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Showing posts from November, 2013

Friends and a Farewell

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Your blog,’ admonishes my dear friend, Julia, gently, ‘is appearing far less frequently. I settle down for a bit of ‘Chris Time’ and you’re not there!’. It feels a bit limp to say I’ve been busy when everyone’s busy now. A glance round the table at The Thursday Girls - my lovely friends of twenty-eight years - gives a snapshot of what we’ve been juggling between us; family illness, ageing parents, grown-up children, separations, reconciliations, bereavements, a house move, a house renovation, job applications, careers, new relationships, new babies, weddings and every emotion from the depths of despair to utter joy. 
Today though, the five of us are making the most of this rare opportunity to get together. After a lunch filled with laughter, Ann suggests a walk in the bright sunshine. The bright perishing-cold sunshine, as it turns out, in a truly bitter wind along a path which is suddenly crowded with hulking great schoolboys on a cross country run! Defeated by the savage tem…

香港日記 Hong Kong Diaries. Shaking a Stick at Wong Tai Sin

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After the studied serenity of the Chi Lin Nunnery and the drift of dark-robed nuns sliding silently to prayer, Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin Temple feels more like a grand bazaar with so many stalls selling aids to help prayers on their way. Bundles of incense sticks are best-sellers; clutched in hopeful hands, they send spirals of smoke up through spherical red and gold lanterns, past the terracotta flying eaves of the altar and towards the soaring white verticals of modern skyscrapers to touch the windows of everyday lives. Before the altar, querents, me included, rattling our fortune sticks in bamboo tubes, seek answers from the oracle.  ‘You’re supposed to let one drop out,’ laughs Tom when embarrassment forces me to beat an early retreat. Ah. I decide to pick a stick myself instead. I mean, it’s not as if I believe in fortune-telling, I’m just curious to try something new.
But before rushing off to the soothsayer, we visit the Good Wish Garden where a notice expressly forbids the re…