Hash House Hounds Chase Human Hare

A human version of hounds chasing a hare took place on the peninsula this weekend. 

A dozen hounds from the Mersea Hash House Harrers chased down hare Paul Lake but all needed happily with a few drinks in the Bakers Arms Harkstead.

The Mersea branch of the worldwide Hash House organisation is the nearest to the peninsula, and organisers have suggested a hashing club be set up in this area, which would be the first in Suffolk, with the nearest clubs thought to be in Cambridge and Norwich and Mersea Island.

Often described as 'A drinking club with a running problem,' Hashing branches stem from the original Hash House, a restaurant serving band food in Kuala Lumpar, which has blossomed in all four corners of the world. 

Organiser Geoff Sexton explained Hashing is basically 'Hare & Hounds', where members take it in turn to be the hare and the hounds have to follow the trail the hare lays using blobs of sawdust or flour, all biodegradable.

The trail is started usually at a junction and five separate blobs of sawdust are laid for the correct one at regular intervals along the trail.  The other trails are stopped after four blobs and two lines laid across the path to denote false trail.  People run up the trail calling "on one" "on two" etc. until they get to "on-on" or "false trail" all the time calling back to others following, until the correct trail is discovered.  This is called a check and denoted by three blobs of sawdust in the shape of a pyramid.

The trail have "whips" which are denoted by four blobs of sawdust in the shape of a square, where everyone can catch up and maybe tell a joke or two.  

 All along the proper trail. blobs of sawdust are laid until one gets to either a "check" or "whip".

The club has a "blind" whip or "blind" check to the hash - where the first blob indicates the start of it.

They also have another thing we do if there is a long uphill or place where we think the runners might get spread out and that is to put two blobs of sawdust down and the fast people must go to the end, which helps to regroup everyone together.

Mersey Hash House does not charge, although other hashing clubs do make a charge for everyone entering - this money going to beer or soft drinks running round the course and beer at the end of the course where they have a "circle" and chant the running "hymn" and fine people for misdemeanours.  With this sort of Club one needs not only a secretary but a treasurer and lots of other people involved and a regular meeting place and time.

Hashing numbers vary quite a lot but generally Mersea get between 16–20 runners , along with another half dozen walkers.

The club has regular 'whips', regroups so no one is left behind. Ages range from one of the hasher's sons who is about 14, up to the oldest who is 74.

When the Mersea Club was formed back in 1991 it was agreed they would have no rules and no elected officials, Carolyn Sexton is, the chief arm twister and secretary,  is totally unofficial, and there is no charge for being a member or for attending any hashes, in other words, it is completely free to belong to. In the summer we hash on Monday evenings but in the winter we go over to Saturday mornings.

The hare always lays loads of false trails and the faster runners, who hardly ever suss out the right trail, end up at the back of the group. The basic trail is usually about five miles and with all the stops at checks and whips it usually takes about an hour to run it.

Venues are decided by the hare and are mostly off-road, starting and finishing at apub.

Most hares elect to lay their hash from a pub because this is easier for parking and of course we normally go in after the hash for some liquid refreshment. All our group are very sociable people, many of whom take part in the Park runs, and never fail to make new members welcome.

As well as meeting up once a week for the hash, we normally have long weekend away together. In recent years we have been to Dartmoor, Pembrokeshire, the Peak District and last year some of our younger members did the Welsh 3000's. Forgot to mention that we also have a walking group for those members like myself, who have knee and other problems and have had to give up running.

started back in 1938 from the 'Hash House Restaurant' in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hence the name 'Hash House Harriers'.

Mersea's mother club is one in Namibia, because this is where Guy Dodgson, who first started the Mersea Hash used to hash from. To celebrate 80 years of hashing, the 'Hash House Restaurant' in Kuala Lumpur will be holding a special celebratory hash in September 2018 which will probably be attended by 1000's of hashers from around the world.

Bakers Arms Moves to Paper Straws

Thursday, March 8, 17.00

It is Paper Not Plastic straws in the Bakers Arms from now on as landlord Michael Elvis backs our campaign as part of the bid to protect sea-life.

Located a short distance from the the river Stour, the Bakers Arms is very much the hub of Harkstead and the surrounding area, and Mr Elvis is an integral part of the community.

"I'm more than happy to support Paper Not Plastic," said Mr Elvis. "This is something I have been planning to do for a while so it is excellent timing."

The Bakers Arms hosts regular quizzes, curry nights and a raft of other social events and group meetings.

A huge rugby fan, with strong connections to Harlequins, Michael is showing the Six Nations games at the pub on Saturday, with France v England on at 4.45pm, preceded by Ireland v Scotland and then on Sunday Wales play Italy live on telly at 3pm.

There is a feast of rugby and food on Saturday, March 11, which is also St Patrick's Day so plenty of Guinness on tap, as England play Ireland at 2.45pm in what could be the tournament clincher, Italy v Scotland kicks off at 12.30pm and the competition wraps up with Wales v France at 5pm, all will be shown on the big screen at the Bakers Arms.

Harkstead's Very Own Snow Angels

Saturday, March 3, 09.00

A Harkstead father and son team have been hailed for going the extra mile to help villagers. 

Peninsula Sports centre worker James Pendle and his father Alan rushed to help Helen Hibberd who had picked her daughter Emily up from hospital but got stuck in a ditch in Lings Lane (pictured). James Welham, owner at Hollingsworth's, stopped to help and towed Helen and Emily home.

Things got worse for Helen the following day when they ran out of oil but James drove them to Shotley Gate and also ran errands for the family.

"They were really kind," said Helen. "I don't know what we would have done without them.

"I know they were also out all day helping people.

"I really think they deserve a mention for all the good work they have done."

James Welham and wife Carly, also made free provisions deliveries to Chelmondiston residents who struggled to get out on the icy paths.

Harkstead Firm Among Top Exporters

Friday, February 23, 06.00

An international firm based in Harkstead has been named as the 45th biggest SME UK exporter. 

Superyacht Tenders and Toys (SYTT), which has its administrative offices at Harkstead Barns, was named in the Sunday Times Lloyds Export list, which ranks the top 100 small and medium sized companies with the fastest growing international sales.

Owned by Josh and Claire Richardson the Superyacht company supplies all the equipment, and toys, a super yacht requires.

A new entrant, the Richardson’s niche business came in at 45th on the list after showing a good growth, and an increase in international sales.

The company set up only six years ago employs nine people, all of which live locally on the peninsula (pictured above).

Last year SYTT won the Queen’s Award for Industry and have done exceptionally well selling to the Middle-East high end market, including Royal families.

Boundary Review Results Delayed

Monday, February 12 - 06.00

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has delayed the publication of its final recommendations for the Babergh review.

The commission is currently examining the electorate data and forecasts, which underpin all the recommendations and is expected to be able to make a further announcement about the completion of both reviews following its next meeting on 20 February.

The Shotley peninsula currently has three wards, Alton, which covers Tattingstone, Stutton and Brantham with Independent Alastair McCraw and Harriet Steer, a Conservative, the district councillors. David Rose, an Independent, is councillor for Holbrook, Lower Holbrook and Harkstead, while another Independent councillor, Derek Davis covers Shotley, Erwarton, Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston, along with Peter Patrick, a Conservative that lives in Polstead.

The new ward boundaries under review would see Shotley, Erwarton and Harkstead become a single member ward, while Bentley would join with Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston but stay a two-member ward, while Holbrook would go in with the current Alton ward.

It was expected that the Boundary Commission review would have been completed now, but issues with Mid--Suffolk figures have set things back. The current administration of both councils want to dissolved Babergh and Mid-Suffolk and became one Heart of Suffolk council, although Conservative leader John Ward had promised a referendum would be held in Babergh, after  previous poll resulted in 61 per cent of resident that voted going against the proposal in 2011.

Spare Room Call For Single Lodgers

By Joe Harvey (Tuesday, February 6, 06.00 )

Householders on the Shotley Peninsula are being asked to use their spare bedroom to take in single lodgers.

Solo Housing have linked up with Babergh Distrct Council to try and help singeltons struggling to find suitable accommodation.

The scheme works by matching a suitable single person, referred by the district council or other agencies, with potential landlords on the penisula, that have been vetted by Solo Housing.

Solo Housing will ensure the landlords’ criteria and accommodation suit the scheme, and will also assess potential lodgers’  circumstances and needs.

It could be the landlords are looking for help with bills, or would like the security and company of another person in their home.

The single people tend to be those either homeless, or close to becoming homelss. They may be on low inclomes, or suffering a break up of a relationship.

Solo Housing chief executive Carolyn Howell said: ‘It’s a very simple and successful model, Solo provides practical help and advice to anyone who has a spare room in their house that they would like to rent out.

“At the same time, we will use our assessment criteria to match suitable people to available rooms, providing advice and support to single people who may like to take up a lodging offer.

“The service aims to provide a simple solution for those who would like to rent out a room, perhaps to help them pay their bills, or for companionship, and at the same time provides a housing solution for a single person who may not be able to access other suitable affordable accommodation on their own.”

One of the first landladies to sign up for the Solo Housing Lodging Scheme was a lady called Joan, who lives in the Babergh District.

She said: “As an elderly female, who lives independently, I didn’t want to be alone, especially at night, so taking in a lodger that met with my requirements was very helpful. 

“Solo met with the prospective lodger to make sure they were suitable for my circumstances and helped me with the paperwork.  It all seemed very thorough.

“I really appreciate the company and social interaction and my current lodger helps with small jobs around the home.”

Derek Davis, Babergh District Councillor for Shotley, Chelmondiston, Erwarton, Woolberstone and Freston, said: This is a sensible, proven scheme that can have very positive benefts for both parties.

“I know there are probably many people with rooms available. It may be they are being charged the empty bedroom tax or they would just like the company. Either way, once matched it is a win-win.”

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ Homelessness Team took 227 homeless applications in 2016/17. 

In addition to this, they prevented homelessness in more than 450 cases and are hoping this scheme will help to settle more people at risk of becoming homeless into permanent accommodation.

If you have a room available, or a single person looking for suitable lodgings, contact 0800 652 0155.

Apaches Wake Up Call

The unmistakable whirring sound of helicopters shattered the silence on the peninsula last night as the world's finest air crews, led by a Harkstead pilot, exercised over the river Stour ad Orwell.

An Apache helicopter was among the top secret exercises flying above the rivers Stour and Orwell last night in preparation   for activity demanded by NATO in the near future.

British forces are expected to be called up to join in with US Forces and other Un Troops as  tensions rise in Afghanistan following a surge in insurgency activity.

Sue Smith, from Holbrook, said: "In a way it is annoying, especially when they wake up the young ones, but I know they do a fantastic job defending us, so I just tell the kids, the goodies are practising in case the baddies start on us."

SPNF is not allowed to reveal any secret information, but Government ministers have already been briefed on potential British armed forces being asked to support the Afghan government, following recent Taliban activity.

Specialised air crews, from Suffolk-based RAF Wattisham have been told about  potential conflict in the region and how they could be involved.

Many personnel from the area have previously been involved in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syrai and other war zones and training exercises are vital in their preparation for any potential call ups.

Warning After Deer Collision

By Jenna Outhwaite

A fresh warning has been given to drivers on the peninsula after a man was left shocked when he hit and killed a deer while driving just outside Chelmondiston.

In the early hours of the evening, a deer jumped out from behind a bush at a fast pace into the front of the man’s car. 

The motorist, who has not been named, was driving within the speed limit but did not see the deer until it was too late. The accident gave the driver a nasty fright and he was left dazed for a short while, and his car suffered minor damage.

Passer by Hanna Keeble, who is familiar with wildlife handling, stopped and helped move the hind out of the road. Mercifully, the stricken hind (pictured right) died quickly after the collision.

There were no signs of any other deer near the road, which Miss Keeble found odd as usually where there is one, there is a high chance of a more deer following.

“Deer feed on arable land as well as woodland, and they travel regularly at dusk to find the best food,” warned Miss Keeble. “Sometimes a little less speed (from drivers) and a bit more awareness is needed.”  

Drivers are being asked to take precautions to minimise the risk of an accident by taking particular care during the early morning and early evening when wildlife is often at its most adventurous.

Long time peninsula residents have noticed the deer population, especially in and around Harkstead and Erwarton, is healthy and ever increasing.

Motorists are warned deer are not the only animals crossing roads, with pheasants, rabbits, badgers and foxes catching out drivers.  

Warning signs in affected areas are on display and drivers are urged to drive with caution and within the speed limit.

Hanna Keeble said: “With the increase in housing comes an increase of vehicles on the peninsula roads, so it stands to reason that collisions involving the local wildlife population could also increase.” 

Insurance experts estimate that between 40,000 and 75,000 deer are killed in collisions on UK roads every year, causing losses of £11 million in damage to vehicles.

Drivers are advised that hitting a deer, or any other animal, will only be covered by a comprehensive policy but they check it covers damage caused by collision with an animal.

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