Hong Kong

The Scream

Once I had arrived at Evesham, there were three options for the last leg home to Stratford.  1) A train, taking 2 hours, going back into Birmingham and then out again to Stratford.  2) A 5 minute walk to town followed by a bus taking one hour to the centre of Stratford followed by a 20 minute walk or a taxi ride or 3) a 20 minute taxi ride delivering me right to my front door.

These days I don’t lug much stuff as I try to travel ninja light.  Just had my carry on luggage and a laptop bag stuffed with a few clothes.  But the retracting handle on the carry on had somehow jammed making getting on and off public transport doubly hard.  I was tired and I just wanted to be home.

So I chose option 3.  Rang the first telephone number that popped up when I googled Evesham taxi.  And a kind woman answered and told me she’d be with me in 5 minutes.  And she was.  Kind.  And she was there in 5 minutes.  And she was quite old, I’d say about 70.

I really hope she’s not reading this.

She asked me how I’d ended up in Evesham.  I told her I had come from London, true, talked about having a daughter living in London, also true, but didn’t tell her I hadn’t actually been visiting, and also omitted the bit about the flight from Hong Kong.  I wasn’t wearing a mask, for fear of freaking a taxi driver (and the few people at the station) out.  So I loaded up my luggage in the boot and got in the back seat intending to keep my mouth very tightly shut, and would have succeeded had she not wanted to talk.  I mean really talk to me, a lot.  She straight away told me how she was thinking of calling 111 or going to her local minor injuries unit.  Did I think she should?  This of course slightly confused and unnerved me so I asked Why?  She told me she was worried about some pains in her legs, concerned that she might have deep vein thrombosis.  She told me her medical history of pulmonary embolisms.  And the conversation about her diminishing health continued until it was interrupted by a loud call coming in over her hands free system.  A man asking her to pick up Kimmy from Heathrow on Friday, like she normally does.  This week Kimmy was coming in from Japan.

The taxi lady repeated back the information, and asked the man some more questions and it was clear he was a regular customer.  Had he left his glasses in her cab last time he’d been in it?  “Is Kimmy safe to be picked up?  You know because of the virus”.  The man reassured her Kimmy was, because she wasn’t from the area where it is a problem.  I guess he thought because Kimmy hasn’t come straight off the Diamond Princess she’s a safe bet.

Then the taxi driver lady says to me how she also worried as she is due to pick up some people coming in from the Phillipines later this week.  And what if they have picked up the virus.  And how you can’t be sure about it this virus, can you?  

And of course this taxi driver lady is an old lady, has underlying health issues, is vulnerable. I feel instantly sick.  

My face, if she or I could have seen it, must have been a picture.  I imagine like Edward Munch’s The Scream face.  

All I wanted was to have a lift home from Evesham.  Should I have told her before?  Come clean?  Would I have been worrying her unnecessarily?

Should I have continued home by public transport?   Should I have worn my mask?  Been totally honest up front?

So today I am feeling guilty and slightly defeated.  Please God, when will the corona virus conundrum end?  Soon, soon, I hope.

Hong Kong

No thank you

1.30 am and I have the post midnight munchies and am in the wide awake club. Eating hummus on toast. Trying to work out what exactly is stopping me writing the book everyone keeps telling me I should write.

Distractedly check phone. Longing for a sense of connection as I sit alone in the early hours in Stratford. Martin returns home from Cuba late tonight and is on a bus journey back to Havana I’m guessing.

Trip Advisor email pops up. I’m guessing they are not following my blog.

I think I will pass on this thanks
I clicked on No

I scribble for half an hour. I think the problem is I have far too much to write about. where to even begin?

Whose story? My birth mother’s? Mine? My adoptive Mother’s?
So many stories
Hong Kong

HK -v- UK. Health and Transport

All the HK ers are dutifully wearing their masks. I know this because I’ve just spent the past 12 hours seated between 2 older than me men. Both wearing their masks, only removing to eat and drink. And thankfully keeping them on each time they coughed. And cough they did. I would have asked to be moved, fearful of being the middle of a potential COVID sandwich but the flight was packed. Not a spare seat to be had.

All the non Asian faces were maskless. And some also coughed, happy to share everything with all us. No temperature checks after we disembarked and just a leaflet from Public Health England saying to call NHS111 if we had any symptoms. Staying indoors is not compulsory unless you’ve been to Wuhan or Hubei within the last 14 days. Of course I haven’t and I jolly well hope my two flight buddies had not either, or been sharing hot pot with anyone who had. All so hit and miss and unreassuringly random. But atm my plan is still to self quarantine to be absolutely sure.

The airport express in HK is super efficient and great value for money. The Heathrow express is not. But I want to get home ASAP now and so I stump up my £25, for my pound a minute journey to Paddington, where I plan to catch the Bakerloo line to Marylebone to get back home. London to Stratford upon Avon, via Birmingham. All a bit long winded but it’s the best great British transport can offer me.

Only today the Bakerloo line isn’t stopping.

You’ve got to be kidding

I’m told I can go back up and catch a bus. At this point I want to cry. At this rate I could fly back to HK in the time it takes me to get from London to home.

So I scan the departure boards, take a punt and jump on a train to Evesham. Evesham is a 20 minute drive from home. But guess what?If I go by train it will take me 2 hours.

I’d say that’s 2-0 to HK then.

But I know I will be home today and cannot wait for my final destination.

Hong Kong

all aboard

packed flight. fastest ever check in.

see you on the other side

Hong Kong

been there, done that (got the t-shirt)

and the book

Got to hand it to you Hong Kong, you never leave me short of material to blog about.

After last year’s mega trip I said I could not think how this year’s trip could be any more exciting.  Well, am not sure ‘exciting’ is how I would describe finding myself in the middle of a Covid-19 crisis, but it has been one hell of a ride. But now, it’s time for home. And I am ready.

I spoke to Martin this morning. He is in Cuba, so communication has been limited to the times he has been able to buy a wi fi packet that works with our 12 hour time difference. We were to trying to figure out the best way for me to self quarantine, so I don’t unsuspectingly pass on the lurgy to him and then he to his 90 year old vulnerable Mum. Given that nobody seems to really know exactly how it is passed on, whether you can be an asymptomatic carrier (I am sure you can), or exactly how long the incubation period is, (varying reports from 7 to 14 days+), there was a mutual scratching of heads and a lot of “don’t really know”.

Anyway, the best thing we came up with was we would have chats through the cat flap at Stratford and he would go and stay in a hotel until he returns to Cornwall after his working week, with me following on a week later. Not quite the homecoming I had planned.

I shall give it all further thought after I’ve read my new book.

Meow for now x

Hong Kong


how can I not?
eye popping colour
and a veggie rainbow on my plate
Hong Kong

always on my mind

Since I saw Guanyin at the monastery the other week, she keeps popping up, everywhere. Then I suddenly remember that my Mother worshipped her and there is a little shrine still in place at my eldest sister’s home.

Perhaps there really is such a thing as The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. … (Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one stumbles upon some obscure piece of information—often an unfamiliar word or name—and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly).

And I learnt today that due to Guanyin’s Buddhist roots, she is the only Chinese deity not offered meat or alcohol during worship.

Now that’s my kind of Goddess.

my Mother’s very own Guanyin is tucked amongst these idols
Hong Kong

crunching the gears

I hate it – that crunchy noise I make when I don’t change gears smoothly in my 18 year old car, whose clutch and gear box have probably seen better days.

It feels a bit like that whenever I get to the last few days in Hong Kong. That time between the end here and the start of being there, exacerbated by trying to figure out the self quarantine process that doesn’t come with very clear instructions.

Today was the first of several goodbyes, a gathering of belongings. I am trying to be fully present and enjoy these precious days, but my mind is always running ahead of me. How does the Airport Express thing work again? Do I really need to bring a bunch of year of the rat stuff, so lovingly given, half way across the world? How will customs react to this home made massage thing Mr Leung has made for me, as I have no hold luggage?And a bunch of other getting into homeward bound thinking. All 3 weeks sooner than I thought.

Who gets the bike? Who might like a yoga mat? Who might want the precious alcohol rub and facemasks, or should I be bringing them home? crunch, crunch, crunch.

Time to upgrade to an automatic car and find the nearest thing to a HK charity shop that might like a strange assortment.of donations.

customs are not going to like this Mr Leung
Hong Kong

coming soon

Flight rebooked. 3 weeks earlier, just in time to self quarantine.  Who’d have thought it?