On Monday 15 December I had my check up with the Prof. I had flown in the day before and had spent the day with Tommy, first at the Bench, with a late birthday tribute to Louise (always in our thoughts), and then in the pub with some of Louise’s friends watching the football. Consequently felt not only anxious about Monday’s appointment but also rather hung-over! Continue reading
It’s been over a week since the All Clear. After so much anxiety in the build up to the scans, its hard not feel the come down from the high in the following days. People say ‘You must be so happy that it’s over’ and I feel very curmudgeonly saying, ‘I am thrilled, of course, but it’s now only four and half years until I can say I’m in remission’. Continue reading
It’s the anniversary of Dad’s death two years ago, and I need to do something positive to take my mind of all the losses of recent years.
So I decide to branch out and see some of Beijing on my own: the hutongs beckon. Hutongs are the very core of the city, vibrant and thriving communities, which date back to Mongol times. In the 1950s there were as many of 6000 of these streets crisscrossing the city – all east to west for good feng shui – but the bulldozers moved in and razed many to the ground in the name of progress. Now around 2000 remain, and the government seems to have realised that they are good tourist attractions and can feed their coffers with tax; the destruction seems to be on hold. Continue reading
My second tour, to all the classic sites – Tian’anmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace – is far less fun than my trip to the Wall. As I said before, it’s all about the company you keep: the two German girls of Turkish origin were perfectly nice, but kept to themselves, and the guide – who proudly showed us photos of him with Daniel Craig, Bill Clinton and other celebs – was, as a result, rather big for his boots and decided that the three of us did not merit any more than a cursory whizz around. He also had a smartass answer for everything, which grated after a while. Continue reading
Here I am in Beijing, and it’s hot! We arrived late Monday afternoon and the first thing I did was to book a tour, The Forbidden City and all the main attractions in Beijing, or so I thought. Imagine my surprise when I discover that I am in fact going to the Great Wall at 7 am! Language is a problem here, even in international hotels… Continue reading