I didn’t mean to leave it so long before posting again, I’m finding it difficult to summon up any enthusiasm for writing after such busy workdays, which is weird because once I get started I do actually enjoy it. As you’ve probably gathered I’m still working my way through all the stuff that’s accumulated at work whilst I was away. Bogart came in today with a sick note for another four weeks. That means he will have been off ten weeks in total – if he actually makes it back in next time it runs out (I have my doubts) Of course there is no chance of getting any additional cover, so the usual frenetic run up to Xmas in the Office is going to be even worse than usual, and to top it off it’s the Big Family Christmas this year. Oh joy.
Anyway, back to our holiday, which feels like it took place about six months ago now! One of Mr Stoatie’s Aunties is Hong Kong Chinese and every couple of years she goes back on a visit. Last year she mentioned she was going again and said we ought to go too. We thought about it for a minute and said why not!
We only spent a week out there but managed to pack a lot in. The first day Auntie Sam’s sister in law came and took us out for a day. We spent the morning at a Buddhist temple which was absolutely wonderful, despite the drizzle. There were very few visitors and it had a lovely aura of a working, sacred space. There were monks performing ritual and chanting in one of the temples, and people making offerings of fruit, flowers and incense.
Detail from the entrance gates, I love spirals.
Detail from a small pavilion, and below it’s ceiling.
A pair of Chinese lions guard a doorway. The female, holding down a cub, is always on the left as you look at the doors. The male, holding a ball, on the right.
These rooms are their equivalent of our Room of Remembrance. There are photos of the deceased on slips of paper attached to holders on the walls. The room in the next building, just visible on the far right, holds shelves of paper bags containing cremated remains.
I would love one of these incense holders!
In the afternoon we visited a nature reserve. It was really beautiful and a bit of a relief after driving through the urban sprawl. It was fascinating to see the different bird species. Some of the birds bore a close resemblance to ours in build but were different colours and sizes. You could recognise robin, starling and jackdaw shapes and behaviours. We didn’t see very much at the reserve, I think they were all taking cover from the rain! There didn’t seem to be much wildlife anywhere to be honest. A very, very few pigeons and sparrows (they get everywhere don’t they?) some sort of collared dove, the robin, some starling types, and quite a few kites gliding high up between the sky scrapers. One thing that did strike me was that there were no seagulls. It was really odd as we were on a tiny island and only ever about a quarter of a mile away from the sea.
The contrast between the city and nature was really striking, the weather meant that you could almost forget about the skyscrapers.