The European Space Agency has lost contact with it's Mars Lander, "Beagle 2". Just in case the spacecraft missed Mars, and returned to Earth, the Jamaica Hash House Harriers set out to scour the parish of St. Thomas, in the East of the island, in search of wreckage:
There was some consternation in the days leading up to the Hash, that the only things we'd find wrecked, would be the brains and stomachs of those Hashers who celebrated Burns Night, on the eve of the Hash run. But copious quantities of both Scotch and Haggis didn't prevent the persons participating in both events turning up on time. Even one of the Hares was seen at the Burns Night event,... wearing a skirt!
Right on cue, whilst the Hares were setting the trail, the skies opened and sprinkled a light drizzle to keep them cool. But the drizzle didn't amount to much, and simply helped to moisten the shreddie, and keep it in place (and some of the coastal parts of the run were rather windswept, threatening to blow the trail marks away!)
The Hash set off with close to 70 runners. They hadn't travelled more than 10 yards before reaching the first circle, where the runners were persuaded to "take the left turn", to go to the roof of the abandoned building, and enjoy one of the finest views in Jamaica, overlooking the Yallahs Pond, the Coconut Groves, the 220 acres of rolling hills, the 92ft diameter satellite dish, and out to the Caribbean Sea. Hmmm, I hear you ask: How many of those features can the Hash possibly visit in one run?? Answer: All of them!
The Hares tempted the Runners with a false trail into the pedestal building of the 92ft diameter satellite antenna, but by this time, the front runners had become wise to the delaying tactics, and some passed up the diversion.
Then came a fork in the trail: An 'easy' trail (up the hill) and a more difficult trail (down the hill). Sounds backwards, right? Wrong! The plan worked, and when the two paths joined up, it put the women and children ahead of the macho runners who had taken the difficult trail!
At about this time, behind the scenes, things started to go wrong: The Hares discovered that one of the caterer's helpers had been involved in a car accident the night before. He was currently trying to extricate the car he was driving from the ditch where he 'parked' it. And at exactly the same time, the Hares were told that the car parked in the ditch was also the transportation for the 100+ coconuts, from the coconut grove at bottom of the hill to the Hash Circle at the top! And if that wasn't enough, the caterer was also relying on that same car to carry the food! Here's where Pothole jumps to the rescue: Except..... Pothole has the beer for the BeerStop in the back of his car! So, in the rush to get the coconuts and food to the Hash Circle, Pothole ends up being late to the BeerStop! A dozen Hashers had already passed the point, and were heard shouting from the bushes "where's the B* %*(Y BeerStop?". Serves 'em right for running so fast!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch,.... a new Hasher, on his very first run, decides to impress the others by saying that he can do a Triple Salchow(Michelle Kwon Triple Salchow) better than Michelle Kwon. Ouch! It's much easier when you are on ICE! The poor guy sprained his ankle, and hobbled back to towards the start point, awaiting the official "Hambulance" which was still occupied ferrying coconuts, collecting food, and delivering Beer to the Runners at the mid-point of the run! (Jamaicans have a tendency to put H's on the front of any noun beginning with a vowel, but in this case it is the Hash Ambulance!).
The Hashers who were still standing even though they hadn't got their Beer at the BeerStop, and had decided not to try the Triple Salchow, continued on the trail, and down to the edge of the Caribbean Sea. One hasher exclaimed that they had found the Beagle2, but on inspection it turned out to be the radiator of an Austin 1100, neatly placed inside a discarded Japanese microwave oven on a rubbish dump! Oh well, maybe the Beagle did land on Mars after all...
The Hash trail skirted the salt waters of the Caribbean Sea, and then crossed over to the shore of a brackish inland pond. Lady Hashers were warned not to grab at anything looking like a handbag lying in the water: Crocodiles had been seen in the area less than 6 weeks beforehand! All hashers and children made it past this potential obstacle, and the trail turned inland, towards the start point. All that was left now was to climb the 320feet hill from the shore to the starting point!
By this time, the Hambulance had temporarily finished with its other duties, and rides were offered to all the Hashers climbing the hill, with only a few takers!
The DownDowns proceeded, almost to schedule. Of course, or very own Michelle Kwon impersonator was welcomed, firstly as a new runner, and then promptly called back up in front of Grand Master for possibly the earliest naming ceremony in the history of JAH3: He got his name half way round his first run! He shall now be known as "LIMP".
The DownDown also included the first burial rites performed at a JAH3 Hash: It was heard on the local news that gangsters had shot and killed a drug lord called "Bulby". So we thought it only fit to administer the last rites to our very own "Bulby". "Vicar" officiated at the proceedings, and the body of Bulby was anointed and laid to rest, in one of the most beautiful resting places in the country!
The Hash community wished farewell to Maiden Plum and Pothole, who are travelling on to other distant shores, and hope they end up in a country with an active Hash community. Pothole was still busy ferrying coconuts, water, people and food around, and nearly missed his own Departure DownDown!
The remainder of the DownDown proceeded as normal, and the meeting adjourned to enjoy a delicious meal of Fish Tea (Soup), Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat, Rice'N'Peas, and Coconut Jellies....
....and then, to everyone's surprise, two of the Front Runners who had earlier omitted entering the Satellite Antenna building, decided now was a good time to go climb to the top of the antenna: Oh, but wait... shouldn't someone tell them about the hornet's nests scattered liberally around the antenna superstructure? Ouch! Too late! One of the two was last seen discarding his T-shirt, complete with swarm of Hornets, and running faster than we've ever seen him move, in the direction of the relative safety of Kingston.
END NOTE: During the course of the hash, we were informed that the entire Cable and Wireless earth station facility was now on sale. This was really a marvel of engineering when it was set up in 1972. The sellers will have to come down on the price, though...during the hash, we discovered that all the capabilities of the earth station can now be accomplished by any basic Nokia cell phone !!!