There’s no time like the past

My lack of spark drags on. I am without inspiration. Some consolation comes from looking back at a few images from last year and thinking they weren’t so bad after all. Another trawl through the Macau images and I offer you two images, one colour, one black and white. I leave you to guess which is which. Both taken in temples.

Incense Prayer

Relax – just eat it…………

I have been working in Bangkok this week. Thoroughly enjoyable with an incredible mix of people, all working for my old employer. 25 people speaking probably 6 or 8 languages, different skin colours, backgrounds, cultures, religions……… all in complete harmony. It seems so easy. We had a real, live rocket scientist and a published author to give you some idea of just how broad a range of backgrounds they brought to the workshop. This post however is about me.

On Friday night I was exhausted and had an early dinner. My flight left early in the morning so my alarm was set for 5am. When I went back to my room there was a small cellophane wrapped package on the bed, containing a thin brown piece of chocolate. Normally I would eat the chocolate but this evening I just put it on the bedside cabinet, went for my shower and turned in. I fell asleep without a problem.

At 2am I woke feeling hungry. I remembered the chocolate. In the dark I fumbled for the package and opened it. The piece of chocolate was not solid but in stick form. Mmmm, I thought, maybe mint sticks!  Just like the old Matchmakers. And I took one, put it in my mouth, crunched it and swallowed. After a few seconds a dreadful taste started to spread through me. I could not begin to imagine what the  flavour was so I put on the light and looked for the pack of chocolate.

A piece of paper fell out. I read it. It said, in rough terms:

Take these sticks of jasmine and spread them around your room for a wonderfully relaxing fragrance.

Not chocolate. Incense sticks. Oh bum! I could not rid myself of the taste. It seemed to claw itself up from my stomach and taunt me all night. And I’m afraid I slept little after that. Jasmine smells beautiful but it clearly isn’t going to feature large in Delia Smith’s Cook Book or Martha Stewart’s Top Dessert Fillings. As decoration or garnish perhaps. No more. Perhaps I should have tried fire-eating afterwards and allowed the incense stick to burn within. The sweetest eructions ever.

The moral of this story is clear – all that looks like chocolate is not. Jasmine may make wonderful tea but it is better infused than ingested.

Joss smokeHealth Warning: joss sticks are bad for your digestion.


There’s not many people know that…..

But it seems to be the case. My viewing stats have soared and I can only conclude it is because I have posted more frequently recently. So here I go again.

Tomorrow I am off to Singapore and I shall pack at least one camera maybe two. I hope I can find a little time to escape the meeting schedule. Today however it was just a regular stroll around the town. The temperatures are still warm at about 26 C but the humidity is falling and now stands at only 75%. This makes the hill a lot easier down and back up. The elevation is not great. I believe it is about 63m but the climb is quite steep and I have a bad leg and an even worse foot. I just can’t shake off the pain. I guess it is a trapped nerve but it has bothered me for months. If the answer is rest then that is not likely to happen for a while.

Halloween is almost upon us. I am not sure why a beauty salon would choose to join in the fun. Perhaps the ladies (and possibly gentlemen) of Sai Kung like a jolly good hairdo to scare their partners on All Hallow’s Eve. My memory told me there was a book about ‘deathly hallows’ or something like that. I was convinced it was Ngaio Marsh. But like a good blogger I checked and was embarrassed to find it was an H. Potter novel. I always confused J K Rowling with J R Hartley but tut tut, Ngaio Marsh, really….. quite absurd.

Pumpkin pedicures?

I think Pumpkin Pedicures is a much swisher title.

Incense smokeI always walk past the Tin Hau temple as I leave the new and enter the old town. I love poking around in the little alleyways and shops. I always hope for a new angle on something. Today the temple urns were burning joss sticks and the smoke was drifting gently across the courtyard. I crouched down to eye-level despite the complaints from my knees and hamstrings and managed just one frame before the grumbling brought me to my senses.

One shop in the old town always seems to be full of cats. Most look very thin and I suspect they are adopted strays so timid are they. One puss however lords it over all the others and lies imperially along the counter. What a fine moggy.

Imperial cat

I used minimum DoF on this and just tried to get the eye’s sharp. You judge how good my eyesight is as this is manually focussed of course, the Leica being a rangefinder.

And finally, a local relaxing in the sun. Shoes off, trousers at half mast (thankfully from the ankles up) and head cushioned by his bag. The sun has obviously caught his cranium over the years but he seems perfectly at ease with himself.

And that’s your lot for the day.

I now embark on a momentous week – my last full-time week in permanent employment.

This is what Our Gracie sang 70 years ago:

Wish me luck, as you wave me goodbye.
Cheerio, here I go, on my way.

Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye.
With a cheer, not a tear, make it gay.

Give me a smile, I can keep for a while,
In my heart while I’m away.

Till we meet once again you and I,
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye.

TTFN as Mrs. Mopp would say. Tata for now.