The Inconceivable Trail
I arrived a bit late at Tangerine’s new residence at the end of Fung Yuen Road to find Eunuch just leaving. “I’m sick,” he moaned. “I’ve been in bed all day. I only came to bring the beer.” He turned to Antiseptic, who he’d roped in for the heavy lifting. “Dear? May I have a beer? Just one?” We thought his heroics, saving the hash from sobriety, would have earned him at least one coldie, but he departed with his tonsils untickled.
Tangerine Dream gave the briefing as I got changed and then everybody buggered off. Except me. By the time I was dressed, watered and laced up I was five minutes behind the pack. Tangerine Dream directed me up the steps to Sha Lo Tung, saying that I’d be able to short-cut the shiggy – a boggy mosquito-infested morass followed by a forest climb – and get in front of the pack. As I ascended the endless steps I could hear distant raucous shouting from the lower slopes of Cloudy Hill, and glimpse the occasional flash of torchlight through the trees. Sure enough I got to the top and on to the road ahead of the front runners, who could now be heard on the road to the left, so I followed trail downhill to the right as The Secret FRB, not calling. When One Eyed Jack got to the top of the steps his short-cutting instincts were too strong and he went straight down the steps back to the start/finish, taking Stingray with him. Meanwhile I solved a check that took me down some other steps and on to a nice dirt trail, although the number of spider webs I gathered suggested that the hare had set the run the previous day. Eventually trail led out to Ting Kok Road opposite the industrial estate. A check – one that was to foil everyone but Gunpowder Plod – offered options of a village route or the Ting Kok Road cycleway. The village option went nowhere so I figured it must be a simple run along the road back to the Fung Yuen turning. After a kilometre without seeing trail I accepted I was wrong and tried to second guess. The village must have been correct after all, I reasoned, and trail must come out on Sha Lo Tung Road somewhere, so I set off up Sha Lo Tung Road to look for it. After a few hundred metres I met G-Spot short-cutting down the road. He’d seen nothing either. So we went back out to Ting Kok Road to find Catch Of The Day, Liberace and Ah Duck milling around plaintively asking if we’d seen trail. They’d done what I did. Then, in a moment of brilliance, Liberace crossed Ting Kok Road to the factory side. Eureka! On Home!
It turned out that trail had done the inconceivable and gone from the check at the village straight into the industrial estate. Now Northern New Territories hashers are so conditioned to assuming that trail is going to be in the shiggy and not on hardtop, or at least NOT in the industrial estate, that nobody even considered the possibility that trail would cross the road. Inconceivable! Mango Groove and his group at the font had done the same as the Liberace group: straight along Ting Kok Road to Fung Yuen, passing by while G-Spot and I were up Sha Lo Tung Road. The only hasher to do the industrial estate was Plod, and only because the hare told him where to go after he begged for a super-easy wrinkly run (“There there Plod. You just go down Fung Yen Road and cross over into the nice level rectilinear tarmac hell of the industrial estate…”).
After the run Tangerine Dream threw dozens of sausages on the Barbie while Silent Partner Jojo showed us the sloughed skin of the king cobra living in a hole in the concrete underneath the house. Velcro Lips turned up looking glamorous and ran the circle. And Catch Of The Day interviewed ardent applicants for her birthday “bash” in the Jacuzzi.