Thursday, June 30, 2005

The things that people do....

the other day I was talking to a friend about things that couples do to each other when they split up (and its nasty)...there is the usual....leaving the a/c on and the windows open if they are out of town, calling the speaking clock, sprinkling grass seeds on a carpet and watering them...and then there's eBay.

...remember boys, 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned'.....

And in other news....

The gnomes are on the move again....but can I just ask - can someone please define what is 'a gnome sort of village'?

'Top 50 Handsome Men' Clive Owen, Robbie Williams and Hugh Jackman...can't argue with that - but where is Bradley Whitford?


I'm so glad to see that...

Simon Le Bon hasn't changed as much as all the others...the guy is gorgeous and I have thought that ever since the first time I saw him in his little pixie boots and frilly shirt singing Planet Earth on one of those Saturday morning kid's shows in 1981

From the BBC


Wonder if they're true........?

A friend of mine recently commented that I seem to be making a lot of references to flying and planes...I hadn't noticed it personally...have no reason for it other than the subject interests me and my brother (who flies light aircraft) sends me humerous/educational snippets....the lastest of these being...

Pilots leave messages for the ground crew on a log, if they have concerns or
problems. Here are a few of them, along with their answers:

Problem: "Left inside main tire almost needs replacement."
Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tire."

Problem: "Test flight OK, except autoland very rough."
Solution: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."

Problem #1: "#2 Propeller seeping prop fluid."
Solution #1: "#2 Propeller seepage normal."
Problem #2: "#1, #3, and #4 propellers lack normal seepage."

Problem: "The autopilot doesn't."
Signed off: "IT DOES NOW."

Problem: "Something loose in c*ckpit."
Solution: "Something tightened in c*ckpit."

Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear."
Solution: "Evidence removed."

Problem: "Number three engine missing."
Solution: "Engine found on right wing after brief search."

Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud."
Solution: "Volume set to more believable level."

Problem: Dead bugs on windshield.
Solution: Live bugs on order.

Problem: Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent.
Solution: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

Problem: IFF inoperative.
Solution: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.

Problem: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
Solution: That's what they're there for.

It's probably an urban myth...but it still made me smile!!!


I would like to be normal....even if just for one day...!

There is some poor bastard out there this morning who is recovering from the shock of being grabbed on the Star Ferry this morning....whoever you are.....I apologised then...and I apologise I tried to explain to you...I was hearing voices in my head...

I was sitting on the lower deck of the Star Ferry, listening to my iPod and enjoying my trip to work...the song I was listening to finished....and then there seemed to be an inordinately long gap between songs so I thought that maybe the volume was too I turned it up....and then it happened...loudly and clear as a bell...the voice in my head...."I am the invisible man"...I think I screamed....I know that I grabbed the guy sitting next to the time this had all happened the rest of the rest of the song had kicked in....and I had to start to apologise...

The Gods sure are having fun with me at the moment.....


I had a dream....

To be honest it's not the dream that bothers me it's what I woke up with....

My dream was about an ex-boyfriend...for some reason he turned up at some wine tasting I was holding at my parents house...we reconnected...stayed up late chatting and then he agreed we would meet up the following night...however due to work committments I couldn't make the appointment and for some reason could not call him (obviously my dreams are not very hi-tech) I figured the only way I could contact him was by writing a letter.....

When I woke up this morning...there in the bed next to me was a pen and a piece of two things bother me about is that I have never (to the best of my knowledge) walked in my sleep before, the second is that I can never, ever find a bloody pen in my house when I am how the hell did I manage it when I am asleep....??!!!

Actually I do have one other concern....I am hoping that the security guards for my building would have stopped me from trying to post the bloody letter had I tried to...particularly given that I don't sleep with too much clothing on!!


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I wonder....

if this will work.........


I'm bloody tired.....

Did not get back to sleep until about 5:30am and when the alarm went off at 7am it was not a welcome noise....anyway...I guess nothing can be more unwelcome than finding out that America seems to think that Ronald Reagan is the greatest American of all time....

Britain had her poll in 2002 and the result was Churchill although when the poll was opened up to the world at large it seems that Isaac Newton is the Brit of choice. Quite how Diana, Princess of Wales made it to number 3 in both polls I am not sure....

Germany did something similar in 2003, they did, however, bar Hitler and his ilk from being nominated. Austria was offended that Mozart had been included in the German short list and the eventual winner was Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.



This can't be good.....3am and I'm knocking around in cyberspace....

So if the call was not illegal, why didn't she say anything before?

It's all change on Lower Albert Road as the gates are to go....

More opportunities to 'fly the flag' as Cathay starts a fourth flight to London...personally being so crap at sleeping and suffering from diabolical jet lag...the late night flights suit me...but more options are always good!

And HK's airconditioning habits make it to CNN....I agree that offices, buses etc etc are over air-conditioned....but I do have a guilty secret...I can only really sleep in a room that is cold enough to hang meat of my best friends is very wary of going on holiday with me if we have to share a room...she always packs extra clothing because she knows she will be up against Arctic temperatures...

And finally, 10 years time when the All Blacks face off against the Welsh....the All Blacks won't be the only ones doing the haka. From a girly Brit point of view I can't see that being a bad thing...but I am sure the Kiwis may not agree....!!!!!

And so to the words of Hamlet....'to sleep, perchance to dream".


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A visit from the Police....

My heart just skipped a few door bell rang and when I opened it there were two policemen standing my experience that is never good news.....

They were supervising my building's management team telling all residents to get their window frames checked....apparently some windows have fallen out of my building, although this article from The Standard does not mention my building.

So they finished their spiel, turned to leave, I tried to shut the gate and it fell of its runner and belted one of the policemen on his head......he was very charming and helped me replace it back on its runner, but his head must have really hurt!

So all excitement over.....the evening shall continue in peace...Inshallah!


Thoughts on my day off....

I am looking forward to being in the UK in August and being able to buy unpadded bras....I get quite agitated in M&S here, trust me when I say that there are quite a few of us that don't require that extra what's with all the white bras....some of us also need black bras...even in summer!

I bought another suitcase today...the first physical step I have taken towards my is sitting in the corner glaring at me at the moment....I guess I ought to start thinking about what to put in it.

It's a beautiful day out there....from up in my Sheung Wan eyrie I can see right the way over to the Tsing Ma bridge....I love the view from my little box.

Why do my hangovers kick in about 6 hours after I wake lulls me into a false sense of security!

Aqua (One Peking Road) really is a cool place to go for a drink...and a good place to bid farewell to what is one of the most amazing views in the world.

the Battle of Trafalgar anniversary celebrations look like an amazing times like this I wish I were in the British Isles.

Chairman Mao definitely knows that something is up....I must be giving out 'moving' vibes...he has become overly affectionate and very, very clingy....

And a Happy Blogging Birthday to Mia, her first blogging birthday......a cyberspace glass of best bubbly is being raised! I hope that I can manage to make a year...with the same class as she has.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Is it just me...?

Why would anyone in their right mind do this?

And the logic of this defies me...I really can't be bothered to go into a whole spiel about the brains behind this, have the words 'moving' and 'change location' not crossed anyone's minds...



So apparently David Beckham's smooth and unhairy chest has prompted thousands of British men to buy home wax kits. Is this true? Is the phenomenon going to spread to HK?....

a few thoughts on this....and please note I speak for myself only.....when it comes to men's body hair it is horses for courses where women's choices are concerened......

some chest hair is good, taking it all off is just nasty.....if you are going for the back...then yes - take it all off (and then some!)

human carpets can be a little unnerving...both front and back....but a word of advice, if you are that hairy and you plan on home waxing - it will be leave it to a professional who will strap you down so you don't try to escape with a bloody great hairless strip down your chest or back!

Having spent some time at swimming pools in Jordan I can honestly say that there are some incredibly hairy men out there...unimaginable before I went, however they seem to revel in it... they would sit drying at the end of the pool like a great heap of basking furry seals, fur glistening in the sunlight!

Enough said......!


Sunday, June 26, 2005

A News Junkie's R & R...

I am a self-confessed news junkie...I cannot survive without watching the news at least twice a day, reading various news websites each day and being close to the internet to keep up to date with the computer has the BBC tickertape running across the top....sad, I know! Quite what I am waiting for God, alone knows...

So what do I do for R&R....I watch this. I have had it for a while, but it has been doing the rounds of my has come home to roost and I am now sitting and watching it.

I cannot recommend it enough...not only is it a good history of the BBC itself, but it also an amazing recap of the world since 1954


Madame Chiang's soundtrack...

I just received an e-mail asking what would be 'my' song.....a really hard question to answer because it depends so much on my mood, where I am at etc is my (present!) choice...actually it's two...and probably these two because the memories associated with these two songs are 'me' memories...they don't include anyone else....what I used to listen to whilst dancing with my cats, pounding the pavements in Disco Bay and in Amman, driving to and from work, lying in the sun by the Dead Sea, hiking around Petra, wandering around art galleries in various corners of the globe...all 'me' one else involved. I told you I was selfish!

This ain't a song for the broken-hearted
No silent prayer for the faith-departed
I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd
You're gonna hear my voice
When I shout it out loud

It's my life
It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just want to live while I'm alive
(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said
I did it my way
I just wanna live while I'm alive
It's my life

This is for the ones who stood their ground
For Tommy and Gina who never backed down
Tomorrow's getting harder make no mistake
Luck ain't even lucky
Got to make your own breaks

It's my life
And it's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just want to live while I'm alive
(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said
I did it my way
I just want to live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my life

Better stand tall when they're calling you out
Don't bend, don't break, baby, don't back down

It's my life
Bon Jovi

Come on hold my hand,
I wanna contact the living.
Not sure I understand,
This role I’ve been given.

I sit and talk to god
And he just laughs at my plans,
My head speaks a language, I don’t understand.

I just wanna feel real love,
Feel the home that I live in.
’cause I got too much life,
Running through my veins, going to waste.

I don’t wanna die,
But I ain’t keen on living either.
Before I fall in love,
I’m preparing to leave her.
I scare myself to death,
That’s why I keep on running.
Before I’ve arrived, I can see myself coming.

I just wanna feel real love,
Feel the home that I live in.
’cause I got too much life,
Running through my veins, going to waste.

And I need to feel, real love
And a life ever after.
I cannot get enough.

I just wanna feel real love,
Feel the home that I live in,
I got too much love,
Running through my veins, going to waste.

I just wanna feel real love,
In a life ever after
There’s a hole in my soul,
You can see it in my face, it’s a real big place.

Come and hold my hand,
I wanna contact the living,
Not sure I understand,
This role I’ve been given

Not sure I understand.
Not sure I understand.
Not sure I understand.
Not sure I understand.

Robbie Williams


Iraq and the Leader of the Free World....

Watching both GWB and Rumsfeld over the last couple of days explaining that the situation is Iraq is slowly improving etc etc I realised that caught up in my own little world I have given very little time over to following the state of the Iraq nation and the ongoing state of the 'war' (regardless of GWB saying that the war is my opinion it isn't).

This morning I wake up to a long post from Spike and an even longer rebuttal from James Burnham. Both have very strong opinions and both have points that I accept and disagree strongly with, I am not going to go into a huge spiel here...suffice to say, my thoughts are as follows...

1)I believe that the invading forces seriously underestimated the violence with which they would be met after the war was technically over, there didn't seem to be a logical plan other than 'go in, get rid of Saddam and then rebuild'.

2)I believe that eventually the average Iraqi will be better off than he was under Saddam, democracy and freedom of speech (when they can excercise it fully) will be a welcome relief after the Ba'athist regime.

3)I think that GWB's motives were not necessarily to rid the Iraqis of their dictator so they could all live a free and happy life...I think oil was involved...(James, I think America is looking long term not just one years value), democracy is definitely one way to win the war against terrorism and as such Iraq is well placed geographically to secure that sweep of influence across the Middle East...if GWB was looking at ridding the world of dictators...there are many other countries he could look at - however, not all of them have oil or can influence the fight against world terrorism.

4)It makes me intensely angry when people counting the cost of life...only measure it in American lives...please remember, there are other nationalities involved here - not least the Iraqis who have suffered a huge loss of life amongst their citizens..., plus other nations' armed forces, aid workers....the list goes on.

5)Now that the powers that be have invaded and turned the average Iraqi's world upside down they cannot and must not pull out now and just leave them to the present 'unholy' mess...we went in, we made a is up to us now to clear up the mess. Even if the Americans, Brits et al, pull out...the bombings will continue..these bombings are not so much anti-American as anti-free world and anti-democracy (granted, the definition lines are a little blurred at present).

The Middle East is a part of the world that is very close to my heart...and given its natural beauty, hospitality of its people and the history involved in that region...I can think of nothing more attractive than a free, democratic and peaceful Middle East region...however, I can only hope and dream it will happen in my life time.

Apologies...I waffled!! On a much lighter note, but still staying with the US, on this day in 1963...JFK informed the world he was a jelly doughnut....or did he?!


Musical Memories...

Whilst I was living in Switzerland I was mildly besotted with one of my lecturers...we did become good friends and remain so to this day. However, when we were in Switzerland we were very much partners in crime and many of our outings had musical of the albums that gave the soundtrack for tearing around the Alps was 'Mike & The Mechanics', two songs in particular have special meaning for this wonderful couple of years....I haven't listened to any of their music for about the last 10 years...but after an e-mail exchange the other day I dug out the album and listened....some great memories, a lot of laughs and a few wry smiles!

There is nothing wrong with me
there's nothing wrong with you
maybe we're just blind to see
each other's point of view.

Nobody knows what we had.

You could do much better,
you could do much worse than me.
I could have walked right out on you
there was nothing stopping me

Nobody knows what we had.

We were running of passion
we were running out of time
there's a face to fit the future
there's a face to fit the crime.
Now the truth is on the table
and the ghost is plain to see
there's nothing wrong with you or me.

I won't live in your world,
you can't live in mine
We don't hate each other darlin'
we just gave up trying.

Nobody knows what we had.

Maybe I'm not crying
maybe I don't mind
But it hurts just knowing
your children won't be mine.

Nobody knows what we had.

Nobody Knows
Mike & The Mechanics

and just a short clip....

It must be hard
being an angel
when the devil in your heart
won't set you free
it must be hard
being an angel
when the world has let you down
imperfection all around....

Nobody's perfect
all of the time
nobody's perfect
we are what we are
there's no perfect reason
and no perfect rhyme
for most of the time
that's what we're looking for.

Nobody's Perfect
Mike & The Mechanics


That's an improvement....

Now you can upload pictures into your blog..directly from's a test one...just picked the first picture that came up when I opened my pictures file....

In case you are interested, the picture is of the refugee camp set up at Ruwaished near the Jordan-Iraq border during the Iraq war...they were expecting a flood of refugees as in the first Gulf War but in reality the flood was more of a trickle.


Spare a couple of quid, Guv..?

I know that this is a statement of the bloody obvious...but I am still going to make it...!!!

Those big birds up there are damn expensive! is a brief price list from Boeing, via here


Saturday, June 25, 2005

9 questions to get to know yourself!

All this from only 9 questions...they can't be serious!!!

I would never class myself as a 'true romantic', I don't flirt because I don't know how to..and I wouldn't do 'anything and everything to keep my true love'...if it doesn't doesn't work!!!! And as for the admirers hanging off my arms...not bloody likely..........!!!

Your view on yourself:
You are down-to-earth and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties.

The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for:
You are a true romantic. When you are in love, you will do anything and everything to keep your love true.

Your readiness to commit to a relationship:
You are ready to commit as soon as you meet the right person. And you believe you will pretty much know as soon as you meet that person.

The seriousness of your love:
You like to flirt and behave seductively. The opposite sex finds this very attractive, and that's why you'll always have admirers hanging off your arms. But how serious are you about choosing someone to be in a relationship with?

Your views on education
You may not like to study but you have many practical ideas. You listen to your own instincts and tend to follow your heart, so you will probably end up with an unusual job.

The right job for you:
You have plenty of dream jobs but have little chance of doing any of them if you don't focus on something in particular. You need to choose something and go for it to be happy and achieve success.

How do you view success:
You are confident that you will be successful in your chosen career and nothing will stop you from trying.

What are you most afraid of:
You are afraid of having no one to rely on in times of trouble. You don't ever want to be unable to take care of yourself. Independence is important to you.

Who is your true self:
You are full of energy and confidence. You are unpredictable, with moods changing as quickly as an ocean. You might occasionally be calm and still, but never for long.

from here via A tiny blip...


A very painful 80 minutes...

Have just finished watching the Rugby...not great for the Lions, losing O'Driscoll so incredibly quickly was a harsh blow...I wouldn't recommend watching that kind of match being the only Brit in a room full of Kiwis...definitely need some kind of moral support!

The Lions just couldn't seem to get it together and it was painful to watch..I kept flinching!

The only highpoint was that the cameraman did seem to give a fair amount of screen time to the Lions' bit of eye candy...young Mr Wilkinson! So it wasn't a completely wasted 80 minutes...but still...I hope the next two weekends bring some more promising scores.

and wasn't the weather bloody awful..I couldn't believe it when it started hailing!

and on a lighter note.....

Overheard conversation between an American and one other of unknown nationality...

Unknown nationality: "So this is the All Blacks against New Zealand?"
American (full of confidence): "No, this is the English Lions against New Zealand"

I am sure both sides would have loved that exchange.


Tea AND Sympathy

It's a worry....

I am sure this is the kind of news that any airlinedoesn't want to is incredible how the actions of one small group of people can affect the reputation of a company the size of BA.

People like this should be strung up.

And from The Shakey Kaiser this story from the Guardian about two joy-riding pilots.


Friday, June 24, 2005

A sympathy click...!!!!

Have updated my list of reading...came across Singabore after he left a message over with Spike...

Singabore seems to be suffering from separation if you have a over and leave him a comment..or read this post of his...which did make me laugh, although I must try to find out which hotel he stayed at so I can avoid any towels with suspicious looking marks on....!!!!


Just two thoughts........

It is not a good thing when the only thing the alarm clock wakes up in the morning is a sodding cat.....this morning the one cat allowed to sleep with me at night (only because she sleeps and doesn't move...I am such a light sleeper that someone two blocks away turns over and I wake up! I am not an ideal sleeping partner..I think some people think I am a little creepy!) was actually woken up by the alarm was the funniest thing...she sort of opened her eyes, moved her head slightly and then stretched...and then rolled over and went back to sleep....I should have put the alarm clock on snooze just to piss her off!!

I know I said I like the rain, but I am just sitting here waiting for Noah to dock at the Ocean Terminal and start onloading two of whichever species he feels would be good to save from our 'barren' rocks!


It's all down to perception....

Picture the scene...

I am sitting in a meeting where I was working in Jordan, waving my hands in disagreement with a point being raised...I am holding a conversation with someone on my 'outside' mobile and another with someone on my 'internal' mobile - all to do with the meeting...I hear someone speaking down the corridor who has a document pertinent to the meeting..I open the door...wave them in and ask for the document. As I sit down...I look up at the GM...he frowns...and then says "How do you bloody do that?" turn to frown.."What?"...all those things at once...."Ah, I reply...multi-tasking....something apparently only women can do to any great level!"...he laughed...."Yes, I agree"!!

So on Wednesday I was joking around with someone saying that women can multi-task better than, having to do a bit of research on the subject I find that there is no actual scientific proof about is just 'perception'.

This Q&A fromCNNand this article from the WSJ.

So there you go....there is no scientific women just get on and do it!!


Can't see the wood for the trees.....or the smile!

So this is what happens when I can't sleep...I think...really not good!!

On Tuesday evening between my ‘rescue my life’ by SMS marathon and a long and deep discussion with my ‘potential, unsuitable Poker opponent’, we got onto the subject of who I was SMSing…and why…so I explained…

‘Unsuitable Poker opponent’ then started asking some questions which actually made me wonder about why I was pursuing my ‘opponent of choice’….It is very strange how a complete stranger can cut through the crap and see stuff that you hadn't...

So the conversation went along the lines of “So what do you see in him?" , so I told him…(and yes, Platypus, the dreaded word nice did raise its ugly head again, but as I have mentioned before…I have had my fill of dragon slayers!)..then “So how often have you seen him?”…..very infrequently…I have an evil job for socialising…his seems equally (but differently) evil….”So does he call you?”…mmm, now we seem to be on tricky ground…sometimes, but ditto previous answer…”yes, but he can call you…or SMS or even just call to say Good night..”….mmm, it has never been that kind of a question please..."how long have you known him?"...a while (some would consider it a long while)..."and he has never intimated anything other than friendship?"...he's always struck me as being very shy and also very busy and caught up with his these questions are getting uncomfortable...time to change the subject...

Distance and 36 hours reflection can make a huge difference to one's thought process....maybe recent events were catapulted forward unnecessarily and maybe it is time to withdraw to more neutral territory for a more objective view.....

I need to decide whether I am being paranoid or am a test case for this book.

Notwithstanding....and the following may sound shallow but....he has a wonderful smile, the most gorgeous blue eyes and his accent is definitely a bonus and he smells good...really good!! On a slightly deeper note...he seems a fairly gentle soul..would be a good foil to my slightly more agressive, blunt character, I get the feeling that at the end of a long and stressful day of which I have many...he wouldn't press for details until I was ready....and even more important - actually incredibly important...if I wanted to sit and read with no interruption to do anything else...he would let me...(the latter I actually know for a fact!).


Thursday, June 23, 2005

A few pictures of Beirut....

As promised a few pictures of Beirut...they are scanned so the quality is not great...but they give you a rough idea....these pictures were taken in December 2002 on my first trip to Beirut.

Just a brief explanation on 'Solidere', the area is actually better known as Downtown, however, the company responsible for rebuilding the area (masterminded by Rafik Hariri)is called Solidere, so that name has stuck. As I said the other evening, Beirut really is a fantastic city...very beautiful, very historical, great restaurants and night life....

Looking back up from the Corniche, on the way to the American University
Looking back up from the Corniche, on the way to the American University

on the edge of Solidere
The old and the new...on the edge of Solidere

Across to central Beirut from the Sheraton
Across to Beirut from the Sheraton

Part of the restored Solidere area

War damaged Holiday Inn (shame about the lamp post!)
War damaged Holiday Inn, shame about the lamp post.

My pictures are not great....but this link shows some nice pictures of Beirut, including Solidere and Centre Ville.

More pictures, with some commentary here.

And this link shows the Solidere area before and after....just click on the line that says 'Beirut Before & After pictures'


In preperation for Manila....

Must change the ring tone on my mobile before I go to Manila...obviously 'Scotland the Brave' just wont cut the mustard there!


Harsh...but fair.....

is the only way to describe this post from A tiny blip...


I had to laugh......

I am at present reading Rules of Engagement by Tim Collins...he was Lieutenant Colonel of the 1 R Irish Regiment for a few of the anecdotes he related when I was reading last night was this...(from during the Fireman's strike of 2002)

"One of the NCOs, a burly Dubliner, struggled to open the fire hydrant with the hydrant tool. He suddenly threw it down with one of the most unusual but in its own way eloquent, descriptive and accurate sentences I've heard in the English language:'Ah, fuck, de fucken fucker's fucken fucked!'"

And then this morning I read Spike's post from Tuesday...

"Typically, once here, these fucks have rearranged the meeting schedule again. This week I have meetings Wednesday through Friday. Next week it's now just Thursday and Friday. I have to fucking sit in this fucking hellhole in a fucking shitty hotel for five fucking days doing fuck-all at their fucking convenience."

I know my language can be a little 'blue' at the best of times...(unfortunately one of the drawbacks of the industry I work in is constant exposure to pretty strong language)...but these two clips were fairly impressive.

Speaking of Spike....he seems a little bored....although, dare I say it,...the 'down time' might be good for him....


A few early morning thoughts....

Since I was a young child I have suffered chronically from nerves...before speeches, before being in school plays, before games matches, before exams - basically anything for which I either had full responsibility or shared responsibility...these nerves don't make brain says I can do whatever the task it, mentally I am actually quite calm about things....however, my stomach says other things....nothing will remain in my stomach under any circumstances...for however long my sub-conscious is most incovenient...I think my sub-conscious has tried to make it more convenient by making sure I am not hungry or thirsty during the same period!! The other side effect is that my sub-conscious will not let me sleep...managed about three hours last night, I know that I am a bad sleeper anyway but this is not great. job pending, small move across the water...sub-conscious has kicked started yesterday morning...the only thing I ate yesterday was a piece of banana cake....someone had freshly baked it and was justifiably proud of their's not good if you are having afternoon tea at someone's house and then half an hour later throw it up!! Really, really not good!! And before anyone thinks it...I do not have an eating disorder...just a highly active sub-conscious!

I have tried many ways to get past this over the years...nothing has worked...if anyone has any suggestions - they would be gratefully received....the only good thing is that it saves on time as I don't really need to eat plus the lack of sleep required means that I automatically have more hours in the day!!


I know very few other people do...but I love this kind of's good for so many things...staying in bed - all snuggled up against the elements, sitting in the office enjoying a bit of 'schaden-freude' that I can watch and enjoy it from indoors...and finally, the best part, actually being out there and battling the elements...I love it...this morning my brolly blew inside out and I got drenched on the way to is just so invigorating...I think everyone thought I was some kind of a lunatic...absolutely drenched and yet grinning like the Cheshire Cat!

As I have mentioned before, I have some great memories of heavy rain in Hong Kong......the song that reminds me of that evening was Eurythmics.."Here comes the Rain Again".


Spoke to a friend of mine in Edinburgh last night....he had just finished a 54 mile walk in 23 very own action hero! He is quite proud of himself (and justifiably so), out of 1800 people who started only 600 finished.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

And whilst I was otherwise occupied.....

Rather interesting timing for a resignation.

In case any of you are thinking of bringing down a bank or spending some time in Singapore at the "Government's pleasure", this article/book may be of help.

On apostrophes.

Hong Kong is now only the 9th costliest city in the world.

Just a little extra tip for you....if you have an accident with fake tan as I did at the weekend...alcohol (from the chemist....not vodka, gin etc) will remove it from your skin, it takes a while and is a little drying...but it will get rid of the worst excesses.


A rather odd 48 hours....

As I sit in my apartment feeling more than a little "out of sorts"....... I am reflecting on the events of the last 48 hours..

Monday night I had a dinner date which was part of my "Playing Poker without Cards" saga....a few tentative hands were played...the stakes were raised.

Tuesday morning...the Poker game was resumed by a surprise visit by my 'opponent'.... bearing flowers...the stakes are raised further....

Tuesday evening...a night out with the girls, highly entertaining until a rather unsuitable SMS was sent to my 'Poker opponent'....note to not allow slightly pissed friends anywhere near my mobile phone ever again! So late on Tuesday evening, there was a flurry of SMSs to try to iron out the damage...the Poker game continued by SMS...a few more hands were played..the stakes were raised again....

And just to confuse the issue...lets introduce another potential 'Poker partner'...he joins in the girls night out...very cute, young (at least younger than me!!), intelligent, well educated and very good company.... and seemed to be most definitely interested....

Interesting choice....go for the sensible, most adult option or throw caution to the winds and just try something 'just for the hell of it'...!!! True to form I went with the most adult thing to do....

So....the possibility of having a Poker partner is out 'opponent' of choice is interested.....

Bloody great timing....nothing for a year...and then three weeks before I leave.....and even chance of any further games until the end of next week due to work schedules....

As a little my analogy of "playing poker without cards"....I received this link by e-mail....I must say I had never heard of it until I received the link....and there I was thinking my title was quite clever!!! Reading the link....I must admit to a little confusion and just a little admission of stupidity...


Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Sitting here watching the BBC reporting the elections from Beirut, I am reminded of just how incredibly beautiful Beirut is. It is an incredibly stunning city. The rebuilt Solidere area in connection with the majority of the city that is either badly damaged or pock-marked by shells...makes it the most amazing city...couple that with the Mediterranean, the mountains behind and the incredible dining and nightlife and you have a city that it would be crazy to miss out on visiting....

I don't have any digital pictures to Beirut but will get some of my photos scanned and see if they will show up well...if they do I will post them.


Monday, June 20, 2005

So this is what GWB Jnr's in box looks like...

This link to George W. Bush Jnr's Hotmail account made me laugh - really hard!!!!

Thank you Manuel L.Quezon III


Monday in my little world....

Chances are this is not going to be a good seems my home is coming undone...not only is my internet access down but I have no hot water....this started on Saturday, did not get home until late yesterday evening, so again this morning, no hot water...guess I should be grateful it's not winter! And just to really put the icing on the cake....instead of using moisturiser on my legs when I got home last night...I used self tanner (I forgot I had it on the shelf and it says Moisturising in even bigger letters than the self tanner part and I was not wearing my contacts or glasses!)...didn't realise until this morning...I can't even begin to describe the mess!!!!

The only bright spot is that I have two days off....I use the term "off" very loosely as I will be so busy..all appointments booked etc.

I had an interesting evening yesterday, I met Spike of Hongkie Town interesting interlude. I mentioned in one of my recent posts about imagining how people look, my mind's eye was not too far off this time. Obviously an adventurous type he ordered and drank the Egyptian wine on offer!! I shall look forward to seeing him in Manila.

Received an e-mail from Patrick over at DC Blogs...everything you ever wanted to know about DC all under one roof...should be an interesting read...I shall be taking it slowly, as I have said before DC is probably my favourite city in the world, however it also brings back some unnerving memories.

I see that Hemlock has found a use for that useless plastic thing that HSBC has sent out...Mia, you may find some of his suggestions of use!

According to this report from the BBC it seems that Romania is still very much operating in the Dark Ages.

In Lebanon, the people have spoken, although I am waiting for official confirmation before getting too excited.

I am glad that Hong Kong does not have an equivalent of the Russian White Fluff, I would imagine it would be something far more unpleasant!


Sunday, June 19, 2005

So how British are you.....?

I took this short quiz from the BBC...I only scored 7 out of 15...not great!

The questions are based on information you would have to learn to pass the British Citzenship test.


Our neighbours over the water....

I am British and even having lived overseas all my life I do still have some allegiance to my country of origin, so I think 'foul scorn' on anyone who would dare to call Great Britain...'pathetic'. Britain as a nation may be called a lot of things...Britain is not perfect (no country is) but I do not think that it could ever be described as 'pathetic'.

It is true that Britain and France's scrapping and making up has been going on for hundreds of 1066 the Anglo-Saxons were conquered by the French Normans, the Kings of England spoke French for many generations, when he died Richard the Lionheart's (Richard 1) body was buried in three different locations...all in France...Henry VIII tried to keep the peace by agreeing to the famous meeting named the Field of the Cloth of Gold' didn't work for long, Bloody Mary (Henry's daughter) lost Calais, Elizabeth only just managed to keep the peace and that was only with her usual scheming, conniving and possibly, maybe agreeing to consider marrying a French Prince....skip another couple of hundred years and it brings us up to the immediate present and we have the the Iraq War and the EU..both of which France and Britain differ very strongly over. But...there is still no need to call Britain pathetic...we just agree to calling is not going to help the situation.

I think Tony Blair has done a huge amount to try to heal the rifts between the two countries..rifts that are far wider and dangerous than the physical channel that divides us. The French as a nation are spectacularly hard to understand and I feel that they find it hard to realise that they don't rule the World or European roost anymore (if they ever did?).

Reading this brief article from the BBC goes to show that many French are seeking out better prospects in the UK, hopefully this will help lead to the greater understanding which is so desperately needed.

On a more 'snarky' note...Chirac did choose the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo to make his comments....can't possibly think who was 'pathetic' then!! And on an even more 'snarky' note...searching Google for "French Military Victories" comes up with this link....which in turn leads to this rather humerous reading material..!! Enjoy...I certainly did!!!


Owner of a broken heart....

Yesterday evening I went to a colleague's normal wedding standards this was a particularly lively affair...there will be a few people roaming around their apartments today with rather heavy heads...including, no less, the groom's mother...she gets full credit for being able to down Carlsberg and red wine at some speed and in great quantities....very impressive for such an elegant lady!

When I got home I called a friend of mine overseas and we got chatting about weddings(as you do)and the like....and we got onto the subject of love, divorce and broken hearts....she asked if I had ever had my heart's actually a pretty tough question to answer - does the sadness, anger and depression you feel after a relationship ends amount to a broken heart? How is a broken heart defined?

After we had discussed some definitions and the like, I admitted that I had had my heart broken, once, - actually it was more than broken...I think the words shredded, ground and shattered would describe it better...

In all fairness to the man who broke my heart...I had done the same to him about 8 years before....karma I guess....neither of us did it on purpose...timing, place and general confusion would explain both of our actions...

Has my heart healed? Partially...although everyso often it crumbles again...mainly if I see too much DC scenery on association is a strong thing for me...

Having said that, my desk mug is from the Library of Congress in DC and serves as a constant reminder of an emotionally draining 8 days, when I fell over the other day with my mug of tea and burnt myself...the mug also hit the deck pretty hard...but it survived with a chip out of the base...and is still workable....a pretty good metaphor I would say....


Saturday, June 18, 2005

In my dreams....

Just for everyone's information...the lingerie found at Government House in what was Bill Clinton's guest room....they're mine....well, at least they would be if life were fair!!

If you are not sure what I am talking about...then read the HK magazine editorial from yesterday....


Thoughts of the day....

It seems that Spike at Hongkie Town is the subject of conversation du I am going to add in my hapenny's worth....

I have been reading Hongkie Town for quite some time is a good, honest (brutally so, sometimes) read and has been highly educational...from a political, historical and geographical view (where else would I have learnt about Virus Laden Poo?!) I have a few friends who have led a similar life to Spike's and so nothing really surprises me...although sometimes he can throw out an eye brow raiser...but he sounds like the kind of guy I would like if I met him in real life...

There's a new kid in town (at least temporarily)....I love Hong Kong through the eyes of a new makes it all seem so refreshing and amusing! Welcome to our wonderful town, James.

As it is learn a new thing every new thing was learnt at 8:45am...on the Star Ferry...reading my favourite weekend read...the Weekend FT...if you don't read should..even if it is just to drool over the picture of Tyler Brule on the back...(and before anyone tells me...I know, I know....I'm not his type....). Anyway, I digress...the second article I read each weekend is Harry Eyres' Slow Lane - two it's always good...and two I can keep Tyler Brule's picture in eye sight...

Today's words of wisdom are about punctuation, he is discussing Lynne Truss' book "Eats Shoots and leaves" and is on the subject of possessive apostrophes...

"One of the things I learnt from Eats was the rule stating that Biblical names should have an extra s added (St. James's) while names from the ancient world should not have (Heroditus' Histories)"
I don't normally comment on showbiz issues and figures...but I have to say that I thought Tom Cruise was acting increasingly oddly...jumping on the furniture on two chat shows did seem incredibly out of character for someone who is normally so reserved about his private I wasn't too surprised to see the news of his engagement to Katie Holmes. Anyway..he is still gorgeous and that sparkly rock is huge!

I can't help wondering how these trousers got stained and if the owner of the Blue Gap Dress didn't ask for costs to cover the dry cleaning...why should this guy? These lawyers do seem to get themselves into e-mail pickles..everyone remembers the highly entertainingNorton Rose e-mail incident!!

And a kiss, makes headline news...!!!!


With a little help from my friends........

Usually my first read of the day is either The Platypus,Mia or this morning I click on over to Spike and realise he has had a posting run overnight. Including a little warning for me...I must say that up until today (even after reading the FCO warning for The Philippines and it being more worrying than the one for Jordan!)I had put the present political situation in The Philippines in a mental file marked "if it happens, it happens, I've been through worse" I am a tad more concerned...

My life of travelling has managed to subject me to political turmoil worldwide....coups in West Africa, hatred of non Algerians in Algeria during the early '70s, living in Sri Lanka during the height of the civil war in the mid-eighties, Jordan - twice - once when relations with Israel were at an all time low...and we were living about half a mile from the border and the second time during the height of the second intifada and then the Iraq war....and now it seems Manila may cough up a little more excitement!

Something I have learnt is that often terrible situations occur in a city and three blocks away residents can have no idea it happened until they watch the news.

A classic example of this was in Amman in December ' flat mate and I had taken the day off and were going to go to Madaba for lunch, having no food in the house we decided to head off to Le Meridien for an early I sat eating my breakfast my mother called.."Where are you?"...I told her where I was, what my plans were...all fairly chatty and then she said..."a US diplomat has been shot, I don't think you should be in Amman today"...I explained that I knew nothing about it and it was hard not to be in Amman...seeing as I lived here...anyway after assuring her that there was not much I could do to avoid the situation other than be careful...we hung flatmate and I left Le Meridien and went home to pick up our things before heading off to Madaba...when we got home we switched on Sky news and watched the news about Lawrence Foley's was all very unnerving especially as it had all happened a few streets away from our house, just as we were leaving for Le Meridien...and we knew nothing about it until someone called from the UK....

At heart I am a coward and yet somewhere in the depths of me I am a fatalist....I don't want bad things to happen to me, I don't seek out frightening or potentially dangerous situations (although anyone reading the above may dispute that!), I try to keep my head below the parapet. However, que sera, sera...I could get run over by one of those nasty little mini buses on Caine Road tomorrow and never get to see anything vaguely dangerous in Manila!

Notwithstanding, Spike....thank you....


Friday, June 17, 2005

No more heroes....

The word's to the The Stranglers' song 'No more heroes', got me out of detention at school....accused of not listening in class (which I hadn't been)..our history teacher sprung the question "How did Trotsky die?"....the opening lines to "No more heroes".....

Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?
He got an ice pick
That made his ears burn

And it seems that the ice pick that was used has resurfaced.

One thing I didn't realise that is mentioned in the BBC article is that "Trotsky grappled with his assailant before moving to an adjacent room, where he collapsed on the floor".

Obviously these Russian's are made of strong stuff as I am sure everyone knows how long it took to kill Rasputin. Even when he was presumed dead (after being poisoned, shot three times and beaten savagely around the head) and thrown into the frozen river, it seems he was still alive and actually drowned trying to free himself from the ropes that bound him.

The Mad Monk happens to be one of many historical characters in whom I am very interested and over the years have clocked up a fair amount of research and reading. Edvard Radzinsky's book 'The Last Word' is one of the better one's I have read about Rasputin.

and in the words of another song...."Oh, those Russians".....


Our odd little world....

This lady, is one in 419 million....just how bloody lucky is that....

Order something else or the lobster gets it...

There must be a marketing opportunity here

I wonder if Ms Hurley's wedding dress..sorry, sari, will be held together with safety pins to 'preserve her modesty'?

And fumier complains about bad driving in Hong Kong...? Try this...

Good news for Wimbledon...and those in the UK anywhere near a beach, park or garden...

Proof that the Brits will bet on anything.....


Imaginary friends....

In my mind's eye I have built up a picture of what many of my regular blogging reads look like... I am sure most people would be quite entertained by how I imagine them looking....or possibly - not!

Around the world it seems that each city's/country's blogging community is divided up into those that all know each other and meet up on a regular basis...and those that stay behind the wonderful blanket of anonymity that the internet can offer.

Obviously meeting up with the people whose lives I read about in sometimes graphic detail would be quite surprising when I compare my mind's eye picture and the assumed characteristics with the reality.

In Singapore they seem to be preparing for a bloggers convention and Wonky Tong has written about her pre-meeting emotions and thoughts on what her fellow bloggers will be like.


A third Intifada.....

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

Talk of a third Intifada
Daoud Kuttab

It is an unlikely request. But Palestinians would be pleasantly surprised if US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would do it when she comes to Ramallah. Many would be surprised if the convoy of the senior US diplomat would take the same route — that going through the Qalandia checkpoint — that thousands of Palestinians going to Ramallah take. This checkpoint has become the humiliating symbol of what the continued Israeli occupation is all about.
Checkpoints between Palestinian cities (and not just between Palestine and Israel) were erected shortly after the eruption of the second Intifada. All international peace agreements, including the one accepted by all sides: the roadmap, call on Israel to remove the tens of checkpoints and return the Israeli army to the pre-October 2000 positions.

The effects of the checkpoints have been disastrous. They stifled economic relations, as goods and people are not able to move between Palestinian cities. Ironically, the only goods easily allowed into Palestinian cities are Israeli, giving them a huge advantage, at the expense of local products and services. In addition to their negative effects on the economy, the checkpoints have had a huge negative effect on people's psyche. Many Palestinians say that while they may not want to travel to other cities, the fact that they cannot make them feel claustrophobic.

Perhaps the best indication of the wide-ranging negative effects of the checkpoints can be seen by scanning the daily reports of the Israeli group Mahsom Watch. A look at the details of these reports shows that basic humiliations and restriction of movement is arbitrary. That humiliating practices often depend on the mood of a particular soldier or officer, rather than on any genuine security need.

Of real importance is to look at the variety of people of all ages, backgrounds, professions and economic status. This variety reinforces the feeling among Palestinians, as well as among legal experts, that these travel restriction between Palestinian cities is nothing less than a violation of international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention clearly defines such actions as collective punishment, prohibited by international humanitarian law.

The difficulties of transportation have forced the Palestinian telephone carrier PalTel to make all Palestinian areas one dialling zone. In an ad played on radio and television, a mother calls her two daughters in Nablus and in Gaza and talks for a long time telling them not to worry because all the calls have become local.

Six months after the elections of Mahmoud Abbas and after a long and continuous period of relative quiet from the Palestinian factions, there are no more excuses for Israel to keep these four-year-long humiliating checkpoints that restrict movement between Palestinian cities. They are clearly not security motivated but rather politically related. The continued use of an entire people as hostage should not be tolerated.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government, engulfed in internal political conflict over the withdrawal from Gaza, is hoping to trade the relaxation of these clearly not security-related restrictions for political results from a weakened Palestinian partner.

Rice's upcoming visit to Israel and Palestine is unlikely to include the many checkpoints that are checkering the Palestinian areas and choking the possibilities of peace. With the continuation of these restrictions and unnecessary checkpoints, the seeds of hate and anger that have been planted during the past four years will mature into violent reactions. Talk of a third Palestinian Intifada is getting more serious, not only among politicians but also in the sitting rooms of most Palestinians.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Awful quality picture...but what the hell!

The Jordan Times has posted a picture of where I used to work.

Quite took my breath away when I clicked on that link...and someone had left my office light on!!!


Curiouser and Curiouser...

They can fly but they can't drive.

I realise that is the second time I have mentioned it this week, I also realise that women in Saudi do have other concerns, wants and needs...being able to work, being able to have freedom of movement, being able to see the world (outside their homes) without looking through black fabric...but women being unable to drive in Saudi is just another example of the govt., religious leaders and the less realistic men keeping the women 'under control'.

Saudi just needs to look across its borders to Kuwait, Bahrain, The UAE, Jordan and even Iraq to realise the role that women can play a role in society without the world as they know it ending...

On another note, what Ms Al-Hindi has achieved is a great step forward and I raise my hat to her!



Having spent my entire life moving around the globe I have developed ways of settling in quickly and establishing my ‘home’…usually with a pile of books that go everywhere with me, a few collected ornaments and some general ‘clutter’.

However, I find it incredibly hard to make new friends….I am what one of my best friends calls me a ‘social nightmare’ when put into a group of people I don’t know. I clam up and pull myself quietly into the nearest corner until I can make a dash for the nearest exit.

My collection of friends in Hong Kong has been built up over a very long period of time. For the first few years here I had only about three who had come out to HK from England with me and the other two I had met through work...

So my impending departure for pastures new is more than a little daunting. The thought of having to start over and make new friends is not really something that makes me leap with joy. The new job excites me, the travel possibilities in The Philippines appeals, the chance to do my PADI course is enticing….meeting new people and creating my new social circle is terrifying.

Whilst being moved around the world by my parents and then later moving by myself, I developed this rather strange way of keeping a connection with family and friends….all to do with land mass! I make my connection based on which of my friends are on the same land mass as I am…being in Hong Kong is quite convenient as Asia is a pretty big land mass…I am lucky that whichever landmass I travel to I have friends or family on it…except the islands of The Philippines.

I hope that in six months I shall look back at this post and will be able to count some new friends on at least one hand…


Wednesday, June 15, 2005 read it here first....

Donald Tsang is going to be our next Chief Executive....


Hello Vera!

Today is one of those days when my stars and planets are so out of kelter I am surprised the World hasn't stopped spinning....

+ I wake up late - falling out of bed in the process
+ Fall out of the shower, slide across the bathroom floor and cut my foot on the door frame
+ Ladder two stockings before I manage to get both on without any further damage
+ Fall down the up escalator coming to the office

and then...and then the icing on the cake....large cup of tea, boiling water...I hit the deck...burn my arm and my face.....the pain is bad enough...without the indignity of walking around with great big red scalds across my face...everyone is too polite to ask but I can see them thinking..."What the hell?"...

So I am hiding at my desk and licking my wounds...actually not so much licking as bathing them in Aloe Vera...I tell you, that stuff really helps...momentarily...and then the heat and the pain is back!

And you know...there are still 10 hours left in this day in which I could cause untold damage...

.....Look Out World


The paths we choose

Whilst I was working in Jordan I worked with a number of Iraqis. One of them was one of our section heads, a guy called Hashem. He was a very direct, forthright and highly principled character and provided myself and my boss with hours of entertainment, thought and frustration!

Obviously working in Jordan through the Iraq war with our Iraqi colleagues was an interesting and challenging time. Fortunately through the natural diplomacy, tact and friendship of all concerned there were few awkward moments.

I will never forget sitting in our company IT room, along with my Jordanian and Iraqi colleagues, watching the news about three days into the war…as we watched the footage of Baghdad being bombed, one of my colleagues turned to me and asked…”How can you allow your government to do that?”…a long conversation followed about democracy, Tony Blair and the British government. It was an awkward moment and I have to say I was grateful that my colleagues were also my friends……

Anyway, back to Hashem…my boss and I had a few interesting moments with him with regard to the Iraq Wars.

The first was late, late one night in January 2003, Hashem and I were talking about when the war would start….we were discussing if his wife and daughter would be able to get out of Baghdad before the war started. I asked him where he had been during the first Gulf War…his answer almost winded me….one word only…”Kuwait”. So the fun, sarcastic, highly intelligent guy who had at one time said he would do anything to defend my honour (not that it needed it, I might add), had been part of the Iraqi invading forces. Pause for thought….we sat a little while longer and discussed his experiences….he was definitely one of the luckier ones.

So, we come to March 2003…the evening the war started. Hashem came into our office and said to my boss (ex-TA and someone who had seriously considered joining the army full time) “I am glad that the British are going in, they will give a good and fair fight. It makes me proud that the Iraqi army will face such an enemy”. He then did his usual heel click and turned and walked out.

My boss turned to me and said….”If I had joined the army, this would have been such a different evening for me.”


Our world today.....

Counting the cost in Iraq

Maybe the Senate should be lynched.

The end of an Fleet Street.

This divorce case will be interesting to follow.

Well I guess we can all sleep well now that we know that Michael Jackson won't be sharing his bed with young boys anymore. missing Dalek.

And finally..... I am really glad that I don't have cats like these.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A piece of history....

We go to liberate, not to conquer.
We will not fly our flags in their country
We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own.
Show respect for them.

There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly.
Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send.
As for the others, I expect you to rock their world.
Wipe them out if that is what they choose.
But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.

Iraq is steeped in history.
It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham.
Tread lightly there.

You will see things that no man could pay to see
-- and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis.
You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.

Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country.
Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.

If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day.
Allow them dignity in death.
Bury them properly and mark their graves.

It is my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive.
But there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign.
We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back.
There will be no time for sorrow.

The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction.
There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam.
He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done.
As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity.

It is a big step to take another human life.
It is not to be done lightly.
I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts.
I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them.

If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family.
The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.

If you harm the regiment or its history by over-enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer.
You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest -- for your deeds will follow you down through history.
We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation.

(On Saddam's chemical and biological weapons.)

It is not a question of if, it's a question of when.
We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself.
If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack.

As for ourselves, let's bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.

Our business now is north.

Lt. Colonel Tim Collins
First Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment (1 R Irish)
On the eve of of the war in Iraq.

I have just bought his book...."Rules of Engagement, A Life in Conflict", published by Headline


Clowns to the left of me....Jokers to the right....

Have tidied up my links...again, added a few....and finally given The Platypus his "?"...strange to relate that's been bothering me for a while!!


Ok...I am blonde, however I can only blame a certain level of daftness on that...the inability to tell the difference between my left and right - no explanation...title has been changed!


So similar....and yet....not quite

Today's SCMP shows pictures of Donald Tsang tucking into a coconut tart whilst visiting Tin Shui Wai yesterday, I am sure everyone remembers pictures of Chris Patten devouring his favourite egg tarts along Lyndhurst Terrace...however, I don't remember ever seeing Chris Patten using plastic gloves and a fork to hold his egg tarts whilst he nibbled daintily around the edges...more like a 'down in one' and forget about the cutlery.

And another thought on Tsang's 'campaigning' (as it is so quaintly being termed), is it just me or has he covered more ground (geographically speaking) within the last week than Tung did in his whole leadership period...?


I'll bet they have other priorities.....

Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz, Saudi's Minister for the Interior thinks that Saudi has greater priorities than allowing women to drive in the Kingdom.

I am sure they, stability and weeding out the Islamic fundamentalists spring to mind as a few priorities.

From The Khaleej Times....

Conservatives in the deeply religious country which is home to Islam’s holiest sites argue that if women drove they would be able to mix freely with men and encouraged to date.

Allowing women to drive is a major issue, it would give them the freedom to move around by themselves, meet other women and possibly discuss greater freedoms...such as the ability to work, vote and generally play a greater role in society other than the subdued and controlled role they presently play.

Is it all possible that greater freedom for women may assist in solving some of the problems that Saudi is facing....or is that just too much for the men to comprehend?


Mississippi Burning..........

In 1964, three men were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Today, 41 years later, jury selection has started in the case that is bringing Edgar Ray Killen to trial. Killen has been tied up with this case since the beginning, according to the records he helped to organise the group that followed and stopped the three men in their car, in 1967 he was charged and acquitted of violating their civil rights.

On BBC world this morning they showed a few clips from KKK meetings from the 60's...we all know they exist, we all know the hatred they preach, but it is not until you see one of their member's holding forth that you are reminded of the sheer evil that these people spew forth.

Interestingly enough, I found articles from the BBC and CNN; but not from the NY Times or the Washington Post...This article came from the Associated Press. A more in depth article on the case can be found here.

I am not sure why this news story interests me so much, is because I have been to Mississippi - driven the length of the state from North to South, or that I have a good friend from Clarksdale, Mississippi, or is it the inherent evil of the KKK that continues to horrify but in some twisted way - fascinate or is that even after 41 years justice must still and can still be done.

The film “Mississippi Burning” was based on this story. It is not a 100% accurate in its representation of the story, however it does give a good picture of what happened during that period of time.


Monday, June 13, 2005


This afternoon I picked up Media magazine and started reading it from the back idea the back of the magazine are all the job ads, one of them caught my eye as the font was clearer and there was a photograph...

I don't really know what to make of she for real or what...? Anyway, am posting it here because it has provided a lot of entertainment in my office.....

Job Details

Job Title: Copywriter, Art Director or Producer
Recruiter Name: Ogilvy Guangzhou
Employer: Ogilvy Guangzhou
Publication Date: 19/05/2005
Salary: Not stated
Description: Chinese girl, 26, seeks caring, understanding man

Hi. My name is Crystal. I am 1.62 metres tall, quite gentle, and working in Ogilvy Guangzhou. As we are short of staff because of many new business wins, I work very long hours. If you are a man looking for someone to date once a month, call me at (XXXX) XXXXXXXX ext. 291. If you want to help us out as a copywriter, art director or producer, so that I can spend less time in the office and more time looking for a boyfriend, call our creative director, Andrew Lok, at (XXXX) XXXXXXXX ext. 275.

Contact Name Andrew Lok
Phone (XXXX) XXXXXXXX ext. 275
Closing Date 03/07/2005

If you don't believe me...look here, as I said the hard copy has a photograph of 'Crystal'.

As I said, am not really too sure what to make of this, however, it is very funny and if it is for real....good lateral thinking!


What was he thinking....?

Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, wanted the Indonesian population to know that he was prepared to listen to their he gives out his own mobile phone number...apparently after receiving more than 3,000 calls to his number, the line crashed...

"The president did not expect such an incredible response and interest from the public,"

With a population of 225 million, what did he expect?


Depends on your definition of 'help'....

When I first came to Hong Kong I had the pleasure of sharing an apartment in South Horizons with an English girl and her then boyfriend (now husband). At the time my friend was caught up the first throws of love and thought that everyone else in the vicinity should also be feeling the same way.

So, Christmas approaches...friend and boyfriend are off to Australia and I am left behind working....I get home late on Christmas Eve...must be about 1am and the phone rings....I answer it and a male voice says "So I hear you're lonely this Christmas?" response was along the lines of "WTF" and I hang up....I come home late on Christmas Day night and the phone rings....a different male voice speaks...along the same lines as the previous night although a little less I venture a "How did you get this number?"...the response...."from your ad on the wall in Park N'Shop". So, bright and early next morning I trot downstairs and sure enough there on the notice board is a handwritten note from my dearest flatmate..

"Are you lonesome this Christmas...if so call XXXXXX on......"

So I wait until my friend comes back from her holidays and give her a hard time about it, then we have a laugh...end of story...or so I thought.

Fast forward a few years..actually about 6 years. By this point I am living in DB and have just come out of a 4 year relationship and am looking for some 'alone' time. I am sitting at home checking my e-mails and I get this e-mail from an Egyptian gentleman saying he had found my details on a pilot's dating website...he liked the sound of me and he would like to correspond...and to make it an even more attractive proposition he had attached some rather charming pictures of him in his pilot's uniform...him next to a plane, him in the cockpit, him on the stairs at the entrance to the plane. My first reaction was one of amusement.....and then bewilderment as to how he had got my details when I had never signed up to a pilot's dating site (actually if I had known there was one I might have done...but that's a different matter). So I called my ex-flatmate who was also living in DB with her husband and told her about my bizarre soon as I heard the snigger at the other end of the phone line...I realised I had been set up again....!!

Another few years down the line, by this time in a long-term relationship but my boyfriend was working overseas...I am standing in PNS in DB paying for my groceries when I notice a handwritten sign up on the board in my ex-flatmate's writing....I wondered what it was she was selling or looking for as she had not mentioned anything to me....oh, my naivety....yes, it was another of her messages trying to find my life-time partner on the PNS I removed that and this time was not quite so 'amused' by it all.

So to 2003 when I returned to HK....I started to get odd e-mails from guys saying they had seen my notice on the AsiaXpat personals site.....this time I was wise to it and called her (by this time she was in Australia...luckily for her)...she admitted without a struggle with a vague promise that "this would be last time".

She is still a good friend (amazingly) and I am now God-mother to her daughter. As she says..."You can't say I didn't try and help you".


Sunday, June 12, 2005

And from the news desk.....

On this day in 1964 Nelson Mandela was jailed for life.

This is a doctor that we would all do well to avoid.

After five months in captivity Florence Aubenas and Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi have been freed. I cannot even begin to imagine what hell they have been through...but at least these two have had a good ending to their ordeal, unlike so many others.

Mahmoud Abbas has made a very controversial decision, so far Abu Mazem has gained a fair amount of support worldwide for how he is handling the very volatile situation he has 'inherited'. However, it will be interesting to see how the world at large reacts to his method of controlling the present lawlessness of certain areas of the Palestinian Territories.

And Camilla makes it to the Buck House balcony.


A few additions...

Have added to the list of blogs that I read, this time, looking to the future, I have added in a 'Blogs from The Philippines' section.

For a month or so now I have been quietly lurking around a few Philippine based blogs, mainly in an attempt to pick up some idea of what interests and concerns the blogging community there.

It has all been interesting reading and has given me a few basics to be going on with.

However, I am still looking for something from The Philippines blogging community that I could call 'a little more light hearted reading' that terribly shallow - probably, but we all need some light relief! So, if anyone can point me in the right direction...suggestions will be gratefully received.


A typical Saturday night in the life of a single lass....!!

The evening started with dinner at a friend's house...there is a group of about 10 of us that meet on a semi-regular basis for dinner. The dinner has a greater purpose though, we each bring a couple of bottles of wine - somthing odd, interesting or extraordinary and the wines are tasted blind, guessed at, revealed and then may sound boring but is actually very entertaining. Even more so when it is one of your wines being discussed and guessed at and you just sit there with a knowing smile on your face until a conclusion is reached.

Dinner wrapped up at about 11:30 so my only other single friend and I from the group decide to drop into LKF....we find a table on the outside of Bar George and settle in for some people watching and gossip! Unfortunately it was a fairly quiet night so nothing too exciting to watch. So we started to discuss life as a single lass in HK...nothing too deep and depressing...we finished up with the unanswered question of how two women sitting on their own outside a bar didn't seem to be of any interest to the local male population........that changed almost as soon as the question had been uttered...

A group of Dutch guys had been milling around out table for a while and one of them decided that this was a good opportunity to start to talk to us. He was in HK for the first time leading a team of Dutch dentists to see some equipment being made up in Shenzhen...the dentists were with him and did not look overly impressed with HK's we chatted for a while - vaguely entertaining as these conversations can be. We also spent some time 'admiring' the way one of the girls had managed to eaze (or ooze) her way into a halter neck dress which, given that she was fairly well endowed and without a scrap of underwear, did a sterling job of not giving way...much to the disappointment of some of the male clientele!

Come 1:45 I said to my friend that I really had to go home as I was working we headed down the hill to get a cab and then the fun I rummaged in my bag I found I didn't have my house keys...I knew where they were...on my desk at work. So then the internal debate I go back to Pokfulam with my friend, crash in her spare room and then try to get hold of my spare key in the morning or do I traipse over to TST in the hope I might just get my keys....I went with the TST 2am saw me scaring the life out of our security guard and traipsing through our office building in the dark (very creepy I might add) and collecting my keys. Having said was all very quick...I left LKF at 1:45 and was at home in bed in Sheung Wan by 2:30. Definitely the better decision, waking up at home feeling a little icky is always better than waking up at someone else's house feeling icky!

So there you have it...your average Saturday evening...I guess if I hadn't been working today we would have headed to Wanchai...but then I think that the feeling 'icky' would have been something a whole lot stronger!


Saturday, June 11, 2005

It's all in the voice....

Growing up overseas and rarely returning to your home country has many advantages and disadvantages...there are huge swathes of 70s and 80s British culture that I am unaware of or have been made aware of long after the event. One result of this is that my taste in music is a little odd, influenced by what recordings my parents had or what became available on the local market. Another result is that although I grew to like many bands and artists I very rarely knew what they looked like, album covers are rarely pictures of the artists...usually graphics and with no international media their backgrounds or ages were up to my imagination.

Whilst I was living in Indonesia I chanced upon 'Old Light Through New Windows' by Chris Rea....gave it a whirl and fell in love...what a voice...he just had that 'je ne sais quoi'.

I must admit to being more than a little surprised when someone finally showed me a picture of him...nothing like what I had imagined. No matter...I still love his music and so many of his songs remind me of many wonderful things....this is one of my favourites it reminds me of living in Germany during a particularly wet, cold and rainy winter.....

Windy Town

Drivin' down from the Highland line
We done some gigs on the Clyde and the Tyne
They flew us in from a Hamburg strip
The taste of Dusseldorf still on our lips

And on the bus there is a friend of mine
We go way back to the scene of the crime
We sit up front and share a cigarette
And try to remember what we tried to forget
He said "Do you remember?"
He said "Do you recall?"
I said "Yeah, I remember
Oh I remember it all"

Every time the cold wind blows
Every time I hear this sound
Late night train shunting down by the river
I remember windy town

We come so far and we move so fast
Makin' hay see it all go past
Around the world and round again
Up and down on that gravy train

Every time the cold wind blows
Every time I hear the sound
East cost crosswinds on a cold wet stone
I remember windy town

The freezin' corners and the empty streets
The burnin' passion and the cold wet feet
Three tricky miles home every night
Dodgin' from the shadows underneath those amber lights

No car for kissin' and no where to go
'Cept inside each other and I loved you so
I held your face as you shivered in the rain
Girl I'll always love you and I love you again

Every time
Yeah every time

Every time the cold wind blows
Every time I hear this sound
Late night train shunting down by the river
I remember windy town
Every time the cold wind blows
Every time I hear the sound
East cost crosswinds on a cold wet stone
I remember
I remember windy town


Past, Future, Present Perfect.....

11 Weeks today my brother is getting married, one month yesterday I leave HK for Manila, one month today I start my new job...and so the countdowns go.....

As I sit here planning my diary for the next few weeks before I leave I realise that very rarely do I live in the present. I am constantly looking to the future counting down to my next adventure/holiday/big project at work/visitor etc etc and when I am not doing that I am chatting with friends about "when we did/went.....".

I very, very rarely sit back and look around and think about and enjoy the 'here and now', if I ever do in Hong Kong there are two locations for is on the Star Ferry and the other is standing up on The Peak looking down on Hong Kong...actually there is one other....on a bright sunny morning when the sun is pouring through the window onto my bed, the room is well chilled and I wake up and stretch...that's a good 'here and now' moment!

Yesterday I was talking with a friend about how quickly life passes us by and I think half the reason for this (at least where I am concerned) is that I am constantly wishing myself into the future...when I was a young was wishing towards Christmases and birthdays, as a teenager towards school holidays and leaving school, as an job, next holiday etc.

I must start to make a consious effort to enjoy 'right here and right now' and to savour the present before life does pass me by completely and I missed it.....


Friday, June 10, 2005

Not for the even vaguely insecure.....

Just another thing to add to my list of things to avoid.....

and from the website of is the most exclusive club in the world. Only one in 15 applications is successful; because only the most beautiful and succesful people are admitted.

Becoming a member of is the beauty equivalent of being accepted in to MENSA.

It is an official recognition of your society and culture's perception of beauty and what is deemed to be attractive.


The British are getting weirder!

In the interests of the safety of the human race some good people in the West country have kidnapped a Dalek. Reports so far say that the Dalek has not been tortured - so that's nice then!


Playing Poker without cards....

On the outer edges of my social circle lurks a man whom I like a lot. Being a card carrying member of the 'self-preservation society' (apologies for the stolen lyrics to Don Black) I have done absolutely nothing about it and our time together has just been two 'friends' hanging out.

However, given that I am leaving town soon I am beginning to wonder if this might be a good time to lay my cards on the table or given that I am leaving town soon I wonder if it is the worst timing imaginable......

An interesting question and one that I shall ponder over the coming week.