Run 1721, 18 November 2015, Noble Park

The Breeding

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Big Moany’s run, so with his electronic collar tag set to shock then explode upon straying more than a few km or hours from the Missus, the run was predictably set from just outside the gates of Fortress Noble. A distinguished venue indeed, well familiar to the NT hashers, though many may recall, in the good old days, being lured and treated to the lesser-spotted Mina’s famous curry (so rare, her hash name is forgotten by your scribe). Supposedly, with the buckets just outside Moany Castle, the neighbours and traffic would be not disturbed by this seething rash-like outbreak of semi-naked, semi-drunk, boisterous, nay, screeching hashers.

The driving classes amongst us also know well, or should do by now, the local parking etiquette. The driveway to and past Camp Moany is busier than Heathrow Airport, so blocking or shocking BM’s ‘nice’ po-faced, bespectacled, soap-smelling, kiasu, Prius-driving-neighbours with their precious princeling cargo back from extra math/piano/Mandarin lessons is simply to be avoided, and that especially goes for the sinister, scowling village-dwellers beyond who, without fail, stop to glare coldly, edging forward awkardly as if navigating a supertanker into the Panama Canal, over-revving their blue lorry, or Alphard with black plates, or, more commonly, a souped-up AMG Benz back from dinner at a dodgy Kam Sheung Road plastic-tented, excessively fairy-lit daipaidong, complete with their foxy, but utterly shrew-faced trophy wife muttering ‘chop them’ and little Johnny Tripod in the back pointing his toy gun (for now) or otherwise giving a friendly wave with his middle finger. The etiquette is to just park normally on the roadside opposite Chateau Grande Moan, without causing obstruction. If you happen to have a shit, beat up, smelly old rape-van, then park it away from the posh gates, nearer the main road. However, if you are Catch Of The Day, then just park the Land Rover anywhere you damn well want – preferably jutting out at a 45 degree angle so as to entertain the pack and hamper the Tripod Way. If that proves to delay the start by another 15 minutes, then, after firstly stripping off of course, just shunt it in against the other cars – they’re only hashers after all and don’t mind (really).

Oh yes – the run. The hare, Big Moany, for it was he, said he had flu, so had set “an unimaginative run”, i.e. the same one as his last 50 or so, and promised that we would not be going up the 582 steps. We all set off with a sense of relief, except Eunuch, who was running late as he is finding it harder these days to reach the vinegar stroke (no inspiration, pressure, ageing, blinding headaches, etc) before leaving home – an essential prescribed pre-hash ritual in order to maintain his bouncy gait and happy calmness, thus preventing episodes of manic Tourette-like outbursts during or after the run. So off we set, towards Kam Sheung Rd Station as usual…but…no, not this time…it was not over the bridge. The cunning hare had lied and been a little imaginative, confoundingly setting the out-trail missing the bridge, seamlessly onto the Kam Po Rd beside the nullah.

We ran for so long on that flat, jarring concrete that my mind went numb until we came to the check on that footbridge that we do always go over, past a wimps split, up to that bus stop and car park that we do always go to, and up the path to the same old goaty contour trail upon which there was a check. Without question, the trail should go right to connect to the wimps. But Moany is no greenhorn. He had set yet another rather long check of the type that fills a front running bastard with self-doubt and the fathomless fear of losing his lead to the back of the pack if the call is wrong. Lo, so it was that Salesman, who had been leading for much of the way on account of having shortcut the first check, one step from discovering the on-on, went back and tried to convince the incredulous elite pack runners that the trail should actually go left about 6.5km, in the wrong direction. No way – they smelled the rat, and bolted right – with Mango Groove, Liberace and Luk Dim Boon noticeably selecting race mode. Off we went, up Mount Moany. Regular squeaks and chirps from COTD could be heard, indicating that she was catching the lead pack from behind. But the FRB’s, not having warmed up to the hare’s theme of long checks (previously solved by Luk Dim Boon and Salesman), did not adequately check the usual on-down shortcut the to the infamous steps.

Press on up they did, though dawdle did Liberace until COTD shrilled “on-on” down and effortlessly took the lead, pursued by Liberace and Luk Dim Boon. There was only one wet, skiddy patch, which sent Salesman into the sandbags. Nice soil path down until we all were shocked, shocked I tell you, by the ridiculous amount of tycoon-pleasing concrete being poured on this trail. We urged our retained angry SCMP letter-writers (Dram, Dingaling and/or Gunpowder Plod to do the honours). Down 582 steps, their steepness and thinness slowing Liberace, who is fast and fit but not exactly twinkle-toed downhill, enabling Salesman to pass, then an on-home fast paced ‘race’ under the subway, through Kam Sheung MTR and back home. But where was Kin? Another kind of twinkle as bush met bush, which undoubtedly caused the aforementioned hash crash.

Far behind, Golden Balls on the rambo trail caught Dram who was wimping and limping. “I’ve slipped on this gravel. Absolute disgrace. Where are the notices warning people of these entirely superfluous works? I’m composing a letter to the editor right now in ma heed!”

Back at Nobble Park the rowdy hashers cranked up the volume as they patiently awaited Eunuch’s return. Eunuch had started 31 minutes late, and made the bucket 31 minutes late, so all was well with the markings, with no Tourettes; so taking the time to drain his tubes prior to his solo run was worth the headache and manipulation. A nice run length and a good effort was made by all. There were plenty of down-downs and too much beer was imbibed by most. An excellent circle was conducted by our home-grown GM and RA, with contributions by Velcro, Golden Balls, Mango and the usual suspects. There was, I think, yet another Learning With Libs, as he conducted his first circle as N2TH3 GM in “Cantonese”. Meanwhile Penile Dementia seems to be enjoying himself so much these days that his corresponding increase in wife-fear is clearly evident. Something has to give. For some vague reason, Eunuch’s car had beer cans and traffic cones piled on it – but he drove off not giving a damn. I don’t know his crime, or if Mango was trying to wind him up, but he remained happy.

A good turn-out, a good run, but no curry, Big Moany, you c*nt. – Salesman

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Run 1720, 11 November 2015, Luen Wo Hui

AGM

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We came. We ran. We did not conquer because it was a short flat run designed by Mango Groove to be over quickly so we could get on with the AGM. Trail went from a sitting-out area in Luen Wo Hui through a park, across Ma Sik Road and into the network of villages and fields to the north. Loads of checks kept the pack expanding and contracting like a rubber band and in the end the pack – Dram, Gunpowder Plod, Liberace, Penile Dementia, Salesman, Golden Balls, Serbian Bomber and a chap called Jan – sprinted home in about half an hour. After 45 minutes Eunuch and One Eyed Jack arrived sporting a strangely mincing gait caused by the venom they were spitting, having been unable to solve the first check. They thus reprised their famous roles from the Nam Sang Wai run in September. Mango Groove, Velcro Lips and Golden Jelly were non-runners.

And so Velcro Lips presided over the last circle of her term and named the new committee who will decide our fate for the next 12 months.

GM – Liberace

GM2 – Golden Balls

RA – Penile Dementia

RA2 – Catch Of The Day

Hares – One Eyed Jack

Beer – Golden Jelly

Cash – Velcro Lips

Web – Golden Balls

Ethnicity: 3 Chinese, 2 English, 1 Japanese, 1 Welsh. Gender: 3 women, 4 men. Age: the less said the better.

As her last act Velcro Lips produced a T-shirt. Contact her quickly if you want one, they’re going fast.

Run 1719, 4 November 2015, Sai Kung

Bangers & Hash

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The circle of life continued to turn with the rotation of the seasons, and the wheel finally stopped on a Wednesday night nearest to Guy’s Fawkes (yes, that is deliberate). As inexorable as glacial drift and as unstoppable as a juggernaut, it was once more time to set fire to things, and for neighbours to call the emergency services. This night was certainly to be no exception to that rule, as no less than 15 individuals representing Hong Kong’s finest, plus the police, turned up to extinguish a blazing inferno of twigs and dry leaves, tackle an impromptu fireworks display, and then hunt down the perpetrators. But more on that later.

Hare Gunpowder Plod gave the usual military style briefing with a load of illegible markings on the floor but ominously advised that both the rambo and the wimp runs were “long” (apparently setting the run had taken 4 hours!!) but added reassuringly, “no hills”. Of course only the most naïve or stupid would believe this latter reassurance given that Plod’s pad is located on a very steep hillside. However, before setting off on the run Plod guided the pack into the adjacent wooded area to a well-built bonfire (sited near a large grave) which he proceeded to light. Coincidentally, a person or persons unknown let off an enormous firework from a hidden grave in the woods that rocketed into the sky with numerous loud explosions and a spectacular shower of sparks.

Frightened out of their (admittedly tiny) wits, the runners charged off uphill led by Eunuch and Mango Groove and were soon lost to sight. Others in the pack included Oranguwank, Penile Dementia, Liberace, Dram, Velcro Lips, One Eyed Jack, Salesman and Dingaling. Golden Balls, Golden Jelly, Gaele Says No and 9IC brought up the rear, running slightly late, while Guttermouth was a non-runner.

The route was the usual mix of chalk-marked concrete path, flour-marked jungle trail and bog-roll marked shiggy that the Northern New Territories hashers seem to love so much. Starting with a hill climb away from Plod’s gaff and the smouldering ruins of some poor animal’s nest, the trail went up some steps and across the edge of a burial site. Following a rusty fence parallel to the tree line, the runners all came across a large piece of wood marked with a big “X”. Having not been present for the briefing, when they reached it, the latecomers had no idea what the meaning of the symbol was, so continued to thrash about in the bushes until finally working out that it was some kind of check variant. They valiantly pressed on and managed to pick up the trail by doubling back slightly and heading downhill. Gaele Says No decided to take a decidedly off-piste route, so 9IC (polite and helpful as usual) waited patiently at the foot of the slope, shining his torch and offering encouragement, only for Gaele Says No to bugger off ahead, not calling trail or marking checks. Charming!

Fairly early on in the run, One-Eyed Jack was seen stalking the junction of Po Lo Che and Hiram’s Highway in the general direction of the start, and when questioned gave the unlikely sounding reply that he had “just lost the trail and trying to pick it up again”, although to this observer he appeared to be taking a rather significant short cut!

Somewhat predictably, Eunuch, Mango Groove, Liberace, Salesman and Oranguwank all made it back in good time. Golden Balls had a trot round with Golden Jelly and Gaele Says No was quickly home despite starting late. Penile Dementia kept tempting Plod’s dog Dougal with his sausage and 9IC struggled in last, having suffered a hash crash.

Meanwhile, early on in the run, the more cautious and thoughtful hashers, Velcro and Dram, quickly made an executive decision to avoid excessive output of energy. Accordingly, after a half hour or so making their way around the early section of the run they short cut and strolled back down the road to Plod’s. However, whilst doing so they heard the unmistakable “nee naw nee naw” of an approaching emergency vehicle – it turned out to be a fire engine with lights flashing and siren blaring heading downhill towards Plod’s pad. “Aha,” thought Velcro and Dram, “we bet this has something to do with the bonfire!” However, on arriving back at Plod’s there was no sign of the fire engine, only a very flustered Plod hurriedly rolling up his garden hose which he had obviously used to douse the bonfire. The quick thinking Plod sent the investigation team further down the road with the cunningly conceived comment, “I think it was someone over there” whilst pointing in the general direction of somewhere over there. Unbelievably, they took the bait and went off in search of a naughty fictitious arsonist, leaving everyone else to get on with the night’s run. Clearly a misunderstanding.

Safely ensconced on Plod’s roof with cold beer and congratulating him on avoiding a delicate situation with the law, yet further “nee naws” were heard, and shortly thereafter the emergency unit of “Asia’s Finest” appeared and parked immediately in front of Plod’s. Oh dear! This looked ominous, but strangely, other than the 5 policemen standing around on the road outside, nothing happened (the short-cutters and Plod observed the scene whilst crouched down behind the roof parapet wall). Shortly thereafter yet more “nee naws” were heard and yet another van-load of police appeared (Velcro counted 10 in total). The fire engine then reappeared from downhill and unfortunately at that moment there was a spontaneous reignition of the bonfire. The firefighters – fully attired with helmets and visors, heavy fire-resistant jackets, and trousers and boots – leapt into action unrolling their hose reel and had the conflagration under control with minutes. Well done chaps! Coinciding with the fire fighting the police shouted up to Plod to “come down!” but Plod played (?) dumb and responded he couldn’t hear what they were saying because of the excessive background noise being generated by the fire engine. Plod’s better half, She Who Must be Obeyed, then took command and ordered Plod to do as he was told and get downstairs and face the music.

Plod sheepishly did so and whilst his explanation to the police went unheard by the hashers (whilst all this was going on the main body of the pack were running in in dribs and drabs) Dram observed a friendly pat from a policeman on Plod’s shoulder and concluded that the silvery tongued Plod had avoided further action. However, this was not the end of the matter as he was scolded by She Who Must be Obeyed that he should have told the truth and owned up to his actions and not wasted the time of the emergency services (a usually unreliable source said Plod had denied any knowledge of the bonfire or fireworks and had offered the possibility that unknown grave worshippers might be the culprits). SWMBO was vexed sore and laid down her law that there would be no more Guy Fawkes bonfires or fireworks next year!

There was some discussion thereafter as to who would have reported the bonfire and fireworks – a neighbour who doesn’t approve of Plod? Surely not! – but (an apparently friendly) neighbour offered the explanation to Plod that the offending fireworks had almost instantly been reported by someone a mile away in Nam Shan, on “Twitter” and “The Sai Kung Dirty Laundry” Facebook page as bonfire night coming early.

Twit

Not surprising, Plod got most of the down-downs, with his innocent co-hare, Jam the Vag, getting only one.

All things considered, a great run for everyone, with an amusing circle, a few beers and sausages sizzling on the barbie. Or should that be bangers and hash? – Dram & 9IC

Run 1718, 28 October 2015, Ping Che

A Tale Of Too Shiggy

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Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t: the Salesman school of haring, of which Liberace is a leading exponent. It goes like this. Put yourself down as hare. Don’t do a recce. A few hours before the run starts, set off into the hills with only the vaguest idea of what you’re going to do. Blag, cheat and short-circuit your way back to the start, employing whatever means you can to swindle your way into the hare book.

We should have guessed something was up when we saw a stressed looking Liberace running along Ping Che Road at 7.15, away from the start at Ng Chow Road South, which, confusingly, is north of Ng Chow Road. After a lot of confusion on the Ng Chow roads everybody found the right pagoda and the hare appeared to give his briefing. “It’s a Liberace run,” he said disarmingly, “so when you see written instructions it’s very important that you follow them.” This sounded ominous. But a Liberace run is nothing if not an adventure, so off the 10-strong pack trotted, south along Ping Che Road. For 1.5 kilometres. The east along Sha Tau Kok Road. For 2 kilometres. What? Interminable road running? Where’s our trademark shiggy?

At last trail went into the side roads to the north and then after another couple of kilometres it started to go up the edge of a massive hole in the hillside. Fixed rope sections led to steel staircases linking scaffolded platforms. Up, up. And away from the construction site or landfill and up another steep hill with a fixed rope and into – shiggy.

It was clear that no trail had existed here prior to this day and there was some exhilarating shiggy bashing as we headed vaguely west along bobbles in the ridge line. And then came the dreaded “instructions”. Go back to the start, they ordained. So we all trudged back through the shiggy (after Penile Dementia had insisted on a few snaps at the trig point) and back down the hill like some demented Dukes of York, and back along all that tarmac to the start. If there was a high point, it was listening to the panicked squealing of Luk Dim Boon, who lost trail in the shiggy on the way back. “Help! I can’t find the trail! I’m lost. It’s just getting denser and denser. It’s above my head. Where is everybody? Help!” Eventually Penile Dementia went to his aid after those of us in earshot had had a good chuckle.

Back at the pagoda Liberace had salvaged a wheelchair from a rubbish tip and was sitting in it, presumably in anticipation of the lashing he was about to receive. His explanation – that he’d spent two hours looking in vain for a way off the ridge, hadn’t brought a torch, and when it started getting dark had no alternative but to retrace his steps – did little to mollify an incandescent GM, who dressed up as a witch for the roasting of the hare. Virgin hasher Jacky looked bemused at the goings-on, and in the general raucousness of the circle was given a name that no 15-year-old should have to take home to his mum, and which we won’t be mentioning on this blog, oh no, never mind the fact that he’s my nephew.

A great evening’s hashing despite the hare’s snafu.

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Golden future
Golden future – I want that one

Run 1717, 21 October 2015, Bride’s Pool Road

The Spirit Of The Briefing

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First-time hare Luk Dim Boon put on a good show with his run at Bride’s Pool Road on a Wednesday afternoon. Being Chung Yeung Festival the Wu Kau Tang area was inundated with day trippers – but trail went where hikers seldom sally. After a couple of kilometres on road we did some inning and outing in Wu Kau Tang village and then headed out on the main track to Sam Ah Chung. A right turn through abandoned paddies led to a wooded section along a stream, which turned south and got steeper and steeper, with trail alongside the stream involving some slightly precarious clambers and sidles. Here there were no hikers, and after skirting what looked like it could be a waterfall in wet weather, trail looped up through the trees and out onto a high rock-jumbled stream, almost certainly the same one as we’d come up. A couple of Xs had most hashers scratching their heads, but trail was found to the right up through trees and bamboo to the Plover Cove ridge, where an obvious right took us back along the ridge and down to Wu Kau Tang. But if we thought it was a simple jaunt along Bride’s Pool Nature Trail back to the start, we were in for a surprise. Trail dropped down to Bride’s Pool itself, went across the top of the waterfall and thence onto a track with some very steep downs before ejecting us onto a path that led to the finish. Red Rump showed how proper fell runners do it by getting back in 75 minutes, way ahead of the rest of the pack. Travis turned up for a stroll with his dad and ended up being out for almost three hours – a heroic effort.

Liberace ran the circle, during which he berated the hare for his briefing, which touched on the historical and cultural significance of Chung Yeung. “You destroy the spirit of the briefing!” was his memorable accusation.

Most went on to the daipaidong under the bridge in Fanling, where Luk Dim Boon got drunk and pissed up on booze and did some head lolling on the table and didn’t reveal he’d forgotten his wallet until the bill arrived. Fine hasher!