A pleasantly cool evening for a pleasant jaunt to the highlands of Tsing Yi, I thought as Golden Jelly and I left the car in the housing estate car park to be told by Google that the start was 700m away, and tramping through the huddled and masked crowds heading for rice in cramped quarters we soon came across the on-home, following it to Nga Ying Chau Garden, where the hares Velcro Lips and Back To The Future were pressing pre-run chocolate brandies on the unfortunate pack.
The start was at a paved and covered area with seating made from rough-hewn granite blocks polished flat and smooth on the top, and jolly comfortable too. Where are the bogs, I asked, to be told by Velcro that the park was too small for conveniences but there was a dark cranny behind the sitting-out area littered with toilet paper, proving that that was where people went to relieve themselves. I wondered how she knew. Watch out for that tree, I said enigmatically as I headed for the woods, but clearly the hares had never heard of George Of The Jungle.
Back at the blocks, I missed the briefing as I faffed with my headlamp, whose straps had been altered a few days prior to fit a cycling helmet, and by the time I got it right the pack had disappeared from view. Worse, there were no markings in the park (fervent parkies at work?) or at the bus terminus outside. Woe is me, thought I, for how shall I ever catch the pack? But catch them I did at the first check, down an unlikely-looking side road with no pavement at the end of which was a check surrounded by milling hashers. As I reached the check, on on was called over a low wall and through some trees out to – the waterfront promenade.
I found myself in a loose group of walkers that included Hoover, Golden Jelly and Geriatric. Bunter was somewhere in the mix but I never saw him until the end. The runners – Dingaling, Qutie, Liberace, Mango Groove and Stunt Double – kept concertinaing in and out of vision as they trotted around looking for the inevitable escape route from the waterfront into the hills. An escape route that did not manifest itself for another couple of kilometres, enabling Liberace to pull his usual stunt of not checking far enough at checks, telling everybody there were no markings, then marking his own trail in the wrong direction, which of course everybody followed – a tactic that enabled the walkers to keep up with the runners right up to the rambo/wimp split.
Here, the rambos went right. Later commentary revealed the climbing of a wall; the ascent of a slippery rock face; and a fine shiggy descent. The wimps meanwhile went left on a mundane urban route inland from the promenade, eventually reaching the on-home previously encountered. I did all in my power to thrash the other wimps into submission and made a triumphal, breathless entry into the park to be subject to a barrage of questions from Velcro, questions I couldn’t answer because believe it or not I was panting too much from my exertions.
Hoover and Golden Jelly followed me in followed by Bunter and Geriatric, then the first Rambo in the shape of a charging Mango Groove followed by Liberace and Qutie, Stunt Double and Dingaling. The entire pack finished within a few minutes of each other. If one measure of a good hash is to keep the pack together, this was a good hash.
Back To The Future was passing out pistachios and Velcro was rounding up people for an on-on at a local daipaidong. An initial yes vote resulted in the decision to have the circle at the on-on. But then things fell apart. The centre could not hold. Mere apathy was loosed upon the hash as one by one excuses were made and folk departed, Back To The Future because she had to go to Macau the next day. Qutie because he had to get up at 7am and “use my brain”. Whatever next. Suddenly there was nobody left, the beer had all been drunk and…where was the circle? It had been put in a cupboard somewhere.