A Short Run
There’s something about January 1841, isn’t there? Oh yes. Hong Kong was declared a sovereign territory of Britain. Whether or not Liberace had this in mind when he set his “short” run from the Tsuen Wan West pier (a run that had been done twice in recent weeks by other hashes, with Vibrator a hare) is unknown, but if exacting revenge was on his agenda he succeeded admirably.
“Short run, chalk and paper, no flour, don’t follow other markings, only mine,” he announced to the small pack shivering in sub-10 temperatures with wind chill to boot. So off we set west along the waterfront amid the multitude of joggers and strollers. Suddenly, about 400m from the start, there was Creme Brulee marching determinedly towards us carrying a large pot and muttering in a strangely gallic manner about being unable to find the start. Then there was a check in front of the industrial area. I was lagging behind with Vibrator and everybody had gone by the time we got there. After checking in vain to the north I returned to the check to find that Vibrator had also vanished – I didn’t know he had set the same run a few days earlier, and in fact he was the only one apart from Eunuch to do the whole trail. I continued milling around and then, near the Tesla showroom, I found an “on home”. So I decided to follow trail backwards. This is much harder than following it forwards as, naturally, hares are not expecting harriers to approach markings from the opposite direction. After numerous sidetracks and dead ends I eventually found myself at Allway Garden, where trail led backwards through the unlocked gate to the labyrinth of staircases on the hillside. Here I encountered One Eyed Jack on his expected short cut, who said he knew where the trail went but was doing his own thing. He then proceeded to describe the trail he hadn’t done, which I later found to be accurate. Hmm. So up the steps it as to the catchwater road, turning left and passing such strange inscriptions as “OEJ woz ere” on the road. It wasn’t long before Eunuch came bouncing gaily towards me. We exchanged a couple of insults and carried on our merry ways.
Now the trail had actually continued west along the waterfront from the industrial area, then cut through the residential and over the highway on a footbridge before going up to the catchwater. This in itself would have constituted a fairly standard one-hour-plus run back to the start (not “short”), but Liberace had decided to take everybody up Ha Fa Shan as well, in case the run was too short. Where trail descended to the catchwater was where I now found myself. But I spied a staircase leading down and decided rather magnanimously not to delay the circle by doing the whole run, but to cut down the steps and sniff my way home. After some descending I’d somehow sniffed my way back to my out trail – the actual in trail – when I sensed a familiar bouncing behind me, followed by a stream of imprecations. Yes, it was Eunuch.
When I got back – in 1:30 – only Eunuch and One Eyed Jack had returned. But there were several others in attendance: Mango Groove (I feel a bit iffy), Velcro Lips (I couldn’t be arsed) and Creme Brulee (I couldn’t find the start), as well as the hare, who kept looking at his watch and peering anxiously along the waterfront. All of a sudden Stingray arrived from the wrong direction , followed over the next few minutes by Radio 1, Serbian Bomber and Golden Jelly. Finally Vibrator fronted up, this time from the right way.
It turned out that Creme Brulee’s pot contained some delicious mulled wine, and that Velcro Lips had brought a lovely chicken curry, and two burners were running, a most welcome spread on a cold evening. Just as we were winding down the circle a mad Italian turned up. We gave him a beer and fobbed him off with Serbian Bomber.
Runners: Eunuch, One Eyed Jack, Golden Balls, Stingray, Radio 1, Serbian Bomber, Golden Jelly, Vibrator
Non-runners: Mango Groove, Velcro Lips, Creme Brulee