Society’s Best Efforts
Despite the much depleted pack (Eunuch, Mango Groove, BJ and Geriatric all out of town, QT and No Rough Stuff unable to make it) more than a dozen hashers turned out for Stingray’s short, flat run around Ping Yeung, numbers that a decade ago, when packs of half a dozen were common, would have been hailed as handsome. And indeed it was a memorable night – but not for the reasons expected.
We were greeted with the sight of a wrapped pagoda, sheathed in tarpaulin by One Eyed Jack, who has plenty of experience in mega-managing dodgy structures. Inside, Penile Dementia was fiddling with sausages, while behind the edifice Catch Of The Day was doing her favourite thing, building a fire. Penile’s previous warning that we shouldn’t use this “village people” pagoda didn’t seem ominous in the slightest.
And so the first instalment of hashers set off (some were still looking for the start) down the hill to Ping Yeung and on to a track through vegetation. Gaelle Says No showed a clean pair of heels to the pack and was not seen again until the finish. The rest of us, meanwhile, followed a convoluted trail through agriculture and villages on concrete and dirt paths, with the frequent checks bringing the pack together time and again like a conked-out accordion. And of course there were the “hilarious” Stingray touches – like the bit where Golden Jelly, Velcro Lips and myself followed trail all the way around a huge grave and back to where we started.
Halfway point was Ping Che Road, which we followed for a short stretch before trail led off into agriculture again. Radio 1 was particularly nervous of the many hare-eyed jittery dogs and sprinted with a sort of yelp to the nearest man whenever a canine looked vaguely in her direction. Velcro Lips on the other hand quelled them with the power of the Hartlepool accent. Aiden, One Eyed Jack and Creme Brulee swapped the lead until going wrong in the final section, a traverse of a maze of pig trails through tall grass, where Golden Balls was the first to find his way up the bank to the pagoda to find…
…cops and cop cars everywhere, the whole pagoda awash with water from a Fire Services hosepipe, a fire engine, irate villagers with their dogs (bizarrely with glowing collars), a defiant Catch Of The Day standing over the drowned fire arguing the toss with the lead cop, Stingray grinning inanely and making up cockney-philosophy, and Penile Dementia doggedly turning the sausages on the barbecue while ignoring the pandemonium surrounding him.
Velcro Lips, hot on GB’s tail, took one look at the scene and sensibly fled into the night. Lead cop was demanding the place be cleaned up, so clean it up we did (but not before COTD had asked to record the cops’ demand to return the glowing logs to the bush, where they’d cause a fire) and the paramilitary and village enforcers finally left us to our sausages, baguettes, mulled wine and other devices.
Chief among these being the “game”. We were split into teams (late arrivals Liberace, Serbian Bomber and Back To The Future having joined by this time) based on our finishing positions, with Team A wearing hats made from Asahi crates and Team B wearing hats made from Tsingtao crates. We then had to take it in turns to do what the GM called “butt writing”, which entailed writing a word with – yes – your butt. Team A ran out easy winners with Creme Brulee particularly prescient in determining letters carved in air by oscillating bottoms. Team A walked off with chocolate lunar new year ornaments while Team B got calligraphy, which Liberace interpreted for us in his inimitable way. Who could have guessed that classic Chinese New Year calligraphy was so loaded with innuendo?
Then it was Learning With Libs, where the professor of Chinglish explained that 1900 actually meant bukkake (19 = sup gau = moist dooda and you can guess the rest). The mulled wine disappeared and not a sausage remained as we drove off leaving the evening’s architects sitting amidst the smouldering ruins of their nemesis: the village people’s pagoda.
Actually we left it in better shape than we found it – as always – and proved that despite society’s best efforts there’s no stopping the Northern! – Golden Balls
Runners Gaelle Says No, Golden Balls, Radio 1, Serbian Bomber, Golden Jelly, One Eyed Jack, Liberace, Aiden, Velcro Lips, Creme Brulee
Non-runners Catch Of The Day, Penile Dementia, Luk Sup Gow