 km incl. most
Weather: around 14/16 C sunny - 2 Berties

PS
Rory writes

I decided I would socially distance after this week’s latest federal government and Brussels Region’s Covid restrictions. I may have overdone it. I had intended to start about five minutes after the pack and plough my own furrow, guided by the flour and the shouting ahead. In the end, I set out 15 minutes after the start.
Many thanks to the hares, though, for thoughtfully providing chevrons at each check to indicate the right trail. I only missed one of them. When I came across a false trail arrow and retraced my steps to the check, I soon realised my mistake. It was a surprisingly pleasant experience running on my own, following a clear route and praying none of the many falling acorns would land on my head. I admit, though, there was always a nagging doubt that if I missed any of the strategically placed flour, I would be completely lost on my own with no idea of how to find On Home.
You can imagine my surprise when just after halfway round I exited a narrow cross-country path onto a main drag and came across two young damsels in distress: Frances and Terri. They could not find the flour and had become separated from the main group, even the walkers. “Our saviour,” they cried in unison. It’s a long time since I have had such a welcome. So naturally, I took them under my wing, sniffed out the flour and, like a cross between a pointer and a collie dog, indicated with hand signals the way ahead, once I had found it, and successfully shepherded them down slippery slopes and safely home. At least that’s my mixed metaphor version of events.
A lovely autumnal afternoon and a delightful way to enter a new personal decade.
________________________________________________________________
Hash: No 2075 3 October 2020
Hare: Julian O
Start & après: Boitsfort Hippodrome car park
For YHS, the area brought back nostalgic memories of the early 1980s when the racecourse operated and was the venue in January for an annual cross-country race (9.4km or 18.4km) organised by the Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles in which some of us participated. For others, particularly the hare, the reminiscences may be more recent. See below two of the photos**** The Bulletin took for a feature on hashing in the early 1990s.
Back to the present. The first check involved the usual faffing around as people caught up on gossip and pondered whether to run the trail or be lazy and walk.
Spurred on by the hare, the pack, after running anti-clockwise almost halfway round the perimeter of the nine hole golf course and driving range moved into the forest. This offered a range of paths, many junctions perfect for checks and false trails and a good running surface, apart from the occasional cobbles and slippery muddy downhills where caution was of the essence and helped to slow down the more enthusiastic. On the way, we passed sundry walkers and cyclists also enjoying the soft weather.
Not being in the vanguard of checkers (an understatement – ed), I would like to thank them for their efforts, but would urge more shouting to help those of us in the middle between the front runners and the hare shepherding the rear follow the trail (good luck – ed).
As we came out of the forest and saw the old racecourse in front of us, I spied Dr John and Jackie, like earlier four-legged thoroughbreds, steaming ahead across the finishing line, having completed one lap albeit with a large and enjoyable detour in the forest. They were followed, if my eyesight is correct, by Alison S. The rest of us were also rans or unplaced, as bookies would say.
There were two particular items of interest on the trail: the memorial to the victims of the 2016 Brussels bombings* and a memorial to Francois t’Kint** (The footnotes give further details and can be easily ignored by the disinterested). They also include details of the racecourse and its current management***, as requested by the hare.
For the
après, we had the outside of the rather splendid grandstand almost entirely to ourselves. The setting was even more relaxing than usual. With the sun making a brief appearance, drinking modestly and contentedly in the warm afterglow of strenuous exercise (really? – ed) of a 5km trail (8.5km for those who did all the false trails and backchecks), we gazed languidly over the driving range as golfers practised with varying degrees of skill and runners and dog walkers exercised round the outer perimeter.
Any thoughts on après after the recent Brussels Region ban on drinking alcoholic in public?
Turnout: 22 + one Mary
Weather: dry, somewhat overcast, but sunny for the après
Bertie météo: :) :)
*Below, the poignant and dignified memorial to the 32 victims from 22 countries who were killed in the Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro bomb attacks on 22 March 2016. The memorial, installed by the Brussels government, consists of a crown of 32 birch trees arranged around a circular bench made from pierre bleu.
Screenshot 2020-10-14 at 13.26.17

** Francois t’Kint
About halfway round, we passed a very small stone cross in memory of François t’ Kint de Roodenbeke who died in 1610. Many stopped to examine the indistinct writing on the memorial erected in 1921 (feigning interest in local history is more cerebral than pretending to tie up your shoelaces when wanting a breather - ed). Encouraged by some, I have conducted extensive research in dusty archives and discovered he was 46 at the time of his death and left behind his wife Valérie and five children. I have still not been able to establish cause of death, but one source suggests it was violent.
At the outset, the t’Kint and de Roodenbeke families were separate. Both from the Brussels region, they were active in textiles. The latter was one of the seven noble houses of Brussels. Known as the Lineages, their wealth came from cloth, linen and tapestries. From the Middle Ages until the end of the Ancien Regime, the Magnificent Seven, first identified in a document in 1306, formed the city’s patrician class enjoying special government privileges and a monopoly of civil, military and economic leadership.
They also had certain duties. One was to guard the city walls and gates: Coudenbergh (Cologne Gate), t’Serroelofs (Anderlecht Gate), Sleeus (Laeken Gate), Steenweghe (Leuven Gate), Serhuyghs (Halle Gate), Sweerts (Flanders Gate), Roodenbeke (Namur Gate).
The t’Kint family, which owns Ooidonk Castle in Deinze, East Flanders, was not one of the original Seven, but was granted membership through the female lineage of de Roodenbeke marrying into the t’Kints. Given that the first one to carry the combined name of t’Kint de Roodenbeke was Corneille born in 1720, it would appear the memorial is a belated attempt to give Francois a status he did not have at the time.
The venue was near the étangs des enfants noyés. Interestingly, one source says this is a mistranslation. A mill on the edge of the pond belonged to Mr Verdroncken. His children inherited it. Hence, the pond of the drowned children. Who knows?
***Boitsfort racecourse
In 1995, the track hosted its last race after its heyday of 1880-1940 and the site gradually decayed. It was Leopold II (him again), who persuaded the State in 1875 to give part of the forest to the City of Brussels to create a racecourse and pigeon shooting ground. Three years later, the Royal Society for the Improvement of Horse Racing established the track based on plans by Edouard Keilig, the landscape architect behind the Bois de la Cambre, Parc de Laeken and étangs d’Ixelles. The course was more demanding than others, particularly on right hand bends, because of its unusual elongated oval shape and the fact races were run clockwise (most are anticlockwise).
In 2012, the VO group won the contract tendered by the Brussels urban development corporation (SAU). It created Drohme Invest with a 15-year franchise to develop the site, run activities, maintain the grounds and infrastructure, manage the park and rent space for corporate and other events. The name refers to “dream” in English, “droom” in Dutch and alludes to Greek “drome” meaning movement, recalling the venue’s horse-racing past.
Michel Culot, the founder of the VO Group, has many Brussels firsts: a painted metro train to advertise a show, an open-air large screen cinema and winter ice rink in the Grand Place. He also projected Couleur Café into a major festival.
****Photos from the start and après of the hash run in the same area in the early 1990s
Screenshot 2020-10-14 at 13.26.34


Screenshot 2020-10-14 at 13.26.59
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Hash: No 2074 26 September 2020
Hare: Ed McGovern
Start & après: Korbeek-Dijle
When your scribe was trying to decide whether the weather would allow a run on such a wet day he consulted the forecast and saw that while rain was predicted to continue all day, except at 15h, the decision was made – Bertie always alleged that it rarely rained on the Saturday Hash. And so we made our way to the start: a welcome new venue some way beyond Brussels and Tervuren.
On arrival it was a surprise to find almost 20 bodies already assembled. Many regulars plus returnees such as Keith Brown, Arthur Pooley and Christine (friend of Judi, among others). Keith volunteered that he had came to support Ed and in the expectation that not many would turn out on such an unpromising day.
Ed corralled the by now group of about two dozen onto the edge of the bank of the river Dijle for his customary photo – which delayed matters further as others also wanted to capture the pretty scene and Keith felt that as a walker he should not appear – by which time Rite-On Sec was calling “time to go” and the sun had appeared! Ed made the usual announcements plus a warning that the trail was ‘navigable’ i.e. not dry!
We were off and after a couple of false trails we were happily socially distanced as we trotted, jogged or walked downstream past The Shelter kayaking centre and on towards Heverlee & Leuven. The Dijle valley is an almost classic bucolic flood plain with barely a building in sight, many trees on the horizon, meadows with plenty of grass and assorted greenery and cattle in the middle distance. These views only spoilt early on by a concrete pill box, which we quickly overtook.
We then turned left from the river bank and found our way through a small wood where indeed many of the trees were inundated with water and we squelched our ways past on the muddy trail. We began to gain a little height as we were now being led by Jackie Dow (daughter Gabriella who had mostly led for the past several weeks having returned to Uni in London) up a tarmac road leading to the E40 – fortunately this was a false trail and we were returned onto narrow footpaths past stables and horses training in the by now strong sun.
Finally, the lead having been taken over by Jono then Christine we returned safely and mainly with dry feet to The Shelter and an Après enhanced by a generous number beers from Adnams Brewery, Southwold, donated by Arthur who now lives in Suffolk, but who declined to partake. The conversations flowed almost as strongly as the river in full spate due to recent precipitation.
Thanks to Ed for a well-laid Hash in an attractive new location: Hash # 2075 will start in Hippodrome de Boitsfort, which in spite of its name is actually, just, in Uccle.
Turnout: 24
Distance: a shade under 4 km.
Weather: sunny - 3 Berties

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Hash: No 2073 19 September 2020
Hare: Julian R

Start & après: Grevenbos near Bertem
A glorious afternoon, good turnout and familiar territory. We hashed in this neck of the woods fairly recently, but the hare cleverly made sure this was no simple re-run.
As before, a false trail at the start. But instead of entering one of the area’s more bucolic children’s playgrounds, the pack was taken away along a farm track by the edge of the wood. The dusty surface made progress challenging for contact lens’ wearers, but they persevered.
Gabriella and Tim were to the fore, as in recent weeks, but others could also be spotted doing checking duties. Step forward Dr John and MicMac. It was great to see Jill back. To show she is returning to form, she jogged part of the way (as she later pointed out to YHS and others within hearing range). (She’ll be checking soon – ed).
The trail mixed sunny open countryside with the shady wood. At one point, some hardy souls were preparing to check up a moderately steep hill, only to be advised by the hare not to bother: “There is only a nudist camp up there”. They still checked. We did take in the playground, which was much less busy than in early July, towards the end. The flour then took us past two prominent radar towers before u-turning back to the après.
One absentee was the unfortunate, frustrated and possibly embarrassed woman (nothing to do with us – ed), with several canines in tow we had observed in early July. Then, she had been struggling to get a particularly recalcitrant dog into her car. Her absence would suggest she has either abandoned her dog walking activity, changed its venue or avoids us.
Prompted by Hugh D’s earlier insightful parallels of societal trends in France and the hash (a thesis topic? – ed), beer was discussed. This has also triggered interesting correspondence from the connoisseurs in our ranks. I would just like to add my tuppence worth.
Hares are entirely free to offer whatever beer they wish, provided there is enough of it and it is drinkable, (although a nice choice, particularly as Belgium’s brewing inventiveness explores new frontiers, is always very much appreciated – ed). Since MicMac’s experience only goes back to 1991, I can confirm that in the early 1980s, the guideline was two crates each of Maes, Blanche and non-alcoholic beer. That sometimes got changed to 3:2:1 or 4:2:0. We have obviously moved on since. Occasionally, even a bottle of red wine appears. Lovely.
One topic of conversation was the recent announcement by certain, but not all, UK banks that they will soon be closing the accounts of customers who do not have an address in the UK. This move will hit several hashers. Something to discuss informally at an après?
Turnout: 22
Weather: very sunny, dry and hot
Bertie météo: :) :) :)
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Hash: No 2072 12 September 2020
Hares: Lucy, Barbara & Pete
Start & après: Hallerbos, Dworp
It was a successful innovation by the Briggs to host a Hash almost exactly six months out of the now infamous Bluebell Hash season of many years standing. As Covid 19 had prevented our annual visit in April it was probably 18 months since most hashers had set foot in this substantial national park see: info - flowering bluebells - walks - hiking map – Hallerbos.

Pete explained the rules: “flour on the right, no bluebells and a prize for the person who could identify the meaning of a large blue sign with a couple of icons of feet, a smudgy drawing and a line running diagonally through it. At the Après, since we were in excess of 10 persons we should sit in at least two distinct groups in compliance with current Belgian rules.”

We were off and it was different from any April: predominant beech trees in September are in full foliage whereas up to late April they are often only budding, so the forest seems darker and less luminous than in Spring, even though we were enjoying a day of 3 ‘Berties’ blue skies and full sunshine. The hash was led alternately by the increasingly agile and fit Gabriella, who has been running with us every week that I can recall for the past couple of months at least, and by Tim King, who while less regular and less youthful seems equally agile.

We were on a clockwise route, but due to the numerous tracks and paths that criss-cross these woods it was rarely obvious which path to take at the multiple checks. Many false checks and even a few back checks ensured that the pack stayed more or less together.

The walkers appeared and mingled with the slowing pack a couple of times. Almost to the minute of an hour after we had set-off we reached the On-home and re-emerged from the main woods back to Cark Park 4. Although your scribe has participated in most Bluebell runs in recent years it was hard to recognise the trails that had seemed so familiar in early Spring.
The Après was convivial in socially distanced groups. No-one in my hearing had managed to solve the mystery puzzle set by Pete – my weak suggestion was that it may have been intended to indicate “No walking on the Bluebells/Hyacinths” but did not win a prize

Congratulations to Barbara, Lucy and Peter Briggs for a well-laid and planned Hash.

Turnout: 18 with no Marys
Temperature: 21 – 23 C.
Weather: Berties :) :) :)

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Hash: No 2071 5 September 2020
Hare: Marleen
Start & après: Place Sint-Vincent, 1140 Evere
Another good turnout as the hash’s weekly activity moved to Evere which this year is celebrating its 900
th anniversary. The commune or town, according to its official website, is famous for growing turnips and chicory and hosting brickyards and cemeteries. There must be a common theme somewhere.
As we all hope for a new dawn, the hare, who follows Belgian politics more closely than most of us, was looking on the bright side. At the start, she informed us a possible agreement was emerging between the squabbling parties on a government to replace the current caretaker administration led by Sophie Wilmès, Belgium’s first female prime minister.
For the record: the current impasse was in its 625
th day on the afternoon of the hash, dwarfing the 541 days it took to form a government in December 2011.
The potential coalition is being dubbed “Vivaldi” after the colours of the seven political parties involved and the composer’s Four Seasons (orange, blue, red and green). The previous attempt involving six parties earlier in the summer was branded “Arizona” from the colour combination of the US state’s flag. Who on earth dreams up these opaque names?
(Who cares? This is all very interesting and may provide fruit for some difficult quiz questions, but Saturday afternoon is about hashing, not politics – ed).
After briefly digesting the hare’s news and instructions, we set off amid suburban housing and soon reached tree-lined paths within the Parc Bon Pasteur/Park Goede Herder created from an area that heavy bombing towards the end of WWII had turned into a wasteland and massive rubbish dump. Perhaps the cooler temperature made a difference, but there was noticeably more energy in the checking than in recent weeks. Alison S, Gabriella, MicMac, Tim and Leo (when he caught up with us) were to the fore, with apologies for anyone whose endeavours I have missed.
After several false trails and occasional confusion, we found ourselves running along roughish ground in the Moeraske (Flemish for small marsh) nature reserve and last remaining swamp in Brussels. Young kids were playing various games on a steep hillside on our left and on our right trains were passing every few minutes along the busy connection between Haren and Schaerbeek. One surprising sight was a Villo! bike lying in the middle of nowhere whose previous user had presumably ignored instructions to return it to one of the 360 docking stations.

As we exited the nature reserve, a long false trail ahead successfully caught the front runners. While they retraced their steps, the rest of the pack caught up and we did a U-turn (no more politics – ed) back into the park, passing on our left a well populated and surprisingly quiet and obedient dog training class. We then meandered gradually along nice paths past kids and parents enjoying the open air space to the après near St Vincent’s church. Little known fact: built on the site of an oratory established by Landry de Soignies around 675, the church was, until 1906, the only place of worship in Evere.
Après: a few, but not too many, strange looks from passers-by, a friendly and hungry ginger cat, a strategically placed placed ice cream van (two members of the pack accepted the hare’s generous offer of an ice cream) and MicMac coming to the rescue with packets of paprika crisps, which had survived previous hashes.
Turnout: 17 (Good to see Leo back with us)
Weather: dry, warm and somewhat overcast
Bertie météo: :) :)
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Hash: No 2070 29 August 2020
Hares: Katie & Wim

Start & après: Avenue des Jardins, Bxl 1030
The DIY hash
The hare’s trail-laying ingenuity and capacity to surprise are already well documented. She holds the record for the shortest hash and has also treated us to ‘alf an ‘ash (refresh your memory by reading earlier write-ups – ed). Hash No 2070 broke totally new ground. Two blobs of flour from the start were followed by a check on Bvd General Wahis. After that, niets, rien, nichts, nada, nic, intet, ništa (I think we get the message. This is a write-up, not linguistic grandstanding – ed).
Indeed, there might not have been any flour at all but for RiteOnSec. Rightly a stickler for maintaining standards, he insisted there should be at least some white stuff.
The hare explained she had been ill all week and unable to lay a full trail. This left two options: call the whole thing off and leave loyal hashers disappointed at short notice or go ahead – all the après ingredients had already been purchased – and appeal to the pack’s understanding and initiative. Thankfully, she chose the second option.
The result was pleasantly anarchic and surprisingly carefree. Most of the pack headed quietly – shouting “On On” seemed somehow out of place – towards Parc Josaphat in dribs and drabs. Schaerbeek’s 20-hectare green lung is regularly voted by Brussels residents as their favourite park. The remains of a forest which used to extend to Place Dailly, it is divided into three sections: historical, large lawns and a playground area.
People carved out their own trails, exercising at their own pace (Perhaps some would like to add their own personal write ups for the rest of us to enjoy – ed). Two of the hash’s fittest members noted afterwards the absence of false trails and suggested the route had been on the short side. On a DIY hash, the solution was obviously in their own hands.
Personally, I chose to run through the park up to Chaussée de Haecht, starting along the pilgrim’s way (there are Jerusalem connections) and skirting the temptations of the crazy golf attractions. Welcome discoveries took me past some tempting restaurants before falling on the Schaerbeek beer museum. A self-imposed false trail took me into the building seeking more details. I was invited to sample its delights, but explained I was otherwise engaged. It is only open on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons (3-6pm). The €5 euro entry price includes a visit to the authentic museum and two local beers. Anyone fancy joining me on a Wednesday sometime?
Church St Servais was the end of my outward DIY trail. The return journey took me past Schaerbeek’s first communal school (1843), various well populated eateries and loads of posters protesting against attempts to chop down Louis Bertrand’s trees. Back into the park past numerous cafés, various nooks and crannies, the archery area which always seems deserted and a wander through the small wild meadow eventually brought me onto Bvd Lambermont. There I met Ed (not ed) who had found an enjoyable route for his own walk. We were the last two back on just the hour.
The hares had commandeered a large fallen tree trunk in the children’s playground as the centrepiece of the après which, as usual, was relaxing and vaguely socially distanced as we watched the very young generations enjoying themselves. In addition to the hares’ generous offerings, paprika crisps and Babybels made yet another appearance and, according to well-placed senior sources, will continue to be recycled on future hashes.
The hare, recently back from summering in Friesland, admitted she was afraid that it would rain, that not many people would turn up and those that did would be disgruntled at no recognisable trail. She was wrong on all three counts.
The hash hopes that memories of the enjoyable and relaxing afternoon will be a suitable present to Katie and Wim on their 28
th wedding anniversary that very day. One source maintained that something linen was associated with this milestone. Extensive research by YTS came across one reliable reference that said there was no traditional gift for this particular stage of conjugal stamina. Others suggested orchids or amethysts. Anyone got a spare tea towel we could all sign?
Turnout: 18 (with a special welcome to all three Wyatts and may we see them more frequently)
Weather: dry, warm and somewhat overcast until the sun appeared during the après
Bertie météo: :):), especially as the forecast had been rain
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Hash 2068 15 08 2020
Hares: Alison & John Forman

Feast of the Assumption in Terlanen


Uniquely, Alison & John had contrived to convene two events on the same day at the same time: a walk for walkers and a hash for Hashers! This was to try and ensure compliance with the latest Belgian social distancing protocols, which are now as convoluted as the Flemish/Wallonia border we crossed later.

A dozen hashers and eight walkers then set off in different directions with its own hare. The Hash decided within a few minutes of ascending the first hill that wearing of masks did not make breathing any easier, so masks came down to around the neck or into a pocket. On-on was called and we were quickly off the road and into one of the many cobbled or earth paths that criss-cross the Iser valley.

After getting tantalising close to entering the shade of some woods (temperature was north of 30 C and the humidity closer to 100% than is humanly comfortable) we were back to climbing past a goat farm – complete with a Billy-goat gruff, a mother goat and several smaller siblings – then again we found another downhill track and some shade.

We crossed into yet more pastures, small copses and few dwellings. Your Humble Scribe was informed that one of these buildings was a recuperation centre for animals – pity they didn’t offer any restorative energy to the human animals passing by in the torrid heat.

YHS traced our journey on his phone and the resulting map resembles the pattern of a vertically squashed coronavirus complete with spikes every few hundred metres which signified the many false trails that Dr Forman had included. He cleverly insinuated if any hasher dared to guess the correct route that they were wasting their time and energy until every false trail was completed.

As we entered the valley bottom and crossed more small bridges we were led along another track with brambles on either side. It then emerged that not only had the good Dr used a pair of secateurs to cut the brambles back a week earlier, but that he had had to repeat the exercise again that very morning such was the fecundity of the brambles that they had regrown to block our path again. This was typical of the dedication of our hare, just like an Alpine guide might cut and then re-cut ice steps across a glacier, our hare had cut and re-cut the brambles so that we should not miss this close to the last false trail!

The on-home sign appeared and we were invited to an après a la compagne – on a shady bench half way up the valley - a tranquil setting for a socially distanced feast of cool water, beer, crisps and plenty of chilled Baby Bel cheeses. The walkers and hashers arrived in close proximity, the Hash took just over 65 minutes covering just under 6 km.

Another unique hash.

Turnout: 20, no Marys
Weather: as described
Berties: :) :) :)

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Hash 2067 08/08/2020
Hare: Alison S. 

A unique Hash! 
 
It was uncommonly hot ... call it 36° ... this time, the social distancing was conspicuously correct ... and it was the only time your scribe recalls a hare/Alison trying - as it happens, unsuccessfully - to eliminate the odd errant wasp with a small, yellow, plastic, look-a-like tennis bat ...
 
A nominative note also deserves to be made, apart from the two valiant hares - many thanks again, Alison S and Judi - of the 8 other extraordinary brave souls who even burst into the occasional jog ... not least Jono and Ed ... but also Shirley and Tony, who were spied lifting a leg, Barbara, who was spied nipping behind a tree, Marleen, who was caught, in flagrante, heaving a heavy cool box full of beers, Pete B, who strode astride your scribe's trusty steed and Hugh D, who wisely declined to do so.
 
More wisdom lay in the laying ... all in the shade of the old ... (please don't go down that road again: Ed) and, even though the trail was at the end of the Hash Dash ... where we remembered our fallen comrade, John ... we were kept on our toes with some judicious flour spreading.
 
The après beer was deliciously cold and, although it was admitted that the crisps were hand-me-downs from TnS's previous, a genuine Hasher doesn't snub its nose at a no-strings-attached freebee. 
 
Weather: too hot to handle ... but they managed
 
Turnout: add up the names + an ebike late-comer 
 
NB. Next week promises to be somewhat cooler
 

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Hash: No 2066 01 August 2020
Hares: Shirley & Tony

The two old faithfuls again not being on site, here's a potted, in extremis, off-the-cuff and on-the-hoof contribution ... but very much deserved ... not least for the very tasty and beautifully wrapped pizza and the individually sealed, salted crisps, offered at the après ... together with some ever so welcome and delightfully cool beer.
 
And the trail itself was just right ... on the hour and lots of regrouping thanks to many a falsie ... even three coterminous, divergent on ons ...
 
Luckily we were - mostly - in The Shade of The Old Apple Tree (there's a bit of poetic - Ed ... do listen to the 1905 version sung by Henry Burr and then imagine yourself sitting amongst the ladies watching Petula Clarke in 1949 ...ahhh).
 
And whilst the implementation of the two-table approach may not have worked entirely as foreseen, the mask debate (say it quickly with an American accent) was a bit of a dead loss ... and we won't dwell on social distancing ... but it was good to see Marleen and to have Arthur back again amongst us.
 
Turnout: 18 ... plus or minus.
 
Weather: rather warm with a touch of closeness. 
 
Many thanks again to Tony and Shirley
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Hash: No 2065 25 July 2020
Hares: Christian and Harriet

Start and après: Silsomstraat, Silsombos, Kortenberg
Zwarte Madam Hash
A very enjoyable and memorable afternoon. A good turnout, fine weather, and, for many of us, totally new green surroundings within easy striking distance of Brussels. An added bonus was catching up with Marleen fresh from her highly successful Swedish travels, where she had had great support and logistical help from former Brussels, now long-time Sweden-based, hashers Jan and Gösta.
Not being a great map reader and with no GPS,
N 50°54.979’ E 4°35.086’ meant nothing to me. But with the help of Google Maps and the hare’s instructions to keep the Kwerps church behind me, I persevered along the final narrow road, praying I wouldn’t meet a car, let alone a tractor, coming from the other direction. Seeing no sign of life and nervous I was getting lost, I gently hummed a Harry Lauder favourite, Keep Right On till the End of the Road (you can see it on youtube, if you want to try to understand what YHS is on about – ed).
Then, round a bend, what a glorious and welcoming sight. Loads of familiar bodies, profiles and faces in brightly coloured gear. Next to the group was a serried row of cars neatly parked off the road, socially distanced side by side as if preparing for a rally (I don’t think that applies to any of the vehicles, except possibly that dashing little red mini – ed). In the background was a magnificent meadow with trees behind.
The pre-Hash pep talk mentioned something about duckboards which sounded interesting. Then, as YHS was still savouring the heady beauty of the scene we were ushered off along the country road. Soon we were on lovely forest paths, many so narrow the pack had to go single file. At several points we came across the famous duckboards and stepping stones, embedded slices of tree trunks, evidence that the wood can be wet and muddy in winter. On the trail, we met a few, but not many, walkers sharing the afternoon’s delights.
About half way round we were introduced to the Zwarte Madam, variously described as the Black/Dark Lady/Madam in English. The spot has a statue of Our Lady on a high stone base (see below) on the banks of the Molenbeek river (Yes, that shallow stream which prompted some dismissive comments is a river). Christian explained that the lady is there to protect a castle that used to be a short distance away and that at night she is surrounded by dragonflies. Anyone know why?
Further research by YHS uncovered more information. The statue was erected on the border between Nederokkerzeel and Erps-Kwerps by the Wittman family, owners of the nearby Balkemolen/Ter Balk castle to watch over and protect the surrounding area. Legend has it that a local woman drowned herself in the river after being rejected by a soldier. Her ghost (the Black Lady) would roam the area. Other reports suggest voices could be heard around midnight near an old iron bridge and popular stopping place. Either way, unsuspecting travellers were lured into the Molenbeek and drowned.
Refreshed by this intriguing pit stop, we followed the trail along more woodland paths, by the banks of the river and through good sized meadows. At the end of one, we came to a strategically placed check. Ever helpful, Christian held open the gate leading in one direction through which front runners unwittingly filed, some even thanking him for his consideration. It was a false trail.
More paths, a bit of paved road – where somewhat bizarrely we passed two young women in rural Flanders speaking native English to each other – and lush meadows followed before we reached the end where Marleen was waiting to greet us. There was some debate about the length of the basic trail. The hares were clear it was 5.4km max. One of the pack, not known for checking or doing false trails, came up with 6.25km on their measuring device. I hasten to add these were observations, not criticism or gripes.
An unexpected delicacy at the après, alongside individual packets of crisps, was a selection of Harriet’s home-baked cookies (rolled oat, and coconut and cranberry). They were so successful that she has shared her recipes and we will undoubtedly see other hashers offering them on future Saturday afternoons (not very subtle – ed).
Many thanks to the hares for introducing us to the Silsombos. Christian explained he had come across it by looking at a map for decent sized green areas not too far from Brussels and had then zoomed in to work out a route. The first outing to this area was 21 September 2019, a few hours after Bertie’s funeral. So, the area has a special significance for the Hash.

FYI: YHS found out more about the area from the website Discovering Belgium run by Denzil Walton and from the TourismFlemishBrabant.be/walking site.
The Silsombos is 100 hectares of deciduous woodland and damp meadows in what is known as the Green Valley between Leuven, Brussels and Mechelen. It was opened to the public in 2016. It is particularly spectacular at the end of May and early June when a variety of wild orchids bloom. (Fairly subtle, but perhaps a good time for another hash in the area – ed).
Turnout: 19 + Marleen, now on the French section of her North Sea route
Weather: Warm, slightly overcast and dry
Bertie météo: :) :) :)
Picture, courtesy of Gabriella Dow, below
hash  25.07.20
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Hash: No 2064 18 July 2020
Hare: Peter Blackie

Start and après: Arboretem car park

A glorious sunny afternoon for hashing. Turnout was down from the previous six weeks, but was still healthy and enthusiastic as we shared the many forest paths with various groups of walkers and cyclists.
The instructions said that Peter Bl was the hare, but I feel I must include, and thank, Martine given the number of times the hare asked her where the trail went and she obviously knew where the flour had been laid. The start was unusual in that the pack was immediately told to start checking, rather than being pointed in the right direction. The innovation, however, as some of the pack checked in various directions, was not sufficient to enable two latecomers to catch up with the main group (see below).
Eventually flour was found and the trail, just over 5km, took us along the forest’s well-trodden paths. Although familiar terrain, false trails and difficult checks kept the multi-speed pack together. At one point we passed an incongruous sign informing us that the Radisson Hotel had sponsored maintenance of this part of the forest. “Looks like they’re planning to build log cabins,” one hasher said wryly as we observed scattered piles of dead branches.
At one check, where a false trail went down a series of steep wooden steps, another hasher remembered wistfully how he used to train many years ago by running up the formidable ascent. We believed him.
As 60 minutes approached, a family of cyclists asked us to point them in the direction of Tervuren. They explained they had decided to have an adventure and so had entered the forest without bringing a map with them. Luckily Julian R was happy to oblige: “Go straight to the end and turn left”.
For the pack, it was just “go straight” and we were soon back at the car park. The absence of an “On Home” sign meant there was thankfully no trigger for the customary final sprint (You must be joking – ed).
The après (note: grave, not acute, Peter) was a model of decorum and responsible behaviour.
Turnout: 12 + 2 who had got caught up in delays on the Ring. As they had intended to hash, they cannot be considered as Marys who only come to the après for beer and a gossip.
Weather: bright sun, hot and dry
Bertie météo:
😊 😊😊
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Hash: No 2063 11 July 2020
Hare: Hugh & jackie

In the absence of our two regular scribes, Julian O and Rory, here's a quickie to keep the ball rolling.

 
The question is ... was it a trail of many tails ... or a tale of many trails? At all events, some long ones to boot (good one, Ed). 
 
It's been a while since your - hon - scribe hashed at the top of Schaller and what a pleasure it was to be back ... with no small thanks to Jackie and Gabriella and our very own modesty Hugh. 
 
The pack was - not always entirely ably - led by the twins, Jo(h)n and Alison S, with most of the others - the occasional burst apart - plodplodding along.
 
There was much flour, much shouting and it only went on for an hour and a quarter ... but hey ...
 
All of which was rounded off with an eminently agreeable ... nay pleasurable ... après, at which a good time was had by all ... and the beer was cold.
 
Well done to all the hounds but a special cheer for our three worthy hares.
 
Turn out: 18? 
 
Weather: spot on ... Bertie would have been content too. :) :)
 
PS Was Wolfgang the only one not to be gobsmacked by kicking the bucket or popping his clogs ... perhaps Martine ... 

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Hash: No 2062 4 July 2020
Hare: Ed

Start and après: Grevenbos (near Bertem)
Another good turnout, dry weather and no US Independence Day trappings. As the pack headed off, two laggards turned up, but an early detour and/or false trail gave the tardy duo – your two (fairly) regular scribes – plenty of time to catch up.
Soon we were in a massive and impressive play area. A large expanse of green with woods on three sides, fields on the fourth and two radar stations overlooking proceedings as the pack checked with varying degrees of eagerness and families enjoyed the freedom of the wide, open space.
Eventually, the trail was found and we plunged into the woods. With a plethora of paths, they offered any number of opportunities, many of which the hare had skilfully exploited. False trails were much in evidence. So much so, that one veteran and pretty fit hasher (well that narrows it down – ed*) justified his stationary stance at a check, saying: “There are quite a few false trails and they are long”.
Some others were more energetic. John Forman (no ‘e’) was frequently to the fore in seeking out the flour. After midway, as the trail took us round what from memory Barry Richardson informed us was a nudist camp when he first introduced the hash to this area many years ago, (for the record: the walls are high, it was chilly and no one was visible) distant cries of “On, On” could be heard.
As the trail turned a corner and began to wind downhill, Christian and MicMac could be spotted at least half a kilometre ahead. They had hit lucky with a couple of checks and it was Christian’s shouts of “On, On” which had carried across the divide, steering us in the right direction.
The last two checks wrong footed some of the front runners before everybody gradually made it to the après where along with a selection of cold beers, individual packets of crisps were on offer.
As the pack chatted amiably, a drama was unfolding on our doorstep. A sporty woman, who appears to have taken a few dogs walking/running with her, could not persuade one them to get back into her van. Much barking, swearing and gesticulation. As we all left, she was still fighting a losing battle.
*To avoid any confusion: Ed is a dedicated hasher. ed, or editor to use the full title, is a character from Private Eye who sometimes likes to insert childish comments into write-ups.

Turnout: 21
Weather: dry and overcast
Bertie météo:
:) :)
A message from the editor. I have received the following letter which I would like to share with you. We encourage correspondence, provided it is constructive, informative, pithy or witty.
A reader writes in: I really enjoy the write-ups and appreciate the time and effort that go into them. I would just like to add a comment to Horse Pond Road. The strimmers and scythers were all volunteers, tidying up the various paths out of the goodness of their hearts. Their work certainly made it easier for us to navigate parts of the trail. Far from manic, I found the scything bucolic, reminiscent of a landscape painting from bygone days.

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Hash Dash 26.06.20  
  

  1. 1. 09:50 Paul
  2. 2. 10:20 Eric
  3. 3. 10:35 Gaetano
  4. 4. 10:47 Seija
  5. 5. 11:18 Carmel
  6. 6. 11:20 Joanna
  7. 7. 11:45 Barry
  8. 8. 12:45 William
  9. 9. 12:46 Nic
  10. 10. 13:10 Alexander
  11. 11. 13:20 Marika
  12. 12. 14:09 Michele
  13. 13. 14:51 Jon
  14. 14. 15:00 Nicola+Ryan
  15. 15. 16:36 Robert
  16. 16. 28:00 Tony (walker)
  17. 17. 28:00 Shirley (walker)
  18. 18. Tbd Max


Conditions: cool & dry.
Barry’s record of 07:33 still stands !

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Hash: No 2060 20 June 2020
Hare: RiteOnSec
Start and après: Jezus Eik

The first hash with flour since 14 March, after the previous week’s inaugural post-lockdown flourless hash at the same location. Glorious weather and the restart of our favourite Saturday afternoon activity brought a good turnout. No bears, unfortunately. Paddington had told me beforehand he thought we could probably manage on our own now. He did, however, offer to come back and help us if times get hard again.

The pace was slow and leisurely as was to be expected after such a long lay off. After all, if, as commentators keep repeating, it is going to take professional sportspeople several weeks to get back to their pre-lockdown standards, how long is it going to take mere mortals like us?

But there was also the subplot of a healthy competitive edge between the youngest participant, Gabriella (one ‘l’ or two?), and her Mum, Jackie. Both checked with gusto and were the first two back.

The trail, as is to be expected of RiteOnSec, was exemplary. Good running terrain, which we know well, with lots of shade to keep us cool and false trails and back checks to prevent the pack from splintering too much. One particular false trail was possibly the longest this year and led many to take RiteOnSec’s name in vain – a reaction which is always music to a hare’s ears.

We met various walkers and cyclists along the route, but none considered our antics anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps normality is gradually reappearing.

Turnout: 18 + one Mary.
Weather: Sunny, hot and clear skies
Bertie météo: :) :) :) (Three smiling Berties)

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Hash #2059 13 June 2020

Baby Steps out of Confinement, Lockdown or Cocooning

Hares: Collective choices of all present

After a series of debates and dialogues held since late May, the BruH3 Hash took a decision! Led by our Rite-On Sec it was agreed to test the Belgian government rules and advice which was to allow non-contact physical activities by groups of up to 10 people to take place out of doors. On a perfect June day of warm sunshine, we agreed to gather, about half-way from Bosuil and the church at Jesus-Eik and the start of the Dash.

In the event and at the appointed hour there were some two dozen hashers keen to take their baby steps out of confinement. As Rite-On Sec explained orally there was no flour or prescribed trail, so each person or pair was free to decide on their own pace and direction. Beer & water would be available at the end but hashers were urged not to share food and to respect social distancing.

Since this scribe was a member of only one group of many single or pairs of runners this write-up will be brief.

I jogged and ran with Alison S. as we circumnavigated roughly around the outer edges of the arboretum. Occasionally we greeted other hashers heading in the opposite direction and we all re-assembled on the triangle of grass just before or shortly after 16h00 for the DIY Après.

Participants included 2 Briggs, 2 Gunns, 2 Formans, 2 Kusters, 3 Dows, 2 Julians, Ed, Jill, Marleen, Judi, Sue, Katie, Irini, Alison, Mick-Mac, Peter Blackie, Peter Willis, Ian, and Jono.

During the après we were spotted by a pair of Belgian police, who looked but did not halt or question anyone and so we deemed two dozen ageing joggers did not appear to be contravening Belgian regulations.

So, on-on for Hash 2060 on 20/06!

Many thanks to Jon Nutter for organisation & crate of beers and to all who came.

Distances: between little and lots

Turnout: 26 hashers/walkers and no ‘Marys’.

Weather: fine, dry and warm, clear result 3 ‘Berties’.

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Covid-19 Gamma run   Spot the Wezembeek Teddy Bears*

 
An intrepid pair set off  in the sunshine promptly at 3 pm with instructions to count the teddy  bears spotted in windows on the way. The trail led up the road (apparently we missed the false trail across the tram works but did count 11 teddies) instead we turned left to another long false trail past the donkey paddock and to a field with new born lambs.    Back over the newly made path up onto the tram track, over the lines, down the other side, through a series of winding cut throughs to the works on the rebuilding of the Wezembeek Maison Communale.
 
Some confusion as to direction but we were reassured by the life size statue of Straufhain sculpted in 1976 by Gent artist Koenraad Tinel.   Good to find the odd knight errant in search of adventure hanging around just when needed, particularly when he represents the good and bad sides of human nature (
https://www.wezembeek-oppem.be) .
 
So to get on with the run – we wound our way around the highways and byways of Wezembeek spotting teddies as we went.  Up the back path behind Delhaize and on home to an excellent après in the garden where we were regaled with a succession of home-made goodies (wishful thinking -ed).
 
Teddy count 23
Berties – several
 
*
https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/103775/coronavirus-belgian-children-go-on-a-teddy-bear-hunt/
H & C
Unknown-1Unknown-3Unknown-2________________________________________________________
Cocooned in Boitfort

Week 2 Testing the Boundaries

Nature Notes: Lyn and I try to walk every day and are very amateur nature observers. In Week 1 after returning from 15 days away we noted many ‘signs of spring’ among trees and birds. This week we have continued to see more different birds – we have seen a wren hopping about in our newly tidied kitchen garden. We hear woodpeckers in the gardens and nearby woods and we have seen a squirrel, not for the first time this year, leaping from tree to tree in a neighbouring garden. On the many lakes in Boitsfort we have seen pairs of swans and at least two breeds of geese – one with black heads & feet and the other with pink feet and soft brown head – as well as several coots and other unidentified avians.

Shopping: so far we have not been into any food shop or pharmacy as we are anxious to minimise our risk of catching Covid 19 – we now have two young(er) friends who shop for us – but I do have a weakness for a physical paper, especially at weekends. So I have visited the EURACTIV office on a Saturday or Sunday when the place is closed and picked up a copy of the FT Weekend, NYT and Le Soir. Thanks to Peter Blackie, who has shared some seeds, so not shopped but acquired, we have also been able to plant these by our kitchen window. Understand that Rowena has also started sowing, so the race is on for the first Covid salad!

Exercise: apart from daily walks I have also been cycling and running roughly every other day. Running in the Forêt de Soignes is easy and varied. Cycling is also relatively easy and I have been through the woods to Rhode St Geneis, Bois de la Cambre, Tervuren, Duisberg and back via Overijse & Jesus-Eik. So while most of these rides have been on cycle tracks, I have not kept strictly within the limits of our commune – please don’t tell the flic!

Social life: we talk more regularly with our 5 sons, assorted partners and our 11 grandkids. This is probably the biggest difference from years ago: recall writing manuscript letters once a week if possible to my parents when I was in far-off postings when phone calls were prohibitively expensive and unreliable. Today the grandchildren are so familiar with mobile devices and the younger ones so casual “Hi Grandad, can’t talk now have to go for a wee”, or whatever. Last night we had our first online cocktail party with friends in Uccle: it worked more easily than expected and we have now scheduled a couple more. Irini de Saint Sernin has started a chain email whereby you send a ‘poem, a thought or a word’ to 10 or 20 others. And a number of us have been recommending NT Live, various operas and other cultural classics that are being released by national theatres and concert halls around the world. Not the same as sitting in a hushed auditorium but better than some of the pap offered by Netflix.

Comments, suggestions and new ideas welcome and the DELETE button is always available.

Weather: much same as Week 1: dry, cold even freezing at night but sun, sun, sun so 3 Berties

Julian O

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Cocooned in Boitsfort

Summary of Week 1: sent initially only to the group of the 18 “Bertie’s Bikers” list.

Since returning from a 15 day holiday in Dominican Republic from 5
th to 20th March, Lyn & Julian have been trying to quarantine/self-isolate or as we prefer cocoon ourselves as best we can from the coronavirus. We spent the beginning and end of our holiday as guests of Adriana & Gianluca, who were wonderful hosts and who send warm greetings to the Brussels Hash community. Do feel free to drop them a line Grippa.bucci@skynet.be as they are always keen to know how Brussels Hashers are getting on.

Days 1- 3 spent trying to assess what food and other essential provisions we had left before departure. Due to Lyn’s type 1 diabetes she is particularly concerned that her immune levels are probably below average so needs to avoid all human contact (apart from me) as far as possible. So, we cancelled our cleaning ladies in both Boitsfort and Kent to ensure that one potential external source be eliminated. We continue to pay them and at same time have been offered shopping help on a regular basis by younger friends in Watermael who shop for us at same time as themselves. Lyn & I also decided to walk together at least once a day and I felt that by writing a daily account of our cocooning experiences we would have some sort of record of what we did during what could be several weeks.

Days 4 – 7 have mainly consisted of our daily experiences walking, running and biking in and around Boitsfort. We described some of the ‘signs of spring’ that we observed since we were last in this area about 3 weeks ago. Trees beginning to sprout leaves, flowers and weeds thriving, and a few comments on birds – this got us into deep water rather quickly when we initially described a cormorant (or shag, as we mistakenly believed then) as a heron. Arthur Pooley was quick to come to our rescue with clear distinctions and photos of each of these 3 water birds from his own knowledge backed up by links to the RSBP site.

These so-called ‘Nature Notes’ have subsequently been welcomed and favourably commented on by others. I intend to continue to include a ‘nature note’ reference when appropriate but as my knowledge is limited others are also invited to add their own comments and observations or queries on nature or any other topic that gets recorded.

Everyone and anyone is welcome to communicate their own comments in any way you like.

On-on until we can definitively Hash together again or “When this bloody war is over”.

Julian O


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Covid 19 Beta run Hogenboos Harriet & Christian

The turnout was disappointing given the spectacular weather and the prospect of viewing a promised carpet of wood anemones. Nevertheless, we two hardy souls set off across the fields to a junction where we were misdirected onto a long false trail (well not really but I have to make this a bit longer). Down an extremely rutted path, passing a cyclist who had got firmly stuck in a ditch with a large puddle in the middle; surprising given the recent dry weather. He cheerfully hauled his bike out as we pressed on deeper in the woods.

A glorious sight awaited us, wood anemones to the right and left as we wound down into the valley, along a small path and up the other side. A long trail uphill out of the woods to where we had left our bikes and on home to where the après awaited.

Weather – several Berties.


Unknown
Little did we know that that would be the last Hash for a while…


First Friesian Hash

Wim Faber a newly enthusiastic hasher (perfect timing Wim) and Katie an unenthusiastic hasher for 39 years
put on their walking shoes and stepped out (of the car) to walk briskly around the local lake. Normally on a beautiful sunny day in Friesland W & K would be swimming in this lake but the freezing sharp wind was not encouraging. See white tips to waves on lake!

The flourless Hash (as W & K are on a no-carb diet flourless is good) took them around the lake, over the wooden bridge with the huge Sneeker Meer to the left and then to the new renovated Pavillion cafe (unfortunately closed).

The après was a little quiet and the imbibing of a nice cup of tea and a couple of small chocolate eggs unusual.

Berties :) :) :)

We have always said we would do a Hash in Sneek - this wasn't it! One day I hope all you canals come!


IMG_8759

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Hash 2058 14.03.20

Hares: Wolfgang & ON-Sec

The invisible hare hash

Wolfgang (and on-sec) laid an excellent hash for the elderly walkers and a few energetic runners. The early sun had encouraged some shedding of layers, a mistake as it turned jolly chilly. John F in shorts and tee shirt was fortunately moving fast enough to keep warm. 

The trail started from the back of Jono’s car sans the advertised hare Wolfgang. Although he had planned, laid and catered for the hash he was advised to stay away from crowds. So a crowd of 14 (?) set off to the bridge over and onto that lovely old railway track. Now don’t ask me where we went after that, but it was all most enjoyable!

Now, unusual for this scribe, I and my long striding partner managed to do the whole hash. We kept meeting the others and could even shout “checking” and “are you” on several occasions. 

And another first... we were discussing the Hash over breakfast on Sunday morning! To quote “I started by thinking why am I doing this, I don’t enjoy it... OK there is a bus stop where could we go... this is an interesting area... the steps exercise other muscles... no let’s not get the bus... look we have caught up with others... let’s take a short cut... oh no it’s the long way ... never mind I am in the zone now... keep going before the beer runs out...”

So congratulations Wolfgang, the Dutchman has been converted! 

And there was plenty of beer at the apres in the car park... and bread, cheese and meats. 

We missed you Wolfgang and thanks for your dedication to the cause. And thanks to Jono for stepping up and giving all the credit to Wolfgang! 

Keep well everyone... 

Bertie's :) :)

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Hash 2057 07.03.20

Hares: Marleen & Jackie

A dedicated and select band of Hashers gathered outside Marleen’s apartment
ready for the off on the first sunny day for a while. Roselynn (11)
speedily led the way followed on by Roger with a few others padding on
behind.

This was to be an architectural discovery Hash based on the astonishing
range of housing styles in Evere and Schaerbeek – from splendid art nouveau
to hideous mid previous century and interesting new builds from the last
thirty years. Setting off we wound our way round the streets (sorry
running too fast to note down all the names!), through the occasional small
path and then checked in front of the cemetery of St Josse ten Noode – worth
further exploration another time. Somebody did say that the deviation
around the shopping centre running past Basic Fit and Action (how
appropriate) had been done three times before but we (well some of us)
loyally followed the flour back to the main drag.

Not sure where we went after that but by the time we reached the locked
gates of the rugby field numbers had gone from the initial 11 to 7 and the
skies were darkening. Since we were prevented from following the flour
through the rugby ground we short cut to home via Boulevard Lambermont.

Five stars to Roselynn for her enthusiastic leading of the field, thank you
to Marleen & Jackie for laying the Hash and a happy après. Thanks also to
Katie for delicious soup. Nice to see Helen McGee visiting from France.

Bertie's :) :) :)

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Hash #2055
22.02.20

Hares Alison S and Irina.

This lovely Trail took us up hill and vale, parts of Sterrebeek never seen we didn’t realise it was so green.past buildings ancient and new until Alison’s apartment came into view.  A great apres On On to the hares, welcome back to Mary Nuttal and David Z.

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Hash #2054
15.02.20
 
Safety First
 
Hare: Sue Bird
 
As your scribe was cycling as fast as he could against a strong headwind along the Av Prince d’Orange he mused on the attractions of hashing in the 19 Brussels communes. Each commune has its own peculiarities and over thirty years we have explored many of these and enjoyed the variety. Uccle has its fair share of mansions, parks and hills, of which we would sample a few again today. [Enough personal ramblings, what about the run? Ed]
 
Nine persons had gathered outside Sue’s apartment for a short but clear briefing: “flour is always on the right, except at the very beginning when the ‘on-home’ sign is on the left, as the trail shares the same short bit of road, but it is on the right as you are coming home, so that’s alright!”. Sue then dutifully accompanied us to ensure that we observed same duplication, but also warned us that she would be heading home before the half-way mark to welcome a visitor (friend of Mic-Mac) from London.
 
He huffed and we puffed down and then up Rue Papenkasteel, down Dieweg to Uccle-Calevoet station, along a stretch of Ch d’Alsemberg (‘most boring street in Brussels’ Mic-Mac), Rues du Coq, de la Fauvette, Robert Scott, Arnold Delvaux, Av Wolvendael, Av De Fre, past the Ecole des Arts, Paul Stroobant, back onto Dieweg, past the Wolvendael park entrance, down Rue du Repos, across Ch de St Job (again), along Rue Geleytsbeek and back to Papenkasteel and home. Alison, Jon, Mic-Mac and your scribe led at various times around this circuit.
 
We arrived back to find the Après in full swing, walkers, visitor and two Mary’s having beaten the runners to a seat at the well-laden table and all the chairs. Peter Blackie did claim to have met Sue on her promised early return so claimed to be only half a ‘Mary’. Caroline did not lodge any such claim, so is counted as a full Mary.
 
A pleasant and varied trail mainly along urban and suburban streets but apart from a short section along the side of Wolvendael park we avoided a lot of trees. Hence the title of this Hash on a blowy but not yet stormy day: ‘safety first’.
 
Many thanks to Sue for another ‘take’ on Uccle.
 
Distance: about 5 km including a few false trails.
 
Turnout: 9.5 hashers/walkers and 2.5 ‘Marys’.
 
Weather: dry and windy, some sun towards end net result 1 ‘Bertie’.

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Hash #2053
08.02.20
 
Pub Run
 
Hares: Ten stalwart hashers
 
Ten volunteers braved the forecast rain and escaped the counter attraction of an Ireland v Wales Six Nations rugby match to run without a hare or trail. Rite-On Sec suggested we enter the woods at which point the pack divided into at least 5 sub-groups setting off in different directions: so much for self-discipline and following rules!
 
Since this scribe was a member of only one group this write-up will be brief.
 
We set off down the ‘Dash’ route for the first 500 metres or so before turning right. We continued running downhill until we reached a steep uphill section. We then met a group doing hill sprints and recalled our own long-ago abilities to engage in interval training. This helped pass the time as we walked up the steep trail. On to the end of the Dash route and we then returned up to the same point where we had turned right earlier. This time we turned into the arboretum and up to the car park by the Tervuren to Jesus-Eik road. We turned left and proceeded back to our original starting point.
 
The noble Rite-On Sec was waiting with an open crate of beer. He explained that three women had detoured to the Bosuil pub and were quickly joined by Chris Stevens. We were then joined by Ian, Julian R, Shirley and Tony Gunn and enjoyed a make-do après of crisps and turmeric flavoured hummus & biscuits provided by Ian. Pete B had also contributed some Palm to vary the choice of beers.
 
Many thanks to Jon Nutter for organisation & crate of Maes and to all who came.
 
Distance: roughly 6 km
 
Turnout: 10 hashers/walkers and no ‘Marys’.
 

Weather: drizzle at start, dry in the middle and increasingly steady rain during the après, net result no ‘Berties’.
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Hash: No 2051 25.01.20
Hares: Harriet and Christian

Start and après: chez eux, Wezembeek-Oppem
I counted them out and counted them in and the numbers did not tally. 15 of us dutifully listened to the hares as they warned us to be careful crossing Mechelsesteenweg and confided we would probably see parts of the commune we had never seen before – no mean feat given the amount of hashing in the area over the years.
As we sprinted up the hill towards the tram track, we met two late comers ambling towards us. Sue and MicMac did not seem in any particular hurry, but thanks to a cunning back check and a lengthy false trail, they had caught up with the pack by the third check.
After some zig-zagging, the trail crossed the notorious Mechelsesteenweg and the pack plunged into a maze of houses between Hippodroomlaan and Leopold III laan. Somehow, at one point, MicMac, despite the staggered start, was way ahead of everyone (I don’t know how he does it – ed).
After about half an hour, the third late arrival – Tim – appeared and proceeded to check like a dervish. As tarmac gave way to some muddy paths, the many false trails laid by the energetic and skilled hares kept the group largely together. “I have never been on a hash with so many false trails,” one jogger/runner confessed.
Back across the main road, the way home confused front runners by not taking the most direct route. Eventually the expanded pack made it back to base in around the hour and was rewarded with lots of home made goodies for its efforts.
Turnout: 18 (at the end)
Weather: dry, overcast and slightly misty
Bertie météo:
:) :)
P.S. Am I the only one confused as to why males get the choice of a small BELLY t-shirt and females don’t?
As has been the case at all 6 previous BELLY trails there will be a tee shirt. In terms of sizes the following will be available:
Ladies M/L/XL/XXL
Men S/M/L/XL/XXL

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Hash #2049
01. 02.20
 
Tour of Schaerbeek
 
Hare: Tim King (aka longer-than-planned)
 
Nine people were corralled by the hare at around 3:20 into the space in front of his garage to hear his announcements. He wanted us to hear his messages and to avoid having to shout. This would be a town run, the middle section is well-laid, he claimed, unfortunately the beginning and end have yet to be laid. As it was a town run, flour would always be on the right-hand side of the flow of traffic. Traffic flow being defined as whichever directions the hashers flow. And so we started late but with the Hare sprinting off laying flour before our very feet we moved quickly.
 
He managed to get sufficiently ahead in the tight maze of streets close to his own. We weaved our way around and down to Av Paul Deschanel, which is the broad dual carriageway that straddles the railway line from Gare du Nord to Gare Schumann, I think. In any case urban dual carriageways present an immediate challenge to 9 walkers and hashers who are already uncertain about the flow of vehicular traffic never mind on which of the four pavements we should flow. With a little prompting from our accompanying hare we found the trail along the middle of a soft footpath covered in wood chippings quite independent of any pavements. Somewhere about this point we picked up a couple of young American hashers who had just arrived in Brussels. Tim had also introduced a new Hash sign – a series of concentric Vs to indicate a viewpoint – a 19
th century Schaerbeek resident who is credited with being the precursor of the helicopter – funny but I thought that was Leonardo da Vinci.
 
After crossing Av Rogier, with its impressive views, we then found ourselves close to Parc Josephat (for the first time). After a couple of abortive attempts to enter the park we were running along Av Louis Bertrand and away from the park up to and around the recently cleaned and resplendent Église St Servais. Then we were on to the broad and today largely empty Rue Royale, then twisting and turning we suddenly faced the spectacular Schaerbeek maison communale bathed in sunlight with its predominant white bricks and stonework set off with bands of red brick and stone culminating in a climax of turrets and towers.
 
By this time, about 4h30, a number of the by now reduced band of hashers were beginning to flag. However, our new young friends from America knowing nothing of the geography took up the lead. We now crossed the Gare du Nord/Schumann railway a couple more times and finally reached Parc Josephat for the second time. After a too brief dip into the park we were back alongside it – we met Hugh Dow walking home in the opposite direction who was somewhat surprised at 4h55 to find us still not finished.
Finally, no ‘on-home’ – a victim of the ‘well-laid middle’ section - but back chez Kings we were warmly greeted by Susan, several choices of beer, home- made soup, hummus and other eatables.
 
In conclusion: a good hash, we now appreciate many more of the impressive late 19
th century buildings and memorials of this commune. The length was more suitable for a group of 25, if it had also included younger and more athletic runners who could have checked more quickly. Still it was a classic King hash: longer-than-planned.
 
Distance: 10.8 km including many false trails and a few back-checks.
 
Turnout: 12 hashers/walkers – no Marys
 
Weather: dry, some sunshine 11 C – two ‘Berties’.

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Hash No 2050 18 January 2020
Start and après: Boitsfort

Hares: Julian O and Barny
Scribe: Julian R with PS from Rory W



The celebration of Richard Wainwright’s life hash  
I have to admit that your scribe missed the morning/early pm activities and was almost the last to arrive. I believe Christian and Roger arrived after me but made the run and Mic Mac was an out and out Mary!

That being said; having been delegated the task of scribing, I quickly tried to tally those present for the run, whilst the chief Hare gave out his instructions and guidance.  I counted 25, including 2 Hares; but your chief scribe confidently said it was 28 (before taking account of Christian and Roger). Whatever, I’m only an accountant after all.
 
So having climbed the hill all the way up to the Hare’s residence; our instructions included:
 
-          Flour always on the right,
-          We would at one point pass the former home of Richard Wainwright – this was marked by “a circle on the left”,
-          The “on on” is down the hill and out the gate to the right.
 
This led me to wonder if we were mixing the symbols of the Sunday Hash with those of Saturday.  On Sundays, a circle = a check and the flour is always on the left!
 
So off we all went, some faster than others!  Our trail took us initially into the woods with an early longish stretch; spurning one or two good opportunities for a check.  Nevertheless, we finally reached a check and after several initial false trails, off we went again; this time out of the woods and to a check by the Auberge au Repos des Chasseurs.  Again, we were led on several false trails before we finally found the true trail round the back of the Axa Insurance building and we continued winding our way round the streets and alley ways of Watermael Boitsfort.  There seemed to be a regular theme of the lead runners constantly going in the wrong direction; either following a false trail or just simply ignoring their internal radars as to where they were and where they needed to get to.
 
Eventually though we finally found Richard’s former abode.  Sadly, the circle outside had disappeared, but there it was – now called Bloemenberg!  I heard it suggested also that Richard sold the residence to a friend of Gianluca, our much missed Italian member now living the high life in the Caribbean.  The veracity of this assertion I can neither confirm nor deny; but am intrigued to know! (You are correct. The Hare can give you chapter and verse – ed).
 
Onwards again around the nearby Church at which Richard’s son and the day’s co-Hare admitted he and his brother used to play wall tennis against and even put a net cord line on the walls – Irreverent and sacrilegious behaviour???  I leave it for others to make their own minds up.  However, I am sure their father would have loved the idea of it.
 
Finally, we crossed the main road again and reached a new check – at which point the Hare announced that he had forgotten to tell us something at the start; namely there was a long and a short split coming up (though the long was not that much longer).  I followed the long and meandered round the backstreets of Watermael Boitsfort, finally turning on to a long upwards rising road past the cemetery on the right and so to the “On Home” sign and into Bonne Odeur.
 
On reaching the gate, your scribe and Ian H tried several times to enter said code with no success.  Fortunately, your chief scribe and Barbara arrived and the chief scribe kindly asked “are you using the correct key pad?”  Duh!  There was a second key pad and sure enough, once the code was entered there, the gate opened.
 
On to the apres and a super feast enjoyed by several other Hashers and guests who had seemingly never gone on the run (preferring the warmth of the Hare’s abode).  Very wise.
 
The weather throughout was stunning and evidently “Bertie” was looking down on us favourably.  Therefore, 3 smiley Bertie’s for the day.
 
 

P.S. Rory W adds…..
Before the hash, Lyn, Julian and two of Richard’s sons, Matthew and Barny, held an informal event from midday to give those who had been unable to attend the service of thanksgiving in St Michael’s Church, Highgate on 29 November, the opportunity to celebrate Richard’s life.
At least 60 people attended, including a score of Richard’s Commission colleagues, a similar number of hashers, most in running gear, and many Brussels-based friends from music groups to neighbours. The relaxed surroundings and generous food and drink created an atmosphere where people shared their memories and appreciation of Richard’s many talents and contributions to our lives (running a hash later was distinctly challenging).
Lyn welcomed everyone and pointed out how important London’s Highgate, where they had built a house and lived for three years from 1970, was to Richard. It was to where he returned when he left Brussels after spending almost 30 years in Boitsfort, which, with its village atmosphere, is in many ways Brussels’ version of Highgate.
Richard Lyal, one of Richard’s colleagues from the Commission Legal Service, recalled the notable contributions he had made in the development of European fisheries, environmental, internal market and competition law since his arrival in 1973. It later emerged that the interview panel thought he was the only Brit they interviewed who “seemed to know anything”. RL paid tribute to RW’s ability to successfully lead, enthuse and manage a team well before management gurus and theories arrived. He liked to use the phrase “Well Done”. Depending on the tone, this ranged from a form of genuine praise to a polite way to silence a voluble colleague.
John Robinson described Richard in one word: “indomitable”. They had first met in the early 1970s, but it was over the last 15 years that they had really got to know each other in their biannual hikes in the Lake District with their friend Bob Hull. Richard was always up for a challenge, whether it was traversing an exceedingly tricky precipitous rock face when he was 78 or climbing a 1,743 metre “ultra-prominent” mountain in Greece last year just weeks before his death. As John put it: Richard had a permanent suspension of belief in his own mortality.
(The text of John’s appreciation is attached to this Hash write-up and will be posted on the Hash web site).
Hugh Dow gave an insight into Richard’s positive approach to life. Does it get to you when things go badly, he asked? “I don’t let it,” Richard replied. He reminded us of Richard’s democratic approach to life. He was happy to give the same cheerful geniality to everyone irrespective of their status or social skills.
Robert Adams, a friend from prep school whose path later crossed with Richard and Lyn’s in Brussels, described the hospitality, friendship and support he had enjoyed from Richard’s family over many years. He also revealed a little known weakness in Richard’s armoury of achievements: he was not very good at golf.

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Hash: No 2047 28 December 2019
Hare: Peter C

Start and après: Chez Coldrick, WSP
Grand Master Birthday Hash
A steady stream of well-wishers of various ages (Really? – ed), clad in contrasting styles of running apparel and bearing liquid gifts paid homage to the venerable GM and hare as he waited patiently on his throne for the pack to assemble for the last hash of 2019.
Once the formalities were over, the hare ordered his subjects to congregate outside before issuing short and clear instructions: “Left out the gate, first right”. The brevity caught the pack, used to a lengthy warm up act of: “The flour is on the right, except when… Be careful when crossing….” by surprise.
This was evident when front runners took the first road on the left before being called to order and steered in the correct direction towards the first road on the right.
The closely knit pack at the start soon disintegrated into front runners, middle runners, front walkers and slower walkers. The skilfully laid trail managed to keep the four disparate groups in sight and touch for the first half of the course and a long false trail, made even longer by front runners failing to see the return-to-check arrow, also helped everyone to regroup.
Soon, however, gaps reappeared (Do you think more shouting of “On On” by the front and middle runners would overcome this problem? – ed). By the time signs pointing to Stockel Square appeared, the laggards were well and truly adrift. Failing to find the flour, they/we trusted instinct, went off piste and finished some ten minutes after the first returnees.
The trail was a delight and an eye-opener. It cleverly eschewed many of the obvious roads. Instead, it used lots of the small alleyways, paths and wynds that permeate WSP and WSL. This provided unexpected glimpses into front and back gardens, small housing estates and recreational areas. “I’ve driven through these communes for years and never knew any of this existed,” confided one Hash veteran.
The après saw the numbers swelled by more well-wishers, much post Christmas bonhomie, tasty food and booze and a tuneful rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
Among the familiar faces, it was also good to see ex-China resident, Rowena and the hare’s son Philip (he had offered to help lay the hash, but been turned down by his Dad on the grounds he would then know where the trail went); a well-behaved dog three paces ahead of Stephen Pursey, an occasional hasher from the early 1980s now back in Brussels; and the three sprightly Watson/Ennis daughters (Do you want to declare an interest? – ed).
Happy Hashing in 2020.
Turnout: 20 + Many Marys hungry for the birthday cake
Weather: Cold, fresh and dry
Bertie météo:
:) :)

PS. The Joys and Benefits of Running
I fully recommend a Christmas present I received: A Run in the Park by David Park (Bloomsbury Publishing). A short, delightful book on strangers coming together to run as they prepare for their first 5km and how the jogging/running experience released them from the different angst and tensions they were carrying.
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Hash: No 2024 20 July 2019
Hare: Judi

Start and après: near the AD building on Square Marie Curie, 1070 Anderlecht
The Last Ahold Delhaize Hash
The omens were definitely not good. A ferocious downpour made driving through Brussels to the start decidedly tricky as the windscreen wipers tried to cope valiantly with the volume of water. Much of the area had been built after Your Humble Scribe had purchased his vintage Atlas du Grand Bruxelles and Bruxelles et périphérie and so did not feature in his usual Saturday afternoon works of reference. Luckily, other occupants of the car had more modern navigation means.

Our arrival was greeted by a nonchalant hare standing under a dripping umbrella at the entrance to the car park of the building where she has worked for the past few years. Then, Eureka: at 15.05 it stopped raining and did not start again until 17.40, by which time the après was winding down. Bertie’s météo was bang on again.

The trail, when the flour had not been washed away by the deluge, wended its way among offices and flats in the vicinity of Square Marie Curie, before crossing the main road, Bvd Theo Lambert, and entering Park Joseph Lemaire. This led into another larger park, Parc Vives containing various lakes and wildlife. Passing under the Ring, we were treated to excellent graffiti and huge colourful paintings on scores of the concrete supports by the local Banksys of the area. A truly splendid sight and worth having a look at if in the area.

The pack then followed the flour into Rue de Lievre. “How appropriate,” MicMac commented as he pointed out the symbolism to those in earshot. This brought us to another park: Parc de la Pede (NOTE: no acute accents on either “e”) – a delightful spot with a reasonably priced café/restaurant and a pop up swimming pool in the lake which was being extensively used despite the earlier rain. By this time, the hash was in Neerpede, the last major rural area in the Brussels Region.

The trail continued along Dreve Olympique past the Jesse Owens sports stadium, the athletics home of Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht, under the Ring to give us another chance to admire the commune’s artistic creativity on the many originally blank concrete canvasses and finally back to Square Marie Curie.

The trail was a delight with its mixture of greenery, lakes and urban energy and showed most of us a part of Brussels we would never normally visit. Many thanks, Judi.

Turnout: 12
Weather: Dry, hot and steamy
Berties:
12 12 (because it was so wet before and after the hash, but dry during it).
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Hash: 2046 21 December 2019


Notwithstanding a grey, dank and chilly afternoon ... but no rain! ... a fine Hash was much appreciated by us all.

Over the Bld de Souv and on up onto the old railway rack, the motley bunch of trail blazers was soon in the park and ... to make our efforts even more laudable ... looking for blobs and crosses, many of which had been erased ...or was this a subtle ploy by Judi and her co-hort, Alison S (for Scotland, of course)???

It was an interesting juxtaposition of the sublime, the 'Kingpin' ever more spritely and lithe, the weight of walkers and a couple of slightly late comers ... the two I's ... according to whom we had left very much on time ... but they were able +/- to follow the plot thanks to Judi's pristine ex-post arrows ... although, it was said, Irini went shopping ...

The trail was very much on the hour and we all got back +/- together ... so spot-on execution, ladies!

The après was jocular, cosy and eminently enjoyable for both the sweet and savoury amongst us 
... Judi's inside (and inward opening - and closing) rather splendid shutters were much admired by Jill ... and the hot soup was very tasty, especially - it was rumoured - as it came from two different 'sources' ... the dexterity of the melange will have made it!

Turn out: a very strong 16 ( +2 ... see above).

Weather: also see above.

Especial thanks to Judi and Alison for getting us going and to the participants for participating ... a Hash worthy of taking us all onto bonnes fêtes.

PS And many thanks to Chris for the open left-over-from-her-previous-week's-hash crisps ... in the meantime, nicely matured ...

PPS And still no one claiming those expensive gloves ...

______________________________________________________________
Hash: No 2024 20 July 2019
Hare: Judi

Start and après: near the AD building on Square Marie Curie, 1070 Anderlecht
The Last Ahold Delhaize Hash
The omens were definitely not good. A ferocious downpour made driving through Brussels to the start decidedly tricky as the windscreen wipers tried to cope valiantly with the volume of water. Much of the area had been built after Your Humble Scribe had purchased his vintage Atlas du Grand Bruxelles and Bruxelles et périphérie and so did not feature in his usual Saturday afternoon works of reference. Luckily, other occupants of the car had more modern navigation means.

Our arrival was greeted by a nonchalant hare standing under a dripping umbrella at the entrance to the car park of the building where she has worked for the past few years. Then, Eureka: at 15.05 it stopped raining and did not start again until 17.40, by which time the après was winding down. Bertie’s météo was bang on again.

The trail, when the flour had not been washed away by the deluge, wended its way among offices and flats in the vicinity of Square Marie Curie, before crossing the main road, Bvd Theo Lambert, and entering Park Joseph Lemaire. This led into another larger park, Parc Vives containing various lakes and wildlife. Passing under the Ring, we were treated to excellent graffiti and huge colourful paintings on scores of the concrete supports by the local Banksys of the area. A truly splendid sight and worth having a look at if in the area.

The pack then followed the flour into Rue de Lievre. “How appropriate,” MicMac commented as he pointed out the symbolism to those in earshot. This brought us to another park: Parc de la Pede (NOTE: no acute accents on either “e”) – a delightful spot with a reasonably priced café/restaurant and a pop up swimming pool in the lake which was being extensively used despite the earlier rain. By this time, the hash was in Neerpede, the last major rural area in the Brussels Region.

The trail continued along Dreve Olympique past the Jesse Owens sports stadium, the athletics home of Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht, under the Ring to give us another chance to admire the commune’s artistic creativity on the many originally blank concrete canvasses and finally back to Square Marie Curie.

The trail was a delight with its mixture of greenery, lakes and urban energy and showed most of us a part of Brussels we would never normally visit. Many thanks, Judi.

Turnout: 12
Weather: Dry, hot and steamy
Berties:
:) :) (because it was so wet before and after the hash, but dry during it).
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hash #2045
14 December 2019
 
Hilly Hoeilaart, or Illy Oeilaart
 
Hare: Chris
 
From midday to 14h30 the gods had provided plenty of the wet stuff, so it was a pleasure and surprise to find a dozen stalwarts ready for a run/walk. Chris announced that “flour was on the right except when it wasn’t”. She went on the explain that as Hoeilaart was rather hilly she had attempted to lay a trail that avoided an excess of inclines [most of us understood this to translate as ‘given your combined ages and lack of apparent fitness, you wouldn’t manage anything more strenuous’].
 
We were off around the back of her block as Alison S set a cracking pace across the park. A check at the top of the hill allowed the walkers to catch up before we were off again in a southerly direction.
 
We then veered left and right as we climbed up towards the Groendaal / La Hulpe railway line, at which point the trail led down the appropriately named Engelselaan, along which most of the pack headed enthusiastically. However, the hare and her partner stood resolutely at the top of the hill while a couple of fearless runners headed off down Amerikalaan thinking this offered a brighter future.
 
Led by a limping John Forman, followed by walkers Ken and Lucy, we gradually distanced ourselves ahead. The pack eventually caught us up as we emerged along a footpath at Groendaal station. Then it was across the road and into the woods and past the first lakes and on to Waversesteenweg leading towards Hoeilaart centre. Flour was difficult to spy on the right or left and as a result of the earlier mentioned precipitation, but by keeping Chris following the pack we knew we were not deviating unnecessarily. If any indolent hasher thought we were done with inclines however, he or she was wrong.
 
Finally, we ascended a longish narrow road with various false trails until we hit on a yellow-brick path, like magic it took as back to the central park and on home to Caronstraat.
 
Chris quickly revealed a table of home-made breads, hummus and welcoming spicy tomato, onion and parsnip soup ideal for the cold and often hungry hashers as well as other delectable consumables. Seasonal cheer and consumption of various beers resulted in an increasingly loud and happy group.
 
Turnout: 13 hashers/walkers and Peter Blackie as a ‘Mary’
 
Weather: dank, an occasional flash of sunshine and a light drizzle but mild at around 6 C – zero ‘Bertie’s’

 
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Hash #2044
7 December 2019
 
The NIGHT Hash
 
Hares: Judi and Rory
 
First and foremost many thanks are due to Norma for single-handedly organising the biggest Hash of the year since the 2000
th in Feb. (Ed having travelled to the wilds of North Devon to canvas to stop Brexit  – thanks Ed – let us know how it went? Editor).
 
We assembled in the gathering glooming as the sun had recently set. Norma took the now customary McGovern photo then Judi and Rory (welcome back, after several weeks injury) addressed the festively clad hashers including Roger is his customary single red T shirt, shorts and runners, Katie festooned with lights, on-time Caroline in a striking multi-coloured jacket and Marleen, all looking great.
 
We were off and up to the first check on the roundabout above the 39 tram stop.
For the first but by no means the last time, we managed to confuse the passing traffic and each other by going in multiple directions. Eventually, we divined that we should be going back and on across the Ring.
 
And so we jogged, walked and ran along and around the suburban streets of Wezembeek/Stockel borders, criss-crossing the tram tracks and Ring again. Finding and identifying the flour was not always easy (for your scribe at least) as some checks were camouflaged in long wet grass – well-spotted by Irini who was a regular leading lady of the peleton. John Forman, fresh back from Tenerife looked convincingly Father Christmassy in his red and white trimmed top and cherry-red face and white beard. Chris Stevens clipped along with Nordic poles sounding and looking seriously athletic and ready for a long trek. Christian was illuminated with a chest-light but afflicted by a horrid cough as he took the lead in a middle section of the run.
 
Finally, as we skirted the Stockel shopping centre, we turned again and found ourselves heading along a long straight road back to the roundabout from where we had started. On-home was called and we sprinted back to the light and warmth of the McGovern residence.
 
After a quick change of footwear and a glass or two in hand a brave band of singers were accompanied by Roger at a high pitch and fast rendition of a dozen familiar carols.
 
The dining table groaned with a large selection of freshly made and attractively displayed eats of all sorts. Norma excelled herself by providing more than enough food, mulled wine, beers, wines and soft drinks of many colours.
 
A memorable occasion to inaugurate the Christmas season: the hares did well ensuring no-one was lost, Roger hammered the ivories with his customary energy, and a good time was had by all, thanks to all involved.
 
Turnout: 25 hashers/walkers and a couple of ‘Marys’, who appeared at the après.
 
Weather: dry, a little chilly and a 2/3
rd moon.

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Hash #2042
23rd November 2019

Pear-shaped Hash?

Hares: Jan & Jill

A dozen hashers/walkers gathered in autumnal sunshine just off the Ch de Waterloo, behind the furniture store Flamant (Ed: is this a play on ‘flamand’ ?).

Despite some mutterings about the absence of visible hares in the minutes approaching 3h10, Jan appeared looking trim and without a trace of flour to announce that “flour was on the right” and we were off.

We started along Av de la Brassine and soon encountered two successive false trails on the right into suburbia; intuitively we knew that the real trail would be into the woods on our left, but check after check led us further and further down the self-same Avenue. We passed one horse-riding stable after another large suburban villa facing the woods, we even got into the woods at one point but only to find ourselves running or walking parallel to the Av de la Brassine. Eventually we found ourselves at the end of the road and the trail led past yet another stable alongside a huge recently ploughed field in the direction, sight and sound of the Ring! It was another false trail, so we retreated and entered into the woods proper.

Passing small groups of dog-walkers, family parties and other well-heeled residents of Rhode St Genese we jogged and called our way deeper and deeper into the forest. There were some long gaps between the blobs of flour until an unlikely right-turn was signalled, which inevitably turned out to be a back-check. On we went, a few complaints were raised about the time and distance already covered and then we found the welcome ‘on-home’ sign and sprinted back along the track, covered as it had been for much of the afternoon by a carpet of golden leaves, to the starting point.

Why is this Hash described as pear-shaped? Not because there was anything wrong with the trail, but when reviewed on the tourist map at the start & finish the main trail we had traversed roughly resembles a pear: the false trails at the beginning, middle and end could be seen as a leaf or stalk on the pear-shape.

We quickly made the trip from the Flamant back to Jill’s warm kitchen where we were treated with beer, crudités and plenty of bread, cheese and other dressings. Under questioning Jill revealed that this Hash was indeed just over 5 kms, as she understood was the new normal, and was an adaptation of a previous hash set by her some years ago. No pear-shape intended!

Turnout: 10 hashers + 2 walkers.

Weather: dry, little or no wind, and 2 Bertie’s.

___________________________________________________________
Hash #2041 16th November 2019

Basic but stretching

Hare: Jonathan Nutter

A round dozen hashers/walkers gathered in autumnal sunshine just inside the ‘Arch’ [slow readers are referred back to the invitations to this hash].

Rite-On Sec announced that this would be a basic hash, flour was on the right and we were off. Well-placed checks were quickly identified but the subsequent trails sometimes proved harder to locate. Nevertheless we circumnavigated the three long skinny lakes that run from the Arch in a north-easterly direction.

We then encountered two successive false trails that proved hard to escape until Rite-On Sec revealed that one should have been a back-check; once released we were off again through the woods and then back down to the restored Spanish House at the top of the largest Tervuren lake.

We criss-crossed the lakes before heading along the shadier side and then back into the woods and uphill to the stones. Within sight of the car park it was difficult if not impossible to resist taking the shortest route home.

Jackie and David Z led the pack on most of the trail as we all reassembled for a plein air Après put together expertly by Tony G. It was then revealed that we had three male chefs active in preparing meals: Tony because Shirley is on a cultural post Rugby world cup tour in Japan, David who is preparing his famous Thanksgiving Hash dinner and Julian R who is supervising many of the preparations for cooking the Hash Christmas lunch in a month’s time.

It was good to see some less familiar faces including Keith, Peter Blackie, Jackie and David Zaruk.

While described as ‘basic’ this was a Hash that also turned out to be stretching and satisfying.

Turnout: 10 hashers + 2 walkers and a couple of hungry whippets, which appeared at the après.

Weather: dry, little or no wind, chilly but 2 Bertie’s.

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Hash #2040 9th November 2019

Back-to-Basics

Hare: Julian Rummins

As announced by Rite-Hon Sec birthday celebrations later the same day meant we would be running a bare-bones type hash: not true! Julian R who had already organised a superb hash on 19 Oct stepped up to the plate again and provided us with a full-length (for this year) hash with oodles of flour.

A group of 8 had assembled by the appointed hour: 3 of the Class of ’44, MicMac, Wolfgang, Tony, Judi and 2 Julians; Pete Briggs was wearing new shoes but we refrained from stepping on his toes or otherwise dirtying his claimed waterproof footwear.

First check was at the start of the midsummer Dash at the top of the cathedral avenue of beech trees looking perfect in the autumnal sunshine: green, yellow, orange and russet. We then went down the Drunken man’s track and along a very wet and swampy glade before rising slightly to cross the Dash trail.

On we jogged and walked in a broadly anticlockwise direction around the outside of the forest until we returned to the car park outside the Arboretum. At this point we were joined by Captain Coldrick on his bike, who had well-calculated where we might meet, and thence back towards Jesus-Eik and Tulpenlaan where Julian R and others provided an Après sur place.

Pete reported that his waterproof shoes had indeed repelled any ingress of H2O, MicMac and Judi discussed bus and tram routes from Auderghem and a good time was had by all.

Many thanks to Julian R for a well-laid hash, at short notice.

Turnout: 8 hashers plus 1 Mary, aka Peter Coldrick.

Weather: dry, little or no wind, 1 Bertie.
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Hash #2034  28.09.19

Groenendaal station car park and bus stop

Hare: Ian Hamilton

We assembled in the open-air car park at Groenendaal station, but as the rain got heavier we retreated to the bus shelter which, by 15:10, was having issues accommodating most of us. An airport bus drew up; the driver must have thought with so many people Christmas had arrived early, but tempting as it was, only one person (not a hasher) got on board.

We set off to run in various directions but the first ‘on-on’ was called to pass under the railway bridge, only to be almost as quickly called-back. We then found our way along a gentle downward sloping footpath en route for Hoeilaart before crossing the main road and entering the woods.

That was to be the easy part. From there on the trail got steeper, wetter, slipperier and just a bit confusing. Our hare was keen on big floury double X’s “in case any single check-point got rubbed out” but a little less active in marking changes of directions. Flour was deposited in small and somewhat random frequencies. To be fair the almost continuously vertical wet stuff - which had not been forecast and which some of us noticed afterwards had not fallen in neighbouring communes – had washed out a good few blobs of flour.

Nature notes: there was a wide variety of trees and consequently varying ground cover in this part of the forest: as well as the predominant beech, there were also oaks, ash, birch and conifers. There were also plenty of roots, brambles and nettles. Birds of various songs were also heard, a chipmonk and at one point your scribe espied a small frog hopping uphill as we were descending – did he know something we didn’t?

After some 45 or 50 minutes among the dripping trees, did anyone else notice the weather, we criss-crossed the grassy and by now fairly sodden meadows. Then back into the woods, around a small lake with a rather ominous looking and sounding generator, which was measuring or monitoring some aspect of the local environment. From there we were nearly home judging from the sound of traffic on the nearby Ring and the Groenedaal – Hoeilaart road.

Your scribe in the company of a few other weaker hashers headed for our separate residences and a hot shower or bath and a warm drink or two or three.
Ian kindly invited everyone else to adjourn at his nearby house for the Après

Turnout: 18 runners and walkers – including Denis from San Francisco, attending a Brussels trade fair.

Weather: mostly rain, apart from a 30 second flash of sunshine, so zero ‘Berties’.
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Hash #2033   21.09.19
 
« Pastures New » Silombos, Erps-Kwerps, 3071
 
Hares: Harriet & Christian Kusters
 
As many hashers, cyclists, friends and relations had attended our dear friend Bertie’s funeral earlier, the hash started at 16h30. May he rest in peace.
 
It was a perfect day: warm, sunny, little or no wind, low humidity, I could go on.
We gathered in one of several large pastures that had recently been mown in the middle of Silom woods. Unusually for Flanders we seemed to be in a big estate with few buildings and even fewer other people. Harriet advised that flour would be mainly on the right or middle of the trail, but not to miss the ‘black widow’ to be found at the end of the first back-check.
 
We were off, after a couple of false trails we entered the woods and ran along flat paths that were strewn with board walks indicating that the terrain is often wet if not flooded. As predicted, we discovered a carved stone statute of a ‘black widow’ about 75 cm high on top of a stone plinth of about 1.6 metres, in the middle of quite a dense forest by a small stream, identified as the Molenbeek.
 
Back to the last change of direction, we wove through the meandering paths until we had to climb a small bridge of less that a metre to cross the Molenbeek river. This was to be the sole change of altitude that we were to encounter. This must be one of the flattest hashes in the Brussels region.
 
Christian & Harriet had laid a clever trail that took us back and forth through woods and pastures. We met very few other walkers and only the very occasional vehicle. The only noticeable noise came from the aircraft taking off from nearby Zaventem – we were almost directly under the flight paths. After almost exactly an hour we identified the on-home sign.
 
Après: ‘sur place’ was ably managed by Christian, providing tablecloth, as well as a more than adequate supply of welcome chilled drinks and plenty of crudités, breads, cold meats and cheeses. 
 
Turnout: 12 walkers & runners – plus Caroline, as a Mary, she was stopped only a few minutes from the start by a local bike race, the marshals for which halted all traffic 10 minutes before the first riders appeared but this was enough to make Caroline late.

Weather: perfect in all respects so, exceptionally, 5 ‘Berties’: ☀☀☀☀☀
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hash 2032 14.09.19

Hare: Julian Oliver

Julian Oliver’s write-up of Hash 2031, which was run or walked in constant rain, ended with the line “no sun, so no ‘Berties’”. By the following Saturday, when BruH³ assembled for Hash 2032, with Julian himself as the hare, we had learned of the death of Bertie Johnston, who had embarked on his final “On home”. And because the Great Hasher in the Sky has a droll sense of humour, we were blessed for the occasion with no Bertie but lots of sun. 

There were 14 willing souls who made it inside the gated community of rue Nisard, where Julian offered them some gentle counsel for the route and Ed took a photograph. Julian informed us that there was no flour to be found until we were outside the gates, which at the time seemed reasonable enough – it’s ok to besmirch the streets of Watermael-Boitsfort, but you don’t want to mess up your own doorstep – until MicMac took a wrong turning before we’d even made it to the front entrance/exit.
The trail, when we did get outside, took us into the throbbing metropolis of Watermael-Boitsfort, where our shouts of ‘on-on!’ amused or bemused the clientèle of the pavement cafés around Place Léopold Wiener. We were quickly on into a park that we have run through many times before, but whose name most of us would not recognise. It seems to be called Jagersveld – a reference to the presence in the Middle Ages of the hunt of the Dukes of Brabant. The park was created in the early years of the 20th century when what became the boulevard du Souverain was constructed, at the instigation of Edmond Parmentier (commemorated by a different park at the other end of the boulevard) to soften the link with the Chaussée de la Hulpe).
The hare had the good sense to take us to the bottom corner, where the more observant hashers could admire a statue/fountain by Jean-Michel Folon. Thence it was a quick descent to the drève des Silex, where the Etang de Boitsfort was glinting in the afternoon sun, and photographers with ridiculously long lenses were taking pictures of the waterfowl and the dragonflies. At the end of the drève, the trail took us into the Parc Tournay-Solvay, and a backcheck gave us the chance to assess the state of the crumbling chateau of Tournay-Solvay. Apparently, there are now plans to turn it into an inter-university centre for the study of theoretical physics, which would have pleased Bertie: though quite when those plans will be realised is subject to distortions of the time-space continuum by the black hole that is the budget of the Brussels regional government.

A descent into unfamiliar parts of the park was followed by a more familiar ascent through the walled garden and up to an extremely familiar tunnel under the railway. In that part of the Forêt de Soignes, crossing the railway gives a much greater choice of route and soon we were descending into the sniffily named valley of Vuylbeek. Indeed, we travelled further along this valley than the hare had intended. A combination of too much sunshine and too many idle walkers on the path meant that your scribe missed a deviation in the flour. He was further deceived by the remnants of an earlier trail (MicMac wanted to take credit for this – a relic of a trail he laid for ‘the other hash’). Indeed, the diversion might have lasted a bit longer, if your scribe had not emerged onto a tarmac path just as the hare and Peter Coldrick pedalled by. Enjoined to turn around, he retraced his steps, and was chastened (and not-so-secretly delighted) to discover that no one else had taken the correct route.
At which point, we learnt why the hare had warned that the route was hardly suitable for bikes: a steep ascent, off-piste, through a field of bracken. Some further uncertainties in navigation meant that we were well grouped by the time we emerged onto a metalled path that led us back over the railway line. The crossing is called ‘le pont des chats’ and it leads, logically enough, to Kattenberg. Put another way, the trail followed the edge of the grounds of the International School of Brussels before disgorging onto the Chaussée de la Hulpe. After some fiddly bits in the backstreets, we were soon climbing past the cimetière de Watermael-Boitsfort. The slope was uncomfortably angled to catch the late-afternoon sun, so we were relieved to encounter the on-home sign and pleasantly surprised by the proximity of rue Nisard.

Indeed, it was a feature of this hash that, although much of it traversed frequently hashed territory – think Boitsfort Station (a MicMac standard starting-point), or Avenue de l’Arbalète (Gianluca’s) – yet there were still some different takes and new angles.
No matter the quality of the hash, it was surpassed by the après. For those of us who had missed the previous week’s rain-soaked outing, there were some leftover bottles of Adnam’s – Arthur’s imports from Suffolk – to enjoy. But the undisputed highpoint was a very tasty quiche, which was demolished to general acclaim. The credit, it seems, was due to Lyn rather than Julian. That was only one element of a generous spread that had been laid out on the north-east terrace (so many terraces to choose from), where you could opt for the shade, or take a seat in the late-afternoon sun. Lyn had time for only the briefest of marketing spots for her latest directorial project before heading off for rehearsals (further details at irishtheatrebrussels.com). The rest of us were slower to depart.

By the numbers:
14 hashers plus one hare;
0 Marys;
1 visitor/newcomer, whose name I failed to find out, mea culpa.

Berties: 3
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hash #2031   “The Kauwberg hash” 07.09.19

Start: opposite entrance to Verrewinkel cemetery, Avenue de la Chênaie 125, 1180 Uccle

Hares: Arthur Pooley assisted by Rory W.

A goodly group of hashers huddled from the rain under the limited shelter of the eves of the entrance to Uccle cemetery at the appointed hour. Both Rory and Caroline were on time [Shurely a double record? ed.] but Caroline was being delayed from leaving her car by son Max, who was in the “Why do I have to come with you…?” mode that every parent recalls concerning their own recalcitrant offspring. But eventually we were off or was it on?

Arthur explained that there was to be no ‘On-On’ shouting in the cemetery and that Kauwberg did not translate as ‘cow mountain’ but was full of biological and natural diversity as well as having a post-industrial archaeological interest [see link]. Before entering the nature trails we did a circuit of Parc Sauvagère, including a small bird zoo. We exited the park to enter the cemetery only to find that this was a false trail. Back round the park and into Kauwberg, which really is unexpected: rough pastures linked by thick wooded areas penetrated by hilly paths and tracks. On the edges we met horses and a donkey.

Slipping and sliding up and down muddy hills and dales we got occasional glimpses of views across Brussels, often from the tops of somewhat precipitous cliffs of abandoned sand quarries. We also enjoyed timely encounters with Arthur who always had arrived at key points ahead of the pack. If we were in danger of deviating ‘off-piste’ elsewhere his trusty co-hare herded us in the correct direction.

Après: ‘sur place’ with plenty of crudités and a generous supply of Adnams beer imported from Arthur’s local Suffolk brewery. The rain stopped and Max produced a pet mouse which miraculously retained it tail despite being held upside down by it. Finally, the weather improved further and Max was able to put the roof of Caroline’s car down for departure, mouse on board.

A most unusual hash route, which none of those present could recall ever having traversed previously, we also failed to meet or pass any other human, which must be a record for a Brussels city hash [perhaps this was due to fact that each entrance to Kauwberg has recently been marked with signs advising people not to enter due to risks of falling branches and other natural hazards, ed.] or perhaps it was due to the persistent rain: well done in any case to Arthur, Rory and Sylvie.

Turnout: about 15 walkers & runners – plus Sylvie and two grandsons.

Weather: rain from start to finish, but none après – no sun – so no ‘Berties’.

__________________________________________________________

Hash 2030 31 August 2019

Start: Bloomtuinenlaan

Hare: Katie Challans – another record!

Katie has many record hashes to her name and this one added at least one and possibly two new records.

We assembled in the shadow of the back entrance to Leopold III, 6 in front of the children’s play area. Greetings were exchanged with Gianluca, back from the Dominican Republic for the annual reunion of EU Heads of Delegations. Julian Rummins back from safari in Kenya & Tanzania and Marleen making a repeat appearance after her memorable Herzele hash the previous week. (Tim wishes me to note that distance cycled by he and Susan last week was not 35km but more like 53km x 2, for the return home: well done Mr & Mrs King, correction accepted) Hugh Dow, another near neighbour also participated.

Instructions were clear: “flour is always on the right; treat the one disfigured Y as an X“– why you may ask? Just because “otherwise it might have looked as if it was on the wrong side” was the answer.

Off we went along the side streets off the boulevard Léopold III, some nice touches of no flour for 300 or 400 hundred metres, which nowadays tends to discombobulate some nervous or anxious runners. Hey ho, we reached and crossed the railway at the Delhaize/Carrefour roundabout. Again, another nice touch by the layer, despite the fact we were back into the area of small cottages where Marleen, Hugh and Katie had previously lived, the trail deliberately omitted homage being paid – this discombobulated at least a couple of hashers who thought they knew better.

Along the Av Charles Gilisquet to the Bd Lambermont where again the leading runners thought they knew best and crossed the dual carriageway and ventured into the Park Josephat but to no avail.

We then returned up the boulevard back to Leopold III and home.

Records: not the shortest - 31 minutes still stands – not the longest or hottest but a double record of NO false trails and every check was beautifully created and hand-done (not laid by bike, ed?), centred on the smallish square pavement tiles, with two fingers indented into the carefully laid flour – if you weren’t on this Hash best impression can be gained by observing the checks printed on the 2000th Hash blue and white T shirts © Katie Challans Designs.

Après held on the 11th floor with panoramic views across Brussels, plenty of eats and drinks and good craic among old and new – Canadian Andrew + well-behaved dog and Jackie posing as a Mary.

Turnout: about 15 – run was less than 4km

Weather: hot & humid – not too much sun – so two ‘Berties’.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hash 2029 Date: 24 August 2019
 
Hare: Marleen ably assisted by the indefatigable Alison S.
 
De Ryck Hash / farewell to Herzele
 
This was to be a double celebration: Marleen’s successful completion of her bike tour of Sweden and the final hash from her parents’ former home in Herzele.
 
A modest and relaxed group was discovered by your scribe a few minutes before 15:10 lying or sitting on the garden in the manner of ‘Dejeuner sur l’Herbe’ by Manet, except that, I hasten to add, the females in Herzele were all properly attired, for a hash.
 
As some of us, me especially, had been caught in heavy traffic on the Ring our Rite-On Sec permitted a few extra minutes for any latecomers. One couple did arrive, much later, but had not been on the Ring: more below.
 
Marleen explained this would be “a repeat hash trail of both two and perhaps five years earlier, so would be familiar to several” – well, we shall see. “As to be expected the flour was always on the right, except when it wasn’t, but since that occurs near the end we could forget about worrying about it” – well, we shall see. The “whole trail is perhaps a little over 5 km, excluding any check-backs” – well, we shall see.
 
Off we went along the quiet roads and farm tracks that surround the village. False trails were satisfying long to keep the peleton in fairly close formation for the initial third or so of the trail. At which point, walkers and a few slower runners were accompanied by Marleen back to the garden, where Lyn was gardienne of the whole estate including the precious De Ryck stash of beer.
 
Pascale, wife of Rite-On Sec, took over the lead position and led us up the gentle undulations that took us to the local windmill, which sits on the top of what passes for a Flemish Alp. The lead was now miraculously taken over by a red in face and running-shirted Tim King. He and Susan had managed to cycle (without any electric motors) from Av Rogier in Brussels all the way to Herzele. Susan was wisely resting with Lyn on said grass, glowing with warmth from 35+ kms cycling.
 
As the remaining runners followed pink King into the village it became clear that ‘we woz lost’! However, the ever-present co-hare, Alison S., guided us through some further twisting footpaths and nettles into the centre of the village. From here on the flour was indeed a bit erratic, sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left. So we knew we were into the latter section. However, as the temperature had risen to 32C and more than an hour had elapsed since we started and our co-hare was not entirely confident of the route we began to flag. We were rejuvenated by the appearance of the remains of a medieval castle tower and part of a moat. Were we found more flour and pressed on.
 
The Après was in full swing by the time the remaining hashers finished the course, which seemed a lot longer than 5km and had confused even those few who had completed it in earlier years. [Seems as if scribe and others may have been suffering heat exhaustion and not so pre-senile memory loss, Ed]
 
De Ryck beers were appreciated in the shade and relative coolness of the Van Waeyenberghe garage – overwhelming as it still is with the typical collection of a family home – racks of tools, bikes, and many, many boxes – some with a handwritten note of contents ‘tuin’ etc. Marleen inadvertently demonstrating her own familiarity with her surroundings by closing a lower drawer of the third fridge with the heel of her sandal behind her without looking back.
 
A memorable hash ably organised by Marleen, assisted by Alison Smith on her first and probably last hash in Herzele.
 
Congratulations to all involved and to all participants: early, late or just in time.
 
Marys: Leo and his two sons
 
Turnout: 18 on the hottest Saturday this August.
 
Berties:   * * * * *
 
_______________________________________________________

Hash 2028 Date: 17 August 2019

Hare: Everyone and no-one Run/Walk/Bike

A baker’s dozen hashers assembled between the Jezus-Eik chapel and the start
of the annual Dash: plenty of greetings were exchanged pre or post holidays.

Rite-On Secretary reminded us that as no volunteer had been identified this
would be a DIY hash “chacun à son goût” no flour, no leader, but beer and
vitals had been contributed by a select few and would be available from
16h00.

As readers with a sharp mind will have guessed the write-up of this hash has
been a challenge in that your scribe was unable to accompany 12
walkers/runners and at least one biker going off in different directions at
different times and paces. [Stop complaining; just tell it as you saw it,
Ed]

Within a few minutes the 12 had dispersed in different directions at varying
paces. I found myself with a select group who set off down the Dash route,
then turned left along the ‘yellow-brick road’ that undulates through to the
top of the arboretum. We sought a track through the trees but were unable to
identify one that was sufficiently clear of long wet grass, so reached the
car park half way between Tervuren village and Jezus Eik. We crossed the
road, and descended until we reached a T junction turned left again and
returned to the start.

Almost all the other walkers and joggers returned within a few minutes of
4pm and enjoyed the generosity of those who had provided drinks and snacks:
among which was a home-grown cucumber from Chris Stevens, grown in Devizes,
and some home-made humus laced with a fair amount of garlic and turmeric,
provided by Ian. However, Ian himself was still absent as he had decided to
forgo the joys of running or walking to indulge in a bit of retail therapy.
He performed a sort of Mary by turning up later, together with his shopping.

Local police gave us a wave as they passed by our picnic table, otherwise
little more to report.

Turnout: 13.

Berties: nil, dull with light drizzle from time to time
_______________________________________________________

Hash 2027 Date: 10 August2019

Hares: Hugh & Jackie

Hugh and Jackie’s Hash on Saturday was, and I am not inexperienced
in these matters, the best hash in the history of human kind.
The day balmy, the route fiendishly cunning, the length perfectly judged,
the surrounds (the increasing buzzy Schaerbeek) expertly chosen,
the athleticism of the participants honed, the post-run snacks toothsome,
the beers varied and chilled to perfection, the lingering long into the early
hours, and the conversation worthy of Oscar Wilde, Stephen Fry, and
Christopher Hitchens.

Oh ye faithless who eschewed - weep by the rivers of Babylon.

Sincerely, Hugh and Jackie Dow
_______________________________________________________

Hash 2025 Date: 27 July 2019

Hare: Ed McGovern

The Wet One

A dozen hashers assembled at the extension of the Zaventem cemetery, confusingly some way from Zaventem, but close to Steerebeek and Moorsel.

For the second Saturday in a row, after a heavy downpour in the previous couple of hours, we started without any palpable rain.

The Hare informed us “Flour was always on the right, the trail was steep and could be slippery and secateurs had been employed during the recce of the previous week”: to protect the weakest hashers, we presumed.

We were off and the going was smooth, there was even some flour still visible even that had not been true the previous week. So we mounted the Everberg heights and twisted and turned up, down and along the sinuous tracks. Despite our early hopes the rain returned and never let up again.

We slipped and slid up and down quite a few steep slopes until the hare took pity on our future chances and offered a short-cut to avoid even more slithering. We escaped the cycle trails as we entered the Huntsman domain: a substantial wood with a small lake or pond adjoining the office and laboratory complex managed by Huntsman, a privately owned chemical company from Texas (and previously established by ICI, the former UK chemical multinational in the early 1970s).

Left and right, back and forth through the dripping woodland brought us to a welcome ‘on-home’ sign, conveniently within 250 m of the start. Just time for a quick final photo under a tree on the edge of the cemetery and we had finished.

A diminished party of half the starters made the return trip to Ed’s residence where he provided a welcome après.

Apart from the first 5 minutes this was the wettest Brussels region hash that your scribe can recall: there was one Ypres hash that equalled it but that was many years ago.

Turnout: 11 or 12 - ED, please check photos for accurate count.

Berties: zilch
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hash: No 2023 13 July 2019
Hare: Paul
Start: Roundabout Tibet, near SportCity, 1150 WSP
Après: Chez Paul and Nic

The start was a new one on your humble scribe (YHS). Google maps (a usual last minute guide for Saturday afternoons) could identify neither Roundabout nor Rondpoint Tibet. (That’s your problem – ed. Out of interest, when and why was it so named?).
Two key reference points helped locate the start. Sportcity* – a friendly nearby sports centre just down the road from Grand Master Peter C’s abode – and the large group of easy going, colourfully clad individuals chatting and waiting patiently by the roundabout I have driven/run past over the years without knowing it had a name.
There was the usual nonchalant: “Flour is on the right, unless I/you have made a mistake and then it’s on the left.” The significance of that advice became clear near the end of the trail (This is not a whodunnit – ed). Then we were off. Or at least, most of us were. We went back up the hill, through the sports centre and out the other side, only to find the hare and some other shirkers waiting patiently for us as we exited a few metres (Rees Mogg, please note) from the start.
Nic, who knows the hare better than any of us, recognised one of his hallmarks. “Paul likes to do this to give latecomers a chance to catch up,” she explained. Encouraged by this thoughtfulness, we pressed on through the maze of WSP urban streets where a mixture of checks and their absence (Wezembeek rules I have heard old stagers say – ed) at various junctions kept the pack together.
Later we entered the woods and after much gentle running on nice terrain came to a separation of paths where two false trail arrows both on the obvious path home – one on the left and one on the right – gave heavy hints the hare’s route, after some 50 minutes, would take us even further away from our ultimate destination.
The more lazy and astute, including YHS, reasoning the hare had made a mistake by overegging the false trail arrows, decided to walk through them a short distance and wait for the pack’s return after its detour. It was a long wait.
Nic, in a sure sign that she had not helped to lay the trail, headed off undeterred, confident she could read Paul’s mind about the route home. She was followed by a small group of seasoned and not so seasoned hashers. The former missed the next crucial check and ended up negotiating their way through tough undergrowth and were the last back. The latter, who included Tony and Shirley’s nephew and wife (Welcome – ed) avoided that mistake and managed to join up with the fainéants waiting patiently.
After that, it was all downhill (physically, not figuratively) with a twist in the tail. Instead of following the direct route home, the trail did a detour into a small park to underline the vast amount of hidden greenery Brussels contains.
A lovely afternoon, imaginative trail and great après. Many thanks Paul and Nic.
*The venue for the excellent annual Foulées des Flosses which Paul and Nic help to organise. This year’s event, which the hare will no doubt inform you about nearer the time, is on Sunday 13 October (8km and 16km). It’s a great way to start a Sunday after a relaxing Saturday afternoon.
Turnout: 20 + various Marys
Weather: Dry, warm and slightly overcast
Berties: 😊 😊
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Barry's Memorial Hash Dash – 2019
 
This year’s results:
 
Conditions: cool & dry.
 
1. 08:03 Jan
2. 08:47 Tim
3. 09:08 Tom
4. 10:35 Claire
5. 10:42 Philip
6. 11:03 Eric
7. 11:40 Mads
8. 11:48 Joanna
9. 11:58 Barry
10. 11:59 William
11. 12:45 John F.
12. 13:21 Robert
13. 13:21 Gaetano
14. 13:45 Jon N.
 
Barry’s record of 07:33 still stands !
 
Timekeeping team: Peter C. & Ro, Keith  & Chris – job well done and thanks!
 
Supporters: Gordon, Houser, Mick Mac, Lyn, Susan & Rosemary.
 
Thanks also to the Blue Mooners for the generous supplies of Hoegaarden Grand Cru – to
remember Barry, JW/SG/UtT and other fallen hashers.
 
Congratulations to all – see you next year !
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Hash 2019 15 June 2019
 
Hare: Tim King
 
Start and après: Strombeek-Bever outside a swimming pool complex
 
As our assiduous and mathematically inclined Rite-On Sec noted in his details for 15th June this is the first and probably only occasion on which the number of this Hash coincides with the year!
 
Briefed by our hare, in writing, that this was a further instalment of his ‘never-ending exploration of the
border country between Brussels and Flanders’ [careful there young Tim, you could still be a hare for
another 30 years, Ed.]; it was therefore a surprise to see Caroline on time, and accompanied by her son
and a friend, well in advance of 15:10.
 
Our hare then spoke to tell us that flour would be on the right, except when it wasn’t, and that was
because of special circumstances that we would understand once we reached that section, “clear as mud”
was one comment, then a baker’s dozen set-off, walking rather than running.
 
Quickly into woods and lakes, looking especially pretty in the dappled sunshine, we then encountered
a series of back-checks on either side of a long residential street. This had slowed the progress of the peleton sufficiently for us to be joined by Mic-Mac who then led us into open countryside at his enhanced pace.
 
The hare was punctilious in not giving early clues as to the correct route and consequently had the
satisfaction of seeing the pack run 99% of the laid trail. We criss-crossed the Ring and the unmarked
borders with ease and frequency. Our hare had the good luck or good judgement to find several
junctions with 4, 5 or even 6 potential routes forward and we dutifully checked nearly all. But we
never did quiet determine where the flour was not on the right.
 
Just as exhaustion was about to set in we found ourselves back at the swimming pool car park.
Beer, water, juices and food was quickly provided and laid out in full sunshine on the grass.
 
Congratulations to Tim & Susan for stepping in to organise a great hash at the last-minute.
 
Turnout: 14
Berties: 😊 😊 😊
 
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Hash: No 2017 1 June 2019

Hares: Richard ably assisted by RiteOnSec

Start and après: Groenendaal Bosmuseum
It was great to see Richard back in Brussels in such fine form fresh from a few weeks sailing in the Med.
The return of one of the earlier Brussels hashers also encouraged two other venerable members to put in an
appearance: John Robinson, a co-founder of our Saturday afternoon activities, and David MacRae who has spent
most of the past few decades in the Pacific and Africa. It was also a pleasure to see Pascale out with us again and
checking with the best of them.
We have occasionally started from the Bosmuseum in the past, but this time the trail used a large number of small good running paths in the nearby Arboretum that were certainly new to me and gave numerous opportunities for checks.
One of these opened into a field where we have seen majestic Highland cattle in the past. They must have gone to
pastures new for the summer.
The circular trail, all on leafy paths, then crossed Duboislaan between the lakes and wrong footing those who
thought we were heading for the Groenendaal Hippodrome did a gradual left turn that eventually brought us
back to the start.
With one eye on the Belgian weather, the après was organised in a copious covered car port complete with
seating in the museum’s local car park. We need not have worried. It was gloriously sunny.
Many thanks to Richard, our London-based hasher, and to RiteOnSec, our Hoeilaart resident with his unrivalled local knowledge.
 
Turnout: 18
Weather: Warm and sunny
Berties: 😊 😊 😊

Before we move on completely from the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, I offer an extract from the Uxbridge English Dictionary:
Bidet (n): Two days before D-Day (coined by Willy Rushton)
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Hash: No 2016 25 May 2019

Hares: Harriet and Christian

Start and après: Huldenberg (junction N253-Margijbosdreef/Margijboseg)
Who knows their weg from their dreef? That was the latest intelligence test for our band of intrepid Saturday afternooners.
This is not the Flemish/Dutch equivalent of the cruder Anglo-Saxon expression. But it was the challenge facing eager
hashers using different forms of compasses/satellites/old fashioned maps etc setting out for the start. Should they look for Margijbosdreef as the locals and the hares know it, or Margijbosweg, according to Google and de Rouck?
In true hash checking style, the hares offered a choice. Everyone arrived safely, although one GPS user almost ended
up at the wrong end of the dreef/weg.
Before the Off, the hares delivered key instructions. Towards the end of the trail (exactly where was not explained),
the pack would come across two forbidding No Entry signs. We were to ignore them and carry on running.
 
More bemused than apprehensive, the pack set off in the direction indicated. It turned out to be a false trail,
back to the start and another false trail (not the first time the hares have performed this trick). Eventually, the
right direction was discovered – up hill.
 
It was a truly lovely trail, almost entirely in woods with shade, overhanging branches, nettles and twisty paths
and a gentle run-in along a small, lethargic stream. The No Entry signs were eventually located and gleefully
ignored. As you would expect from these youthful veteran hares, there was some new terrain for most of us,
although some of our cycling fraternity recognised parts of the trail.
 
Dr John F was to the fore in checking and shouting On On. (Are you sure these weren’t cries of pain given the
size of the wooden splinter that was later pulled out of his leg? – ed).
 
It was great to see Peter C doing parts of the hash on his bike and son Philip, back in Brussels after six years in
China, checking with the best of them.
 
We say goodbye to Rambo number 5, who joined us for several hashes in recent weeks, providing us with
photos of our antics and wish him well in Abidjan.
 
Turnout: 20
Weather: Nicely warm and sunny, despite earlier warnings of rain. It duly arrived as the après was packing
up around 5.30. Great timing.

Berties: 😊 😊 😊

___________________________________________________________________________

Hash 2015 18 May 2019

Hares: Hugh D & Rory W – A Walk in the Park or A Comedy of Errors?

It all seemed so straightforward: a new rendezvous within 200 metres of Le
Bois de la Cambre, a clement afternoon, sunny periods and a reasonable
turnout but hashes are not expected to run so smoothly.

It started with the arrival, not late but not early enough to avoid an
ogling group, of our first hare and temporary host in a large car which he
chose to reverse into an unknown dark carport: not impossible but more
challenging due to critical comments from the bystanders.

As the hour passed 3pm and the minutes were slipping towards 3h10 Hugh
announced that we might need to wait a little longer for his co-hare Rory,
who had indicated that he might be coming via public transport. Given his
reputation for arriving late even with his own wheels we were less than
reassured. However, only a few minutes late, up rolled our trusty second
hare.

Hugh briefed us, while Rory de-robed, with the news that the trail was not
too long, it would cross some busy roads, flour was always on the right of
whichever side of the road had been chosen but that it was such a long time
since he had laid a Hash that some signs were the wrong way round: checks in
place of false trails and back-checks in place of something else.  All
clear?

We were then off – led by Alison, as is more and more frequent these days,
there was a trail of hashers at least six of whom had chosen to wear the
2000th Hash T shirt with its large distinctive white cross on a bright blue
background – looking from the rear as if we were active supporters of
Scottish independence – to the puzzlement of several pedestrian burgers of
Brussels as we passed by.

Into the Bois de la Cambre looking its very best in dappled shades of green,
clean paths and very few runners (most serious competitors for the next day’s
20km presumably enjoying a final day of rest). We headed crab-like down to
the lake and past the ferry carrying punters to and from the erstwhile
Chalet Robinson and then across to boulevard Franklin Roosevelt.

By this stage the group had split into the aforementioned ‘gilets blues’
gently nudged along the correct directions by Rory and walkers shepparded by
Hugh.

Runners criss-crossed the boulevard past grand houses, embassies and
appartments overlooking the park.

Eventually the two groups merged again and ran across the only
horse-labelled crossing – horseshoes marking the edges of a track across the
closed-for-the-weekend exit from the park and on-home to Avenue Montana for
the après.

Hugh then discovered that he had not only forgotten to lock his now
well-parked limousine but had also forgotten bread (and water). However,
there was plenty of butter, crisps, cheese, salami, powerful ginger and
regular beer; enough carbohydrates and fat to satisfy the hungry horde.

A couple of Marys turned up: mother and daughter (as daughter Natasha
observed ‘together we have substantially changed the gender and diversity
ratios’) and then, even later, Caroline and son Max joined the remaining
hashers, stretching the age range even further.

Overall a good run through a pretty park with plenty of comedy to offset the
minimal errors. Rambo 5 observed us all and took plenty of pix, though he
admitted missing the horseshoe crossing.

Turnout: about 17 – run was around 4.5km in just under 60 minutes

Weather:  mild with bright periods – two Berties.
________________________________________________________________

Hash: 2013 4 May 2019
Hare: Mic Mac
Start and après: Neder over Heembeek, 1120 Brussels

The hare is an inveterate explorer of new trails for Bruh3 (and other hashes – ed). He came up trumps again. Our hash rarely ventures north of the canal, but there are rich pickings for a fertile flour-laying mind. Loyal readers will remember we were in this neck of the woods a year or so ago. To confuse us this time, some of the trail was in reverse and there was the occasional virgin territory (even if this was sometimes a false trail).

It was bitterly cold as our small group gathered. At the outset, the hare announced there would be a short cut after a couple of checks. Janet dutifully took this when she reached the appointed junction. We never saw her again until within spitting distance of the end. She survived her largely solitary hash with aplomb.

As for the rest of us, we dutifully followed the flour along some uninspiring streets parallel to the canal and then started to plunge into woodland paths. These were not your south of the canal carefully manicured numbers. Fallen trees, drooping branches and protruding roots almost had minds of their own for the unwary and would be definitely spooky at night. For a fleeting second, the film Deliverance came to mind. The only other people we saw in this part of the trail were a youthful couple in their 60s with their dog.

Then we emerged from the woods into open countryside past a thriving garden centre which gives employment opportunities to people with mental difficulties. The number of vehicles parked on the verge in front as their owners purchased plants could have covered up the check (we faffed about looking for it), but certainly is testimony to the success of the imaginative initiative.

Then it was downhill along well tended wood chip paths, carefully avoiding the hordes of young girl and boy scouts who had suddenly emerged. At this point it became clear that the territory was not as unfamiliar as originally thought. At a complex check, Julian R unerringly found the right trail (“He knows this area from when we had set a hash,” the hare explained).

However, changes had taken place since the hare had last been in the vicinity. A path he had intended to use had been fenced off, blocking any entry. To add to the confusion, a prominent sign, like an invitation, indicating dogs had to be kept on a lead remained in place on the other side of the fence at the start of the forbidden path.

A gentle run in through a small park where the pack caught up with Janet then brought us to a chilly but enjoyable après.

Special welcome to Rambo 5 who joined us while he transits in Brussels for a few weeks before moving from Beijing to Abidjan. We very much hope he’ll join us again before he flies South.

Innovation: it’s all the rage these days and the hash is not immune. The hare introduced us to new signs SC and OH. No guesses for what they stand for.

Turnout: 10 (including Wolfgang and Tim who managed to find us after we had set off)
Weather: Sunny with a very cold wind, but dry, after the heavy sleet of the morning.
Berties: :) :)
p5040477

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Hash 2010 13 April 2019
 
Hares: Peter B, Barbara and Alison S

The famous bluebell hash
Two weeks earlier than in 2018 for those monitoring climate change. But also, as Head Hare pointed out, the coldest bluebell hash we have experienced in recent years. Well wrapped up, we were off with the traditional send off: “The more false trails you do, the more bluebells you will see.”
The bluebells were plentiful and impressive, but, like us, probably needed a little more sun to reveal absolute splendour. As usual, the trail managed to bemuse most of the pack most of the time as we quickly lost our bearings. The hares, despite loyally hosting one of our most prestigious (the most prestigious, shurely – ed) hashes for so many years, still managed to find new trails. One narrow winding and at times vertiginous path was truly memorable and not to be attempted in the dark or inclement weather.
The surface was great running: hard packed dry earth with the occasional tarmac and a mixture of up and down hill. The trail was longer than usual, but all the more enjoyable for that. When else will we see so many bluebells? At one point, there was a Regroup* at a multipath intersection. Despite the many, many (don’t complain – ed) false trails, the pack had become too stretched out.
In line with previous years, the area is increasingly regulated. Our traditional start remains out of bounds to cars. There are more wardens. They direct you where to park. They are also a fount of information, sheperding lost visitors, even those with maps, in the right direction and offering helpful insights and warnings: “Someone was lost in the woods for four hours yesterday evening.”
More paths are understandably fenced off to prevent people trampling over the flowers – something we have never done over all the years. As a result, flour, checks and false trails have to be more discreet.
But the atmosphere remains friendly and relaxed. The flowers spread their bonhomie. There are far more visitors/walkers of all generations and nationalities and basically good vibes. The bluebells are gaining media notoriety. VRT had a news crew filming and conducting interviews when we were there.
Shock Horror: Hashers outed
None of the pack was interviewed (probably running too fast – ed. You joke, but see below – YHS**), but three were filmed and exposed on the 7pm Flemish news. If you missed it, click on the link below:
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2019/04/13/stewards-moeten-wandelaars-op-het-pad-houden-in-het-hallerbos/

Interestingly, all three have closer connections to the Flemish community and language than most of the rest of us non-Belgians. Enjoy your five seconds of fame (with apologies to Andy Warhol), RiteOnSec, John F and Pauline.
The hash was also spotted by my French-speaking personal trainer (ok – I admit to trying to resist the ravages of time) with his two kids. He knew we were running in the Hallebos. I have tried to explain to him over the last couple of years the concepts of our hash: collegiate, convivial and non-competitive; no brownie points for being first; various amounts of flour and beer; and a whole host of senior citizens, many in their mid-70s. But I felt he couldn’t quite visualise it.
When I saw him a few days later, he had. “I saw all these white-haired people running and shouting something I could not understand,” he said. That was the hash, I explained. He added: “Some of them were going quite fast, especially one man with white hair and a beard.” I think he had grasped the concept and the benefits.

Special mentions:
Wim: having the initiative to offer a beer to our local Dutch speaking forest warden who then cast a benevolent eye from a distance on the après.
Jan: arriving horrendously late (“I was stuck behind a tractor”) but managed to do all/part of the hash, not get lost and arrive in time for the après. In the past we have sent out search parties.
Pauline: returning to the hash and being among the front running checkers.
Alison and Pete: both laying their second hash of 2019 (me culpa for not writing up your first, Alison) and both a year older after the weekend (laying a bluebell hash is ageing – ed).
David M: our regular international visitor.

Turnout: 35
Weather: overcast, dry, cold with very, very slight snow (ie 15 seconds) at the après
Berties: :) :)
*Regroup: a voluntary informal arrangement when the front runner(s) realise the pack is too stretched out and pause at a check instead of looking immediately for the trail, false or true. It allows all/most other slower members, not just one or two, to catch up and have a breather. This prevents the hash becoming a race or continuous run for people of different abilities. It has been formalised by Julian R as an occasionally used trail sign ‘R’ – no surprises there - ed).
**Your humble scribe