Weekend Adventures in China March and April 2017

Having not blogged since Christmas, and having updated the blog from our American holiday completed in February 2017, I have decided to combine a couple of adventures while making an agreement with myself to get back on the blog more often! I have had more than one comment asking about the blog, so I apologise to my readers! After Chinese New Year, Martin, Eleanor and I escorted 14 or so students to Beijing to ISCMS X (International Schools Choral Music Society) http://www.iscms.net/  Hosted by Dulwich College Beijing for the 10th Anniversary, our students either sang in the choir, played in the … Continue reading Weekend Adventures in China March and April 2017

Two Eyes to See

We all know, or should know, that laser pens are dangerous. But sometimes, adults can forget that children don’t know. In November Eleanor and I went to the “fake” market in Shanghai just in the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum metro station. “Uggs” and “Converse” obtained, we went to a technology shop to buy some Christmas presents. Here Eleanor found a laser pen and proceeded to shine it on the floor.  I more or less freaked out, and told her never to shine it near anyone, particularly in people’s faces specially not near their eyes as it could cause damage … Continue reading Two Eyes to See

Hanging Around

Mid Autumn Festival according to the Chinese lunar calendar (and traditional solar calendar), is celebrated in the 8th month which is the second month of autumn. As the four seasons each have three (about-30-day) months on the traditional calendars, day 15 of month 8 is “the middle of autumn”. On the 15th of the lunar calendar, each month, the moon is at its roundest and brightest, symbolising togetherness and reunion in Chinese culture. Families get together eat dinner together, appreciate the moon and eat mooncakes. The harvest moon is traditionally believed to be the brightest of the year. As a … Continue reading Hanging Around

Long Drops and Ancient Capital of Mongolia (Land of the Eternal Blue Sky) Part 4

When you aren’t looking at your phone, or computer, days just pass. The only reason I knew what day we were on was when I sat down with my diary and the travel schedule to work out that the 1st of August was a Monday. It didn’t matter what day it was. At 8.15am we departed, onto the sandy road heading north until we hit the main road where we turned left and kept going.  In the UK we have a phrase about the Romans having been there when a road is particularly straight. Every so often Yondo would slow down and we … Continue reading Long Drops and Ancient Capital of Mongolia (Land of the Eternal Blue Sky) Part 4

Ulaan Baatar (Land of the Eternal Blue Sky Part 2)

Ulan Batar, Ulan Bator, take your pick with the spelling. Be warned though, this is not a spell bindingly beautiful city.  It is utilitarian, functional, and whilst we saw it at its best on the first day (blue skie and very little traffic), we then saw it on our penultimate day when we were stuck in traffic and on our last day, it rained and there was certainly nothing pretty about it.  Its roads are concreted, not tarmaced and full of pot holes and they are bumpy (though not as bumpy as what we would experience in the forthcoming days). … Continue reading Ulaan Baatar (Land of the Eternal Blue Sky Part 2)

Land of the Eternal Blue Sky – Part 1

“Mongolia? As in Inner Mongolia? On your own- with Eleanor?” “No, Mongolia as in the separate country between China and Russia. Yes on our own, Martin is teaching in a summer school organised by DHSZ.” “Wow, you are…brave… That’s amazing… Why?” Just some of the conversations I had with people when discussing our summer plans. The Why question was the easiest… a country with horses, riding across a wide open space… well why not? I also wanted to give Eleanor a different perspective on life. No iPads, phones, television, internet, shopping malls, hotels with swimming pools, just green space, blue … Continue reading Land of the Eternal Blue Sky – Part 1

Summer has come

On 7th June my first year at school ended, Eleanor’s time in DUCKS ended and we boarded a flight back to the UK. Term had not officially ended but I was on my way to the UCAS conference and Eleanor was going to spend a couple of weeks with my parents. Mum and Dad had come out with us after the wedding and spent a month with us before going back to Northern Ireland, recover from jetlag and then fly back to Heathrow to collect Eleanor and take her back.  The end of Year 2 for Eleanor has meant that … Continue reading Summer has come

The Gobbins

Composed back in May I have only just updated this… What are you doing for the May Day holiday was a popular question over the kettle at work…um “going back to Northern Ireland” says I. For the weekend? Yup…and a few days extra I visited Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin whilst Eleanor did a tour of Dublin with my parents.  The wedding was of my Mum’s cousin’s son, Jonathan to his lovely fiancé Claire. The wedding in Belfast was followed by a reception in the Dunadry. A hotel which has seen many of our family’s wedding receptions.  The … Continue reading The Gobbins

There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing

Whether Katie Melua was right when she sung the song I couldn’t possibly comment but bicycles have been replaced in the main with cars. Something which I noticed the last time I was in Beijing in May 2015.  The weekend just gone was QingMing. The 4th April was the actual day of Tomb Sweeping but it was preceded by a 2 day public holiday. We get a week off and so we were delighted that our friends, The Scotts, decided to spend their hard earned cash in coming to China to see us and of course the country in which … Continue reading There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing