Put on a happy face


It is Spring. On Monday our old friend Vernon Equinox made it official. Good old Vernon. For further confirmation, if such be needed, look out of the window and observe the rain. It is wet. Very wet. Wetter than Mrs. Thatcher’s cabinet. And the garden is yellow. Forsythia. Primroses. Daffodils. Lesser Celandines. Throw in a few violets, the wood anemones, cherry blossom, magnolia, camellias and hordes of hungry lagomorphs and you can be sure that Spring is here. The woodpeckers and nuthatches are tidying up last years cavities. The pheasants are strutting around and rising up to drum their wings. This is my patch. Keep off. The diminutive wren launches stealth raids on the contents of my moth trap. The Chiffchaff has arrived to its own personal fanfare. I even thought I heard a passing Sedge Warbler in the muddy part of the wood yesterday.

All of which is balm to the soul, confronted as it is by contemporary politics.

A chum of mine described Trump45 as an embarrassment. I almost prefer Colt 45.

Che gelida manina,
se la lasci riscaldar.
Cercar che giova?
Al buio non si trova.

A tragic opera in a series of dumb acts.

I watched Comey and Rogers and felt a vague sense of relief that perhaps there might be a happy ending after all. And how I cheered the wonderful Kristina Dunz, the reporter who finally shouted the emperor has no clothes. Still, the story has some mileage left in it yet.

And in the meantime we have a family wedding to look forward to. Cost Centre 2 will tie the knot in December. We are now mulling over maybe leaving the carnage of post rational Britain and returning to the People’s Republic of Hong Kong. We have spent five of the last eight weeks there and realize that whatever the benefits of Brexitstan, life in the colony may be better.


Originally this post was different, rather more macabre. Fate however intervened and I didn’t finish it. That was fortunate in the light of the events at Westminster this week. I was working in the City when both the Stock Exchange and The Baltic Exchange were bombed by the IRA. The Bulldog Spirit prevailed then and it will prevail now. For all of the dangerous egomaniacs around today – Kim, May, Trump, Erdogan, Mugabe and a good few others – the world still grinds forward and evolves faster than politicians, bringing us improvements we could never dream of. We have to learn how to adapt to some of them but the basics of hunger relief, child mortality and absolute poverty are diminishing. There has to be optimism alongside the mourning for common decency and the blinding rage of populism.

In contrast to the day I started this, the sun is shining and there is warmth in the air. The long shadows are of lengthening days and trees in bud. And there is life in the old dog yet.

ZEN Lulu



HRH Arrives

At 07.20 we headed off to Heathrow’s Animal Reception Centre. The SatNav worked for once and we arrived in good time. We hoped HRH would be available at 09.00.

We were greeted warmly by the staff at the centre. They said Lulu had arrived safely, was limping slightly but eating and drinking. The limp was I think from spending 18 hours in a crate. There was no sign of it when we saw her.

However we had to wait for the agents to process the paperwork when they arrived at 09.00. So we fell to chatting with other owners. All delightful people, one couple from Sai Kung just to make it even better. An Irish couple, tattooed and be-ringed, proved to be a lovely, warm couple with a small dog, a Brussels Griffon, that was just bursting with energy and affection when it came through. An an Ozzie waiting for his French Bulldog.

We were second in line. The lady came out carrying Lulu and with my iPhone I videoed the hand over to Mrs. Ha. Lulu was shaking and confused, much like me. She looked tiny but everybody made a huge fuss of her and she is already a star on the Centre’s Facebook page. Slowly she realised that after almost 3 weeks and a 6,000 mile flight she was back in her mum’s arms. She thawed out and the mass-lick started.

We brought her home and she is settling into her old routine. Eat, sleep and be merry. She is already listed as a guest on the cottage rental receipt. We are happy to be together with her again and we hope she enjoys the climate. This has been a happy day. A big thank you to the staff at LHR, who clearly love the animals. Every  one of you is a star.