Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Wednesday 19th July 2006

I was mugged the other day.

Claire was still in town, and I had dragged her up into the Kowloon Hills. I wanted to experience the views from the trails around Amah Rock and Lion Rock. As we had headed out directly from the beautiful Tsimshatsui hotel in which we were staying, we were badly equipped - instead of a sturdy rucksack, I clutched a supermarket plastic bag containing maps, a guidebook and our water supply. It was probably too hot to go hiking. The air was heavy and trekking up from the KCR station at Tai Wai was hard going. Ten minutes in and I was drenched in sweat. Mosquitoes were circling. The forested hills echoed with the buzzing and clicking of unseen insects. Giant grubs lay twitching in the middle of the paths.

I had been warned about the dangers of hiking in the New Territories. Like gnarled village locals in a ghost story, colleagues warned me not to go into the hills alone. Illegal immigrants from the mainland lie in wait, ready to pounce on the lone hiker and relieve him of his possessions before tying him to a tree and scampering away. I'd never heeded the warnings and had often walked the trails without incident. And this time I wasn't on my own.

We reached a catch-water and walked down the road that ran alongside it. It was as we turned a corner that I first caught sight of them. A family of shabby looking individuals, loitering by the side of the road. They looked slightly malnourished and their bad posture gave them all a vaguely unnerving stoop. They looked up as we approached. Timidly they moved to the other side of the road and started to disappear into the forest. It was then we noticed the mother clutched a baby, whose mouth tugged desperately at her scrawny breast.

But one remained. He had sat down in the middle of the road and was watching us suspiciously. I noticed that his hair was patchy and unkempt. Although it was probably the wrong thing to do, and in retrospect quite rude, I took a photo of him. I thought his behaviour unusual, but put my camera away and carried on walking. As we veered to the left to walk around him, he got up and moved into our path. We changed direction again. This time he came towards me, a menacing look in his eyes. Grunting, he reached forward to grab my plastic bag. Tenaciously I kept my grip. His long dirty finger nails cut into the bag and its contents tumbled onto the road. He looked down disappointed. He grabbed the bottle of water briefly before dropping it as I shouted at him. He ran away into the forest.

Shaken, we gathered our belongings and trudged on. I shall be passing my photo of our assailant onto the relevant authorities:


In other news, the Mercury award shortlist was announced yesterday and I was pleased to see Lou Rhodes' album has got some well deserved recognition. Although she's got brilliant competition in the Thom Yorke and Muse albums, I hope the Mercury judges do their wacko thing again and award it to an outsider (i.e. Lou). And I really hope it doesn't go to Arctic Monkeys (and not because of the experience recounted above) or Editors.

93 - posted at 09:53:00


I reckon the smart money's on Scritti Politti myself (you heard it here first...). I wouldn't worry about the Arctic Monkeys: lazy journalists always label as the favourite whichever one out of the list is the most commercially successful indie band, but they never win, do they?

1: Matt - 10:32:37 on Wednesday 19th July 2006 (permalink)

We love monkeys - and make an effort to add all simian stories to our scrapbook of cheekey chimps and boystrous baboons.

You may have missed, Rob, the tale of a spidermonkey stolen from Chessington World of Adventures (never has the word 'world' been used to mean disappointingly small and finite space).
The abducted ape was found playing with children on Clapham common a few days later.


I have a monkey - who we call 'monkey'. He was a gift with the money going to UNICEF. He is so cute and fun that frankly I'd love him even if the money went to the 'Goerring and Goebels retirement fund (rodent torturing branch)'. Both my mother and my sister have similar toys although their cash went to Joseph Conrad via Habitat.

My ringtone (until I upgraded to a flash phone that has crapper reception, and it has the buttons for 'delete all of text message' next to 'send') is 'I Loved a Monkey' by the Goldie Lookin Chain. It namedrops both Bristol Zoo and the Forest of Dean.

Cheeky little monkey, Rob. Eh?

2: Rhys Thomas (Cheltenham (sticks)) - 22:56:22 on Thursday 20th July 2006 (permalink)

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