Run 1847, 14 February, Ma Wo

Le Massacre de Tai Po

I was delighted to be able to finally make a run, so I plundered from the fridge some special French cheese and pepperoni I had been saving for weeks, and set off for the familiar shelter at the top of Ma Wo Road, Tai Po.

A small pack assembled and the GM launched into a history lesson. Today was St Valentines’s Day, and we learned that the French were far better at covering up February 14 massacres (900 killed in 1349) than the yanks (a mere 7 killed in 1929). The GM then said that we could expect severe, scary shiggy and blood and that there were no short cuts, and promptly packed us off down the hill. 

Le Paque, such as it was, quickly lost Velcro Lips, never to be seen again. Apparently she ran into a late-arriving “Some of us have work to do!” Golden Balls so they returned to the shelter to drink all of the Tsing Tao and eat all of the crisps. 

In the meantime, Le Paque encountered the first of the numerous checks and carried on down the road to another. Here, BJ checked right and found a well concealed path and then I found trail leading up some small steps up to a path running beneath the highway. Le Paque eventually caught BJ, climbed a barrier and found trail leading through the usual tunnel under the highway. 

Another check had us finally starting to climb up through the woods to a multi-check which held us up for a while. BJ was then seen hurtling back down one of the path options, ski poles whirling, yelling “No No! Wild dogs!!” An angry yapping Pekingese-Dachsund cross then appeared behind him only to retreat at the site of Dingaling-in-Tights. (The “No No” was later assumed to be the in-trail but it was in fact the GM’s canine ambush warning.) 

Another path led to a check-back and Dingaling then went off on the first of his many futile Liberace style jaunts into the undergrowth, while the ladies found trail going through the threatened “scary shiggy”; a barely visible path concealed by roots, creepers, rattan and all manner of “merde a toutes les rosbifs” traps. 

We struggled gamely uphill through this jungle nightmare, in which I was accused of plaintively calling “Don’t leave me!” every few yards and BJ launched into his continuous diatribe of “fuck the French!”. Le Entente Cordial was forgotten and I was only keeping up my flagging spirits with visions of the GM choking on my cheese. 

But the numerous checks kept us together with Dingaling only once finding the correct way through. Somewhere in the midst of all this we came across the Haunted House. An abandoned, collapsing former weekend love-nest with a flickering light to be seen within. What was this? An opium divan? A coven of retired Tai Po mamasans? The site of an atrocity where something ended in a smear of blood? Mango and Eunuch sharing a fag and a can of Skol? 

Puzzled, we moved swiftly on only a short while later to discover the scene of a recent massacre. No bodies to be seen, but blood everywhere; on the walls of another dilapidated shack, on the path and in the undergrowth. And HELP daubed in blood, and SCARE in chalk on a tree. WTF?? 

On we went through the shiggy, expecting to stumble into Tai Po hillbilly gin traps and be buggered at any moment, until we made a final scramble up a bank to the Wilson Trail road where I was grateful for a two handed buttock heave up from behind by Radio One and the offer of a pull from Golden Jelly, which I diplomatically declined having cacked my kegs.

With BJ and Dingaling now nowhere to be seen, Radio One steamed off in pursuit leaving Golden Jelly and myself to bring up the rear. From the road up we finally started down some steps and then a steep but open path, some more shiggy, a scramble along a fence and finally onto a disused stone path. 

Despite it being a modern one and not an ancient boulder road, Dingaling later asked me if it had given me an erection? I explained that yes, it had, and this was what I had tripped over, grabbing a newly planted fruit tree to save myself, only to uproot the tree (which refused to be replanted), before managing to escape the scene of the crime.

After this, we re-emerged onto the out trail to retrace our steps to the shelter. Golden Jelly was last back and dubbed Lanterne Rouge; she looked suitably nonplussed, perhaps wondering if her evening was about to take an unexpected turn to romance – but with whom? 

The group then attacked my cheese (which I thought smelled like a rotting medieval French massacre victim and was about to throw to the pigs) and tucked into a collection of the cheapest and worst lagers on offer in Hong Kong (apparently supplied by the absent Eunuch). 

The Circle was lively and entertaining and all agreed that it was a damn fine effort for a first trail, especially for a frog, with plenty of checks to keep us together, a cunning route and a good mix of Fuck Le BREXIT shiggy and runnable trails. Bravo! – Gunpowder Plod

Le Hare: Creme Brulee, Grande Maitre

Le Paque: BJ, Golden Jelly, Gunpowder Plod, Dingaling, Radio One

La Marcher: Velcro Lips

Les Couldn’t-be-Arsed: Electrolux, Golden Balls 

Run 1844, 31 January, Tai Shui Hang

Beyond the Fridge

Hauling-a-boat-over-ice-The-Ernest-Shackleton-Exhibition-at-Manchester-Central-Library
Velcro sends them out

Velcro Lips was in a pickle. The trail she’d laid at the weekend had been wiped out by three days of rain. And not just any rain. English rain. Cold, miserable, despicable English rain. Now she had to go out and set the run anew in a cold snap that had the high tops of Hong Kong recording sub-zero temperatures. And the waterfront start was bitter with a cold wind coming off the Tolo Channel. So she moved the start to the protection of the local housing estate, where visitor Bob from Australia got more than he’d bargained for in his break from the Sydney heat and decided it was too cold to run.

So the run had been re-set and the small pack set of in, well, small packs. Latecomers Golden Balls and Back To The Future were given short-cut instructions by the hare and were first into the shiggy as the pack messed around in Tai Shui Hang village. The shiggy trail contoured above Ma On Shan then dropped down towards the coast, where the hare had advised those who didn’t want a long run to head back to the start. GB and QT took this option while others headed away from the start for the long on-home along the waterfront. Still others took a creative route with the result that the small pack ran back to the finish from four different directions.

Velcro’s perils were not over, as Mr Jobsworth himself told her to clear off from his housing estate, so once everybody was back we retired en masse to a sort of dead end on the pavement in the lee of the estate where the wind wasn’t quite so biting. A lively circle was made livelier with a chilli (or was it a curry?) provided by the hare as the business was done under a moon that turned pink then deep orange as we saw some tip-top lunar eclipsing.

Hare: Velcro Lips

Runners: Liberace, Eunuch, Golden Jelly, Back To The Future, Serbian Bomber, Golden Balls, QT, Creme Brulee, One Eyed Jack, Geriatric

Non-runner: Bob whose name had something to do with a jockey

Eclipse lager