Hare Lick O’Pile
Write up by Pickled Fart
Mention Kingston upon Thames as a run location and it immediately conjures up images of the Wych Elm, a cosy little local pub nestling in its leafy Northern suburbs, where the beer is expensive enough to discourage the lower echelons of society from crossing its portals and Richmond Park, in all its verdant glory and with endless possibilities for pretty off road trails, is only a short jog away. This Hare however was determined to show us an altogether grimier side to the Royal Borough. The P trail led us in the opposite direction from the park, to a vast Weatherspoon’s beer supermarket, located in one of the less salubrious parts of Kingston town centre and about a mile from the nearest blade of grass. Officially this establishment is called the King’s Tun, but it is more commonly referred to amongst the local drinking classes as simply “The Day Centre “.
The pack set off in twilight through the Eden Vale and Bentall’s shopping centres, crossing Kingston Bridge, only to cross back again on the other side of the road. The trail led us past the town hall and the eponymous King’s Stone on which the Saxon Kings of Mercia were crowned and Kingston’s famous “Fatberg”, now proudly displayed on its own plinth in the market square. As the evening grew darker so did the trail, Waitrose, John Lewis and Bentall’s gave way to Cost Cutters, Iceland and Sports Direct, as the trail weaved around the low rent side of town, through shabby, dimly lit shopping arcades which had seen better days, where Pit Bull terriers strained at leashes attached to faceless hoodies and wretched figures ravaged by self-neglect and alcohol abuse (no, not Rambo this time) shuffled past skulking mange ridden urban foxes rummaging through abandoned Kentucky Fried Chicken containers in the shadows. Then the trail led us out of the town centre altogether, assiduously giving what little greenery there was a wide berth, past a few burnt out cars, to the sprawling Cambridge Road Council Estate, now euphemistically known as Social Housing. One of those monstrosities dreamt up by the architects and planners of the nineteen-sixties that won awards from just about everyone except those condemned to live in them. We picked our way through its labyrinths, carefully avoiding the used syringes and discarded cans of super strength lager and other such detritus of the social underclasses. It was with some relieve that we crossed, literally and metaphorically, to the right side of the tracks and the marginally better neighbourhood on the other side, by means of the underpass beneath Norbiton station, as we did so a certain harriette was heard to opine on how well the Hare had kept the pack together thus far into the trail. Displaying my customary diplomacy I refrained from pointing out that it was not so much the Hare’s skill in trail laying that had kept the pack huddled together, as their fear of the environment through which he had just taken us. The trail taunted us by taking us to within fifty yards of Richmond Park before veering away from it towards the drink stop at that well-known local beauty spot, the Sainsbury’s Car Park, where we were treated to some strange Eastern European spirit with a taste vaguely reminiscent of battery acid.
Back at the pub the staff had thoughtfully reserved a section for the Hash which they had blocked off from the rest of the hoi polio, who frequent such establishments, with a barricade of chairs. Within this alcove an inner barrier of chairs symbolically blocked off the Richmond Clique from the ordinary Hashers who had not been elevated to their rarefied world, or had been defenestrated from it; a clique within a clique as it were.
A circle was eventually organised, if that is not a misuse of the word, the Hare received his customary down down, as did Knob Job visiting from Madrid and Not Contagious for wearing a rather fetching Ebola T shirt. I was called to the fore because I had posted a comment on the web site that the pub was frequented by scantily clad girls getting tanked up on cheap alcopops before venturing into the local night clubs and I received a down down of a cheap alcopop, that stuff called Wckd that I have seen advertised, but had never before tried, and never will again, even three pints of Guinness could not wash away the sickly chemical aftertaste of saccharin it left behind.
Next week WLH3 are in Wimbledon, and, before that conjures up any images of cosy little local pubs nestling on the fringes of Wimbledon Common, with the promise of pretty off road trails, the pub is the Prince of Wales, a vast beer supermarket in a less salubrious part of Wimbledon town centre and in the opposite direction from the Common, and about a mile from the nearest blade of grass.