Run 1757, 13 July, Ki Lun Shan

A Jaunt Across the Sarf Dahns

Snowdon

What a nightmare! We met at the gap between Ki Lun Shan and Kai Kung Leng in torrid heat and the sort of humidity that makes even the roads slimy. I was fervently hoping we weren’t going up Kai Kung Leng – the ugliest mountain in Hong Kong. No, I didn’t fancy that at all. Give me the charity of Ki Lun, I prayed.

Hare Big Moany set us off with an ominous warning of how the trails were “all gone”. There was the normal start-of-run huffing and puffing as Liberace hared off in illogical drection like a swarming puppy before I found trail on a track leading up to Ki Lun Shan. Hooray! It was a small pack and soon Eunuch, Liberace, Catch Of The Day, Mango Groove, Penile Dementia, G-Spot and yes, even One Eyed Jack passed the labouring Golden Balls and I was last as I reached the shoulder. Darkness I beheld. Silence I heard. I can but follow trail. So I did. For quite a distance.

As I started up the summit ascent I thought to myself, “Haven’t seen trail for a bit. Have I missed something?” So back down I went, to find – a T. Back, back, back to the shoulder, and there it was. A fairly obvious mark leading into the shiggy to the east that I’d missed by squinting into the distance looking for torches. Into the breach and down I went. It was rough, slippery, treacherous. It became even more so as the (well marked) trail contoured around a hillside on what might once have been a path but was now nothing more than wishful thinking. Up a rise. Down a rise. A check!

It seemed to have been scuffed out to the west, so I headed into the woods to find a faint path going downhill. But no markings. So back to the check I went and tried east. Even worse. North didn’t look promising – uphill again – and after a cursory inspection I decided my best option was to go west. At least there was a path of sorts. So after tripping and stumbling my way down this obstacle course I emerged on the banks of the reservoir. Now I knew where I was: across the dam, then the track, then the road out to Kwu Tung market.

Now the only problem with this was that I was already very late for the circle and stuck on the northern foot of Ki Lun Shan with a six-kilometre circuit back to the start. Taxi! Here’s one for hire. Zoom! Bastard. Ah, here’s another. Whoosh! Flange. Here’s another. Roar! Tool. Hmmm … perhaps the fact that I’m soaked in sweat, plastered in mud, caked in forest litter, have blood streaming down my right arm and no doubt stink to high heaven has something to do with them not stopping …

The seventh taxi was driven by a charitable soul who almost immediately regretted letting me in his cab. I could tell this because he wound down his window, letting all the lovely conditioned air escape in the process. But he delivered me safely back to the pack, where I emerged from this splendid chariot to a tirade of abuse. Home!

Thus ended my trials and tribulations on Snowdon, that famous mountain in the South Downs. If you don’t believe me, look at the map.

A good shiggy trail from Big Moany.

The Lost Runs, 1736-1755

I never thought it would take that long. What with moving house, renovating, getting a line in – even a spot of lumberjacking on behalf of our beloved internet provider – it took four months to get properly online. I was told it would be between two weeks and two months. Maybe half a dozen runs’ worth. It’s been 20.

So here, for the record, is a round-up of the lost runs, based on an unreliable memory. Where run reports were sent in they’ve been included. Otherwise all the misinformation is mine alone. Feel free to issue corrections!

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1755 / 29 June / Lam Tsuen

Mango Groove returned from his sojourn in Luton looking all chubby like. “Cuddly, I call it,” he said proudly. “I’ve put on 20 pounds in four months!” First-time NT visitor Just Add Alcohol seemed a little disconcerted as we all proffered our respect to this peerless example of gluttony and sloth. It’s not like this on the Little Sai Wan, she thought, where we’re all lean athletes who run 20km just for fun. What am I doing here, at this dark car park with a bunch of chubbers?

She soon found out as hare Fartypants delivered his usual self-deprecating briefing … crap run … not much shiggy … chalk … might be a small hill … and we were off. After a deceptive loop north of Lam Kam Road we hit the southern barrens where, for a few minutes, I was in front with Just Add Alcohol bouncing along behind me. “Must make an effort to look fit/fast/effortless,” I thought, lengthening my stride, picking up my knees and gliding along the path like Lord Coe in his prime. For 45 seconds, before I collapsed in a breathless heap, helplessly watching Just Add Alcohol’s pert buttocks disappear into the gloom.

We came to the hill. It was the one where you climb the fence at the Camphor Tree and go up through the bamboo and down to Lin Au. I was last. And you know that once you get to Lin Au and start heading for Tai Po it’s just a long concrete slog back to the Wishing Tree. And indeed it was. I kept getting a tantalising glimpse of the phantom Plod ahead, but could never catch him. Because it wasn’t him, he was among the many short cutters. In fact it turned out I was only one of (insert very small number less than three) hashers who did the whole trail, the demon of local knowledge catching most people out as they headed straight home and missed the last village section.

The usual raucous recriminations and punishments followed for another great Wednesday night.

1754 / 22 June / Hok Tau

Bukake’s run from Hok Tau barbecue pits went around the road and up the hill to the campsite, where the front runners milled about until Eunuch and Catch Of The Day arrived, taking the trail behind the toilet block up through shiggy, the same one they’d used for a Free China run in 2015. As the runners ascended, Luk Dim Boon fell off the front and back to the slow contingent of Golden Jelly, Velcro Lips and myself, an ominous development that was to have repercussions.

Finally trail evened out and we took to the good paths above Lau Shui Heung Reservoir. This is predictable, I thought. Steps down to Hok Tau Reservoir for the wimps, trail out to Cloudy Hill then down the road and take the cut through to Hok Tau Reservoir for the rambos. Simple! But no split presented itself, and on and on we went until we reached Cloudy Hill. We must have missed the split and are on the rambos, was the consensus. But no. On descending Cloudy Hill Road for a kilometre, what did we see but a split directing wimps along the cut to Hok Tau and rambos up the appalling Bird Hill. Glutton for punishment Luk Dim Boon took the Bird Hill option – we could see the torches of Eunuch, Liberace and Catch Of The Day high above.

First wimp home was Golden Balls on about 1:30, followed by the rambos, followed by the other wimps, followed by – after 2.5 hours out – Luk Dim Boon, complete with steamed-up glasses. “Ah,” said the hare. “I didn’t realise it was that long. I was only going to set one trail but when I got to Cloudy Hill Road I thought it was a bit short so I took in Bird Hill as well.” A far too fine effort on a hot, muggy, steamy night.

1753 / 15 June / Che Kung Temple

I was late for this one, set by Liberace from the sports ground next to Che Kung Miu, so I sat it out, which was just as well because everybody got lost. What I do remember is a charming couple from Yunnan province boldly asking if they could put their beer on our ice while they had a canoodling session in the adjacent shelter. Velcro Lips tried to flog some NT Hash kit to them – nice try but nothing doing. And that’s about as much as I remember.

1752 / 8 June / Fanling

The hare Salesman was nowhere to be seen as we gathered at the sitting out area opposite Fanling Recreation Ground, so we feared he’d once more hared himself into a dead end, but lo! who knocketh at the wicker gate? For it was he, Salesman, promising a run full of interesting things. Initially trail headed east through the old village, but this was a ploy as we soon found ourselves on the western side of the railway and into squattersville. Steps, narrow paths, short steep sections. I wasn’t feeling too bright so turned back, finding my own route. Gunpowder Plod did the same. Those that did the whole run climbed the hill behind PTU and then possibly came down by a parallel route – or did they? I don’t remember. I doe lo.

Luk Sup Gow made a rare (non-running) appearance, Velcro Lips taunted with her personal supply of Asahi and Salesman surrealed.

1751 / 1 June / Sham Tseng Reservoir

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Another good trail from the veteran Penile Dementia using the beautiful Tai Lam Country Park network of footpaths and roads. Starting from Sham Tseng Service Reservoir Golden Balls was first to find trail out along the catchment road above Tsing Lung Tau, and the first to be fooled into a falsie leading up a steep climb to a T. Back down to the catchment road and a fairly predictable turn right after a kilometre on the steps leading up to Yuen Tun. Here, Eunuch and Sole Man checked right across the field while GB went left. On hearing the on-on called off to the right, GB started across the field only to startle a herd of cows, who then made a mad canter for the other side with the petrified GB at their head. Undeterred by his desperate bovine escapade, GB then found trail across a bridge to a path tracking north of the field to a check. While the rest of the leaders, including Liberace, Eunuch, Sole Man and Serbian Bomber, checked uphill, GB carried on and picked up trail, having avoided a little upland loop. This put him way out in front and he again second-guessed the run to take the correct path at a four-way junction, heading north to the country park service road. Where he met shortcutter extraordinaire One Eyed Jack, wraithlike, in front of him. Carrying on up the road with the scent of victory in his nostrils GB completely missed the turn onto a footpath, but OEJ silently sniffed it out and resumed his shadowy lead. By this time the chasing group, now including Catch Of The Day, had made up the arrears and took off down a set of steps and on to the trail that leads to the final ascent of the Sham Tseng Mountain Marathon. Up to the top and then the canter down towards the reservoir, over the bridge and home! A fine outing. The hare even provided a cooling stream to soak in.

1750 / 25 May / Ha Hang

Stingray roped in his mate Crash, who had done a few runs with us a couple of years ago, to co-hare this run from Stingray Mansions. Crash, looking lean and much younger than his 62 years, also swept the run and popped up here and there being generally helpful. There was road, then there was shiggy, then a fence-side navigation with dangling razor wire, then some village stuff, a bit of this, a bit of that, it all went by in a blur until suddenly there was Stingray Mansions again, where a rooftop curry awaited and Crash gave a dry paddling demonstration to the dragon boaters present.

1749 / 18 May / Lower Shing Mun Reservoir

A Eunuch special from the reservoir dam, where drone nerds were playing with their toys. The run went down the road heading east at the northern end of the dam and after about a kilometre took an unpromising set of rough steps up into shiggy. The ascent that followed split the pack into two groups: a front trio of Bukake, Liberace and Catch Of The Day, and a back four of Gunpowder Plod, Serbian Bomber, One Eyed Jack and Golden Balls. It was a rough, steep ascent that led to a ridge with good runnable trails. Liberace and Catch Of The Day persistently took the wrong way at checks while Bukake solved them all and escaped. At the same time Golden Balls donned seven league boots and by the time the exhilarating descent was reached the unlikely spectacle of the Reels brothers leading the charge was presented to…well, nobody. As we crossed the stream at the bottom of the descent Liberace and Catch Of The day caught up before we were spewed out onto the reservoir service road and the rambo-wimp split. The hare had said the rambos would only add an extra 10 minutes to the run so as my torch was fading I took the wimp option, which simply followed the road back to the dam. Rambos did a short loop on forest trail before rejoining the service road and the wimp trail home. A fine run in an area unhashed for many years.

1748 / 11 May / Tai Mo Shan

Dram’s run from the car park at Tsuen Kam Au went down through forest paths to Route Twisk above Chuen Lung then crossed the road to the western side before snaking up into forest again. It was a pleasant trail until a suspect bit of marking just below the ridge road flummoxed several runners, including Serbian Bomber and myself, who crossed the helicopter landing pad and took the path through the trees back to Route Twisk. Somewhere along here we encountered a wayward Eunuch also looking for trail, while others could be heard bellowing on the country park road below. I do remember a friend of Luk Dim Boon’s joining us for the run in his jeans, but not much else. As always, a good run from a distinguished hasher.

1747 / 4 May / Kowloon Reservoir

Capitalising on the debris of Saturday, I used the bits of trail I’d sniffed out to set this run. It was sole Man’s on out and he turned up to the pagoda next to the reservoir bearing all sorts of ginsengy gifts: drinks, powders, chewy things that tasted of wood and goodness. His Korea buddy Stunt Double turned up with Hoover to see him off. Hoover didn’t run but stayed with me to fend off the gang of macaques that was threatening our goodies. One of them swiped my beer while I wasn’t looking and had downed it before  I could react. I gave him half a bag of flour to eat and that soon dampened his ardour.

The run went out along an undulating path, then around Saturday’s reservoir and up into the hills on virgin trail until it emerged on the Kam Shan ridge, then a nice run down and round yet another reservoir before a 200-metre run-in along the road, the only hardtop of the entire course. I’ve no idea what happened on the run as I didn’t do it, but the evening ended with Sole Man being sung a nice little song to help him on his way.

1746 / 30 April / Mei Foo

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A Saturday run from Catch Of The Day that went from a park in Mei Foo up into the hills of Kam Shan notable for not a single person managing to complete the set run. A rambling approach through villages and abandoned squatter huts led to the first snafu where it appears most of the pack crossed over to the in trail and went out along it for a bit, short-circuiting the run. We crossed a covered reservoir memorable for the sight of Liberace, head down, motoring for the big locked gate despite the fact that everybody else could see the front runners following flour through a hole in the fence 50 metres from the gate. Liberace, on reaching the gate and seeing no way through, gave his customary “Are you??!!” yelp at the others already motoring away on clearly marked trail on the other side of the gate.

We reached the reservoir pretty much together but were unable to find trail. I was confident trail would be found on the shady path that skirts the pond, but after one kilometre I was forced to admit I was wrong. Being at the far end of the lake I simply decided to circumnavigate it. Then I decided to second-guess the trail as I suspected it had gone up into the hills at the point where I went wrong. So up into the hills I went. And went. And went, until I was forced to admit I was wrong. No sight or sound of hasher or trail, but some interesting bits that came in handy for Run 1747. Finally, on descending from Kam Shan, I found an unbroken check. Aha! I’m ahead of the pack, thinks I, and carried on down, finding trail. More unbroken checks followed until the arrows started. In the wrong direction. So I simply ran back to the start to find everybody else had been back for ages, having gone wrong at the reservoir, and the hare was oh so disappointed that nobody had done her shiggy.

Interestingly, an unopened bottle of single malt that Crash Test Dummy had brought along for his single malt society meeting that evening was only two-thirds full and the hare was, shall we say, somewhat tipsy.

1745 / 27 April / Sai Sha Road

A Gunpowder Plod special at Three Fathoms Cove. Trail started from barbecue pits along Sai Sha Road, immediately crossed the road and went up the steps to a checkback. Being last up the steps, I was first to head down again and thus first to the inviting-looking trail going off to the right. Aha, thinks I, I’ve done this on the Free China. It leads up to some good trails. Spot on. One Eyed Jack was clearly of the same mind as me and followed me up some greasy rocks, while all the other suckers carried on all the way down the steps back to the road. Where they found trail.

Once again sequestered from the pack and with little hope of getting back to it bar a clever ploy, I plodded on, up through the park with the funny stone tower where I passed Velcro Lips and on through low scrub where the trail twinkled in and out, until the two of us found our way to a fence and then a road, where I took off. Soon I realised I’d gone the wrong way and took a different way, where I passed Velcro Lips. Trail went down to where the MacLehose Trail crosses Sai Sha Road, and an ambiguously placed blob of flour saw me heading backwards on Stage 3. After 300 metres I gave up, went back and found chalk arrows on the road to Yung Shue O, where I passed Velcro Lips. The road swung round into a village area, where after a bit the rambo/wimp split was. I took the rambo and followed a flat concrete path for about another kilometre when I saw the Liberace-led pack heading back towards me. “Go back” or something gabbled the GM as he went past me, and who am I to disobey an order? So back I went, following Liberace, Eunuch, Catch Of The Day et al back to the split – where I met One Eyed Jack again – and on up the path (where I passed Velcro Lips) back to the finish.

I seem to recall food of some kind being produced at the barbecue pits but I’m probably mistaken. What I’m not mistaken about was the protracted, slightly worrisome, absence of Bukake, who should have been ahead of me. Probably found an interesting dragonfly, we joshed. Then just as the hare was abdicating responsibility for going out to find him, he appeared, muddied but grinning. You see, the rambos had simply done a magnifying-glass-shaped trail from the split, but Bukake had become detached from the pack, missed the turn back to the wimps, and spent an hour blundering around in the muddy fields looking for the way out. Heh.

1744 / 20 April / Ping Che

Cast your mind back to Run 1718 in October last year. That was the one where Liberace disdained to recce, haughtily believing that he could find a trail through anything. What we actually got was a long, road-addled out-and-back that met its nemesis in the shiggy above the Ta Kwu Ling Landfill, with the added embarassment of Luk Dim Boon getting lost in the trackless thicket. Obviously it had been preying on the hare’s mind.

So back we went to the same pagoda at Ng Chow Road South for The Liberace Run Mk II – and this time it had been properly spied out. An interesting run through the Ping Che hinterlands led to a hillside where the path became intermittent, and then imagined. But trail was well marked, taking us through lots of poison oak and rubbly scrambles to a fence, then paralleling the fence until a nice top with pleasant running was reached. A steep descent with a fixed rope looked familiar. And then – the Ta Kwu Ling Landfill. Yes, the hare had cracked it from the other side.

Even the run in was interesting, avoiding the awful stretch on Sha Tau Kok Road by taking village and nullah paths, although the final kilometre up Ping Che Road was tiresome. Nevertheless, a good effort. Redemption!

1743 / 13 April / Lo Wu

Prolific hare Catch Of The Day more than made up for her Ki Lun run with this trail in the until-recently closed Lo Wu-Man Kam To border zone. And she promised a chest-high stream crossing. Starting from a park at the junction of Man Kam To Road and Lo Wu Station Road, trail headed west towards Lo Wu and then north after 300m, leading to a cemetery area whose multitudinous options bamboozled the pack for quite some time. Eventually latecomer G Spot found trail following a path of sorts uphill, but this rapidly degenerated into brambles and thickets and – lo and behold – trail led down again, to the other side of the low spur just vanquished. Trail then followed a contoured footpath below graves to another juncture with half a dozen options. For some reason the hare had marked this part of the run with red ribbons (on on being two red ribbons), and I was fooled, along with Eunuch and Serbian Bomber, into climbing the steps almost to the ridge due to the presence of a couple of shreds of red ribbon lying on the ground. The steps ended in a mass of bracken with no visible line through, so back down we went, the pack running back and forth along the contour path like metronomic morons, until somebody found trail leading up the side of a grassy grave slope. And so to the ridge – Sandy Ridge – and the rambo-wimp split.

Having lost touch with the pack by totally missing the cut up to the split, I opted for the wimps, a fine ridge leading west towards Lo Wu. Behind me, One Eyed Jack ploughed grimly on, but I had no trouble keeping him at bay and gradually pulled away. Until we reached the dozen or so long flights of near-vertical steps that took us down a huge shotcrete face, where I minced and nambied as vertigo set in. To be fair to One Eyed Jack, he hung around until my death fall was only about 100 feet, then took off into the black. When I reached the bottom I was at the western end of Lo Wu Station Road, although I didn’t know that. Through the barrier gate. Can I catch OEJ? Ooo look, flour heading down into fields. I followed this into an extensive grassy/shrubby/wooded area complete with a population of feral cows. For some reason I kept going, even though I saw no trail, probably thinking eeee this is nice, and eventually turning back after maybe a kilometre.

Down Low Wu Station Road to the finish, catching Stingray, the last of the rambohicans. They had gone east at the split along the ridge, then north down almost to the border, along a bit and back up to the ridge to rejoin the wimps. Apparently nobody had done the chest-high stream crossing, which was down in the grassy area near the finish. It turned out I was the only one to spot trail leading down there (but had gone off trail), or perhaps the only one stupid enough to actually try to follow it. Stingray and I were last back, the hare broke out a couple of bottles of champagne, some down-downs came and went, and – good run, mam!

1742 / 6 April / Lo Wai

New hasher Sole Man was keen to set a run and I offered to help him. He chose Lo Wai for the start and I met him at the Fanling station minibus terminal. “Have you done a recce?” I asked. Yes, 10 minutes. The trail looks fine.” My foreboding only increased when I asked how much flour he’d brought. “Two bags,” came the bright reply. “Will I need more?” On learning that I normally take a minimum of six bags, he sprinted off to the supermarket.

So off we set, past Tang Chung Ling ancestral hall and up the hill. And into the shiggy. And into a hopeless dead end. An hour passed. Finally we got onto a viable pylon trail and pressed up to the saddle of Bird Hill from the north, then took the easterly direction along the very rugged ridge. Not runnable at all. Lay more trail, I kept exhorting. Hashers get confused easily at night. Or any time really. Down the rocky defile to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir, then down the road back to Lo Wai via some nice ponds.

Just four runners turned up: Liberace, Eunuch, Penile Dementia and One Eyed Jack,a bit of a shame for a virgin hare. Or maybe not, as the normally mild-mannered Penile Dementia came back after two hours shaking his sticks and declaring it to be a “f*cking c*nt of a run!” – behaviour we normally associate with gay hashes. Still, the others enjoyed themselves. I think. Kudos to Sole Man. Um.

1741 / 30 March / Kowloon Reservoir

Penile Dementia’s first run for the Northern was a fine trail run around the slopes of Beacon Hill and Eagle’s Nest. Starting from Kowloon Reservoir, trail crossed the road and went immediately into the shiggy with a climb – sometimes on fixed rope – up to Eagle’s Nest nature trail. Liberace, Catch Of The Day, Sole Man, Eunuch and Gaelle Says No took off on the easy flattish trail and soon were out of sight. Dram, One Eyed Jack , Serbian Bomber (?) and Golden Jelly soon were out of earshot and torchsight behind me, leaving me to plod on alone, until a most bizarre thing happened.

Seeing a headlamp approaching from the front, I assumed it was a hasher returning from a checkback. “Are you?” I dutifully shouted, but got no response. Being dazzled by the headlamp’s beam, I could only see its owner as he passed me, and realised it was not a hasher. “Did you pass any runners?” I enquired. “Do you mean those people shouting ‘Help!’?” he replied in a thick Scandinavian accent. Apparently “trail” sounds like “help” to the Swedish. Or perhaps it was Liberace calling…

The wimps did a simple circuit of Eagle’s Nest while the rambos went on a shiggy loop up the face of Beacon Hill, emerging near the top on the road, and thus back down to rejoin the Eagle’s Nest loop, with Gaelle Says No showing a clean pair of heels to the pack. Back at the finish, the hare broke out a bottle of the finest Johnnie Walker.

1740 / 23 March / Lam Tsuen

Like Lambs…

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For those of a nervous disposition, you should know that we gamboled across the hillside like lambs in spring. Then we drank German down-down beer in the circle and enjoyed delicious chili con carne and baked potatoes at Dingaling’s house, prepared by Overdue. See, nothing to worry about. We all had fun. You should come too.

There. That’s the run report done. You can stop reading now. Stop! Read no more! Oy!



 

Those who were there cannot dispute the basic facts in the above narrative. There was hillside. There was German beer. There was (very good) food.

And yet, a few key elements seem to be missing. In no particular order, these are:

  • Mud, mud, glorious mud. And, the hare’s insane choices in route and markings;
  • When the going gets tough, Velcro Lips likes to run in borrowed shoes;
  • Liberace finally got his due reward for the chivalrous courtesy and care he has been exhibiting over the past few weeks;
  • The GM is not the only gay in the village;
  • German beer might start off its life being good, but you should check the sell-by date.

It’s hard to know where to start, to describe the sheer horror of the occasion. Should I develop it by theme, or, should I progress in chronological order?

As we assembled in the drizzle for the pre-run briefing, Hare, DingaLing told us that there was one trail for everybody; no wimps or rambos. Quite a short run which we should complete in one hour. And so, like lambs to the bloody slaughter, we set off.

From Dingaling’s abode, the trail looped south, across the road, across the river, and up into the forested hillside, off the path. As we splashed through unavoidable puddles, Velcro Lips) expressed her joy at wearing borrowed shoes. “It doesn’t matter if they get wet and muddy!” she crowed. That was the last I saw of her or Golden Balls, Stingray, Dram and One Eyed Jack until after the run. They wimped out of going up the hill.

Days and days of incessant drizzle, only interrupted by the occasional heavy downpour, had left enough mud on the steep hillsides for a hippopotamus to wallow. Except that of course, a hippopotamus’ weight would cause it to slide on the mud, down the hillside, unable to find its footing, unable to even stand and remain in place. And just the the same happened to all the hashers (except for the wimps).

Everybody attempting the full trail was reduced to crawling upwards on their hands, knees and elbows. Eunuch, Catch Of The Day, Liberace, the ever-lonely Sole Man, myself and one other… desperately grasping up the slope at any root or tree or hashers leg in an attempt to find some leverage to climb up the 60 degree slope and get out of the mud. What was the hare thinking of going up such a slope after so many days of rain?

The slightest hesitation and you would slide, face-planted-in-the-mud, back down the hill.

It was at this moment that Liberace got his reward and gratification: After several weeks of his making sure that Catch of the Day was safe on the run, on hands and knees in doggy position, she slid backwards and sat on his face. A moment that Liberace took great relish in recounting in circle, as he awarded a down down.

The early stages of the run were marked in blobs of shredded top secret documents to mark trail, and more shredded paper laid in circles for the checks (one of Ding-A-Ling’s trail marking eccentricities that we are all used to). But as we climbed higher up through the mud, the markings swapped to torn strips of highly-absorbent newspaper laid on the mud. Did I mention that newspaper is highly absorbent, and that there was a lot of mud? Soon the newspaper absorbs the mud and is hard to distinguish from the mud. Especially when one’s spectacles have been misted by the ongoing drizzle and one’s hands are too muddy to wipe one’s spectacles clean. This was not helped by the markings being trampled further into the mud by the FRBs. Again, what was the hare thinking of? What lunacy induced him to think that newspaper would be a suitable marking in the dark, in the rain, in mud?

Fortunately, I had assistance. In a break with tradition, I was not wending my way up the hill in utter solitude. There was actually a slower hasher heading up the hill than me, Screwless. Deeply ashamed of his lack of speed, Screwless gave me an alias when I asked him his hash name. “Roger the Lodger”, he told me. I didn’t uncover this lie until the circle. But I shall forgive him for this transgression since he managed to find trail several times when he caught up as I was peering into forest, looking for trail, lost in the electric mist with the dead ghosts of the war of 1899 (or was it merely the drizzle on my lenses).

Coming down the hill was just as tricky as going up. As I sledged down on my hands, feet and bum, I sped out of control, driving a tidal wave of mud before me. Once again, visions of hippopotami danced before my eyes.

Finally, after almost two hours, Roger the Lodger and I found our way back to Dingaling’s home, just in time for the GM to conduct the circle.

mudslide

It is at this point that I should explain our discovery that the GM is not The Only Gay In The Village. Several other hashers have now been outed.

Before the run I caught a lift from Eunuch. Normally he gives me a lift from Fanling to the run, but this day, with the run starting in Lam Tsuen, this was not convenient for him. So Eunuch collected me earlier and took me to his house to meet his three wives. Now, with so many women needing his attention, you would think you could safely assume that Eunuch was, in fact, straight. But no. After leaving his house he stopped at the Park ‘n’ Shop to buy water. Perrier with Lemon. Can you believe it?

More shocking revelations followed, as the evening flowed on.

Before the run, as GM Liberace sashayed past, Stingray hungrily announced to me, “Now that’s an enticing view.” Then, after the run, Liberace swaggered topless out of the shower, and posed before an admiring One Eyed Jack. Realising that he was being observed by other hashers, the quick-thinking OEJ called out “Put a shirt on!” But it was too late. The damage to his reputation was done, confirming what we all suspected of Kowloon hashers.

From now on when I am at the hash, I shall clench my buttocks tightly and be on the look-out for unwanted intrusions from the rear.

As for the circle, in recent weeks, despite frequent remonstrations (and the repeated award of down-downs) to Golden Balls he has utterly failed to exercise any discipline over the hash beer. For this reason, while Eunuch was soliciting for Perrier, I took the initiative of buying some nice German beer to ensure that this week we could be certain that we had something for down downs.

This was Rot Haus (Red House), the favourite beer of the Schaffhausen Hash House Harriers I founded during my stay in Switzerland. I used to buy crates of this stuff direct from the brewery, just over the border in the Black Forest, and usually had 3-4 crates stashed in my flat. Can’t go wrong, I thought. Everyone is going to love this. $22 a bottle. Decent stuff.

Ha ha bloody ha!

The hare took his medicine without murmur; a down down for setting a flat-and-dry-as-savannah, shiggy-free run. But Golden Balls soon received his first down down and took the opportunity to complain. His confidence bolstered by the unexpected attendance of (non-runner) Golden Jelly, our shy and elusive hash beer, he loudly asked, “What is this shite?” To me, it seemed that he had forgotten once getting so drunk on it that he fell asleep in a castle hall in Schaffhausen and stayed sound asleep while a couple (also drunk) enjoyed noisy sex next to him (it woke everybody else up).

Then, it was my turn to receive a down down, and I was appalled to discover that Golden Balls was right. There was something wrong with the beer. I forgot this was purchased in Park ‘n’ Shop. Perhaps I should have checked the sell-by date? Only D Ram enjoyed the beer.

On my way home, I was lucky enough to get a seat on the train but I kept wondering why everybody on the train was shuffling away from me, even to the extent of giving up seats next to me to stand elsewhere. When I got home, Nasty Itch also ran away screaming when I tried to get a kiss.

I discovered why when I saw myself in the mirror at home, face plastered with mud. Later, in the bath, debriding my wounds, painfully scrubbing dried mud out of the cuts inflicted as I crawled over roots and thorns, I asked myself, “Why do I do this?”

The answer is obvious. How else could I have so much fun?

OnOn – Serbian Spammer Bomber Baron Diver von Mooseheime

1739 / 16 March / Tai Po

Don’t remember. Was I there? Volunteer to write up?

1738 / 9 March / Ki Lun Tsuen

Catch Of The Day promised Kirin beer at Ki-Run village, but Golden Jelly had other ideas and brought the usual suspects: Tsingtao, Carlsberg. This so confused the simple hashers that the Kirin was packed away for a rainy day.

The start was at a nondescript junction along the road that runs behind Ki Lun Shan, or Snowdon as it was known in days of yore, rising majestically from the South Downs…

Snowdon

…and so we could have been forgiven for thinking the hare was sending us up there, or, even worse, into the barrens of Kai Kung Leng. The first check took 10 minutes to solve, and led into the maze of yards, dogs and dead ends that comprise this ruined dog-end of the NT.

Not a typical COTD run at all, although she did manage to insert a rather nice bit of shiggy (again after a 10-minute check). But it was most memorable for expert short-cutter One Eyed Jack arrogantly striding into the west with a know-it-all snort of contempt as the rest of us went east and found trail home – unlike OEJ, who engineered an extra 2km for himself. Heh.

1737 / 2 March / Ping Che

A One Eyed Jack special out towards Ta Kwu Ling. I brought my guests along, ornithologists Jeremy and Karen from Melbourne, convincing them that a pleasant night stroll on the wimp trail around the Ping Che lowlands would be a nice mild bit of exercise – and they might even spot a few ornies. I had reckoned without Karen’s abject sense of balance, for going down a slight incline next to a grave near the start she clutched onto Jeremy for support and they both went down in a heap. Result: a broken wrist for Karen and a hip injury for Jeremy. I doubt we’ll see them again.

The trail was varied and featured a couple of small climbs breaking up the rural paths, fields and ponds, and kept the pack together for much of the run, with Eunuch, Liberace, Sole Man, Catch Of The Day and me eventually drawing away from Serbian Bomber and Stingray, while Dram and Golden Jelly escorted Jeremy and Karen around the wimp trail after their comical crash. At this point we didn’t know the stoic Karen was sporting a broken wrist.

COTD peeled off at one point to where she’d parked her car. This is her back yard, after all. Then I lost contact with the proper runners but regained it when Eunuch second-guessed a falsie. I met him coming back along the track while the others galloped on into the night, so for another five minutes I was in second place. By the time the pack had caught me up we were at the finish more or less together, the mark of a well thought out trail.

1736 / 24 February / Tsuen Wan

Beer is the cause and solution to all of life’s problems (Homer Simpson)

ufo light

Twin tractor beams pulled your less-spotted scribe this evening:

i) the promise of a signature eclectic Serbian blah-blah Bomber run;

ii) the ‘delightfully urban’ allure of the location – Tsuen Wan West Ferry Pier.

Parking, as usual, was on the rant menu. Being Tsuen Wan, involving lots of city blocks, traffic lights and tunnels, it was a challenge for the country set, who either ditched the cars, or parked one MTR stop away at Kam Sheung Road. The city dwellers parked right close to the start, however, though Velcro, having dropped off the beer, was not told of the nearby parking but instead thoughtfully ushered to another convenient spot several blocks away. Why? To create a window of opportunity for this week’s beer thief, of course, as any fule no.

The assembled crew of 10 arrived in dribs and drabs, spreading themselves messily over the public sitting area’s one bench and table, in the winter woollies and polar gear. I thought U2’s The Edge was sitting there, but it turned out to be Golden Balls, with his burnt PVC smelling, turkey-burger, poo-dyed, “leather-effect” jacket and black wool commando hat. We all talked random, meaningless, forgettable bullshit for a while, then nearly all rounded viciously like a pack of hyenas, ripping away at Golden Balls jacket, with William Hill taking odds on genuine leather at 1-1736.

Who was there? I made it 10: Serbian Bomber von Mooseshit, Liberace, Eunuch, Golden Balls, One Eyed Jack, Seoul Boy, Catch Of The Day, Velcro Lips, Salesman. Who was not there who should be? The reviled G-Spot (eventual latecomer), Penile Dementia, Moonie and co,. Gaelle Says No, Tooth-Hurtee, Stunt Double and Hoover, who live within walking distance from the start, and Mango Groove, who has a three-month hall pass to perve in academia. Nottingham in fact, which has a 3:1 pussy:cock ratio. Coincidence think I, not.

SB gave the briefing – something about chalk, flour and no paper and an ominous warning to stay strictly “on the main path to get through the squatter village”. “No shiggy,” said he; “bullshit,” thought we. Off we went, briefly through the “Riviera Park”, with a nice little check or two getting us on to the streets. Then some steps, wooded embankments, the sound of rushing water, through the bushes around and above a police van that suddenly pulled up, then roads, concrete and…oh yes..into some kind of civic, steppy park. Eunuch and Salesman were engrossed in existential conversation so ran straight on losing the pack who had taken trail up the hill. Never mind, they said, the path is bound to intersect. After 10 minutes puffing up the steps, they erupted onto the main road, declaring with utter confidence that they must either be well behind or well in front.

After skipping hand in hand across the bridge back from Tsing Yi Island to Tsuen Wan, it had become apparent that we had in fact just visited Tsing Yi. It was nice crossing the bridge at night, cool breeze in our hair, pondering the black water stretching forth below, and gazing upon the sky and its countless, twinkling windows into the densely packed high-rise ant farms. This creation. Our reality. Just think…it stands to reason and can be proven by statistical analysis…with so many windows in the sky, behind even just a few of them there was bound to be hanky-panky going on. Does that thought make looking at bland, faceless tower blocks a little more fun? That window there…just imagine….maybe a newly-wed pretty shop girl, Ah-Ying, is right now being caressed and pumped to such erotic, curtain-clawing highs by slim, bespectacled, softly-spoken mummy’s boy, Raymond from IT (pronounced “Ah-Waiman-ah”), who otherwise meekly buses to and from work day with his phone, ear-buds, and man-bag; the contents of which consist only of an apple, a real apple and a hardcore manga comic. But I digress…depositphotos_13232727-Diffuse-silhouette-of-a-coupleBeing the crazy guy that the hare is, at least some of us were expecting a bloody great hill or dunking in cold water. You had to check every junction for a sneaky arrow, but it was mainly urban – concrete and steps and a smidgen of mud. Yet, refreshingly and nicely so, and well executed. Such is the eclecticism of our ex-military Serbian Bomber, to garner such compliment for a good run camouflaged as a shit one.

Eunuch and Salesman were surprisingly first back, even though they claim to have taken it very easy. That means that the pack took wrong turns. No other runners came in on the right trail. Everybody had short-cut at some stage, or gone wrong, wiping out a slate of down-downs.

Before the circle began begun beginned, Major Serbian Bummer demonstrated his “barely legal” torch, delivered in a brown package from the USA after ordering from the dark web. Not understanding or caring for the significance of 1 billion lumens, an excitable SB said, “OK, see that plane there….watch this……Splash 1!”. Kinell! He then proceeded to core out Salesman’s eye using the secet eye corer device attached.

On to the circle. Some down-downs came, but eventually they went away.

Then came a mighty wailing that the hash cash was short, and who drunk or nicked 30 of the 42 cans of beer then? The hashbeergate conspiracy plot thickens…. – Salesman

homer-simpson-beer-shower