Tuesday, May 31, 2005

What I learnt today....

+ The louder the ring on a mobile phone, the louder the person will speak when they speak on the phone

+ People who stand humming inanely, out of tune and directly into my ear for 20 minutes in immigration queues deserve to be hung, drawn and quartered

+ The high speed immigration for Smart Card PR ID cards is wonderful!

+ Don't forget your Octopus card if you are going to be making frequent changes between the MTR and the KCR

+ I can handle about 12 and a half minutes of "Manicure, Pedicure, Missy, Missy, DVD"...before I want to deck someone

+ There is a Starbucks on the HK side of immigration back into HK

+ Eating lunch in a big Chinese restaurant on your own is definitely not advisable unless you enjoy being watched whilst you eat!

+ Women who sit on the KCR and dig into the deepest part of their partner's ear canal and then investigate the contents should be........actually can't think of anything bad enough....

Yes, I spent the better part of today in Shenzhen....


Monday, May 30, 2005


Just realised that I have had a huge number of hits here today....closer inspection shows that I have been linked by Mr Miyagi from Singapore....


This evening...and something a little different...

This evening was beautiful and gave me a good opportunity to add to my HK collection....

Coming Home - 30.5.05


towards Lantau - 30.5.05

West Kowloon - 30.5.05

The following picture is a view that is not often seen in Hong Kong.....

Back of Jumbo floating restaurant
.....the back of the Jumbo floating restaurant in Aberdeen


Things aren't what they used to be....

Birthday gift lands mum in hot water

A mother faces criminal charges after she hired a stripper to dance at her 16-year-old son's birthday party.

Anette Pharris, 34, and four others were indicted by a grand jury on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and involving a minor in obscene acts.

"It's a bunch of bull," Pharris told The Tennessean newspaper. "I tried to do something special for my son. It didn't harm him."

About 30 people were at Landon Pharris' 16th birthday party in September, about 10 of them under the age of 18.

His mother said a stripper was nothing to get upset about in their Nashville neighbourhood, where prostitution and drug use were common.

A Nashville police spokesman said minors not related to the family also attended the party.

"Minors are not permitted in adult establishments," he said. "A person shouldn't be allowed to circumvent that law by hiring a stripper, a lady who took all her clothes off and spent a good amount of time dancing around minors."

Cassandra Joyce Park, 29, danced for a few hours before "the guys" took up a collection and paid her $150 more to fully disrobe, Pharris said.

From today's SCMP

Whatever happened to a balloon twister or a magician?....


It's true...and it's bloody irritating....

Today the SCMP (subscription required) revealed to the rest of HK what us Star Ferry commuters have known for a while....it takes longer to cross the harbour, it's a rougher ride and the boats sail less frequently....all in all it's just not as an efficient method of commuting as it used to be....

".....The Star Ferry makes about 100 fewer trips a day across Victoria Harbour from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui than it did a year ago because of the harbour reclamation, the ferry company has revealed

The service between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui has been reduced from 384 trips on weekdays to 281, a drop of about 25 per cent. Each journey now takes two minutes longer.

The reclamation work in front of Edinburgh Place Pier in Central means the ferry can no longer take a straight course across the harbour, but must go around the reclamation site. Each trip now covers 1.56km instead of 1.5km, and takes nine minutes instead of seven.

Since November, the frequency on the route has decreased from every four minutes to six minutes in peak hours, and from every six to 12 minutes to eight to 12 minutes in off-peak hours.

Mr Leung said rougher water conditions - the narrower harbour has increased turbulence - had not affected maintenance costs.

The move to the new Star Ferry pier - tentatively scheduled for March - will knock 300 metres off the trip.

But passenger levels remain "stable" at 53,000 a day, Star Ferry's assistant general manager Johnny Leung said.

And, according to a consultant's report commissioned by Star Ferry, the move will also knock between 7 and 13 per cent off the number of passengers using it."

The times they give for the length of the sailing and the time between the sailing do not include embarkation or dis-embarkation....for this you can add an average of about five to seven minutes...some evenings it can take about 10 minutes as the harbour is so rough...maybe I am just unlucky.


Sunday, May 29, 2005


Just where I wanted to be....when I needed to be there......

Tin Hau temple Po Toi

Po Toi

East Side Po Toi

East Side Po Toi

Looking down to the harbour


Saturday, May 28, 2005

A hard weekend...

This is a tough weekend for my family. It is the first anniversary of the death of a close relative. He was killed last year in the most horrific of circumstances. The clan is gathering in the UK and I feel at a loss of how to convey my sympathy from such a distance.


I guess it's the closest I am going to get in this city....

Late yesterday evening/night (finished work too late to do anything constructive), I decided to entertain myself by watching a few episodes of Sex and The City....always good entertainment!

I am watching Season 6 (again!) at the moment..it gives a good recap of all Carrie's 'meaningful' men....so in lieu of any better thoughts I decided to rank them in order of preference...(I must be bored!)

and in ascending order:

Jack Burger - too insecure
Aiden - too smothering/pathetic
The Russian - now you're talking...
Mr Big - now you're definitely talking!


Mr Big....

Now there's a man that makes me smile...!!


Friday, May 27, 2005

"Art warms even an icy and depressed heart..."

On this day in 1994 (only 11 years ago...) Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia after 20 years of exile.

If you read nothing else of Solzhenitsyn's then I recommend this, it is the lecture he gave when recieving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. I remember reading this when I was about 15 and thinking it was just the most amazing piece of prose...I still do.

If you want to dip into his books, I can highly recommend "The Gulag Archipelego", a slightly longer read....but very well worth it.


Mixed opinions....

It's a tough call.

Having been subjected to much slicing and stitching all in the name of skin cancer, I find it hard to bring myself to face the midday sun unprotected...even for 15 minutes.

It doesn't help that I love being in the sun and having a character that can tend towards addiction I know that 15 minutes of glorious midday sun would have me laying out all day....so I will continue to restrict myself to sun before 10am and after 4pm...unless I am in my normal longer sleeves, longer shorts and sun screen and in extreme cases a hat!


The Far Side

The Far Side Cartoon picture : guy fishing in a boat looks back up over his shoulder to view the sky. the clouds are shaped in words that read, "Hey! What are you lookin' at? You want trouble, buddy, you found it!"

The Caption :"Understanding only German, Fritz was unaware that the clouds were becoming threatening."

anyone with a view out over North Kowloon will know what I mean...

am nervously watching the weather report as have decided to take Sunday off and tootle out to Po Toi... the nearest place in Hong Kong to the Scottish Highlands!


The power of music...

well a relatively calm weather cloud prevails over me at present...thanks in no small part to the wonder of my iPod shuffle on the way to work...how else would I end up with the following mood lifting (at least to me!) combination...

California Dreaming - Mamas and Papas
Peaches - The Stranglers
Beautiful Day - U2
Hammer to Fall - Queen
The Ballad of John and Yoko - The Beatles
Always the Sun - The Stranglers

So the world looks a happier place at the moment...although it will take a while for me to get over the shock of the bad night's sleep, mirror, bright light combination....have obviously reached that age when that is a nasty thing to have to deal with!!!


Methuselah - towards the end....

I feel like hell....how on earth can a relatively early night, no alcohol and a light dinner...translate into the worst night's sleep ever and waking up this morning feeling as I have been hit buy a bus....repeatedly?

I think it is going to take me a while to recover my usual good-natured equilibrium....lookout World one of Macbeth's hags is on the loose!


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Amnesty speaks....

From today's Jordan Times (link won't last past the week)

Amnesty accuses Israel, Palestinian groups of committing crimes against humanity

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AP) — Amnesty International on Wednesday accused Israeli soldiers operating in the West Bank and Gaza of committing war crimes, including unlawful killings, torture, destruction of property, obstruction of medical assistance and targeting of medical personnel.

The London-based human rights group's report for 2004 also condemned the deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians by Palestinian factions as a crime against humanity.

The report said that over the past year, Israeli forces killed more than 700 Palestinians, including 150 children. "Most were killed unlawfully — in reckless shooting, shelling and air strikes in civilian residential areas; in extrajudicial executions and as a result of excessive use of force," the report said. "Certain abuses committed by the Israeli army constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes." It added that Israeli restrictions on Palestinians' movements caused widespread poverty and unemployment, and that Israel had expanded illegal settlements.........

The article ties in well with the picture on the front page of yesterday's Jordan Times.


An elderly man expresses his fury after an Israeli bulldozer destroyed Palestinian cowsheds near the West Bank village of Idna, West of Hebron (AFP photo by Hazem Bader)

Tha above article and picture just go to show that it is not only the Palestinian's who are the 'bad guys'...but a combination of both sides inflaming the already diabolical situation.

The Beeb's report on Amnesty's annual report with a link to the full document. Jordan doesn't get off scot free either....


Only in Essex....

From the Daily Mirror via Flying Chair

24 May 2005
TWO Star Wars fans are in a critical condition in hospital after duelling with lightsabres made by filling fluorescent light tubes with petrol.

The pair - a man aged 20 and a girl of 17 - are believed to have been filming a mock fight when one of the devices exploded in woodland on Sunday.

They were rushed to West Herts Hospital before being transferred to the specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, in Essex.

Police say a third person present at the incident was questioned

Also from Flying Chair a few jokes to give those non-Brits an idea of the charms of Essex girls (and by default the boys!)...and from the Guardian an article by Germaine Greer.


Life as a bouncer.....

Over at Clublife, Rob is being abused and propositioned at the same time! An interesting selection of e-mails he has received...they start off tame and just get better and better!


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

59 Years Old....

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is 59 today...

on 22nd May 1946 the British Mandate over Transjordan ended and on the 25th May 1946 the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan was born...In 1950 the Kingdom was renamed The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.



Now this blog could make you realise that there are some people out there with very serious issues that need fairly rapid attention


Things I am frightened of....

There are four things in life that I am frightened (read terrified!) of...

-Electricity and being electrocuted
-Unmentionables (type of bug, very prevalent in HK am terrified and they make me sick)
-Men's mothers

Heights is a fairly common fear...however it frustrates me no end, I just don't understand why I am frightened...I know that I am not going to fall off or out of whereever I am but something deep within my psyche reduces me to a quivering wreck...I have had to be rescued from the oddest places where my nerve suddenly escapes me. I visit these places determined that I will get to the top and scold myself for being so ridiculous...and then I get to the top and the whole world falls apart!

Electricity - have no idea where this one came from...but plugging or unplugging appliances is a fairly major thing for me...even switching on lights or air-conditioning...very bizarre...have learnt to control it...but anything out of the ordinary...rewiring, changing fuses...I just can't bring my self to do it!

The bugs...they are all over HK - it is only one species and I can't handle them..rats, snakes, spiders...no problem...these unmentionables - No way....I remember being trapped in my office by one for about two hours a few years back...had been into work early and there was no one to rescue me or hear me scream!

And finally....men's mothers....most people who know me would say that I am a fairly strong character, however, the start of this particular fear was in 1991...I met a wonderful guy, we got engaged and I thought that this was it for life....however his mother was a force to be reckoned with...used to call me up to check that I had woken up her son on time so he wouldn't be late for work, used to tell me to drop his laundry in to her house as I didn't wash and iron his shirts properly, used to give me a hard time for shopping at the wrong supermarket as they didn't stock the brand of cereal her little boy liked....anyway to cut a long story short..I fled...to Hong Kong...decided that there was no way I was going to live my life with that (funny end to the story, after I returned my engagement ring...he gave it to his mother...I think that says it all!!). Next serious relationship...I was apprehensive given my previous experience...she could smell the fear and exploited that...that relationship also had to end (there were other factors, but I cannot deny that the mother was an 'issue'). In both cases the sons did not try to protect me...more - 'offered me' as a lamb to the lions.

The next mother that I had problems with was a friend's mother...a very good friend and someone of whom I am still very fond...any relationship that could have been has been doomed from the get go due to geography and bad timing from the both of us....anyway..we met in HK and became friends...he then left and I went to visit him on his home turf...it all got a bit awkward at this point as I thought I was going as a friend...he thought I was going as a girlfriend (as did his parents - a long story and one for another time)..once his mother was appraised of the situation her attitude to me changed immediately and I suddenly became this scheming, witch who was no good for her son...it came to a head about 10 days later...he and I had been out enjoying the night life of where we were staying...I went back to the hotel as we had argued...woke up in the morning and he was not back....and didn't come back...at which point his mother called me saying that he had been 'mugged' and why was I not looking after him...I was horrified that something had happened to him and went out to look for him...he eventually turned up but not before his mother had laid into me on the phone...calling me all the names under the sun and generally really upset me...as my friend was already in a bad way I decided not to tell him of his mother's fury. Skip forward about 10 years and I go to visit him again...unluckily for me his mother is in town...he says come and have dinner with us...I say 'No'...he can't understand why....so I give him the edited version....my friend has a fearsome temper and it was well and truly unleashed that evening....on his mother.....so finally someone actually stood up for me to their mother - for which I will be eternally grateful and he will always hold a very special place in my heart.

But still...the fear is still there and it is definetly a major factor for any future relationship I have...one of my friends put the fear of God into me the other day by saying "Given your track record and your character, I think it is safe to say that you attract a certain type of guy who has a strong mother"......I hope that's not true!


Life on the other side of the table....

Waiter Rant is one of the blogs that I read on a regular basis and look forward to his posts tremendously....he writes well and his picture of life as a waiter is very true..This is one of his better posts, really made me smile!


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Words of Wisdom....

My late evening's viewing consisted of a few episodes from one of my favourite BBC series Coupling...

One of the episodes came out with these priceless words of advice....

"Things men are capable of interpreting as an offer of sex:

Oh look its raining
My boyfriend has just been kidnapped by drug smugglers
Get Out"

God knows what the neighbours think as I roar with laughter!!!

Link to the above clip.....


Starting my farewells....

given my limited days off before I depart...I have decided that I should carry my camera around with me from now on....

Today took me to the bottom of my street...the Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, in a year and a half of living here I have never been inside....so today I decided to brave the masses of tourists and go inside...

Man Mo Temple - Hollywood Road
Man Mo Temple

Then I decided to go up to The Peak to visit a friend of mine who works up there..unfortunately the pictures are not great....a tad too hazy...

The Peak Lookout
The Peak Lookout

HK - 24.5.05
View from The Peak

All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon, afternoon tea with a friend and then later over to the Cafe Deco terrace for a Bellini and a half hour of just drinking in the view....my farewells are underway.....!!

By the way if anyone knows how to take the date off the picture after the picture is taken (Sony DSC-V3), please let me know.


The Bard on the screen...

Am sitting here watching The Merchant of Venice. Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes...with Shakespeare's words....what more could anyone want...? Jeremy Irons has one of the sexiest voices ever...it is not often that I find a pure English accent sexy...but his gets me every time!


and so another day starts...

before the crack of dawn!

At I lay in bed this morning pondering 'stuff', I realised that there is a small group of people in Blog land who all seem to be feeling a 'little out of whack' at present...

Spike is concerned about work prospects
The Platypus has so much going on that he is withdrawing from Blog land for a while (hopefully a short while - that's just my selfishness speaking!)
Mia also seems to be having a few concerns

and I am just a bit of a jittery mess....wanted to go out to 'play' last night (read..consume vast quantities of alcohol) but all my friends were going to be working today, bar one who as luck would have it was leaving for London! So came home to 'roam' my apartment!

So the Blog planets are a little out of line at the moment....I hope everyone settles down soon and life returns to an even keel.


Monday, May 23, 2005

In limbo...

I am feeling somewhat disjointed at the moment...hence my posts are just little itty bits....as I cannot seem to gather my thoughts together and come up with anything constructive.

It is too early to start packing and getting ready to move and yet I know that I only have six weeks before I leave...which means only six more days off; so I want to use them properly...doing things that I enjoy doing, seeing friends and just generally shutting down shop in HK

It is always the same with me (and I guess anyone else) when facing a change in living environment...

I just wish I could settle to something...anything, reading a proper book instead of the 'chick lit' that I have resorted to, watching a whole movie (at the moment one episode of Frasier is about my attention span!)or even just committing to a dinner date without the fear that my mind will wander half way through! Sleeping has also become a vague memory, I can settle about 2am and am awake again at 5am, work has become almost impossible as I cannot seem to finish any one project...I have become even more of a grasshopper than I once was...jumping from job to job...

Even the moggies are getting fractious!!


Little kitties look out...

Alaska is on the loose!


The Magic Roundabout...

I had forgotten about this little gem until I was reminded of it over on Jakartass!

I used to have to grapple with a similar animal when I went to Hemel Hempstead...too often for my liking!!! Oh the pleasures of driving in England!

The Plough

The Plough Roundabout, Hemel Hempstead, Herts.


Wadi Rum is about to get a little bit hotter!

For those of you who may be in the Jordan area on July 28th....this is an event not to be missed! Just have a look at the pictures from last year.


Yesterday evening....

I skived off early.....couldn't resist the lure of the Star Ferry home as the sun was setting....and it was worth it. One of those evenings when my love affair with Hong Kong becomes slightly more passionate! Everything was so clear and sharp...the buildings, the lights, the trees on The Peak, the edges of the hills...and to top it all the round, shiny disc of the moon hung very low over the harbour.

When I got over to Central I stayed on the benches by the ferry until it was dark and watched the planes on their approach into CLK...the air was so clear that the planes seemed to hang suspended from the wispy clouds...

A lovely evening...and guess who didn't have a camera with them?!


Sunday, May 22, 2005

A little suggestion to HK readers.....

If you are inside reading this....shut down and go outside...it is a beautiful day and I would like to think of at least some people out there enjoying the weather as I am shut up inside at work and will be until much, much later today.....

Things I would rather be doing....

Up in a helicopter
Out on a junk
Sitting on a beach somewhere with copious amounts of well chilled white wine
Out hiking on Po Toi (one of HK's best kept secrets!)

So go...now....


(Is this the way) to crash the MOD computers?.....

I very much think so....

Glad to see the boys having fun


Saturday, May 21, 2005

and this just in....

via a male friend of mine last night, in an e-mail entitled...:Just for you...."

"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition." Timothy Leary.

So I wondered who Timothy Leary was....turns out he was a rather interesting character!


That's right...blame it on the Americans....

I think that the trend for blaming everything on America is now officially out of control.


Friday, May 20, 2005

On this day in 1973...

The Cod Wars.


Reading Material...as only a Mother can recommend!

So my long awaited parcel has arrived from Amazon...the contents of this parcel were a gift from my Mother.....and are as follows:

America's Boy

100 resorts in the Philippines

Insight Guide to the Philippines

Somehow, with no communication at all, she had managed to pick three books that I hadn't bought, one of of which I was looking for but couldn't find here! Family intuition is a wonderful thing!!!!



Reading the Platypus' post this morning rang some memory bells for me....

During my time in HK I have dated a Eurasian guy and a Chinese guy...the first relationship was just when I arrived in HK (so about 12 years ago), seeing Western women and Chinese guys together then was not common and we used to get odd looks and in some cases derogatory comments...(fortunately for me, in Cantonese so it went right over my head!).

I remember being very apprehensive when they met my family, but shouldn't have worried, friends of mine never commented...the biggest problem was strangers - passers by, taxi drivers, shop assistants who just couldn't resist making the odd comment or two - basically those people for whom this should have been of no concern!

Then I moved to the Middle East.....slightly different ball game (no pun intended!) there...culture and religion play a far greater role than race ever will.

A male friend of mine married a Muslim girl and had to convert to Islam (if a Muslim man marries a Christian girl, the girl does not have to convert to Islam, however vice versa - the man must convert) as friends and colleagues we were concerned as this is a huge step to take...we may have made jokes about no more bacon sandwiches but at heart we were more concerned about the change in lifestyle and any possible future ramifications if the marriage did not work out....fortunately they are still happily married and it seems all our worries were for nothing.

About a year after my friend's wedding I was approached by an Iraqi friend of mine with a view to moving country with him and looking 'to the future'....only one real meaning behind that....now given that up until then he had been a friend/working colleague and nothing more I found it fairly difficult to reject his overture diplomatically and still remain friends (in hindsight I shouldn't have worried, he bounced back very quickly, from what I can gather he approached a number of other girls very soon after - like the next day!! Obviously I was just slightly closer to the top of the list!!!). My rejection was not based on race, religion or culture...just wrong guy, wrong place, wrong time.....

He is a wonderful guy, charming, good looking and all in all a very good 'catch' but in the back of my mind at the time was "What will my parents say if I marry a Muslim?", I know that if I had been happy and he had made me happy they would have eventually come round but I would have been an issue...and this is not a racist issue.....more just awareness that a mixed religion marriage can have huge challenges.

In this world that we now live where people up sticks and move countries at the drop of a hat, mixed race/religion/culture relationships are becoming more and more common but they are still not as accepted as they should be and racism and misunderstanding will continue to rear their ugly heads. I have seen changes in people's attitudes and I am sure that things will continue to change for the better....but it all takes time!


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Hairy problems....

Wanbro's post about getting his hair cut (read...mauled) made me smile!

It took me back about 16 years when I had just moved to Germany. I was living in a southern suburb of Hamburg called Harburg and at that time had hair long enough to sit on! So after I had been there a month or so I realised that a trim was in order...so I took myself off to the hairdresser armed with phrase book and notes written by my colleagues....obviously something was dramatically lost in translation as before I knew it a good 10 inches had been cut into my hair and all was lost. I left the hairdresser with hair that just came below my shoulders.....it put me off hairdressers for a long, long time!


Bits and Pieces...

Am now onto Day Four of being able to see DB from my eyrie in Tsim Sha Tsui....12 years ago being able to see DB from TST was such a normal event that nobody ever mentioned it...now the opposite is true...not being able to see DB is the norm and sightings of it are so rare they can be counted!

Am pleased to see via Hemlock that a little bit of Hong Kong will be coming with me to Manila, the words "Herculean" and "task", spring to mind.

Tony Blair is trying to take family life back to the 'good old days', when families actually sat down and ate together. The points raised are all true, however family life has changed dramatically in the past twenty years...more mother's are now out working, children are far more mobile, schools have a far greater number of after school activities all designed to prepare children for the challenges of the future and working hours are much longer...add all this together and trying to get the whole family to sit down to eat together is going to be challenging. Throw in the present culture of kids having their own TVs and computers in their bedrooms and it becomes almost impossible.

Jordan uses Petra for something that will be broadcast on the world stage...if only because of Richard Gere!

One would think that Israeli diplomats had enough to worry about without this

and finally....Canadian politics finally seem to be verging on the 'exciting'!


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A couple of new ones....

Flight Level 390 - America from the Flight Deck


Back to Iraq - A former AP and New York Daily News reporter, now based in Iraq and 'blogging' the news as it happens.


and one for the Platypus....

from today's SCMP...have copied the whole article but the best bit is the Platypus growl...!!!

Platypus Twilight Tour

By David Wilson

Early on my Tasmania tour a Kiwi backpacker jokes that the duckbilled platypus doesn't actually exist: it's just a myth devised to intrigue tourists.

I know what he means. I've lost count of the number of Australian ponds and rivers I've pored over in search of the world's strangest animal. I've seen nothing except the occasional freshwater lobster. Until now.

I'm on the Platypus Twilight Tour that runs from Stanley on the northwest coast of "Tassie". As we head across the fields, host, chef and professional guide Bernard Atkins assures me that, almost always, a platypus appears at one of the three farmland dams on the trail.

If more than one appears, the word to describe them is "platypuses" not "platypi", as so many people think. The exotic plural would make sense only if you put one in a pie, says Atkins, all beard, bullish humour and juicy facts.

Platypuses, he reveals, are monotremes (egg-laying mammals) whose comical appearance belies their menace. The poison delivered by the tusk-like spur that protrudes from each of the male's back legs is half the strength of a tiger-snake bite. And that's strong, as Atkins' uncle once found when he picked up a platypus. The injury he sustained caused him agony and took him close to death.

Undaunted, dodging cowpats and sprinkler jets, we head for the far dam where Fred, the biggest platypus in the three pairs that Atkins knows, apparently lurks.

"Before the end of tonight, I guarantee, someone will shout out, `There it is!' Please don't - you'll disturb the platypus. But after it submerges feel free to flap about as much as you want," Atkins says.

I scan the water, my right eye aching as a result of smearing sunscreen round it to thwart rays from the hole in the ozone layer that supposedly yawns right over Tasmania. Crows caw. The wind insistently fans the water. Nothing emerges. "You have to have a lot of patience in this business," Atkins says.

The only action comes from a couple of blue-winged parrots dancing around. Someone remarks that our vigil resembles the hunt for the Loch Ness monster. We zip up our anoraks. Grins of scepticism have begun to break out. I'm restraining the impulse to laugh by the time Atkins wheels around, whispering that he's spotted a platypus.

The rim of his baseball cap strikes my other eye. He thrusts a pair of binoculars into my hands and I look through them but can scarcely see anything thanks to the tears and the pain. But slowly I make out the creature: a female, about the size of a squirrel. Her beak and paddling foot can be seen when she surfaces in a ring of ripples before diving again to scour the deep for insects, worms and crayfish.

Like all platypuses she keeps her eyes tightly shut when diving, reliant on an electro-sensor sixth sense. It acts like a radar and works so well that the creature can consume almost half its weight in prey in a night. Adding to the weirdness, the platypus is capable of making some unearthly noises, including the growl you can hear if you follow this link www.parks.tas.gov.au/wildlife/mammals/platypus.mp3.

Seeing a representative of this evolutionary enigma feels how I imagine it would be to meet an alien. Weaving in and out of the water, she orbits the dam, transfixing our 13-strong party. "She's spotted us now," Atkins says, as for one long moment our elusive quarry pauses at the surface, staring straight back.

The Platypus Twilight Tour costs A$25 for adults and A$10 for children. Inquiries: (61 3) 6458 1455, e-mail tours@wildernesstasmania.com or go to www.wildernesstasmania.com.


Hard to let go....

I unfortunately seem to be one of these restless souls who is never 100% happy with where I am living at any given time...future or past grass always seems so much greener.

This has no relation to working environment or people...just the country. I am not sure if I am doomed to be this restless for the rest of my life or if I just haven't been to the right country yet...When in Switzerland I hankered after the hill country in Sri Lanka, when in Hamburg I longed for the mountains of Wengen, when in Jordan I pined for the hustle and bustle of HK, back in HK I long for the desert nights and wild beauty that only the desert and mountains can provide...I think I have a serious travel problem!!

Or maybe as someone pointed out the other day I just haven't met the right person to enjoy the right country with...

The reason for this particular thought process started when I was talking to a friend of mine about buying a new mobile phone....we both have the same phone, bought during a retail therapy session in Amman...she asked if I was considering buying a new phone and I said I was a bit loathe to give up my phone for the very simple reason that it has Arabic characters on the key pad....my friend laughed and said that she remembers our shopping trip in Amman when I was loathe to buy a new phone as I didn't want to give up my HK phone with the Chinese characters on it....as I said before I am never happy!

So there you have it...an unsettled soul!


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Enough Tears to fill the River Jordan

When I was in Jordan I shed many tears over the situation in the West Bank and all the problems faced by both the Muslims and the Jews in the continuing cycle of violence. It breaks my heart that two groups of people that are so closely interwoven in race, history and oddly religion, cannot find some field of understanding or something to grab hold of with which they could move forward.

Unfortunately the situation is often misunderstood outside of the immediate arena, as such most take their lead from the media they choose to read or are fed...

This evening I settled down to watch the last three episodes of The West Wing (Season Five). The second to last episode spends about 10 minutes giving all sides of the stories...the Israeli settlers, the suicide bombers, the Israeli soldier and the Palestinian who wants to get on with his life, earn money and support his family but is unable to because the suicide bombers stop his travel to work. It is done well and fairly and gives both sides of the story. If there is any doubt in your mind as to the many different facets to this terrible situation...this is an excellent summary.


The Graduate

when in need of emotional uplift I turn to one of my favourite movies....The Graduate ...it makes me laugh and cringe all at the same time...

remembering the awkwardness of 'Beginner's Sex'......Ben and Mrs Robinson....together they make me so grateful that I don't have to experience that anymore....I may be missing my early twenties at the moment.....but somethings I can do without....and awkward fumblings are something I can well do without!


Now there's a thought....

The most common searches that bring people to my site are fairly innocent and not too strange...however, today someone came to my site looking for 'courtesan for hire'...and I came 10th on the list! Maybe it's time for me to think of a new way to earn some money.


George Galloway..

For those of you following the Galloway Oil-for-Food episode...this is a possible twist in the tale....

Galloway has now arrived in DC to face a congressional hearing....this should be interesting - British style politics meets the more sedate American political system.


and John Simpson's thoughts...

John Simpson (my favourite BBC correspondent) has weighed in with his thoughts on the Newsweek article about the desecration of the Koran and whether the media should be blamed for the deaths, riots and anger against America.


And in the Middle East.....

Kuwaiti women have been allowed to vote and to stand in parliamentary and local elections.

This article from the BBC will give you some idea as to the spread of democracy in the ME.

And not so much 'in' the Middle East but concerning it...the power of the press. It seems that Newsweek magazine has changed its mind and retracted its story regarding the Koran being desecrated at Guantanamo Bay.

The power of the press in today's world is amazing.

There was a similar case in March in Jordan, whereby one of the Arabic papers in Amman reported that the market place bombing in Hilla,Iraq was carried out by a Jordanian from Salt. As a result there was a terrible backlash against Jordan and Jordanians in Iraq. Eventually the story was retracted as incorrect (the person in question had apparently been involved in a suicide bomb attack - not Hilla, and his family had not celebrated as was originally reported) and the editor of the paper lost his job. Unfortunately the Jordan Times links for this story are now all gone, however Natasha at Mental Mayhem covered the story well, if you start reading at "Al Ghad article update" and move upwards.


A word of advice...

...only go to sleep early if you are tired enough to sleep through the night otherwise you wake up at 2am obsessing about things that you have no control over....such as past relationships or even potential relationships!

2am this morning saw me rehashing a relationship I haven't revisted since it ended about 7 years ago, as I lay there in the dark I thought that maybe I had made a mistake ending it so rashly, he was a good guy ('nice' doesn't fit here!) for me and probably the only relationship that I have had where there was an element of equality and total understanding (probably related to the fact that we both had similar jobs). Fortunately in the cold light of the morning I realise that I did do the right thing and if I hadn't ended it when I did then we would still be drifting along in the same way 7 years later.....

3am saw me analysing a possible present/future relationship....although after much thought I don't think it is going anywhere, we both seem to be fairly ambivalent about taking it any further than seeing each other once every 10 days and to be honest, with my impending departure it does all seem a little too much like hard work!

4am my bedroom air-conditioner packed up....

So what would have been a good night's sleep has me greeting the morning in a fairly grouchy frame of mind....and I am not working today....bad combination!


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Travels with myself....

The Observer has an article which questions "Is there any uncharted wilderness left for today's explorers?" and then asks five explorers to list where else on the planet they would like to go....

It made me think that my wish list is fairly mundane - only limiting myself to the top five at the moment..otherwise I could be here all night...

1. Alaska - fly into Anchorage, drive north to Prudhoe Bay and south back through Canada to Vancouver

2. The train ride from Vladivostok to St. Petes.

3. South America - the whole thing...and then just tack on the Falkland Islands for the hell of it!

4. One of the Poles! What the hell...make that both of them!!!

5. Drive from Jordan to the UK.

Obviously this doesn't include cities that I would love to visit (and re-visit)and time I would like to spend exploring individual countries like the USA....

Somehow I don't think that Mark Twain & I would have been such good friends....

"Travel has no longer any charm for me. I have seen all the foreign countries I want to except heaven & hell & I have only a vague curiosity about one of those."


Quit dreaming, this is real life baby....

Paula came from Washington with long golden hair
Twenty eight dollars in a fake silk purse and a leather skirt to wear
Shane came from Dublin town from the old world so green
Counterfeit ticket in to JFK and the land of his dreams

Street life's the only life, they take a walk in the park
Even though they only met that day they were lovers by dark
Laid out on the morning skies he puts a ring on her hand
He said listen babe we gotta take what's ours do it or die

Quit dreaming this is real life baby
Real life's the only life what's it all about
Quit dreaming this is real life baby

Way out on the dock that night the colour is red
23rd victim of a gangland war takes his last breath
Outside the sister cried she said the whole world's so mean
Heavyweight killer in the ring, turns killing machine

Quit dreaming this is real life baby
Real life's the only life what's it all about
Quit dreaming this is real life baby

Oh my love, you're my all
The way you move, you're in control
The way you talk, the way you dress
Your hands, your touch, your sweet caress.
Oh my love, you're the best,
Every little thing that I possess,
It's all emotion when you take control,
I can feel wild horses running in my soul.
Oh my love, all I see
The stars, the sun, the energy,
If this going to kill us then let it go,
Quit dreaming this is real life baby

Up high above a desert sky where the space shuttles scream,
Sixteen men from a dying earth take their last dream.

Quit dreaming this is real life baby
Quit dreaming this is cheap life baby
Real life's the only life what's it all about
Quit dreaming this is cheap life baby
Your eyes, your lips, the shape of your mouth,
It's a sweet life baby
Oh my love, you're my all
The way you move, the way you go
I'm all emotion when you take control
I can feel wild horses running in my soul.
Oh my love, you're all I see
The stars, the sun, the energy,
The way you move, you're in control
Quit dreaming this is real life baby

Simple Minds - Real Life


There's a first time for everything...

Have been spending some time looking at apartments for rent in Manila - the non-pet issue seemed to be my biggest problem until I saw this clause...

STRICTLY no live-in / extra marital relationships

What's a girl to do...?



Am sitting at work listening to Arabic music to while away the time....subconsciously I was always aware of the fact that 'Habibi' is probably the most used word in Arabic songs but at least one song this morning had 'Habibi' as every second word!

'Habibi' can mean anything from 'my good friend' to 'darling', it is a term of endearment used anywhere from the business meeting room to the bedroom. It is used in arguements, general discussions, bargaining and amongst chatting friends. It must be one of the most commonly used words in Arabic!

'Habibti' is for use when addressing women.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Ivan Noble

Those of you that read the BBC website frequently will be familiar with the name Ivan Noble. For those of you not familiar with his name....a little background on this courageous man..this text is taken from the back of his book Like A Hole In The Head: Living With A Brain Tumour

"In August 2002 Ivan Noble's life was turned upside down. A science journalist working for the BBC News website in London, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Faced with a desperately hard battle against the disease, Ivan decided he would like to share his experiences with readers of the BBC News Website. He hoped it would demystify a disease that touches so many lives but which also frightens so many.

The internet medium and his easy, informal and personal style has allowed people from across the world to discuss the disease and share their experiences. The e-mails the website has received in response to his dieary testify to the amazing effect his at times brutal honesty and openness about his disease has had throughout the world.

Since his diagnosis, Ivan married his girlfriend, watched his daughter grow up and fathered a son as well as having survived two major brain operations, chemotherapy and various experimental treatments in his extraordinary fight for survival. Sadly, earlier this year Ivan finally gave up the battle and died peacefully in a hospice.

As a moving record of living life richly in the face of mortality, this diary is a testimony to the depth and sheer determination of the human spirit."

Ivan started writing his online diary in September 2002 and I read it from the very first entry, waiting for his updates and news on his progress. I remember sitting in Amman reading his 13th February 2003 entry about sitting in Hong Kong watching the ferries cross the harbour. When I saw the words "read Ivan's final diary entry" on the BBC website in January of this year, I was devastated. I cried as I read his final entry entitled, 'The Time Has Come'. I know that the last few months of his life were so hard on him and his family but I still couldn't comprehend that someone who had so much fight and had been through so much to kick this terrible disease was no longer there and no longer writing.

His diary entries have now been made into a book (link above) which I picked up in Page One today. I shall read it from cover to cover this evening.



One more day and then I have two days off...for those of us working a six day week...two days of freedom is wonderful! So am now planning what delights I can incorporate into Monday & Tuesday!


Friday, May 13, 2005

On TV tonight

at 9pm on TVB Pearl

Lawrence of Arabia

Worth watching if only for the shots of Wadi Rum and seeing Lawrence fall on Aqaba.

Wadi Rum is probably one of the most breathtaking spots in Jordan...a few pictures to illustrate that can be found here from Mental Mayhem.

Wadi Rum 2
Wadi Rum (thanks to JTB)

Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum (thanks to JTB)

And a little background reading on one of the most fascinating and enigmatic characters in Anglo-Arab history T.E. Lawrence.



A Discombobulated Mia is up and running again here.


Article 98

Father gets seven-and-a-half years for murdering daughter
By Rana Husseini

AMMAN — The Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced a 55-year-old man to seven-and-a-half years in prison after convicting him of murdering his married daughter in South Shouneh in November 2004.

S. O., was first handed a 15-year prison sentence for shooting his 17-year-old daughter three times in the face at his home on Nov. 11.

But his verdict was immediately commuted to half by the tribunal because the victim's husband dropped charges against the defendant.

The victim went missing from her home for one week starting July 31, 2004, according to court transcripts.

She was found by the police and placed in administrative detention for her protection for a few days, it added.

One of her relatives released her on bail and married her in the presence of her father, the court added.

On the day of the murder, the court said, the victim and her husband visited the defendant.

“During the visit, the victim's husband claimed that his wife told him she preferred the Egyptian man she was with when she left her home for a week,” the court said.

The defendant asked his son-in-law to leave the house and 15 minutes later shot his daughter once in the head, then twice more when she fell, court papers said.

The defendant then headed to the nearest police station, handed over his gun to the authorities and told them he killed his daughter to “cleanse his family's honour.”

The tribunal rejected the defence argument that their client should benefit from a reduction in penalty as stipulated in Article 98 of the Penal Code because he killed his daughter in a fit of fury.

“The victim did not commit any act that is considered dangerous or unlawful and the defendant killed his daughter based on something he heard without clarifying the matter with the victim,” the court said.

Article 98 states: “A person who commits a crime in a fit of fury caused by an unlawful or dangerous act on the part of the victim benefits from a reduction of penalty.”

The Court of Cassation will automatically review Thursday's verdict, handed down by justices Omar Khleifat, Mohammad Abu Dalbouh and Bassam Yamani within the next 30 days.

From the Jordan Times


Feeling just a little bereft...

So doing my quick morning run through of HK Blogs I went over to the Platypus as I had only briefly read his posting yesterday with thoughts of whether or not to start afresh with his site....and lo and behold...he has already....a wiped slate, a Blank Canvas.

Unfortunately I still had not managed to read all previous posts from the Platypus and it looks as if that won't be happening!

A brave move!


Thursday, May 12, 2005

To do or not to do...?

Actually, there really is no question...but still....

Long awaited contract arrived this morning so it looks as if I am Manila bound. I have to resign in the morning which is not going to be a pleasant experience.

So pros...

New professional challenge
New country...all adds up to experience
A company I have long wanted to work for
A chance to use all my hard earned experience
Good personal training and development


Leaving my comfort zone
I know nobody in Manila
Working hours and environment will suddenly become long and very, very stressful
Personal life will go right down the tube..., well, what there was, anyway....
Cats are really, really bad packers!

so it all evens out and I know the only answer is to bite the bullet and go for it....but am allowing myself a night to sleep on it and try to put the butterflies to rest.

So as I sit here and write my resignation letter being calmed by The West Wing in the background, I realise that the next five months are going to be full of ups and downs and stress like I thought I had escaped when I left Jordan....but...

Bring it on.....!!!!!!!!


Being English....

When asked to define my nationality I would answer Scottish, then at a push British...I can't remember the last time I defined myself as English. Added to having lived overseas all my life I thought that I had possibly received a bit of an "International makeover"...How wrong could I be!

Having started Watching the English by Kate Fox, I realise that the small amount that I have read thus far pegs me as well and truly English - and that is just Greetings, Goodbyes and discussing the Weather!

The book is actually laugh out loud funny and so incredibly accurate - I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone who is either English or must deal with the English at very close quarters!


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A little tidying up chez Madame Chiang

Have added in a few new links...

Daai Tou Laam - The thoughts of an American expat in Hong Kong living on an "underlying island"

Aussie Lass - An Aussie lass, a Frenchman and a Burmese

Blog the Talk - A blog by Walk the Talk creators Stefan and Dave, about history, architecture, identity and collective memory in urban spaces. It's related to the stories they tell about Hong Kong & Macau's past on their audio-guided walking tours, on mobile phones.

And a new section on F&B stuff....

Chez Pim

The Flaming Toque

Super Chef


and removed "What I am currently engrossed in"...if you could see by my bed you would know why....there are about 10 books I am in the middle of at present, so will mention them as and when I either finish them or reach an interesting part!


No thoughts of my own....so....

A quick roundup of what everyone else is thinking...

Hemlock 'informs' us of a new warning system which I think is imperative to the future safety of the territories teeming citizens.

The Platypus is questioning the pickiness of people in choosing their mate...I would stand up and agree to be counted on the "extremely picky" list...Platypus...you are not alone!

Unfortunately I still cannot access Mia's site...actually that's not strictly true...I can access the site but it causes hellfire and havoc with my computers...both with IE and Safari.

BWG has put me off shaking hands for life...! Think maybe it is safer to stick to bowls of peanuts in bars!

Natasha at Mental Mayhem shows some wonderful pictures of Kerak castle in Jordan. My brother and I used to play in the castle when we were kids...mindful of the great holes in the floor which drop down into nothing...the crusaders used to throw their enemies down these holes into the oblivion below...however, to make the suffering even greater they would box in the persons head so the person would not be killed on impact and would suffer more as they bounced down the cliff face below...charming people the crusaders!

And the Swiss have found a new use for vast quantities of foil!

and on the subject of Switzerland...a picture of somewhere I would call heaven on earth...Wengen. Unfortunately when I lived in Wengen it was pre-digital cameras so have borrowed this stock picture from here

The Jungfrau from Wengen
The Jungfrau from Wengen.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Horrors of War.

When I was in my teens I, along with my other girl friends, felt that the height of sophistication would be a boyfriend in the armed services. A boyfriend and then (hopefully) a husband in uniform serving our country was the ultimate in glamour.

As I got older I realised the strength and bravery it must take for wives and girlfriends to wave goodbye to their men as they go off to war and risk their lives for their country, possibly for a cause that they don't necessarily agree with. I wouldn't have the inner strength to say goodbye to the man I love knowing he was off to face the most horrific and dangerous experiences imaginable. I also know that when he returned I would not be able to understand what he had been through and would find it very difficult to be a sympathetic audience to his time away.

With all the coverage of the 60th anniversary of VE day the BBC has written this article......

The guns weren't alone in falling silent at the end of World War II. When troops returned from the battlegrounds they often found family members who didn't want to discuss the war. The result could be a difficult, sometimes painful, adjustment for everyone.

All I know is that all present and future generations owe an enormous debt to all those who have fought for freedom and democracy, all those who lost their lives, all those who returned home with shattered lives, all those who fought and returned and all those women who stoically saw their men off to fight.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Lucky Pants....!

An interesting insight into dating in the UK...this report from Sky News....

The average cost of a date in Britain stands at £200 with men spending 10 times more than their potential partners.

Britain's 8.6 million singletons go out on five dates a year on average...

Both sexes believe in lucky pants - on average a dating hopeful will fork out £38.73 on these a year in a bid to improve their love life.

One wonders...about the lucky pants (or at least I do), I am assuming that if you go on a date wearing your 'lucky pants' and the date is unsuccesful, those 'lucky pants' are then relegated to normal pants otherwise they cannot be very lucky. However, if they do prove to be 'lucky', that must mean that by the end of the year they could be pretty worn out.

Which sort of pants would you designate as lucky? The Bridget Jones all encasing variety or something from Agent Provocateur?(soon to be opened in Lane Crawford)...I guess it all depends on whether you are male or female!!


We'll weather the weather, whatever the weather, we'll weather the weather together.....

I love weather like this...wild, strong and very invigorating!

One of my best 'hikes' in Hong Kong was when I was living in DB and working at an exhibition....(this was pre tunnel in DB), I woke up in the morning to go to work and found the number 8 was up, there had been no warning the night before and the ferries were obviously closed. I had to be at work as the exhibition was still going ahead (lots of overseas visitors!) so I hiked over from DB to Silvermine Bay and then took the bus to the airport. What an amazing walk...the wind at the top hill was incredible, needless to say that by the time I reached Silvermine Bay I was soaked to the skin...waterproof coverings had proved useless, however my trusty rucksack had the necessities...dry clothes, a hairbrush and a really nice piece of Jamaican Ginger Cake

One of my other brushes with HK weather was about 12 or 13 years ago after a very heavy night in Wanchai, we wandered aimlessly around in a black rain storm looking for a taxi to take us home to South Horizons...aimless wandering took us to the Hilton (as was)and then we took refuge (don't know why we bothered at this point, given we were both completely drenched) under the HK Bank and watched the storm pass over head.....quite magnificent. Whenever I walk under the HK Bank now, I think of that night!


Reasons to move house....

Just opposite my building is a laundry shop...over the last year or so it has served me well....wonderfully fresh smelling clothes, nicely folded so I don't need to iron, socks matched etc etc....added to the wonderful service was their pick up and drop off service and the fact that I could go for a few weeks without seeing them or money changing hands...they would just collect the dirty clothes and I would get nice clean ones outside my apartment when I got home with a note inside saying how much I owed....heaven on earth...

Until this weekend...when I got home, my laundry was outside my door as normal..when I opened up the laundry it smelt damp and musty...nothing was folded, nothing was paired...it was as if the evil elves had been in my laundry bag. So this morning, having a little time to spare before work I went down to have a chat with the owner...a wonderful lady, who speaks great English and goes by the name of Bowie! So I approach the counter and ask for Bowie, this guy then explains that she has sold up and moved on, horror upon horrors, so this will be my laundry lot for the future...

I tried to explain the problem to the gentleman but he just didn't get it....tomorrow I will take down an old sample of fresh smelling laundry and a more recent sample and show him the difference.

If there is no change I shall have to consider more drastic action!


Sunday, May 08, 2005


Have a had a lot of hits from this link from Slate.com. Looks like an interesting site to read...

This is one of their articles on whether the British are really more polite and are smarter than their American counterparts....I realise that the writer is a Brit however, I think maybe she has spent a little too much time in America and has become used to the more genteel way that Americans deal with politics and elections. I have spent time in the House of Commons listening to debates and have spent time listening in on Congress....The House of Commons was far more entertaining and educational, even if a little aggressive!



As I get older and remain "without sprog"....I realise that more and more of my previously "sprogless" friends are giving in to the call of nature. Parenthood still does not appeal to me in a big way...

A few days ago, Kate mentioned a similar vein of thought, even more surprising, given that she is a kindergarden teacher and therefore should be skipping down the path to motherhood....I must say I admire all those involved in children's education (children of any age!) and think that teaching (at least for me!) would be an excellent form of contraception.

Today on the Guardian blog there is a post called Rise of the smug parents. I am sure all we childless people have come across smug parents...."you don't know what you are missing", "your life will be more complete when you have a child"..and so on ad nauseam...I must say that I find comments like these intensely patronising... I enjoy my life (ok - more money, more travel and Chris Noth might make it even more fun!), I value my freedom and my independence and my free time and am still not in a mental position to change all that.

Next time someone makes a comment about having children, I think I may start up a HK chapter of No Kidding....but for obvious reasons, not in Discovery Bay!

On the other side of the coin...I read a post today from A cat named Pi, this lady has a 20 year old son and she is really not that much older than I am....at the age of 17 I was still messing around at school and contemplating 'A' levels...it seems she has had a challenging time of motherhood but has enjoyed it and feels that she has done the best she possibly could - which, in all honesty, is all any of us ask of our mothers. I cannot begin to comprehend how she feels knowing that her son is joining the army and in all reality may be sending time in the future in Iraq. I send her a long distance "Happy Mother's Day" Greeting.



At the moment I am waiting for....

a parcel from Amazon...sent as a gift
a contract
an e-mail from someone very particular!

None of the above seem to have the slightest wish to actually turn up....and needless to say it is beginning to make me a little agitated!

If something anticipated arrives too late it finds us numb, wrung out from waiting, and we feel - nothing at all. The best things arrive on time.
Dorothy Gilman, A New Kind of Country, 1978


Saturday, May 07, 2005


How can crimes like this continue to happen? I just cannot begin to comprehend or imagine the fear and terror that is going through the girl's heads before they are killed.

So often, they know it is going to happen...and they have days, sometimes weeks knowing that one day soon, a member of their family is going to brutally murder them.


Destroying my wardrobe...

Am slowly running out of clothes to wear.....

day before yesterday....favourite black jacket...sleeve met nail on the Star Ferry.

yesterday a pair of trousers met with a bad accident involving a pair of pointy shoes, high heels of afore mentioned pointy shoes, flappy trousers and a staircase ....

today...my favourite skirt...milky hot chocolate colour linen/silk mix....meets jug of milk (whole jug of milk).

I think tomorrow will come to work in the altogether....that should eliminate any clothing disasters!


In the words of Anne Boleyn......

So a court in Chile has decided that a cat which could possibly have rabies must be executed....for some odd reason the kittie will not just have a needle put in its neck and be sent off gently to kittie heaven...no, the kittie is going to be beheaded...

I understand that in order to avoid the possible development of rabies that this is the path the court wants to follow, but I cannot understand why they are going for such a brutal way of carrying out the death sentence.

However, one thing going the cat's way...is that the authorities will have to catch the escaped fiend first!

And for those of you wondering....Anne Boleyn's words were "I have a very little neck"


Friday, May 06, 2005

And further down the Guardian Blog...

Will probably only appeal to British readers....but if you find Robert Kilroy-Silk amusing/irritating/daft...then you will find this entertaining!!!


Some light entertainment...

...via The Guardian blog.

Firstly a little known fact (at least to me) that The Birdie Song has words - in French...but still words! Another thing to hold against the French!! I will not use this opportunity to go into my litany of French jokes....well, ok, maybe just the one....

"What's the difference between a Frenchman and a slice of toast?".........answers on a postcard to...........

The Guardian blog also gives you the opportunity to vote on
"If you had to choose either the Birdie Song or Agadoo as the song that would be played endlessly at you in a confined space until you lost your mind or your life, which would it be?". Vote here

Secondly an article which shows that dating could be so much easier if we would all follow these guidelines on plaited bracelets!


Jordan First....

Whilst skipping through today's Jordan Times I came across an article regarding a light aircraft being produced in Jordan. The Yamamah 430, produced by Seabird Aviation Jordan (SAJ) "is factory-built under licence in Jordan from components supplied by the design authority, Jabiru Pty of Australia". Yesterday the plane had it's Maiden flight (hence the news article).

Further into the article came the sentence that prompted me to write..

"Originally a joint venture between Seabird Aviation Australia (SAA) and the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB), SAJ is now wholly owned by KADDB. "

It was the mention of the KADDB that really made me think....The KADDB's mission (in their own words) "is to harness science and technology to fulfill Jordan's defense needs and, in the process, assist the Nation in creating a sustainable industrial base.". The KADDB came into being under King Abdullah as have a number of different initiatives which are all aimed at building up industry and generating more revenue for a resources poor country.

One of King Abdullah's other intiatives was Jordan First, this was more a rallying cry to the Jordanians to ensure that the Jordanian sense of national identity is maintained and strengthened. When driving into Amman from the airport there are a number of massive billboards proclaiming the "Jordan First" logo, Jordanians wear the "Jordan First" pin and the Jordanian flag is flown proudly all over the Kingdom. Including, on what was at the time the world's tallest flag pole.

Jordan First
Jordan First

King Abdullah is following in his father's (King Hussein) footsteps by treading a very fine line on the Worlds' political stage but at the same time is trying to ensure that Jordan's national identity is not lost and that Jordan becomes more financially stable and self-reliant.

It is my personal hope that he is given the time and resources to implement his vision for Jordan.

BTW, for those of you wondering why I seldom put direct links to the Jordan Times...their articles only stay live for a week. Most irritating.


And it's all over...

So the Labour Party has won........no surprises there....but the size of their majority is greatly reduced and the Lib-Dems have really come into their own...Britain should now have real three-party politics which should make the next election far more interesting.

This was the fight that I was watching....where politics met fisticuffs!!!


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Today's the day....

For those of you who are unaware....today is the day that Britain goes to the polls...or to put it another way...the day that the Personal Assistant to the Leader of the Free World will be re-elected. (Wonder if GWB has seen this site?)

Here are some interesting statistics for those of you interested.

This election campaign has seemed fairly lacklustre and the messages that the parties have been trying to get across have seemed mixed and unfocused. The Labour Party is still really the only viable option when compared with the vaugueness of the Tories and the inexperience of the Lib-Dems.

Andrew Marr from the BBC wrote an interesting article in the middle of April...and I have to say that personally I don't think that anything really changed between then and now.


At least I don't have to lose any more sleep....

Finally this problem has been solved...we can rest easy now that we know for sure how Napoleon died.


Day Off...

Yesterday was my day of freedom...and a very nice one too....rushed around doing all my messages in the morning and then went over to DB for lunch - good food and good company and then a very relaxing afternoon including newspapers and mindless TV!

All in all very pleasant and I actually feel as if I had a day off..quite an unusual sensation!


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lost Post....

Somehow lost my last post....and Fumier's response to the pictures of my moggies...think my blonde brain was not paying attention when pressing buttons....


'The time has come,' the Walrus said,

'To talk of many things:
Of shoes - and ships - and sealing-wax -
Of cabbages - and kings -
And why the sea is boiling hot -
And whether pigs have wings.

The Walrus and The Carpenter
Lewis Carroll

The Platypus' comments the other day made me think....

I realise that in the land of Blog I am a babe (as in new born....not as in Angelina Jolie!), however after just two months I can see which way this blog is going. It hasn't developed into a personal/emotional diary, it hasn't become a work rant and as such I am willing to let a few (very few, very select and very trusted) people in on the act....so starting yesterday...I did!

The beauty of blogs is such that if I want to start a second, more personal look at life...I just start another one....


Thanks Dilbert!

This says it all!!



Monday, May 02, 2005

A minor disaster....

How can I continue to be a true Scot in this far flung Scottish outpost if City Super doesn't keep a regular supply of Oatcakes?...

BTW, if you don't believe me about Hong Kong being a Scottish outpost...I suggest you read this


Sunday, May 01, 2005

OK girls....run....

One of the well known facts/jokes/myths in Hong Kong (depending on which way you look at it) is that it is a "challenge" for Western women to find dates/boyfriends/husbands.

So imagine my delight today when I opened the SCMP Sunday Magazine to see a single and apparently available man....he is a vet, only problem is that he works night shifts...could be difficult for fixing up dates...

Anyway.....if you will excuse me I have to go and decide which moggie is going out the window to give me the perfect excuse....

Of course I would never harm my moggies....the things I have to give up for them!!!!


I know I shouldn't find this amusing....

and to tell the truth it wouldn't be amusing if the new recruits would wear trousers instead of their abayahs.....particularly when abseiling down the wall and detonating the bomb.

Iranian Policewomen's Graduation Ceremony.

I can't remember where I originally got this link from, so I apologise in advance for not crediting it. This link is from MemriTV.


That can't be good....

I have just realised how rapidly life passes us by.....

I saw this headline on the BBC website....

Remember these?
The pound note is long dead, but one bureau de change wasn't told

I thought to myself...it wasn't that long ago that they ceased to be legal tender....how wrong can I be...pound notes stopped being legal tender in 1988, that's 17 years ago...I thought it was just a few years back...and even worse - the pound coin was introduced in 1983 - that's 22 years ago!! I remember that...even now when I go back to the UK (not often admittedly)I still think the notes would be better than all these bloody coins!!!

Oh..and here's a thought...my first pocket money savings account was with the Post Office (accounts since stopped) and was in Pounds, Shillings and Pence!

Where has my life gone? I think it is time to start doing some serious planning!

Anyway...read all about it here. (The BBC article, that is...not the urgent planning of my life!)