After abandoning his palatial residence at Sai Sha Villas, Stingray welcomed us to his new abode, tentatively named Filthy Lucre Towers, at Ha Hang. “Business is going really well at the moment,” he beamed as he set out the buckets, “and I’ve got a loverly run for you. Nah dahn’t worry if you keep finking deja vu, because that’s exactly what it’ll be.” Meanwhile an eclectic bunch had arrived. Lyman, a Guangzhou hasher who happened to be vacationing at the Tai Mei Tuk youth hostel. James of Ha Hang, fresh from a 50km spin on his bike. Nina, who we’d met on the pub run. Plus the usual suspects: Mango Groove, Golden Balls, Eunuch, Velcro Lips, Penile Dementia, Liberace, One Eyed Jack and so on.
Trail went left along Ting Kok Road then up through the village and into some old paddy long turned wild. James, who had hashed in the distant past, seemed a bit unsure of himself when confronted with the chest-high tangle of grasses and bushes and lassoos that trip you up all the time when you’ve got big feet (four crashes for GB) but soon got the hang of following toilet paper. Liberace as usual ran round like a headless chicken, constantly appearing from behind the backmarkers like some Wile E Coyote inexorably motoring towards his next catastrophe. Meanwhile at the front Eunuch, Mango Groove and Lyman led the pack out to Ting Kok Road then up again into forest. Trail led up to Sha Lo Tung Road, where the check fooled only GB, who started heading downhill. The rest went up and, predictably, down the steps to Fung Yuen, passing Tangerine Dream along the way, who tried to trick them into running the wrong way. After a circuit of the “butterfly farm” it was out again to Ting Kok Road and a lovely circuit of the industrial estate via the waterfront.
On Stingray’s patio M&M served up a fine curry with rice and garlic peanuts as the usual boisterous dissection of the run coloured the air. Then James arrived and flung himself to the floor. We thought he was going for 50 push-ups, having complained earlier that he hadn’t managed the 100km on the bike he’d planned on doing, but no – he was knackered after losing trail and following some fence for miles.
Nina was a honey and engaged Mango in discussing the minutae of honey production by bees. She must have wished she’d kept her mouth shut as the increasingly unhinged RA promptly named her Sticky Apid Bottom Exudate. Lyman and James looked nervous.
Nothing gets the heart pumping like a good long, cold weather run, hence Catch Of The Day was selected, from a host of candidates, to set this week’s run from her place in Ping Che. Great! Lovely, we all thought. Been there before, should be no problem in finding the location, no need for a map or any of that nonsense. Well Eunuch and Mango were the first to completely botch it up, getting out of their taxi too early, walking the wrong way down the road until bumping into Gaele Says No who had never ever been to this location but managed to find it via Google Maps.
First to arrive at the “Free Zone” start was Stingray, who came a little early to spend some quality time with his angelfish that he had given to COTD upon moving house. However Stingray must move on and come to terms with the fact that he and Angel are no longer an item and he shouldn’t keep having “snog-ups” with her cos technically she is not his fish any more (and I knows a thing or two about fish!) Next to arrive were Mango, Eunuch, Gaele Says No, the GM, with One Eyed Jack bringing up the rear. Well this was looking good, it was only 7.30pm and we were ready for the off, but wait … Mango realised that Liberace had not yet arrived, but when he’d phoned him at 7pm he was near Hong Lok Yuen. Oh, he’s probably caught in traffic, we’ll give him a few more minutes … so we did. A few minutes went by as the pack muttered “He can’t be lost, he has run from here before and besides he spent a whole day driving back and forth from this place whilst helping COTD move in.” Eventually COTD decided to call him on his mobile and got the response “I have just passed the fourth roundabout.” A very confused COTD then handed the phone to the GM, who after even more confusion announces that she would go and look for him.
It was now 8pm, cold, and COTD was not looking very happy but managed to find the willpower to write some secret instructions on a piece of paper that she decreed should only be read if we get lost at a particular check after the first rambo / wimp split. As COTD folded up the piece of paper she looked around for an honest, trustworthy, reliable person to handle this information, so Mango was selected! Mango happily accepted this honour but had no pockets so he gave the paper to Gaele Says No with the comment, “Joe is the only one out of you lot who I can rely on!” After being informed that Golden Balls and Golden Jelly would be arriving very late a decision was made to start walking to the first of three rambo / wimp splits or until Liberace and the GM caught us up.
For the most part the pack dutifully followed the RA’s instructions, with the first check taking us left through some dogs and then onto the soft country trails behind the villages. After about 15 minutes Liberace caught up with the pack, screaming, “Why are you all walking?” … “Because we were waiting for you…” “You f***king guy!” came the reply. “Where on earth have you been Libs?” the pack shouted. “I don’t know … I suffer from night blindness!” came the reply. Upon hearing Liberace’s lovely voice both Eunuch and Gaele Says No took off up the hill through the dense shiggy to a check at the top. Yes!!! this was the check that COTD had written the solution to, which was in the possession of Gaele Says No, who had now disappeared with Eunuch. Stingray and One Eyed Jack did their best going in different directions as end of trails were encountered. Liberace went along a fence with no markings. A long while later the pack managed to clamber down and along a border fence, into a gully, before picking up trail heading into a banana tree plantation. A few checks took us back and over the ridge line with some lovely shiggy leading us out onto the road. Now I don’t want to pick on our beloved Liberace, but every time he got to the front of the pack he promptly took us off trail, his excuse again being he suffers from night blindness. One Eyed Jack was having none of this and instructed Mango to lead before descending onto the second rambo / wimp split with a final loop back around and on home. All were back in just over an hour for an excellent run, well marked and a lot of virgin trail … well done COTD.
Back at COTD’s house warm saki was waiting along with Golden Balls, Golden Jelly (in uniform), barbecued beef and vegetable kebabs and a Thai curry with rice. The chatter this week mainly consisted of the size of the male organ. Golden Balls, being very knowledgeable on this topic, informed us that South Korean men are the smallest whilst the big boys come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. COTD was having none of this, claiming that there isn’t much difference between these two nations before beaming a big smile and saying nothing else. One final key event followed before the circle – yes, you guessed, involving Liberace. He wanted to use the toilet but not noticing that the door was made of clear glass he walked bang-smack straight into thick glass, splitting the bridge of his nose in the process. After the pack had stopped laughing and the blood gush slowed, Eunuch inquired “How did you manage that?” to which Liberace replied “I have told you already I have night blindness!” A circle followed with numerous down downs and all that can be said it was another great Wednesday night on the N2TH3.
It was 7.45 and there was still no sign of Eunuch, despite him living just down the road. “We have to wait for him, he’s got the beer,” pronounced Mango Groove.” “But he left the eskies at Din-Din’s place last week. Did anybody pick them up?” came the slightly panicked response. Then Eunuch arrived – on a bike!
“Ruddy car’s broken again!” he raged. “Good job someone else is doing the beer tonight, isn’t it.” Then, in an admirable display of schadenfreude came an outraged, triumphal “Nobody’s done it, have they!” Too late to do anything about it. The run must start.
Hare Liberace promised a 1.5-hour outing with markings in chalk, flour and bog roll, so the pitifully small group of five who bothered to turn up – Mango Groove, Stingray, Golden Balls, Catch Of The Day, Eunuch – set off with high hopes. Trail initially led south and into a housing estate, and then across a pedestrian bridge over the railway at Sheung Shui station. Plenty of checks to keep the pack together. Then it was north along a cycle track until a cunning checkback flummoxed everybody. Trail was eventually found through a park and then there was an intricate bit of weaving through villages until the rambo-wimp split showed. By this time GB had fallen off the pace.
Rambos went north-west into low hills and some shiggy, where Stingray fell away. After cresting the peak overlooking Lo Wu trail led back south to the split, where rambos followed the wimps trail home. Controversy raged as the lift up to the pedestrian bridge in the industrial area was approached by the leading trio. Eunuch and Catch Of The Day dived in as the doors were closing, leaving Mango Groove stranded. “All I could see were these hands giving me the v-sign as the lift closed,” he blubbed plaintively. “And I’d worked so hard to keep up with them…sniff.”
Prior to this, on the wimps, GB encountered latecomer One Eyed Jack on his characteristic short cut, approaching the lift from completely the wrong direction. “Crap markings,” he snarled. “Two arrows pointing at a wall and then – nothing!” Honestly, any excuse for a short cut.
Meanwhile Golden Jelly had turned up and did her own run, while Desperate Dan turned up to drink beer, of which there was just a few tubes that Liberace had begged from the local shop. Then 9 Ignorant Cox arrived with the eskies crammed chock full of booze. Saved!
“Look at them all, having fun when it was crap markings!”
“What happened to hash cash?” “Well…”
Whooa! Great boobs.
For pretending his car was broken so he could chug booze.
Following the pub run and the Velcro soiree, Din Din and 9IC made it three parties in a row for the Northern. This time it was at Che Ha off Sai Sha Road, and I arrived at the roundabout where we’d been told the run started to find Dingaling, Sam and Overdue pacing on and around it. We were soon joined by Eunuch and Catch Of The Day in the beer wagon and a lady carrying a tiny dog with bat-like ears. No markings, no hares. Then 9IC arrived. Come on, this way to the house, he says. We protested that latecomers wouldn’t know where to go after making their way to the roundabout, where (let’s labour this) we’d been told the start is. “Dunno why she said that – we’re running from the house.”
Screw, Screwless and Gunpowder Plod were already waiting. Then Liberace turned up and a pack of seven plus Sam capered off toward the coast. Lots of checks kept everybody together. There were villages, rural concrete paths through forest and along coast, overgrown fallow fields and the odd bit of road before the pack broke up in one of the villages when trail just seemed to expire. Plod, with his local knowledge, found the way, taking Liberace with him but the rest of the pack milled about doing circuits of the village. And milled. And circuited. Until GB went far further than any mark could possibly be and found trail going up a smallish hill with a great bracken descent.
Concrete paths then took us back to Che Ha where the on home was marked back along the out trail for the last 400 metres. We all made it back and gatecrashed the downstairs neighbour’s party for a bit until we got cold and went to our party.
Did I say all? No. Liberace on encountering the on home for some inexplicable reason known only to himself started to go round the trail again.
At the house more people had arrived, with the number of non-runners far exceeding the number of runners, but all was well as the drinks flowed, the victuals vanished and the hashers taunted each other cruelly. At some stage or other there was a countdown and loads of snogging and stuff but I didn’t bother with all that and just helped get rid of Simon’s whisky as Din Din flashed a rock on her finger and beseeched one and all to kiss the ring.
G-Spot was back for a few days from his travails in Papua and Java, so Velcro hosted an elegant evening soiree after a splendid trail in the hills of old Braemar so her beau could get pissed with his mates. The seasonally tiny pack took off from Velcro’s quarters and soon found themselves trudging up a hill with the unmistakeable monogram of Royal South Side trail keeping them company. Camel’s pre-marking of Thursday night’s South Side run was thus subject to a bit of “embellishment” by One Eyed Jack (his word).
After a bit of up and down, trail went along Sir Cecil’s Ride (why concrete over a perfectly good dirt trail? Madness) and then left up a bouldery stream bed, with Eunuch and Oranguwank (the hasher previously known as Inflatadate) making all the running. At a flattish part at the top of the hill yet more foreign trail marks were found, this time Little Sai Wan, but of course nobody embellished their trail. We wouldn’t do a thing like that to our Wednesday night hashing associates.
Great views of the Hong Kong city lights popped up from time to time as a mazy trail took us up, down, up and around to the Rambo-wimp split. Now G-Spot had explained that the wimps was actually longer than the rambos, but the rambos had another hill and some shaggy to negotiate. Having got away from One Eyed Jack on the prior descent I did the dirty on him and peeled off on the rambos without calling trail. Sho nuff he missed the split. It’s touching moments such as these that make hashing such a joy.
In the shiggy I caught Liberace, who wasn’t very well, and was caught by Catch Of The Day, who had been moronically running back and forth along Sir Cecil’s Ride after missing the turn to the stream bed because “nobody called”. Another touching incident.
Back at the flat Oranguwank, who used to live in the neighbourhood and knew the trails well, said the final descent was new to him, so well done hare for finding virgin trail in the hashed-out byways of Braemar Hill. Then all sorts of fantastic nosh appeared – as well as the walkers Screw, Screwless and Din Din – and justice was done to Christmas Eve. Then it was time for the after-party as seven of us crammed into Eunuch’s jalopy for a madcap, literally hair-raising ride back to the Northern New Territories homelands.