Bangers & Hash
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.
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