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‘The North Star’. A famous steam train from 1837 after which the pub is named.


The North Star




Baldrick Iceman Hashgate Florence SlowSucker Potty Nutcracker TinOpener Dwight Centaur Jon Motox Foghorn James Spex LoudonTasteless C5 PissQuick Peter OldFart Cheating SimpleSimon Lou Soreskin Quack Butterfly Twanky SlackBladder Lonely Bootsie SimpleSimon

The Train Now Leaving…

The BH3 express steamed gently at the North Star station, water taken on and all coaled-up. The gleaming paint, brightly polished brass and mighty pistons only hinting at the sheer power waiting to be unleashed. Our very own Fat Controller, Spex, called the passengers on board, welcoming first-time traveller Peter and wishing today’s appropriately named conductor Caboose a very happy 50th birthday (oh, all right – he’s really 40). PissQuick crossed her legs and managed to hold it while we were stationary. I took the opportunity to meet the friendly albino station cat, a fine creature that luxuriated in the ineffable ecstasy afforded by a scratch behind the ears – if only women were so easily pleased. It was only after the Hash that Nutcracker pointed out the little feline had but three legs. Potty suggested it could therefore be a Manx cat – he’s so sad sometimes.

With a blast of her whistle Spex sent us on our way. The train had been seriously upgraded today with the addition of the Centaur and Dwight locos and they chuffed up a powerful head of steam that some of the older rolling stock struggled to keep up with. We roared out on to one of the old causeways which, due to the wrong type of cobbles, led to a fair bit of slipping and sliding, causing the carriage of certain Hashers to wobble alarmingly. Soreskin and Lou tripped to one side, almost grabbing Baldrick’s communication cord and bringing him to an emergency stop. However, we managed to negotiate this tricky section without going off the rails and slowed by the village hall where we were regarded with wonder by some chav railway children. Luckily, the white-tracksuited, baseball-capped, huge-earringed girl did not take off her red bloomers and wave them at us to stop so we headed out into open country, diddle-deeing and diddle-daaing as we sped along the narrow track. We followed Dwight over the viaduct across the A34 until he decided on investigating a branch line that had obviously been axed during the Beeching era. Oddly, this left the Hashgate 1st Class carriage ahead of Centaur’s engine, rolling through some lovely old houses, past a fine, ancient church and looping back towards the viaduct where, even more surprisingly, our Caboose rolled up from the opposite direction towing the Nutcracker observation car. Slowsucker began to catch up as we sped through the field and Hashgate hastened in order to avoid a shunt. Just a little way ahead and next to the main line some old puffers in the form of Spex, Potty, Butterfly and PissQuick waited. They signalled us towards the tunnel and we almost jumped the points making the swift left turn. About a mile on and no flour in sight we realised we had been railroaded in the wrong direction and steamed back along the track so fast we overtook first TinOpener, then James and finally The Flying Scot, Iceman before rejoining the Pack who were in train for the Regroup across the road.

Sadly, the buffet car/bar was missing at the Regroup and the hot and rather smutty Twanky steamed disappointedly to a halt while Cheating railed about the lack of refreshment. But then Cheating often rails about something. Perhaps he was unhappy not to have won the “Best Rolling Stock Of The Day” competition. i.e. his bogeys had not been picked (contrived I know, but I had to get this in somewhere…). We stood among the lengthening shadows, watching the beauty of the sun setting on the hill opposite and marvelling at the smooth, diesel express trains sliding powerfully along the real railway next to our little siding. Butterfly rolled up to me with a light clang, looking in need of a hose connection and a good scrub down in the yard. She informed me that Dribbler had been unable to join us due to his running for office as a Monster Raving Loony candidate. Considering he fits all three single-word descriptions I’m not surprised he was selected and, of course, we wish him well. Nearby was a curious road sign: a duck beneath which was the digit ‘5’. I came to the conclusion that, so far, the road users had managed to run over five of the feathered creatures. When the next was found stuck to the bottom of a Michelin no doubt the ever-vigilant Highways Department would replace the ‘5’ with ‘6’.

We re-trained, fired up the old boilers (they didn’t mind), and set off up the steep incline. Annie and Claribel (Soreskin and Lou) rattled and harumphed their way up with the rest of the train stretching out into the distance. SimpleSimon nearly strained a piston getting up (not an unusual occurrence I’m led to understand) while several: TinOpener, Peter, Spex and Nutcracker looked so knackered they had almost turned into sleepers at the top. Certainly, laying on their backs in the sun waiting for something large and throbbing to come along is, I believe, a recurring dream of the latter two in the list…

Amazingly, LoudonTasteless appeared ahead of us going like Stephenson’s Rocket; wheezing and grinding, his angular parts sticking out. It wasn’t far from here that the fellow lived up to his name by noisily emitting a foul stream of noxious gas from his nether regions. I suggest a complete refit, a good scrape of the tubes or de-commissioning and retirement to Didcot Steam Museum where he can rust away with all the other clapped-out old locos.

Despite the intensity of the slope the rest of the carriages kept up well, largely due to the engines: Dwight, Centaur etc puffing off down craftily placed False branch lines only to puff back again and rejoin the train. On the downhill slope newcomer Peter said he was, “loving it” which was an interesting comment given his sweat-stained T-shirt, staring eyes and staggering gait.

After a twisty side-track through a forest that managed to get SlackBladder and Jon lost we clattered out towards civilization and Caboose, who was waiting for us. The BH3 express began to gather speed as both engine drivers and passengers scented beer not far off. Motox leapt onto the footplate with a cry of “It always goes this way!” (despite never having been here before), seized a shovel and stoked up the fire. BH3’s chief driver Spex leapt forward with a huge spurt (she cleared it up later) urging us on with a hoot and a whistle. The train wound swiftly round the village, over tracks where Iceman and I noticed the stream next to them was actually higher than where we were! Then strangely back again where I shunted against C5 who was (oddly enough) going like a train. Like something out of an Emile Zola novel we hurtled ever onwards, steam and smoke issuing from every orifice, rivets dropping out, passengers screaming and wailing behind us, sparks flying as we rounded the bend and crashed horribly into the old buffers standing at the North Star . They were Potty and OldFart…

Thanks Caboose. It was just the ticket! On On. Hashgate.

Down Downs

RA for the night C5 presented the following :-



Style points


Being a round. Geographically and physically

Certainly got around his pint in a hurry


Today’s virgin

A damn fine quality toping


Eructation in a loud and tasteless manner

Quietly and tastefully downed. He was also passed ‘The Sheep’ by Motox


Boringly stating various run statistics at the end of the Hash

A rather sad effort by our revered GM

Motox & Caboose

Their birthdays!

Nicely done by both, despite stuffing cake down first


The Hare

The poor sod did really well to down this extra pint with only a hint of a struggle

Up and Coming

Run Number


Grid Reference




* 19:15 *


The Black Horse





The Cricketers, Yately

The Tremblers

Grand Skittles Evening

Saturday April 23rd at 19:30. Venue is the Civil Service Club, James Lane, Burghfield. Gridref: 675676. Cost £7.50 to include chicken or scampi and chips. Drinks are sensibly priced. Skittles winner keeps the BH3 cup for the year! What could be more enticing? For more details call 0118 958 3887.


to Harry Potter and wife for producing another little Potter. Our very best wishes to all concerned.